American Elephants

Disaster-In-Waiting. Repeal and Replace. by The Elephant's Child
October 23, 2010, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Law, United Kingdom

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that ObamaCare will add some 35 million new people to the federal health-entitlement rolls by 2019, at a cost of $214 billion in that year alone.  Douglas Holtz-Eakin— a former director of the CBO—estimates that ObamaCare will lead to far more  people leaving employer-sponsored plans than the CBO assumes.

His study estimates that at least another 35 million people, 70 million in all, will move to the new ObamaCare Insurance exchanges simply because the government subsidies are greater than the tax relief granted to employer sponsored plans.  That would add something like a trillion dollars more to the costs of Obamacare.

A month ago HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated in a letter to the President of America’s Health Insurance Plans that the impact on insurance premiums would be minimal, no more than 1% to 2%.

Democrats are fond of mandates, and the new health-care law mandates and extends the kind of insurance that fosters overuse,  driving up costs and premiums.  The entire medical system will be overwhelmed because there are no disincentives for overuse.

Co-pays and deductibles will be kept low.  Preventative services will have no co-pays at all.  The cost of these services (necessary or unnecessary) will be loaded on to the American public in the form or higher taxes and higher insurance premiums.  The plan you were told you could “keep” will no longer be available.  Private insurance companies will get the blame.

As 70 million more people are flooding the health-care system, new estimates of the shortage of physicians bring the shortage closer to 63,000 with increasing shortages through 2025.  This is happening at the same time that increasing numbers of baby boomers are eligible for Medicare.

Two years ago, the physician search firm of Merritt, Hawkins & Asso, estimated that by 2020, the U.S will need 90,000 to 200,000 more doctors than we will have.  At that point the wait to see a doctor for a routine visit would be three to four months.  In August of 2009, 45% of doctors told the IBD/TIPP Poll that they would consider leaving their practices or taking early retirement if the Democrats’ version of reform were enacted.  One doctor said:

This unconstitutional plan gives sovereignty over our bodies to unelected, unaccountable, ignorant bureaucrats.  Every governmental micromanagement of our lives has failed in its objective, and caused oral and economic bankruptcy.

Congressional efforts to get better medical care for those they thought were underserved — though there is no evidence of that — will result in making the physician shortage worse, and care for everyone worse.  So we move from the best health care system in the world to the waiting lists  that are experienced in the failing health care systems of Canada and England.

There is simply no avoiding the necessity to “Repeal and Replace.” There are market based, doctor and patient solutions to every problem.  Government control simply leads to fiscal calamity, and a disastrous change in our entire health care system for the worse.  It is interesting that just at the time when other nations are trying to escape from their government-run systems our government should decide to embrace what has never worked well anywhere.

Is California Showing the Way for the Rest of the Country? by The Elephant's Child

California is often supposed to be the bellwether for the rest of the country.  The idea that California has to be a leader has not always been a winner.  In 2006, the Golden State enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), mandating a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  The idea that one state, even one of our larger ones, can do anything whatsoever to effect a decrease in global temperatures is ludicrous.

The Center for Climate Strategies by February of 2008 had infiltrated 21 states.  They approach governors with a dog and pony show, persuading them to appoint “study commissions” on global warming, then they steer the policy process, rigging commission proceedings to produce a predetermined result: higher energy costs, reduced property and individual rights and ever more Big Government.  The results were predictable.

AB32 is a huge tax on conventional energy use, resulting in lower employment.  California now has an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, far higher in the great Central Valley.  Even in a land of Hollywood fantasies, the idea that California could be transformed by “clean energy” into a green economy with green jobs replacing those lost in the decline of conventional energy use.

Not going to happen.  Green energy—solar and wind—is an intermittent and unreliable source of energy that requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant.  AB32 is a proven job killer.  There is an initiative on the ballot next month—Proposition 23—that would suspend AB32 until the state unemployment rate declines to 5.5 percent for four quarters.  A new economic study by Pacific Research Institute finds that the initiative would increase total state employment by over 500,000 in 2012 and over 1.3 million by 2020.

Left-wing environmentalists have been using scare tactics for years as a tool to accomplish their aim of ever-greater control of other people’s property.  There was Alar, the population bomb, powerlines causing childhood cancer, acid rain, global famine, frankenfoods, acid rain, the ozone hole, and on and on.  The American people have clearly decided that the threat of global warming is pretty much hooey; and they are aware that however much the political elite prattle about future temperatures, their pronouncements have about as much credibility as the California Clairvoyants who advertise on the radio.

The notion that the CO2 we exhale is a threat to people’s health is simply a claim too far.  Nobody’s going to buy it. If the cost of energy goes up sharply, business’ costs go up, and people lose their jobs.  That is easy enough to understand, and the American people are apparently a little brighter than the political elite.

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