Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: Democrat Corruption, Liberal lies, Massachusetts Health Care
The health care drama in Massachusetts continues. Governor Deval Patrick kicked off his re–election campaign by rejecting most of the premium increases that the state’s insurance companies had asked regulators to approve. Mr. Patrick rejected the increases, and now claims that price controls are the correct response to “industry greed.”
In Massachusetts, all of the major insurance companies are nonprofits. Three of the largest four posted operating losses in 2009. In an emergency lawsuit in Boston superior court yesterday, they argued that the arbitrary rate cap would result in another $100 million in collective losses, and make it impossible to pay the expected cost of claims. Even the solvency of some companies may be threatened. So, until the matter is settled, the insurers have just stopped selling new policies.
State officials have demanded that the insurers resume offering policies, under threat of fines or regulatory punishment. Amazing! The situation is so bad that the Governor has to threaten companies to make them sell their products at less than market cost.
The state’s Attorney General and his insurance regulators have concluded that the reason why Massachusetts insurance premiums are the highest in the nation is the underlying cost of health care, not greedy insurance companies that Mr. Patrick and Mr. Obama like to cite.
Central to Massachusetts health care are mandates requiring insurers to cover anyone who applies regardless of their state of health or pre-existing conditions, and to charge everyone the same rate. Surprise! This allows people to wait until they’re about to face major medical bills to purchase insurance. Between April 2008 and March 2009, about 40% of new enrollees at Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan stayed with it for fewer than five months and on average, ran up costs about 600% higher than the company would otherwise expect. Blue Cross Blue Shield has had similar experience.
This kind of thing will soon be coming to your insurance market. Democrats chose to regard all Republicans’ warnings about unworkable mandates, underestimated costs and ignored savings as simply more right-wing troublemaking. Keep watching Massachusetts. It will be instructive.
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Statism | Tags: Liberal lies, Obamacare, Politics
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.
- Insurance payments to primary care physicians will change the habits of those accustomed to using the emergency room for care.
- There will be enough primary care physicians available to take on these new patients.
- The provision of insurance will reduce subsequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits by the previously uninsured.
- 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?
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: Another Very Bad Day!, Democrat Demagogues, Liberal lies, Obamacare
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.
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Law, Science/Technology | Tags: Liberal lies, Natural Gas, Renewable Power, Solar Arrays
“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.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law | Tags: Ego, Liberal lies, Liberty, Old Tired Ideas
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.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Progressivism | Tags: American Business, Dan Henninger, Liberal lies, Obama's Dreams
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 antibusiness. Henninger 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.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Culture War, Democrat Corruption, Liberal lies, Politics
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?