American Elephants

Diplomacy, Manners, Protocol and Tradition Still Matter. by The Elephant's Child

The invitation list to the United Kingdom’s biggest royal wedding in thirty years is out. A bartender from Mustique got an invitation, but the Obamas did not.  U.S. Presidents have always been invited until now.

The list is always fascinating, for the royal family historically puts on the grandest and most closely watched nuptials in the world.  The head of PR for Audi is invited, a Texas billionaire, David and Victoria Beckham, a Romanian count, parliamentary assistants from small European states— sort of underlines the absence of America’s first family from the list.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Britain, America’s closest ally, has been subjected to an unprecedented string of insults by the Obama administration.  There have been so many that The Telegraph‘s Nile Gardiner created a list  Obama’s Top Ten Insults Against Britain“.

One of Obama’s first acts as president was to send back a bust of Winston Churchill after the British loaned it to the U.S. as a warm gesture of solidarity after September 11, 2001. The British may have been shocked, but so were Americans. Obama’s treatment of Gordon Brown, Britain’s former prime minister, was ill-mannered and shabby.  State gifts were exchanged, thoughtful and carefully considered on the part of Mr. Brown, embarrassing, cheap, and egotistical on the part of Mr. Obama. But there was lots more:

He downgraded America’s special relationship with Britain in favor of France this year. Last year at West Point he refused to recognize the U.K.’s role in the Afghanistan war; it contributed 10,000 troops. Then he sided with Argentina over Britain in its demand for new talks over its claims on the Falkland Islands.

“There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world,” an Obama State Department spokesman declared in 2009.

Now it’s payback time. The Brits seem to have had their fill of the Obamas and are letting it be known.

Perhaps it’s schadenfreude on my part, but the payback is well deserved. The President of the United States is expected to act as the representative of his country, rather than according to his personal prejudices, whatever they happen to be. Bad manners are unacceptable in anyone, let alone someone in an official position.

Why ObamaCare Won’t Work, in a Few Easy Lessons by The Elephant's Child

Jeffrey Miron PhD, Professor of Economics at Harvard, takes on the economics of ObamaCare.  ObamaCare loses.  It just won’t work economically, but it won’t work in any other way either. ObamaCare will not reduce the cost of medical care; but it will not improve medical care either.

The Wall Street Journal notes today that at current training and graduation rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted in spite of an effort by teaching hospitals and medical schools to increase the number of U.S. doctors.  We now have a total of about 954,000 physicians, and a shortage of Doctors willing to accept Medicaid patients, and fewer willing to take new Medicare patients. This will only grow.

The biggest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians would have a much larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient. Right now, the U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors, and the medical college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed in the next 9 years. The number of med-school students entering family medicine dropped by more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

That fact alone means more-limited access and longer wait times for patients.  For how that works, we have to refer to Britain’s NHS.  Proponents of Obamacare, such as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman in his other role as liberal hack, assures us that these “scare stories” about health care in Britain “are false,” but unfortunately in Britain there is no shortage of them, well documented. This is what happens under government-run health care when the major problem becomes getting reimbursement from the system rather than treating patients.

Margaret Hutchon, a former mayor and Director of the MidEssex Hospital Services NHS Trust, recently died after waiting for nine months for a follow-up stomach operation, at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. Her appointments for surgery were cancelled four times, and she barely regained consciousness after finally having surgery.  Her devastated husband said “She got weaker and weaker as she waited and operations were put off.

In 2008, Linda O’Boyle was dying of cancer and denied free NHS treatment because she had paid privately for a drug to try to prolong her life. Because she had done that she was banned from NHS care.  The Sunday Times reported the case of Joshua Halliday, a five-year-old with a broken arm who had to seek treatment 50 miles from home because 7 closer hospitals turned him away. The Daily Mail reported on Katie Hilliard, who was denied a pap smear after two requests because she was “too young”. The 24-yer-old now has cervical cancer and despite a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the disease has spread to her lymph nodes and lungs.

British author Terry Pratchett, after being diagnosed with Alzheimers’ 3 years ago, was told that NHS didn’t cover the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept for people of his young age (he was 65).  Jackie Knight was apparently too old. He was denied the best treatment for his liver cancer— a drug called Sorafenib—because NHS said it wasn’t “cost effective.”

Economist Walter Williams reported on the story of a Swedish multiple sclerosis sufferer who was prescribed a new drug that held promise of mitigating his symptoms. The government refused to pay for it because it was too expensive—33% more than the old medication. But the Swedish state would not allow him to pay for it himself. “Bad precedent,” they said.

These are countries far less populous  than the 308-million American population that ObamaCare wants to control with a vast army of bureaucrats.  You just have to look at something that is always of little interest to Liberals — the evidence.

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