Friday, August 14, 2009

Obamacare roundup

Voters Now Trust Republicans More than Dems with their Health: "In the midst of a tumultuous healthcare debate—including Congressional town hall meetings that end in punching matches—U.S. voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on the handling of the healthcare issue. For the first time in two years of polling, the Rasmussen Report national telephone survey shows that voters favor the COP on the issue 44 percent to 41 percent. The new numbers come at time of rampant skepticism, particularly among older, white voters, of President Obama's healthcare agenda. This skepticism has manifested in the form of false rumors, intense protests and even vandalism and blatant racism, reports NPR. Experts say the intensity is growing in a shattered economy. "I've never seen as angry an electorate as this one," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, in an interview with NPR. Lehane is a California-based pollster who routinely conducts swing-voter focus groups. "They're as scared as I've ever seen them, and that manifests into anger. There is a general fear that the American dream is not going to be there for them or their children. There is concern about trust broken between government and the people."

Evil Ezekiel downplays the need for rationing but still targets "unnecessary care": "Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, the White House official targeted by Sarah Palin and other conservatives as an advocate for health care rationing and "death panels," said Thursday his "thinking has evolved" on the need to decide who gets treated and who does not. "When I began working in the health policy area about 20 years ago ... I thought we would definitely have to ration care, that there was a need to make a decision and deny people care," said Dr. Emanuel, a health care adviser to President Obama in the Office of Management and Budget, during a phone interview. "I think that over the last five to seven years ... I've come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care," he said. "If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases." [His father was an Irgun man so I suppose a certain ruthlessness is to be expected -- but ruthlessness in a good cause is a lot different from ruthlessness towards those who have hurt nobody]

Senate committee eliminates “end of life” provision in Obamacare: "A plan to provide hospice counseling and other end-of-life advice to patients and their families is being dropped by US Senate health care negotiators after critics charged that it would lead to the formation of federal ‘death panels,’ a key GOP senator said yesterday. … The original sponsor of the provision and a variety of specialists all debunked the allegation and said end-of-life counseling can help families deal with difficult choices. Nonetheless, Senator Chuck Grassley, the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican and one of six committee members trying to hash out a bipartisan bill, said yesterday that the provision could be misinterpreted and that it will not be contained in the committee’s proposed legislation.”

Ringo’s law and the healthcare system of doom: “Some years ago, noted philosopher Ringo Starr described an important and now-famous discovery: “By now it should be clear to anyone: This government ‘help’ has made things dramatically worse in healthcare, just as government reliably makes things worse in all spheres of life that government involves itself in. For many reasons, coercive government is the worst way to do anything. Like gravity, Ringo’s Law is a built-in rule of the universe, omnipresent and unavoidable. There is no country on Earth where the Law is not conspicuously on display: ‘Everything government touches turns to crap.’”

Medical mosh pits : "Clashes keep breaking out at the ‘town hall’ meetings devoted to discussing health care reform. Usually the excitement amounts to some angry questions and heckling, but sometimes there’s more. Six people were arrested at a demonstration outside a meeting in St. Louis. Violence erupted at a town hall in Tampa after opponents of ObamaCare were locked out of the building. A North Carolina congressman cancelled a meeting after receiving a death threat; the pro-market group FreedomWorks, which was involved in some of the protests, fielded a death threat of its own. Supporters of the president’s health care reforms, who used to tout the support he’d received from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, are now accusing the very same companies of riling up ‘mob violence’ to stop the plan.”

Eyes on the real prize: “If you asked House Democrats what they most wanted to leave as their legacy in public office, it’s a good bet that a healthy number would offer a variation of ‘a government-managed health-care plan that is available to every American citizen.’ Some would classify it as ’single payer,’ others would want the ‘public option,’ but they all add up to a massive new entitlement, in which Americans depend upon the federal government for their health care. Conservatives have dreaded it; looking around the globe, they know that once created, these programs are just about politically impossible to repeal. Many congressional Democrats, told that passage of the sweeping health-care legislation will cost them their seats, may find the choice a harder decision than many observers think. Yes, no one should doubt a politician’s instinct for self-preservation. But it’s quite possible that long-serving Democrats might want to enact a sweeping social change instead of taking the safe route.”

Trust the government : “How much is one additional year of your life worth? Or one more year of life for your father or your wife? For your child? In Great Britain, the government has settled on a number: $45,000. That’s how much a government commission with the Orwellian acronym NICE has decided British government-run health care will pay for one additional year of life for a British subject. Think it could never happen here? Then you need to pay closer attention to what Washington is planning for your health care.”

If Uncle Sam becomes your doctor: “Americans are doing their homework on healthcare reform. And, unlike some members of Congress, they’re reading the legislation, even though it’s more than 1,000 pages long. They see that the numbers don’t add up. They note the contradictory claims by the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled Congress. And they recognize the unintended consequences of the government controlling one-sixth of the US economy. According to several recent polls, on key issues of access, quality of care, and cost, Americans don’t support this government power grab.”

Health care protests on target: “Now we know the enemy in the health-care debate, the really, truly despicable people, the worms who ought to be stuffed back in the dirt they crawled out of. It’s ordinary citizens who have had the temerity to show up at meetings of their representatives in Congress, asking in so many words — ‘What in the name of heaven are you planning to do with our lives?’ Happy enough to be cheerleaders when Cindy Sheehan and her ragtag followers were out and about calling George W. Bush a mass murderer, Democrats, the left generally, some pretend journalists and a number of big-name commentators are aghast at a lack of respect for the Washington malefactors, fearful that someone will think everyday Americans actually know what they’re talking about and worried about how hard it will be to set the record straight if their critiques are widely circulated.”

Busting the Bay State: “Health care’s silly season is upon us. If we can be sure of anything, it is that President Barack Obama and his congressional allies will do whatever they can to hide the cost of their health plan. Lucky for them, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, has shown the way.”

Obamacare meltdown: “The revelation last week that a majority of Americans may actually disagree with the President was something for which his team was clearly not prepared. Their attempt to marginalize citizens across the country who dared to speak out against a government-takeover of health care is shameful, arrogant, and desperately sad. With the American people growing increasingly unhappy with the President’s health care plan, Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to cast those who are concerned as radical props to the special interests. … The notion that Americans may not want the federal government making health care decisions on their behalf appears to be truly beyond the comprehension of Democrats in Congress and the White House. So they have responded by slandering honest folks looking to have their voices heard.”

Yes, they really are mad as hell: “Who, exactly, were these people who had converged in the middle of Lebanon to protest ObamaCare? Walking through the crowd, finding them waving signs as they chatted with each other, they were happy to talk. These were in fact the flesh-and-blood of John O’Hara’s Pennsylvania world. There was the registered nurse who was so incensed about the President’s plans she went on the Internet to find Senator Specter’s list of town meetings — and drove two hours from her home in Chambersburg only to find the meeting already filled. She chose to stay, her own sign held high with a scrawled message on free speech, her feet firmly planted on the street corner. There was the local small businessman, the woman who had lost a beloved sister to cancer — teary but deeply gratified that her sister had health care choices every step along the way. Her friend, a child of immigrants who arrived in 1924 — ‘legally’ she added with a smile — shyly gave a name but preferred to think of herself as just ‘an American patriot.’”

This Libertarian and health care: “In this I differ from a lot of other Libertarians. I am a Braudelian: super-concentrations of capital beyond a certain point become anti-free-market and threaten human freedom in almost as many ways as the State can. But that does not exonerate the State here either: there are literally thousands of Physicians’ Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and even LPNs or midwives who would be more than willing to make careers in the small towns across America providing low-cost basic care to good people. Yet the licensing laws that the health professionals’ lobby have so carefully cultivated over the years prevent that.”

Health reform must endure for the long term: “Health reform has dominated the news lately, but many Americans are wondering what reform will actually entail for them. According to a recent survey conducted by my firm, most believe that healthcare reform will provide coverage for long-term services and supports. These are medical services for people who can’t care for themselves for extended periods of time due to illness or disability. And they’re of critical importance, as 60 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will require long-term care during their lives. But it’s hardly a foregone conclusion that the final health reform package will ensure that Americans have access to affordable long-term services.”

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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