Chatting with Igor Birman

Igor Birman

“I think the impressionable libertarian kids are going to save our nation.” — Igor Birman

Late last year, I ran across video of Igor Birman, who immigrated to the United States with his family as the Soviet Union was collapsing, warning against a more centralized government healthcare system. Birman, who now serves as Chief of Staff to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), was explaining that the Soviet system relied on rationing of healthcare, which would be the end result of ObamaCare.

Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with Birman to discuss his story, the transformation of the United States into a police state, ObamaCare, the budget, and other destructive economic policies that are being pushed by the White House.

When asked about the recent filibuster in the Senate, Birman applauded Sen. Rand Paul and noted that it was refreshing to hear a politician be so passionate. He also compared the policies implemented as part of the “war on terror”  to life in the Soviet Union, where the government frequently searched homes of ordinary citizens without cause, which he called a “fact of life,” noting that “you just accepted it as much as you did the cold weather and the long lines for the basic staples of food and water.”

Birman experienced this first-hand. “A week before we left for the United States, we went to say goodbye to my uncle in St. Petersburg and when we came back, we found our apartment just absolutely ravaged,” recalled Birman. “The authorities must have been looking for whatever lame excuse they could find to either delay or disrupt our departure.”

Podcast: Afghanistan War, Huckabee-Maurice Clemmons, Bernanke Re-Nomination, Iran News & More, Guest: Stephen Gordon

Note: Brad Warbiany from The Liberty Papers was originally penciled in as a guest for the podcast, but some technical difficulties required a re-recording of the show.  He was missed on the final product, but we plan to have him on again in the very near future.

Jason and Brett were joined by Stephen Gordon, principal with Forward Focus Media for the re-record, as well as the original.

Together, they discuss:

FreedomWorks: Top Ten Reasons to Repeal ObamaCare

While most mainstream pundits believe the fight over ObamaCare is over after the Supreme Court’s decision during the summer, polls still show that the law is still unpopular with Americans.

Health insurance premiums are still on the rise, companies are dropping coverage or cutting hours to skirt the law’s mandates, and the cost of ObamaCare has skyrocketed. The law has also been a jobs killer. According to a recent study, ObamaCare’s regulations have killed some 30,000 jobs and cost $27.6 billion.

If these reasons weren’t enough to do away with the law and start over, a new compendium put together by Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Care Policy at FreedomWorks, goes over the top 10 reasons to repeal ObamaCare.

In addition to some of the points already made, Clancy explains that ObamaCare is a bureaucratic mess that will force many Americans to lose their current health insurance, pushing them into buy government-controlled plans. He explains that taxes imposed as part of the law will hit all areas of the health care system. Clancy also notes that the law will lead to rationing of health care.

More importantly, as Clancy explains, “there is a better way.” After repealing ObamaCare, Congress could start over again by crafting legislation that focuses on the needs of patients, not bureaucrats.

House Republicans roll out legisation to repeal ObamaCare

During the debate over ObamaCare in 2010 and after, many conservatives and libertarians have criticized Medicare rules that would allow unelected regulators on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to essentially ration healthcare. Some critics, including several Republican members of Congress, went as far as calling the IPAB “death panels” due to the board’s purpose, which is to keep Medicare costs down.

With ObamaCare firmly now set, thanks to the Supreme Court’s terrible decision last month, House Republicans have rolled out another plan to repeal the law, but it apparently will leave this controversial aspect in place. Why? Because they can’t:

The bill that the House is slated to vote on next week will repeal just about all of the law, except for one small subsection that sets up how the House would vote on the Medicare cuts recommended by the Independent Payment Advisory Board — a new panel set up by the law to suggest ways to rein in Medicare spending.

The subsection prevents the House from changing those rules, including through repeal. If the bill repealed the entire law, Democrats could have raised a procedural point of order against the repeal measure and likely killed it, according to a House GOP leadership aide.

Keeping this one subsection — subsection (d) of section 1899A of the Social Security Act — would prevent that.

Obama makes recess appointment to head Medicare

“[T]he Holy Grail of universal coverage in the United States may remain out of reach unless, through rational collective action overriding some individual self-interest, we can reduce per capita costs.” - Donald Berwick, President Obama’s nominee to head the CMS

President Barack Obama has announced that he will appoint Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services when Congress adjourns for the summer break next month.

His appointment, as Philip Klein explained back in May, is concerning:

“Cynics beware, I am romantic about the (British) National Health Service; I love it,” Berwick said in a July 2008 speech at England’s Wembley stadium. “All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.”

While Berwick would not have the authority to impose a British health care system on the United States in one fell swoop, as head of CMS, he would be running both Medicare and Medicaid. Given that the two programs alone account for more than one out of every three dollars spent on health care in America (all government programs combined account for 47 percent), private players tend to follow CMS’s lead. Berwick himself has made this point.

Obama Budget Director Confirms That “Advisory Board” Will Control Health Care Decisions

Yet another part of ObamaCare that we didn’t know about until it became law, the Independent Medicare Advisory Board:

An unelected board with virtually unlimited power over health care.

Yea, that’s a good thing.

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