Archives for: June 2011
In reply to Burr Deming's
Helping a Conservative Into Health Care Reality
Mr. Deming, I applaud your grand effort in putting forth your data and arguments in the defense of this government-mandated monstrosity, even though I find some of your points are inaccurate or irrelevant, my friend.
First, let’s start by addressing the issues of health care cost. You claim that Democrats want to reduce costs. While that would seem to be a given, one then wonders why the plan they enacted is doing, and will continue to do just the opposite. For starters, even the Director of the non-partisan CBO, Dr. Douglas Elmendorf admitted that Obamacare would end up costing 800,000 jobs by 2021 (video). One doesn’t help reduce health care costs very effectively by eliminating 800K jobs. Indeed, I think it is reasonable to assume that a significant percentage of these good folks will have to become reliant on tax-payer help for their healthcare once their employers kick them to the curb in this economy. Higher demand without the ability for one to pay creates higher costs.
Further, as per this Wall Street Journal article,
In a study last year, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimated that an additional 35 million workers would be moved out of employer plans and into subsidized coverage, and that this would add about $1 trillion to the total cost of the president's health law over the next decade. McKinsey's survey implies that the cost to taxpayers could be significantly more.
The McKinsey study, How US health care reform will affect employee benefits, predicts that employers will either drop coverage altogether, offer defined contributions for insurance, or offer coverage only to certain employees. The study concludes that 30% of employers overall will definitely or probably stop offering health insurance to their workers. However, among employers with a high awareness of the health-reform law, this proportion increases to more than 50%.
Indeed, one top Senatorial aide stated in a moment of candor last year after the passing of Obamacare that, “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill.” David Bowen, former health staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is one of the Obamacare authors to admit the bill could be a time-bomb.
Continuing onward, Mr. Deming, the implication of your statements that I am incorrect regarding Obamacare hurting insurance companies in the long run and doctors overall is, well… incorrect. Indeed, initially Obamacare will be a great boon to insurance companies since everyone will be mandated by un-Constitutional law to purchase health insurance or face fines. But, as the loss in jobs and the costs of providing health care by employers continues to rise, more people will be unable to afford them and thus have to go to a government-sponsored/subsidized health plan as their only remaining option. Fewer and fewer clients available for private sector insurers will eventually put them out of business, which really was the Democrats’ plan all along.
As for an increase in costs for doctors, well, the results of that can be seen in Medicare reimbursements today. This problem will only become more exacerbated with Obamacare. Indeed my own primary care doctor and cardiologist have both spoken to me of their having to cease taking any more Medicare patients because their costs aren’t covered by the reimbursements. While my case may be anecdotal, it appears that this phenomena is undeniable for more and more physicians. Indeed, as per this article in Money:
Dr. Edward Kornel, a neurosurgeon based in White Plains, N.Y., stopped seeing Medicare patients two years ago. Two colleagues in his group practice have joined him in dropping Medicare patients over the past six months. Kornel, who's been in practice for 27 years, said he had always accepted Medicare patients in the past. "But when I looked at my income from reimbursements, I was losing money every time I took care of a Medicare patient," said Kornel. "It wasn't covering my costs." While Medicare patients accounted for about 20% of his total patient load, they were generating less than 5% of his income. "I would have had to do 300 operations in one year just to break even," he said.
The Massachusetts Medical Society framed the debate about the shrinking reimbursements to doctors and the devastating impact it will have on health care providers.
Next, Mr. Deming, you drift off course in gallant defense of the indefensible Nancy Pelosi. While I did not explicitly state that she was responsible for 20% of the Obamacare waivers awarded in the last go around to businesses in her district, I understand that is the implication of my statement. And while you found articles to back your assertion of her feigned innocence, I found others that stick to the notion that something was rotten in the city by the bay. See here for one of many such articles.
Despite all of that nonsense, the point of my argument really had nothing to do with the semblance of Pelosi cronyism anyway, but was rather this; if this Obamacare Act is so terrific, why is there even a need for all of these waivers and why did Congress exempt itself from the dictates of the law?
Next, my friend, you give a brilliant defense of the supposed constitutionality of the Obamacare Act by citing George Washington and the forming of the revolutionary era militias. The differences here are stark. First, at the outset of hostilities for our independence from Mother Britain, there was not yet a constitution drafted, let alone implemented, thereby rendering the constitutionality argument useless. Second, as the continental army was nearly non-existent in the number of regular troops serving, the extreme need for the assistance of state militias was vital to our victory. The regulars of the continental army were even disbanded at the signing of the Treaty of Paris that concluded our war of independence. In other words, the United States did not have a standing army at that point. The fact of the matter is that the requirement that any able-bodied male own a firearm was critical to our even becoming a nation with the formation of those vital state militias. Without the militias we would have failed. The over-riding need to provide for the common defense in the birth of our nation is hardly on par with mandating that I must buy health care today. The comparison is absolutely silly, my friend.
The tired argument that every Obamacare supporter cites of the state requiring one to buy auto insurance also does not pass muster. One can choose not to drive if one wishes or can opt for other forms of transportation from bicycles to taxis to public transportation. It is my understanding that residents of some metropolitan areas such as New York City have grown elderly and have never learned to drive accordingly.
The fact is that they have a choice. It is a choice I am not afforded with the pernicious Obamacare Act. The fact that I am alive and draw breath means that I must purchase health insurance under penalty of law otherwise. I guess suicide would be the only way one could “opt out” here.
Next, NOWHERE in the Constitution is the authority granted to the federal government to provide social security or health care. I understand that these have been adjudicated differently, but that doesn’t make them any more constitutionally or morally correct than was the Dred Scott decision. Indeed ALL of those items that are not specifically addressed and stipulated in the United States Constitution are by the law of the land reserved to the States or to the people themselves. See the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights for a reference.
Either we are to be a nation of laws and abide by what I believe is an inspired document in the Constitution, or we will continue to circumvent, distort, and pervert it to fit our own desires since we don’t seem to ever have the necessary strength of numbers and political courage these days to amend it, if it truly was warranted.
Finally, the $500 Billion removed from Medicare by the Democrats wasn’t due to cutting “wastefulness”. When has that EVER been an issue to congress, let alone Democrats in congress?
Back on March 4th of this year, During a hearing on Capitol Hill, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, admitted to double-counting that $500 billion in the Obamacare budget.
The text of the questioning of Secretary Sebelius by Congressman Shimkus of Illinois follows:
“There is an issue here on the budget because your own actuary has said you can’t double-count,” said Shimkus. “You can’t count — they’re attacking Medicare on the CR when their bill, your law, cut $500 billion from Medicare.”
He continued: “Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to what? Say your funding health care. Your own actuary says you can’t do both. […] What’s the $500 billion in cuts for? Preserving Medicare or funding the health-care law?” Sebelius’ reply? “Both.”
In other words, the cutting of the $500 billion from Medicare wasn’t due to good stewardship by the Democrats to cut waste. It was so that they could begin funding the un-Constitutional Obamacare Act.
I could find many other facts and figures to further decimate your argument my friend, but as you pointed out, I really am quite busy, and besides, I think the preceding information does a sufficient job of that already, sir.
I will admit though, you have taught me that I cannot simply just spout an opinion and “phone one in”. You indeed make me take my time, think critically, and get my fact duckies all in a row. I will endeavor to do so going forward in order that I don’t have to spend so much time on the back-end of a debate rebutting what may appear at first glance to be a losing position due to your excellent writing and framing of the debate, despite the fact that in the final analysis, you are still wrong, my friend!
Note: May be inappropriate for children
In reply to Burr Deming's
Social Security Joins Medicare on GOP Chopping Block
The best reason for, if not discontinuing Social Security in its current guise altogether, then at least letting younger workers choose to "opt out" of it, is that the system doesn't work worth a dang.
A vast majority of folks that are relying solely on Social Security for the retirement, are going to be living well under the poverty level.
Instead of looking to the government to be the solution to each and every one of our problems, why don't we look to ourselves, our families, and our communities first to help out when needed?
Why don't we begin preparing for our retirement by even putting aside $20 a paycheck when we first get that minimum wage job in high school?
Instead, we covet those dollars of the evil rich and expect others to take care of us when we know we should have been taking care of ourselves from the beginning. The ever-growing entitlement mentality in this country will ultimately be the final nail in the coffin of liberty.
Republicans have been hostile toward Medicare ever since the program was created in 1965. Social Security has been targeted off and on for longer than most retirees have been alive.
Republican attacks on Social Security were mostly tactical back in 1935. It would create more unemployment. The idea was that employer contributions would reduce profits, drive employers berserk, and make them turn away business rather than keep employees to provide goods and services to customers wanting to buy. The obvious counter-argument was that a strong retirement safety net would encourage older workers to retire, thus providing openings to others who needed a chance. Constitutional objections also were furiously hurled, but the Supreme Court shot those objections down in 1937. The program was constitutional.
But everyone knew that the real core objection Republicans had, the seething antagonism close to the heart, was a hatred of any government solution. Oh there was an element of self-interest, to be sure. Wealthy owners of mega-factories were loath to being forced to pay more than they had to. That's why they hated unions. But the ideological animus toward government was the soul of the opposition.
Widespread acceptance of the program made opposition suicidal. When you've got politicians by the votes, their hearts and minds, even of conservatives, just might follow. For a time. In fact, the single greatest expansion of Social Security was proposed, initiated, and pushed through by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Farmers, farm workers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, preachers and others were brought in.
A strict application, let us say, of economic theory, at least as taught by Adam Smith, would be, ‘Let these people take care of themselves; during their active life they are supposed to save enough to take care of themselves.’
In this modern industry, dependent as we are on mass production, and so on, we create conditions where that is no longer possible for everybody. So the active part of the population has to take care of all the population, and if they haven’t been able during the course of their active life to save up enough money, we have these systems.
- - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 17, 1953
The opposition to the program was briefly revived when President George W. Bush listened to conservatives and proposed privatization in 2005. Republicans were pretty much crushed in the next election. So the matter is settled, right?
Not so much.
Never underestimate the tenacity of conservative ideologues. 10 days ago, Republicans introduced a bill to make Social Security voluntary and privatized. The ostensible purpose is to defend the system. Sound familiar? Senator Pete Sessions (R-TX) proposed two reasons for backing the end of Social Security as we know it. First, the program lost money this year. Second, the national debt needs to be reduced.
Our nation's Social Security Trust Fund is depleting at an alarming rate, and failure to implement immediate reforms endangers the ability of Americans to plan for their retirement with the options and certainty they deserve.
To simply maintain the status quo would weaken American competitiveness by adding more unsustainable debt and insolvent entitlements to our economy when we can least afford it.
The Social Security deficit is slight, easily handled by increasing the coverage to include higher income people. In fact, the problem is demographic, caused by the huge bump in population called the baby boom. After those of us of a certain age range are carried off by our own rapture, the issue will vanish on its own.
But then, for Republicans, solvency and the national debt have never been the real problem with Social Security.
Responding to T. Paine's Medicare Conservative Style is Still Better
Mr. Paine cheerfully acknowledges that he has not had time to consider actual facts, at least about the GOP plan to terminate Medicare, before forming the conservative opinions he expresses. A more informed opinion may be "coming sometime next week." Until then, Mr. Paine is reduced to a lesser level of factual knowledge. His more reality based analysis, due this week, will be an amazing document, backed by incredible bravery and a staggering intellect. Both are already demonstrated by his willingness to take on the mammoth task of defending contemporary conservatism.
Mr. Paine is amused at the "assertion that the Democrats want to reduce costs," he says. "I do not see, however, how the Affordable Health Care Act accomplishes this though." Mr. Paine, as he points out, is a very busy man, and so he has little time for green eye shade stuff. Fortunately, this has been done for him by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, research that has also been verified by independent analysis.
Knowing his time constraints, we had previously provided links to that research, here and here. So confident are Congressional Republicans that the Democratic plan will succeed in reducing costs, they claim similar provisions in their own program. They say their plan for privatized vouchers “transforms Medicare into a plan that’s very similar to the President’s own health care bill.” It doesn't, but the Republican claim itself should answer Mr. Paine. When he has time to bone up, he promises to respond in a more informed manner. The hope is these easily accessed links will help Mr. Paine switch his perspective to a reality based world.
In fact, in the unusual world Mr. Paine inhabits, insurance companies would be the main beneficiaries of Obamacare, while medical doctors would be hurt. His concerned about Medicare change is that "reimbursement of costs for those patients at best lets the doctors break even and at worst often times even fails to cover those costs." On the other hand, Democratic changes "will only help the insurance companies in the short term and then destroy our private insurance in the long run." Back out here in the real world, insurance companies fought to put out misinformation, opposing the changes Mr. Paine thinks would fill their coffers. Physicians, on the other hand, worked hard through their own group, the American Medical Association, to fight in favor of the exact plan Mr. Paine opposes out of concern for them. If you have pdf capabilities, you may want to click the AMA letter of endorsement to find out why.
Mr Paine asks "why is there the need for the Obama administration to continue to offer hundreds and hundreds of waivers to unions, large corporations, and lots of businesses in Pelosi’s congressional district to exempt them from having to comply with this egregious law?" He has made the same claim on his own site. Having the time he lacks, we researched it and answered him here. It turns out that one health care administrator applied for a ton of waivers all at once. The company is owned by a Republican who is usually hostile to Democrats and was responding to a local health ordinance. Pelosi had nothing to do with it.
Mr. Paine has raised constitutional objections before. We answered him, then referred him to those who had taken the time to research the question thoroughly. Still, he courageously repeats the same point, bravely ignoring the withering fire that pokes holes in his armor. "If the federal government has the ability to dictate that American citizens MUST buy a product or service from a private business simply because of the fact that they draw breath, then where are the limitations on what the government can mandate? At this level and caliber, this truly is unconstitutional and unprecedented."
Not so fast, Mr. Paine. Possibly you should go into your marvelous Original-Intent-Time-Machine and confront President Washington. The idea of individual mandates was applied as early as the 18th century. In one case the purpose was to support state run militias, the sort provided for in the 2nd Amendment. Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the 1792 Militia Act. It required every person eligible to join, or be drafted into, such a militia to purchase at his own expense and have ready firearms. The individual mandate was considered so acceptable no argument against it was ever brought up. It continues in the present with such items as mandatory auto insurance and employer-paid safety equipment.
"As for your assertion that the Democrats’ cutting of $500 Billion helps save Medicare, well then I ask why stop there?" says Mr. Paine. "Why not cut a full $1 Trillion?" Well, let's see. The savings from ending the ADvantage Program, a subset of Medicare, only went up to half a trillion. That sub-program provided worse care, at a higher cost, with a documented portion much much higher than expected, going into corporate pockets. This was pretty well covered for Mr. Paine here. When he has more time, he will no doubt review it and become enlightened.
T. Paine does lapse into a rational viewpoint by agreeing that the heart and soul of the Republican budget plan should be cut out. He wants to terminate the tax breaks for the extremely wealthy that reduce the savings to zero - the savings that would otherwise be achieved by abandoning the elderly to a limited voucher privatization program. Republicans have vehemently refused similar suggestions in Congress, preferring to award all savings from eliminating Medicare to additional tax breaks for the wealthy. If Mr. Paine feels strongly about it, he should consider becoming a Democrat and working to unseat those whose tax position he opposes.
On the other hand, he cannot resist a related side point. He generously provides this additional wisdom apart from the killing of Medicare, presumably to be documented when he has time to educate himself. He says: "... it was recently reported that now 47% of Americans pay no net taxes." The Fox level reports to which Mr. Paine refers seem to have omitted payroll taxes, state taxes, local taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes, most of which fall disproportionately on those of lower incomes.
The thrust of such reports is valid only when confined to income taxes, and even then only when further restricted to federal income taxes. Having more time on our hands than the very busy Mr. Paine, we last dealt with this in December. In fact, the bogus report has been around for years, and keeps popping up, vampire like, in viral form. It is dealt with capably here.
Mr. Paine is a gentle man, and a friend. He writes private notes of appreciation at a creative bit of phrasing or congratulations for posts he finds to be especially thoughtful. He is also that relative rarity, a thoughtful conservative.
But he most recently illustrates the inherent difficulty posed by today's conservatism. In most of his posts, his point of departure from a reasonable point of view, which is to say my own, is philosophical. But when he is deprived of facts, when a lack of time forces him to voice opinions that have only an accidental relationship with reality, the resemblance becomes striking. He sounds remarkably like a Republican Congressional representative, or a Fox news personality, or some drunken blowhard at a neighborhood bar. Such is the condition of contemporary conservative thought.
But all is not lost. Soon T. Paine will complete the task of arming himself with facts, and all will be right once more.
Now it's getting personal: personal for us in a way that has already been personal for so many others.
We don't know exactly when he decided to join the Marines. It's possible he doesn't know. His mother alternately credits and blames me. She believes he began developing the confidence to made big decisions, to begin thinking for himself beyond the smaller choices of childhood, about the time I taught him to drive. Driving was combined with entertaining discussions. He discovered in me an interested listener. And I found opportunities to reinforce his self-confidence.
When he resolved in his mind that he was ready to try for his license, he had a sit down discussion with me. He wanted to get his stepfather's blessing. His twin brother already was licensed. Did I think he was ready as well?
Back when he was twelve, he took a swing at me. It was at his grandparents' house. I trapped him against the refrigerator, loudly lecturing him. Very loudly. Others ran in. I told him that I had already promised to respect any complaints if he had a problem with me. "But I don't respect this!" He looked toward his mom, who calmly grounded him for the rest of his days on earth.
It had been a whirlwind romance. On most workdays, I was living away from my loved one until we could get married and move everyone to St. Louis. I was not back in town for several days after the altercation. That's when I bailed him out and we walked together. He told me he had been planning his attack on me for weeks, waiting for the right moment. His hope had been that I would knock him out, his mother would decide against the marriage, and he and his brother could continue living in the small town among friends, the home they had known for most of their lives. Happily. Ever. After.
I was amazed. I told him it was one of the bravest things I had ever heard. For all he knew, I might have seriously hurt him.
A couple of years later, I tracked down their biological father. He had been seeing them every once in a while, but had been dodging me out of a sense of courtesy. He didn't want to create any problems. But I was not hitting it off with the twins. I felt they needed a good relationship with a father-figure. I told him he was the best candidate.
He and I began planning the best way to increase his role in their lives. He told me he had been brutal, meeting every small infraction with unreasonable parental force. So we reached an agreement. I would be the bad guy, handling discipline, reporting back to him and getting his advice. He would focus on being the good guy, and would report any problems to me.
It began to work. There were no discipline issues. None. The twins looked forward to trips with their dad. He bought them guitars and lessons began. He was looking into purchasing several acres with a large pond. Perhaps he could teach them how to fish. He and I met in background sessions. But after a while, a subtle change began. We began to look forward to meeting with each other quite apart from parental and custodial concerns. We were becoming genuine friends.
When the call came, it was like a stab wound. I told the twins that their dad was dead, killed in a coal mining accident in Kentucky. Their mom held them as they wept. He was gone, and I became a hopelessly imperfect substitute.
The driving lessons were a breakthrough. The little side trips of life became opportunities. I became "too tired" for trips to market, choir practice, and church services. Would one of them do me a favor and drive me? And, of course, I included little pep talks, combined with hearing them out on pretty much any topic.
Sometime after that, he made a choice. He trained himself for the Marines, exercising, running, lifting. He studied everything he could find. When they tested him he was ready. Basic training in California was followed by combat training, then technical training nearer to home. When he was on leave, he and I made it a point to talk. He explained military language and procedure. He wrote to a cousin that he had found a natural second home. We have not seen the letter, but his cousin wept at the beauty of the words.
When his training took him too far away for visits, I tried to write every day. He needed to know we cared. He needed to maintain a sense of home. I carry with me a letter he wrote back during that prolonged absence. "Thanks for everything you've taught me," reads one part. Another says, "You're a great man." If I could, I would have it bronzed. My wife told me I was the only one she knew who could strut while sitting down.
When his training brought him closer to home, I made the trip to pick him up whenever he was able to get a few days. We would meet, then walk to a sort of exit interview with a staff sergeant. As he stood at ease, answering questions, I thought I caught him glancing at me. Was he checking to see if I was impressed? I made a mental note to let him know I was very proud of him. When he shipped off to Hawaii, we were relieved. He was a little disappointed.
It's been a hell of a week. We have had word that he would receive additional training, then deploy to a combat arena. I comforted his mother. "My baby," she said. The next morning I found myself near tears during a morning prayer, talking with the Creator about what-if's. A few days later things changed. He was displaced by a Lance Corporal who must have volunteered. The deployment was postponed. For a short time, a long time? We don't know.
It does seem inevitable. We prayed at our church for a friend of mine who spent time in Afghanistan. He is back safely now. Other members have friends and family deployed.
Our family voted for President Obama, not because he was the peace candidate. He wasn't. He thought the Iraq incursion was a bad idea.
I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
- In Chicago, October 2, 2002
We wanted candidate Obama to become President Obama because we felt that he was a tough, smart, caring person who would not put military lives in peril over ideological wishful thinking. Now that our son is one of those lives, we still believe, firmly believe, that to be true.
And we pray we are right.
Thursday night on Fox Business, John Stossel used about seven minutes of his show to host a "debate" between former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and an actor who impersonates President Obama.
This follows up a similar "debate" that Stossel hosted in April between the Obama impersonator and Rep. Ron Paul.
In Response to T. Paine's Medicare Conservative Style is Still Better
I think both plans need tweaking also. For the Republican plan, it is pretty easy. Since we are killing the sickliest and the most costly of patients, the deficiencies in the voucher plan will self-correct in true free market style. Those who can survive on vouchers will be the ones who are the most coherent and the healthiest otherwise, which is to say, the ones who least need them.
I think it is time for the Democrats to admit that we are not killing Medicare, but replacing it with something that will save those who are doing well enough to not require saving, and we are solving the problem of the remainder through survival of the fittest. Again, that is what a free market is, and the elderly are not above capitalism, and we should not let them be, since they are mostly in the way, anyway.
The Democrats need to admit that the Republicans are not proposing that we end Medicare. They are suggesting we cancel it. The Republicans feel that Medicare is dying, not by our hand, but by its own cost and inefficiency. They are not killing it. They are quickly stepping in and putting something else in its place so we will be ready when it dies. In order to accomplish this, they are stopping the flow of Medicare benefits. They are not killing it. It is dying already. They are stopping it. The thing we are putting in its place is a plan to help those who can survive without our help and to allow those who cannot survive without our help to die. This is a very traditionally Republican idea. It matches their tax code.
Republicans do not like entitlements. Governments have no place trying to keep their citizenry alive. Our government should not be a representative democracy. It should support free market entities, not people. We all agree on this. It is called capitalism.
So, Mr. Deming, I am tired of your partisan attacks on the Republican Party. I am always having to step in and defend them. God bless the GOP. They are the only ones who are trying to measure how much health assistance one can receive, not by how sick they truly are, and not by how much they truly need, but in vouchers. How much illness will the market bear? We should be doing the same thing. Vouchers are the future. Once vouchers decide who lives and who dies, we will all be a lot healthier. Poor people will not have long term illnesses anymore. All long term illnesses will be converted to short term, unless the patient is very wealthy. The Republicans are to illness, what Salk was to Polio.
The Republican plan, simply put, cures the problem of the poor suffering from long term illnesses. That is something these anti-American entitlements have not been able to do in almost a century.
Additionally, vouchers give the patients the ability to truly choose among a set of choices they could not possibility understand. What more could a man with failing health want? He gets to decide whether to take the congestive heart failure medication or continue dialysis. And unlike before, when he could have both, he now gets to try to find a way to work both into the budget, which is much better, because it is freedom and choice and we should respect him and grant him this for the rest of his life.
I just realized something: the elderly are really good at making complex budgetary decisions. From their nursing home beds, they could start a side business advising people on the most cost-effective path to good healthcare. Since they will be forced to learn how to do this if they are to survive, they will get really good at it. When I think of getting economic advice, a nursing home is always the first place that comes to mind. It is probably because we always hear the elderly complaining: “If only I could shop around and put my vast knowledge of medical procedure costs to good use.” Finally, we will get to stop hearing that complaint.
Nuggets of internet gold:
A friend sends a musical composition on Google's temporary application.
- T. Paine's Saving Common Sense has an amazing and wildly entertaining video proving that one single guy is every one of the Village People. The video is not even by Breitbart. Oh, do click on the link.
Lot's of folks in desperate financial circumstance. Not much attention or concern for them. Give them a thought, a prayer, a vote.
In response to Burr Deming's
Helping a Conservative Understand Medicare Termination
Mr. Deming, my friend, I had intended to do tons of research and give your posting the proper response it deserves. The time it would take for me to do this would necessarily result in that response coming sometime next week; therefore, with the little time I do have, I thought I’d give you the Reader’s Digest version of my rebuttal, sir.
First, I have great faith and respect for the “discerning minds” of our seniors. That is precisely why I am of the opinion that most of these great folks can indeed decipher which health care plan would be best for them and their newly received voucher. For those seniors that may not be able to discern as well as necessary and have no family or friend to be a responsible advocate for them, I think part of the new national health care plan needs to be a formal non-profit advocacy service available to help these folks discern which plan will best meet their needs.
As for your assertion that the Democrats’ cutting of $500 Billion helps save Medicare, well then I ask why stop there? Why not cut a full $1 Trillion? Surely that will cut ALL of the waste and profit of those unseemly and greedy corporate providers, sir.
I am sure you realize that fewer and fewer doctors and other medical service providers are even accepting Medicare patients anymore because of the simple fact that reimbursement of costs for those patients at best lets the doctors break even and at worst often times even fails to cover those costs. Even greedy rich doctors need to make a profit in order to stay in business!
I find your next assertion that the Democrats want to reduce costs and not benefits to be amusing. I think this is a wonderful idea. I do not see, however, how the Affordable Health Care Act accomplishes this though. The ultimate effect of this bogus law seems to be a boondoggle that will only help the insurance companies in the short term and then destroy our private insurance in the long run by eventually having everyone go to a single payer government option, which I suspect is exactly the point anyway. The huge disincentives provided in the law will only encourage more doctors etc to leave their practices and potential future doctors to never enter the field of medicine. How this helps reduce costs while maintaining benefits really escapes me. Further, if this Democratic plan is so fantastic, why is there the need for the Obama administration to continue to offer hundreds and hundreds of waivers to unions, large corporations, and lots of businesses in Pelosi’s congressional district to exempt them from having to comply with this egregious law? If it is so fantastic, why did congress exempt themselves from participating in the plan?
Next, I think the linkage of highways and parks is not congruous to the federal mandate that all citizens must purchase a service from a private business. Where a reasonable case can be made that highways are constitutionally authorized as they are needed for interstate commerce and potentially also for national and civil defense reasons, this is not so with health care. This pernicious law is not justified by Democrats citing the “good and plenty” clause either. If the federal government has the ability to dictate that American citizens MUST buy a product or service from a private business simply because of the fact that they draw breath, then where are the limitations on what the government can mandate? At this level and caliber, this truly is unconstitutional and unprecedented.
Lastly, if it makes you feel any better, I certainly don’t think that any savings recognized from any aspect of government services needs to be returned in the form of tax cuts right now. That said, considering that it was recently reported that now 47% of Americans pay no net taxes and indeed are often recipients of tax payer dollars, one wonders how long it will be before that number reaches 51% and thereby making the takers more common than the producers. If the voting goes that way too, our country is finally and irrevocably doomed. 49% of the nation is not going to keep working to support the other 51%. All of the class warfare rhetoric notwithstanding, the “rich” really are paying their fair share as I have demonstrated in the past.
Frankly, it was not the government’s business to ever get involved with providing health care to all seniors; however, now that so many seniors are now dependent upon the government accordingly, it is a system and a promise that must be fixed and kept. I don’t like the GOP plan and think it needs some serious tweaking. The Democrats’ solution is even worse though.
For the first time since his campaign saw a huge staff shake up, Newt Gingrich spoke to media outside his McLean, Va. home today, citing "strategic differences" between himself and the departed staff.
"We had a strategic disagreement about how to run a campaign," Gingrich said. "There have been very few campaigns that have been solutions oriented and that are oriented to every single American."