Growing up in the post-war era (after the Second World War), I never expected to live in the strange Kafkaesque world that exists today. The US government can assassinate any US citizen that the executive branch thinks could possibly be a “threat” to the US government, or throw the hapless citizen into a dungeon for the rest of his or her life without presenting any evidence to a court or obtaining a conviction of any crime, or send the “threat” to a puppet foreign state to be tortured until the “threat” confesses to a crime that never occurred or dies at the hands of “freedom and democracy” while professing innocence.
Andrew Napolitano: Exploitation of Commerce Clause led to defense of Obamacare supreme_court hat tip: World Net Daily by Andrew Napolitano This week, the Supreme Court measured Obamacare to see whether it fits within the confines of the Constitution. The big picture is whether the Constitution limits the behavior of the federal government to the plain [...]
‘The Difference Between Governments Where There Is Responsibility, and Where There Is None.’ Posted by Trevor Burrus Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Orin Kerr has taken to defending the individual mandate on supposedly libertarian principles. Professor Kerr, a Cato Constitution Day participant and an excellent defender of civil liberties, argues that the individual mandate preserves our liberties better [...]
The Internal Revenue Service says it will need an battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reforms. Among the new corps will be 81 workers assigned to make sure tanning salons pay a new 10 percent excise tax. Their cost: $11.5 million.
This week marked six months since Congress passed the healthcare reform bill in what has become all-too-typical legislative chicanery. Those in power crafted a mammoth piece of legislation and rammed it through Congress under a dire sense of emergency. Insisting on time enough to read the bill was dismissed as dangerous and crazy in a time of crisis. We were told that if we really wanted to see what was in the bill, we would have to pass it first. I cannot imagine the founding fathers intended for Congress to legislate in this manner. I would think if a Member is not absolutely certain the entire legislation meets Constitutional muster, the default vote should be “no” in accordance with our oath of office.
But now that Congress has had six months to read the new law, there is a significant amount of buyer’s remorse on Capitol Hill. The more constituents learn about the law, the more angry they become. 60% of Americans are now said to be in favor of repealing the entire thing. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to repeal a law than to pass a bill.
Most everything that was sold to the American people as a “health care overhaul” is nothing but a snow job. Estimates on the cost of this package are in the $1 trillion dollar range over the first 10 years. However, if government forecasting is as it always has been, completely useless and inaccurate, then it is not unreasonable to add a zero to that $1 trillion figure. After all, the government grossly underestimated the cost of both Medicare and Medicaid by the same relative factor. Economics 101 and the law of supply and demand tells us that anytime you increase the demand of a good or service you must increase the supply or face price increases and shortages. The new health care law does nothing to address the diminishing supply of people going into the medical profession, especially into general practitioning.
“CHICAGO – Emergency rooms, the only choice for patients who can’t find care elsewhere, may grow even more crowded with longer wait times under the nation’s new health law.
That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding. It would seem these patients would be able to get routine health care by visiting a doctor’s office, as most of the insured do.
But it’s not that simple. Consider:
There’s already a shortage of front-line family physicians in some places and experts think that will get worse.”
To understand what is going to happen to America’s health care delivery system, we must first understand what has happened to Detroit.
Detroit is dying. Yes, I know that there are lots of books on “The Death of. . . .” That word sells books. But Detroit really is dying. It is the first metropolis in the United States to be facing extinction. We have never seen anything like this in American history. It is happening under our noses, but the media refuse to discuss it. To do so would be politically incorrect. Two factors tell us that Detroit is dying. The first is the departure of 900,000 people – over half the city’s population – since 1950. It peaked at 1.8 million in 1950. It is down to about 900,000 today.
In 1994, the median sales price of a house in Detroit was about $41,000. The housing bubble pushed it up to about $98,000 in 2003. In March 2009, the price was $13,600. Today, the price is $7,000. Check the price chart.
There has never been a collapse of residential real estate values of this magnitude in peacetime history, anywhere. Detroit is dying.
Ron Paul tells it like it is: There is no “right” to healthcare. Obamacare will be repealed by a national bankruptcy. The IRS is hiring new agents to steal more money. Central economic planning has failed. A much bigger economic crisis is coming. And, every country in the world is technically bankrupt.
“Let them eat cake,” the notoriously callous words ascribed to Marie Antoinette, were probably said a century earlier by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. But whoever said them, the statement conveyed the mindset of an aristocracy oblivious to the realities confronting the poor — and is still with us to this day.
“Congressmen, what shall we do about the 30 million Americans lacking health insurance?”
“Why, that is simple. Force them to buy it. Fine them heavily if they don’t!”
“What if they don’t have the money?”
“Then take it from those who do!”
The health reform bills now coming through Congress are not focused on how to make health care cheaper, more effective, or how to eliminate waste and fraud as originally envisioned. The public option has been dropped from the Senate bill and radically watered down in the House bill. Rather than focusing on making health care affordable, the bills focus on how to force people either to buy health insurance if they don’t have it, or to pay more for it if they do. If you don’t have insurance and don’t purchase it, you will be subject to a hefty fine. And if you do purchase it, premiums, co-pays, co-insurance payments and deductibles are liable to keep health care cripplingly expensive. Most of the people who don’t have health care can’t afford to pay the deductibles, so they will never use the plans they are forced to buy or be fined.
To subsidize those who can’t pay, the Senate bill would make families earning two to four times the poverty level who don’t have employer-sponsored insurance surrender 8% to 12% of their income to insurance payments, or pay a fine. In another effort to make the insurance payments “affordable,” the Senate bill calls for the lowest cost plan to cover only sixty percent of health care costs.
“In other words,” writes Dr. Andrew Coates, “a guarantee of insurance industry dominance and the continued privatization of health care in every arena.”
By Don Monkerud
Featured writer, The Liberty Voice
Like pathetic knights of another era jousting at windmills, industry shrills attack health care reform, claiming it “tramples individual liberty” and stifles “free enterprise.”
Far from protecting individual liberty or promoting free enterprise, these forces uphold monopoly control of health care insurance that has a stranglehold on American consumers. And they pay huge sums to control the debate and twist legislation to their advantage.
Since 1998, over 400 mergers left two conglomerates in control of the huge health care insurance industry. Mergers allowed insurers to raise prices, buy influence in Congress, and redistribute cost savings to shareholders. Consolidation increased rapidly. Between 2004 and 2005, 28 health care mergers, valued at $53 billion, outpaced the number of health care mergers in the previous eight years combined.
Low interest rates, leverage and lax anti-trust enforcement by the Bush Administration allowed conglomerates to take control of the health insurance in the U.S. A 2009 report from Fortune Magazine reveals that the revenue of the top two companies account for $142 billion or 36 percent of the health care insurance market, while the top four gross $202 billion, almost three quarters of all health insurance.
“During the Bush administration, there were no enforcement actions against health insurers’ anticompetitive, deceptive or fraudulent conduct,” David Balto, senior fellow, Center for American Progress, told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in July 2009. “There was tremendous consolidation in the market, and the Justice Department simply required minor restructuring of two mergers. There were no cases against anticompetitive conduct by health insurers.”