I was reminded of one of the more egregious features of Obamacare while watching this interview with one Julie Rovner from NPR, on News Hour last night.
The new health care reform law that President Obama signed last year not only expands the number of people who get coverage, it also requires the secretary of health and human services to determine which preventive benefits should be provided by all insurers.
There were three categories of preventive care that were automatically covered [under the new law]…
There was a fourth category that was listed — that came about because Sen. Barbara Mikulski from Maryland actually got an amendment added that the secretary would have discretion to add, and these would be preventive services for women, because over the years preventive services for women have thought to have been left out by the Preventive Health Services Task Force.
And those were left to the secretary’s discretion.
[The HHS Secretary] is determining — first she’s going to determine whether this will be part of this preventive health package that will be made available with no co-pays, but she’s also determining these essential — what kind of things will be included in the essential benefits package.
The story focuses on contraception being left to the HHS Secretary’s discretion as to whether it’s included in government-subsidized healthcare, ie taxpayer-funded healthcare. But let’s not kid ourselves. Going forward, this will morph into other controversial services being covered at the whim of the HHS secretary. Someone who’s unelected and unaccountable to anyone, playing politics with an industry that accounts for nearly 15% of the economy.
Where are the liberals screaming about imperialism in the government?
NHS managers are blocking hospital appointments for patients to save cash, a survey of family doctors has revealed, and at least one health trust proposes to stop sending obese people and smokers for routine hip and knee surgery because their unhealthy lifestyles lower the chance of the operations’ “success”.
With the health service asked to find an unprecedented £20bn efficiency savings over the next few years, many are resorting to moving procedures out of the NHS. In Kent hospital managers say abortions will now be provided by the charity Marie Stopes with hospitals only dealing with complicated cases. Last winter local GPs were asked to “stop referrals” for many procedures.
Health trusts are having to pare back costs in new ways. NHS North Yorkshire and York, the area’s primary care trust, is planning to stop patients who smoke, and those with a body mass index of more than 35, from having routine hip and knee operations.
The rules of economics apply to the English as well as to Americans. When the government needs to rein in costs in a regulated healthcare market, the inevitable result is rationing. Plain and simple.
Worry not, you loathsome cretin, our economic utopia is upon us:
Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced an ambitious $53 billion program to build new high-speed rail networks and make existing ones faster over the next six years.
Biden, who estimated he has ridden Amtrak between Washington and his home in Wilmington, Delaware, some 7,900 times, made a strong pitch for rail transportation to enable the United States to compete and lead internationally.
“This is about seizing the future,” he said, making the announcement at Philadelphia’s busy 30th Street station with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Japan and China are already building high-speed rail, and “there’s no reason, none,” that the United States cannot do the same, Biden said.
“If we do not, you tell me how America is going to be able to lead the world in the 21st century.”
I don’t think I fully understand the liberal obsession with high-speed rail. Is it because of their love for everything European, as in political systems and economic policy? (“Most of Europe has government-run healthcare, why don’t we”, was the mantra during the Obamacare debate, for example.)
Apparently, they’d like us rubes to forget that the United States has dabbled in public rail systems before, and um, well….that hasn’t worked out so good.
Of course, if anyone is opposed to flushing more taxpayer money down the toilet for the sake of “high-speed rail”, they will no doubt be labeled as racist or hate-mongers, or “against progress” and the like, because the
media left supports it.
So be prepared for that meme, as the White House pushes
its next government solution to solve everything high-speed rail.
Who would’ve thought that Michael Moore is a lying sack of…er, something?
Cuba banned Michael Moore‘s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
Sicko investigated healthcare in the US by comparing the for-profit, non-universal US system with the non-profit universal health care systems of other countries, including Cuba, France and the UK.
The secret 2008 cable is based on reports from the USINT’s foreign service health practitioner (FSHP) of her conversations with local people, unauthorised visits to Cuban hospitals, and experience of helping USINT American and Cuban personnel access healthcare.
The cable describes a visit made by the FSHP to the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital in October 2007. Built in 1982, the newly renovated hospital was used in Michael Moore’s film as evidence of the high-quality of healthcare available to all Cubans.
But according to the FSHP, the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. “Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is ‘off-limits’ to them,” the memo reveals.
What’s not a surprise is that liberals still need to lie about the “benefits” of the left-wing utopian idealism that they try so hard to push on others.
[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]
Time to bend over, Connecticut. You wanted healthcare reform? You got your healthcare reform:
The state has given Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield the go ahead to raise premiums by as much as 47 percent for some members, and says health care reform is the reason why.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan on Oct. 6, asking what he called “excessive” increases were approved without full consideration of all the facts. His letter mentioned rate increases for both Anthem and Aetna.
Sullivan responded to Blumenthal saying the new rates included “very rich benefits” mandated by federal law.
“There is not one person in the state of Connecticut who will see an increase in their current premiums based on what the department approved for Anthem and Aetna,” Sullivan said in a release. “The rates that were filed and approved reflect the current cost to deliver care and the impact of more comprehensive benefit designs required under the federal healthcare reform law. If the attorney general wants to complain to someone, he should complain to Congress.”
“I find myself in an unprecedented place and time, as do my counterparts throughout the country, in overseeing one of the most far-reaching policy initiatives enacted by the federal government in recent history,” Sullivan said in the letter. “It is unfortunate that this reform, while addressing insurer behavior, has provided little to no reform of the escalating costs of the health care delivery system.”
Let’s not forget that Dick Blumenthal is also the Democratic party’s candidate for Senate in this year’s midterm election.
So there you have it. Left wing utopian fantasies of “bending the cost curve” and greater accessibility of healthcare always fall to economic reality. The road to full nationalization of healthcare comes at a steep price.
A note to Connecticut voters–this insanity doesn’t end with a Senator Blumenthal as part of your Senate delegation.
Just hit the wire:
States can proceed with their lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark reform law, a Florida judge ruled on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he would reject parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.
The suit was originally filed in March by mostly Republic state attorneys general.
In his formal ruling on Thursday, Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for December 16.
“If you like your existing health insurance plan, you can keep it” was the big pseudo-slogan for President Obama while stumping for healthcare reform last year.
It’s so benevolent and kind for our Federal overlords to bestow upon us the privilege of keeping existing healthcare coverage.
That is until, you can’t:
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage.
The decision by Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim, the state’s second-largest health insurer, was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim — a Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan — form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money. Under current rules, patients can seek care from any doctor.
“We became concerned by the long-term viability of Medicare Advantage programs in general,’’ said Lynn Bowman, vice president of customer service at Harvard Pilgrim’s office in Quincy. “We know that cuts in Medicare are being used to fund national health care reform. And we also had concerns about our ability to build a network of health care providers that would meet the needs of our seniors.’’
Cuts in Medicare you say? There’s a couple hundred Democrats out on the trail right now who will deny this fact to the bitter end of their political careers (in about five weeks), not to mention that healthcare “reform” will eventually price out private healthcare providers, thus leaving consumers with–little choices and higher costs.
Funny how that is the opposite of what Democrats promised healthcare reform would accomplish.
Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio made an interesting statement this week, noting that should the Republican party win big in November, as they are expected to do, it should provide a springboard for the 2012 election.
Of course, the left side of the blogosphere is tsk-tsking the comments (how dare politicians actually think about playing politics!).
But I seem to recall back in 2006 that the liberals were openly applauding the idea of that year’s midterms as a “first step” in their agenda–that the election was just a building block for congressional majorities and the White House in 2008. Again, when the Left engages in politics, its for altruistic betterment of society. When the Right does it, it’s well—just dirty politics.
This kind of rhetoric is plain ignorance and propaganda. To the extent that what conservative activists are supporting is the antithesis of everything that the Obama Democrats stand for, then yes–2010 should be setting the stage for 2012. Part of that is making sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president.
But I digress.
Andy McCarthy is up with an interesting post agreeing with Congressman Jordan’s statement:
Even if the GOP takes back both chambers, they will not have veto-proof majorities (either in straight Republican numbers or in the sense of a “working majority” that assumes peeling off some Dems). The president is obviously not going to sign off on what he regards as his signature progressive achievements. Consequently, the best the Republicans can expect — and this would be pretty good — is to tee up repeal, force Obama to veto it, and set up the 2012 election as being about the president who is the obstacle to reversing policies the American people despise.
I don’t have great hope for repeal, though I devoutly hope I am wrong. In any case, though, it’s a project that has to take at least two election cycles: first developing a mandate for repeal and finally electing a president who is willing to execute the mandate. So if they win in ’10, they have to start the ’12 campaign instantly. Anything else means collaborating with the White House in the consolidation of Obama’s new New Deal — which, though it would force Obama to give some ground, would on the whole be a permanent victory for big government.
I’m just as pessimistic as McCarthy. I’ve written about this over and over. Sure, the GOP has a great shot at taking back the House and an extremely outside shot in the Senate. But in terms of having enough firepower to push-back on the progressive agenda (the crown-jewel of which, healthcare reform, has already been passed into law), the Republicans pretty much need the 2010-2012 strategy, as it were.
But take note conservatives, the most critical bit of McCarthy’s post, which I completely agree with:
If I am right that Obama is not a conventional politician, that he is a movement leftist who cares more about imposing his program than being reelected, we are in for a very difficult time, beginning with the lame-duck session right after the election. And if you thought the last two years were bad in terms of transparency, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
As long as the president had commanding majorities in Congress (2009-10), he had a powerful incentive to ram through unpopular legislation. Legislation is a relatively open process. Even with all the backroom horsetrading, the process of passing laws requires public debate and public voting. But executive agencies conduct much of their business behind closed doors, and they are notorious for ignoring congressional oversight demands.
We could end up longing for the days when you had to pass the bill in order to know what was in it; soon, you won’t know what your government is doing until it’s already done.
Is there anything more socially and politically dangerous as a politician who doesn’t care about getting re-elected? We’ve been warned.
With the passage of Prop C as a backdrop, Michael Barone sifts through the results from this past Tuesday’s primaries, and what appears to be serious trouble for Obama and the Democrats:
Heavy Republican turnout helps account for the 71%-29% majority for Missouri’s Proposition C, which purports to ban any mandate to buy health insurance. But it doesn’t explain the whole thing.
[...] Proposition C carried all 115 counties in Missouri (St. Louis City is separate and apart from St. Louis County, which voted for C; Kansas City, whose results are reported separately, is part of Jackson County, which as a whole voted for it as well. To have the mandate rejected by 71% of voters in a state Obama missed carrying by only 0.2% is a pretty devastating result.
What does Chuck Schumer think about all of this?
Democrats and the media can spin this all they want. It’s looking more and more likely that there really is a groundswell of voter dissatisfaction out there for Democrats and their left-wing agenda.
It’s one battle in what will be a long fight against Obamacare:
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.
“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.
With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”
Ed Morrissey breaks down the results:
How big was this victory? Three weeks ago, Rasmussen polled likely voters in Missouri and asked whether they supported repeal of ObamaCare. At that time, 58% said they supported its repeal, with 50% strongly supporting it. Thirty-eight percent said they opposed repeal. That 58/38 split turned into a 71/29 disaster for Democrats and Obama.
Even Rasmussen may be underestimating the power of ObamaCare repeal in its likely-voter turnout, as their last poll on this question in Missouri clearly underestimated (in an indirect survey, of course) the results for this election.
Bear in mind that over 315,000 Democrats turned out to cast ballots in the primary that nominated Robin Carnahan, while over 577,000 Republicans hit the polls. That is about a 65/35 split — which means that a significant amount of Democrats either supported the ballot measure repudiating ObamaCare, or didn’t bother to cast a vote to defend the program. Actually, Prop C got more votes than the combined voting in both Senate primaries — which tells us something even more about the passion in the electorate.
Democrats may have to hit the panic button after seeing the results from this swing state. ObamaCare set fire to the electorate last year, and that may be an inferno for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in November.
As goes Missouri, so goes the nation?
Like I said, this is great news. But I remain pessimistic on the probability of repeal. So much has to fall into place for repeal with teeth to happen. Republicans need a massive victory in November. That includes the Tea Partiers, who better make a big splash in November, if they want to be taken seriously. Other state referendums need to be won.
But more to Morrissey’s point, and this is good to see, the Obamacare push-back appears to be hammering Democrats even harder than expected.
This is a great first step. But it’s a first step in a long walk nonetheless.