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Aug
21

No, Really?????

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....

Written by LL.

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Aug
21

Gone Fishing

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...

Written by LL.

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Aug
20

We've Been "Cheneyed"

When you've lost Air America Mr. President, it's time to re-think your strategies.....

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
20

Today on Mid Stream Radio

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!

Written by LL.

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Aug
19

Town Hall Controversy

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.

Written by LL.

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Aug
18

Real World Health Care Fixes

My friend Margaret Marteen forwarded this to me earlier today.  It's long, but informative and well worth the read.

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.

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
17

Failure?

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.

Written by LL.

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Aug
17

What Does Bill Know (Or Unintended Consequences Part...)

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!

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
16

A Push For Health Care Reform...

...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.

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
16

Obama Care's Last Gasp?

My friend Gary Gross pointed me to this article on Friday and so today I finally got time to read it (having an active teen-ager is a time consuming thing).

Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, the White House official targeted by Sarah Palin and other conservatives as an advocate for health care rationing and "death panels," said Thursday his "thinking has evolved" on the need to decide who gets treated and who does not.

I've written about Dr. Emanuel and his writings in the past so I was curious as to how he was going to address them.

"When I began working in the health policy area about 20 years ago ... I thought we would definitely have to ration care, that there was a need to make a decision and deny people care," said Dr. Emanuel, a health care adviser to President Obama in the Office of Management and Budget, during a phone interview.

"I think that over the last five to seven years ...I've come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care," he said. "If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases."

Five to seven years eh?  Let's take a look at what Dr. Emanuel (along with Govind Persad and Alan Wertheimer) wrote just last January for the Lancet Magazine...

Allocation of very scarce medical interventions such as organs and vaccines is a persistent ethical challenge.

So at least 5-7 MONTHS ago, Dr. Emanuel still considered rationing to be a persistent ethical challenge.  Gee - I wonder what has changed between then and now.  You can read my comments on the rest of the article here.

I want to go back to that last paragraph in the Times again.

"I think that over the last five to seven years ...I've come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care," he said. "If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases."

Written by LL.

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Aug
14

How To Fix Health Care

The Wall Street Journal ran a guest editorial on health care the other day that is well worth the time it takes to read.  John Mackey is the CEO of Whole Foods and he shows how if left to their own designs, employers and employees really can solve the majority of the current problem with the cost of health care.

He starts off with a little simple math.  If you cut Medicare spending by 10% (as the President has proposed) and you increase the number of Medicare recepients by 30% what do you get??????

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

He then gets to the meat of the column

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs)...

• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits...

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines...

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover...

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year...

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost...

• Enact Medicare reform...

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program...

He then goes on to talk about what his company (as a corporate good citizen) has done to make health care more affordable for his employees.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Another thing that Mr. Mackey brings up is something that we can all do to fix the high cost of health care - take responsibility for our own health!

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Another way we can take control is to know what our health care dollars are spent on.  One of my early work experiences was as a medical transcriptionist for a company that audited hospital bills for insurance companies.  Our medical auditor (nurses mostly) would look for charges that were not related to the treatment of what the patient went into the hospital for.  Some of the charges that they found were stunning.  Because of that job, I became more aware of my own hospitalizations and the bills that were incurred.  There were a couple of times where I had found charges for services not rendered.  If every health care consumer did that, we could save ourselves a ton of money.

If we the people really want to do something about the rising cost of health care, we can do it best by taking control of our own health and knowing what our health care dollars are spent on!  It's really that simple.  Yeah it requires a little work on our part, but the rewards for that work are great!

Written by LL.

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Aug
14

Founders Morning Quote

One of the reasons why I continue to put up these Founders Morning Quotes is in part to dispel the notion that the words of these "dead, white men" have no bearing on the world today.  Any student of history will tell you that there is a lot of truth and wisdom in the old Santayana quote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (it is worth noting that this quote comes from his book "Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, p. 284").  Today's quote talks about making wise choices when it comes to government spending - specifically giving money in the form of foreign aid when there are clear needs at home.

"[W]hy give through agents whom we know not, to persons whom we know not, and in countries from which we get no account, where we can do it at short hand, to objects under our eye, through agents we know, and to supply wants we see?" --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Michael Megear, 1823

Contrary to the stereotypes foisted on us by the left, Conservatives are not against ALL government spending.  We realize that there is some government spending that is necessary.  What we DO require is that our government spend the money that we give to them wisely and on appropriate projects.  What is appropriate?  Well isn't that the crux of the entire health care debate?

Written by LL.

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Aug
13

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

You almost have to laugh.  How tone deaf this Congress is that they just don't get how they appear before the "unwashed masses".

After an uproar over a proposed purchase of new executive jets for use by senior government officials, including members of Congress, the top Defense appropriator in the House has offered to eliminate funding for the planes — but only if the Pentagon, which operates the jets, agrees.

“If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill,” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said Monday evening.

Murtha was quick to point out that these jets, approved by the full House last month, were not additions to the current group of 24 executive aircraft already used for top officials, and were being purchased to replace older ones that have maintenance and safety issues.

Written by LL.

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Aug
11

Setting Us Up For The Fall

I was sent a link (in an email earlier today) to Pamela Gellar's post on a section of the health care bill that, if correct, is something that should be of major concern to parents.

It's all bad. Get your tuchus to the town hall meetings. Seriously. It's ugly.

Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development.

It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

Now given that I am reading the bill, I decided to jump ahead to page 837 of the health care bill (where the whole section starts) where I found exactly what Ms. Gellar quoted.  There is nothing to determine necessarily which homes would be subject to visitation - making it sound like ALL homes were subject to visitations.  The more I read section 1904 the more familiar it sounded so I jumped back to a post I had written back in March about the UN Convention on The Rights Of The Child (UNCRC).  There through out the entire document....

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure...

And how will these "states parties" (read signatories to the treaties) take all feasible measures to ensure anything?  By coming into YOUR HOME to inspect YOUR CHILDREN to determine whether you, as the parent of this child, is doing what the government deems to be what is in the "best interests of the child".  If the state deems that you are an unfit parent, it is up to YOU to prove that the government is wrong.

This provision in the health care bill is simply setting up the tools that the government will need in order to impliment the provisions of the UNCRC.

This is just one more reason why THIS health care bill and the UNCRC need to be defeated.  My only question to our Utah elected officials is why Congressman Chaffetz and Senators Hatch and Bennett have not signed on as a co-sponsors of the Parental Rights Amendment yet.  It's past time.

 

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
11

We've Always Been At War With Eastasia!

President Obama held yet another televised health care town hall meeting today.  This one is in New Hampshire and he actually did take questions from people who were not planted there by the campaign.  However, there was one question that provided the howler of the day!  A questioner asked the President if he was still a proponent of "single-payer" and the President responded "Technically, I'm not for a single-payer system."

Technically Mr. President, we don't believe you and with good reason.....

 

Written by LL.

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Aug
11

Stating The Obvious

An editorial out of the heartland says what many are thinking.....

What we’re seeing in Washington these days is beginning to look like Jimmy Carter II.

Carter, like Barack Obama, started out with the idea of stimulating the economy.

His plan was to give every taxpayer $50, then throw in a few billion for tax cuts and public works programs. Simple, right? Wrong: In Washington, this soon became very complicated. Within a month, the package grew from $20 billion to more than $31 billion — a significant amount in the 1970s.

Special-interest groups piled on. Unions, minorities, the sugar lobby, bankers, shoe manufacturers — all clamored for a piece of the pie, all wanted to know: “Where’s mine?”

In April of his first year in office, Carter finally threw up his hands and scrapped the whole idea. He had dithered for four months. He had nothing to show for the effort. By then he was fatally diminished, his authority substantially eroded.

With the Obama administration, a similar unraveling is well under way and gathering momentum. Voters are increasingly restive. The country is souring on Obama’s gargantuan policy ambitions. The sense is growing that he has grossly overplayed his hand.

Written by LL.

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