American Elephants


Is It True What They Say About Healthcare? No it Isn’t! by The Elephant's Child

househealthbilllongrun_thumb

(click to enlarge)

If you are listening to Congressional Democrat claims, or the claims of the administration: No, it’s not true.

The House Democrats unveiled their plan on July 14, with the aim of passing it by July 31, the last day before their August congressional recess.  There had been months of vague claims, but despite promises of “transparency” all legislation was drummed up behind closed doors.  The bills were introduced as close as possible to the date of the expected vote.  The majority wanted to minimize the time available to actually read and consider the bills, so there would be little time for debate, and perhaps the momentum would be enough to carry it through.

Things have not gone as intended.  The public is concerned, with much justification.  The Democrats want to spend $1.5 trillion over a decade, impose an $800 billion tax increase during the worst recession in many years, increase federal borrowing by at least $239 billion (added to the $11 trillion that the Obama budget already imposes on us). Taxing “the rich” will not raise enough money, so the language on not taxing the middle class is becoming increasingly squishy.

In making his case for a government takeover of the U.S. health care system, President Obama has made a number of frequently repeated pledges:

“If you like your current health-care plan, you can keep it.” White House spokesmen say that this pledge” isn’t meant to be taken literally.”  Most Americans will be forced to change insurance plans.  House bill, page 145, Line 15-17, An employer MUST automatically enroll employees into a public option.  No choice.   Page 149, Lines 16-24, ANY employer with a payroll $400,000 and above who doesn’t provide the public option pays 8% tax on all payroll.  Page 150, Lines 9-13, A business with a payroll between $251,000-$400,000 pays a 2-6% tax on all payroll.

“You will pay less.The Congressional Budget Office has made it clear that the “reform” plans now being debated will significantly increase overall health-care costs. Nancy Pelosi said “We will have a cap on costs, but we will have no cap on benefits.”  Page 50, Section 152 in House health care bill,  health care will be provided to all non U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise.  You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and ‘free’ care for all. Simply doesn’t work.

The Director of the Congressional Budget Office testified that none of the health plans coming from Capitol Hill would control long-term spending.  The administration’s latest money-saving proposal of a “Independent Medicare Advisory Council” has already been turned down by the CBO as increasing Medicare spending instead.  Obama’s had a bad week.

Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal said “After his TV appearances [White House Budget Director Peter Orzag] went straight to the Senate Finance Committee, where he spent three hours with committee aides brainstorming about how to pay for the trillion dollar legislation.  At one point, they flipped through the tax code, looking for ideas. (Now there’s a statement to give you pause).

“Quality Will Improve.” How could any sentient being think that this mess of mandates, and commissions, councils, offices, departments. corps, programs and boards will make health care improve?  We have the highest quality health care in the world. 85 percent of Americans are quite satisfied with their health insurance.

Putting more decisions in the hands of Dr. Eziekel Emanuel (Rham Emanuel’s brother) who has been advising Congress?  Dr. Emanuel has written that he favors rationing for older Americans,  favors abolishing the Hippocratic Oath,  thinks private rooms should be abolished, and hates fancy waiting rooms. For him the way to cut Medicare costs is simply to pay doctors and hospitals less. The only problem is that many doctors will not accept Medicare patients now because they cannot afford to. Seniors will have an increasingly harder time finding a doctor.

Our survival rates for cancers are better, our patients are happier.  Our health care costs are not “spiraling out of control”, but have risen very much in line with the rest of the world.  We have some people who do not have health insurance, but far fewer than the Democrats claim. It’s probably somewhere around 1o million, not the 45.7 million claimed, and a good percentage have just chosen not to buy insurance because they are young and healthy.

The costs of emergency room treatment are not excessive.  There is nothing whatsoever in the House Democrats health care plan that will improve quality in any way.

What you will lose is your freedom.  Your freedom will be served up to members of Congress who will meddle constantly, while not participating in the health care plan they’re sticking us with.  If you plan on getting old, old age will be less comfortable because Democrats have found one way to cut costs.  The last years of life cost the most.  The remedy is just to ration the care.  Over 65, if it’s expensive, forget it.  If you are young and healthy this will be of no concern to you unless you have parents and grandparents, or plan on getting old yourself.  Since proposed cuts in elder care will not pay for the plan, there will be more cuts and more rationing.



They Lie, and Lie, and Lie in a Raw Grab for Power. Are You Going to Let Them Get Away With It? by The Elephant's Child
July 16, 2009, 2:51 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

President Obama is trying to push ObamaCare through Congress before the House and the Senate go home for the August recess. In 15 days?

Mr. Obama has tried mightily to make us think that the Democrats’ Health Care Plan must be passed right now. That it is so urgent to control spiraling costs that we really don’t have time to discuss it or debate it, or even find out what the hell in in the bill!   But “urgent” is a lie, and “spiraling costs” are a lie as well.

They are trying to do it again.  The Stimulus Bill was so urgent that nobody had time to read it— Congress had to get those funds out into the economy to keep the unemployment rate from reaching 8 percent. It’s now over 20 percent in Oregon, Michigan and California.  There were all those “shovel ready” infrastructure projects just waiting for a “go”.  Except that was all a lie.

There weren’t many shovel ready projects, and the jobs were reserved for the union members who financed Obama’s campaign.  Only a small part of the stimulus funds have been spent — there wasn’t any rush, since most of the funds won’t be spent until next year, just before the mid- term elections.  $787 billion!

Then there was cap-and-trade, the utterly stupid climate change bill that had to be passed in a big rush to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, except that was a lie too.

Wind and solar produce electricity, a very small amount of electricity, which has nothing whatsoever to do with foreign oil — which powers our transportation. The bill will enrich some large corporations, kill millions more jobs and raise the cost of living for all of us.  It’s about QUICK!! LOOK OVER THERE!!!  As they try to distract you from what they are really doing — which is just a raw grab for power.

Now they want to push through the biggest change Americans have ever seen in their health care, from a consultative relationship with your doctor, to a socialist relationship ordered and determined by faceless bureaucrats in Washington.  The House’s  “Health Care for All Americans” bill appeared yesterday when the 1,018 page bill first appeared in public.  As Investor’s Business Daily says: “Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.” So that whole thing about ” If you like the health insurance you have, you’ll be able to keep it” that Obama promised —that was a lie too.

The nonpartisan Lewin group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their coverage at work, and would end up in a public program. Which would cause the market for private insurance to gradually die out.  “What wasn’t known,” IBD says, “is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by  not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.”

The legislation will also probably mean the end of health savings accounts — something that has been a Democrat aim for years.

This is a straightforward advance of soft tyranny.  Free people should be outraged.  And Congress has excused themselves from participating in it in any way.

Michael Moore claims at the beginning of the video that Canadian Health Care is free. That, like most of his other pronouncements, is just another lie. We’re only beginning to realize the extent and consequences of all the lies.



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 MoveOn.org 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).



Don’t Tell Me You Thought Waxman-Markey Is About Reducing Our Dependence on Foreign Oil! by The Elephant's Child
July 10, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Representative Steve King  (R. Iowa) is absolutely correct about Waxman-Markey.   Do you recognize just how preposterous is the idea that we can set the earth’s thermostat 100 years from now 2 degrees cooler?  In the last century, it only warmed one degree, and now it’s cooled again.

“Just two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill,” Al Gore said….”President Obama has pushed for the passage of the bill in the Senate and attended a G8 summit this week where he agreed to attempt to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C.”

Gore praised the Congressional climate bill, claiming that “it will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating the “crisis” of man-made global warming.

“But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements.” Oh.

Former French President Jacques Chriac said in November, 2000 that the UN’s Kyoto Protocol represented “The first component of an authentic global governance.”

Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said: “Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once dismissed the UN’s Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme.”

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

They keep telling us what they have in mind.  We really should pay attention.



More Tales From the Crypt, er, National Health Service. by The Elephant's Child

A search is on for the source of a maggot infestation in the operating theaters of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen.  The discovery has caused the closure of three operating rooms, and postponement of procedures.

Two “decontamination cleans” have been carried out, and surgical procedures are scheduled to go ahead on Monday and Tuesday.

The general manager of child health services, said: (bureaucratic language alert!) “I can reassure parents that at no time were any children at risk of coming into contact with the maggots.”…

“Clearly infestation of this kind is very unpleasant, and our advisers will continue to try throughout the day to identify the source.  I am satisfied this is not a reflection on staff or standards of cleanliness in the hospital.”

Yes, this is a scare story  from the United Kingdom.  But in spite of the theater of Mr. Obama’s Health Care town halls, he and his advisers are already talking about rationing.  Old people nearing their statistical life expectancy should not expect anything expensive.  There is  a reason why the “town halls” are filled with Obama supporters, the questions are submitted in advance, no dissent or criticism or unpleasant questions are allowed.

President Obama talks about saving money, better care, everyone insured, but this is nonsense, once again.  A major way to reduce costs is to bring some sanity to medical liability.  Doctors’ costs for liability insurance are astronomical.  The cost is high because of “pain and suffering” awards.  That is, if a doctor, for example, cuts off the wrong leg, ordinary damages should make the victim of malpractice whole.

“Pain and suffering” damages, which supposedly recompense you for your unhappy feelings, are where trial lawyers make their outrageous fees and where they earned their sleazy reputations. A limit on the amount of such awards might stop trial lawyers from “channeling dead children” to arouse sympathy.

Much of President Obama’s financial support comes from trial lawyers.  There will be no limits on trial lawyers.  Which is why Obama was booed at his American Medical Association speech.



outed. exposed. revealed. caught with their pants down. by The Elephant's Child

Ordinary people, worldwide, are beginning to have doubts about the whole “global warming” thing. When the Dutch are able to skate on their canals for the first time in fifteen years, the warmist claims begin to seem a little dubious.  Pictures of backyard snow in April in Minneapolis, snow in New Orleans, and in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, cast a little doubt on Al Gore’s claims of a drastically heating planet. A 2009 Rasmussen survey shows that 44 percent of Americans believe that global warming is attributed to long-term planetary trends, and just 38 percent believe that it is caused by human activity.

We have a sun that has gone quiet, with not a single spot for over 600 days, declining global temperatures, no significant warming in the last ten years, and an increasing number of respected scientists who are aware of signs that we might be entering another Maunder Minimum.

Well.  The Warmists have everything invested in convincing the world that global warming is here, hot, and probably the end of life as we know it if we do not give them all our money.  EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the past several  years into why their efforts are faltering.  Not, they are sure, because the whole global warming thing is found to be a fraud, found only in the computer programs of the IPCC.  What is the matter is their “branding”, that is the language in which they present their case.

The term “global warming” turns people off,  “fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes” according to extensive polling and focus groups conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.  EcoAmerica has been conducting research to find new ways to frame environmental issues.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Don’t talk about carbon dioxide, but speak of “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” The term “cap and trade” is confusing; use terms like “cap and cash back” and “pollution reduction refund.

[A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.] Ooops!

So who is ecoAmerica? Their board of directors includes representatives of the Environmental Defense Fund, The Sierra Club, Fenton Communications, and Daryl Hannah among others.  Among their advisers are representatives of MoveOn.org, the Trust for Public Land, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, all far-left groups. If you are curious about any of these groups, you can check them out at Activist Cash or Discover the Networks.

A Pew Research Center survey found global warming dead last among 20 voter concerns.  The answer, says Robert Perkowitz, President and founder of ecoAmerica, is to reframe the issue in different language.

“Energy efficiency” makes people think of shivering in the dark.  Instead, it is more effective to speak of “saving money for a more prosperous future.”

In fact, said the group’s focus groups and surveys, it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink,” Let’s be clear.  Everyone advocating a political position puts their policy in the best language they can. This is why we no longer have a War on Terror, but an “Overseas Contingency Operation.”  This is why “global warming” suddenly reappeared as “climate change.”

The approach is cynical.  It is the use of advertising techniques to manipulate public opinion.  And manipulate is the key word.  This is the approach of community organizing — manipulating public opinion.

In this case it is particularly deceptive.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to life.  It is what we exhale every time we breathe, and what plants take in as natural fertilizer.  CO2 does not cause global warming, it is merely a trace gas in the atmosphere. The major greenhouse gas is water vapor (clouds). The greatest portion of the CO2 in the atmosphere arises from the sea, and the amount from human influence is almost too small to measure.

We are urged to eliminate CO2 from the world.  Eliminate life? We are urged to turn for our energy needs to wind and solar energy in order to eliminate the need for “foreign oil.” But neither wind nor solar are capable of meeting our energy (electricity) needs, no matter how much subsidized.  Environmentalists oppose nuclear energy, which can.  And none of these have the slightest effect on our transportation needs, which can only be satisfied by petroleum until there is a scientific breakthrough in batteries.  And by the way, our air is clean and our water is pure.

You might want to watch for the use of  “improved language” in the mainstream media and congressional pronouncements.

(emphasis mine)



Free enterprise or social democracy? It shouldn’t even be a question. by The Elephant's Child

In an interview with NPR, Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, gives her perspective (and her boss’s) on the car companies.

Jackson: The President has said — and I couldn’t agree more — that what this country needs is one single national road map that tells auto makers who are trying to become solvent again, what kind of car it is that they need to be designing and building for the American people.

NPR reporter: (interrupting) Is that the role of the government, though?  I mean that doesn’t sound like free enterprise.

Jackson: Well, it it, it is free enterprise in a way.  Umm uhh you know, first and foremost the free enterprise system has us where we are right this second (laughs) and so some would argue that the government already has a much larger role than we might have when Henry Ford rolled the first cars off the assembly line.

In the Wall Street Journal, Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, points out that the real culture war is over capitalism.  The new divide centers on free enterprise — the principle at the core of American culture.

You can see the beginnings of this schism, he says, in the “tea parties” that have sprung up around the country, with the count now greater than 800,000 people expressing their opposition to government deficits and bailouts that prop up those who engaged in mortgage fraud and corporate malfeasance.

They worry about the massive debt that will affect the lives of their grandchildren.  They paid their mortgages,  they were small business owners who don’t want  corporate welfare, they were bankers who made prudent loans.  They are watching elected politicians hand their tax money over to reward the people who did all the important things wrong.  And they don’t like the casual distribution of taxpayer money by the members of Congress who caused the problems in the first place.

The Pew Research Center asked people in March 2009, if we are better off  “in a free market economy even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time.”  Fully 70 percent agreed, compared to 20 percent who disagreed.

Under President Obama’s tax plan, fully 49 percent of American adults will have no federal income-tax liability.  Another 11 percent will pay less than 5 percent of their income in taxes and less than $1,000 in total.  The other half will pay for everything — your own health care, and theirs, their education and  the “tax-cuts” that simply give the untaxed welfare money.  You will pay for all the volunteers who will do make work jobs in the name of “community service.”

“Social Democrats ” says Brooks, “are working to create a society where the majority are net recipients of the “sharing economy.”

Advocates of free enterprise must learn from the growing grass-roots protests, and make the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship.  They have to declare that it is a moral issue to confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can.  It’s also a moral issue to lower the rewards for entrepreneurial success, and to spend what we don’t have without regard for our children’s future.

Do read the whole thing.  It’s important to understand the real basis of today’s culture war.




%d bloggers like this: