Filed under: Capitalism, Law, The Constitution | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Democrat lies, Healthcare
Earlier this month Humana sent a one-page letter to its customers who were enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plan, which offers extra benefits to Medicare beneficiaries. Humana explained that because of spending cuts proposed by Democrats (Taking $500 Billion out of Medicare) “millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.” They also suggested their customers contact their congressional representatives. Not exactly a startling political communication.
Well. You have probably noticed that strongarm tactics are definitely on the menu when it comes to the Democrats’ Health Care plans. Senator Baucus, whose very own health care plan has just been released, not only took offense, he went to war. He complained to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency in charge, which on Friday ordered Humana to cease and desist. And opened an investigation to see if the company mailer violated laws about how insurers that manage Advantage plans are allowed to communicate with their customers.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“It is wholly inappropriate for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject—particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health-care reform,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement yesterday, playing the role of Congressional censor. “The health-care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits covered under the Medicare program—and seniors need to know that.”
In fact, the Baucus draft legislation slashes $123 billion over the next decade from Medicare Advantage, which Democrats hate despite the fact that almost one-fourth of beneficiaries have chosen it over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. One reason seniors like it is because private insurers focus on quality and preventive care and try to manage benefits, as opposed to simply paying bills.
A new study from America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group, finds that seniors on Advantage in California spent 30% fewer days in hospitals over fee-for-service patients, based on federal data. Democrats say that insurers are “overpaid,” but the cuts—as Humana correctly noted—mean that seniors may lose this coverage.
What business it is of government to tell private companies just what they may communicate to their customers remains a mystery. The Journal adds: “Mr Baucus and the Obama Administration are out to make [Humana] an object lesson to the rest of the business class, and that means they won’t stop until Humana cries uncle or is ruined.”
In a “Town Hall Meeting” in New Hampshire today to promote his health care agenda, President Obama once again reassured Americans that they can keep their existing health plans. The benefits and access that they like will only be enhanced through his reform plans.
So the promise is that only by expanding government control of health care can we bring down the cost of health care. They want to insure the uninsured, cover illegal immigrants and give insurance to those who have pre-existing conditions. In the first place there are around 45.7 million uninsured, there are an estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants, and nobody knows what the pre-existing conditions amount to. All this, and it’s going to be cheaper? It makes no sense at all.
Congressional Democrats claim that their bills will be “budget neutral.” The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it will cost over $1.5 trillion in the first decade, and another trillion in the second decade. Costs will grow, Douglas Elmendorf, CBO Director says, at 8 percent a year while revenues grow at only 5 percent. We would seem to have a little math problem here.
When Medicare was established in 1965, it was projected by the CBO to cost $12 billion by 1990. By 1990, Medicare actually cost $110 billion. This is not meant to cast aspersions on the Congressional Budget Office, but simply to point out that estimating the future is far from a sure thing.
Medicare is close to going broke. The first baby boomers will begin to retire next year, with the peak year of the baby boom not reached until 2024, when numbers will finally begin to decline. At present, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to doctors and hospitals does not pay the costs, and there is cost shifting to regular patients. We are told that waste and fraud are rampant in Medicare and Medicaid, yet there is nothing in the health care bills in the House or the Senate that addresses waste and fraud at all. In fact the plan is to cut Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals and suppliers by another $483 billion.
In many areas it is hard for older Americans to find doctors who will accept Medicare patients. This is not exactly designed to help solve that problem. Doctors have estimated that many physicians will retire early if government takes over health care. We have a shortage of doctors now.
Besides cutting Medicare payments, the Obama administration has claimed that preventive care — early diagnosis that can reveal a condition that is treatable at a fraction of the cost of treating that same illness after it has progressed — will help to pay for health care. Not so fast, says the Congressional Budget Office. the evidence suggests that for most preventive services expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall. Doctors do not know beforehand which patients are going to develop costly illness.
So, first they plan to tax the rich, which will mean a 60 percent marginal rate in high tax areas. Since a large percentage of “the rich” are not individuals but small businesses filing as individuals, this will mean more job losses. They plan to let the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire —that means tax increases of from $1,716 -$3,637, And the marriage penalty will return.
There are serious discussions of a value-added tax (VAT) which adds an additional tax at each stage, for example, from raw material to finished product, which just makes every good or service cost more. And that does not include the Waxman-Markey climate bill which may be postponed till next year, or the billions thrown away on the cash-for-clunkers boondoggle. And I recently read that some are talking about a second stimulus plan, since the first one has been so ineffective.
We have been hearing for years that our public schools were ineffective in teaching math and science. It appears that those failures have now reached into the Congress of the United States. Who knew?
Filed under: Health Care | Tags: Debunking Liberal Lies, Democrat lies, Obama
So much for Obama’s entire argument. For months he has told us that we must pass Obamacare to save the economy — that his bill will, contrary to the entire history of government involvement, somehow bring down health care costs.
The director of the Congressional Budget Office, the ostensibly non-partisan group that is charged with evaluating economic impact, says that is a load of horsehockey:
The health care overhauls released to date would increase, not reduce, the burgeoning long-term health costs facing the government, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said Thursday.
The Democrats and President Obama have cited two goals in their overhaul proposals — expanding coverage to the estimated 47 million Americans who currently lack it and bringing down long-term costs because the growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending threatens to swamp the federal budget in coming years.
Under questioning from Chairman Kent Conrad , D-N.D., Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee that the congressional proposals released so far do not meet that second test.
“In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs,” he said. [read more]
But we knew that.
It’s just nice to have official confirmation that Obama is a bald-faced liar.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, The Constitution | Tags: Automobile Industry, Democrat lies, Economy
This whole Chrysler thing is simply unbelievable, and I’m not sure that I understand it at all. In part this is because everything seems to be in flux. Chrysler is shut down, in bankruptcy, but not a ‘regular’ bankruptcy. The White House, Car Czar Steven Rattner and his deputy Ron Bloom are seeking to take property away from one group of people and give it to a more favored group. And in the process, they are attempting to override contractual and legal rights of Chrysler’s senior lenders, and divide up the company between the government and the United Auto Workers.
The senior lenders are entitled, legally and contractually, to be paid first, before the UAW, the UAW Pension Fund, or the taxpayers. Some of the big banks, already cowering under administration threats, have buckled. Obama forced the senior lenders to take 30¢ on every dollar that they had loaned to Chrysler. Some hedge-fund managers pointed out that they have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to their investors — including pension funds — and decided to take their chances in bankruptcy court.
Obama has called them “speculators” and stated angrily that “I don’t stand with those who held out while everybody else made sacrifices.”
Creditors to Chrysler say that they were “taken aback” by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration took to try to force them into going along with administration plans to restructure Chrysler.
The government reorganization plan has the United Auto Workers Union eventually owning 55 percent of the stock in a restructured Chrysler LLC. Fiat will eventually own 35 percent though they will put in no money whatsoever, but only offer their own technology for making very small cars, and the Government (the taxpayers) together with the senior lenders will own 10 percent of the company once it is reorganized.
This suggests that the government will be dictating what comes out of Chrysler’s production line. The current owner of Chrysler, Cerberus Capital Management is one of the most wealthy and powerful private equity groups in the world. They, according to Francis Cianfrocca, have access to billions of dollars that they could invest in Chrysler. They have received over $5.5 billion from the federal government so far. The fact that they simply don’t want to invest their own money suggests that Chrysler isn’t worth investing in.
It is highly improper for the government to take sides. Business is very much taken-aback at bullying tactics from the White House. And lawyers are aghast at the casual dismissal of the rule of law. This is the President who intruded into a publicly traded corporation and fired its CEO. Something quite new in the exercise of presidential power.
The potential for Chrysler to turn a profit under government-imposed conditions seems slight. I have explored some of the government-imposed problems lying-in-wait for the automobile companies here and here. They are things that Congress has demanded in misguided laws, or that the White House intends to demand in the name of climate change. And they are apparently quite unaware that they are making demands that cannot be met or would ruin the auto business anyway.
Absolutely, entirely unbelievable.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Environment, Humor, Politics | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Democrat lies, Gas Prices, Obama
President Obama’s new science adviser told the Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed.
Geoengineering is, for example, shooting particles into the air — essentially making an artificial volcano; or using artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it.
Cooling the atmosphere at a time when the planet is rapidly cooling might not seem like the best of ideas. Turning a temporary cooling into an ice age? Absolutely brilliant, but then that is what they are doing to the economy, isn’t it — turning a temporary downturn into a lengthy depression?
But to follow the logic, Mark Roth, over at American Thinker, points out that if it is desirable to shoot pollutants into the earth’s upper atmosphere in order to reduce the supposed effects of the sun’s rays on global temperatures, then:
“I can’t believe” Mr. Roth said, “that these genius scientists have so completely missed the obvious solution — remove pollution controls from automobiles. This will accomplish a few things all at once:
- put sulfur in the atmosphere;
- reduce the cost of manufacture of cars;
- reduce the sales price of cars;
- increase the gas mileage and improve efficiency; thereby
- reducing operating costs; not to mention
- reducing national oil and gas consumption; which in turn,
- reduces the costs of production and delivery of goods and services; which among other things,
- reduces the cost of food and electricity; which
- allows for increased spending for travel and dining out, which…”
“We would save the costs of fueling and replacement of the ICBMs slated to launch debris into the atmosphere, thereby avoiding an increase in the defense budget for necessary replacements, although it could be argued that Obama, seeing no need for missile defense, would not regard replacement as necessary, so that saving would have to be deferred to a future administration.”
This is such a superb insight, and so fitting, that I could not resist reprinting the whole thing. The original is here. Save the planet (from non-existent warming), save the auto industry, save the economy all in one grand fell-swoop, as well as thoroughly embarrass the Obama administration for not thinking of it before they spent all that money.
Filed under: Economy, Liberalism, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics | Tags: Democrat lies, Obamanomics
Or perhaps the willing suspension of belief. That’s the only explanation for Americans attitudes as Obama’s presidency enters it’s second month.
Obama’s speech was well received by most people who watched, but the stock market took another nose dive — as it seems to do every time his administration announces new policy.
The majority of Americans now support Democrats stimulus plan even though over half of Americans think it is more likely to harm the economy than help it, and despite the Congressional Budget Office’s own prediction that it would harm the economy in the long-term.
Wall Street greeted news of Obama’s election last November with a two-day (then) record-breaking 930 point nosedive. The day Obama was sworn into office was the biggest Inauguration Day tumble in market history. He unveiled his bank-bail-out; the market plunged. The day Obama signed his behemoth big-government-stimulous plan into law, the markets lost another four percent of their value. Indeed, since Obama won the election, the stock market has lost roughly 3,000 points, and has eviscerated all the significant gains made since 1997.
And yet again, Wall Street responded to the grand plans Obama laid out last night by flushing another 2 percent down the crapper. Virtually every policy Obama and his administration have announced since winning the election has caused things to get worse, not better.
Is it any wonder that Obama has said he does not look to the markets to judge the success of his economic policies?
But the stock market represents investment! It represents jobs! It represents your retirement, your nest egg, your life savings!
So this president has made clear that your evaporating life savings is not what he is concerned with.
Congratulations, Mr. Obama! It shows.
How much longer will Americans willingly disbelieve their own eyes for pretty words and confident lies? How long until the American people begin to make the connection between their dwindling life savings and the policies that are causing it?
Let’s HOPE™ it’s sooner rather than later.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Global Warming, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Democrat lies, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Politics
“Obsessive” doesn’t even begin to describe Dr. James Hansen, the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. (GISS) Since trumpeting the cause of global warming before a sweltering Congress in the late 1980s, on the hottest day of summer, he has been an indefatigable agitator on behalf of climate crisis.
He is a government employee, but he has been well rewarded by sources outside of the U.S. government for his climate activism. In 2001, he received a Heinz Foundation award that included a $250,000 payment for promoting global warming. Investors Business Daily has reported that Dr. Hansen has been funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute by $720,000 to encourage his advocacy of the global warming cause.
Now James Hansen has endorsed the Capitol Climate Action in “mass civil disobedience” at the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant in Washington DC. He says:
The Capitol Climate Action comes not a moment too soon. For more than thirty years, scientists, environmentalists and people from all walks of life have urged our leaders to take action to stop global warming; and that action has yet to come. The world is waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to lead the way forward on this defining issue of our time. They need to start by getting coal out of Congress.
A recent op-ed by Dr. Hansen in the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. proclaimed that Coal-fired power stations are death factories, and the trains carrying coal to them as “death trains.” In October of 2007 he stated to the Iowa Utilities Board that:
If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.
He has called for the trial and prosecution of energy company executives. Elements of carelessness and hype in the promotion of climate change have alienated increasing numbers of scientists, as well as evidence that the planet is actually cooling. He has called for the trial and prosecution of energy company executives.
Coal-fired plants currently contribute 48.4 percent of the Nation’s electric power. Nuclear plants contribute 19.4 percent and 21.4 percent comes from gas-fired plants. Ordinary hydroelectric power provides 6.4 percent of the total, and all the other “renewables” — wind, solar, geothermal and biomass generate the remaining 3.1 percent of electric power. The assumption among activists that 50% of our power needs can be supplied by “renewables” is simply a Utopian pipe dream.
A recent article in Der Spiegel reports that Germany’s renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewables, but there is a catch — all the renewable energy produced by the nation’s windmills has not prohibited the emission of a single gram of CO2. The amount of CO2 contributed by human action is simply too small to measure. And there is another catch. In spite of the EU emissions trading system and massive government subsidies and taxes, power plants simply cannot meet their government mandated limits on CO2.
But never mind. The Capital Climate Action isn’t about saving endangered species or preventing CO2 emissions, or ending the threat of rising sea level, or even the ‘niceness’ of clean energy. As the sponsors and endorsements make clear, it is about “social change”, and “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” and “climate justice”. That’s why it is endorsed by the SDS, Code Pink – Women for Peace, Washington Peace Center, Network of Spiritual Progressives, the Hip Hop Caucus, Greenpeace, the Ruckus Society, Global Exchange and other far-left activists.
The global warming case is breaking down in the face of a political “consensus” about climate policy that is simply collapsing. Europe is admitting that their cap-and-trade policies don’t work and are far too costly to be tolerated. Targets for emissions are not achievable, and the public no longer believes. Hence the desperate effort to stir up support.
The whole global warming hoax was never about saving the earth in a biological sense. It was about saving the earth from Capitalism and Liberty and Democracy, from free trade and free people.
The brilliant folk who run the world’s Non-Governmental Organizations are much better suited to be in charge and manage the affairs of the world. Just ask them.