“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wonderboy Now Expert On US Healthcare System

After his dismal performance of two nights ago, it should be obvious to everyone that Wonderboy has no clue as to what is right, or wrong, with health insurance and medicine in the US.

Back in March of this year, I wrote this post, wherein I posited five things which, if done, would improve the provision of healthcare at affordable prices in the US. All of them are parts of various alternative plans put forth by conservative legislators.

But, back to Wonderboy.

I was thinking, earlier this week, before his speech on Wednesday night, that our First Rookie has no background in the area of medicine and health care whatsoever. Listening to him talk about healthcare would be similar to me discussing bridge design.

I have never designed, nor built a bridge. I don't have an engineering degree. I've never even seen more than the odd History Channel program on how one or another unusual bridge was constructed.

Obama has zero credentials in this area. Or any other key area of presidential responsibility, either. He's an unaccomplished, carpetbagging lawyer, most recently from Illinois.

If he weren't president, would anyone care what Wonderboy thinks about healthcare?


Why care now? He has nothing of value or truth to add to the millions of words already spoken on the subject.

However, from what I've heard of his palaver in the past week, when he and his administration have put on a full court press, and his Democratic allies in the Senate, I've come to the following conclusions.

1. Obama and Congressional Democrats think nothing of simply lying to Americans about various aspects of the healthcare situation.

For example, the now-famous lie that 'if you like your current healthcare option, you will be allowed to keep it.' By now, you've probably read of the section in the House bill that creates a bureaucratic office to oversee healthcare plans, via ERISA, and the manner in which existing healthcare plans may be subjectively removed from the market. Basically, it's a loophole through which the federal government can begin to declare private plans out of business. Legally.

2. The American healthcare system is broken. That's just not true. Nor is it true that we know for a fact that it is "too expensive," or that costs are rising "too fast."

What is the proper metric for costs, or the system in general? Isn't it a combination of effective use of medicine, cost, and coverage?

3. It's either status quo or Wonderboy's and Congress' big federal healthcare plan. Not true. Republicans and various think tanks have offered many, many better, simpler solutions which embody the changes I outlined in my linked post.

The one thing I omitted, but which is a superb idea, is to provide a tax credit, a la Paul Ryan, to be used to afford health insurance for the poor. This way, rather than building an expensive federal health insurance behemoth just to serve the uninsured poor, we can simply give them the money to go buy their own policies.

Problem solved!

4. We need a federal healthcare competitor to keep private insurers "honest." Not true.

First, there are enough competing private insurers to keep each other honest. That they make profits is a good thing. If they don't, nobody will be able to get health insurance.

Second, allowing cross-state competition and relaxing mandates for included services will create enormous competition for various segments of the populace with diverse health insurance needs. Adding a federal monster will simply drive out all private insurers as the federal 'competitor' posts losses, paid by taxpayers, as they underprice private competitors.

5. This needs to be done now- or at least this year. Again, simply false. There's no magic deadline, after which we all turn into pumpkins.

The Democrats are afraid of Congressmen going back home before a bill is passed and signed, because they know that voters are angry and scared about the manner in which Wonderboy, Frisco Nan and the rest of the liberal gang have given America the bum's rush on this important, sensitive topic.

What's needed is for every member of Congress to hear from their voters what is, and is not negotiable or acceptable in a bill, under threat of loss of office.

There are very few actual 'experts' on healthcare in the US House, Senate, or administration. One of them, freshman Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has called this issue Wonderboy's "Waterloo."

He may be right. What we saw Wednesday evening was a lawyer, with no skills other than oration, attempt to fool people into believing he could explain the so-called problem of US healthcare, and his proposed solution.

He couldn't do either convincingly. He is, after all, just a lawyer in over his head. Why would he have any special, important knowledge about healthcare.

Maybe, just maybe, the issue has turned, and the liberals are going to fail with their ill-conceived attempt to socialize medicine.

There are plenty of other good ideas for reform out there, and 50 laboratories in which to try them for a few years first.

Let's not make the mistake of taking one, simple, wrong approach and socialize US medicine and healthcare. Certainly not on the word of a second-rate lawyer who lucked into the Oval Office.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thomas Szasz On The Folly of Universal Healthcare

Thomas Szasz, author of "The Myth of Mental Illness," in 1961, wrote a brilliant editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week criticizing universal healthcare. In case the link does not work, or becomes inoperable, I've pasted the entire piece below, in italics.

People who seek the services of auto mechanics want car repair, not "auto care." Similarly, most people who seek the services of medical doctors want body repair, not "health care."

We own our cars, are responsible for the cost of maintaining them, and decide what needs fixing based partly on balancing the seriousness of the problem against the expense of repairing it. Our health-care system rests on the principle that, although we own our bodies, the community or state ought to be responsible for paying the cost of repairing them. This is for the ostensibly noble purpose of redistributing the potentially ruinous expense of the medical care of unfortunate individuals.

But what is health care? The concept of reimbursable health-care service rests on the premise that the medical problem in need of servicing is the result of involuntary, unwanted happenings, not the result of voluntary, goal-directed behavior. Leukemia, lupus, prostate cancer, and many infectious diseases are unwanted happenings. Are we going to count obesity, smoking, depression and schizophrenia as the same kinds of diseases?

Many Americans would willingly pay for insurance to protect them against the exorbitant cost of treating their own leukemia. But how many Americans would willingly pay for insurance to protect them from the expenses of treating their own depression?

Everyone recognizes that the more fully we wish insurance companies to defray our out of pocket expenses for our car repairs, the higher the premium they will charge for the policy. Yet foregoing reimbursement for trivial or unnecessary health-care costs in return for a more suitable health-care policy is an option unavailable under the present system. Everyone with health insurance is compelled to protect himself from risks, such as alcoholism and erectile dysfunction, that he would willingly shoulder in exchange for a lower premium.

The idea that every life is infinitely precious and therefore everyone deserves the same kind of optimal medical care is a fine religious sentiment and moral ideal. As political and economic policy, it is vainglorious delusion. Rich and educated people not only receive better goods and services in all areas of life than do poor and uneducated people, they also tend to take better care of themselves and their possessions, which in turn leads to better health. The first requirement for better health care for all is not equal health care for everyone but educational and economic advancement for everyone.

Our national conversation about curbing the cost of health care is crippled by the vocabulary in which we conduct it. We must stop talking about "health care" as if it were some kind of collective public service, like fire protection, provided equally to everyone who needs it. No government can provide the same high quality body repair services to everyone. Not all doctors are equally good physicians, and not all sick persons are equally good patients.

If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price. We will become the voluntary slaves of a "compassionate" government that will provide the same low quality health care to everyone.

Henry David Thoreau famously remarked, "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." Thoreau feared a single, unarmed man approaching him with such a passion in his heart. Too many people now embrace the coercive apparatus of the modern state professing the same design.

Szasz's piece is so good on so many levels, it's difficult to know where to begin to comment.

For me, I think it's mostly focused on two aspects of his editorial.

The first wisely distinguishes between uncontrollable illness and effects of voluntary, unhealthy behavior. Clearly, it makes no sense for government to make everybody pay for everybody's bad lifestyle choices.

Szasz's comparison of healthcare to automotive repair is quite good, too. Or perhaps I should say contrast, because he notes that the "healthcare" is not a public service, like fire protection, which is equal when consumed, and a genuine public good.

Instead, he views it more like the choices you make when insuring your car. But that insurance doesn't cover repairs, only accidents.

And that, Szasz contends, is really all that healthcare insurance should cover, too.

Very astutely expressed, Dr. Szasz.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Media Bias on CNBC

I watched part of Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan's guest hosting stint on CNBC's morning program this past Monday.

This ought to tell you how biased the GE-owned network is.

Ryan's sitting there on the set, right in front of the hispanic male co-anchor, who promptly calls him "Pat" Ryan.

Hey, he's Irish, right? Pat, Paul, Phil. They're all about the same, aren't they, Carlos?

The Tedster Confesses On Health Care

Leave it the stumbling, brain-diseased Tedster of Massachusetts to accidentally admit the horrible truth about Democratic universal healthcare. According to Fox News, in a recent NY Times editorial, Kennedy admitted that, in order to cut costs, some procedures and admissions will have to be curtailed.


That was supposed to be a big secret, Teddy! Didn't anyone tell you? Maybe they did, but that part of your brain died in the meantime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Wrong-headed Blather From Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan's stream-of-consciousness editorials in the Wall Street Journal's weekend editions are growing increasingly more bizarre.

This past weekend, Noonan couldn't fill an entire column with any one topic- the lunar landing anniversary, Supreme Court nominee hearings, or even comedian Al Franken's stolen election.

But what really caught my attention was her focusing on Hillary Clinton's lameduck status as Secretary of State.

Sure, Noonan is correct. But others, including me, warned of Wonderboy's tactic of isolating and neutering Clinton by his 'offer' of the cabinet position. Noonan points out how many little czars have been created to pre-empt and limit Clinton's scope in key geographic areas, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Mideast.

I'll agree that Hillary looked totally stupid in a picture on the Journal's Monday morning front page, wearing a bright, floral lei while the accompanying headline declared that she was being dissed by India's Environmental Minister on climate-control issues.

But Noonan seems way off base, at least to me, when she finished her column with this contention,

"They will look like kids playing with history. Hillary isn't a kid. She's experienced and has been roughed up by history. Watch. She'll roll right back."

No, she won't. She's nowhere near as relevantly 'experienced' as Noonan believes. And by joining Wonderboy's cabinet, she removed herself from an ability to observe and opine on current Democratic administration domestic activities. She will now be lacking in credibility on these issues, and moreso, if/when she departs the cabinet prematurely.

If you don't like Sarah Palin's early resignation, what will you consider Hillary's? Different?

Further, Hillary lost because, among other things, she was outrun in the campaign. She gave it her best shot, and lost. She lost a huge early lead, chose the wrong moments to turn on the faux tears, and became emotional in a very bad way, too late.

Ironically, for all the hue and cry that Republicans don't have adequate leaders to field a slate for the next presidential season, I think it's the Democrats who are in trouble.

Wonderboy will either be a crippled, one-term failure, or have his heels nipped at by various second-rate contenders. But I think it's unlikely Hillary will be one of them.

She lost once. She joined the hated opposition's team. And she took a portfolio that effectively removed her from having any sort of domestic issues voice. I doubt she could rev up a funding and grassroots machine now.

I don't happen to have made a thorough study of the phenomenon, but I think second acts like Hillary's would have to be in presidential campaigns are rare. Especially with her relative lack of governmental experience, having only been a Senator, and from a broadly recognized carpetbagging state.

To my knowledge, even Nixon and Reagan had to skip an election, and were more experienced. No Democrat has lost, then won, in half a century.

I think Noonan is simply off her rocker on this one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Liberal Wishful Thinking

Democratic operative and one-time Humphrey aide Ted Van Dyck wrote a rather pathetic, yet revealing piece in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Entitled, "Obama Needs to 'Reset' His Presidency,' Van Dyke enumerates the ways in which Obama has basically behaved differently than he promised when on the campaign trail, as well as differently than those Democratic icons to which he likes to compare himself, Roosevelt and Johnson.

Specifically, Van Dyke notes how patient and careful FDR and LBJ were in building some consensus and bi-partisan compromises in their landmark legislations. Wonderboy, by contrast, only a few hours after Van Dyke's editorial was published, again demanded action on healthcare by the August Congressional recess.

The pathetic part of the piece is seen in the title. No president 'resets' his presidency. The two-termers gut it out and overcome mistakes, but they basically continue being who they are. Either the opposition is too weak, the people approve, or are gullible, but a second term rewards inflexibility.

The ones that are simply wrong-headed and either meet capable opposition, or are seen to be out of step with the situation, like Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover, are not re-elected.

He demonstrates his sensibility with these initial passages,

"You restored hope to millions- including me- who had been demoralized by the political polarization that characterized the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The first warning signals for me came with your acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. In it, you stressed domestic initiatives that clearly were nonstarters in the already shrinking economy.

I had greater concern when you staffed your administration and White House with a large number of Clinton administration retreads."

Van Dyke continues in this vein, contrasting how FDR and LBJ worked with how Wonderboy is using strong-arm tactics, on a much lower margin of victory than the former, to pass questionable legislation with far-reaching implications for American society.

Van Dyke's suggestions are actually quite good- for another candidate. Maybe because Humphrey lost his election, Van Dyke doesn't have actual Oval Office experience, and naively believes his advice would matter.
Cutting back proposals, appearing in the media less often, and following through on his campaign promises are good ideas, but our First Rookie won't be considering any of them. They would represent admissions of mistakes and defeat, which presidents don't historically do on a large-scale.
I suppose, like Carter, Obama could become sufficiently weak, even with his party controlling both Houses, to attract an opposing nominee candidate from his own party in 2012, much like Teddy Kennedy did in 1980.
Failing that, the more Wonderboy steers a course away from Van Dyke's useful recommendations, the greater the chance of a GOP candidate taking up residence in the White House come January, 2013.