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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Alright, so we have been discussing health care, health insurance and everything wrong with all of that.  As always, the Democrats cry out “We need this.  We just NEED this damn it!  And then they walk away to their voting place and vote for someone who wants to be in power, which is different than someone wanting to be a Senator, and presto, we have a voice in Washington that is going to legislate this health care for everyone thing.  On the other side, you have republicans, seriously going about the days business when they hear this nonsense and look up from their work and say “No”.  In much the same way a father says “no” to the 7th request for another cookie before bed.

And so, republicans are labeled as the party of “No”.  But this time around, the republicans have offered some solutions to bring the price of health care down.  Down for everyone.  Down to the point that every single person in the country can have insurance.  And one of the methods in doing that is to free insurance companies to sell policies to people outside of the state the reside in.  That is, as a citizen of North Carolina, I could purchase health insurance from a company in Washington state.  Or Arizona.  Or anywhere for that matter.  What THIS would do is free the consumer to choose and not be subject to the regulations placed upon the insurance providers in that state.  But even this causes Liberals to scream.

For example, a recent study found that Maine ranks 6th in the nation when it comes to expensive individual policies.  Sixth.  And folks around the lefty campfire are saying that the reason for the high prices is due to the monopoly that exists in Maine.  They claim that because Wellpoint has a 90%+ customer saturation base, they are able to charge whatever they want.  The problem is, those liberals are reporting only on the results, not the cause of the problem.

See, it turns out that in 1993 Maine passed laws requiring coverage to every citizen.

Blink.  Blink.

But that’s not bad enough.  Not only are they required to sell insurance to everyone that applies, they are also unable to distinguish based on gender, health status, claims experience or time with coverage.

Now, after that law passed, what do you supposed happened to the price?  Yeah, right through the roof.  And it drove out all but a few providers that specialized in mandatory care and THEY, in turn, bought up the remaining companies.  Net/net:  Noe one wants to do business in Maine and THAT’S why there is only one provider.

Damn.

Next thing these liberals are going to mandate is that all kids make the varsity.

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Do you know what happens when the government restricts competition?  Yeah, um, you get less competition.  Weird that works out that way.  But some people actually think that when the government restricts competition and you get less competition, that the only answer is to have government compete.  Huh?  Confused?  Me too.

But this is real life and this is what we get:

“There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers,” said Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the highest-cost states. “The impact on the consumer is significant.”

Wellpoint Inc. accounted for 71 percent of the Maine market, while runner-up Aetna had a 12 percent share, according to a 2008 report by the American Medical Association.

So, lemme get this straight.  Wellpoint has the market i Maine to the point that it can charge almost anything it wants and the REST of the insurance world stays out of Maine because?  Because…..?  They don’t wanna make money?  I have to believe there is another reason Wellpoint is the only player in Maine.

I’ll betcha a candy bar.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, August 15th, 2009

This week, I’ve been traveling across our country to discuss health insurance reform and to hear directly from folks like you – your questions, your concerns, and your stories.

Nah, nah ya haven’t.  You’ve been making fun of guys like me.  Calling me a teabagger and a right wing nut case.  What you ARE doing is travelling across the country talking to folks like you!

Now, I know there’s been a lot of attention paid to some of the town hall meetings that are going on around the country, especially those where tempers have flared. You know how TV loves a ruckus.

Ahhwww, you folksy guy you!  But really, ’cause organizing is your bag I’m just ‘spossed to not have my say?

But what you haven’t seen – because it’s not as exciting – are the many constructive meetings going on all over the country where Americans are airing their hopes and concerns about this very important issue.

I’ve been holding some of my own, and the stories I’ve heard have really underscored why I believe so strongly that health insurance reform is a challenge we can’t ignore.

They’re stories like Lori Hitchcock’s, who I met in New Hampshire this week. Lori’s got a pre-existing condition, so no insurance company will cover her. She’s self-employed, and in this economy, she can’t find a job that offers health care, so she’s been uninsured for two years.

See, now that’s strange.  And while I’m not callin’ ya a liar, I AM sayin’ I don’t believe you.  See, I went on line, just now- right this very minute- and found a quote for health insurance that covers me after a 5k deductible for about $130 a month.  Now, I don’t have a pr-existing condition, the plan WOULD cover me 12 months after I had been paying premiums.  So, ya see, you CAN get coverage.  If you are willing to, you know, work.

Or they’re stories like Katie Gibson’s, who I met in Montana. When Katie tried to change insurance companies, she was sure to list her pre-existing conditions on the application and even called her new company to confirm she’d be covered. Two months later, she was dropped – after she’d already gone off her other insurance.

These are the stories that aren’t being told – stories of a health care system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people. And that’s why we’re going to pass health insurance reform that finally holds the insurance companies accountable.

Do you know what that means?  To hold an insurance company accountable?  Cause I don’t.  See, I have insurance and I see doctors and my kids see doctors and the insurance company pays the bills.  I don’t fight with ’em or have to call ’em or anything.  So, what are they doin’ that you don’t like?

But now’s the hard part. Because the history is clear – every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests with a stake in the status quo use their influence and political allies to scare and mislead the American people.

Strange of you to speak so poorly about your Union brothers.

As an example, let’s look at one of the scarier-sounding and more ridiculous rumors out there – that so-called “death panels” would decide whether senior citizens get to live or die.

Before you get on with what I am sure is a well thought out response to this concept—-it’s TRUE.

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

That rumor began with the distortion of one idea in a Congressional bill that would allow Medicare to cover voluntary visits with your doctor to discuss your end-of-life care – if and only if you decide to have those visits. It had nothing to do with putting government in control of your decisions; in fact, it would give you all the information you need – if you want it – to put you in control of your decisions. When a conservative Republican Senator who has long-fought for even more far-reaching proposals found out how folks were twisting the idea, he called their misrepresentation, and I quote, “nuts.”

So when folks with a stake in the status quo keep inventing these boogeymen in an effort to scare people, it’s disappointing, but it’s not surprising. We’ve seen it before. When President Roosevelt was working to create Social Security, opponents warned it would open the door to “federal snooping” and force Americans to wear dog tags. When President Kennedy and President Johnson were working to create Medicare, opponents warned of “socialized medicine.” Sound familiar? Not only were those fears never realized, but more importantly, those programs have saved the lives of tens of millions of seniors, the disabled, and the disadvantaged.

Those who would stand in the way of reform will say almost anything to scare you about the cost of action. But they won’t say much about the cost of inaction.

You’ve been down this road before; remember the Stimulus package?  Yeah, how’d THAT work for ya Sparky?

If you’re worried about rationed care, higher costs, denied coverage, or bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor, then you should know that’s what’s happening right now.

We’re not worried about it; we get it.  It’s a concept that we are all familiar with.  It’s a concept that serves us well.  For example, when we ration on price we get healthy competition resulting in lower costs and higher quality.  Not that you would know about it however, so, just keep on pretending like you’ve ever had a job.

In the past three years, over 12 million Americans were discriminated against by insurance companies due to a preexisting condition, or saw their coverage denied or dropped just when they got sick and needed it most. Americans whose jobs and health care are secure today just don’t know if they’ll be next to join the 14,000 who lose their health insurance every single day. And if we don’t act, average family premiums will keep rising to more than $22,000 within a decade.

On the other hand, here’s what reform will mean for you.

First, no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.

Right…..until ya need to change.  Then, then ya can’t keep it.  But just go right ahead and skip that part.

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll finally be able to afford insurance. And everyone will have the security and stability that’s missing today.

Who can’t afford insurance today?  Really?  Who?  And why not?  I swear to you…when you buy ANYTHING before you buy insurance, it means that you can buy insurance you simply choose not too.

Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying you coverage because of your medical history, dropping your coverage if you get sick, or watering down your coverage when it counts – because there’s no point in having health insurance if it’s not there when you need it.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or lifetime, and we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses – because no one in America should go broke just because they get sick.

Finally, we’ll require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be saving lives and dollars by catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end.

Pssst, over here.  You mentioned above that the normal tactics were being used to fight this, cough cough, reform bill of yours?  Well, far be it from you to go down that road.  Cause, ya know, insurance companies cover that today already.  But shhhh, better for you if no one calls ya on that!

That’s what reform means. For all the chatter and the noise out there, what every American needs to know is this: If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you do have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need. And we will deliver this in a fiscally responsible way.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  What kinda mooch do ya think I am?  No government bureaucrat, fiscally responsible.  Rich!

I know there’s plenty of real concern and skepticism out there.

Ya think?  Even you Democrats are eating your young on this one.

I know that in a time of economic upheaval, the idea of change can be unsettling, and I know that there are folks who believe that government should have no role at all in solving our problems. These are legitimate differences worthy of the real discussion that America deserves – one where we lower our voices, listen to one another, and talk about differences that really exist. Because while there may be disagreements over how to go about it, there is widespread agreement on the urgent need to reform a broken system and finally hold insurance companies accountable.

Nearly fifty years ago, in the midst of the noisy early battles to create what would become Medicare, President Kennedy said, “I refuse to see us live on the accomplishments of another generation. I refuse to see this country, and all of us, shrink from these struggles which are our responsibility in our time.” Now it falls to us to meet the challenges of our time. And if we can come together, and listen to one another; I believe, as I always have, that we will rise to this moment, we will build something better for our children, and we will secure America’s future in this new century.

Jeez!

So, in my last post I spoke some about the minimum wage and the buying power associated with it.  I used a concept shown to my by Mark Perry.  That is, comparing the cost of goods from 50 years ago to that price today.  I added a little twist and included the price of that good had it too kept up with inflation.

I thought it would be interesting to do the same thing with the cost of government controlled goods.  Like a postage stamp.

Here goes.

Cost of a stamp in 1958:  $0.04

Inflation Price:  $0.30

Real Price Today:  $0.44

So, while the price of products today is going down relative to it’s 1958 inflation price, the cost of postage is going up.  By almost 50%.

The argument for the minimum wage is that, without it, people will be unable to keep up with the essentials of life.  Let’s check that out.

In 1956 the minimum wage was $1.00 American.  One WHOLE dollar.  However, that translates into a whopping $7.93 today.  Which, by the way, is more than than current minimum wage set forth by the Federal Government; $7.25.

Let’s see how we compare:

Comparison of Prices:  1958 and 2008
Product Price in 1958 Inflation Price Real Price Today
Automatic Toaster $12.95 $95.39 $15.88
8 Cup Coffee Maker $15.50 $114.17 $19.99
AM Table Radio $13.95 $102.75 $29.00
Starter Guitar $17.95 with case $132.22 $99.99
Globe of the World $12.95 $95.39 $39.97
Flash Camera $5.90 $43.46 $45.88
Child’s Bicycle $18.45 $135.90 $59.00
Pup Tent $13.92 $102.53 $38.88

So, what does this tell us?  It tells us, that while wages have not kept pace with inflation, the cost of goods has also not kept pace with inflation.  In fact, the real price of goods has actually become cheaper, much cheaper, in terms of today’s dollars.

An interesting experiment conducted by Mark Perry in a post found here shows how many hours a worker would have to work to afford a defined set of products.

Again,we can do the same:

Comparison of Hours Worked: 1958 and 2008
Product Hours Worked in 1958 Hours Worked in 2008
Automatic Toaster 32.375 2.19
8 Cup Automatic Coffee Maker 38.75 2.75
AM Table Radio 34.87 4
Starter Guitar 44.87 13.8
Globe of the World 32.4 5.5
Flash Camera 14.75 6.3
Child’s Bicycle 46.1 8.1
Pup Tent 34.8 5.4

And again, we see that it’s not even close.  Not only have the products that we have to choose from expanded, but the cost of those products, in terms of real dollars AND hours worked have plummeted.

Check this post out over at alan.com.  In it, a commenter is responding to Alan’s post that a woman on Medicare is opposing Obamacare, or Universal Health Care.

In the post, Alan is quoting an article in The Washington Monthly, which in turn is speaking about an article in the Wall Street Journal.  In that article is a story of a woman whose mother is on Medicare and whose sister is also on Medicare.  The family is attending Town Hall meetings to express their opinion on Medicare.  Alan and Co are just shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you that someone on the government dime would protest anything the government suggested.

The reporter from the Washington Monthly saeth thusly:

Government-run, taxpayer-financed health care has kept her mother alive. Government-run, taxpayer-financed health care provides treatment and care to her sister. Based on the descriptions, it’s safe to assume the costs associated with treatments for Campbell’s mother and sister are enormous, but taxpayers and a socialized health care system pick up the tab. What’s wrong with that? Not a thing.

Except, of course, that Diane Campbell is now trying to convince people that health care reform is both radical and dangerous.

So, once a person is on government assistance, they are no longer able to, or at least shouldn’t, offer objection to further plans made by the government.  “Shut up citizen, listen and obey” is the message here.  There may be a whole host of reasons that these women don’t want this program pushed through.  Lord knows there are enough of those reason to fill a book.  But we couldn’t be bothered with those details.

But it gets even better.  See, Alan and The Washington Monthly go even further and bring up images of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

No offense to Diane Campbell, who must be suffering greatly.  But she has bought the right-wing meme that Obama is akin to Hitler and that health care reform will liken America to Nazi Germany.

So, now, not only is the Left offended that a sick grandmother would object to Obamacare, they bring up Hitler and the Nazi’s.

But the best is saved for last.  In the comments, in fact, the first one, we have a reader who claims that this woman MUST be a racist.

The only conclusion I can reach here is she’s a racist.

Awesome.  The bad news is that we have to continue to manage our way through this kind of nonsense.  The good news, when the Left resorts to this, you know we have won the hearts and minds.