It’s naïve to believe Medicaid expansion promises

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

iStock_000002098320MediumI have long felt that Medicaid expansion is a central component of Obamacare. If President Obama can get more and more people on Medicaid, he is well on his progressive way to a single-payer health care system.

Obamacare is like a three-legged stool supported by the Obamacare mandates, the insurance exchanges, and Medicaid expansion. If we’re being honest with ourselves, voting to expand Medicaid is voting to expand Obamacare and, as we’re finding out more and more each day, Obamacare was sold based on half-truths, deceptions and outright lies.

We’re familiar with President Obama’s promise that if you like your health plan and your doctor you can keep them both, “period.” But in place of that promise we were delivered stories like Debra Fishericks’. A working grandmother in Virginia, Debra has fought kidney cancer for ten years and relied on her employer-sponsored insurance in that battle. She recently learned her insurance was being canceled because it doesn’t meet Obamacare’s standards. After a fruitless search for affordable options on healthcare.gov, she is left asking “Will I have my same specialist? Will I have to search for other specialists? I have so many unanswered questions.”

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Stop sniping about website fiasco – focus on real health care issues

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Medical toolsI’ve watched with great interest how Obamacare seems to be crumbling right before our eyes. It has won every political hurdle it has faced from presidential elections to Supreme Court decisions. Who would have thought that the poor execution of a website would be its demise?

Of course, a true impression of the situation would have us admit that the website debacle has nothing to do with Obamacare as a policy – there is no relationship between the website problems and the veracity or goodness of Obamacare (unless we argue that anything the federal government attempts is doomed to failure – but that’s simply inaccurate).

Conservatives and other opponents of Obamacare make a huge mistake by not continuing to focus on its main defect. Obamacare will hurt freedom and Americans. It sounds reasonable, but it isn’t. It destroys any meaning of insurance and any balance between personal responsibility and true health insurance coverage. Conservatives need to argue that Obamacare is an entitlement, pure and simple. There is no concept of insurance underlying it. Forget insurance under Obamacare – insurance is dead. If anyone can be covered at any time with any pre-existing condition, the concept of insurance disappears forever.

This fatal flaw is exactly why Obamacare will lead quite naturally to single-payer government health coverage like the socialist systems in Canada and throughout Europe. If Obamacare is acceptable, there is no reason to avoid universal government health care. None.

As long as conservatives continue to miss the whole appeal of Obamacare, we will lose this fight.

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The unmasking of the new liberalism

Roman_masksThink back to late 2008. Many in the country cheered the coronation of the new liberalism: the über-confident, unstoppable, aggressive expansion of government powers, entitlements and welfare.

Flash forward to the present, as Washington Post opinion writer Charles Krauthammer describes it:

The centerpiece of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, the most sweeping social reform in the past half-century, affecting one-sixth of the economy and directly touching the most vital area of life of every citizen.

As the only socially transformational legislation in modern American history to be enacted on a straight party-line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned by the Democrats. Its unraveling would catastrophically undermine their underlying ideology of ever-expansive central government providing cradle-to-grave care for an ever-grateful citizenry….

This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.

It shouldn’t have, but the reality of the new liberalism has hit many Americans like a sucker punch to the gut, leaving them shocked, outraged and struggling for air. The most stunning part of the story is how quickly the new liberalism has been unmasked for what it is: a farce. It may even be in time to prevent our history from bumbling into the tragedy section.

More lies: the tax lie behind the ‘keep your coverage’ lie

iStock_000002098320MediumMost of the oxygen in the halls of punditry has been taken up lately by President Obama’s “If you like your coverage, you can keep your coverage, period” lie.

I say it’s a lie out of respect for the President. I think he’s intelligent enough to know what anyone who read or understood the bill – including his own staff and HHS – has known for the past several years: that it would force millions of people off their current plans and into more expensive policies with coverage that they don’t want or need in order to subsidize other people’s insurance.

Sure, he told Newsweek reporter Richard Wolff, “You know, I actually believe my own [B.S.],” but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume even he wouldn’t fall for that whopper. So that means he made a rational if immoral decision to misrepresent the law rather than debate its true tradeoffs. The decision was immoral because it was a blatant in-your-face lie. But it was rational because Obamacare would never have passed had people known that it included a massive hidden tax based solely on age, health, and eligibility for membership in the he-man woman-haters club. And he wanted it to pass.

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Obama now lying about his lies

The following post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

President Obama, V.P. Biden and staff react as the House passes the health care reform bill.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and staff as the House passes the health care bill in 2010.

America tends to be pretty forgiving of its fallen idols. Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods immediately come to mind. We get it. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. So we are quick to forgive when we see and sense contrition and a desire to improve from our fallen idols. Both Clinton and Woods admitted their mistakes and showed a lot of sorrow. Sincere sorrow or sorrow of the caught, we can’t really know. But at least they seemed sincere.

This is why President Obama is in for a very rough road over Obamacare. The president is now lying about the lies he told to sell Obamacare to the American people. In case you haven’t heard them yet, listen to a handful of the dozens of times President Obama promised that Obamacare would not take away your health care plan or your doctor.

[Obama audio: We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. … First of all, if you’ve got health insurance and you like your doctor and you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you. … No matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it. … If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period. … If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. (applause)]

Further damage has come in recent days as the The Wall Street Journal obtained internal memos revealing that the Obama administration knew the applause lines the president was delivering about Obamacare weren’t true. They knew Americans would lose their existing coverage and doctors.

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Health care: the free-rider 'problem'

ER_room_after_a_traumaDuring the 2009 run-up to the passage of Obamacare, supporters often invoked the numbers of uninsured as sympathetic figures to compel support for further government encroachment in health care. Today, as the law finally gets underway amid considerable uncertainty that the uninsured will even sign up for insurance plans, their treatment in the media has shifted. Rather than the sympathetic figures of a few years ago, now they are being called “free riders,” or people taking advantage of the system and passing on their costs to the rest of us.

The thinking goes that ever since the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act of 1986, which requires hospital emergency rooms to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay, people have chosen to go without insurance and instead use expensive emergency rooms for their medical needs. Since they don’t have the means to pay these bills, the hospitals and doctors pass those costs on to the insured in the form of higher prices. This logic is the impetus behind the individual mandate within Obamacare, which requires every person in America to purchase insurance.

The problem with this argument is that, frankly, it’s not true.

Click here to find out why, and more, at Utah Citizen Network.

Sutherland goes live on Utah Legislative Update radio show

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Stan Rasmussen of Sutherland Institute (photo by @utahsenate)

Wayne Niederhauser and Stan Rasmussen (photo by @utahsenate)

Sutherland Institute’s Stan Rasmussen joined Senate President Wayne Niederhauser last week in the studio to talk about health reform and charity care on “Niedertalk” on KHQN (1480 AM).

Jim Fell of Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation also joined the show via phone to discuss lowering the legal blood alcohol content level.

Carl Graham, director of Sutherland’s Center for Self-Government in the West, talked about a recent energy development study; and Dave Buer, director of communications for Sutherland, introduced our Utah Citizen Network.

Read the rundown and listen to the audio here at The Senate Site.

 

Research: Romney was right about Obamacare

Medical toolsThe differences (or the lack thereof) between Obamacare and “Romneycare” were issues of significant debate in the 2012 presidential election. One side (Obama) argued that what worked in Massachusetts would work for the rest of the country. The other side (Romney) argued that the circumstances of Massachusetts weren’t like those of the rest of the country and that parts of Obamacare were dramatically different than Romneycare, meaning that while the latter was good policy for Massachusetts, the former was bad policy for America.  New research has concluded that Romney was right.

The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that by 2015 Obamacare will add “about twelve times more to average marginal labor income tax rates nationwide than the Massachusetts [Romneycare] health reform added to average rates in Massachusetts.” The reasons cited for the dramatically higher tax hikes enacted by Obamacare include: (1) differences in population groups subject to the two laws, (2) the Obamacare employer penalty is “an order of magnitude greater” than the one in Romneycare, (3) the differences in health care-related welfare programs in Massachusetts and other states, and (4) differences in the subsidized health care plans offered by the two laws.

So, to recap for progressives/liberals, Massachusetts is indeed different than the rest of the country socially, economically, and policy-wise – meaning laws that may work there will actually be harmful elsewhere.

In other words, it turns out that the Founders actually did know what they were doing when they created our system of federalism, with a federal government of limited power and states holding sovereign authority over most domestic issues. When in doubt, perhaps we would be better served if we relied more on their wisdom and less on our own “sophistication.”

An alternative to Obamacare (that really works)

MystethoscopeA Phoenix-area surgeon and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute highlights a compelling alternative to Obamacare and our current health coverage system:

[T]he only way to make health care more affordable is to diminish the role of third-party payers. Let consumers and providers interact through market forces to drive down prices and drive up quality, like we do when we buy groceries, clothing, cars, computers, etc. Drop the focus on prepaid health plans and return to the days of real health insurance—that covers major, unforeseen events, leaving the everyday expenses to the consumer—just like auto and homeowners’ insurance.

Unfortunately, as Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer notes in his article, Obamacare is taking us in exactly the opposite direction. Read the entire article for insights into how the current system works and how to greatly simplify and reduce its costs.

Obamacare: So great that IRS workers don’t want it

IRS_building_on_constitution_avenue_in_DC

IRS building in Washington, D.C.

What do you call a product so bad that the employees of the company that makes the product work vigorously not to use the product? If you guessed “manure,” some would say you were pretty close. But the correct answer is Obamacare. No, no, don’t laugh. This is really happening. (HT @ericdrums)

Federal employees are actively lobbying Congress to prevent legislation that would move the employees into the insurance exchanges established under Obamacare, according to a story from the Washington Examiner.

In this case, the National Treasury Employees Union is urging its 150,000 members, including most of the 100,000 IRS employees, to lobby Congress to allow them to remain in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

“If the Obamacare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress and federal employees,” said Congressman Dave Camp spokeswoman Allie Walker. Camp’s legislation is calling for federal employees to move into the insurance exchanges.

The entire short article is well worth your time.