American Elephants

20,000 Regulations To Control You and Your HealthCare Provider by The Elephant's Child

Along with millions of others, I’m really frustrated with Congress. When the Democrats rammed through the Affordable Care Act, most Republicans recognized instantly that it was not going to work. Way too much bureaucratic control. It was clearly a step towards single-payer health care like Britain’s National Health Service. Of course there are probably not all that many Americans who read the British papers, but the failures of the system were apparent. Physicians have become government employees, hospitals so short of money that ambulances are parked in long lines on the street, waiting their turn to dislodge their desperately ill patients, and old people dying of neglect in the hospital, from dehydration, lack of food, dirty sheets. You have to pay attention to the symptoms of failure.

I know, most people just think that the medical care establishment is just way too expensive, they can’t afford it and want the government to pay for it. The thing everyone must remember is that government has no money of its own. Congress can raise taxes, especially on the rich, but you can’t take enough money away from the rich to take care of everybody who is not rich, and in the meantime, the rich stop becoming rich. High taxes mean less economic activity, fewer people getting rich, and everybody getting a little poorer.

What should have happened is that the moment ObamaCare passed, Republicans should have started planning how to reform health care in a way that was good for the most people and did the least harm. Instead, they did regular grandstanding votes of repealing ObamaCare when there was no chance of the vote succeeding in passing Congress nor being signed by the President. So, here we are seven months into a new administration, and the Republicans said they have been working on it for 8 months, but they can’t agree on a bill. They had eight years.

Part of it is that although Republicans boast of believing firmly in the free market, when push comes to shove, they are loath to lose control. We need to remember, first of all, that we are not talking about health care — we are talking about health insurance, and who is going to pay for what, who is going to receive what under what circumstances and what the insurance companies are going to offer at what price. What medicines and treatments you can have and how much that will cost.

Here’s an example of the actions of the free market: A long established pharmacy discovered a box in a back room that was full of bottles of old pharmaceuticals. Really old. Instead of just throwing them out, someone there decided to test them for efficacy. Was it possible that any of them could still work after so many years? Most of them were still effective. Yet when a new drug is approved, it gets assigned an expiration date because they have tested for 3 or 5 years, because the rules say they don’t have to test beyond that. Must they test for longer? Do the rules prevent more realistic expiration dates? It could obviously be cheaper if they didn’t expire so soon.

In 2016, it was pointed out that when the patents expire on a medicine it means that other manufacturers can produce the medicine at a lower cost. Yet last year a few companies that acquired the rights to lifesaving medicines  immediately jacked up prices, which helped make the situation far worse. Federal policies facilitate monopolies by erecting regulatory barriers to new entrants.

There are a few physicians in Congress who understand in part the flaws and failures of Government health care, but I don’t know that they understand the problems of insurance companies. And who understands the pharmaceutical industry and it’s problems? Bureaucrats want to make rules, they often believe the rules they make are sensible, protect the people, etc. but that isn’t often true.

Here’s an example of market-driven innovation—the free market at work —from 2012, about a group of doctors  who posted a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures online, founded the Surgery Center to escape from the bureaucracy of a major hospital center. A provision in ObamaCare effectively prohibits doctors from starting their own hospitals or expanding hospitals (which was widely interpreted as a give-away to the American Hospital Association.)  I assume it’s still going strong, I haven’t followed through.

And here’s a fascinating article from The Atlantic, this morning, that points to new scientific studies that may lead to new medicines, that are still in stage of basic new exciting discoveries —with unknown promise. Free people and free markets can come up with amazing solutions. That’s what created the dynamic American economy, and drives innovation. Surprise —it’s not more regulation and more control.

Democrats are congenitally programmed to demand control. They are afraid of the free market, hate capitalism, and make a mess of everything they attempt to govern by that philosophy.  You cannot effectively attempt to change human nature. Human nature is fixed and unchangeable. Most free market ideas we come up with will fail or never be tried, but some will succeed brilliantly and society will advance a little more.


The CPSC Wants to Wrap Christmas Up In Red Tape! by The Elephant's Child


You remember, I am sure, that the  Constitution of the United States of America begins — “We the people.” That is a very big deal indeed, and sets apart our constitution from all others. It is also a reason why ours is the oldest constitution in the world.

That the power is invested in the people makes not the slightest bit of difference to the Left, who assume that our society needs to be controlled and regulated by themselves, because they are smarter than ‘we the people.’ Jonathan Gruber sort of let that slip out.

Christmas lights have become so affordable that even the humblest of homes is able to light up. Can’t have that. Federal bureaucrats are working to end this excess. They claim it will make us safer. Uh huh. Too many bureaucrats getting their ideas of reality from the movies. Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” who nearly electrocutes himself, starts fires, falls off the roof and short-circuits his whole neighborhood is not the average American male.  It’s a comedy!

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has decided to regulate first, explain why later. In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures, and similar items that they would declare as hazardous. The red-tape deals with certifying wire sizes , fuses, tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.

The agency estimates that their proposed regulations would impact 100 million items per year with a market value of $500 million. Those items are already covered by safety standards and oversight. 3.6 million unsafe lights have been recalled under existing safeguards in place since 1974.

 So Why? They report 250 deaths from fires or electrocutions by Christmas lights. Not per year, but in the past 33 years of statistics. That’s 7 deaths per year attributed to fire or shock from Christmas lights. Eighty percent were back in the 1980s and 90s. There are some Chevy Chases out there. We all do dumb things.

In 2013 there was one death. No regulation can eliminate stupidity. No regulation can assure that no faulty product will slip through. Leftists do not understand ordinary humanity and what should be regulated and what should be dealt with by simply promoting common sense about lights and extension cords. The decline in accidents owes a lot to Underwriters’ Laboratories and more fire-resistant home-building standards.

Can this be another part in Obama’s drive to keep global warming from destroying the Earth? Could be. Most of his save the Earth policies are unrelated to reality. CPSC’s comment period ends on December 30th, so if you want to comment — do it now.

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