For the last 8 years, my radio partner Jazz Shaw has been holding the Bush Administration's feet to the fire policy wise. He has been a very persuasive, vocal critic of many Bush Administration policies including the Patriot Act and his execution of the Global War On Terror (specifically Iraq). While there is much (policy wise) that we disagree on, there is also much we agree on which is why we have so much fun doing our weekly Blog Talk Radio Show. Jazz and I used to do the show with Ron Beasley from Middle Earth Journal, but Ron quit the show (and blogging) after he got turned off by the tone and tenor of the Democratic Primary last summer (Ron was a Hillary clinton supporter). It was a lot of fun when it was the three of us because we always managed to debate all sides of the issues and NOT get disagreeable - we always ended the show with respect for one another.
Now that the Democrats are in control of Washington DC, Jazz has been doing to the Democrats, what he did to the Republicans before - holding their feet to the fire. His target of late has been HB3200 - the controversial health care bill. His latest offering takes the Democrats claim that 47 (or 35 or 52 depending on who is talking and on what day) million people are "without health insurance".
One of the perpetual bones of contention in the ongoing health care reform debate is the precise number of people in serious need of help in this area. All too frequently we encounter various, exaggerated estimates, including some fact challenged quotes right here at TMV, which put the number as high as 50 million. Well, that’s certainly a troubling statistic for anyone to contemplate. In fact, the New York Times had a heartfelt opinion piece this weekend which recognizes a number of serious problems with the math on these figures, but then essentially bats them away, saying we shouldn’t dwell on the numbers.
But how many Americans are we really talking about here? And what mitigating factors need to be considered? A good place to start would be the most recent edition of the U.S. Census Bureau’s report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. (Follow the link, please, for the full PDF of the report.) It’s the same one cited in the Times piece. Turning to page 27 we find that the total number of people put in the category of not having health insurance during the previous year starts at 45.7 million (not fifty) which is down from 47 million in the previous reporting period. But that’s still a lot of people, isn’t it? We’ll need to do some more digging, obviously, and we will.
When proponents of HB3200 start throwing out these Census numbers, they often ignore the one caveat that Jazz points out from page 67 in Appendix C....that the Census Bureau does not have full faith in these numbers.....
On Friday I wrote about Rep. Henry Waxman's fishing expedition (fishing for information on how to run a health care business). Well according to Politico, the fishing expedition started back in July....
Now POLITICO has learned that Waxman’s recent investigation began almost a month earlier than previously thought — with letters to the insurance industry’s powerful trade group and its consultant regarding grassroots tactics.
A committee spokeswoman defended the probes — saying lawmakers need to know that private insurance money is being spent effectively as part of the effort to control costs. But the trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, is crying foul, saying Waxman is merely trying to bring it in line behind his version of the health reform bill.
“Congressional oversight is not a tool that should be used to chill dissent,” said AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach. “These investigations are nothing more than politically motivated, taxpayer-financed fishing expeditions designed to intimidate and silence health plans.”
Rep. Waxman's spokesperson says that the request was done in order to make sure that these private businesses are spending their money wisely, but the AHIP spokesman disagrees.....
Yet another rabid, angry, right wing wing-nut comes out against ObamaCare....
Last week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That’s basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit, and it’s proven a bonanza for the drug industry. A continuation will be an even larger bonanza, given all the Boomers who will be enrolling in Medicare over the next decade. And it will be a gold mine if the deal extends to Medicaid, which will be expanded under most versions of the healthcare bills now emerging from Congress, and to any public option that might be included. (We don’t know how far the deal extends beyond Medicare because its details haven’t been made public.)
Let me remind you: Any bonanza for the drug industry means higher health-care costs for the rest of us, which is one reason why critics of the emerging healthcare plans, including the Congressional Budget Office, are so worried about their failure to adequately stem future healthcare costs. To be sure, as part of its deal with the White House, Big Pharma apparently has promised to cut future drug costs by $80 billion. But neither the industry nor the White House nor any congressional committee has announced exactly where the $80 billion in savings will show up nor how this portion of the deal will be enforced. In any event, you can bet that the bonanza Big Pharma will reap far exceeds $80 billion. Otherwise, why would it have agreed?
In return, Big Pharma isn’t just supporting universal health care. It’s also spending a lots of money on TV and radio advertising in support. Sunday’s New York Times reports that Big Pharma has budgeted $150 million for TV ads promoting universal health insurance, starting this August (that’s more money than John McCain spent on TV advertising in last year’s presidential campaign), after having already spent a bundle through advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA.
Oh wait.....that was Robert B. Reich - former Secretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton....Never mind...
My friend Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a couple of post to update us on CPSIA enforcement. The first is something that any one you parents who have garage sales should pay close attention to.
When our founders created the federal government, I’m pretty sure they didn’t anticipate having its power reach into their carriage houses. Thanks to a particularly asinine piece of legislation called the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act, though, we now have federal inspectors threatening to start investigating yard sales and church bazaars. They say they’re just going to focus on thrift stores and Craigslist … for now:
If you’re planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you’d best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.
The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer. …
The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.
Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.
But wait - there is more....
After I wrote my post yesterday on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and the not-so-subtle warning to private resellers at yard sales and church bazaars, I received an interesting e-mail from Suzi Lang, the owner of Star Bright Baby. Suzi hand-makes toys and teething rings for babies and toddlers, but her business is now in jeopardy, thanks to the badly-written CPSIA. Suzi explains in her e-mail:
Thanks for posting about the CPSIA. Garage Sale police aren’t the only insane parts of this law… I make and sell small stuffed teething giraffes for babies (or anyone else cutting a tooth). My giraffes are made from 100% cotton fabric, stuffing made from a synthetic fiber made from corn, and thread. That’s it. Nothing toxic about that, right? Well, according to the law, I have to lead test each batch of giraffes I make. I make them in batches of 10-12 because I’m a small time producer (and I get bored easily). That’s about $300-500 per batch. BUT I also have to test them for a plastic additive called Phthalates because the item is intended to go in a baby’s mouth. Never mind the fact that there is nothing plastic in any of the materials I use to make my giraffes. That’s about $800-1200 per batch. Now you’re talking a pretty expensive teething toy.
I testified before a subcommittee of the Small Business Committee in the house in May, and there have been some exceptions made to the law by the CPSC in how they’re going to enforce it, but the law also deputizes every single state Attorney General to go after offenders. By law I’m still not in compliance.
The sad thing is that this hits little old ladies that make blankies and lovies to give away to kids in the ER. And the little hats they knit for newborns in the hospital. It hits small potatoes businesses like mine who already make safe products. It’s sad, really. And the law does absolutely nothing to keep kids safer than they were under the original lead laws.
Oh, and the companies like Mattel who imported all the lead-tainted toys that started this fuss? They get to police themselves. Awesome, huh?
Thanks again for highlighting this stupid law on Hotair.
Starbright Baby Teething Giraffes
Emphasis in the original. I suppose that the companies that started all this, the ones who get to police themselves get to do so because they are big enought special interests to be able to hire the lobbyists necessary to get the legislation written in their favor. Meanwhile, the small business owners who started their businesses IN ANSWER to a problem that the big business started get shut down. Way to go Democrats! Wat to stand up "for the little guy".....
A while back someone commented that President Obama was such a great communicator. I wonder if this is an example of what he was talking about....
A long time ago, someone coined the term "Silly season" for this particular time in Washington DC. I think the President would have been better off if he had stuck with that rather than trying to make something.
The LA Times editorial page has an opinion column that addresses the one thing that has been totally ignored in today's health care debate....personal responsibility!
In the debate over healthcare reform, one elephant in the waiting room isn't being discussed. We have been told repeatedly that our healthcare system is not only the most expensive in the world but one of the least efficient in meeting the healthcare needs of the nation. So how do we solve these two problems? From my perspective as a physician, I'd say we need to start by taking a hard look at the diseases we are doing such a bad job of controlling and at the individuals who suffer from them.
Those of us providing front-line care for Americans -- nurses, physicians' assistants, pharmacists -- have a perspective that differs from the bureaucratic physicians in the American Medical Assn. and other specialist organizations, because we literally have our fingers on the pulse of Americans. And a lot of us have come to realize that most medical problems are brought on by the failure of humans.
Human metabolism is not that far evolved from the Stone Age and is better geared toward surviving famine than to the current abundance of high-calorie food and the pervasiveness of passive activity.
Obesity and lack of exercise are the prime mover behind many common diseases. Type 2 diabetes, which leads to heart disease, vascular problems, hypertension, kidney failure and erectile dysfunction, is at epidemic proportions and is primarily a disease of the obese. And we're seeing the problem in younger and younger people.
...has the anti-war movement gone? Byron York was wondering that so he started looking. What he found at first was not too surprising.
Remember the anti-war movement? Not too long ago, the Democratic party's most loyal voters passionately opposed the war in Iraq. Democratic presidential candidates argued over who would withdraw American troops the quickest. Netroots activists regularly denounced President George W. Bush, and sometimes the U.S. military ("General Betray Us"). Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, became a heroine when she led protests at Bush's Texas ranch.
That was then. Now, even though the United States still has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, and is quickly escalating the war in Afghanistan -- 68,000 troops there by the end of this year, and possibly more in 2010 -- anti-war voices on the Left have fallen silent.
It would normally be amazing that people claimed to be so opposed to war on principle one year would fall so amazingly silent now that their guy is in the White House, but after following politics for as long as I have I simply can not say I am amazed at all....
Rocky Mountain Power's President Richard Walje shared some stunningly shocking information Wednesday. Speaking to the Utah Public Utilities & Technology Interim Committee Walje shared this hereto fore unknown information.....
Speaking to the Legislature's Utah Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee on Wednesday, Rocky Mountain Power president and chief executive officer Richard Walje said if the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 — the so-called Waxman-Markey Bill — is enacted by Congress, the result would be much higher electric bills for the average Utah consumer.
"The legislation that has currently been passed in the (U.S.) House of Representatives is going to impose large costs on our customers that we do not have any near-term way to avoid," he said.
Wow - I did not know that was a possibility. I mean President Obama and his supporters assured us that it would not happen that way....
My friend Gary Gross steered me toward this story the other day. It seems that Congressmen Waxman (chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee) and Congressman Bart Stupak (chairman of the sub-committee on Investigations) have upped the ante on those health insurance companies that aren't on the Obama Care bandwagon. Click on the second link to go to a PDF file of a letter that was sent by the Congressmen to the President of United Health Care in Minnesota. In the letter Waxman and Stupak demand that United Health turn over the following information to the committee:
- Officer Compensation from 2003 thru 2008
- bonus compensation including stock options and non-equity compensation
- details on what officers sold stock in those years and how much they got for it
- board member compensation for the same years
- a list of all conferences and events that were not held on company property
- revenues, income and dividends for the same time period
Now if the list had stopped at this, one could wonder if Congress wasn't working on ginning up so faux outrage at executive compensation as they did with Wall Street. Granted, these health industry exectives are NOT taking government bail out dollars but that has never stopped the Democrats from demonizing people before...
When you've lost Air America Mr. President, it's time to re-think your strategies.....
Join Jazz and I in 50 minutes for Mid-Stream Radio. The subject will no doubt be health care (as the seems to be all anyone is talking about) but I suspect there will be a couple of surpirse issues.
If you have never been to Blog Talk Radio before, go a couple of minutes before the show and sign up for your free BTR account. That way you can chat with Jazz, the chatizens and I. See you there!
One of the "consequences" of running for elected office, and winning, is coming home to face the voters. The August recess has traditionally been the time for our elected officials to do that...except for this year. This year Congressmen from both parties are not scheduling townhalls or if they schedule them it is a very tightly controlled "tele-townhall". That trend has even reached Utah...
For ages, members of Congress spent their annual August recess hosting a parade of town hall meetings where voters could personally gripe, praise them or seek their help in a ritual of American democracy.
That is now disappearing in Utah, with only Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop, R-Utah, planning any such meetings this year. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have junked them in favor of more high-tech telephone conferences that they say reach more people.
But some say it may be a sign of cowardice by officeholders unwilling to face personally people upset with them, while instead using a telephone forum where disgruntled people can be easily cut off or avoided, and any unpleasantness occurs beyond the view of news cameras.
I have participated in public and tele-townhalls back in Minnesota. On one hand the tele-townhalls are great for bloggers because we can sit in front of our computers and "live-blog" or transcribe the call as my friend Gary Gross does. Tele-townhalls do tend to be more emotionless because it is a little harder for your emotions to feed off of the emotions of others in the room because you are usually the only one IN the room. However they are very impersonal and people tend to disengage from them rather quickly - especially if your Representative does not allow anyone else to talk.
The live town halls, on the other hand, let the voters get "in the face" of their elected officials and hold them accountable for their votes - which according to Congressman Chaffetz is part of the job.
"I think you need to be able to stand the heat in the kitchen …. I stand up to the microphone and answer the hard questions. I think that's what it's all about," he said.
Almost two years ago, my father was killed by a hospital-borne infection in the intensive-care unit of a well-regarded nonprofit hospital in New York City. Dad had just turned 83, and he had a variety of the ailments common to men of his age. But he was still working on the day he walked into the hospital with pneumonia. Within 36 hours, he had developed sepsis. Over the next five weeks in the ICU, a wave of secondary infections, also acquired in the hospital, overwhelmed his defenses. My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim in a building American tragedy.
About a week after my father’s death, The New Yorker ran an article by Atul Gawande profiling the efforts of Dr. Peter Pronovost to reduce the incidence of fatal hospital-borne infections. Pronovost’s solution? A simple checklist of ICU protocols governing physician hand-washing and other basic sterilization procedures. Hospitals implementing Pronovost’s checklist had enjoyed almost instantaneous success, reducing hospital-infection rates by two-thirds within the first three months of its adoption. But many physicians rejected the checklist as an unnecessary and belittling bureaucratic intrusion, and many hospital executives were reluctant to push it on them.
Here is a radical question - which is more cost effective - a $5.00 bottle of Purel in each hospital room or treating patients with infections picked up in the hospital? I think the answer to that is painfully obvious don't you and yet something this simple is not even covered in the health care "reform" bill coming out of DC although many hospitals are already doing just that.
While I think it is a little early in the his administration to call President Obama a "failed, single term" President I do think that there is some wisdom in this column and if there was anyone with any amount of wisdom in the Obama Administration they would be pasting this up all over the West Wing.
President Obama is on the way to joining an exclusive club. It is the club of failed one-term presidents.
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama sold himself as a pragmatic moderate. In fact, he is the very opposite. He is an internationalist socialist whose policies will lead to ruin at home and defeat abroad. They will also doom his re-election efforts. He is flirting with political disaster.
I should note that ANYONE who looked at Senator Obama's voting record as both a State and Federal Senator would have known that he was anything BUT a pragmatic moderate, but I digress.
Despite his many flaws, former President Bill Clinton established the model for successful Democratic administrations. Mr. Clinton governed as a liberal centrist. He realized that veering too far to the left early in his presidency was detrimental: His support of Hillarycare and gays in the military resulted in the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. Mr. Clinton changed course by embracing free trade, welfare reform and balanced budgets -- combining fiscal responsibility and social liberalism. This formula prevented the Republican Party from recapturing the White House in 1996.
This was where President Clinton played Republicans like a fine fiddle - and where Republicans found him so very maddening! Another major difference between Presidents Clinton and Obama is one that will hurt President Obama the most. Bill Clinton is, was and will always be a major league policy wonk. Heck he made "policy wonk" a household term for crying out loud. President Clinton could talk policy circles around just about everyone BUT Newt Gingrich which is what made them such good foils for each other! President Obama does not have the same policy gravitas that President Clinton had on his worst days.
The left's non-stop attack on profitable business has claimed yet another win this week as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundtation has divested itself of all medical and biomed stocks in it's holdings.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable foundation of Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates, sold off its stakes in a number of pharmaceutical companies, according to a regulatory filing.
During the quarter that ended on June 30, the foundation sold 15 million shares of Schering Plough, 3.7 million shares of Wyeth, 3.5 million shares of Abbott Laboratories, 3.4 million shares of Pfizer, 2.5 million shares of Johnson & Johnson and 938,000 shares of Eli Lilly.
Gee - I can't imagine why they sold off med stocks last quarter....just when the initial formation of health care reform heated up....
Just a reminder of what the Gates Foundation does...
Bill Gates did not get to where he is in the world today without being able to look ahead and read the political climate. He sees the writing on the wall when it comes to medical stocks - the profit will no longer be there...and when the COMPANIES don't make a profit, the investers (including your 401k and numerous charities besides the Gates Foundation) don't make money and when these charities don't make money they can't take care of the people who depend on them. All because the Democrats have decided that health care companies who make a profit are evil.
Great work guys!
...from a rather unexpected corner.
The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.
Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.
WHAT???? Government run health care is providing less than optimal patient care????
The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there's a critical need to make Canada's health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.
WHAT???? Government run health care is not providing patient centered care???? You don't say.....
This is what critics of the President's plan have been saying all along. Maybe now we can start talking about real reform that will help those who need it without bankrupting the country.
- Obama Care's Last Gasp?
- How To Fix Health Care
- Founders Morning Quote
- Planes, Trains And Automobiles
- Setting Us Up For The Fall
- We've Always Been At War With Eastasia!
- Stating The Obvious
- Founders Morning Quote
- Celebrating 50 Years Of Success
- Dusting Off The Way Back Machine
- Hard And Fast Rules
- Unintended Consequences Part.....
- Disruptive Behavior