Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, History, Humor | Tags: Because Koch Brothers, Protesting a $100 Million Donation, The Left Protests
The Koch brothers are at it again. The New York State Nurses Association, the NAACP New York State Conference, and SEIU Local 1199, among others marched to show their vast disapproval of the soon-to-be-built David H. Koch Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital funded in part by a $100 million donation — from the man one prominent liberal recently predicted would go down in history as a “famously evil person. “
That particular “prominent liberal” is Left-wing billionaire hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer. He recently announced a $100 million campaign in support of candidates who embrace tax increases and regulations to fight the scientific theory known as “climate change.” He remains torn between his opposition to The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and his support for American democracy. “I believe there should be a different system.” Steyer said. “But right now what we’re doing is accepting American democracy rules…that’s the system we believe in. He’s opposed to the Keystone pipeline as well. The Free Beacon‘s editors commented:
We await Steyer’s call for the immediate dismantling of famously evil institutions such as the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, the David H. Koch Center for ambulatory care at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the David H. Koch Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University, the David H. and Julia Koch Research Program in Food Allergy Therapeutics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, as well as the immediate return of the $325 million Koch has donated to medical and cancer research facilities across the country.
The donation was the largest in the hospital’s history, and will presumably mean new nursing jobs, so why ? It was International Women’s Day and the Koch’s are the primary funders of the “war on women’s reproductive rights, and behind the effort to defeat and repeal healthcare to all Americans.” huh?
One Minerva Solla offered: “If there ain’t gonna be no justice, there ain’t gonna be no peace!” Candice Sering of Gabriela NYC added:”Women hold up ahold the sky.” The comments and the pictures are particularly delightful.
Ben Kallos, a sitting city council member attended the protest against the addition of a new hospital care center in the neighborhood he represents — because Koch brothers.
So there you are. A day in the life of New York City. See how easy it is to rouse up the masses when there’s a really compelling issue.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Environment, Freedom, Health Care, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Disgraceful Decisions, Environmental Extremism, Humans Don't Count
King Cove, Alaska is a remote town in the Aleutians of around a thousand people. It’s a fishing village that has a tiny airport which is often locked in by gale-force winds and fog. The town has a clinic, but no doctor and no hospital. For trauma cases, childbirth and complications of all sorts, they must get to the all-weather World War II airport in Cold Bay, 22 miles away, for transportation for the 600 miles to Anchorage, doctors and hospitals.
King Cove requested of the Interior Department a 22 mile-long, one-lane gravel road to Cold Bay which would allow for all-weather access to lifesaving medical care. Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old King Cove resident who serves as Agdaagux tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section in March after going into early labor with her now 9-month-old daughter. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby. Medevac flights into King Cove were grounded by ugly weather. Ms. Kuzakin waited in labor for ten hours until a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew her out in the afternoon.
“If there had been a road, it would be two hours out,” she said. “I sat there in labor not knowing if I was going to die or my kid was going to die. Pretty traumatic.” Fishing is also hard work, and injuries are common. According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 because bad weather during emergency evacuations prevented them from getting out.
Sally Jewell, U.S. Interior Secretary, met with Aleutian citizens in the gymnasium in King Cove, to hear their request for a simple one-lane gravel lifeline to a dependable airport. Ms. Jewell, former head of REI, told her King Cove audience that “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals.“ She rejected the road, saying that “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.”
The assorted kinds of waterfowl with which I am familiar are a moveable species. If a truck is coming down a road, they are capable of moving off or across a one-lane road. These are not flightless species. Bears can manage to cross roads as well as other species to be found in the Aleutians. What could this woman who calls herself an “environmentalist” have possibly been thinking?” A waterfowl’s potential annoyance at having to move from a road trumps human life every time? Well, that’s environmentalism for you every time. Self-righteous in their passion for wildlife; callous and cruel to humanity. Obama can really pick them. Disgusting.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Dysfunctional, The State Exchanges, Two x Cost of Federal Exchange
The disastrous rollout of ObamaCare continues apace, but the federal government spent more on broken stat-run exchanges than it did on its own troubled system. Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia established their own health insurance coverage under ObamaCare. Of those fourteen, seven remain dysfunctional, disabled or seriously underperforming. The development of those exchanges was funded by the federal government through a series of grants that totaled more than $1.2 billion —almost double the $677 million cost of the federal exchange.
Oregon: Spectacular failure. $48 million “early innovator” grant from the federal government, which hoped the exchange would be a model for other states. Delays, delays, delays. Consultants warned that it was headed for disaster. Total federal grants —$303 million. I’m not sure that they have signed anyone up yet.
Maryland: Obama used Largo, Maryland as the background for a speech touting the benefits of ObamaCare. Maryland promptly turned out to be one of the worst in the nation. Announced this week it was terminating $193 million contract with Noridian Healthcare Solutions, its IT contractor. Officials now say the existing system is so flawed they may dump the whole thing.
Massachusetts: The state’s 2006 reform supposedly helped inspire the design of ObamaCare. They hired CGI, the same contractor who built the federal exchange. Technical glitches from day one. By January the state lagged further behind their original enrollment goal than any other state. Only 5,428 people signed up during the first 3 months, 0.8% of the first year goal. $135.6 million in federal grants, and an early innovator grant.
Vermont: The Affordable Care Act is not progressive enough for Vermont. State officials said they would pursue a single-payer program beginning in 2017. Failed launch, $165.2 million in federal grants, still not working. Calls for an investigation.
Minnesota: Exchange was glitchy on rollout, problems persisted for the next few weeks. 14 exchange officials received bonuses prior to launch, the director took a tropical vacation while the site struggled. Officials and contractors blame each other. Outside assessment warned that problems would not be fixed by the end of open enrollment on March 31. Total federal grants $153.7 million.
Nevada: One official described the failure of the exchange as ‘catastrophic’. The system enrolled just 16,000 of the 118,000 expected. Projections have been reduced to 50,000. State officials are said to be thinking of ditching their own exchange in order to join the federal system. Federal grants $83.7 million. (All lies, according to Harry Reid)
Hawaii: Hawaii’s exchange was taken down right after the launch, but enrollment remains exceedingly low. The state has signed up just 4,300 people for coverage, the lowest of all the states. Total federal grants $205 million.
All Democrat-run states, but that is surely just a coincidence. We can probably assume that those who have signed up are those most in need of health insurance, those with pre-existing conditions, and the healthy folks will wait for a better offer. Those who signed up early will be the most costly.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Military, Politics, The United States | Tags: Caring For Our Veterans, Disability Claims Backlog, Just Destroy the Backlog
December 30, 2013: The Obama administration’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki said that it is on track to eliminate the disability claims backlog. For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president, the veterans claims backlog will end this year lower than it began.
Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they’re on track to end the backlog entirely sometime in 2015. At the start of December, the claims backlog —the number of cases unfinished for more than 125 days — sat at just under 393,000 cases. Critics call that an embarrassingly large number, especially considering that the White House pledged to fix the problem almost four years ago. But the peak was 608,000 in March.
Shinseki credits mandatory overtime for the agency workforce and new computer processing systems that pushed to agency to come out of paper to go into electronics.
February 14, 2014: Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told the Daily Caller.
“The committee was called ‘System Redesign’ and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” said Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center.
“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. “It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”
By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.
VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.
Audio from a November 2008 meeting was obtained by the Daily Caller.
“I’m still canceling orders from 2001,” said a male official in the meeting.
“Anything over a year old should be canceled.” replied a female official
“Canceled or … your backlog should start at April “07″ the female official replied, adding “a lot of those patients either had their studies somewhere else, had their surgery … died, don’t live in the state. …It’s ridiculous.”
Congress has been after the VA for some time, trying to get information, responses, and explanations. This is just the first chapter is a long disgusting story. The government is not dependable. Promises are not kept. Contracts are not fulfilled. Politicians lie and cover up, and promise that which they cannot deliver, in order to get votes. Ethics start at the top.
July 1, 2013: The Backlog:
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Statism, Taxes | Tags: Absence of Thought, Misunderstanding Incentives, No Careful Research
• The members of the gang who constructed ObamaCare in the back rooms of Congress, do-gooders all, were anxious to see that ObamaCare made the people healthier. Problem — obesity. Lots of people were too fat. (Nevermind that overweight people are apt to live longer) The obvious solution was to tell the people how many calories the food they were eating contained. (Nevermind that there is no evidence that calorie labeling is effective in combating obesity. Multiple studies have shown that this simply is not the case. A study in Philadelphia showed that the regulation had no effect whatsoever on fast food consumption, and most people didn’t even notice the labels in McDonald’s.)
Common sense would indicate that pizzas, burritos and sandwiches are apt to have choices of many ingredients, each one of which requires a calorie count, that can be ordered in many combinations (hold the olives).
Although the law is designed to target corporate fast-food giants, in practice it will largely affect individual franchises that effectively operate as independent small businesses. For example, over 80 percent of McDonald’s locations are owned and operated by franchisees. Each of these franchisees will now be tasked with complying with the mandate–paying for new signage, removing profit-generating advertisements to make room for the calorie data, updating menus every time recipes change, and accommodating inspectors. Furthermore, it’s unclear what penalties restaurateurs will face if they inadvertently fail to comply.
The regulation is doomed to fail, because the do-gooders inability to keep its hands off our lunches outran thought and careful analysis.
• Consider the absurdity of developing a new government-run health care plan because health care costs too much — and coming up with a plan that actually raises the cost of health care and the cost of insurance policies — that increases the cost of each item used by the medical profession with a tax levied on “medical devices” — and then expects future costs to go down because of the medical innovation that is discouraged by a tax that forces many innovators out of business.
• Consider the absurdity of developing a new government-run health care plan because there are so many people who don’t have health insurance. We were told that 46 million Americans were in desperate need of health insurance. This was the reason for the Federal Government to take over 1/6th of the U.S. economy. After five months of ObamaCare a questionable 3 million people have enrolled, but not necessarily paid.
About 39 percent of the uninsured are in five states —Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. About 21 percent of the uninsured are not citizens. Up to 14 million are eligible for existing programs — Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, veterans benefits — but have not enrolled. 9.1 million have household incomes of at least $75,000 and could purchase insurance but don’t want to. Increasing numbers are signing up for concierge medicine outside the system.
• In the State of the Union address, President Obama received a standing ovation when he said “Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer.” This was not true in January, and it has not been true since Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996. That law required all individual insurance plans to have guaranteed renewability. It also prohibited all group health-insurance plans sold to businesses from denying coverage to individuals because of preexisting conditions. Medicare covered anyone age 65 or older regardless of preexisting conditions, ditto Medicaid. That wasn’t an intrinsic absurdity — just a plain lie.
• They were sure that computerizing all medical records into a national high tech database would save the U.S. more than $81 billion annually. That turned out to be a flawed study. Evidence on efficiency and safety are mixed, errors widespread, and most medical centers developed their own systems at great expense, but they don’t necessarily talk to each other, let alone talk to the federal government, nor is it clear that to be desirable. The problem seems to be that the systems were developed by High tech engineers instead of developed by clinicians to develop what would work for them. In some cases the doctors are followed around by ‘scribes’ who record data so the doctor doesn’t have to. How many typos do you do each day?
Are you mad yet?
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Media Bias, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: All About ObamaCare, For Your Enjoyment, The Republican Response
Here are Six Answers to your Most Pressing Questions today, or they would be the most pressing if you’d thought of them.
- When Obama Rewrites ObamaCare, Why Doesn’t Anyone Sue Him? Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has a remarkable legal mind, and it pays to listen. “President Obama has repeatedly suspended parts of the Affordable Care Act without the consent of Congress. The latest unilateral action happened Monday night, when the administration announced another delay of the employer mandate, the law’s provision that businesses with more than 50 employees must provide their employees with insurance starting in 2014 or pay large fines.“
- Why is Janet Yellen so concerned and disturbed about income inequality? James Pethokoukis explains why “income inequality” is a flawed enthusiasm of the Left. “A ‘very concerned’ Janet Yellen told a congressional panel today that she thinks income inequality is “one of the most important issues and one of the most disturbing trends facing the nation at the present time.”
- Actually, We Won the War on Poverty, And sorry liberals; It was conservative ideas that did it. “After all, despite the alarm of the current debate about America’s poor, the country has actually reduced poverty more than we often appreciate—and that decline in poverty has been less about the liberal programs of the New Deal and Great Society and more about economic growth and center-right welfare reforms than is widely recognized.”
- Why I’m Getting Sick of Defending ObamaCare: Incompetence, politics, and delays frustrate advocates of health care reform. Waiting for a Democrat to notice that all is not well? Ron Fournier is beginning to have trouble with it. “It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.“
- HIT Apologia: Health Information Technology, promised by the Left to save all the costs racked up by ObamaCare, forced on the health care industry with a $20 billion appropriation from the HITECH law to upgrade information technology. A team of RAND Corporation researchers projected in 2005 that rapid adoption of HIT would save the U.S. more than $81 billion annually. Not the first time people got a little overexcited by the wonders of high tech. Seven years later, information on efficiency and safety are mixed and health care expenditures have grown by $800 billion. The evidence is overwhelmingly negative. You doctor probably has more interaction with his computer than he does with you. They gave the problem to engineers to solve instead of doctors to develop what would work for them.
- “ObamaCare both sucks and blows” John Podhoretz offers up full-throated outrage at the latest announcement that “the Obama administration is once again unilaterally delaying a key aspect of its health-care law and what this act of astonishing royalism suggests about the president and his fundamental disrespect for the American system of checks and balances.” For your enjoyment.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: DC Court of Appeals, Silencing Opponents!, The IRS Got Slapped Down
“The IRS may not unilaterally expand its authority through such an expansive, atextual and ahistorical reading of the law.” The Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit used these words in a February 11 ruling that struck down an Obama administration regulation on tax preparers.
In the same week, President Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate and out of thin air created a bizarre loyalty oath to administer to companies suffering from ObamaCare, a federal court unanimously smacked down his IRS for executive overreach.
Federal judges should use this phrase as a guideline and include it in future rulings, replacing “IRS” with “Health and Human Services” or “the President of the United States,” as the case in question requires.
The background: In 2009, Obama named former H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst as deputy IRS commissioner. He led the devising of new regulations for tax preparers. The new rules required paid tax preparers to be licensed, pay fees and undergo federally approved training every year. No big deal for the big Tax preparer outfits or those who did it full time, but it would drive out of business the Mom and Pop tax preparers who hang out a shingle once a year and make a few thousand helping people with their taxes.
There’s a federal law that Obama appointees were barred from participating in any matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.So Obama hired Ernst as a “civil servant” rather than as a political appointee. But Congress never gave the IRS any authority to regulate tax preparers — none. The administration dealt with that by pretending that federal law says something that it doesn’t. Didn’t work. The IRS can regulate tax attorneys, accountants or agents who represent taxpayers in battles with the IRS over audits, tax-court cases and appeals. Helping to prepare a tax return is not practice before the IRS.
Much of Obama’s recent actions in revising laws to fit his agenda seem to be much more related to Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals than to whatever he learned or didn’t learn in law school.
Was Obama rewriting the rules for the employer mandate politically motivated? Is it possible that people who get their health insurance at work will be upset when they find they are losing their policies, or losing their doctors, or having the cost of their health insurance skyrocket? Is it possible that the rules will cause employers to let people go?
If medium-sized employers fire workers to get under the threshold for being required to offer insurance, these firms are now required to certify to the IRS, under penalty of perjury that ObamaCare is not a factor in the firings. ” To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.“
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, News of the Weird, The United States | Tags: Fabulous Hospital, Fabulous Oncologist, Not Immune After All
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.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Politics, Regulation, Taxes, The United States | Tags: Bad Assumptions, ObamaCare Flaws, Unworkable Mandates
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.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Hurts American Incomes, January Jobs Numbers, ObamaCare Kills Jobs
Perhaps the gales of laughter have reached ears in the White House. Can you possibly believe that they didn’t know that people would find their insistence that losing a job was liberating and you would no longer be locked in a job and could write poems or make music. In any case, people do not seem to be feeling “liberated” by the lack of jobs.
The January job numbers were dismal. Spinning 113,000 gains in hiring is not too hard, because anything over 100,000 sounds like a positive, but back to back gains in hiring were the weakest in three years. The 48,000 rebound in construction probably reflects a bounce-back from weather-depressed readings in December. The fall in the unemployment rate reflects, not more people hired, but more people dropping out of the work force.
ObamaCare will reduce the incomes of most Americans. It will redistribute wealth, but the redistribution will be stunningly lopsided. According to a study from the liberal Bookings Institution ObamaCare will increase the income of Americans in the lowest 20 percent of the income scale — especially in the lowest 10 percent. But all other income groups, even those who make modest incomes in the $25,000 range will experience a decline in income because of ObamaCare. It will increase income by 9.2 percent for those in the lowest bracket. For everybody else, it will reduce their income by about 0.9 percent.
Republicans have argued all along that the ACA would end up costing the economy jobs, and the cost would be enormous. Previously the CBO’s cost estimate came to $848 billion over its first decade, but that has now grown to more than $2 trillion. The claimed deficit neutrality of ObamaCare was a myth which the GOP said it was all along. The CBO does not predict the number of job switchers or “free agents” It projects the net reduction in hours worked in the American economy — and that projects lower tax revenues— for a system that relies on tax revenues for the subsidies that keep their fantasy going.
A reduction of 2.5 million FTEs from ObamaCare would result in a reduction of $80.5 billion each year in gross compensation, even at the low-income average of $35,000 a year. That means less economic activity and lower tax revenues, thanks to the decrease in income that the loss of 2.5 million FTEs entail— no matter how they disappear. The greatest effect will be on the working middle class — just the folks Obama claims to want to help the most.