War on Doctors

In an address to the House on Wednesday, Alabama Representative Mo Brooks read aloud a letter sent to him by Dr. Marlin Gill of Decatur. The letter holds nothing back while detailing the excessive costs and regulations that Dr. Gill calls Obamacare’s “war against doctors.”

Here is the full text of the letter, courtesy of Rep. Brooks’ office:

Dear Congressman Brooks,

 

As a practicing family physician, I plead for help against what I can best characterize as Washington’s war against doctors.

 

The medical profession has never before remotely approached today’s stress, work hours, wasted costs, decreased efficiency, and declining ability to focus on patient care.

 

In our community alone, at least 6 doctors have left patient care for administrative positions, to start a concierge practice, or retire altogether.

 

Doctors are smothered by destructive regulations that add costs, raise our overhead and ‘gum up the works,’ making patient treatment slower and less efficient, thus forcing doctors to focus on things other than patient care and reduce the number of patients we can help each day.

 

I spend more time at work than at any time in my 27 years of practice and more of that time is spent on administrative tasks and entering useless data into a computer rather than helping sick patients.

 

Doctors have been forced by ill-informed bureaucrats to implement electronic medical records (“EMR”) that, in our four doctor practice, costs well over $100,000 plus continuing yearly operational costs . . . all of which does not help take care of one patient while driving up the cost of every patient’s health care.

 

Washington’s electronic medical records requirement makes our medical practice much slower and less efficient, forcing our doctors to treat fewer patients per day than we did before the EMR mandate.

 

To make matters worse, Washington forces doctors to demonstrate ‘meaningful use’ of EMR or risk not being fully paid for the help we give.

 

In addition to the electronic medical records burden, we face a mandate to use the ICD-10 coding system, a new set of reimbursement diagnosis codes.

 

The current ICD-9 coding system uses roughly 13,000 codes. The new ICD-10 coding system uses a staggering 70,000 new and completely different codes, thus dramatically slowing doctors down due to the unnecessary complexity and sheer numbers of codes that must be learned.

 

The cost of this new ICD-10 coding system for our small practice is roughly $80,000, again driving up health care costs without one iota of improvement in health care quality.

 

Finally, doctors face nonpayment by patients with ObamaCare. These patients may or may not be paying their premiums and we have no way of verifying this. No business can operate with that much uncertainty.

 

On behalf of the medical profession, I ask that Washington stop the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with a better law written with the input of real doctors who will actually treat patients covered by it.

 

America has enjoyed the best health care the world has ever known. That health care is in jeopardy because physicians cannot survive Washington’s ‘war on doctors’ without relief.

 

Eventually the problems for doctors will become problems for patients, and we are all patients at some point.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Dr. Marlin Gill of Decatur, Alabama

Brooks warned of the serious – and, in some cases, life-threatening – consequences of ignoring Dr. Gill’s warning. Let’s hope that America will listen.

This is What It Looks Like When the State Just Doesn’t Care About Your Rights Anymore

Well, Liberal know what’s best for you better than you do, in their minds. And this was about helping the uninsured get insurance, in their minds, so since they only had the intentions of angels of mercy the fact that they are devils incarnate will never occur to them and since they have been waiting almost 100 years for this they will never give up their toys. And they sure as hell will never understand the damage they have caused or will cause because their intention were good.

It’s someone elses fault for screwing up their angelic vision. Or your lack of cow towing 100% to their will, resistance is hurting YOU.

That’s the kind of denial you’re going to get.

Deal with it.

When asked if there were any parts of Obamacare that would “absolutely” not be delayed in the future, Sebelius responded: ”I don’t have any idea how to answer that question.”

It’s complicated…. 🙂

“This is a complicated law,” Sebelius told Breitbart News. ”It’s in place right now and we anticipate full implementation.”

The governor (a Republican) told a reporter that he had no plans to meet with Sebelius when she came through Nashville on Thursday.

“She didn’t ask,” Haslam said. (CBS)

Not on her Agenda! 🙂


146347 600 Obamacare countdown cartoons


146312 600 Yet Another Obamacare Delay cartoons

No Escape

Public and Private Surveillance

The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership

By Bruce Schneier Imagine the government passed a law requiring all citizens to carry a tracking device. Such a law would immediately be found unconstitutional. Yet we all carry mobile phones.
National ID Card: Social Security
National Health Card: ObamaCare

If the National Security Agency required us to notify it whenever we made a new friend, the nation would rebel. Yet we notify Facebook Inc. (FB) If the Federal Bureau of Investigation demanded copies of all our conversations and correspondence, it would be laughed at. Yet we provide copies of our e-mail to Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or whoever our mail host is; we provide copies of our text messages to Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Corp. (S); and we provide copies of other conversations to Twitter Inc., Facebook, LinkedIn (LNKD) Corp. or whatever other site is hosting them.

The primary business model of the Internet is built on mass surveillance, and our government’s intelligence-gathering agencies have become addicted to that data. Understanding how we got here is critical to understanding how we undo the damage.

Computers and networks inherently produce data, and our constant interactions with them allow corporations to collect an enormous amount of intensely personal data about us as we go about our daily lives. Sometimes we produce this data inadvertently simply by using our phones, credit cards, computers and other devices. Sometimes we give corporations this data directly on Google, Facebook, Apple Inc.’s iCloud and so on in exchange for whatever free or cheap service we receive from the Internet in return.

The NSA is also in the business of spying on everyone, and it has realized it’s far easier to collect all the data from these corporations rather than from us directly. In some cases, the NSA asks for this data nicely. In other cases, it makes use of subtle threats or overt pressure. If that doesn’t work, it uses tools like national security letters.

The Partnership

The result is a corporate-government surveillance partnership, one that allows both the government and corporations to get away with things they couldn’t otherwise.

There are two types of laws in the U.S., each designed to constrain a different type of power: constitutional law, which places limitations on government, and regulatory law, which constrains corporations. Historically, these two areas have largely remained separate, but today each group has learned how to use the other’s laws to bypass their own restrictions. The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits.

This partnership manifests itself in various ways. The government uses corporations to circumvent its prohibitions against eavesdropping domestically on its citizens. Corporations rely on the government to ensure that they have unfettered use of the data they collect.

Here’s an example: It would be reasonable for our government to debate the circumstances under which corporations can collect and use our data, and to provide for protections against misuse. But if the government is using that very data for its own surveillance purposes, it has an incentive to oppose any laws to limit data collection. And because corporations see no need to give consumers any choice in this matter — because it would only reduce their profits — the market isn’t going to protect consumers, either.

Our elected officials are often supported, endorsed and funded by these corporations as well, setting up an incestuous relationship between corporations, lawmakers and the intelligence community.

The losers are us, the people, who are left with no one to stand up for our interests. Our elected government, which is supposed to be responsible to us, is not. And corporations, which in a market economy are supposed to be responsive to our needs, are not. What we have now is death to privacy — and that’s very dangerous to democracy and liberty.

Challenging Power

The simple answer is to blame consumers, who shouldn’t use mobile phones, credit cards, banks or the Internet if they don’t want to be tracked. But that argument deliberately ignores the reality of today’s world. Everything we do involves computers, even if we’re not using them directly. And by their nature, computers produce tracking data. We can’t go back to a world where we don’t use computers, the Internet or social networking. We have no choice but to share our personal information with these corporations, because that’s how our world works today.

Curbing the power of the corporate-private surveillance partnership requires limitations on both what corporations can do with the data we choose to give them and restrictions on how and when the government can demand access to that data. Because both of these changes go against the interests of corporations and the government, we have to demand them as citizens and voters. We can lobby our government to operate more transparently — disclosing the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would be a good start — and hold our lawmakers accountable when it doesn’t. But it’s not going to be easy. There are strong interests doing their best to ensure that the steady stream of data keeps flowing. (Bloomberg)

FBI ALLOWS CRIME

The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

“It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context,” said Shawn Henry, who supervised criminal investigations for the FBI until he retired last year. “This is not done in a vacuum. It’s not done randomly. It’s not taken lightly.”

A spokeswoman for the FBI, Denise Ballew, declined to answer questions about the report, saying only that the circumstances in which its informants are allowed to break the law are “situational, tightly controlled,” and subject to Justice Department policy.(USA Today)

But cavalierly, yes. All while they are watching us. And suing states, and trying to control voter registration, and harassing citizens for their own agenda.

DEA TRACKING YOU

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Now, it’s combating YOU. 🙂

So you want to commit crime, do it FOR the FBI and NSA.

Gee, that makes me feel better…

Convict Bureaucracy

Hilarious quote of the Weekend:

Before everyone in this town convicts this person in the court of public opinion with no evidence, let’s actually get the facts and make decisions after that. There’s nothing that suggests she did anything wrong,” *(ROTFL)*  White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, appearing on four Sunday morning political talk shows, offered strong support for Sarah Hall Ingram, who led the agency’s tax-exempt division as it admittedly targeted conservative groups. She recently was promoted to chief of the health care reform office, tasked with implementing “Obamacare.” (WT)

Close Second:  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” Thursday night to answer questions related to the three separate scandals that have turned the federal government on its head over the last two weeks.

Carney’s answers summed up: There are no scandals.

“You’re concocting scandals that don’t exist,” Carney said, when show host Piers Morgan asked how the Obama administration would “restore the faith that some Americans have lost” in its transparency.

“Especially with regard to the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and, I think, has fallen apart largely this week,” Carney said.

He continued, . And we are committed to that. The president is committed to that.” (Blaze)

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

This from the Valerie Plaime, Trent Lott, Tea Party “Violence” ad nauseum “Vote for me!- The Other Guys an asshole” convict-everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-in-the-media crowd.

2005: (from a  Progressive Liberal website)-

Today comes the revelation in The Wall Street Journal that “A key department memo discussing Joseph Wilson’s Niger trip was classified ‘Top Secret,’ and the passage about his wife’s CIA role was specially marked ‘S/NF’ — not to be shared with any foreign intelligence agencies.”

Perhaps even more damning are reports that the Top Secret-S/NF document was apparently first delivered to Air Force One when George W. Bush and Colin Powell (who had apparently requested it from analysts within the State Department) were flying to Africa in 2003.

Somehow – nobody knows at the moment – the information in this Top Secret-S/NF document (the identity of Joe Wilson’s wife) then migrated from Air Force One to George W. Bush’s assistant, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney’s assistant, Scooter Libby. Rove and Libby then immediately began “dialing for dollars” – calling reporters with this juicy bit of Top Secret-N/SF information – in an attempt to politically assassinate Joe Wilson.

Which raises the question: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”

But they are as as silent as the grave on Obama when you pose that same question now. 🙂 Is there such a thing as Anti-Silence? 🙂

SILENCE WILL FALL!

Hilarious!
But predictable. After all, Don’t do as I do, Do as I say. You aren’t allowed to use their own tactics against THEM. They are holier-than-thou.

“I think we’re going to find that there’s a written policy that says we were targeting people who were opposed to the president. I can’t believe that one rogue agent started this. It seems to be too widespread,” said Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate.

His Republican colleague Sen. John Cornyn of Texas agreed that there must be more to the story.

What did THIS President know and when did he know it? No one in the White House, The Democrats or most of the Media wants to know. But 8 years ago they were a ravenous pack of velociraptors over this very same question.

Fascinating… 🙂

“Bureaucrats don’t take risks unless they have a signal, either explicit or implicit, from their higher-ups that what you’re doing is exactly what we expect you to do,” he said during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I have a very hard time believing that this was something cooked up in Cincinnati by midlevel employees.”

Or in Phoenix ATF (Fast & Furious anyone?) 🙂
Bureaucrats are creatures of safe, secure habits.
Bureaucracy is “a system of administration marked by officialism, red tape, and proliferation.” (Webster Dictionary). And a Bureaucrat is a creature of Bureaucracy. They are risk takers or rule-breakers unless it’s safe to do so.
Bureaucracies are criticized for their complexity, their inefficiency, and their inflexibility.
The dehumanizing effects of excessive bureaucracy were a major theme in the work of Franz Kafka, and were central to his masterpiece The Trial. The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is a key concept in modern managerial theory], and has been a central issue in numerous political campaigns. Others have defended the existence of bureaucracies. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which human activity can be organized, and that systematic processes and organized hierarchies were necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency and eliminate favoritism.[14] But even Weber saw bureaucracy as a threat to individual freedom, in which the increasing bureaucratization of human life traps individuals in the an “iron cage” of rule-based, rational control.
What better place for people who believe if you tell a lie often enough that it becomes the truth but bureaucracy.
And what better bureaucrat to head the chief weapon, ObamaCare, than a loyal partisan bureaucrat.
AN APPARATCHIK!
Which is a Russian colloquial term for a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party or government, i.e. an agent of the governmental or party “apparat” (apparatus) that held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management. James Billington describes one as “a man not of grand plans, but of a hundred carefully executed details.” It is often considered a derogatory term, with negative connotations in terms of the quality, competence, and attitude of a person thus described. (Wiki)
But utterly loyal to the Party and will do whatever the Party requires.
Susan Rice, anyone?
Eric Holder?
The Mainstream Media?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting President Obama’s top attorney knew about the IRS targeting weeks ago before news broke, but of course, Obama still didn’t know about it until he learned about it “from the news.”
She just didn’t tell him? 🙂
Fascinating…
Victor Davis Hanson:In then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, he ran to the left of Hillary Rodham Clinton as a moral reformer. Mr. Obama promised to transcend the old politics and bring a new era of hope-and-change transparency to Washington. Five years later, those vows are in shambles.True, the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, has become a mess of partisan bickering, but the disturbing facts now transcend politics. The Obama administration — the president himself, Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state, U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, White House press secretary Jay Carney — all at various times blamed an obscure video maker for the “spontaneous violence” that killed Americans last September.The problem is not just that such scapegoating was untrue, but that our officials knew it was untrue when they said it — given both prior CIA talking-point briefings and phone calls from those on the ground during the attacks.

One theme ties all the bizarre aspects of the Benghazi scandal together — the doctored talking points, the inexplicable failure to beef up diplomatic security before the attacks and to send in help during the fighting, the jailing of a petty con artist on the false charge that his amateur video had led to attacks on our consulate, and the shabby treatment of nonpartisan State Department whistleblowers.

There was an overarching pre-election desire last year to downplay any notion that al Qaeda remained a serious danger after the much-ballyhooed killing of Osama bin Laden. Likewise, Libya was not supposed to be a radical Islamic mess after the successful “lead from behind” ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Facts then had to change to fit a campaign narrative.

As the congressional hearings on Benghazi were taking place last week, we also learned that the Internal Revenue Service, administered by the Department of the Treasury, has been going after conservative groups in a politicized manner that we have not seen since Richard Nixon’s White House. There was no evidence that any of these conservative associations had taken thousands of dollars in improper tax deductions — in the manner of former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, the onetime overseer of the IRS.

Instead, groups with suspiciously American names like “Patriot” or “Tea Party” prompted IRS partisans to scrutinize their tax information in a way that they would not have for the tax-exempt MoveOn.org or the Obama-affiliated Organizing for Action. On top of that, the Justice Department just announced that it had secretly seized the records of calls from at least 20 work and private phone lines belonging to editors and reporters at The Associated Press in efforts to stop suspected leaks.

At about the same time as the Benghazi and IRS disclosures, it was widely learned that there was a strange relationship between the Obama White House and the very center of the American media — odd in a way that might explain the unusually favorable media coverage accorded this administration.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications in the Obama administration, is linked to the doctoring of the Benghazi talking points. He also happens to be the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes. CBS recently pressured one of its top reporters, Sharyl Attkisson, for “wading dangerously close to advocacy,” as one report worded it, in her critical reporting of Benghazi.

Unfortunately, such relationships are not rare with this administration. The head of ABC News, Ben Sherwood, has a sister who works for the Obama White House as a special assistant, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

There is more. The CNN deputy bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Mrs. Clinton’s former aide at the State Department, Tom Nides, who is also a former Fannie Mae executive. Mr. Carney, Obama’s press secretary, is the husband of Claire Shipman, the senior national correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Apparently, in the logic of the Obama White House and the Washington media, there is nothing improper about wives dispassionately reporting to the nation on what their husbands are doing, or brothers adjudicating the news coverage of their own siblings.

Last month, the congressional architect of “Obamacare,” Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, announced his plans to retire — in part because he feared his legislative child would become “a train wreck.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who shepherded the bill toward passage, has echoed that worry.

Democrats are panicking because before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is even fully implemented in the midterm election year 2014, it appears neither affordable nor protective of patients. That reality was long ago foreseeable — given that Obamacare passed on a strictly partisan vote, with a number of questionable legislative payoffs to skeptical fence-sitting Democrats, and even after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who helped ram the bill through the House, admitted that, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

What is the common denominator in all these second-term administration embarrassments? “Hope and change” is fast becoming the 1973 Nixon White House.

But this Nixon, has the Press and a  24/7 News Lying cycle to try and cover it all up.
That’s why this is not 1973, but 2013.
America, The Land of The Bureaucrat and The Home of The Spin Liars Club of Washington.
America, What a Country! 🙂
Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Happy Anniversary, ObamaCare

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Just over three years ago, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously quipped about ObamaCare that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

But only now, as ObamaCare’s third anniversary approaches — President Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010 — is the country starting to find out what the sweeping health care overhaul will actually do.

ObamaCare backers typically tout popular features that went into effect almost immediately. The law expanded Medicare’s drug coverage, for example, and let children stay on their parents’ plans until they turned 26.

So why does “Obamacare” (officially known as the “Affordable Care Act”) remain so irresistible for so many of our fellow Americans? Because at its core Obamacare is not about health care, so much as it is about the redistribution of wealth, and for those who are on the receiving end of the redistribution the agenda is completely irresistible.

When the federal government doles-out cash, it’s difficult to say “no.”

But the bulk of ObamaCare doesn’t take effect until next year. That’s when the so-called insurance exchanges are supposed to be up and running, when the mandate on individuals and businesses kicks in, and when the avalanche of regulations on the insurance industry hits.

As this start date draws near, evidence is piling up that ObamaCare will:

Boost insurance costs. Officially the “Affordable Care Act,” ObamaCare promised to lower premiums for families. But regulators decided to impose a 3.5% surcharge on insurance plans sold through federally run exchanges. There’s also a $63 fee for every person covered by employers. And the law adds a “premium tax” that will require insurers to pay more than $100 billion over the next decade. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation expects insurers to simply pass this tax onto individuals and small businesses, boosting premiums another 2.5%.

Push millions off employer coverage. In February, the Congressional Budget Office said that 7 million will likely lose their employer coverage thanks to ObamaCare — nearly twice its previous estimate. That number could be as high as 20 million, the CBO says.

Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.

“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.

And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.

Cost people their jobs. The Federal Reserve’s March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses “cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”

Around the same time, Gallup reported a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.

Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

Tax the middle class. IBD reported in February that much of the $800 billion in tax hikes imposed by ObamaCare will end up hitting the middle class, including $45 billion in mandate penalties, $19 billion raised by limiting medical expense deductions, $24 billion through strict limits on flexible spending accounts, plus another $5 billion because ObamaCare bans using FSAs to buy over-the-counter drugs.

Add to the deficit. The Government Accountability Office reported in January that Obama-Care will likely add $6.2 trillion in red ink over 75 years if independent experts are right and several of its cost control measures don’t work as advertised.

Cost more than promised. The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies will cost $233 billion more over the next decade than it thought last year.

Be a bureaucratic nightmare. Consumers got their first glimpse of life under ObamaCare when the Health and Human Services Department released a draft insurance application form. It runs 21 pages. “Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes,” the AP concluded after reviewing the form.

Exacerbate doctor shortages. Last summer, a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than its needs by 2015, thanks in large part to ObamaCare. At the same time, a survey of 13,000 doctors by the Physicians Foundation found that almost 60% of doctors say ObamaCare has made them less optimistic about the future of health care and they would retire today if they could.

Leave millions uninsured. After 10 years, ObamaCare will still leave 30 million without coverage, according to the CBO. As IBD reported, that figure could be much higher if the law causes premiums to spike and encourages people to drop coverage despite the law’s mandate.

Corporate Welfare. That thing that liberals supposedly hate.

But with Obamacare, the “customer service” element has become more of a “corporate welfare” element. Companies, careers, and personal fortunes are being made by people who are the states, as firms bill the individual states millions of taxpayer dollars for the website and call center set-ups (and the Obama administration frequently offers to reimburse the states for the set-up costs).

Take for example a company called Leavitt Partners, LLC. Founded by the former Republican Governor of Utah (and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services) Michael Leavitt, the company describes itself as a “healthcare intelligence business,” and is focused solely on state-by-state Obamacare compliance (they have already completed Utah’s insurance exchange start-up).

We’re talking here about Michael Leavitt, the former Utah Governor who last year endorsed and campaigned on behalf of Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate who pledged to “end” Obamacare. Yes, that Michael Leavitt is making millions advising the states on how to comply with the monstrosity that his pal Mitt wanted to eliminate.

How much money is in play for these companies? Consider that last fall representatives from Leavitt’s company traveled north and proposed to build an exchange for their tiny nieghboring state of Idaho, a state with a population of less than 1.7 million people. Once the Leavitt representatives unveiled their proposed price tag to build an exchange – $70 million-an incredulous member of Idaho’s state insurance task force asked “does Governor Leavitt really believe that this is a good idea?”

Company associate Brett Graham replied with the nuanced explanation that “Governor Leavitt doesn’t like the feds dictating to the states,” however, the Governor also believes that the states should “stand inside the circle with the feds rather than stand outside of it”- which was an artful way of saying “yes, Governor Leavitt likes this and wants to get paid to show you how to do it.”

Leavitt’s proposal was not the most expensive that the sparsely populated Idaho received. The global accounting and consulting firm KPMG weighed-in with a price tag of $77 million, and when a state official asked what the residents of Idaho would get in return for such a large expenditure, KPMG representative Andrew Gottschalk was vague: “It’s hard to explain exactly what you get…It’s hardware, it’s software, there’s infrastructure, there’s people and staffing” he stated. “There would likely be a call center. It’s all kinds of things… there’s a lot of stuff….but it’s hard to be specific.”

States spending millions of taxpayer dollars, and receiving “all kinds of things” and “a lot of stuff” in return. That’s our present-day reality with Obamacare. Along with Leavitt Partners and KPMG, global consulting firms Maximus and Mercer are also cashing-in. These firms employ well educated, highly skilled professionals with JD’s, MBA’s, and advanced degrees in information systems and healthcare management, most of whom would undoubtedly reject the idea that they are welfare recipients. As the Maximus corporate website states, “we leverage our extensive experience and strong commitment to ethics to provide high quality services and solutions.”

Along with the Obamacare cash that’s flowing in to private consultants’ accounts, there’s the money that’s being handed-out to state and county governments under the auspice of Medicaid expansion. A key component of Obamacare was to have mandated that the individual states reduce eligibility requirements for Medicaid, and expand the number of participants in their respective programs. However, the United States Supreme Court overturned that component of the Obamacare law, so expansion of Medicaid is an elective choice for each of the states.

But not to worry, the President has made the expansion of the federal Medicaid welfare program irresistible, as the Administration is offering to pay 100% of the expansion costs for the first three years, for states that agree to the expansion this year. That’s why, for example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has refused to allow an Obamacare insurance exchange in his state, nonetheless agreed to the Medicaid expansion – when you can get the fed’s to pay for people’s “free” healthcare, that alleviates the state and county agencies from paying for it. It creates an addiction to federal spending, but if you’re in charge of a state or federal agency, it makes sense on some level.

This is the reality of Obamacare. It’s wildly unpopular for the masses, but irresistible for those on the receiving end of the money grab.

And isn’t that just exactly what Liberals purportedly hate? The rich get richer off the poor and the poor get the shaft.

Fascinating birthday present. 🙂

The Pork Sleighs Me

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Some Christmas Pork over the Crony Barrel:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”

Matt Mayer of the conservative Heritage Foundation slammed the request as an “enormous Christmas gift worth of stuff.”

“The funding here should be focused on helping the community and the people, not replacing federal assets or federal items,” he said.

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste! 🙂

Mark Steyn:

A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be “under-served” and thus eligible for the fed gravy. At the ribbon-cutting, she was an honored guest, and they were abundant in their praise. Alas, in the fullness of time, the political pendulum swung, her senator departed the scene, and she was obliged to take a job out of state.

Last summer, she returned to the old neighborhood and thought she’d look for a doctor. The sweet old guy with the tweed jacket in the neatly painted cape on Main Street had taken down his shingle and retired. Most towns in the North Country now have fewer doctors than they did in the 19th century, and the smaller towns have none. The Yellow Pages lists more health insurers than physicians, which would not seem to be an obvious business model. So she wound up going to the health center she’d endowed so lavishly with your tax dollars just a few years earlier.

They gave her the usual form to fill in, full of perceptive inquiries on her medical condition: Do you wear a seat belt? Do you own a gun? How many bisexual men are you now having sex with? These would be interesting questions if one were signing up for eHarmony.com and looking to date gun-owning bisexuals who don’t wear seat belts, but they were not immediately relevant to her medical needs. Nevertheless, she complied with the diktats of the Bureau of Compliance, and had her medical records transferred, and waited . . . and waited. That was August. She has now been informed that she has an appointment with a nurse-practitioner at the end of January. My friend pays $15,000 a year for health insurance. In northern New Hampshire, that and meeting the minimum-entry requirement of bisexual sex partners will get you an appointment with a nurse-practitioner in six months’ time.

Why is it taking so long? Well, because everything in America now takes long, and longer still. But beyond that malign trend are more specific innovations, such as the “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,” which slipped through all but unnoticed in Subtitle A Part One Section 3001 of the 2009 Obama stimulus bill. Under the Supreme National Coordinator, the United States government is setting up a national database for everybody’s medical records, so that if a Texan hiker falls off Mount Katahdin after walking the Appalachian Trail, Maine’s first responders will be able to know exactly how many bisexual gun-owners she’s slept with, and afford her the necessary care.

This great medical advance is supposed to be fully implemented by 2014, so the federal government is providing incentives for doctors to comply. Under the EHR Incentive Program, if a physician makes “meaningful use” of electronic health records, he’s eligible for “bonuses” from the feds — a mere $44,000 from Medicare, for example, but up to $63,750 from Medicaid. If you have a practice at 27 Elm Street and you’re treating the elderly widow from 22 Elm Street, she’s unlikely to meet the federally mandated bi-guy requirement, but you can still qualify for bonuses by filing her smoking status with Washington. For medical facilities in upscale suburbs, EHR is costly and time-consuming, and, along with a multitude of other Obamacare regulatory burdens, helping drive doctors to opt out entirely: My comrade Michelle Malkin noted the other day that her own general practitioner has now switched over to “concierge care,” under which all third parties (whether private insurers or government) are dumped and a patient contracts with his doctor solely through his checkbook. Some concierge docs will even make house calls: Everything old is new again! (For as long as the new federal commissars permit it.)

But in the broken-down rural hinterlands, EHR and other novelties make it more lucrative for surviving medical centers to prioritize federal paperwork over patient care. For example, there’s a lot of prescription-drug abuse in this country, and so the feds award “meaningful use” bonuses for providing records that will assist them in determining whether a guy with a prescription for painkillers in New Hampshire also has a prescription for painkillers with another doctor over the Connecticut River in Vermont. So in practice every new patient in this part of the world now undergoes a background check before getting anywhere near a doctor. It doesn’t do much for your health, but it does wonders for an ever more sclerotic bureaucracy.

Hence the decay of so many “medical” appointments into robot-voiced box-checking. At the doctor’s a couple of months back, the nurse was out to lunch, and so the receptionist-practitioner rattled through the form. In the waiting room. “Are you sexually active?” she asked. “You first,” I replied. I hope I didn’t cost her the federal bonus.

But don’t worry, it’s totally secure. Carl Smith Jr. was the first physician in Harlan County, Kentucky to introduce EHR. “Because of this technology,” Dr. Smith says, “we can send the patient’s prescription electronically by secure e-mail to pharmacies.” Wow! “Secure e-mail”: What a concept! It’s a good thing the e-mail is secure at American pharmacies because nothing else is. Last Christmas, while guest-hosting at Fox News in New York, I had a spot of ill health and went to pick up a prescription at Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue. The woman ahead of me was having some difficulties. She was a stylish lady d’un certain age, and she caught my wandering eye. After prolonged consultation with the computer, the “pharmacist” informed her (and the rest of us within earshot) that her insurer had approved her Ortho but denied her Valtrex. I was thinking of asking her for cocktails at the Plaza, when I noticed the other women in line tittering. It seems that Ortho is a birth-control pill, and Valtrex is a herpes medication.

So good luck retaining any meaningful doctor-patient confidentiality in a system in which more people — insurers, employers, government commissars, TSA Obergropinführers, federal incentive-program auditors — will be able to access your medical records than in any other nation on earth.

No foreigner can even understand the American “health care” debate, which seems to any tourist casually surfing the news channels to involve everything but health care. Since the Second World War, government medical systems have taken hold in almost every developed nation, but only in America does the introduction of governmentalized health care impact small-business hiring practices and religious liberty, and require 16,500 new IRS agents and federal bonuses for contributing to a national database of seat-belt wearers. Thus, Big Government American-style: Byzantine, legalistic, whimsical, coercive, heavy on the paperwork, and lacking the one consolation of statism — the great clarifying simplicity of universal mediocrity.

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Obamacare governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy — or the equivalent of the entire French economy. No one has ever attempted that before, not even the French. In parts of rural America it will quickly achieve a Platonic perfection: There will be untold legions of regulators, administrators, and IRS collection agents, but not a doctor or nurse in sight.

Michelle Malkin: Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General acknowledged that the incentive system is “vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet” the program’s quality assurance requirements. The federal health bureaucracy “has not implemented strong prepayment safeguards, and its ability to safeguard incentive payments postpayment is also limited,” the IG concluded.

Translation: No one is actually verifying whether the transition from paper to electronic is improving patient outcomes and health services. No one is actually guarding against GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). No one is checking whether recipients of the EMR incentives are receiving money redundantly (e.g., raking in payments when they’ve already converted to electronic records). No one is actually protecting private data from fraud, abuse or exploitation.

But not doing it, or doing it more rationally of course, is, you guessed it “racist” “sexist” “bigotry” and “trying to kill grandma.”

America in the 21st Century, what a Kingdom of Bureaucracy. The Bureaucrat is King and you’re just a smelly, nasty, demanding little serf who just wants to annoy them.

Congrats. It’s what you voted for Amerika. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Insurance 201

Thomas Sowell has column today that is very well sad and I personally know the impact of it. And I have preached at this pulpit before.

https://indyfromaz.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/insurance-101/

In insurance markets, moral hazard occurs when the behavior of the insured party changes in a way that raises costs for the insurer, since the insured party no longer bears the full costs of that behavior. Because individuals no longer bear the cost of medical services, they have an added incentive to ask for pricier and more elaborate medical service—which would otherwise not be necessary. In these instances, individuals have an incentive to over consume, simply because they no longer bear the full cost of medical services.

And does this not sound like ObamaCare to you?? :)

Take it away Mr. Sowell.

Insurance is all about risk. Yet neither insurance companies nor their policy-holders can do anything about one of the biggest risks — namely, interference by politicians, to turn insurance into something other than a device to deal with risk.

By passing laws to force insurance companies to cover things that have nothing to do with risk, politicians force up the cost of insurance.

Annual checkups, for example, are known in advance to take place once a year. Foreseeable events are not a risk. Annual checkups are no cheaper when they are covered by an insurance policy. On the contrary, they are one of many things that are more expensive when they are covered by an insurance policy.

All the paperwork, record-keeping and other things that go with having any medical procedure covered by insurance have to be paid for, in addition to the cost of the medical procedure itself.

If automobile insurance covered the cost of oil changes or the purchase of gasoline, then both oil changes and gasoline would have to cost more, to cover the additional bureaucratic work involved.

In the case of health insurance, however, politicians love to mandate things that insurance must cover, including in some states treatment for baldness, contraceptives and whatever else politicians can think of. Playing Santa Claus costs a politician nothing, but it can cost the policy-holder a bundle — all of which the politician will blame on the “greed” of the insurance company.

(see Adverse Selection).

Insurance companies are regulated by both states and the federal government. This means that, instead of there being one vast nationwide market, where innumerable insurance companies compete with each other from coast to coast, there are 50 fragmented markets with different rules. That adds to the costs and reduces the competition in a given state.

When there are innumerable insurance companies, it is by no means clear that political regulation of them will produce better results than the regulation provided by competition in the market. In a competitive market, insurance companies would cover only those things that their policy-holders are willing to pay to have covered. Policy-holders would have no reason to pay to have insurance cover things that would be cheaper if paid for directly — or not paid for at all, in the case of things that are not a real concern to many people, such as baldness cures.

One of the factors in the number of the “uninsured,” for whom politicians are willing to turn the whole medical care system upside down, is the high cost of insurance that covers far more things than most people would be willing to pay for, if it was up to them. The uninsured who use hospital emergency rooms and don’t pay are a problem only because politicians passed laws forcing hospitals to let themselves be taken advantage of in this way.

Too many political “solutions” are solutions to problems created by previous political “solutions” — and will be followed by new problems created by their current “solutions.” There is no free lunch. In the case of health insurance, there is not even an inexpensive lunch.

Health insurance would be a lot less expensive if it covered only the kinds of risks that can involve heavy costs, such as a major operation or a crippling disability. While such things can be individually very expensive, they don’t happen to everybody, and insurance is one way to spread the risks, so that the protection of a given individual is not prohibitively expensive.

The problem of “pre-existing conditions” is a problem largely because of the way that politicians have written the laws — more specifically, by giving a tax break to employer-provided health insurance. If individuals bought their own health insurance, with the same tax advantages, the fact that an illness occurred after they changed employers would not make it a “pre-existing condition.”

There is no inherent reason for employers to be involved, in the first place. The fact that some guy manufactures furniture or plumbing fixtures in no way qualifies him to understand insurance for his employees. Including him in the loop adds another unnecessary layer of bureaucratic costs.

Political risks are the biggest risks.

So you want to know why your auto insurance is going up “even though I’m a good driver” or your Home insurance is going up “even though my house is worth less”??

Well, it’s very simple. Along with all of what has been discussed there is INFLATION.

http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

And the medical costs, repair costs and the lawyer  (you know all those “call me now” lawyer commercials?) costs go up and guess what happens to your premiums. They go up. It’s not personal.

And any real homeowners policy will be based on the replacement cost of the home and not the market value because the market value is a) fickle (just think about 5 years ago) b) includes land and locational factors that have nothing to do with the home.

Example, my home. It’s located with the “noise zone” of Sky Harbor International Airport. Thus my house is technically worth less because you can hear plane noise at a certain level.

If my house burns down do I want the replacement cost based partially on that or do I want it based on the materials to rebuild it?

And if inflation in the cost of those materials cause the premium to go up?

I hope you see the point.

Most people don’t.

Why?

Narcissistic Greed. It’s all about ME! and Insurance should only be about ME.

I don’t want MY policy based on other people.

Which is a fundamentally flawed understanding of the entire concept of insurance in the first place.

And that lack of education is a real problem because it leads people to misunderstand the entire process and the fundamentals underlying the entire concept.

And lets politicians and manipulative Liberals get away with their “solutions” that just cause more problems but make them look good.

And thus, you go for “get rich quick” type schemes by manipulative politicians that actually CAUSE more problems than they solve. But you get the satisfaction of “sticking it” to them. But it’s you that ultimately gets stuck.

Oh, there are ways to bring it down, but reforms to litigation laws and practices (by politicians who are mostly lawyers) is very hard. Lobbyists are very strong in the area. This is their meat and potatoes.

Medical costs are skyrocketing and ObamaCare will just make them worse. Trying to reform that gets you “thrown grandma off the cliff” rhetoric.

So, in the end RHETORIC HAS IT’S CONSEQUENCES.

Consequences in your wallet.

That’s the risk.

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Freedom

The Department of Homeland Security will soon be using a laser at airports that can detect everything about you from over 160-feet away.

A scanner that could read people at the molecular level has been invented. This laser-based scanner – which can be used 164-feet away — could read everything from a person’s adrenaline levels, to traces of gun powder on a person’s clothes, to illegal substances — and it can all be done without a physical search. It also could be used on multiple people at a time, eliminating random searches at airports.

The scanner is called the Picosecond Programmable Laser. The device works by blasting its target with lasers which vibrate molecules that are then read by the machine that determine what substances a person has been exposed to. This could be Semtex explosives to the bacon and egg sandwich they had for breakfast that morning.

The laser-based scanner is expected to be used in airports as soon as 2013.

BIG SIS IS WATCHING YOU! You “terrorist” you!  YEAH, YOU! 🙂

FOOD STAMP NATION

The government has been targeting Spanish speakers with radio “novelas” promoting food stamp usage as part of a stated mission to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Each novela, comprising a 10-part series called “PARQUE ALEGRIA,” or “HOPE PARK,” presents a semi-dramatic scenario involving characters convincing others to get on food stamps, or explaining how much healthier it is to be on food stamps.

The majority of the episodes end with the announcer encouraging the listener to tune in again to see if the skeptic applies for benefits or learns to understand the importance of food stamps to their health.

“Will Claudia convince Ramon to apply for SNAP?” the announcer exclaims at the end of a standard episode titled “The Poet,” “Don’t miss our next episode of ‘HOPE PARK.’”(DC)

***********

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

 

Presently in America, nearly half of all households receive either a salary or substantial benefits from the government. Presently in America, nearly half of all adults pay no federal income taxes. Presently in America, the half that pay no income taxes receive the bulk of their income courtesy of the government, but ultimately from the half that do. This money is extracted involuntarily from the paying half by a permanent bureaucracy that extracts and gives away more each year no matter who is running the government. The recipients of these transfer payments rely upon them for subsistence, so they have a vested financial interest in sending to Washington those who will continue to take your money and give it to them.

It is no wonder that we are now saddled with the micromanagement of health care by the same bureaucratic mindset that mismanages the Post Office and everything else the federal government runs. It should not be surprising to know that presently in America, half of the people actually want the government to take care of their needs. The same was the case under Communist regimes, but here those folks vote.

Hence, we have laws that force us to be charitable to those whom the government designates as worthy of our charity, that limit the amount of salt that restaurants can put into our food, that permit the government to watch us on street corners and subways and in the lobbies of buildings, that let the president fight wars of opportunity, that permit the Federal Reserve to print money with no value and inflate prices and destroy savings, that allow the government to listen to us on our cellphones and use those phones to follow us wherever we go, and, according to CIA Director David Petraeus, that let the government anticipate our movements inside our homes.

And as of the last week in June, the government has a vast new power that was brought to us by the Supreme Court’s latest attack on personal freedom. Congress can now lawfully command any behavior of individuals that it pleases — whether or not the subject of the behavior is a power granted to Congress by the Constitution — and it may punish noncompliance with that command, so long as the punishment is called a tax.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s whimsical query during the Supreme Court oral argument on the health care law about whether Congress could make him eat broccoli suddenly isn’t as funny as it was when he asked it, because the answer is: It can fine him for not eating broccoli, so long as it calls that fine a tax.

Quick: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Answer: Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make a tail a leg.

We got here because voters and the government we elected, and even the courts the popular branches appointed and confirmed, have lost sight of first principles. When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are a part of our humanity, and when we fought and won the Revolution under that premise, and when the first Congress enacted that language as the first federal law, this became the irrevocable recognition of the Natural Law as the basis for our personal freedom and limited government. Since our rights come from our humanity, they don’t come from the government.

But you would never know that from looking at the government. In New York City, where I work at Fox News Channel, we are all embroiled in two disputes this summer over the constitutional role of the government in our lives. The mayor, a self-made billionaire who likes donuts and has bodyguards but wants to tell others how to live in private and in public, is trying to ban soda pop in containers larger than 16 ounces and wants the police to be able to stop and frisk anyone on a whim — and all in the name of health and safety. He is actually banning freedom.

Imagine Jefferson being told what to eat or stopped and frisked on a whim. And then imagine the Supreme Court telling him that he must pay a tax if he fails to comport his personal private behavior as Congress — which doesn’t believe in privacy or personal freedom — commands.

Here is how you can tell that these are bad days for freedom:

Does the government need your permission to violate your rights, or do you need the government’s permission to exercise them?

The answer is painfully obvious.

Presently in America, what are we going to do about it? (Judge Andrew Napolitano)

NOVEMBER IS COMING!

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell