Doctors don’t like Obamacare

Bruce Kesler highlights the largest ever survey of doctors on the subject of Obamacare — and they don’t like it.

I can already hear the pro-Obamacare people saying, “Well, they don’t like it because it’s going to be more efficient and therefore cuts into their profits.”

Think about that for a minute.  You can have profitable efficiency (that would be a good private sector business, such as McDonalds or Apple) or you can have allegedly efficient unprofitability (and I can’t think of an example).  Let’s assume that, in a government-run program, efficiency is even possible.  And let’s take it as a given that doctors will lose money.  What happens then?

The answer is easy:  good doctors leave a system that doesn’t reimburse them.  In England, the good doctors have left and there are regular stories in the British papers about the dreadful doctors the NHS brings in from overseas. In the former Soviet Union, medicine became a predominantly female job because it was so low status — and the smart women didn’t want to do it.

Doctoring has traditionally been profitable, but it’s been an earned profit:  the top students spend four years in undergrad, four years in medical school, one year as an intern (at which time s/he can practice in prison), two years as a resident (at which time s/he can become a basic internist or family practitioner), and then one to seven years developing a specialty.  So that’s eleven to eighteen years of training.  Human nature says that, if there isn’t a big reward at the end of that trajectory, good people aren’t going to do it.  They’ll go somewhere else where they can get a larger return for the same or less effort.

And if you’re really curious what bad doctoring looks like, listen to this radio story, about a girl who was bitten by a shark and then got seen by a bad doctor.

Experts push for Orwellian maintenance over Americans’ health

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the best and most important books ever written. This is not hyperbole. It’s as close as one can ever get to an objective statement about a novel.  In addition to Orwell’s lean, elegant prose, it is impossible to imagine a more insightful or prescient book about the nature of a truly socialist government.  Except for failing to include mass starvation, Orwell accurately predicated just about every aspect of North Korea.

One of the powerful imagines George Orwell created was a sense of being under constant scrutiny and control.  Poor Winston Smith, doing his government-mandated physical exercises in front of his government-mandated two-way television, was stridently scolded for failing to implement properly his government-mandated “jerks.”  (I’ve never quite known what those “jerks” were, but I assume that they were push-ups or jumping jacks.)

Two-way television, of course, was an unheard of idea in 1948.  Now every iPhone has it, and every computer can have it.  The future is the present.  Oh, and the bit about having the government modern every individual’s lifestyle and health choices?  We knew that was coming down the pike when the government passed ObamaCare.  The government that controls your health care controls you.

One aspect of health care, of course, is weight.  Despite the fact that studies show that “obese” people can be perfectly healthy, our betters and wisers in the worlds of academia and politics want to slim the government health care budget by slimming you — and they think that coercive government force is a good way to achieve this goal:

Federal agencies should step in if industries that promote high-calorie foods to children do not implement common nutrition standards within two years, the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday.

The recommendation came as part of a 478-page IOM report on the U.S. obesity epidemic that outlined broad policy changes the panel says are necessary to stave off a healthcare crisis.

The changes are aimed at a complete overhaul of the United States’s “obesogenic” environment, the panel wrote.

“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” panelist Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania said.

[snip]

“The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment,” she said.

Strategies like a possible soda tax and new zoning laws to encourage walking and biking are designed to “reinforce one another’s impact to speed our progress,” said panel Chairman Dan Glickman, a former secretary of Agriculture.

The food and beverage industry, as well as its marketers, must cooperate or face possible federal intervention on issues like childhood nutrition standards, the panel warned.

Ace treats this idea with the disdain it deserves, but I’m not sure his voice of reason is being heard outside the Church of Conservative Ideology.

I do wonder, though, if there isn’t a good political campaign to be made of reminding people that Obama’s going to take away their ice cream cones, sodas, hot dogs, and hamburgers.

 

The Obama administration engages in full-out war against pro-Life people *UPDATED*

As others have commented, the Catholic Church is making the loudest noises about the new Obama Care mandate regarding birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization, but the policy is really a strike against everyone who is pro-Life in America.  If you’re a pro-Life employer, you have to pay for your employees’ abortion pills.  If you’re a pro-Life health insurance company (or health insurance company employee) you must write policies that cover every woman’s birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients.  If you are a health insurance consumer (as we all must be in Obama’s America), you will pay for abortions.

Anybody with a pro-Life conscience, even if that person has arrived at that position without benefit of organized religion, is in the line of fire.

But if you’re thinking that Obama is hostile to religion, you’re right about that too.  Check out the first update to the Anchoress’ post about the health care mandate, and you’ll see that Obama is starting to put the squeeze on in other areas when it comes to people of faith.

I’m hoping that hubris is driving the administration’s unpopular decisions now, in an election year.  To date, though, the administration has shown itself to be sufficiently Machiavellian that I wonder if it knows something about the upcoming elections that the rest of us don’t know.

UPDATE:  Oh, and for the pointedly humorous take on Obama’s policy stand, I know you’ll enjoy this.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we live in a very peculiar world, one that sees me, a loosey-goosey theist (sort of), deeply offended by the federal executive’s full force attacks on religious freedom in America.

(And please sign the petition.)

Fisking three dishonest Democrat senators on the subject of ObamaCare’s birth control mandate

The last two times I fisked, I was attacking solo acts.  This time, I get a triumvirate, as the three most liberal women in the United States Senate, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, and Jeanne Shaheen, have joined together to write an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, justifying ObamaCare’s intrusion into the realm of religion.  I cannot resist the fisk.

It was a historic victory for women’s health when the Obama administration changed the law to require private health plans to provide preventive services including breast exams, HIV screening and contraception for free. This new policy will help millions of women get the affordable care they need.

[This is simply ideology blah-blah.  Women get free stuff.  Men don't.  It hardly seems fair to me.]

Now, sadly, there is an aggressive and misleading campaign to deny this benefit to women. It is being waged in the name of religious liberty. But the real forces behind it are the same ones that sought to shut down the federal government last year over funding for women’s health care. They are the same forces that just tried to pressure the Susan G. Komen Foundation into cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screenings. Once again, they are trying to force their politics on women’s personal health-care decisions.

[The above is an impressively misleading paragraph, conflating core constitutional rights with marketplace pressures.  The ObamaCare fight is a war of religious liberty, insofar as the Obama administration, contrary to the limitation that the First Amendment imposes upon the federal government, is trying to force religious organizations to engage in practices that directly contradict core doctrinal matters.  The other fight arose from the fact that a privately funded charity wanted to stop providing money to an organization that (a) is being investigated for corruption; (b) receives massive amounts of federal dollars; (c) is one of the largest abortion providers in the country; and (d) does almost no "breast-cancer screenings" but, instead, simply refers women to other providers.  Having the facts kind of makes a mockery out the triumvirate's claim that those opposed to the ObamaCare mandate "are trying to force their politics on women's personal health-care decisions."]

We are very glad that the president has stood up to these forces while protecting religious freedom on all sides. His administration should be commended, not criticized.

[There's that new-speak again -- the president "protects" religious freedom by imposing doctrinal mandates on religious organizations.]

Contraception was included as a required preventive service on the recommendation of the independent, nonprofit Institute of Medicine and other medical experts because it is essential to the health of women and families. Access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, and is linked to overall good health outcomes. Nationwide, 1.5 million women use contraceptives only as treatment for serious medical conditions. Most importantly, broadening access to birth control will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, a goal we all should share.

[Been here, done that.  This is the big lie at the heart of the Obama administration's attack on traditional religious institutions.  These harpies constantly conflate the availability of birth control with funding for birth control.  They are not the same.  Women in America can get birth control.  The government can fund organizations -- indeed, it already does with the monies that go to Planned Parenthood -- that provide all these birth control options.  Forcing religious organizations to pay for birth control, sterilization and abortifacients, however, both exceeds the government's power and contravenes the limitations the Bill of Rights imposes on government.  This is not about whether women should have birth control; it's about with the government can force churches to pay for it.]

Proper family planning through birth control results in healthier mothers and children, which benefits all of us. It saves us money too: The National Business Group on Health—a nonprofit whose members are primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers—estimated that it costs 15% to 17% more for employers to exclude birth-control coverage, both because other medical costs rise and because of lost productivity.

[See above.  Apples and oranges.  Even accepting as true every single statement in the above paragraph, that still doesn't give the administration the right or power to force churches to fund birth control, sterilization and abortifacients.]

Contraception is not a controversial issue for the vast majority of Americans. Some 99% of women in the U.S. who are or have been sexually active at some point in their lives have used birth control, including 98% of Catholic women, according to the Guttmacher Institute. A recent survey by Hart Research shows 71% of American voters, including 77% of Catholic women voters, supported this provision broadening access to birth control.

[Ditto.]

Consistent with other federal policies, churches and other groups dedicated to teaching religious doctrine are exempted from providing this coverage under a “conscience clause.” But the law does include institutions that have historic religious ties but also have a broader mission, such as hospitals and universities. That’s also consistent with federal policy—and with laws that already exist in many states.

[Boot strapping argument here.  The second sentence assumes that the law is allowed to include institutions that aren't dedicated solely to religious activity, and staffed solely by core religious employees, and then says that, because the law includes them, therefore the inclusion is consistent with federal policy.  And, as did Sebelius, these gals wrongly look to state law, as if the states' acts give the federal government powers denied it under the Constitution.]

Those now attacking the new health-coverage requirement claim it is an assault on religious liberty, but the opposite is true. Religious freedom means that Catholic women who want to follow their church’s doctrine can do so, avoiding the use of contraception in any form. But the millions of American women who choose to use contraception should not be forced to follow religious doctrine, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.

[Nothing now prevents church employees from buying and using contraception.  They've been able to do so freely, in all 50 states, since the Griswold case in 1965.  What does exist now is a Big Rule saying that the government cannot force religious organizations to engage in acts that violate doctrine.  The First Amendment is explicit:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."  Right now, there are no laws prohibiting Catholic women from doing whatever the heck they please regarding their health care and contraceptive choices.  The only difference now is that never before has the federal government had the temerity to make laws, rules, and regulations that directly implicate an establishment of religion, prohibiting it from freely exercising its faith.]

Catholic hospitals and charities are woven into the fabric of our broader society. They serve the public, receive government funds, and get special tax benefits. We have a long history of asking these institutions to play by the same rules as all our other public institutions.

[Rhetorical sleight of hand.  When it comes to playing by workplace rules, the previous rules didn't attack doctrine.  This here is a different type of rule.]

So let’s remember who this controversy is really about—the women of America. Already too many women struggle to pay for birth control. According to the Hart Research survey cited above, more than one-third of women have reported having difficulty affording birth control. It can cost $600 a year for prescription contraceptives. That’s a lot of money for a mother working as a medical technician in a Catholic hospital, or a teacher in a private religious school.

[And we're right back to the cost-shifting argument.  See my discussion, above.]

Improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy. It will mean healthier women, healthier children and healthier families. It will save money for businesses and consumers. We should hold to the promise we made women and provide this access broadly. Our nation will be better for it.

[Ditto.]

I was going to wrap this up by saying I’ve seldom seen a more ignorant and dishonest piece of advocacy writing. I’ve decided, though, that it’s not ignorant. These gals know what they’re doing and what game they are playing. This is simply dishonest.  It is, however, a fine piece of writing coming from acolytes of the Constitutional law professor who now discovers, seemly for the first time in his intellectual life, that the Founders wisely wanted to limit a nascent dictator’s power:

[T]his week Barack Obama proved himself once again the perfect epigone of Woodrow Wilson—the first president to criticize the Constitution and the principles of the American Founding—with his remarks to NBC’s Matt Lauer that one reason he hasn’t succeeded in fulfilling his campaign promises to transform the world is that “it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.”  It turns out?  He’s just discovering this now?  (Well, one thing that “turns out” is that the only constitutional law Obama actually taught at the University of Chicago was the equal protection clause.  Apparently he skipped over that whole “separation of powers” stuff.)

Kathleen Sebelius’ defense of the new ObamaCare mandate is pathetic

Pathetic is a very strong derogatory word, but I think it’s apt when looking at Kathleen Sebelius’ defense for the Obama administration’s recent mandate that all employers must purchase insurance that provides their employees with birth control, sterilization and morning-after pills.  A fisking is in order (all hyperlinks in original omitted):

One of the key benefits of the 2010 health care law is that many preventive services are now free for most Americans with insurance. Vaccinations for children, cancer screenings for adults and wellness visits for seniors are all now covered in most plans with no expensive co-pays or deductibles. So is the full range of preventive health services recommended for women by the highly respected Institute of Medicine, including contraception.

[Don't you love that concept of "free"?  In fact, nothing's free.  It's simply that the plan shifts the cost from employee to employer -- so that the employer has less money for salaries, other benefits, new job creation, facility maintenance, etc.  But it's all good in Obama-land.  I also like the way that the only one of the "full range of preventive health services recommended for women" that Sebelius names is the fairly non-controversial "contraception."  To those who haven't been paying attention to the details, the message is clear:  all those conservatives are getting their knickers into a twist for nothing.]

Today, virtually all American women use contraception at some point in their lives. And we have a large body of medical evidence showing it has significant benefits for their health, as well as the health of their children. But birth control can also be quite expensive, costing an average of $600 a year, which puts it out of reach for many women whose health plans don’t cover it.

[Again, in a marvel of sleight of hand, Sebelius is pretending that this whole uproar is about nothing more than contraception.  As a matter of law, deceit includes misrepresentation through omission.  This is deceitful.  Also, note that careful language, to the effect that "birth control can also be quite expensive."  Aside from the fact that those are wiggle words, she's doing the same thing that Babs Boxer did, which is to try to cast this as an economic issue, when it is, in fact, a much deeper one:  the morality and Constitutionality of forcing religious institutions to subsidize a doctrinally offensive practice.]

The public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception is clear. But we also recognize that many religious organizations have deeply held beliefs opposing the use of birth control.

[Is that all she's got?  The fact that for some people birth control can cost $600 per year is her entire "public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception" is her justification for a vast cost-shifting program that requires practically every employer in America to subsidize insurance that covers women in the workforce between age 16 and menopause?  Remember, this "clear" case will cost employers a bundle, a cost that will inevitably be shared out to old people, infertile people, gay people, celibate people, etc.  How nice of Sebelius, secure in her own lack of logic, to recognize that her little economic scenario might offend core religious beliefs.  Fear not, though.  She's got an answer for those offended people.]

That’s why in the rule we put forward, we specifically carved out from the policy religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith. This exemption includes churches and other houses of worship, and could also include other church-affiliated organizations.

[We covered this often, so I won't go on at length.  The exemption is so narrow that it pretty much covers only the smallest of churches, the one staffed by two nuns and a priest, all three of whom do the janitorial and grounds maintenance work too.]

In choosing this exemption, we looked first at state laws already in place across the country. Of the 28 states that currently require contraception to be covered by insurance, eight have no religious exemption at all.

[This one really steamed me.  Someone in the Obama administration forgot to read the Constitution.  You see, states have broader rights vis a vis individuals than does the Federal government.  This makes sense because (a) the feds have more coercive power than the states and (b) it's easier to relocate from a state you don't like, than to be forced to emigrate from a country that's oppressing you.  If Alabama is too rough, go to California.  If the Obama government is coming after you, though, it's a lot harder to find a safe haven.]

The religious exemption in the administration’s rule is the same as the exemption in Oregon, New York and California.

[See comments above.]

It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception. Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control. And the president and this administration continue to support existing conscience protections.

[Again, sleight of hand.  What doctors can or cannot do is not the issue.  The issue is that faith-based organizations are being forced by the federal government to subsidize a product that offends core doctrinal beliefs.  If that isn't a violation of the First Amendment, I don't know what is.]

This is not an easy issue. But by carving out an exemption for religious organizations based on policies already in place, we are working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.

[To which I have a last word:  Feh!]

To its credit, USA Today, which hosted Sebelius’ advocacy piece, openly disagrees with her — and provides a link to its opposition right in the body of her dishonest little essay.

Hugh Hewitt hits an important nail on the head regarding the new ObamaCare mandate

I hadn’t looked closely at what Sebelius said when promulgating the new ObamaCare rules that require religious organizations to fund birth control, sterilization, and morning-after pills.  Hugh Hewitt, however, did look — and caught something interesting:

The press release that accompanied the new rule didn’t mention “Catholics” or “Catholic institutions,” but was as obviously aimed at Catholics and their institutions as the Blaine Amendment of long ago.

“This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty,” said Obama’s HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a pro-choice absolutist. “I believe this proposal strike the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”

To begin with: You cannot “balance” the right to free exercise of religion any more than you can “balance” the right of a newspaper to print stories that may injure national security.

You cannot “balance” the right to vote with the desire to save money in a time of extreme fiscal crisis.

You simply cannot indulge in social engineering when the Constitution of the United States declares the rights that you wish to engineer off-limits to the political forces of the day.

Barbara Boxer’s Orwellian defense of the way in which the new healthcare mandate advances religious freedom *UPDATED*

Barbara Boxer has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to explain why the administration’s mandate that all insurers provide birth control, including drugs that induce abortion, advances rather than restricts, religious freedom.  If you like Orwell’s Newspeak, Boxer’s writing is a thing of beauty and will certainly be a joy forever as a model of obfuscation and deceit.  I think it deserves a nice fisking, I really do:

When President Obama announced that because of health care reform, birth control would soon be available for free in new insurance plans, you would have expected universal approval.

[Why in the world would there be universal approval for a policy that requires people to underwrite birth control for everyone, including the 1%?  It's not as if birth control was unavailable before ObamaCare.  Nor is birth control expensive.  Condoms will not break anyone's bank and the pill is one of the cheapest products around.  So remind me again why I'm celebrating being forced to pay for other people's personal birth control choices?]

After all, virtually all women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used birth control at some point in their lives and 71 percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support this policy.

[See above.  It's not about who uses birth control, Catholic women included.  It's about who pays for birth control.  Welcome to Boxer's first piece of Orwellian sleight of hand.]

That is why I was stunned to read E.J. Dionne’s column in the Washington Post today denouncing a decision that should instead be lauded, especially by those of us who care about religious freedom, women’s health, and economic fairness.

[Now we get to it:  the policy advances "religious freedom . . . and economic fairness."  I'm completely unclear what's economically fair about a working class Mom or a small business having to fund a policy that will help Paris Hilton get her birth control for free.  But let's get to the real meat.  Let's find out how, in Obama/Orwell land, forcing everyone to pay for birth control and abortion pills advancing religious freedom.]

The truth is, the president’s decision respects the diverse religious views of the American people, who deserve the right to follow their own conscience and choose whether to obtain contraceptives, regardless of where they work. [Uh, Babs -- nobody is banning them from getting contraceptives now.  Last I looked, I could walk into any pharmacy and, for a very affordable price, get myriad over-the-counter contraceptives.  And I can go to my doctor and get a prescription for other affordable contraceptives.  This isn't about access; it's about funding.]  And that is what this policy guarantees — with one carefully drawn exception. This decision respects the deeply-held views of religious institutions. If their mission is primarily religious and the majority of their employees and clients share that faith, religious institutions do not have to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.  [Here's where the real double-speak lies, since it overlooks the fact that the only entirely religious institutions are convents and monasteries.  Whether we're talking a vast Catholic educational institution, a soup kitchen, or the local parish, outside of ministering positions, the Catholic Church is required by law to hire people of different religions.  In any event, my understanding is that, again outside of the core religious functionaries, the Church freely hires those who are willing to accommodate its vision and goals.  In other words, the so-called "exception" probably covers six convents and a monastery.]

So, despite what his critics claim, the president’s policy does in fact respect religious freedom. [No, it doesn't, because it aims to prevent any Catholic institutions from competing in the employment marketplace, by intentionally creating a situation in which Catholic institutions can no longer give their employees insurance coverage.]  In addition, opponents of this policy shockingly ignore the facts: that it will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in our country — a goal I thought we all shared.  [Non sequitur.  We're not talking about reducing unintended pregnancies.  We're talking about a government policy that forces a religious organization to fund a practice that is doctrinally abhorrent.]

The president followed the advice of the Institute of Medicine and other independent medical experts who recommended that health plans cover preventive services that women cannot afford to miss, including annual exams, HIV screening and, yes, contraception. These experts know the truth: The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions is to make birth control more accessible to women and men. Period. Without birth control, a couple has an 85 percent chance of having an unintended pregnancy within a year.

[See my last comment, above.  This is mixing Marxist apples with religious oranges.  We have a free country in which women already have access to birth control, sterilization, and abortion.  It's just that, until today, the government hasn't forced religious organizations to sponsor these practices.  It also ignores the fact that the Church believes that the best way to protect women is to teach them to treat sex as a sacred obligation within the bounds of marriage.  In other words, the Church's birth control is to take a stand against a promiscuous, hook-up culture.]

Finally, this decision will help working families by giving them access to free birth control. The cost of birth control can be prohibitive for many women, particularly in these difficult economic times. In fact, 34 percent of women voters report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. Surprisingly, Dionne glosses over the crucial issue of cost by recommending that the President simply require plans that won’t cover birth control to tell their employees where else they can buy it. He dismisses it as a “modest cost.” Well, tell that to the woman making minimum wage and struggling to buy groceries for her children — paying an extra $600 a year for birth control pills is a major expense for her, not a “modest cost.”

[Another red herring.  I have a suggestion, Babs.  Rather than making the Church pay for this "modest cost," why don't you tell the President to authorize the Keystone Pipeline?  That will create thousands of jobs and substantially drop the cost of oil.  This latter cost drives up the price of everything.  But it's clear that the President would rather attack the Catholic's core doctrines, than the Gaia worshippers' core doctrines.]

Improving access to affordable birth control is not a controversial issue for the American people, the vast majority of whom support family planning. The president’s decision should bring all sides together because it will help millions of women and their families. Certainly, that is a policy worthy of our praise.

[Doublespeak, doublespeak, doublespeak.  We have complete access in this country to birth control.  We have women who might be struggling to meet the cost because Obama's policies, including the stimulus and the refusal to exploit our energy resources, have made many things more expensive for many people.  Forcing religious institutions to fund practices that are morally abhorrent is not the way to balance out Obama's economic failings.]

Okay, enough with wandering around the cesspool that is Boxer’s brain and moral decency. If you really want to know what’s going on, I recommend Elizabeth Scalia’s article on the opening salvo in Obama’s war against the Catholic Church (and, of course, other religious organizations).

UPDATE:  Welcome, David Hogberg readers!

Stuff, all of which is depressing, about Democrat government and Democrat party-line media

In no particular order:

Listen to Richard Epstein and John Yoo explain why ObamaCare is a more heinous government policy than any ever before imposed on the American people.  Pay special attention to Richard Epstein’s point about the dangers lurking in rule by waiver, which is antithetical to rule by law.  (This is in the last video.)  (Hat tip:  JKB)

Don’t let the cheerful numbers about GDP, etc., mislead you.  Everything that’s improving in the economy (and things are improving) is being sucked up by government spending and debt.  Oh, joy!

Tom Elia caught the PBS Newshour in something that can politely be called deceit by omission.

I think I need to have some quiet time with my dog.  This all depresses me.

Is it just me or is there something very wrong with this picture?

For reasons unclear to me, myriad conservative sites are hosting an advertisement for Alan Grayson, a Progressive’s Progressive. You might remember Grayson from his last go-round in Congress.  This is not a guy who’s shy about sharing his convictions.  During the health care debate, he gave a quick and easy summary of the Republican position:  “‘Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”  When called upon to apologize, he basically apologized for having been too mealy-mouthed in his criticisms of Republicans: “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.”

Maybe the above quote explains why, when I think of Grayson, I’ve got the Holocaust on my mind.  (Grayson, by the way, is Jewish.)  How else to explain my reaction every single time I see this ad:

It’s that shadow under the nose, I know it is.  But whenever I see his picture in that ad (not any of his other pictures, just the one above), I see this:

I’m not saying Grayson is Hitler.  Indeed, I would never say that, because I don’t think there is any comparison.  I do think he’s an angry man with awful political ideas, but that’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned.  Considering that I don’t harbor bad thoughts towards Grayson, and I’m sure his campaign doesn’t, it leaves me wondering why his campaign would choose an image that, with that shadowy upper lip, creates the visual suggestion that he is a bad guy.

Or, as I asked in my post title, is it just me?

Is the Obama Administration trying for a clean healthcare slate?

Back in the 40s or 50s, Esquire Magazine, when it was still a magazine for gentleman, published some quite funny, if very risque cartoons.*  One of them showed a gorgeous, voluptuous, obviously purely decorative woman talking on the phone in her apartment.  Behind her is a kitchen piled to the ceiling with dirty dishes.  It is quite obvious that she is on the phone with her milquetoast husband:  “All is forgiven, Dear.  Come home.  I miss you terribly.”

That cartoon, which I haven’t thought about in decades, popped fully formed into my head when I read that the Obama Administration is doing what it can to hasten a Supreme Court hearing about ObamaCare.  Alana Goodman posits that this rush has a purpose:  “Maybe they reasoned that Obama would have more time to recover from a SCOTUS decision the June before his election, rather than risking a potential September or October surprise?”

Goodman shares the same assumption I do, which is that the currently constituted Supreme Court will reverse ObamaCare, probably in its entirety.  If that happens in June, Obama has the perfect campaign strategy:  We tried, our first effort was flawed, we now have a clean slate, so let us try again.  You know we’ll get it right the second time.  And all I can think about is that old Esquire cartoon.

________________________________

*I hasten to add here that I was not around when Esquire first published these cartoon.  My Dad loved books that gathered together magazine cartoons, and one of the gems he found at Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul’s was a collection of Esquire cartoons.  I also inherited from him a lovely book that put together the best cartoons from the old British magazine, Punch.

Another example of how liberals teach our children — even when they’re unclear on the concepts themselves

Readers of my blog know that one of my personal bête noires is liberal indoctrination in public schools.  I blog about it frequently.  My last outing on that subject was here, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit.  First, though, I’d like you to see how one public school teacher saw fit to educate American children about America’s involvement in WWII, as well as the response of one politely appalled man who was actually involved in the historic moment at issue.

Not only is this kind of indoctrination par for the course, it’s produced at least one generation of people who can throw out conclusions to their heart’s content, but are incapable of backing them up with common sense or actual knowledge.  And that’s how we wrap around to that post of mine that I mentioned earlier.  If you link over to it, you’ll see that I spoke with my daughter about a teacher’s facile and ill-educated assertion that “all civilized countries” have socialized medicine.

I carefully led my daughter through a few fairly uncomplicated facts.  A lot of uncivilized countries (North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union) have socialized medicine.  I also pointed out what is undoubtedly true, which is that those countries with socialized medicine cannot maintain them.  They work well initially when a big chunk of taxpayer money is poured into them, but that they then go downhill:  they don’t generate revenue themselves and, since they suck up wealth, they leave the taxpayer pool less wealthy and therefore less able to pay for them.  This isn’t rocket science and, more importantly, it’s not ivory tower theory — it’s actual real world fact, as proven by real world, actual events.

What’s interesting is what happened with my post when it got picked up on a liberal thread at reddit.com (the thread is entitled “libertarian” but it’s clearly not, as the tenor of the comments indicates).  The liberals are very angry at what I wrote, but they don’t have substance to back up their anger.  Lots of insults, lots of conclusions, but no facts and no coherent, sustained argument.  Here are a few comments, plus my replies:

Wow, there is actually book that describes why the mother is an idiot, it is called Economics 101 – look in to it.  [Insult, conclusion; no argument.]

Also, dear mother: You do realize you already pay for the uninsured, right? You just pay 20 times as much as you should. Why is this not considered a tax?  [Boy is s/he unclear on free market concepts.  If the market wasn't stultified by thousands of government regulations, not to mention the perverse incentives of mass buying by employers, there shouldn't be uninsured.  Also, I don't think I should be for the 30% of uninsured who are illegal aliens under any circumstances.]

***

Unfortunately, this kind of overly simplistic thinking is exactly why the tea party has no credibility. As cutesy as the exchange is, “Momma” didn’t address the fact that universal health care is working in many countries in Europe (not that it’s sustainable, but that’s not that point).  [I'm delighted this person thinks I'm cute, but the fact is that if universal health care is unsustainable, it's not working in Europe, no matter how much you wish it was.  As it sucks money out of the economy, the initial benefit vanishes, with the health care system in Britain the perfect example.   You don't need a Harvard PhD to figure that one out.]

Not only that, but the link that was posted at the end about the girl getting the abortion:

a) has absolutely nothing to do with the exchange about health care. b) I don’t see why the girl should be forced to tell her parents…we should be expanding the rights of the youth, not restricting them.  [Had the person read my post, s/he would have realized that it was relevant, as I explained, because it goes to the way in which public high schools indoctrinate students, right to the point where they bypass parents entirely when it comes to political hot topics such as abortion.]

tl;dr? As a hardcore libertarian, I think this article reeks of sensationalist neocon.  [Uh, I don't read hardcore libertarian here.  I read Progressive troll.]

***

That was a lot of stupid in one place. Too bad the teacher did not point out that the CBO said that the bill saves money, not costs money. [Where to begin.  Here, perhaps.  The person also doesn't understand that the CBO was forced to work with the numbers that Congress used as predicates for the bill, rather than actual real world costs.  Even with that, as Paul Ryan carefully explained, the bill is affordable only because of accounting jiggery-pokery and because of deferred costs.] Perhaps they are wrong, but that mom had better go over the figures and say where they are wrong. Then the teacher could point out how the bill helps small businesses get health care for employees. Then there was that deep dishonesty that North Korea having universal health care, both false and distracting from Europe and Canada and all that.  [All communist countries have universal health care because they have no private enterprise.  To the extent there is any health care, it comes from the government.  Of course, perhaps what this person meant is that North Korea has no health care at all, because the government has run out of money and the people are eating dirt.]

Insults, conclusions, false facts, ignorance — what are they teaching young people nowadays?

UPDATE:  If you’ve come this far in the post, you’ll know that the history teacher who put a unique spin on WWII history had edited the iconic Iwo Jima photograph to turn the flag into a McDonald’s arch with Arabic writing.  Perhaps that teacher was educated at the same schools as our president who managed, in his Easter message, to edit Jesus Christ out entirely, including the part in which he quoted from a WWII pastor.  (See also Flopping Aces, which tipped me off to this one, and which adds some more information.)

I understand that the president of a multicultural United States must be careful not to speak in such overtly religious terms that he sounds more as if he’s giving a sermon, than a speech.  One cannot avoid, however, the fact that Easter is a Christ centered religion.  (Unless, of course, Obama is actually celebrating the Pagan rite of spring which involved fertility goddesses and suchlike.)  For Obama, who professes to be a Christian to edit Christ out entirely from a message that should, in theory, resonate personally with Obama, is somewhat surprising.

Obama and socialism

I warned people close to me (mother, sister, etc.) that Obama was a socialist and they laughed at me and (quite lovingly, because they’re my mom and my sister) called me “extreme.”  I wonder if they would have laughed at Al Sharpton too, now that he’s finally let the cat out of the bag:

Al Sharpton isn’t the only one coming out of the woodwork.  David Leonhardt, writing with the New York Times’ approving imprimatur, spells out precisely what’s going on:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Read the rest of Leonhardt’s euphoric socialist economic polemic here.

Stop me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the liberal media and the pundits go ballistic when all of us said that Obama’s statement to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth” was a purely socialist notion?  They just think it’s a good thing that it should be the government’s responsibility to, hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Quiz those pundits and media-crities and they might suggest some authors for that famous expression.  Was that Adam Smith who said that?  No.  Reagan?  No.  Jefferson?  No.  Tell me that it was Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, and I bet they’d be surprised.

Finally, all the pieces have come together, and the MSM is still urging us to avert our heads and not to listen.

I’m sorry this post is incoherent, but I’m irritated, and still trying to get my thoughts organized right now.

End of the world as we know it Open Thread

I indulged myself today by staying assiduously away from the computer.  If there was going to be a train crash, I didn’t want to see it happen.  What’s really irksome isn’t that Stupak is the usual Demo ho (pardon my language), but that he was willing to sell his soul for the political equivalent of Monopoly money.  Here’s Andrew MacCarthy on just how bad Stupak’s deal is:

But now Democrats are going to abide not a mere signing statement but an executive order that purports to have the effect of legislation — in fact, has the effect of nullifying legislation that Congress is simultaneously enacting?

The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

But even if all that weren’t true, how do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?

One begins to suspect that there’s little difference between this Bart and this Bart when it comes to either intelligence or decency.

Victor Davis Hanson on the President’s and the Dem’s conduct with regard to the health care vote

Victor Davis Hanson sums everything up in one paragraph:

The president is pushing legislation that a clear majority of the people dislike, and whose details neither he nor his supporters can explain in simple language. Its ends-justify-the-means passage will require legislative gymnastics that border on the unconstitutional, and in Orwellian fashion are designed to reassure its sheepish supporters that they can appear not to be voting for the bill they vote for. And to achieve a House majority, Obama must offer an array of personal favors, political payoffs, federal stipends, and open threats, which, if done in the private sector, would be actionable acts of felonious bribery or racketeering.

Well, yes, there is all that….

UPDATE:  And a truly powerful Wall Street Journal editorial on the tremendous threat to American liberty if health care gets passed this Sunday.

Dems may not have votes, but they’ve got constitutional disregard down to an art

Perhaps it really is true that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for Obama Care.  After all, if she did, why would the Democrats be considering the “Slaughter Option” something that involves bypassing votes altogether:

The Slaughter Solution is a plan by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democratic chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.  You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply “deeming” the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.

An article in this morning’s edition of National Journal’s CongressDaily breaks the story, starting with the headline: “SLAUGHTER PREPS RULE TO AVOID DIRECT VOTE ON SENATE BILL.”  Excerpts:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

I mean, really, the whole concept of democracy is so out-dated. Tyranny is faster, easier and so much more efficient.

Friends, I feel tired.  Really.  Fatigue is my dominant emotion at this moment.

In the face of this overwhelming barrage of lies, doublespeak (“A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes”), inanities (““But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….”), and corruption (think Cornhusker kickbacks, union deals, etc.), it’s hard to keep ones energy burning bright.  This whole thing has felt like death by a thousand, not cuts, ’cause this is bigger than cuts, but death by a thousands assaults each of which, alone, isn’t quite fatal.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  I’m just whining a bit.  Pardon me — or feel free to chime in.

Hat tip: Kim Priestap

Health care may well pass, and what will happen if it does

The American Thinker spells it out:

Richard Baehr, ace political watcher, thinks the odds are that Nancy Pelosi, through brute force, will get Obama Care through.  Once that happens, of course, it’s the law, and “reconciliation,” which is ostensibly meant to smooth away any lingering roughness, will die a’bornin’

Christopher Chantrill explains what government will look like once it passes — and that’s regardless of any efforts, successful or not, not repeal it:

There are a number of reasons why the outcome of Obamacare would be a lot less enjoyable than this rosy scenario.

First of all, in the period between passage and repeal, many damaging events will have taken place. Taxes will have gone up. Many employers will have terminated their health plans and accepted a tax that costs them less than their employee health plan. Seniors will have lost their Medicare Advantage. Doctors will have retired rather than deal with the hassle of Obamacare. Already the curtain will have rung up on a meaner, nastier America.

And we know today what that looks like. It looks like Greece, where the government is teetering on the edge of default and workers from a bloated public sector are rioting in the streets over the possibility of any reduction in their pay and benefits. It looks like Iceland, where the voters just voted by 93 percent to 1.5 percent against the government’s proposal to pay back losses suffered by British and Dutch depositors after its bank meltdown in 2008. And let’s not forget Argentina, which has lumbered from inflation to default and back again numerous times since it opted for the empty promises of Juan Perón and the lovely Evita back in 1946.

The squalor of this kind of government is dreadful. It is government that lurches from crisis to crisis, resorting to loans, IMF bailouts, and defaults on debt, followed by “restructurings” that deliver a 60- to 70-percent loss to bondholders. In the Argentine crisis of 1999-2002, the government blithely seized dollar deposits in personal checking accounts and replaced them with pesos worth about 25 percent as much.

Under government like that, you can’t be an independent soul. You have to work for the government, join a union, pay your dues to the local party boss. Otherwise, you will get run over. The glory of America is that most of the time, it has avoided this misery.

This is one of those cases where Obama and the Democrats break it, but we, the citizens, end up owning it.

My prediction, if the House Democrats swallow the reconciliation bait

I believe more and more strongly that reconciliation is a red herring, meant to induce the House to pass the Senate bill.  Once that’s done, this so called “reconciliation,” an alleged second bill that will smooth away the differences between the two chambers (especially the House’s demand that abortion, which is part of the Senate bill, be excluded from taxpayer funding), will vanish.  Instead, Obama will proclaim that Obama care is a done deal, with the outrageous, huge, convoluted, corruption-riddled Senate bill as the law, and let his Democratic House die in November.  End of story.

American health care is better than socialized medicine

One of the bludgeons used to beat opponents of socialized medicine is the claim that everybody in Canada/England/Northern Europe/Etc., is soooo much happier with health care than we are.  A doctor friend of mine has been scouring the literature, and she’s discovered that this isn’t true.  Polls show that people in countries with socialized medicine are quite unhappy and, given the patient outcomes, this isn’t a surprise:

What progressives won’t admit is that people reliant on nationalized health care are unhappy. Recent polls show that more than 70 percent of Germans, Australians, Britons, Canadians and New Zealanders think their systems need “complete rebuilding” or “fundamental change.”

These polls reflect the poor outcomes those systems provide. In countries with nationalized care, outcomes for some of the most common diseases are catastrophically worse than in the United States. Compared to the U.S., Germany’s breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher, the U.K.’s is 88 percent higher and Canada’s is 9 percent higher.

For prostate cancer, the U.K.’s mortality rate is 604 percent higher, Norway’s is 457 percent higher and Canada’s is 184 percent higher. Colorectal cancer outcomes are no better with the U.K.’s mortality rate 40 percent higher and Canada’s 10 percent higher than here.

The United States does particularly well with breast cancer, in part because of aggressive screening policies.

Please read the whole op-ed my friend wrote.  Not only is it interesting on its own terms, but a large readership will push it onto the “Most viewed” category on the online edition of the paper, encouraging even greater reader numbers.  People ought to be exposed to as much information as possible about health care options, and Callen’s opinion piece is chock full ‘o info.

Lynn Woolsey turns on the Senate health care bill

Rep. Lynn Woolsey is a liberal among liberals, a Leftist who calls affluent Marin County her home (and Marin voters have sent her back to D.C. over and over again, with about 70% of the vote).  She’s not a very bright woman, but I give her credit for focusing unerringly on what’s wrong with the Senate health care bill:

Rep. Lynn Woolsey said Friday she would not vote for the Senate version of the Democrat’s health care reform bill without substantial changes, even though that is the only clear path toward passage of the legislation.

“The House bill was compromise enough for the people I represent,” said Woolsey, D-Petaluma. “The Senate bill would go beyond that to the point where we would just hand the insurance companies the gift of 40 million new customers with little or no controls on premiums and no competition from a public option.”

She’s even figured out that Paul Krugman, one of the people I credit with inadvertently helping me see how dysfunctional liberalism is, gets it completely wrong when he says to the Dems “Damn the torpedoes.  Full speed ahead!”  Reconciliation just won’t work because, even though it will turn the health care system economically over to the government, it still won’t fix those vexing liberal problems of how to make every citizen pay for every other citizen’s abortion (something even principled pro-choicers admit is wrong) or how to ensure that every illegal alien gets full medical coverage:

She said, for example, the Senate bill fails to prohibit insurance companies from rejecting customers due to pre-existing health conditions or to ban annual and lifetime caps on coverage.

“Even in reconciliation, we can’t fix that because reconciliation covers only budget issues,” Woolsey said.

The reconciliation process Woolsey referred to is a tactic that would allow Democrats to modify parts of the health care reform bill with just a 51-vote majority in the Senate. Under such an approach, Democrats in the House would first pass the Senate version of the health care bill, then pass a reconciliation bill containing the changes. Republicans have used this so-called “nuclear option” in the past to enact tax cuts.

But changes contained in a reconciliation bill may only deal with taxes and spending to bring the legislation in line with the budget. It would be difficult if not impossible to use reconciliation to address issues such as abortion funding and health care for immigrants.

Woolsey wants to follow Obama’s new suggestion of passing bite-size pieces of reform. The question now, is whether the American people will understand that insurance companies can’t stay in business if people are allowed to hold off on paying for insurance until they actually get sick. It’s really not insurance anymore, with the companies taking actuarial risks. In that case, it’s simply companies getting no benefit whatsoever to pay for our health care. It may be a good deal for the public, but that’s only until the insurance companies go out of business. Of course, then the government steps in and, voila — single payer health care. So I guess this is the start towards a backdoor government takeover.

As many have said, when it comes to liberals and their goals, it never ends.

Does Obama trip to Massachusetts presage Coakley’s failure?

The last and best word on the subject is that Obama is going to Massachusetts to bring his prestige to bear on the upcoming Massachusetts Senatorial election.  You can hear Coakley confirm this, even as she makes the stunning statement — stunning considering that she’s hoping to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate — that Curt Schilling, a former, and incredibly successful, Red Sox’s pitcher, is a Yankees fan:

I’ve decided that it’s a great thing that Obama is going to Massachusetts, because his track record is a good sign that his presence will be the kiss of death for the Coakley campaign.  After all, when you think about it, since his election, nothing Obama has touched has succeeded.  He did get his stimulus package, which seems to have trashed the economy.  His next pet project, Cap and Trade, is dead-ended in the Senate.  And while it’s still possible that Congress will burden us with ObamaCare, to date it does not go on the “accomplished” side of the Obama ledger.

More than that, whenever Obama has gone somewhere with his cap in hand, he’s been rebuffed.  Remember the fanfare surrounding his trip to Copenhagen so that his prestige would sway the International Olympic Committee to award to 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago?  Obama may have gone there with his cap in hand, but he returned here with his tail between his legs, after the IOC gave him a humiliating rebuff by eliminating Chicago in the first round.

Undaunted, Obama returned to Copenhagen to spearhead an incredibly wonderful Climate Change summit that, his acolytes assured us, would see America carry the day on turning the clock back on Man-made Global Warming (ah, sorry, “Man-made Climate Change“).  Again, Obama was rebuffed.  Indeed, he was so soundly rebuffed that the Chinese premier canceled a meeting with him and Obama, unable to handle that with grace, tried to bully his way in to see the premier (a pathetic move his aides unconvincingly denied).

Here at home, Obama tried to lend his prestige to John Corzine’s campaign in New Jersey.  Obama was also kind enough to try to give Craig Deeds a helping hand in Virginia.  We know how those elections ended up — and that was when Obama was still slightly more ascendant in the polls than he is now.

When Obama goes begging, he comes up losing.  His track record, therefore indicates that his presence at Coakley’s side will not help her.  Instead, it may well mark her with a great big “L” in the middle of her forehead:

loser

(By the way, although it’s completely irrelevant to this post, I want to address here David Frum’s smug argument that Scott Brown, the man conservatives across America are backing, is liberal in his politics.  Frum has therefore concluded that only RINOs can run and win in national elections.  With all due respect, Mr. Frum, that is a silly argument.  Conservatives fully understand that Brown is fairly liberal, at least when it comes to some government programs.  This liberality, while it may not be the average conservative’s cup of tea, means that Brown is electable in ultra-liberal Massachusetts.  What matters to conservatives is that Brown is still infinitely more conservative than Coakley, not to mention being a more appealing human being.  Even more importantly, if elected, he will do something true conservatives deeply desire:  stop ObamaCare.)

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Open thread centered around a very important question

The holidays continue to make demands on me that take me away from my beloved computer and my blog.  I’ve managed to track enough news, though, to know that Reid managed to get his vote.  My question for you, and one I can’t answer myself, is this:

Will the health care bill, even if it destroys the current crop of Democrat politicians, be an unstoppable juggernaut that will inevitably lead to socializing America, or is this bill the final straw on the electorate’s groaning back that will lead to the revitalization of conservatism in America?

I’d like to think the second but, given the Republican party’s profound ineptitude and ideological weakness, I think Republicans are going to take lemonade and manage to reconstitute it as rotten, sour, unpalatable lemons.

***

As I finished typing the last paragraph, I got an email from Rob, at JoshuaPundit, with a link to his post about the dangers of despair:

Part of what fuels decadence (and eventual destruction and defeat) is the belief that everything is rotten beyond repair, so why even try anymore? If enough people feel that way, then they contribute to the defeat and it’s over. So it’s important to act with optimism and positive energy even when it seems hopeless.

One of the things that surprised me in reading Winston Churchill’s history of World War II is how frequently he succumbed to despair during the run-up to the Second World War when he could see where things were headed, and afterward,when he finally took power and the Nazis were expected to invade at any moment.

Sir Winston referred to these periods of depression as ‘the black dog’…but he made a point of never sharing these emotions with anyone, and indeed made a point of acting especially cheery and unperturbed when things seemed darkest. And there were plenty of such moments.

He understood instinctively one of William James’ basic principles of psychology, that moods are infectious and affect others and that a positive attitude, even a partially feigned one, can have positive results.

And there are positive results to be had. We have a country to win, and one that’s worth fighting for.

Please read the rest of Rob’s post.  It will make you feel better, as it made me feel better.  We have a wonderful country, and we cannot and should not give up!

Mark Steyn explains Democrats’ long term thinking *UPDATE*

It’s scary, but Mark Steyn is right:

I’ve been saying for a year now, in NR and NRO, that the object for savvy Dems is to get this thing passed in whatever form because, once you do, there’s no going back. Kim Strassel in yesterday’s Journal gets it:

So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

Just so. And that’s worth whatever hit they have to take in 2010. Every time I make the point, someone says, oh, Jim Webb this or Byron Dorgan that, or have you see Harry Reid’s numbers in Nevada? Oh, please. We’ve just seen what happens when you make Ben Nelson your Maginot Line. The Dems are thinking strategically; the Republicans are all tactics.

In other words, as of today, with Nelson’s willingness to sell his soul and the Democrats’ willingness to go forward with a plan everyone hates, we’ve lost not just the battle, but the war.  We can start writing the American eulogy.

UPDATEAnchoress is bummed out too.  She has faith in her faith, though, and it gives her consolation, especially at this time of year.

The fairness problem with cost shifting in health care

One of the things that ObamaCare proponents keep saying (and please add a whining note in your mind as you read the following) is that “the current system isn’t fair.”  It’s not right, they say, that, in a rich country, some people have premium health care, while others are forced to go to a free clinic or an emergency room (or possibly back to their native Mexico).

What all these fairness proponents forget is that there is nothing fair about socialized medicine.  Unless you want costs to be stratospheric for everybody (as in ever higher taxes) or unless you want the system to break very quickly, you have to make sure that people don’t drain the system.  Morbidly obese people drain the system.  Drug users drain the system.  People with chronic diseases such as Crohn’s drain the system.  Diabetics drain the system.  Cigarette smokers drain the system.  Sexually promiscuous people drain the system.  You can make your own list, but it is apparent that some people are heavy health care users, and others aren’t.  All of them make more demands than your average middle class, healthy suburbanite, who goes in for well-baby checks, appendicitis, the occasional pneumonia, etc.

Now, we’re a compassionate people, and we’re probably willing to pay for those who suffer through no fault of their own.  We can find it in our hearts to shell out for the person who is crossing on the green light and gets hit by a car; or for someone who has appendicitis.  But what about the people who could have prevented their illnesses?  Do you really want higher taxes to pay for that big guy at the buffet who is loading up on fried stuff?  And how do you feel about replacing the liver on that recovered alcoholic?  And are you sure your neighbor isn’t going to tell you to forget having children in case one of them has your breast cancer gene? And since that’s not fair, and since the whole point of universal health care is a fair system in which everyone pays equally for and receives equally of the health care system, then someone or something (hint:  the government) had better step in and control or punish high risk people.

It’s not just me saying this.  Indeed, even though I had inchoate thoughts on precisely this topic, I didn’t put it together until Zombie sent me a link to a comprehensive article spelling out everything that’s wrong with the universality of universal health care.  Please read it.  Think about it.  Forward it to friends.  Use it as the basis for letters to your Congressman or woman, or as the talking point for a friendly discussion at work.

Life isn’t fair.  Equality of opportunity is a wonderful American tradition.  Equality of outcome is an impossible dream that eventually turns all nations that seek it into totalitarian dictatorships, intent on controlling every aspect of the citizen’s life.

Let not your heart be troubled by today’s Senate vote

Bryon York puts it in perspective:

The extraordinary thing about the dramatic events surrounding the health care bill in the Senate is that there is any drama in it at all. Lawmakers are simply voting to begin debate on their version of health care reform. Just begin debate — not end it, and not move on to a final vote.

If Democrats, with a 60-vote majority in the Senate, were not able to begin debate on the top Democratic policy priority in a generation — well, that would be a devastating turn of events, both for the party and for President Obama. And yet just starting debate has proved difficult, and only today did the 60th Democratic vote fall in place in favor of beginning the process.

I asked a high-ranking Republican Senate source whether it was really that hard to get the Democratic votes together. Could it have been a media-fed story, with reporters looking to inject some unwarranted drama into the proceedings? No, I was told. “It really was that hard for them to get to 60 just to proceed,” the source said. “Very telling.”

And judging by the statements of four moderate Democrats — Lieberman, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Nelson — it will be far, far harder when the process comes to the really important vote, the one that would bring debate to a close debate and move on to an up-or-down vote on the Democrats’ health care plan. Today all four of those Democrats publicly threatened to side with Republicans and kill the bill before it can move to a final vote, unless their concerns are met.

Read the rest here.

Government health care rationing strikes again in England

Just so you know, Britain, the ne plus ultra of single payer care, is having a little bit of death panel trouble:

Liver cancer sufferers are being condemned to an early death by being denied a new drug on the Health Service, campaigners warn.

They criticised draft guidance that will effectively ban the drug sorafenib – which is routinely used in every other country where it is licensed.

Trials show the drug, which costs £36,000 a year, can increase survival by around six months for patients who have run out of options.

The Government’s rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said the overall cost was ‘simply too high’ to justify the ‘benefit to patients’.

However, relatively few would be eligible for the treatment – around 700, or one in four of those diagnosed each year with primary liver cancer.

[snip]

Kate Spall, founder of the Pamela Northcott Fund, which assists cancer patients denied new therapies, last night said cancer sufferers had been sold down the river.

She said: ‘These policies were specifically designed to help patients with rarer cancer such as liver to access new treatments for a previously untreatable disease.

‘This decision will condemn patients to an earlier death than was necessary.’

Only 20 per cent of patients with primary liver cancer – where the tumour originates in the liver – are alive one year after diagnosis.