I attended Sunday’s Falcons game at the Georgia Dome. In addition to the usual presentation of our nation’s flag and the singing of The National Anthem, there was a moment of silence. In days gone by, it would have been a public prayer. Instead, we were instructed to be quiet for a moment of reflection on the lives lost last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. It was brief, but lasted long enough to make me wonder if we didn’t need a longer one, not just at football games, but across the whole country.
I became consciously aware of the shooting just after 1:00 pm Friday, not from the breathless news reports, but while reading Twitter and Facebook. I made the decision not to turn on the television right away. Unfortunately, this has become too familiar that I knew what to expect by doing that. There would be pictures and stories of unimaginable tragedy, told with incomplete and often incorrect information for the first few hours. I decided I could actually postpone reality for a bit, though I pieced together enough thoughts to post a request for “prayers for Connecticut” on my blog at Peach Pundit.
Then I checked out for a couple of hours. It was time for a moment of silence.
Facebook and Twitter are now the rapid response sites for citizen-based commentary during all events. When observing initial reactions there is a one general rule of thumb: You will lose faith in humanity reading knee-jerk responses and political solutions from instant experts while first responders are still trying to treat the wounded and remove bodies.
One of my favorite bloggers is Dan Mitchell. Seriously, if you aren’t reading his blog, you’re really missing out. He’s got this great habit of using facts to back up his points…it’s wonderfully refreshing.
Anyway, Dan sent an email to some bloggers recently to share a video about third-party payer systems and why health care costs continue to rise. Dan also wrote a great piece about the video here.
The video, narrated by Julie Borowski of FreedomWorks shows the problems with a third-party payer system:
- People shop smarter with their own money.
- Consumers pay less out of pocket for health care.
- Consumers have no idea what their health care really costs.
- Health insurance should be about risk management, not prepaying for health care.
Republicans are running for reelection on promises to repeal ObamaCare, but the ObamaCare legislation is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to get rid of the third-party payer system, as detailed by Dan and Julie.
Here’s that video Dan referenced:
As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.
Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.
However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:
On April 15th, I went down to the Georgia state capitol to hang out with about 5000 of my racist friends as we discussed ways to oppress the poor, exploit and denigrate minorities, engage in violent protest and call for the death of President Barack Obama. At least, that is what we were doing according to the media, who reported breathlessly about this violent uprising which stemmed from the hatred of a black president (while conveniently ignoring the fact that the same president could not have been elected without a huge number of white voters casting their ballots for him…maybe white voters did not realize he was black until after the election).
About half an hour before the rally ended I went up to the barricade which police were monitoring, behind which was about a dozen counter-protesters. As I approached they directed their invective at me, calling me a racist, saying I hate the president, saying that because I oppose the health care control law I want poor people to die. The whole time I just smiled and listened.
When they finally calmed down I began to engage in conversation with them. I asked why I was considered a racist just for opposing big government, and pointed out that I had seen dozens of blacks, Hispanics and Asians in the crowd. Were they racists too?
Has anyone noticed how much our society now talks about their “rights”? President Obama just signed a massive bill, clocking in at well over 2500 pages (between the original bill and the reconciliation), which creates huge new deficits, another gargantuan bureaucracy, and allows the government ever more power to intrude into the private lives of its sovereign citizens. This was all done under the guise of a newly found “right” to health care.
In 1973, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Warren Burger, discovered a “right” to privacy that had managed to elude the Founding Fathers and all of the subsequent legislatures and courts for almost 200 years, and under this right America has callously witnessed the extermination of over 50 million of its most vulnerable; the unborn.
This week it was announced that the public transit system of a south Atlanta metro county was bankrupt and services were discontinued. As I watched the news coverage I listened to a young man tell me that the transit system, plagued with corruption and mismanagement, should be made to continue running (no mention on who gets to pay the bill to make sure that it keeps operating) because public transportation is a “basic human right”? Really? Public transportation is a right?
Recently, I have been reflecting on the war on drugs and the fight for marijuana legalization and why so many people are opposed to legalization. What is most alarming to me about this situation is the almost across-the-board lack of support from Republicans, and even vocal opposition to legalization efforts. This is incredibly troubling, if not hypocritical.
While Republicans decry the health care bill as an attack on our rights, as unconstitutional, and opposed to our liberties because of a possible mandate, they at the same time argue that the governments complete ban on a substance, even if it used by an adult in their own home. If you believe the government has the right to dictate what an adult does in their own home to their own body, you ultimately believe that the government owns the citizens.
This philosophy that Republicans abide by via their support for the war on drugs makes many of their arguments against health care ironic. It’s not that I disagree with their views on health care, by all means I am opposed to government-run health care, but this “picking and choosing” of when the government can become pervasive and counter to a liberty-oriented philosophy of rights is simply not consistent.
I have never smoked marijuana. My support for marijuana legalization does not come from a desire to use the substance myself, but from a belief that the government’s role is not to make decisions about what we do to ourselves. Think of it this way – drinking alcohol is not a crime; drinking alcohol and then driving and running someone over is. Smoking marijuana should not be a crime; smoking marijuana and then killing someone is. Marijuana in and of itself is not a crime, nor is the consumption of it. The fact that we put people in prison for possessing a plant, while at the same time call ourselves a “free nation,” is extremely ironic.
The latest estimate of what health-care reform would mean for the government’s finances was such a hot document Thursday that at times the Congressional Budget Office’s Web site couldn’t handle the traffic.
But as much as the 25-page “score” of the legislation was treated as holy writ in Washington — Democrats eagerly flagged its conclusion that the package they aim to pass this weekend would cut the deficit by $138 billion over the coming decade — the reality is considerably messier.
Budget experts generally have high praise for the work of CBO analysts, the non-ideological technocrats who crunch the numbers to estimate the fiscal impact of legislation. But their work is often more art than science, and although the forecasts that accompany legislation are always filled with uncertainty, this one contains more than most.
One major reason is the sheer complexity of the legislation. If Congress were considering, say, a 20-cent increase in the gasoline tax, the CBO could easily analyze how that would affect gas consumption and do some simple math to calculate how much money it would raise. The same goes for figuring out the cost of legislation that offers a new benefit, such as an expansion of food stamps.
Note: I intended to merely comment on this chart when sharing it via my Posterous. During the 5 or so minutes I was commenting, it grew to be something more substantial, and at the urging of others, it has been cross-posted here.
Since the 1960s, the percentage of total healthcare cost paid directly by the end consumer, aka patient, has dropped drastically, but out of pocket costs have risen and the cost of healthcare has risen drastically over that same period.
What has happened between then and now? The intervention of government into the marketplace. Insurance regulations, government mandates about what MUST be covered, Medicare/caid, and inflation make costs skyrocket, but the opacity of the prices keeps patients from seeing what each visit, prescription, and procedure actually costs. With that opacity, there is no competitive pricing, because the prices paid by patients are merely co-pays and the withholding from their paycheck for employer-sponsored health plans, insurance companies, and government programs that pay negotiated rates. Without competition and price transparency, prices will continue to rise.
In addition, patients largest out of pocket expense is their insurance coverage, which does not fluctuate to accommodate the amount of healthcare services consumed. The patient knows they only pay $10-$50 for each office visit, but the overall costs of those visits can be thousands of dollars. The patient rarely, if ever, sees the actual cost… Usually only if their insurance claim is denied.
Podcast: HR 1207, BCS, New Stimulus Bill, Democrat Divisions, Health Care, Transparency, Guest: Luke Brady
After interviewing Adam, all four discuss these issues:
- Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi unveils the newest health care reform legislation.
- 3rd quarter GDP numbers released, showing a 3.5% increase.
- An open discussion on Oathkeepers.
- Also, there was a “hit & run” discussion of the likelihood of Barack Obama’s Presidency only lasting one term and the prospects for 2012’s Republican Presidential candidates.
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