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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blue Dog Democrat: All This Town Hall Anger May Not Be So Manufactured After All

As high profile Demorats have been dismissing town-hall protests as "astroturfing", fake grass-roots protests since they started turning against Obamacare. Now, one Democrat, Allen Boyd (FL), may have seen the light that this anger is not so "manufactured" after all:

“They may be in a minority, but they are a larger minority than we’ve seen in the 20-plus years that I’ve been doing this,” said Boyd of the standing-room-only crowds who have been showing up to shout, boo, mutter and, in one case, hand him an actual stack of pink slips since he returned home for recess. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The overhyped and in many cases fraudulent sense of grass-roots fervor during an August Democrats would like to forget is easy to minimize. But for all the cries of Astroturf fakery and ginned-up crowds, a ground zero view in a district like Boyd’s underlines that a very real sense of anger and frustration is bubbling over as summer wanes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sarah Palin: Any Health Care Reform Must Include Tort Reform/Exactly, This Is What GOP Should Be Preaching

For a while, I have been preaching that tort reform is mandatory for any meaningful health care reform. I have been wondering why Republicans weren't talking about it. With all of this discussion about "real" reform, very little has been said about it. Finally, someone has said what needs to be said about this very important issue..

Sarah Palin posted an article on her "Facebook page" this morning which is a very well thought out explanation as to why tort reform is needed.

President Obama's health care "reform" plan has met with significant criticism across the country. Many Americans want change and reform in our current health care system. We recognize that while we have the greatest medical care in the world, there are major problems that we must face, especially in terms of reining in costs and allowing care to be affordable for all. However, as we have seen, current plans being pushed by the Democratic leadership represent change that may not be what we had in mind -- change which poses serious ethical concerns over the government having control over our families’ health care decisions. In addition, the current plans greatly increase costs of health care, while doing lip service toward controlling costs.

She goes on to explain what she (and I) believe is an important part of improving not just the cost and availability but, also, the quality of health care.

So what can we do? First, we cannot have health care reform without tort reform. The two are intertwined. For example, one supposed justification for socialized medicine is the high cost of health care. As Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently noted, “If Mr. Obama is serious about lowering costs, he'll need to reform the economic structures in medicine—especially programs like Medicare.” Two examples of these “economic structures” are high malpractice insurance premiums foisted on physicians (and ultimately passed on to consumers as “high health care costs”) and the billions wasted on defensive medicine.

She quotes Dr. Stuart Weinstein of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons here to he'll explain:

Access is affected as physicians move their practices to states with lower liability rates and change their practice patterns to reduce or eliminate high-risk services. When one considers that half of all neurosurgeons—as well as one third of all orthopedic surgeons, one third of all emergency physicians, and one third of all trauma surgeons—are sued each year, is it any wonder that 70 percent of emergency departments are at risk because they lack available on-call specialist coverage?”

The good doctor listed some estimates by the good doctor as to how much we could save, if we included tort reform.

“If the Kessler and McClellan estimates were applied to total U.S. healthcare spending in 2005, the defensive medicine costs would total between $100 billion and $178 billion per year. Add to this the cost of defending malpractice cases, paying compensation, and covering additional administrative costs (a total of $29.4 billion). Thus, the average American family pays an additional $1,700 to $2,000 per year in healthcare costs simply to cover the costs of defensive medicine. Excessive litigation and waste in the nation’s current tort system imposes an estimated yearly tort tax of $9,827 for a family of four and increases healthcare spending in the United States by $124 billion.

Sarah goes on to give from her own state of Alaska and Texas as shining examples of how real tort reform can decrease costs while increasing the quality and availability of healthcare:

So I have new questions for the president: Why no legal reform? Why continue to encourage defensive medicine that wastes billions of dollars and does nothing for the patients?

Do you want health care reform to benefit trial attorneys or patients? Many states, including my own state of Alaska, have enacted caps on lawsuit awards against health care providers. Texas enacted caps and found that one county’s medical malpractice claims dropped 41 percent, and another study found a “55 percent decline” after reform measures were passed.. That’s one step in health care reform. Limiting lawyer contingency fees, as is done under the Federal Tort Claims Act, is another step. The State of Alaska pioneered the “loser pays” rule in the United States, which deters frivolous civil law suits by making the loser partially pay the winner’s legal bills. Preventing quack doctors from giving “expert” testimony in court against real doctors is another reform.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry noted that, after his state enacted tort reform measures, the number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas “skyrocketed by 57 percent” and that the tort reforms “brought critical specialties to underserved areas.” These are real reforms that actually improve access to health care..

Dr. Weinstein’s research shows that around $200 billion per year could be saved with legal reform. That’s real savings. That’s money that could be used to build roads, schools, or hospitals. If you want to save health care, let’s listen to our doctors. There should be no health care reform without legal reform. There can be no true health care reform without legal reform.

Wow! Someone from the right (other than Paul Ryan) is actually thinking about how to counter the Obama and the Democrats' abysmal plan and public option. This is long overdue.

New Jersey Suburb Considering Taking Away Citizens' Right By Enacting Curfew for Adults

Government officials in the New Jersey suburb of Paterson are considering to "implement a curfew" for everyone, adults and children alike, in the town to combat violence that has erupted in the town, if the law is passed next month::

Seeking to curb violence after a spate of deadly summer shootings, Paterson officials are considering an unusual ordinance that would prevent people of all ages from gathering outside in public late at night.

The measure could be the nation's first citywide, non-emergency curfew to include adults, several experts said.

"We're trying to think outside the box," said Mayor Jose Torres. "This was triggered predominantly by fear among city residents over the shootings that have been occurring this summer."

Actually, he trying to think outside the Constitution. The first amendment gives us the right to peacefully assemble at any time not just in the day.

He gives the recent shootings as a reason to take away his citizens rights. However, there have been a fewer amount of murders and shootings, overall, than they did last year. Why is it more important to do this now than before? This is a huge violation of our basic rights.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Video: Seniors Flee Liberally-Minded AARP For More Conservative ASA Amidst Health Care Debate

As I reported "earlier," seniors are becoming incresingly wary of Obamacare. AARP a well-known liberal organization has "paying the price" for Obamacare:

CBS News reports that the AARP’s dance with ObamaCare has produced real results for the senior advocacy group — really bad results.  Over 60,000 members have left the AARP, angered by the group’s support for Barack Obama’s health-care reform efforts and silence on cuts to Medicare that will pay for them.  Many have joined a new group with a more conservative outlook on health-care reform.

While the AARP has benn careful not to endorse Obama's plan, they haven't come close to being too critical of it either. Many seniors worry about the cuts to Medicare and the cost of the program on their grandkids. Those that are fleeing don't feel like the organization that has been around since the late 50's is accurately representing them anymore.

The American Seniors Association, the "conservative alternative" to the AARP for seniors is reaping the benefits. It'll be good to give seniors an alternative to the increasingly liberal AARP.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Houston Obamacare "Supporter" Isn't a Doctor, She Just Plays One at Town Halls

In order to drum up support for Obamacare, liberal astroturf organizations have begun to plant "fake constituents" in the middle of town halls to tout the magnificence that is Obamacare:

Patterico and Lone Star Times capture yet another banner moment from a town-hall forum hosted by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) . In this clip, Roxana Mayer introduces herself as a doctor (a general practitioner for four years) in order to support ObamaCare and Jackson-Lee in a fairly hostile crowd. For her efforts, she gets a big hug from the Congresswoman, an image which the Houston Chronicle featured prominently on their website coverage of the event.

But was Mayer really a doctor?

Not only was Mayer not a doctor, Roxana Mayer was an Obama delegate, as Patterico discovered with some digging.  What’s more, the Houston Chronicle apparently knew this and failed to include it in its glowing coverage of Mayer’s appearance.  The reporter, Cindy Horswell, has admitted that she knew Mayer was an Obama delegate and that Mayer did’t live in Jackson-Lee’s district when she wrote the Chronicle story.  After getting exposed, the Chronicle quietly changed the caption on the photo without issuing a correction, removing the reference to Mayer being a doctor.

To be fair, there is no proof that Obama, any other Democrat in Congress, or Organizing for America had any direct knowledge of her deception. All I know is that she is an Obama delegate, and that sounds mighty "fishy". So, I'm forwarding this story to so they can investigate the matter further.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stabenow (D): Rise of Hurricanes Are Reality of Climate Change; Halfway Through Hurricane Season: 0 Named Storms

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow out of Michigan gives us another example of proof of what Obama warned us about: politicians saying what they need to "scare the heck" out of the American people to get their agenda passed::

"Climate change is very real," she confessed as she embraced cap and trade's massive tax increase on Michigan industry - at the same time claiming, against all the evidence, that it would not lead to an increase in manufacturing costs or energy prices. "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes."

However, we are now about the halfway point of the hurricane season, and we haven't heard a peep out of the Atlantic. There have been no named storms, only a couple tropical depressions. This time last year we were on number five, and four named storms the year before that this time last year. What increase is she talking about?

Looking at the number of tornadoes this year, I don't see any dramatic increase there, either.

Obama: AARP Wants Obamacare; AARP: Um, No, We Don't

Obama put his foot squarely in his mouth, yet again:

At the town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., Obama said, "We have the AARP onboard because they know this is a good deal for our seniors." He added, "AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare."

However, the AARP president had a distinctly different story to tell::

But Tom Nelson, AARP's chief operating officer, said, "Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate."

Like Obama, AARP wants action this year to cover the uninsured and restrain health care costs, but the organization has refrained from endorsing legislation. Nelson said AARP would not endorse a bill that reduces Medicare benefits.

As seniors become increasingly wary of Obamacare's impact on their personal medical care, the AARP, normally a liberal ally, has been reluctant to sign on to the Democrats' current bill 100%.

As a side comment on something Obama said in that town hall:

"Where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed," he said. "Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks, and they'll create boogeymen out there."

Obama, those that want to drastically change things try to "scare the heck" out of people, too. Just take a look at Boxer, the Goracle,or maybe even look in a mirror.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Oma & Opa (Grandparents) Don't Like Obamacare Either; You Might Be Surprised Why

My grandparents aren't alone. Senior citizens all over the country have become increasingly discouraged about what they've heard of Obamacare, so far. According to a recent Gallup Poll, they have a few reasons why they don't like it. This part of their suspicion of Obamacare shouldn't be a shock to most people:

Seniors are the least likely of all age groups in the U.S. to say that health care reform will benefit their personal health care situation. By a margin of three to one, 36% to 12%, adults 65 and older are more likely to believe health care reform will reduce rather than expand their access to health care. And by 39% to 20%, they are more likely to say their own medical care will worsen rather than improve.

Their own well-being and health care isn't the only thing giving them reservations:

In addition to being less likely to believe health care reform will improve their own medical care and access, seniors are far less likely than younger adults to believe the country as a whole will benefit. Only a quarter of seniors, versus about half of those 18 to 49 and 50 to 64 years, believe a reform law would expand access to health care nationally.

Why do they believe it won't benefit is why some are surprised by these polls. Only 13% believe that health care costs will be reduced, and 36% believe they will increase. They are worried about their grandkids still paying for their health care when they get the grandparents age.

Predictable: Cash-For-Clunkers Goes Bankrupt; House Races to Bailout Program; Schumer Wants More

As I reported back in June, the Cash-for-Clunkers is a disaster of an idea as the government ran out of money almost as soon as they started and became "nightmare now for everyone involved."

The House has already approved $2 Billion more to prop up this "clunker" of a government program. Apparently that isn't enough for the senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, isn't satisfied with that amount. He wants double:

Senator Charles Schumer, one of the original sponsors of the bill, said the program ran out of money because skin flints in the Senate wouldn't give him the $4 billion he wanted for the program, which gives people up to $4,500 toward buying fuel efficient cars to replace their old gas guzzlers.

He took it even further to mock those who didn't want to give him more of your money to begin with:

"There were people in the Senate who didn't like the program and they said 'We won't let it go through. We will filibuster. Try $1 billion and see if it works,'" Schumer said.

He said those senators now have egg on their face.

"This week's evidence shows that people who said the program wouldn't work, who said that the program was the wrong thing to do, are very wrong themselves," Schumer said.

I think we differ in our understanding of "works". If he defines it as people are bringing in the cars to sell their cars for up to about 7x as much as anyone would pay for it, if they would pay for it at all. Then, ya, it works. The fact that people would do sell their cars for much more than they're worth was never in doubt. I would do the same.

The way that I think most other people define "works" it doesn't even come close to working. Car dealers say that it is a mess. It's going to take billions of our money to get ALL of the "clunkers" off the road. That is money that we don't have in our proverbial pockets. We must to borrow it from China and he to pay interest on the loan. There is very little return on our investment. We are not going to be able to sell the cars that are being bought. Therefore, we are never going to get that $1B back. If the extra $2B expansion goes through, that money will not be seen again, either. Do we really want Chuck to have his way and up the ante up to $5 Billion total?