Medicare Drives Costs Up, Forces Taxpayers to Pay Millions for Vacuum Erection Systems

Ludwig von Mises wrote in Planning for Freedom that the “welfare state is merely a method for transforming the market economy step by step into socialism.”

What was once a fertile environment for individuals to prosper is slowly becoming hard to sell. The land of opportunity was thus described precisely because the government avoided making it hard for individuals to save. Savings is what makes funds available for people to invest in other businesses, creating opportunities to people in their communities, promoting economic growth. A nation is only prosperous if its people are capable of investing their own money in what or where they see an opportunity.

When the individual thrives, the community thrives.

This cycle is what guarantees a dynamic that allows everyone to prosper given they pursue their own particular goals by being proactive and participative. In a competitive and free economical environment, everyone has an opportunity to prosper. In a free economical environment, everyone can afford the services they need to consume.

In an economically free environment, everyone can afford their own vacuum erection systems.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, vacuum erection systems cost taxpayers about $175 million within the period between 2006 and 2011. While this may not sound like a real story for you, wait until it gets better.

Obamacare isn’t slowing down healthcare costs

President Barack Obama and administration officials have been playing up Obamacare as part of the reason that healthcare costs have grown at its slowest rate in 50 years, which, they say, will be part of the legacy of the law.

“I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time,” said President Obama on November 14 in a statement on Obamacare.  ”And I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years.”

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a similar claim during her appearance before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, telling members that “costs have gone down based on the trajectory we would have seen absent [Obamacare].”

But doubt has been cast on that claim by many healthcare policy analysts. Bob Laszewski, President of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, has cast doubt on these claims, shooting down the rhetoric over Obamacare and the slowdown of health costs as “silly.”

“First, Obamacare is not a health care reform law; it is a health insurance reform law. No one on either side of the debate has ever argued anything different,” wrote Laszweski, who is frequently cited in mainstream media reports about the law, last week on his personal blog. “Does the law have some limited cost containment features in it? Yes. But these are either pilot projects or are years from being fully implemented.”

PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”

PolitiFact has awarded President Barack Obama with its “2013 Lie of the Year” for his now-infamous and flatly false claim that that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare.

“It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system,” wrote Angie Drobnic Holan yesterday at PolitiFact.

“‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law,” she noted. “But the promise was impossible to keep.”

So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong,” she wrote, adding that President Obama and his administration’s excuses for lying to Americans “made matters worse.”

The bungled rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website and stories covering the cancellations caused President Obama’s approval ratings drop to all-time lows. Congressional Democrats have seen their advantage in completely disappear to the point where Republicans now hold a slim edge.

“For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ the Lie of the Year for 2013,” wrote Holan. “Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.”

Conservative group: Budget deal a “lose-lose compromise” for taxpayers

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of budget committees in both chambers of Congress, reached an agreement last night that will partially roll back the bipartisan spending cuts mandated by the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, warns that the looming budget promise is “disastrous” for fiscal conservatives because reversal of some of these reasonable spending cuts and does nothing to address entitlement programs — the real drivers of federal budget deficits.

“This deal would be a disastrous lose-lose compromise that kicks the can down the road while refusing to address the core of our national fiscal crisis,” wrote Bydlak in an email blast before the agreement was formally announced.

RELATED: United Liberty chats with Jonathan Bydlak

“At this point, sources have reported that the deal will likely replace less than half of the sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015, and not touch major entitlements and the tax code,” he continued. “[W]e’re hearing rumors that the disastrous deal could…include spending around $980 billion to $1 trillion, along with raising revenues through increased federal employee benefits contributions and air ticket taxes, among other things.”

Tom Price’s Obamacare replacement saves $2.34 trillion over 10 years

Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.

The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.

“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.

“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.

President Obama up for PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year”

PolitiFact, one of the many fact checkers that has sprouted up on the web, announced yesterday that it had opened voting for the readers’ choice for the  ”2013 Lie of the Year.”

Though PolitiFact’s editors and reporters will still choose the “Lie of the Year,” the fact checker, run by the Tampa Bay Times, has selected 10 finalists for this year’s “dishonor,” readers have been given the option to weigh-in. Readers can also write-in a one not on the list.

Among the 10 finalists are number of claims about Obamacare, including one made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and another by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about the congressional exemption from the law. There are a few others dealing with other random issue, from Syria to the United Nations.

President Barack Obama is also the list because of his revisionism on his infamous “if you like you plan, you can keep your plan” promise amid millions of insurance policy cancellation notices that are a direct result of the law.

“If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed,” Obama told his supporters early last month.

“So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act you are grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they have got to change it to a higher standard,” he said. “They’ve got to make it better.”

Filibuster change revives Obamacare’s “death panel”

Death Panel

Not only did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) give Democrats a convenient political distraction from the Obamacare meltdown, the “nuclear option” was also very obvious power grab that gives President Barack Obama virtually unchecked power to whomever he wants to his cabinet or to federal courts.

But the executive appointments that can now be made without any real check in the Senate are not just innocuous posts. Sam Baker of National Journal noted last week that the elimination of the filibuster gives President Obama the ability to make appointments to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), otherwise known as “death panels.”

“The IPAB is technically supposed to submit its first proposed cuts in January, but Obama hasn’t even nominated anyone to the board yet. Nominees have to be confirmed by the Senate, which until today required 60 votes—and Republicans were highly unlikely to help confirm anyone to the board,” wrote Baker on Thursday.

“But now that the Senate has moved to a 51-vote threshold for executive appointments, Obama will likely be able to fill the board and move ahead with one of the most significant cost-control measures in his signature health care law—if he wants to,” he noted, adding that Senate aide confirmed that the filibuster change applies to IPAB.

If you like your doctor, you may not be able to keep him

Doctors and Obamacare

Not only did President Barack Obama tell Americans that they could keep their health plans under Obamacare, he also said on numerous occasions that they could keep their doctors. Like his health plan promise, there was no ambiguity or nuance to the statement.

“Under the reform that I’ve proposed, if you like your doctor, you’ll keep your doctor,” said President Obama on July 29, 2009. “If you like your health care plan, you will keep your plan.”

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” he said, again, on March 10, 2010. “I’m the father of two young girls –- I don’t want anybody interfering between my family and their doctor.”

Despite that promise by President Obama, many Americans are losing their doctors. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that UnitedHealth Group dropped thousands of doctors from its Medicare Advantage network, leaving many seniors without access to the doctors they liked and trusted:

Big Labor may make entitlement reform more difficult to accomplish

The already small chance of Congress passing any sort of entitlement reform in a budget agreement before the mid-December deadline may have gotten a little smaller thanks to a prominent labor leader.

In a speech before the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans on Monday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka promised that Big Labor would “never stop working” to end the careers of congressional Democrats who support entitlement reform.

“Let me just say this one for the record. No politician — I don’t care the political party — will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it. And this warning goes double for Democrats,” said Trumka, according to the Washington Examiner. “We will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career.”

For all the Democrats’ complaints about conservative groups and organizations making it difficult for Congress to get anything done, labor unions have long had a stranglehold on the party. Since 1990, Big Labor has given $751.8 million to Democratic candidates, which is 92% of their contributions. And in 2008, they worked heavily for then-candidate Barack Obama, who promised them their long-desired legislative goal, card check.

Medicare trustee: ObamaCare is financially unraveling

When the Affordable Care Act was working its way through Congress, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats promised that the law would bring down healthcare costs and have a positive impact on the federal budget deficit. Unfortunately, those promises aren’t panning out, according to one of the trustees of Medicare and Social Security, and taxpayers will be worse off.

“Even before the president signed the ACA into law, non-partisan analysts demonstrated that the belief it would reduce federal deficits was based on a misunderstanding of government accounting,” wrote Charles Blahous, a trust of the two major entitlement programs and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

“The ACA’s projected savings from Medicare payment reductions were in effect being doubly committed: once to extend Medicare solvency and a second time to fund a massive coverage expansion,” noted Blahous. “Both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Medicare Chief Actuary alerted Congress to the problem at the time.”

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