American Elephants

An Embarrassed Massachusetts Legislature Backs Down. by The Elephant's Child

Common sense triumphs. Massachusetts state lawmakers overturned the ban on school bake sales. The controversial ban’s guidelines also prohibited pizza, white bread and 2 percent milk. Legislators heard plenty from outraged parents.

The theory is an “epidemic” of childhood obesity is threatening the lives of the country’s youngest generation —and that government bureaucrats must decide what foods children should eat and when. Hardly a day goes by without a new article about some bureaucrats somewhere telling people how to live their lives, or parents how to raise their children.

The Legal Challenges to ObamaCare Begin. by The Elephant's Child
April 6, 2010, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law | Tags: , ,

The legal challenge to ObamaCare has been filed.  A half-dozen insurance companies have filed a lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts, seeking to reverse the decision by the insurance commissioner to block double-digit rises in premiums.

Massachusetts residents already pay the highest premiums in the country for their health care.  Insurers wanted to raise base rates an average of 8 to 32 percent, and added to that are additional costs calculated according to factors such as the size and age of the workforce.

Governor Patrick insists that all is well, but he invoked his emergency powers to turn down the rate increases.  According to the Wall Street Journal Massachusetts insurers “pay $1.12 in benefits for every $1 in premiums.  Surely even the most committed anti-corporate liberal can understand that firms cannot survive while losing 12 cents on every dollar.

The reason for the rise in base rates is not that ‘fat cat’ insurance executives aren’t getting rich fast enough, but simply that reality is pointing out the fact that liberals’ bright ideas are driving costs through the roof.

Keep an eye on Massachusetts, for it is a barometer signaling a warning. Pay attention to the UK.  They tell us to pay no attention to the “scare stories,” but the so-called scare stories expose how the system fails the most vulnerable.  Healthy people usually like “free” health care — it’s how the frail and unhealthy are treated that matters.

America Can’t Be Governed Successfully From the Left. by The Elephant's Child
January 18, 2010, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Politics, Statism | Tags: , ,

This could be a Norman Rockwell painting for the Saturday Evening Post.  Pure Americana.  However the election turns out tomorrow, this special election represents a severe tremor in the American political scene.

That a race to replace Ted Kennedy, in the bluest of states could be so close is extraordinary.  Ted Kennedy, the so-called “Lion of the Senate,” whatever that means, remains the patron saint of the liberals.  The turnout of wildly enthusiastic voters in bitter, nasty weather shows that they are rebelling against the last year’s headlong pursuit of partisan liberal governance.

After only 12 months in office, Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have fallen further and faster than any recent president.  Congress is despised.  Nebraska’s Ben Nelson has dropped under 50 percent in approval ratings, and was boo-ed in a pizza parlor.

The Democrats are attributing their fall to GOP “obstructionism”,  though how the GOP can obstruct anything when Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House remains unclear.

Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics lists the political blunders of the Obama White House.  #1. A Lack of Bipartisanship. The left claims that the Republicans are too crassly political to compromise. The fact that most policies are decided behind closed doors that exclude Republicans make this a little hard to swallow.

#2. Installing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as de facto prime ministers. Obama essentially turned everything over to these two, and the result was an enormous effort to reward supporters, relatives and donors, with little concern for spending, the economy or unemployment.

#3. Pursuing an agenda that doesn’t fit the times. The public is concerned about jobs, spending and debt, and the left is pursuing long-term ideological aims such as health care. Voters suspect with some justification that the Democrats are more than a little math-challenged.

The Wall Street Journal has fun pointing out the children of “The Great Society” who are now committee chairmen and their foibles, with pictures so you will recognize them. “They have spent their lives in government and know almost nothing about the private sector or how to grow an economy.  They view the Reagan era as an historical aberration, and they have stayed in Washington for decades precisely in wait of this moment to realize 40-years of pent-up policy ambition.  They believe this is their 1965, or 1933.”

As the Journal editors pointed out:  “A crisis is a terrible thing to exploit.”

There’s a Lot The Media Isn’t Telling You About ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has had two “Town Hall” meetings to promote ObamaCare.  These are carefully stage-managed events featuring ‘the One,’ with only enthralled supporters, and no dissenting voices.  There was apparently an ‘event’ in our town earlier in the week to sell the president’s health care plan, featuring activists with bullhorns.  I didn’t attend.

Progressives have long, long wanted to inflict Universal Health Care on Americans.  Since members of Congress and the government exclude themselves from any part of it, they know very well that it is not what they claim for it, and does not live up to the exclusive plan they all subscribe to. That indicates to me that they are not interested in the health care, but in the power that controlling our health will bestow upon them.

I pointed out in an earlier post that Great Britain has a population of 33 million, and their National Health Service is a mess.  Canada has a population of 66 million, and they send their difficult cases down here, and many of their doctors have moved here too.  Massachusetts has a population of 6.5 million, and enacted MassCare in 2006.

What has actually happened with Massachusetts’ plan has simply not received the media attention that it should in the light of the current debate.  Sandy Szwarc reports on the reality.

Massachusetts was to be the nation’s test ground for universal health insurance. MassCare has been held up as the model for similar policies on a national level. Its key elements are part of the national healthcare reform measures being proposed for all of us.

It is newsworthy what the experiment has learned and how things have been working. Yet, national media has been quiet on news about what is happening… even when the most anticipated benefits have not been proved out, and in fact, have been made worse.

As readers remember, Massachusetts enacted MassCare in 2006 and made it law that everyone must buy health insurance — but only state-approved managed care plans with coverage mandates focused on prevention — and that the State would provide coverage under a government program for growing numbers of people unable to afford insurance. About three-fifths of residents now receive free or subsidized health insurance, according to the Massachusetts government — 16% paid through MassHealth and 41% through the subsidized Commonwealth Care.

It had been sold to the public as saving money through a medical home model with care management focused on prevention, pay-for-performance measures and integrated electronic medical records. Instead of costing less for residents and the government, as we’ve learned, nearly one-third of residents report that their individual healthcare costs have increased, and public spending on health insurance this year are expected to have increased 42 percent since the program was enacted. Government spending on the free and subsidized insurance has doubled just in the past two years and is expected to reach $1.3 billion this fiscal year.

Our tax dollars — $1.35 billion per year in federal funds — are now going towards trying to keep Commonwealth Care, which provides free or subsidized insurance for low- and moderate-income residents, solvent. But the costs are even greater for patients and healthcare providers. These are the costs — to lives and quality of care — that we never hear about on the national news.

Read the rest of this important article here. Sandy Szwarc is the proprietor of the excellent website junkfoodscience, which I have found invaluable.  It’s a good one to bookmark.

To repeat, MassCare is such a flop that the rest of us are already paying for it to the tune of $1.35 billion, it isn’t covering everybody, it costs way more than expected and doctors are leaving Massachusetts in droves.  MassHealth denies more claims than regular insurance, and it does not, as claimed,  reduce the public’s use of emergency rooms.

If Massachusetts can’t make the plan that was supposed to serve her 6.5 million citizens work;  the plan that was to prove how wonderful universal health care could be when administered by caring Progressive bureaucrats, then God help us when the Progressive bureaucrats in Congress try to fiddle up a plan for over 300 million of us (excluding Congress and the administration, of course).

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