American Elephants


We’ll Reduce Costs by Insuring Another 32 Million Patients, Won’t We? by The Elephant's Child
April 2, 2010, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Statism | Tags: , ,

Now that ObamaCare the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is law, will the uninsured really stop going to the emergency room for their basic health care?  A basic assumption about ObamaCare is that once people have insurance, they will stop going to the emergency room and make appointments with their doctors instead.

According to Stanley Goldfarb writing in the Weekly Standard,  there are several assumptions involved here.

  1. Insurance payments to primary care physicians will change the habits of those accustomed to using the emergency room for care.
  2. There will be enough primary care physicians available to take on these new patients.
  3. The provision of insurance will reduce subsequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits by the previously uninsured.
  4. The cost for the care of these patients will decline and “the cost curve will be bent downward.”

All of these assumptions are wrong.  Yale University researchers studied emergency room use in New Haven, Conn. and found that there was no difference in subsequent visits to emergency departments nor in the number of inpatient admissions.  Primary care physicians are not available 24/7 and patients knew the emergency room would be open.  In Massachusetts, in spite of requiring insurance for everyone, emergency room use went up, not down.

It takes 17 years from the decision to increase the physician workforce to actually get more doctors in a community.  Thirty-two million newly insured will need a lot of doctors, and we don’t know how many will follow through in their plans to quit medicine.  New facilities must be built, students recruited, and physicians trained.  It all takes time.

Certainly all those folks with financial resources who are uninsured will be happy to pay for their health insurance rather than pay the much smaller financial penalty for not having insurance. Won’t they?

They wouldn’t try to sell us a bill of goods, would they?  Surely they are sincere.  They wouldn’t lie to the American people about something so important.  Would they?



Another Very Bad Day! by American Elephant

Sorry that I have been missing.  My computer is in the shop with an as yet undiagnosed ailment. I am suffering from the first cold I’ve had in years –and who suffers more (visibly and loudly) than someone who has contracted the common cold?

This is not a good day to be afflicted with Democrat gloating that they have managed, by foul and dishonest means, to pass an appallingly bad healthcare bill that will damage the economy even more, kill more jobs, and fail to achieve any of the benefits attributed to it by either the president or Congressional leaders.  A pitifully disgraceful effort.

As he signed it with some twenty different pens (keepsakes) the president said: “Insurance companies will no longer be able to drop someone because they got sick!

My point exactly.  It has been illegal for an insurance company to drop someone “because they got sick” for years, both by state law and by federal law.  This is just another one of the false claims Democrats made to influence people who don’t know any better.  The president in full campaign mode,is, as usual, unconcerned with accuracy, but only with getting his way.



The New York Times Continues To Try to Save You from the Horrors of Global Warming. Sigh! by The Elephant's Child
March 5, 2010, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Law, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

“The Newest Hybrid Model” is the title of a story on the front page of today’s business section of the New York Times.  The article is headed by a dramatic photo of 500 acres of solar panels sitting next to an unimpressive natural gas plant in Indiantown, Fla., owned by Florida Power & Light.

The natural gas plant — which occupies no more than 15 acres — produces 3,800 megawatts of reliable electricity.  The mammoth 500-acre solar array next to it (about 3/4 of a square mile) will produce 75 megawatts of electricity at its maximum — that is, on a hot summer afternoon.  (Fortunately this is the time of peak demand from air-conditioning).

According to the Times:

The solar array…is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power in a way that lowers costs and spares the environment.

This isn’t quite right. Solar power depends on— the sun.  At night, or when the sky is cloudy, solar power requires backup from a conventional power source.  This plant will dispense with the fiction that solar can stand on its own.  So you have a 500 acre solar array that will add an additional 2 percent generating capacity onto a stand-alone gas plant.  This, the Times claims is a big advance.

The Times enthuses:

The latter is critical if the nation is to succeed in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. Power plants account for over a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for global warming.

Why are they doing this when it economically seems to make no sense?  Some state legislatures have decided, prodded by the greens, that “renewable energy” is the future.  And probably more because they know some other state that is doing it, and they want to seem as “forward thinking” as their neighbors.  There is no such thing as “renewable” energy anyway.

This is not science or technology, but politics and hype. With the collapse of the entire “global warming” agenda, and the exposure of the fraud that backed it, it is time for legislatures to catch up and recognize that wasting this kind of money when state finances are in such troubled territory is beyond foolish.  Most legislatures, however, would rather raise taxes.



For Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, Health Care Is an Ego Trip. by The Elephant's Child
March 2, 2010, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law | Tags: , , ,

Do you remember Representative Parker Griffith M.D. of Alabama, who was elected as a Democrat in 2008 and was part of the House Democrat caucus until last December 22, when he became a Republican?

Mr. Griffith’s unusual perspective — he is a doctor, with 30 years experience as an oncologist — gives him some insight into why the White House and the Democrat leadership in Congress continue to push forward on a national health care bill that most Americans oppose. Byron York notes in the Examiner:

It’s gotten personal, Griffith says. “You have personalities who have bet the farm, bet their reputations, on shoving a health care bill through the Congress. It’s no longer about health care reform. It’s all about ego now. The president’s ego. Nancy Pelosi’s ego. This is about personalities, saving face, and it has very little to do with what’s good for the American people.”…

As Griffith sees his former colleagues, Democratic leaders have become so consumed with the idea of achieving the historical goal of a national health care system that they are able to explain away the scores of opinion polls over the last six months that show people solidly opposed to the Democratic proposal.

The polls are wrong, they say. Or the polls are contradictory. Or the polls actually show that people love the health care plan. And even if the polls are right, and people hate the plan, real leaders don’t govern by following the polls. So just pass the bill.

It isn’t wise to assume that Americans won’t take this personally.  Americans don’t take kindly to those who threaten their freedom.



The President Who Gave Us a Failed Stimulus, Doubled Unemployment, Now Wants to Guide the Economy. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama spoke yesterday to the Business Roundtable.  Businesses could use a pep talk.  Janet Yellen, President of the San Francisco Fed, speaks of a jobless recovery with no economic recovery until 2013.

The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger notes that:

…instead of giving a speech about reviving business confidence in the economy, Mr. Obama gave a speech about reviving business confidence in him.

The previous evening, Mr. Obama held a small dinner for some CEOs from really big business, such as AT&T, Xerox, State Farm, Verizon, PepsiCo, and GE.  The White House has concluded that it is wrongly seen as antibusinessHenninger says:

I agree.  This White House is pro-business.  In fact , it’s so pro-business it’s proposing a virtual merger with the private sector.  Ladies and gentlemen of the business community, meet your new partner — Uncle Sam.

Answers, Mr. Henninger says, hark back to Obama’s first budget statement— “A New Era of Responsibility.”

“A New Era of Responsibility” describes the years before Mr. Obama as “an era of profound irresponsibility that engulfed both private and public institutions.” From this emerged the two core themes of the Obama presidency.

The first is that “government,” which Mr. Obama identifies as “we,” must “transform our economy for the 21st Century.” Thus, the now-familiar initiatives on carbon auctions, a green-jobs economy, and health care. “At this particular moment,” Mr. Obama said a year ago, “government must lead the way.” This isn’t just an antirecession patch, but something new and permanent. …

He is proposing that the U.S. government both guide the economy (“the right balance between the private and public sectors,” he said yesterday) and do so with a new, aggressively redistributive tax policy, which was made explicit in his just-released budget. Guide and redistribute.

Charles Krauthammer explained today that Obama “believes ideologically in this deeply.  Obama sees himself as a world-historical figure, not just as the first African-American president, but, like Reagan, a man who changed history.  He wants to be the father of national health care.”

Obama said today: “I am an ardent believer in the free market.”  Uh huh.



An Elaborate Scheme to Counter the Tea Party Movement. by The Elephant's Child

Tea Parties, as I understand it, grew out of unsatisfying Town Hall meetings, and representatives who wouldn’t listen.  People who had never demonstrated before, nor carried a sign joined with others who were similarly disturbed at excessive spending, and irresponsible congressmen.

Demonstrations began popping up all over the country, interest spread all over the internet. The Obama administration claimed to be unaware of the hundreds of thousands of people marching on the mall, and cleaning up after themselves like the nice responsible people they were.

Leftists have sneered and criticized, and recently anti-tea party groups have popped up in opposition. Joseph Abrams of Fox News has conducted a detailed investigation of the independent grassroots groups which have turned out to be part of “a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democrat activists.”

The biggest benefactor is AFSCME the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which donated $10 million to two front groups. Other unions are SEIU, Change to Win, Communications Workers of America, NEA, Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers and others.

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.

“One of the groups created a web site,” says Daniel Foster, “TheTeaParty Is Over.org, dedicated to stopping tea partiers; attempts to, in its words “undermine…the legitimacy of the federal government in favor of a radical rightwing form of state’s rights,” and “Prevent their dangerous ideas from gaining a legislative foothold.”

Goodness, can’t have people out there with such radical ideas as cutting back on spending, or balancing the  budget, or banning earmarks. That’s downright dangerous!  What will those crazy radicals think of next?



If the Evidence Doesn’t Support Your Policies, Just Make Up a Bureacracy that Will. by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps the Obama administration is vaguely aware of ClimateGate after all. This week they unveiled its National Climate Service (NCS).  Yes, another useless government bureaucracy. The Federal Government is hard at work creating government jobs, by spending more taxpayer money overpaying more  bureaucrats.  Here is their bureau-speak announcement:

Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards.  They increasingly are asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses.

The best meteorologists can forecast the weather a few days ahead, but the National Climate Service is going to help us plan for changes in future decades in global temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), incoming sunlight, sea level, and Arctic ice.  That’s just what you needed to know, is it not?  The NCS says:

People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decisionmaking about virtually all aspects of their lives.

Well, no they’re not.  Junk Science’s Steven Milloy responds:

The real purpose of the NCS, of course, has nothing to do with education.  It has everything to do with the politicization of the natural process of climate change for the unnatural ends of egomaniacal profiteers like Al Gore, and international socialists who want to use greenhouse gas regulation as a means of imposing their political agendas.

Cap-and-Trade is dead in the Senate,  Climategate, glaciergate, rainforest gate, the failed Copenhagen conference, and the exposure of IPCC Chief Rajendra Pachauri’s financial conflicts of interest and calls for his resignation have derailed the alarmist climate gravy train.  This Ministry of Propaganda is intended to reawaken Al Gore’s climate panic agenda so they can get the things they want done, done.

Reminder: To all you nice folks in the eastern part of the country. That white stuff in your yards and blocking your streets is not Climate, it’s not global warming, it’s simply weather. Climate is a statistic, and at present, it’s not a very reliable one.




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