Cut!

Raise the cost of something, and inevitably demand for that thing goes down. It’s a venerable principle in economics.

So five years ago when ObamaCare was being enacted, we and many others warned that its coverage mandates for employers would result in hours being cut back and workers being laid off. We were criticized at the time as Chicken Littles. Now comes a survey of 743 personnel executives by the Society of Human Resource Management, as reported by Robert King of the Washington Examiner, that shows businesses are doing just that. Nearly 14% of firms have cut part-time hours for workers, King wrote, and another 6% plan to do so.

Still worse, 5% of companies have already either cut or plan to cut the total number of workers they have, thanks to ObamaCare.

ObamaCare’s employer mandate requires businesses with 100 or more employees to provide health insurance to 70% of their workers who put in 30 or more hours a week. That goes up to 95% next year.

Meanwhile, small businesses with 50 to 99 workers will start feeling the pinch in 2016, when the mandate hits them, too.

So it’s only logical: Businesses are cutting hours to avoid having to pay for the mandate — a predictable response in the real world, but apparently not in the world of the economists, politicians and planners who concocted ObamaCare’s destructive rules.

As for “bending the cost-curve down,” as President Obama promised repeatedly, forget about it. The survey found that 77% of companies had higher health-care costs this year than last year, and just 6% saw their costs decrease. For those who had costs rise, 24% saw costs go up 16% or more.

If you want to know why this job recovery has been the worst since the Great Depression, you need look no further than these depressing statistics.

In September 2009, President Obama addressed Congress, vowing that his healthcare plan would “slow the growth of healthcare costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.” But costs for all three have actually grown.

During the campaign in 2008, Obama repeatedly said that his health reform plan would save the average family $2,500 a year in premiums. But this year, almost half of those surveyed by CBS and the New York Times characterized “the affordability of basic medical care as a hardship.” That’s a quarter more people than said so last year.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, the New York Times, and Avalere Health crunched government numbers and concluded that even premiums for coverage offered on the exchanges would rise between 2 and 5% during 2015.

Meanwhile, a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research determined that premiums in the non-group market in 2014 increased by 24.4% over what they would have cost without Obamacare.

Costs for small businesses have also grown. Last year, the average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance for an individual exceeded $5,700. That’s 23% more than in 2009, the year before Obamacare was signed into law.

One in 10 businesses has laid off workers to cope with growing healthcare costs. And “one-third of small firms say they are purposefully not growing as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” according to a National Small Business Association Survey.

Meanwhile, one in five companies has reduced employee hours to avoid falling afoul of Obamacare’s employer mandate, which requires companies with 100 or more employees who work more than 30 hours a week to provide health insurance this year. Next year, companies with 50 or more workers will be subject to the mandate.

Companies who fail to comply must pay fines of the lesser of $3,000 per employee who receives subsidies in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges or $2,000 for every worker after the first 30.

The cost of Obamacare has also grown dramatically for the government — and thus for taxpayers. In 2009, President Obama claimed that his plan would cost a little more than $900 billion over the next decade. But according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, the law’s net price tag has ballooned to nearly $1.2 trillion.

The law’s ballooning cost is largely the result of its failure to slow overall health spending. Nationwide, health spending grew 5% in 2014, compared to a 3.6% increase the year prior, according to a new report from Altarum Institute. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services forecast spending to grow by 6% a year from 2015 through 2023 — “largely as a result of the continued implementation of the ACA coverage expansions.”

To make matters worse, the health law has also failed to deliver “the best care, not just the most expensive care,” as the President promised in 2009. Under Obamacare, Americans now have fewer healthcare options than before.

The number of insurers selling to individual consumers in the exchanges has dropped by more than 20% compared to the year before Obamacare took effect, according to the Heritage Foundation. Consumers who buy coverage on the exchanges often find that their preferred hospitals are out of network, McKinsey & Co. reports.

Meanwhile, Deloitte surveyed 20,000 doctors and discovered that many are cutting their work hours or leaving the practice of medicine altogether. USA TODAY recently reported that many doctors are limiting their intake of patients who bought coverage on the exchanges; the reimbursement rates offered by their policies are just too low.

“Physicians who are in solo practices have to be careful not to take too many patients reimbursed at lower rates or they’re not going to be in business too long,” said the President of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

For patients, this exodus of doctors translates into less access, longer waits before appointments, and less one-on-one time with the few doctors who will see them. Last year, patients had to wait an average of 18 days for appointments with specialty doctors. This waiting game is “going to get worse and not better,” according to a study from consultancy Merritt Hawkins.

But since it “felt good” and they “had the best of intentions” and it’s all the fault of evil insurance companies the Liberal won’t hold themselves responsible for making things much worse than if they hadn’t meddled in the first place.

The Face of Caring

You thought ObamaCare was and it’s Death Panels were going to be bad. Well how about 9-1-1 Pizza Delivery.

You’re in a Nursing home where if you hurt yourself or have a life threatening injury the staff will stand around and bureaucratically argue with 9-1-1 or they’ll just order them like Pizza Delivery.

30 Minutes or less, Because We Care.

And the fact that is perfectly legal makes it even more outrageous. And whether it saves her life or not just standing there arguing that you can’t do anything is just not human.

Who Needs Death Panels.

A nurse’s refusal to give CPR to a dying 87-year-old woman at a California independent living home despite desperate pleas from a 911 dispatcher has prompted outrage and spawned a criminal investigation.

The harrowing 7-minute, 16-second call also raised concerns that policies at senior living facilities could prevent staff from intervening in medical emergencies. It prompted calls for legislation Monday to prevent a repeat of what happened Feb. 26 at the Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield.

Lorraine Bayless collapsed in the dining room of the retirement home that offers many levels of care. She lived in the independent living building, which state officials said is like a senior apartment complex and doesn’t operate under licensing oversight.

“This is a wakeup call,” said Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, chair of the California Assembly Aging and Long-term Care Committee. “I’m sorry it took a tragedy like this to bring it to our attention.”

Yamada cautioned that while it’s not yet known whether intervention would have saved the woman’s life, “we want to investigate because it has caused a lot of concern and alarm.”

Independent living facilities “should not have a policy that says you can stand there and watch somebody die,” said Pat McGinnis, founder of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a consumer advocacy group. “How a nurse can do that is beyond comprehension.”

Now for the ObamaCare-style Reply from the facility:

The executive director of Glenwood Gardens, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the nurse in a written statement, saying she followed the facility’s policy.

“In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives,” Toomer said. “That is the protocol we followed.”

Pizza Delivery. Medical Care by Bureaucracy. Because They Care!

ObamaCare is already here. And it will improve everything! 🙂

He said the policy does not apply at the adjacent assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

I’m sorry, you moved into  Pizza Delivery Care, not a full-service Restaurant.

Residents of independent living communities can still take care of themselves, but may need help getting to doctor’s appointments. In skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes, many residents require around-the-clock care.

So there just a shuttle service. Fine. But to stand there for 7 minutes while someone is dying and doing nothing is just not right.

“I understand if your boss is telling you, you can’t do it,” the dispatcher said. “But … as a human being … you know, is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”

“Not at this time,” the nurse answered.

How cold is that. How inhuman. How Bureaucratic.

And ObamaCare, Government Bureaucrats are going to make this better?

Not a Chance in Hell!

Our Caring, compassionate, all-knowing, all-superior responders at the Huffington Post (that banned me yesterday): Who in their right mind would give CPR to an 87 year old?

The Person with an ounce of humanity. I hope this person when they are 87 finds out the answer to their question. 🙂

James Capretta described the real plan by which the president and his allies aim to close the fiscal gap. Their goal, says Capretta, is to work by stealth, so voters never fully realize that the government has adopted their strategy. The first part of the plan involves taxing “the rich” for Medicare and health insurance, but without Reagan-style indexing of taxes to inflation. That way, inflation-driven “bracket creep” will raise health-care taxes on the middle class without congressional Democrats ever having to vote for new taxes. 

The second part of the plan involves IPAB-imposed price controls and the large-scale rationing of health care that implies. But to work, IPAB’s authority has got to extend beyond Medicare. The idea, says Capretta, is to wait until the massive financial strains brought on by Obamacare bring calls for cost control. That’s when the Democrats will push for IPAB’s authority to be extended beyond Medicare to all of Obamacare, at which point we’ll be very close to a single-payer health-care system with Canadian-style rationing. (NRO)

IPAB is a (ObamaCare) panel of unelected, government-appointed bureaucrats set up under the guise of “efficiency” and “clinical effectiveness” to “recommend” cuts to Medicare services in order to “bend the cost curve downward.” That is government-speak for “spend less money on patient care.”

IPAB is a threat to your health, and your life, if you are the patient whose care is denied because of your age, your condition, and cost based on how many “quality” years you are expected to live.

IPAB is set up to function exactly like the rationing board of the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain, called National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). The strong arm of NICE prevents NHS doctors from prescribing state-of-the-art drugs for breast, stomach, lung, and prostate cancer or diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many others.

IPAB is also charged with slowing the growth of payments to doctors and hospitals, reducing the rate of medication reimbursement under Medicare, and “reducing waste” in Medicare spending. “Waste,” however, is defined solely by bureaucrats, and may include medicine you actually need.

Or CPR. 🙂

An 80-year-old patient recently said, “The pharmacist just told me that Medicare is no longer going to pay for my heart medicine because I am now too old.” His choice? Pay out of pocket or die.

Recently, the government quietly directed Medicare to cut reimbursement for 4 million diabetic seniors by 66% and also reduced the number of companies that are allowed to supply blood sugar monitoring supplies from more than a thousand to 15. Older patients are already being hurt by Obamacare reductions in Medicare services. (CP)

You’re too old. Worthless. And you Cost too Much.
Now that’s the “caring” “Compassionate” Left not throwing Grandma off a Cliff! 🙂
ObamaCare will send out for you because They Care. 🙂
Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 

The Future Pathway of ObamaCare

ObamaCare of the Future Update: The British National Health Services “Pathway” Or the Liverpool Care Pathway: A “kinder” way to kill you quickly…

The new investigation will examine how hospitals have received tens of millions of pounds to implement the controversial system for care of the dying.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the campaign group Not Dead Yet, said: “It is very worrying that in any situation less than 100 per cent of families are being consulted before patients are being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is a shock for families to find that out.

“In some situations doctors are prepared to do it without consulting families because they think they know what is best and questions arise as to why they think it is OK to do that. Families have the right to know why a loved one is being put on the LCP.”

Ministers yesterday ordered an independent inquiry into why hospitals have been paid to hit targets for numbers of patients dying on the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Hospitals incentive to kill you early…Hmmm…Sounds familiar somehow…. 😦

In England, it’s called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). Here it is better known as the “death panel,” but the end result is the same. When you become so sick that the cost of your care is deemed burdensome to the state, you are consigned to the proverbial ice floe and set adrift.

And with Obamacare already at 3x the cost and it just really began this week and doesn’t kick into high gear for another year what does this foretell in a Nation that is already $16 Trillion in debt???

Shocking new figures released on Tuesday reveals that the situation in Britain is more grave (no pun intended) than anyone thought. The MailOnline reports that as many as 60,000 patients are placed on the LCP each year, a virtual death sentence, without giving their consent. A third of families, moreover, are kept in the dark when doctors withdraw lifesaving treatment from loved ones.

And it gets worse than that: Some patients are denied nutrition and fluids, both measures designed to hasten their deaths, which typically occur within 29 hours.

Elspeth Chowdharay-Best of Alert, an anti-euthanasia group, is quoted as saying, “The Pathway is designed to finish people off double quick. It is a lethal pathway.”

Yet, not everyone shares that grim assessment. National Health Service Secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed that the LCP is a “fantastic step forward,” adding that “we need to be unabashed about that because it’s basically designed to bring hospice-style care to terminally-ill people in hospitals.”

Secretary Sebelius  and IPAB anyone… 🙂

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said: “The NHS is clearly moving in the right direction. However, the report highlights there is a need for further training and education on end-of-life communication. As a society we need to appreciate that dying is not a failure of medical care and treatment, but dying badly is.”

But Secretary Hunt told LBC Radio that a few wrongful deaths shouldn’t be construed as an indictment on the system:

I would be very sad if as a result of something that is a big step forward going wrong in one or two cases we discredited the concept that we need to do a lot better to give people dignity in their final hours because it’s something we haven’t done well.

Lots of people don’t want to die with lots of tubes going in and out of their body — they actually want to die in a dignified way.

Hunt didn’t elaborate on how much dignity patients experience when their suffering goes untreated or they are denied food and water.

Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are being placed on a “death pathway”, almost double the number just two years ago, the Royal College of Physicians has found.

It aims to give patients a ‘good death’ by avoiding unnecessary and burdensome medical intervention but there have been accusations it hastens death because it can involve the removal of artifical hydration and nutrition.

A report into palliative care in the NHS found that in one, unnamed hospital trust, half of families were not told that their loved one had been placed on the LCP and in a quarter of trusts, one in three families were not informed.

The Liverpool Care Pathway was intended for use in hospices but was given approval by the Department of Health in 2006 leading to widespread use in hospitals. Concerns about the pathway were raised first in The Daily Telegraph in 2009 when experts warned that in some cases patients have been put on the pathway only to recover when their families intervened, leading to questions over how people are judged to be in their “last hours and days”.

Daily Mail: Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube
is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn
babies.

The decision to order an independent investigation follows deepening concern over the LCP, which is thought to be used in the deaths of 130,000 hospital patients each year.

Now project that onto a country 5 times larger and that gets to be be 2/3 of a million people.

On ‘bribe’ payments, first revealed by the Daily Mail, which have seen at least £30million given to hospitals that hit targets for numbers of patients who die on the pathway, Mr Lamb said: ‘We are doing an analysis to focus on the circumstances under which these payments have been made.

How the mail led the way

Welcome to the Future! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 

The Fairness Doctrine 2012

So if wealth is not a worldwide round-robin of purse-snatching, and if the thing that makes you rich doesn’t make me poor, why should we care about fairness at all? We shouldn’t.

Fairness is a good thing in marriage and at the day-care center.  It’s a nice little domestic virtue. But a liking for fairness is not that noble a sentiment.  Fairness doesn’t rank with charity, love, duty, or self-sacrifice.  And there’s always a tinge of self-seeking in making sure that things are fair.  Don’t you go trying to get one up on me. (PJ O’Rourke)

One of the most interesting aspects of this debate is that relatively few commentators tie the Obama “fairness” argument to the political tactics of collectivist ideologues.  Those tactics were once very well known: take a word or expression that people think we all know the meaning of – justice, democracy, peace, fairness – and appropriate it for militant statist schemes that actually portend something very different.  With this kind of political bait-and-switch fraud, you can gain control over the people that they had no idea they were ceding.  This has been the method of socialists for decades.

In the current case, for example, the Obama administration wants us to focus on “taxes” as we discuss disparities between rich and poor, and to predicate the whole debate on “fairness.”  We think we know what is meant by these terms.

But given the background and the trend of sentiments expressed by Obama and those in his administration, it is entirely reasonable to assess that what is important to them is not “taxes,” specifically, but “disparities between rich and poor,” and the association of “fairness” with giving the central government a charter to intervene in those disparities.  Taxes are a specific case on which to establish a general principle: that cultivating “fairness” requires government intervention.

Is fairness properly cultivated as a condition or an attitude?  The adult world once had a ready answer to that question.  Children were taught that we should take care to be fair with others (the attitude), but that life – in terms of events, outcomes, and other people – wouldn’t necessarily be fair (the condition).

  But no matter how fair we seek to be, there will continue to be unfair outcomes, and many of them will be out of our control. (hot air)

“Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.”As usual, the president motivated the higher taxes with references to “fair play” and getting the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes.

“Fairness” was the codeword of the State of the Union address, not the chronic problem of lingering high unemployment, something the president never even mentioned. (Fox)

Envy. Jealousy. Covetness. Some of the 7 deadly sins are what Obama and The Democrats want in order to win.

So what is Fair?

Is it Fair That I don’t make Millions of dollars a year or a movie or TV Show?

Would it not be more “fair” to make it illegal to make over say: $200,000 a year.

The problem is that all those who aren’t making $200,000 a year, it’s not “fair” to them still.

So to be fair, EVERYONE would have to make $200,000 a year. Even the pimply 16 year old who just handed you your fries.

Thus Tom Cruise, movie star, and Tom Cruise the Fast Food kid would make the same amount.

Now that’s “fair” isn’t it? 🙂

So do you think this has any chance of working. Not in this universe!

So you’d have to lower the expectations.

Say dropping some zeroes. Say $20,000.

So do you think this has any chance of working. Not in this universe!

For exactly same reason but not because businesses couldn’t afford it. Because No one who was making more than that would do it.

But it would be equally “fair” now wouldn’t it.

And we’d all be EQUAL as well. How could that be wrong??

We all know why. But that’s why the Democrats don’t go any farther than the “eat the rich” strategy.

Is it fair that I don’t look like Hugh Jackman?

Fat People, Skinny People, “beautiful” people and “ugly” people.

Is it fair that I’m not as talented as say, Tom Brady?

Is it fair I never got to to Harvard, like Obama?

Was it fair that my sister got better grades than I did?

Well, the Democrats really don’t care. They just want to use the worst instincts of people to win. They want you to see the worst in other people too.

And the worse it gets the better they feel.

Worst is First.

It’s not fair.

If we let fairness in the door as a controlling quantity, human history suggests that we will never meet its rigorous standard.  Nothing can ever be “fair” enough, because there will always be someone who isn’t happy with the current conditions, and can point out an undeniable situational disparity of one kind or another.

The sensation of unfairness comes from deep within the human consciousness.  But it cannot be assuaged by any perfect reordering of material conditions.  Indeed, when material conditions are promptly reordered in response to our childhood complaints about unfairness, that only encourages us to base our happiness on specific material conditions – and complain more and more readily at the drop of a hat.  On the other hand, when we learn to deal with unfairness under the tutelage of good-hearted, fair-minded adults, what we come away appreciating is the trust and sense of safety their fair-mindedness engenders in us, even though things aren’t always fair.

Fairness cannot be enforced, nor unfairness requited, by the actions of the state.  Politics doesn’t lead us, through its inherent clash of competing biases, to a universal standard of fairness.  It merely enforces one set of policy ideas over another.  The tendency of all of us to treat each other unequally in one way or another (many of them utterly benign) is not itself a reason for government to intervene between us, but rather for government – which is just other people to whom we have given authority – to be limited in what it can do to us, period.(hot air)

But for the Democrats that doesn’t get them what they want.

Complete Control of Everyone and everything.

And “fairness” is the ticket.

Fear, Envy, Covetness.

They want you to want the government to screw the “unfair”. The problem is, that that is inherently unfair and based solely on their own political bias and control freakishness.

In requiring “fairness” you don’t get it.

In requiring “equality” you don’t get it.

And you lose Freedom in the process.

The Democrats don’t care about any of them. They just want you to want it bad enough to re-elect them so they can take it away from you because you asked for it.

And the Republicans are too busy with their circular firing squad of death to notice.

Meanwhile, you don’t have a job. Your prospect are crappy. And Unemployment that officially has been over 8% for 3 years in a row suddenly vanishes in a haze of resentment.

But as long as you feel it’s “fair” everything is just perfect.

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 

The Politics of Reality

But First…Mother Nature..Now that’s Cool! 🙂


7000 feet tall 50 miles wide and moving between 4o-50 mph with hurricane force winds!

It’s a Dust Storm!

http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/weather/big-dust-storm-rolls-into-valley-7-5-2011?CMP=201107_emailshare

<object style=”height: 390px; width: 640px”><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/JhEc_1MD1tg?version=3″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”></object>

http://www.weather.com/outlook/videos/time-lapse-amazing-phoenix-dust-storm-21209

http://www.weather.com/outlook/videos/time-lapse-amazing-phoenix-dust-storm-21209#21212

My power flickered on and off for a good 30 minutes during the storm.

Dust storm, though dangerous, are Cool! 🙂

But now back to reality… 🙂

It is hard to understand politics if you are hung up on reality. Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.

Not only among politicians, but also among much of the media, and even among some of the public, the quest is not for truth about reality but for talking points that fit a vision or advance an agenda. Some seem to see it as a personal contest about who is best at fencing with words.

The current controversy over whether to deal with our massive national debt by cutting spending, or whether instead to raise tax rates on “the rich,” is a classic example of talking points versus reality.

Most of those who favor simply raising tax rates on “the rich” — or who say that we cannot afford to allow the Bush “tax cuts for the rich” to continue — show not the slightest interest in the history of what has actually happened when tax rates were raised to high levels on “the rich,” as compared to what has actually happened when there have been “tax cuts for the rich.”

As far as such people are concerned, those questions have already been settled by their talking points. Why confuse the issue by digging into empirical evidence about what has actually happened when one policy or the other was followed?

The political battles about whether to have high tax rates on people in high income brackets or to instead have “tax cuts for the rich” have been fought out in at least four different administrations in the 20th century — under Presidents Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

The empirical facts are there, but they mean nothing if people don’t look at them, and instead rely on talking points.

The first time this political battle was fought, during the Coolidge administration, the tax-cutters won. The data show that “the rich” supplied less tax revenue to the government when the top income tax rate was 73 percent in 1921 than they supplied after the income tax rate was reduced to 24 percent in 1925.

Because high tax rates can easily be avoided, both then and now, “the rich” were much less affected by high tax rates than was the economy and the people who were looking for jobs. After the Coolidge tax cuts, the increased economic activity led to unemployment rates that ranged from a high of 4.2 percent to a low of 1.8 percent.

But that is only a fact about reality — and, for many, reality has no such appeal as talking points.

The same preference for talking points, and the same lack of interest in digging into the facts about realities, prevails today in discussions of whether to have a government-controlled medical system.
Since there are various countries, such as Canada and Britain, that have the kind of government-controlled medical systems that some Americans advocate, you might think that there would be great interest in the quality of medical care in these countries.

The data are readily available as to how many weeks or months people have to wait to see a primary care physician in such countries, and how many additional weeks or months they have to wait after they are referred to a surgeon or other specialist. There are data on how often their governments allow patients to receive the latest pharmaceutical drugs, as compared to how often Americans use such advanced medications.

But supporters of government medical care show virtually no interest in such realities. Their big talking point is that the life expectancy in the United States is not as long as in those other countries. End of discussion, as far as they are concerned.

They have no interest in the reality that medical care has much less effect on death rates from homicide, obesity, and narcotics addiction than it has on death rates from cancer or other conditions that doctors can do something about. Americans survive various cancers better than people anywhere else. Americans also get to see doctors much sooner for medical treatment in general.

Talking points trump reality in political discussions of many other issues, from gun control to rent control. Reality simply does not have the pizzazz of clever talking points. (Thomas Sowell)

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Behind the Times

The Obama administration, headed up by a liberal dogma that has been trying to create it’s socialist utopia since Woodrow Wilson is not going to give up it’s sole dream of controlling everyone and everything ‘for their own good’ and “fairness”.

But it is curious that the Europeans who already went down this road in large part are starting to go back in our former direction.

It’s kind of like driving towards a massive accident and seeing people coming back from it bloodied and hurt, but you decide it can’t happen to me so you keep going anyhow.

That’s National Health Care now nearly 5 months after it was crammed down the throats of the American public in the single most partisan vote in memory.

Damn The Torpedoes! Full Steam ahead!

LONDON — Perhaps the only consistent thing about Britain’s socialized health care system is that it is in a perpetual state of flux, its structure constantly changing as governments search for the elusive formula that will deliver the best care for the cheapest price while costs and demand escalate.

Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished. (London Times)

So like the G20 Summit where “austerity” was the watchword by the Europeans and Obama stood there stamping his foot demanding people spend even more.

Not only are the Democrats and their dream out of date they are out of step even with the people they still want to dance with.

They wanted to be them.

Now it’s too late.

But that won’t stop them, of course.

Zealots who have been waiting 80 years+ for this will not be so easily deterred.

But the effects of this are beginning.

MANDEVILLE, La.—Mark Baumann, a 44-year-old uninsured diabetic, sees in the Obama administration’s health-care law a future with stable coverage to pay for his insulin shots and blood tests.

That’s likely to come indirectly at the expense of his mother’s generous health-care plan.

Humana Inc., Mary Baumann’s insurer, intends to pare her “Medicare Advantage” plan to make up for the smaller government payments it will soon receive as a result of the new law, leaving her with higher costs or fewer services. On the table are beefed-up co-payments and premiums, as well as the loss of perks such as her free membership at a health club.

Most Americans know the overhaul is designed to cover the uninsured, a decades-long goal of Democrats. But it also represents a change in how the government spreads its social safety net underneath Americans. Already, it’s creating tensions that are a harbinger of debates to come.

Since the creation of Social Security and Medicare, younger workers have funded programs for the elderly. It’s a compact in which workers paid for retirees with the understanding that they’d be looked after by the generation behind them.

The health overhaul diverges by tapping a program for the elderly to help provide insurance to 32 million Americans of younger generations. Nearly half the funding for the law is supposed to come from paying lower fees to hospitals, insurers and other health-care providers that participate in Medicare, the federal insurance program for Americans age 65 and older, as well as younger disabled people.

The 44 million Americans on Medicare won’t see changes to their guaranteed benefits under the law. But of those, 11.3 million on Medicare Advantage plans, a public-private hybrid of the type used by Ms. Baumann, who is 79, are likely to begin seeing extra benefits go away as soon as next year. Medicare Advantage cuts are slated to pay for 15% of the health-care law’s tab.

The trims mark the leading edge of a spending shift that could broaden as lawmakers grapple with a deficit expected to hit $1.47 trillion this year. Left unchanged, Medicare and Social Security will consume half of all federal spending by 2035, up from about one third today, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

And remember, by recess appointment an NHS-loving administrator is the head of Medicare.

And if, as predicted by many, including me, that private health insurance is driven completely to extinction then you’ll have health cost also in that GDP soup and with already half the people in this country not paying any taxes it does very bleak.

But at least it’s “fair”. 🙂

And, of course, the solution that will be published after the election by Obama’s “deficit commission” is a forgone conclusion, The VAT TAX and other taxes.

Then came Financial “reform” where one of the biggest cause of the problem, just like in Health Care (Trial Lawyers anyone?), were ignored because of partisan politics — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And then with the massive tax increases, even on the poor, slated for Jan 1,2011 you have the perfect storm.

But the Democrats will not change course. You know that. I know now that. They know that.

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Steam ahead!

They don’t care how many European train wrecks occur.

It’s their time and they will do it anyhow!

For “fairness” and “equality” and “social justice”! 🙂

Meanwhile, the rationing the Democrats say will not happen here are happening in their beloved NHS, acocrding to the  liberal Sun Telegraph newspaper:

Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.

Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.

* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

And now back to US…

We badly need to, over time and very gradually, reallocate resources from the elderly to younger families and their children,” said Isabel Sawhill, senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

“I’m sure that some of those additional benefits have been nice,” Nancy-Ann DeParle, who runs the White House’s Office of Health Reform, says of Medicare Advantage plans. “But I think what we have to look at here is what’s fair and what’s important for the strength of the Medicare program long term.”

Sun Telegraph: The Government has promised to protect the overall budget of the NHS, which will continue to receive above-inflation increases, but said the service must make “efficiency savings” of up to £20 billion by 2014, which would be diverted back to the front line.

Brother from another socialist mother? 🙂

Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was “incredibly worried” about the disclosures.

Dr Carter said: “Andrew Lansley keeps saying that the Government will protect the front line from cuts – but the reality appears to be quite the opposite. We are seeing trusts making job cuts even when they have already admitted to being short staffed.

Trust boards are the ones who make the health care calls now.

Much like the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology  that was in the Stimulus Bill.

And we won’t even go over the Food Police again this time.

Sun Telegraph: On Thursday, the board of Sutton and Merton primary care trust (PCT) in London agreed more than £50 million of savings in two years. The plan included more than £400,000 to be saved by “reducing length of stay” in hospital for the terminally ill.

As well as sending more patients home to die, the paper said the savings would be made by admitting fewer terminally ill cancer patients to hospital because they were struggling to cope with symptoms such as pain. Instead, more patients would be given advice on “self management” of their condition.

Bill Gillespie, the trust’s chief executive, said patients would stay at home, or be discharged from hospital only if that was their choice, and would be given support in their homes.

The president told the {New York Times in 2008}magazine that the chronically ill and elderly represent 80 percent of American healthcare costs, and said, “(T)here is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place.”

“And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance,” he added.

That “independent group” turns out to be the government, now run by him. Funny how that worked out. 🙂

But the president questioned whether his now-deceased grandmother should have received her hip replacement while suffering a terminal illness.

Recounting the dilemma, Obama said, “(T)he question was, does she get hip replacement surgery even though she was fragile enough that they weren’t sure how long she would last (or) whether she could get through the surgery.”

“I think families all across America are going through decisions like that all the time,” Obama said.

This was not the first time the president had used his grandmother to illustrate his point on health care. In an April 2008 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Obama suggested much of the cost of health care in America comes from the elderly and those with chronic illness.

“That’s where you get into some very difficult moral issues,” Obama said – specifically considering whether “in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question.”

This was BEFORE he became president mind you. But the Journo-List inspired Media was not going to let you dwell on it.

2009 Newsweek article on the “The Five biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate”:

What we can say is that there is de facto rationing under the current system, by both Medicare and private insurance. No plan covers everything, but coverage decisions “are now made in opaque ways by insurance companies,” says Dr. Donald Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Donald Berwick? Where have I heard that name recently.

Oh yeah, he’s the guy who was appointed by Obama as Head of Medicare and Medicaid without Senate approval by a recess appointment and he’s an admitted lover of the NHS.

Gee, that couldn’t be a coincidence now could it? 🙂

The {Health Care} law will spend $938 billion over a decade, mostly to expand coverage to lower-income Americans. To finance that, there will be $455 billion coming from cuts in government payments to health-care providers that serve patients on Medicare and two other federal programs. The hardest hit—to the tune of $136 billion—will be private insurance companies that run Medicare Advantage plans.

The payment cuts to Medicare Advantage begin in 2012.

“With the president being younger, my biggest concern is that we don’t mean anything,” said Sandy Reed, a 61-year-old who has a Medicare Advantage plan because she qualifies as disabled. “We’re disposable.”

‘Death Panels’ indeed…

And it has come out on the Daily Caller in their further investigation of the Journo-List scandal that the Mainstream media were in full bore mode of destruction when Gov. Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate.

All that savagery was plotted out.

So what you do when your opponent speaks the truth to power, destroy her.

So that’s why the ‘death panels’ comment was so widely and uniformly from left mocked, dismissed and discredited.

To this very day she is the most hated woman in America by the Left.

Most of the rest will be funded by new levies, including taxes on health-care companies, a higher Medicare payroll tax for wealthy Americans and a tax on high-value insurance plans. Critics of the law say its total cost is likely higher than advertised.

But it’s not like the Democrats actually care.

Their one and only shot at injecting their socialist cancer, that they’ve been waiting since their grandparents time in many cases, is all that matters.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

But at least it’s “fair”. 🙂