Trojan triggers

Lest anyone, including Maine’s Olympia Snowe, get too excited about the newly proposed trigger option in the health care proposals:

President Obama has decided that another oration will rejuvenate his health-care agenda—despite having given 27 speeches entirely on health care, and another 92 in which it figured prominently. We’ll see how tomorrow night’s Congressional appeal works out, but the important maneuvers are taking place in the cloak rooms, as the White House tries to staple together a majority.

The latest political gimmick is the notion of a “trigger” for the public option: A new government program for the middle class would only come on line if private insurance companies fail to meet certain benchmarks, such as lowering overall health spending or shrinking the number of the uninsured. This is supposed to appeal to Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who could end up as ObamaCare’s 60th Senator, while still appeasing the single-payer left.

Liberals should love the idea because a trigger isn’t a substantive concession; it merely ensures that the public option will arrive eventually, instead of immediately. Democrats will goose the tests so that private insurers can’t possibly meet them, mainly by imposing new regulations and other costly burdens.

In other words, triggers are Trojan Horses for the whole public option (i.e., socialized medicine) enchilada.

Incidentally, the Left has a new tactic to advance the Trojan Horses through the Republican lines.  They are now telling us that actually reading bills is counterproductive:

Across the country, “Read the bill!” has become a rallying cry of the health care debate.

People are shouting it at town halls. Local newspapers teem with editorials and readers’ letters demanding that lawmakers do it. Bloggers and their commenters say the same. Politicians of both parties are taunting their foes across the aisle with it.

But reading actual legislative text is often the least productive way to learn what’s actually in a bill.

Consider the House health care bill (or bills, as it were). The 1,017-page text is a tangle of references to other clauses, sections and subsections of the bill as well as numerous other statutes — some passed ages ago, all a pain to locate and search, even online: “Section 1179 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-8) is amended” by striking this and inserting that, or “the tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as a tax imposed by this chapter for the purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for the purposes of section 55.”

Got that?

“These bills are not written for even the educated layperson. They are written for specialists,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers.

It’s all very cute to say that the bills aren’t really written to be read, but the undeniable fact remains that, once the bill is passed, it’s the layperson who has to deal with the consequences. As people of old knew, the Devil is in the details. And those who have taken the time to ignore the sage experts’ advice have discovered that there are myriad, dangerous Devils lurking in the health care proposals wending their way through Washington.

AARP runs meeting consistent with their paper’s Leftist management

It was only last week that I wrote about the fact that the AARP’s weird support for Obama Care, a plan that is likely to ration care its members, might be connected to the fact that at least one branch of its management, the magazine editorship, is to the left of Left.  I think that attitude might be more prevalent in the AARP than just at the magazine itself.  How else to explain this wonderful style of meeting management?

The playbook would be as follows:

How to run an AARP meeting, Leftie style:

1.  Open a meeting with elderly people by talking in a swift, inaudible mumble?  Check.

2.  Assert a whole bunch of assumptions with which your audience instantly disagrees?  Check.

3.  Scold your audience for not getting with a program ostensibly for their benefit?  Check.

4.  Shut down the meeting because it turns out your constituents were supposed to listen to you, not vice versa?  Check.

An insight into the physician’s eyeview of rationed care

The debate on Obama Care has tended to focus on money and on vague accusations of probable racism.  Zane Pollard, an opthamologist, spells out precisely what that rationing will look like.  And no matter how the Dems dress it up, for the vast majority of Americans, it will look much worse than what they have today.

What Americans need to understand is that over 80% of people today are pretty darn happy with their healthcare.  Twenty percent are less happy.  Of those 20%, many are uninsured.  Of the uninsured, a vast number are illegal immigrants who go to free clinics funded by Americans, usually through increased insurance premiums that pay for the increased costs that hospital’s have to charge to cover mandatory free care; another huge chunk are people who can afford, but don’t want, insurance; and another chunk are genuinely poor American citizens who qualify for existing government care, but haven’t taken advantage of that fact.

The government’s plan, in the pursuit of equality of outcome, is to make all of us as unhappy as that 20%.  To the progressive mind, it’s simply not fair that some people, even though a minority, feel stiffed by the situation.  How much more pure, in a socialist kind of way, if we’re all equally miserable.  (Except, of course, for the Congress people who, typically for socialists, have exempted the ruling class from the miseries imposed upon the masses.)

A Cold War joke:

“Come the revolution, we’ll all drive Rolls Royces.”

“But what if I don’t want to drive a Rolls Royce?”

“Come the revolution, you’ll have to.”

Welcome to the revolution!

The bottom line on Obama Care

Karl Rove nicely articulates the bottom line facts driving Obama’s fear-mongering game to force through immediate and irrevocable changes to America’s health care system:

Mr. Obama’s problem is that nine out of 10 Americans would likely get worse health care if ObamaCare goes through. Of those who do not have insurance—and who therefore might be better off—approximately one-fifth are illegal aliens, nearly three-fifths make $50,000 or more a year and can afford insurance, and just under a third are probably eligible for Medicaid or other government programs already.

For the slice of the uninsured that is left—perhaps about 2% of all American citizens—Team Obama would dismantle the world’s greatest health-care system. That’s a losing proposition, which is why Mr. Obama is increasingly resorting to fear and misleading claims. It’s all the candidate of hope has left.

Obama and the AARP — partners in crime

A consensus seems to be growing that the ObamaCare bill does not bode well for seniors.  Aside from the mandatory “counseling” for all seniors, counseling that’s only worth doing if it’s meant to steer seniors away from obtaining treatment, simple common sense dictates that the health care cannot work without rationing — and rationing will always affect first those who use the product most.  In this case, seniors are not merely the health care system’s biggest users, they’re also the ones the government sees as most expendable.

This being the case, why then is the AARP, which ostensibly exists to advance the interests of seniors all over America, enthusiastically supporting ObamaCare?  The answer might lie in AARP’s management.

The AARP is an interesting organization, because membership is automatic, provided that you pay your dues.  This means that most of its constituents pay no attention to what it’s doing (they just like the benefits).  Few of them, I’m sure, realize that AARP’s management is extremely far Left.

How do I know this about the management?  Well, aside from the AARP’s bizarrely enthusiastic embrace of a legislative policy that will radically decrease its membership by depriving large segments of decent medical care, one of the AARP’s major players is John Stoltenberg.  It is Stoltenberg who manages the magazine that’s sent to every senior in America.

Stoltenberg’s name probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but his deceased wife’s name is one you might recognize:  Andrea Dworkin, radical man-hating Leftist feminist.  (And it must have been an interesting marriage, because Stoltenberg is openly gay.)  Here’s Wikipedia’s bio on Stoltenberg (links omitted):

John Stoltenberg (1945[1]-) is an American radical feminist activist, scholar, author, and magazine editor.[2] He is the managing editor of AARP the Magazine, a bimonthly publication of the United States-based interest group AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), a position he has held since 2004. Although he formed a relationship with and eventually married Andrea Dworkin, he considers himself gay.[1]

Career

He holds degrees in divinity and fine arts. He is well known as a feminist activist and author. He has written a series of books and articles criticizing traditional concepts of manhood or maleness, such as “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990), “Why I Stopped Trying to be a Real Man,” [1] and “The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience” (Penguin USA/Plume, 1994).

He created “the Pose Workshop,” which entailed men adopting the poses that women strike in pornographic shots (intended partly for men attending Christian retreats), a version of which was broadcast on BBC television. He was Andrea Dworkin’s life partner for thirty-one years. They began living together in 1974; in 1998 they married. He was a founder of the group ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ [2] and conceived and creative directs the group’s ‘My Strength’ [3] campaign which aims to educate young men on sexual relationships, consent and rape.

Stoltenberg is credited with the quote “Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.” The quote is from the essay The Forbidden Language of Sex in his book “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” (Meridian, 1990).

It’s possible, of course, that just as the Dworkin and Stoltenberg had competing sexualities they also had competing political outlooks, but I somehow doubt that.  It’s infinitely more likely that the man charged with pouring policy data and opinion into the home of each senior in America is every bit as Leftist in his outlook as his wife was.

Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

And while we’re on the subject of rationed health care

Faced with an epidemic, England is already planning on rationing:

Thousands of patients could be denied NHS treatment and left to die under ‘worst-case’ emergency plans for a swine-flu epidemic.

The blueprint would force doctors to ‘play God’ and prioritise intensive-care treatment for those most likely to benefit  -  ruling out patients with problems such as advanced cancer.

The ‘scoring’ system would be introduced if half the population became infected with flu.

[snip]

The scale of their concern is highlighted in the Department of Health’s report: Pandemic Flu – Managing Demand and Capacity in Health Care Organisations.

Detailing plans to ration hospital treatment, the report warns that if half the population were infected, 6,600 patients per week would be competing for just under 4,000 intensive-care beds.

Around 85 per cent of those beds could already be full with day-to-day emergencies.

To allocate ventilators, beds and intensive-care equipment doctors would have to ‘score’ patients on their health and prognosis as well as seriousness of their conditions.

Those who failed to respond to treatment would be subject to ‘reverse triage’ – in which they were taken off ventilators and left in NHS ‘dying rooms’ with only painkillers to ease their suffering.

Patients with underlying illness such as advanced cancer or the last stage of heart, lung or liver failure  -  and those unlikely to survive even if they were given treatment  -  would not be given an intensive-care bed.

Definitely what we want over here — right, folks?

Actually, I’ll freely concede that we probably would do precisely the same if we had an epidemic.  In an epidemic situation, rationing is inevitable, because an overwhelmed system cannot cope.  What I’d like to think, though, is that our system will be less overwhelmed than the creaking National Health Service, which already does rationing to cope with its inefficiencies.

All the problems with Democratic health care reform

In just three paragraphs, Charles Krauthammar explains all of the problems with the health care reform the President so desperately wants passed by August:

President Obama premised the need for reform on the claim that medical costs are destroying the economy. True. But now we learn — surprise! — that universal coverage increases costs. The congressional Democrats’ health-care plans, says the CBO, increase costs on the order of $1 trillion plus.

In response, the president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue-neutral. But that’s classic misdirection: If the fierce urgency of health-care reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing budget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.

The Democratic proposals are worse still. Because they do increase costs, revenue neutrality means countervailing tax increases. It’s not just that it is crazily anti-stimulatory to saddle a deeply depressed economy with an income tax surcharge that falls squarely on small business and the investor class. It’s that health-care reform ends up diverting for its own purposes a source of revenue that might otherwise be used to close the yawning structural budget deficit that is such a threat to the economy and to the dollar.

Democrats work to impose Newspeak

Orwell understood the totalitarian mindset.  That’s why he invented Newspeak, a language with the specific goal of making anti-governmental thought impossible.  The Wikipedia article on the subject sums it up nicely:

Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, it is described as being “the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year”. Orwell included an essay about it in the form of an appendix[1] in which the basic principles of the language are explained. Newspeak is closely based on English but has a greatly reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar. This suits the totalitarian regime of the Party, whose aim is to make any alternative thinking — “thoughtcrime“, or “crimethink” in the newest edition of Newspeak — impossible by removing any words or possible constructs which describe the ideas of freedom, rebellion and so on. One character says admiringly of the shrinking volume of the new dictionary: “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

Hold that thought tightly in mind as you read this story,* which has a Democratically controlled government committee dictating to Republicans the phrases and thoughts they can, and cannot, use in describing to constituents the health care plans currently being trotted out in the Democratically controlled House and Senate:

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), the secretary of the House Republican Conference and a former District Court Judge, is having his messages to constituents censored by Democrats on the Franking Commission.  Republicans are no longer allowed to use the words “government run health care” in the communications to their constituents.

Carter received an email from the Franking Commission informing him of the censorship.

“It came to me from the Franking Commission and I have the email from the Franking Commission here if you’d like to see it,” Carter said.  “We held a telephone town-hall… When you hold telephone town-halls you have a recorded message that introduces the town-hall and the subject matter you’re going to be talking about.  You have to now submit that language to the Franking Commission.

“What we proposed as language was as follows, ‘House Democrats unveiled a government-run health care plan,’” Carter said.  “Our response from Franking was, ‘You cannot use that language.  You must use, ‘The House majority unveiled a public option health care plan,’ which is Pelosi-speak or ‘just last week the House majority unveiled a health care plan which I believe will cost taxpayers…’”

_______________________

*One caveat:  currently, the link I provided is the only source for this story.  I recognize the possibility that it may prove to be a false or confused report.  Right now, though, since it is sourced to a named House member, I’m assuming it’s true, and blogging as if it is.

Hat tip:  Elanamama

Tying up the healthcare package with an ugly bow

Michelle Malkin puts it together:  the administration’s insistence that blind-folded science (untouched by greed or human feeling) will ensure the proper treatments in all situations plus the person who is the President’s voice for those “scientific” treatments.  If you recall Zombie’s expose about the new science czar, John Holdren, you’ll realize that the person setting the tone for this scientific treatment is someone who views humans as something that should be destroyed in order to recreate Eden.

Again, let me remind you:

Also, I again suggest that, if you haven’t already, you read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, which discusses the fascists’ enduring belief that science is the answer.  That belief, of course, reached its apex (or, a better word, its nadir) with Mengele.

“Read my lips: No new taxes”

Do you remember the words in my post title?  I sure do, and I wasn’t even very politically aware then.  That was George Bush, Sr., making a promise to the American people:  “Read my lips:  No new taxes.”  He broke that promise.

It looks as if Barack Obama is readying himself to break that promise too.  More than that, he’s planning on breaking that promise in a mad rush to fix a fairly static situation (health care isn’t going anywhere between now and next year), and to embark upon a government funded system that will inevitably go bankrupty — and that’s despite taxing the middle class into oblivion.

George Bush was destroyed politically when he broke his promise.  Will Barack Obama also be destroyed?  And will he be destroyed, and his power base with him, before or after he causes irrevocable harm to America?

Speaking of Barack Obama’s self-destruction, I have a question for you.  We’ve all been anticipating the bloom coming off the Obama rose and I think that’s happening very swiftly right now.  What I’m having a hard time envisioning is the look of a powerless Obama presidency.

For the next two years, there will still be a Democratic majority in Congress, although I suspect the Blue Dogs will be the power brokers.  But what will Obama do?  Will he sell out America behind the scenes through back channel communications with bad regimes?  We know he won’t do a damn thing about Iran, but will he use his presidential powers to destroy Israel?  (And assuming he tries, will he be successful?  So far, he’s been unique amongst American presidents in uniting the fractious Israeli parties and people.  Maybe he’s a good thing for them, in a weird way.)  Will he learn and change on the job, becoming less ideological and more protective of the country in his charge?  Will he become an ineffectual lame duck half-way through his first term?

What do you see the future bringing?

Herding seniors to the abattoire *UPDATED*

Don Parker nails both the costs and hypocrisy behind the mandate in the new health care bill that seniors be gently steered towards a cheap death.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Old Flyer for reminding me of this, which fits in so perfectly with the new plan:

UPDATE II:  A story from my dad’s old joke book.

In long ago Japan or China (or amongst the Eskimos, or something else), a young boy came across his father carry a large basket on his back.  In the basket was the boy’s grandfather.

He asked, “Father, where are you taking grandfather?”

“Shh,” said the father.  “Grandfather is old and sick.  He eats, but he does not earn.  I’m taking him to the river, where I will leave him to die.  It will be better for all of us.”

“Oh, father,” said the boy.  “That is an excellent idea.  But be sure to bring the basket home, so that I can use it for you one day.”

All cultures living on the margin of survival have used abandonment as a way of culling the herd so that the strong can survive.  The Hansel and Gretel story is a perfect example of this.  With too many mouths to feed, the children were left in the wilderness.

My question, of course, is whether we, in America, have come to that marginal existence?  The Left thinks we have.  I don’t — or, at least, I hope we haven’t.

Obama acolytes continue to deny human nature

Tom Elia links to an utterly fatuous statement from a 25 year old Obama supporter (who nevertheless gets a bully pulpit in a WaPo blog), saying that killing the profit motive will have no effect whatsoever on pharmaceutical innovation.  In the face of such stupidity, I have to drag out my family history once again.

My aunt was such an ardent Communist that, after WWII, she returned to Berlin.  When shocked friends in Israel asked, “How can you go back to the land of the Nazis?” she replied, “The Communists have cleansed that stain.”  She lived in Berlin until the day she died, sometime in the late 1980s.

In the early 1980s, my father had the opportunity to visit her.  Although she had retired by then, her status as a very high level party apparatchik meant that she had a “nice” apartment, which included having her own bathroom.  That bathroom proved to be very useful, because her kitchen sink didn’t work.  She had to do all of her kitchen washing up (preparing foods and cleaning up afterward) in the bathroom sink.

My father asked her why she didn’t get the sink repaired.  Her answer:  “I’m on the list for getting a repair.”  He asked, “How long have you been on the list?”  Her reply:  “Nine years.”

That is what happens when there is no profit motive.  If plumbers will get paid the same whether or not the rush out and repair your plumbing or sit back in the office, they will sit back in the office.

Humans have very few motivations:  passion (both physical and intellectual), hunger, fear, and a sort of overarching greed.  Unless the plumber is starving, being imminently threatened, or having sex with his/her customers, the only motivator left for him to get out and do the job is greed.  Harnessed through capitalism, you have a splendidly operating system; limited by communism, you have nothing but immobility and graft.

Getting care in Canada

Steve Crowder looks at the Canadian health care system.  Some of his experiences are similar to those in any busy city emergency room, such as a long, long wait for a low level problem.  Others, most notably statements by nurses, make your eyes bug:  Three years to get an appointment with a personal physician?  The impossibility of cholesterol tests?  You have to see it all.  Since it’s Steve, the 20 minutes go by quickly:

After that, contemplate whether you’re going to get what you’re paying for if the Dem plan goes forward.

The high US infant mortality canard

Another chapter in the “lies, damn lies and statistics” is the repeated claim from proponents of European-style socialized medicine that the US has the highest infant mortality rate of any first world country.  This is a scathing indictment, implicating American poverty, racism, prenatal and post-natal care.  The only problem is that it’s completely false, and is based on the fact that Europe, when it does its infant mortality statistics, ignores fragile infants that were doomed from their live births:

Infant mortality rates are often cited as a reason socialized medicine and a single-payer system is supposed to be better than what we have here. But according to Dr. Linda Halderman, a policy adviser in the California State Senate, these comparisons are bogus.

As she points out, in the U.S., low birth-weight babies are still babies. In Canada, Germany and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 grams is not considered a living child and is not counted in such statistics. They’re considered “unsalvageable” and therefore never alive.

Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — until you factor in weight at birth, and then its rate is no better than in the U.S.

In other countries babies that survive less than 24 hours are also excluded and are classified as “stillborn.” In the U.S. any infant that shows any sign of life for any length of time is considered a live birth.

A child born in Hong Kong or Japan that lives less than a day is reported as a “miscarriage” and not counted. In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby is not counted as a baby if it is less than 30 centimeters in length.

Lucky Obama

October 2008:  McCain finally looks poised to lead in the polls, the market collapses and cool, calm, collected, Ivy League educated Obama vaults forward to victory.  April 2009:  It starts to look as if both the American public and Congress may be getting leery about Obama’s proposal to nationalize healthcare (i.e., have the government take control of America’s medical system) and the swine flu hits.  Obama has a plan:  “Hey, kids!  Let’s nationalize healthcare!”

A glimpse into the future of Obama care

Again, Britain reminds us of the possible consequences of allowing the government to control health care.  (See here and here.)

As always, what amazes me about the Left is it’s never ending optimism about the government.  Its members will cheerfully concede that the government pretty much bungles most of the things on which it gets its hands, and they’re terrified of the government when the “other” party is in power.  Nevertheless, in masterful cognitive dissonance, they’re always willing to turn over more and more of their lives to that same government.

Despite failure after failure after failure, those on the Left are always perfectly sure that this time (with Carter, with Clinton, with Obama, etc.), they’ll get it right.  They’ll never concede that their theory is flawed — that statism is imperfect and by its nature cannot achieve they goals they set for it — but will always insist that the execution was flawed and that this time it will work.  A hundred million lives have been lost in this quest for statist perfection, and hundreds of millions more have been made drab, depressing, demoralizing and dangerous.

Let me say it again:  The market is imperfect, but the spur of competition forces those who wish to survive to offer a service that consumers will buy.  In a properly functioning marketplace, the government’s only role should be to ensure that no one is cheating the market. If one takes away this competition — making government the only game in town — there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that gives the workers in that statist system any incentive to provide a decent service.  So what if they do nothing at all?  There’s nowhere else to go.

A cautionary tale if Hillary becomes health tzar

There’s talk of Obama giving Hillary the green light to socialize American medicine if she’ll walk away from the primaries.  Melanie Phillips gives us a good example of why the renewed specter of socialized medicine should worry us:

To the Labour Party, the National Health Service is the talismanic proof of its own moral superiority.

Time and again, Labour brandishes its undying commitment to the NHS as the embodiment of its social conscience, and vilifies anyone who suggests that a different system of health care might be better as a heartless brute who would force the sick to choose between death and bankruptcy.

Well, now we can see quite what odious hypocrisy that is. For in the cause of supporting the NHS principle of equal treatment for all, the Government is actually ordering the withdrawal of treatment from desperately sick and dying people as an act of ideological spite.

A woman dying of cancer was denied NHS treatment in her final months  -  because she had paid privately for a drug which offered her the chance of living longer, but which the NHS had refused to provide.

When she decided to use her savings to pay for this drug, the NHS withdrew her treatment, including her chemotherapy.

This is by no means a one-off case. Six other cancer patients are taking legal action against the NHS after their own treatment was cut off or a threat was made to do so because they too paid for lifeprolonging drugs.

This is simply obscene. It is hard to imagine anything more vicious than stopping, or threatening to stop, the treatment of seriously ill people simply because they have the audacity to want to improve their chances of staying alive.

Read the rest here.

I know that our medical system isn’t perfect, and that it’s expensive.  However, medical care at some level or another is available to all — and it’s good care when you get it.  There are human errors, but the system tends to strive for the greatest good.  What’s fascinating about reading about England’s health care service (and Canada’s, for that matter), is the number of times the health care is bad, not because a person screwed up, but because of ideological choices driving the provision of health care in those countries.  Because the government is rationing care, it decides who is unworthy of receiving that care:  the old, the very sick, and the mavericks who dare to buck the system.

At my martial arts studio, there is a British woman whose mother is mired in and dying from the NHS.  She won’t give details.  She just gives the bottom line:  America should never, never, never go over to socialized medicine, a system that will willingly, and without debate, abandon those in greatest need of its services.