American Elephants

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses! by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light posting recently. I just finished a course of radiation treatment following surgery in December, and it has temporarily wiped me out. Fatigue.  All is well, however, and I’ll just be tired for a couple of weeks.

Misspellings and odd juxtapositions of letters are to be excused. Be patient. We had about an inch and a half of snow on Saturday, which melted on Sunday and we’re back to our normal rain and clouds. Good. Did not need icy streets just now. Told to take extra vitamin D to cope with our gloomy climate. Figures.

Obama is Rewriting ObamaCare Again! Won’t Work! by The Elephant's Child

Surely you expected this. Everyone has been talking about when larger businesses have to face up to the employer mandate in ObamaCare. Will they meet the mandate, with policies that are acceptable to the ACA? Will thousands of people be dropped by their policies? Will thousands of people be cut back to 28 hours so the companies don’t have to supply health insurance. Will they join everyone else in being furious that they can no longer see their doctor, but must search for a new one?

— If the employer mandate were to take effect immediately, you would  have a lot of angry people right before the mid-term elections. Can’t have that. Charles Krauthammer said that” delaying the employer mandate simply to ease political pain before an election is the kind of stuff they do in banana republics.”

— CNS News points out that President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department today issued a new regulation that for the second time directly violates the plain and unambiguous text of the Affordable Care Act by allowing some businesses to avoid the law’s Dec, 31, 2013 deadline to provide health insurance coverage to their employees.

— There are an avalanche of regulations still to come under ObamaCare. 28 new paperwork rules will cost $1.4 billion a year to comply with. It would take 22,800 employees working full time to complete the new paperwork. These regulations will cost $1.4 billion annually just in completion of the paperwork.

— Many assumptions in heath-care myths we live by turn out to be completely untrue. Swedish researchers report that antioxidants make cancers worse in mice. It is already known that the antioxidant beta-carotene exacerbates lung cancers in humans. Not exactly what you hear given the extravagant claims about antioxidants. The Annals of Internal Medicine: “Beta-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful.” Moreover, “other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Such revisionism is a constant in medicine. There was a time when every kid had their tonsils removed— grossly unnecessary surgery.

— It has been assumed that insuring the uninsured would save huge amounts of money because they wouldn’t keep using the emergency room. When the uninsured were put on Medicaid, they increased their ER use by 40 percent.

—Electronic records will save zillions, they thought.  ACA threatens penalties for those who don’t convert by the end of 2014. The earliest effects are to create a whole new category of previously unnecessary health workers, called scribes, who follow doctors around and fill in the records so the doctors don’t have to do it themselves.

— Most of Obama’s rewrites, delays, exemptions and administrative retrofits are far too numerous to count and most of them are quite dubious legally. When a law passes both houses of Congress and is signed by the president, then it is officially THE LAW. If it is desired to change it, it has to go back to Congress and get amendments passed and signed.

— One big thing is that ObamaCare requires insurance policies to cover not just the expense of catastrophic illness, which is the normal use of insurance; but it forces policies to cover all sorts of routine medical expenses that most people will not need. If you are a 63 year-old woman, you will be paying for childbirth and well child visits, as well as Sandra Fluke’s contraceptives. Wanting to give people nice benefits is all very well, but it does not lend itself to less expensive medicine.

— Obama’s architects made the enormously flawed assumption that health insurance makes people healthier, tending to drive health care costs down over time.  Very flawed assumption. The architects did not anticipate the behavior of people who do not share their approach to the world. There are lots of us out there.

Unintended Consequences: by The Elephant's Child


Unintended consequences. Someone speaks, or takes an action, advocates a policy, and aside from the immediate political response, the world shifts a little, and all  you can do is hope that if there are unintended consequences, they will not be too bad. President Obama famously said “he has a phone and he has a pen” and even today, announced at Monticello that “He is President of the United States and he can do whatever he wants to.”

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. There is the oath of office, and a long history of presidential terms in office, and the assumption that a president, any president, will struggle mightily to do the right thing for the people of the United States. Why else did he run for office? President Obama had something quite different in mind. He ran a nebulous campaign full of theatrics and empty words like “yes we can” and “we are the ones,” and people fell for it. But finding that now that he no longer has a Democrat-controlled Congress, but has to actually attempt to debate, discuss and compromise with Republicans in the House, like a petulant child, he announces that he will not compromise on anything, but will just act independently— with his pen and his phone.

Well, if the President of the United States can just act on his own, why not governors? Why do we need laws and customs and rules and tradition? Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, noted empty suit, has decided that while he is in office “During my term we will not be executing people.” He has the authority under RCW  10.10.120to commute a death sentence to life in prison at hard labor, and upon a petition from the offender, to pardon the offender, or to offer a reprieve which is to be issued “for good cause shown, and as the Governor thinks proper.”

Washington State does not have a particularly high murder rate with the exception of a couple of really bad serial killers. Ted Bundy’s case was famous. But the one that raised questions about the death penalty was that of the “Green River Killer,” Gary L. Ridgway. King County prosecutors gave up on capitol punishment  in exchange for his cooperation with providing details that helped solve dozens of open murder cases. He pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder  in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison. Forty-eight murders seemed like a good reason for a death penalty, though there were 48 families who deserved some kind of closure.

Governor Inslee’s actions are again reminiscent of President Obama’s efforts to escape blame for anything. Inslee doesn’t want to be blamed for any executions, and will shove them off on his successor.

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