American Elephants

It’s Time to Find Out What’s In ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child

More than half of all states are now suing to stop ObamaCare.  Maine became the 23 state on Wednesday, and Kansas the 24th to join Florida’s multi-state lawsuit.  Thirty-three  Republican governors and governors-elect have signed a letter to the White House and Congress making an emphatic appeal that ObamaCare’s Medicaid provisions be repealed.

Medicaid pays health care and long-term expenses for certain categories of individuals.  It costs taxpayers almost $400 billion a year without providing Medicaid recipients with a high quality of careNational spending on Medicaid has nearly quintupled over the past twenty years, and about 16 percent of the population is currently covered.

A recent study from the University of Virginia has found that Medicaid patients have worse surgical outcomes than people without insurance.  In spite of this, ObamaCare relies heavily on the Medicaid program to cut the number of individuals without health insurance.  So the Obama administration can claim (correctly) that more people are covered — they just can’t get any care.

Obama’s Medicaid mandates include a requirement that states maintain current program eligibility along with a required expansion that will increase national enrollment by about 20 million.  States can’t afford the current program, nor can they attempt to cut costs.  Most states have balanced budget amendments that prevent the kind of creative financing the federal government uses.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels explains how ObamaCare will probably kill Indiana’s “Healthy Indiana Plan”, which relies on health savings accounts for 50,000 low-income people.  The program has been hugely successful and popular, but ObamaCare mandates eliminate health savings accounts.  Governor Daniels explains in the video below how ObamaCare is affecting his state.

ObamaCare has burdened states with all sorts of mandates, penalized them for not conforming, and as a solution wants to bail out the states most adversely affected by increasing the national deficit.  They are unwilling to tackle the structural problems.  Many doctors refuse to accept Medicaid patients now, and the situation will only get worse with the increasing shortage of doctors.  Medical schools cannot keep up with the need, and the nation faces a shortage of 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years — not counting the 40 percent of physicians who say they may leave the profession.

Nancy Pelosi’s comment about having to wait until we could read the bill and figure out what is in it becomes ever more irresponsible as time goes on and we do find out what is in it.

ObamaCare rewards friends of the administration, and punishes enemies.  In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to those companies that provide low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out.  This followed the announcement by some employers that they would have to drop the plans because they did not meet the mandate that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses.  By early December, HHS had granted 222 waivers covering 1,507,418 employees, more than a third of which are union members.  Then she announced that companies looking for rate increases of 10% or more would have to justify the hikes to her department.  Insurance regulation has traditionally been a state responsibility.

Democrats are planning to mount a vigorous defense of ObamaCare.  Paid television ads, phone banks, scheduled events. They are assuming that you don’t love ObamaCare because they just didn’t do a good enough job of telling you how wonderful it is.  The trouble is that they don’t even know what is in the bill themselves, and have no understanding whatsoever of the unintended consequences they have set in action.

The Attempt to Make You Shut Up. by The Elephant's Child

Listening to the radio yesterday, and reading commentary from around the web, I gradually became aware of what the left considers to be violent political rhetoric.  It turns out to be any words that can be connected to guns in any way, or any words disagreeing with or critical of Barack Obama’s accomplishments.

If you say you want ObamaCare repealed — that is violent political rhetoric.  If you disapprove of the stimulus and consider the billions expended  a colossal waste — that is violent political rhetoric.  If you claim that “cash for clunkers” was a useless fraud, that too is violent political rhetoric.

Maggie’s Farm posted a line today from Robert A. Heinlein, c. 1978:  “When a man makes up his mind without evidence, no evidence disproving his opinion will change his mind.”

Liberals’ disinterest in evidence, experience and statistics is longstanding.  They interpret our use of statistics or the experience of others as lies, or simply  political excess, unworthy of consideration.  Facts are unimportant.  Eyes fixed firmly on their shining goal, they are quite sure that no one could possibly disagree with their point of view, and are astounded when people don’t share their enthusiasm.

Democrats were sure that they had achieved a permanent Democrat majority in Congress, and were truly surprised when there were objections to their accomplishments.  When the protests became vigorous and growing across the country, they expected that they might lose a few seats.  But once health care took effect and people got used to it, they would love it, wouldn’t they? Well, no they wouldn’t.  And they didn’t lose a few seats, they lost at every level of government, in a sweep unknown since the 1920s.  It was, for Democrats, a catastrophe.

The liberal attempt to impose the values of the leftist 30 percent of the population on a nation of 70 percent free enterprise Americans did not go well.  The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party grass roots protests spread across the country with thousands of Americans joining together to make public their support for the free enterprise system and their opposition to the swelling government spending and unaccountable grab for government power.

Most Americans sympathized with the tea party protesters.  According to a Rasmussen poll that was conducted less than a week after the first demonstrations, more than half of Americans viewed the protests favorably, and one-third viewed them very favorably.A year later, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that a little more than 70 percent agreed that the tea party movement “is a serious group of people who believe that government is too big and taxes are too high and it should be taken seriously.”

The media found the protesters too dim to understand the policy issues at hand.  In the summer of 2009, citizens flocked to town hall meetings to confront their legislators about a proposed health care plan that threatened to place their health care choices in the hands of government bureaucrats.  Liberal politicians attempted to make light of the protests, again aided by the press which chose to portray the protesters as extremists or pawns of the health care industry.  In January 2010, a CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 74 percent of Americans felt that at least half of the stimulus had been wasted, 63 percent believed that the spending had been guided by purely political reasons, and would have no economic benefit.

So you have a roughly 70 – 30 split in the country, and the minority 30 percent are furious with the rest of the country for not appreciating their superior ideas and policies.  We are too dim to understand, and too sly and belligerent to be properly civil.  Looming political violence threatens the legitimacy of the U.S. government.   The climate of hate threatens the very foundations of the country. But those foundations are not to be confused with the founders – a bunch of old men a long time ago – and silly stunts like reading the Constitution.  That’s not what foundations means.

Pay them no mind. Their attempt to gain traction with climate of hate rhetoric didn’t work. They are merely trying to stifle dissent.  By any standard, we have a highly civil  and peaceful political system.  Tea party protesters didn’t storm the White House, they went to the polls and voted.

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