American Elephants

Neil Cavuto Speaks Up! Enough is Enough! by The Elephant's Child

The President Is Going to Fix Education By Rating Colleges: by The Elephant's Child

Harvard Economics professor Greg Mankiw recently shared an email he had received from an Adjunct Professor who has been teaching multiple sections of economics for ears at several colleges and Universities in the state of Indiana. This is not just a complaint about the perils of the life of a part-time professor,  and they have reason to complain. Do read the whole thing

With the implementation of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) these institutions are giving notification to their part-time faulty [sic] that their individual teaching schedules will now be limited to three sections. At the college this will likely result in the cancellation of 20-25% of the class sections in economics, and I would assume other areas will have a similar result. The students are not fully aware of the situation and many will be surprised that their desire to get a college education is now being impacted by the need to avoid the full implementation of the ACA.

Because of the huge increase in costs mandated by the ACA, one business after another is making sure that their low-wage or part-time workers work no more than 29 hours which the Obama administration has decided is the dividing line between those who get their health insurance paid for and those who don’t.

The consequences, fewer classes available to the student; more reliance on online classes; as previously mentioned — more reliance on robots, which means fewer jobs for teens, which means more young people living with parents for extended years, which means parents are unable to save as much for retirement, and so on.

The president, meanwhile is out campaigning again on a bus tour about fixing the cost of education: He wants the government to start rating colleges on their effectiveness, and if you are getting financial aid, they want to assure that you are doing your part to make progress towards a degree. Colleges will be rated on their tuition costs, rates of graduation and earnings of graduates. I wonder if he has ever asked himself why tuition coats are so high? For years, every time the government raises the amount a student can borrow in college loans, tuition goes up because the government has said that students can take on more debt.

The liberal assumption that if something needs be done, it must be done by government — is the source of much of the trouble in America today. There are very few things that government can do well — as we can see clearly in current policy.

ObamaCare Continues to Strew Wreckage in its Wake by The Elephant's Child

The euphemistically named Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act better known as ObamaCare continues to strew wreckage in its wake.

— The University of Virginia announced today that due to “rising health care costs,” some working spouses will become ineligible for University insurance coverage.

Working spouse provision: Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.’s plan. Spouses who do not have coverage elsewhere can remain on the employee’s plan, and coverage of children is not affected.

The University goes on to blame ObamaCare for an anticipated $7 million cost increase next year.

Provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act are projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the University health plan in 2014 alone. Federal health care reform will create new costs related to the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to have health care coverage (or pay a penalty).

The University went all out in supporting ObamaCare back in 2010, writing to tell their congressman, Tom Perriello that they believed” that providing affordable health coverage for more citizens of the Commonwealth is critical.”

— United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) announced plans to remove 15,000 spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere. The company cites ObamaCare to explain the decision.

Many working couples understandably opt for the better insurance plan when they have a choice.  Looks like that choice is ending.

— Up in Vermont, two governors over the last decade have worked hard to control health care costs and increase access to health insurance for Vermont’s uninsured. Now Governor Shumlin moved further and is moving Vermont to a single-payer system. What has been the impact of that two-decade long effort?

In 1991, Vermont’s health care costs per capita were the 9th lowest in the nation, 12% below the national average. By 2009, Vermont’s health care costs had risen to 13th highest in the nation, 12% above the national average of $6,815. The percent of Vermonters without health insurance, according to the census bureau, was 11.2%. In 2011, twelve years later, the percent of uninsured had fallen by one percentage point to 10.1%. Higher costs and no impact.

— Yesterday I wrote that you could probably expect more of your medical care to be done in your neighborhood pharmacy — which was sheer speculation on my part. Across the water, the British National Health Service has decided that physiotherapists and podiatrists will now be allowed to prescribe medicine for their patients without doctor supervision.  Lots of puffery about what a good idea this is, but the excuse is freeing up time for GPs. With “routine tasks” passed along to other professional, doctors can be freed up to devote more time to complex cases and patient interaction.

We currently have a shortage of physicians, which is growing as doctors leave the profession. Our medical schools are unprepared to train many more doctors, and the profession is no longer as desirable as it once was. Far fewer doctors will encourage their children to go into medicine.

The only promise that has proved to be accurate was Nancy Pelosi’s “We’ll have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.”


Fatally Flawed, Economically Illiterate, Illogical Incentives: ObamaCare by The Elephant's Child


You really don’t have to know much about economics to understand the fatal flaws of ObamaCare. First of all, the heavy hand of government is intruding on each sector of medical care. The authorities seem to believe that all of these institutions of medicine have been behaving badly, and need instruction from bureaucrats in the federal administration.

Bureaucracies are administration of government chiefly through bureaus staffed with nonelective officials and workers. Authority is diffused among numerous offices and adheres to inflexible rules of operation, and the need to follow complex procedures impedes effective action.

This is the bureaucracy that has been added on top of our health care system to administer it. Each of these circles, squares, etc. represents an agency or bureau full of cubicles full of hundreds and thousands of people whose salaries, benefits, offices, buildings must be paid for, in addition to what health care cost before the Democrats had this bright idea.  And they insist that their program will rein in the runaway cost that made health care so expensive before the Liberals got hold of it. (Click to enlarge, and pull out the sides until you can read it.)


Obviously, paying for all this is going to be a problem. ObamaCare is not a health care program, it is an insurance program. The biggest reason we had to have this was that there were supposed to be 30,000 people who had no health insurance, and we had to get everyone insured. The CBO says that when ObamaCare fully takes effect, there will still be at least 30,000 people who do not have health insurance.

So how do they pay for all this? They decided to tax the makers of medical equipment. The unintended consequence is that many small businesses who make something developed by a doctor to solve a medical problem have gone out of business. The cost of medical equipment from hospital beds to replacement joints will go up significantly.

To keep the cost of ObamaCare insurance for average citizens down, they must enroll young healthy adults who will pay for insurance that they seldom use. A big drive is on to encourage young healthy adults to sign up. The unintended consequence is that it’s a bad deal for young healthy adults, and the cost of ‘encouraging them’ to sign up is heavy.

Government programs always exceed their preliminary estimate, often doubling and tripling. The only known government program that did not vastly exceed estimated cost, was George W. Bush’s Medicare drug program. An incentive was added to encourage Medicare patients to watch the cost of their medications and where appropriate use generics. It worked. Liberals thought it was mean and eliminated the incentive, so costs for part D will climb dramatically.

The worst thing about ObamaCare is that it changes the incentives for the medical establishment. The bureaucracy will demand lower costs, and make regulations to that end. Brand new drugs, or brand new equipment are apt to be expensive because of the initial cost of bringing something new to market, and the bureaucracy will refuse to pay for them. The incentives for the medical establishment shift from giving the best possible care to trying to get adequately paid for their services. Time spent with a patient will be cut short with the need to see more patients in less time. Hospitals will have to find ways to cut costs, rather than improving patient care.

The biggest unintended consequence is that physicians, who went into medicine to heal patients and care for them, had no intention of doing medicine under such a regime. Doctors are retiring early, Switching to a different kind of practice that does not include health insurance. Going to Africa to practice where they are really needed and can do good. Last election there were around 45 doctors running for office. These are bright capable people who can choose to do something else. Expect your neighborhood pharmacist to take on more duties than just giving flu shots and vaccinations.

The Imperial President Gives Out Waivers To The Law of The Land by The Elephant's Child


From the New York Times, July 29, 2013:

[O]ne audience very close to home is growing increasingly anxious about the financial implications of the new coverage: members of Congress and their personal staffs. Under a wrinkle that dates back to enactment of the law, members of Congress and thousands of their aides are required to get their coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the law does not provide any obvious way for the federal government to continue paying its share of the premiums for the comprehensive coverage. If the government cannot do so, it could mean an additional expense of $5,000 a year for individuals and $11,000 for families under some of the most popular plans.

This is a very uncomfortable political question. The White House and Congress are sensitive to any suggestion that lawmakers or their aides are getting special treatment under the health care law. The administration is already under fire for illegally delaying the requirement that large businesses offer insurance to their full-time employees, and businesses are switching employees to part-time.

Congress’ penchant for excluding themselves from the jurisdiction of laws they pass does not go over well with voters. The Union of Treasury Department workers is already up in arms about being forced to depend on the exchanges.

What became ObamaCare, (the PPACA) was a draft bill that its supporters never intended should become law. It was supposed to be the Senate’s contribution and the House-Senate Conference would iron out the details. Scott Brown was elected and the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority and had to use the Senate bill as the basis for the final law. When Congress passes a lousy law, it is still the law of the land.

Well, you didn’t really think they would make those nice folks in Congress live with the soaring costs their euphemistically-named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act impose on the rest of us, did you? Don’t be silly.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.

A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week. Just Wednesday, POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama told Democratic senators that he was personally involved in finding a solution.
As Bryan Preston said on PJMedia’s “Tattler,” Politico’s headline on its story about the “fix” is hilarious.

Capitol Hill’s Obamacare crisis solved
America’s Obamacare crisis remains very much unsolved.

The OPM’s move is illegal. Congress passed an amendment to Obamacare that mandated that Congress and staff had to abide by it themselves. OPM doesn’t have the power to change the law any more than Obama had the power to delay the employer mandate.

As Obamacare fundamentally transforms our health care system, it’s also fundamentally transforming the nation itself. We were once a nation of laws. Now we’re a nation of the whims of bureaucrats.

The only fix here is to repeal the entire thing. Defund it. Repeal it. Rip it out root and branch. Obamacare delenda est.

Here we go. Obama has told us that he doesn’t have to obey or enforce the laws, If he finds them disagreeable, he will just go around Congress. Nevermind that oath. That is a major problem.

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