Friday, November 1, 2013

Repeatedly, both before and after passage, President Obama promised the American people, "If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period."

But, now that millions of Americans are receiving letters from their insurance companies informing them that their current health care plans are being cancelled thanks to Obamacare, every honest journalist who has looked at the matter has admitted that Obama lied.

But, instead of admitting he lied, and apologizing, Obama doubled-down on his deceit yesterday, accusing his critics of being "grossly misleading" about Obamacare:
So anyone peddling the notion that insurers are cancelling people’s plan without mentioning that almost all the insurers are encouraging people to join better plans with the same carrier, and stronger benefits and stronger protections, while others will be able to get better plans with new carriers through the marketplace, and that many will get new help to pay for these better plans and make them actually cheaper -- if you leave that stuff out, you’re being grossly misleading, to say the least.
But is that true? Are the new plans on the exchange really that much better than the plans currently sold by insurance companies?

Not if you want to receive care at the nation's top hospitals they aren't. U.S. News reports:
Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare.
...
Regulations driven by the Obama White House have indeed made insurance more affordable – if, like Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, you're looking only at price. But responding to Obamacare caps on premiums, many insurers will, in turn, simply offer top-tier doctors and hospitals far less cash for services rendered.

Watchdog.org looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014. We contacted each hospital to determine their contracts and talked to several insurance companies, as well.

The result of our investigation: Many top hospitals are simply opting out of Obamacare.

Chances are the individual plan you purchased outside Obamacare would allow you to go to these facilities. For example, fourth-ranked Cleveland Clinic accepts dozens of insurance plans if you buy one on your own. But go through Obamacare and you have just one choice: Medical Mutual of Ohio.
You can read the full U.S. News report here, as well as previous reporting on how Obamacare limits patient choices here.
You can't keep your insurance if you like it under Obamacare, because you're too ignorant to understand what's good for you.

That's the argument we've been hearing from a lot of folks on the left -- an argument that pivots from "common good" to soft authoritarianism. President Barack Obama is all in, as well, claiming that he was merely guilty of forcing Americans to pick a "Ferrari" health care plan over a "Ford" one. (Is it really "picking" if you're forced?)

This is necessary because health care is not a product as a toaster is a product. (It took me only a few seconds online to find 613 different types of toasters, ranging in price from more than $300 to $15. They weren't subsidized, and I even could carry them across state lines. If health care were like toasters, we'd all be in great shape.) And as they do with anything that features negative externalities, technocrats will tinker, nudge and, inevitably, push.

"America doesn't have a free-market health care system and hasn't for decades," Business Insider's Josh Barro wrote in a piece titled "If You Like Your Health Plan, You Probably Shouldn't Be Able To Keep It." "With taxpayer subsidies so embedded in everybody's plan purchasing decisions, taxpayers have a legitimate interest in ensuring that health plans serve the public interest, not just private interests."

"Legitimate" is a malleable adjective. Just think of all the other areas of American society that are subsidized by taxpayers. Agriculture, higher education, the auto industry, the banking industry, professional sports, marriage -- the possibilities are endless. Why is Washington allowing 20-year-old college students to work on business degrees when we need them to be engineers and factory workers? We subsidize, so why don't we decide?

CNN.com contributor Sally Kohn wrote a piece titled "A canceled health plan is a good thing." You're not getting what you want; you're getting what you need. Kohn -- unsheathing the "public good" justification that opponents of same-sex marriage regularly use -- failed to mention even once that the president explicitly assured Americans while campaigning for the Affordable Care Act that "if you like your plan, you can keep it." NBC News is reporting that the Obama administration knew that millions of Americans would probably lose their current health plans because of the implementation of the law, yet it went on lying.

It's almost as if some people believe lying is acceptable -- even preferable -- if the political outcomes are morally pleasing to them. Many Obamacare supporters, in fact, are beginning to sound as if they couldn't care less about process, the law, order, competence or anything that undermines the goal of putting your health care choices into more capable hands.

But even the more specific arguments do not stand up to scrutiny.

Admittedly, many people do stupid things that aren't good for them. And though I may not know exactly what I need, I probably know as much about what I need as Kohn or Obama -- or even the 51.1 percent of the electorate that voted for the president. The reason Kohn and many of the others believe that Americans should be thankful for a paternalistic administration that en masse pushed us into (supposedly) top-shelf plans is that they don't believe in markets or they don't understand how they work -- and in some cases, it's both.

Let me put it this way: There's this Chinese restaurant near my house. It's not the cleanest place, granted. And the folks who "work" there are, it seems, completely uninterested in my dining experience. The food is priced accordingly. But I love the dumplings. It's really all that matters to me.

There's another Chinese place nearby. This one is newer. It has a friendly and attractive staff. It offers me clean silverware, and I walk on expensive contemporary tiles. All that classy stuff is nice, and it's also embedded into the price of my dumplings -- which are no better. I don't want to pay for the tiles. I just want the dumplings.

In health care and other things, we often pick plans that offer us something we value above other things. Americans don't need all their plans to look the same. Maybe some of them like the customer service; maybe some like the stability of staying with one company for many years. This is why having 600 toasters in an open market is preferable to having a handful of choices in a fabricated "market" exchange -- and why choice is better for us than coercion.

Muslim DHS adviser Mohamed Elibiary says Muslim Brotherhood "like Evangelicals"

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Yes, aside from the burning of churches and terrorizing of opponents, the Evangelicals are pretty much exactly like the Brotherhood. You got to hand it to Mohamed Elibiary: this is the kind of analytical acuity that we need at DHS.

"Muslim Brotherhood 'just like evangelicals,'" by Aaron Klein for World Net Daily, October 30 (thanks to Katherine):
He’s done it again. 
Department of Homeland Security adviser Mohamed Elibiary has penned yet another controversial tweet, this time likening the Muslim Brotherhood to evangelical Christians and comparing the Brotherhood’s indoctrination to Bible study groups.
WND found that Elibiary tweeted: “Ignorant #Islamophobes (redundant I know) protested my saying #MB like #Evangelicals. Usra like Bible study grp.”
The “MB,” or Muslim Brotherhood, seeks a worldwide Islamic caliphate ruled by Shariah, or Islamic law, and teaches followers to help establish an Islamic state wherever they live.
An usra is a small teaching group devised by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna to indoctrinate his followers. Brotherhood leaders form weekly meetings to teach the Islamist group’s methods and ideology.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Ikhwanweb website describes usra as the “smallest unit of MB structure which represents the practical area of MB spiritual education and Tarbiah (training).”...

Our Know-Nothing President

by / Personal Liberty Digest

Our Know-Nothing President
UPI FILE
Is it really possible that the President of the United States knows as little about what his Administration is doing as his defenders claim? That no one tells him anything about what’s going on until he reads it in the papers?

Consider all of the scandals that have taken place since Barack Obama moved into the White House: Operation Fast and Furious; the murder of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya; the Internal Revenue Service harassment of Tea Party and other patriotic groups; National Security Agency spying on foreign leaders, as well as millions of Americans; the incredibly botched implementation of Obamacare… The list goes on and on.

We’re supposed to believe that Obama remained in blissful ignorance about all of them until the media reports started. When that happened, he was just as surprised and upset as the rest of us.

The latest “I didn’t know anything about it” scandal is the revelation that the NSA has been monitoring the private conversations of some 35 world leaders. Apparently, the bugging operation has been going on for years. Yet we’re supposed to believe that no one told the President about it until a couple of months ago.

Sure, that sounds credible, doesn’t it? Turns out, we’re tapping the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others; yet no one in the chain of command thinks that maybe, just maybe, Obama should be told about it.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, followed the party line when she said: “It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem.”

It certainly is. Of all the sorry excuses that have been offered for this Presidential ignorance, my favorite is the one from anonymous officials who said that “the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.”

If you were in charge, how would you like to have that pathetic excuse laid in front of you? Do you think that maybe some heads would roll? That’s what would happen in the real world — but not in this Administration, where the watchword is to protect the President at all costs. And always, but always, blame somebody else when anything goes wrong.

The latest example of this came on Wednesday, when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the woman in charge of implementing Obamacare, trudged up Capitol Hill to explain why things have gone so disastrously wrong in the launch of the President’s pet program — and to promise that they will get better very soon.

In her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Sebelius said that she was “as frustrated and angry as anyone” about the problems that have occurred since the launch of Obamacare on Oct. 1.

At one point, she even denied that the Healthcare.gov website had actually crashed, saying it just runs a lot slower than it should. Hah! In a piece of cosmic irony, the website crashed again, just as she was delivering this whopper. When it did, CNN broadcast a split screen, showing Sebelius on the right half and the crash error message from the website (“The system is down at the moment”) on the left-hand side of the screen.

Potential enrollees aren’t the only ones who can’t get the information they need from the Obamacare website. Turns out that neither can the HHS Secretary. When asked how many people had actually managed to navigate through the website to the end and actually purchase one of the government-mandated health plans, Sibelius said that the numbers weren’t available yet. Check back next month.
 
Is it that the total number of enrollments can’t be tabulated or that they won’t be released, since they are so embarrassingly low?

Still, Sebelius promised her skeptical inquisitors that everything would be hunky-dory by the end of November, when the website will finally be working properly. In the meantime, she proclaimed, “Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.”

Does that mean she’ll do the honorable thing and tender her resignation to the President? Not on your life. Or at least, not yet. If the promised re-launch of the website comes on Dec. 1, as seems likely, I don’t think the White House will bear with her much longer. By sometime in January, I suspect you can color Sebelius gone.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the Administration is putting pressure on insurance companies not to say anything critical of Obamacare. “What’s going on,” reporter Andrew Griffin told Anderson Cooper, “is [a] behind-the-scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout. Basically, if you speak out, if you are quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet.”

Bob Laszewski, a consultant for several insurance companies, says he’s getting calls from executives he knows, asking him to speak out on their behalf. He told CNN: “The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry, including the trade associations, to keep quiet.”

Now it turns out that the insurance companies — and the Obama Administration — have known for years that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance once Obamacare went into effect, despite all of the claims to the contrary.

Regulations written by the Department of Health and Human Services in July 2010 estimated that “40 to 67 percent” of policyholders would not be able to keep their health insurance once the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Now there are estimates that the actual figure may be as high as 80 percent. So somewhere between 8 million and 14 million Americans will lose the health insurance they presently have.

Of course, Obama promised the American people exactly the opposite. Back in June 2009 he said, “[W]e will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.”

And he’s repeated that promise countless times since then. In fact, as of yesterday, the official White House website still claimed, “If you like your plan, you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the healthcare law.”

Of course, we now know that this isn’t true. Millions of people are learning that they won’t be able to keep their present policy, no matter how much they might like it. But the Obama Administration continues to spread this falsehood.

This helps explain why Obama’s popularity is plummeting faster than a safe falling from a window. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll says that the President’s job-approval rating has fallen to an all-time low. According to the poll, a majority of Americans — 51 percent — now disapprove of the job he is doing. Only 42 percent say they still approve of his performance. That’s down from 53 percent at the end of last year.

In the same poll, just 29 percent said that their representative deserved to be re-elected to Congress.

More than twice as many, some 63 percent, said it was time to give a new person a chance.

The disdain was bipartisan, by the way, with two Republican leaders — House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — joining Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in getting their highest negative ratings ever.

Oh, and get this: Half of those polled don’t believe that an accord will be reached by the Jan. 15 deadline on a plan to fund the government. They say another Federal shutdown is likely.

Will all of this disdain and distrust result in votes to actually reduce the size, power and cost of our central government? It would be wonderful if that were the case. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Op-ed:
ObamaCare and cancer…a deadly combination                                                                            
By: Diane Sori

There are few words in the English language…in any language… that scare people more than the three words, “You have cancer.”

Cancer…a disease that will touch all of our lives at some point in time whether personally, through co-workers, through family, or through friends. Through friends…through my life-long best friend and through my dear personal friend ‘Bamboo Bob’.

‘Bamboo Bob’..of ‘I Love to Spank Liberals’ fame…and I have been friends for years. Bob and I have organized and done rallies together, attended events together, and I’m an admin on his ‘Bamboo Bob’ facebook page. ‘Bamboo Bob’…Robert Golden in real life…was recently diagnosed with cancer. The details of his cancer are NOT important…what is important is that he wants everyone to know that cancer will NOT beat him...he will beat cancer through shear determination alone if need be. Bob is aiding in his battle by having great private insurance that has NOT been cancelled and dollars in the bank to pick up what his insurance does NOT…the dreaded ObamaCare is NOT an added headache for him right now.

But there are thousands upon thousands of cancer patients in this country most of whom unfortunately are NOT so lucky insurance wise as Bob is…and it won’t be their cancer that kills them…they will die because the ObamaCare exchanges they have been forced into will NOT treat them.

My BFF beat stage 3C ovarian cancer…beat it after major surgery and over a year of sometimes brutal chemo treatments…some experimental…some that ObamaCare has now cut funding for. This means that the treatments that saved her life will NO longer be available to her if her cancer were to return. And all because ObamaCare does NOT deem women with ovarian cancer worth the money needed for clinical trials that could save their lives.

And how sad is that after all the medical progress made in making those dreaded three words a bit less scary, ObamaCare has now taken even that away as ObamaCare targets people with cancer as being basically unworthy of life…simply because ObamaCare deems cancer and the medical intervention needed as being just too costly to waste money on.

After all, ObamaCare is really about extending low-cost or free health care to those already living off government handouts…and heaven forbid those with cancer take money away from them. But that’s the whole point as the more the federal government takes over our health care system through nefarious laws like ObamaCare, the more Obama’s so-wanted all-encompassing welfare state is being created.

And the reality is that ObamaCare…with its hidden peccadilloes buried within its 2700+ pages of legal mumbo-jumbo…has set itself up as judge and jury as to how many years a cancer patient will be ‘allowed’ to live and how much money will be ‘allowed’ to be spent on them to do so. And this starts with ObamaCare limiting access to cancer specialists…the doctors those with cancer need the most…and it does so in order to reduce cost reimbursements. And as ObamaCare contracts with fewer specialists…especially with those outside its network….ObamaCare actually deems specialists as NOT worth the money for an added year or two or three of life.

And if that’s NOT a death panel I don’t know what is.

ObamacCare also wants to reduce the number of drugs available to  cancer patients because cancer drugs are expensive…and those drugs take money away from Obama’s ‘gimme-gimme you owe me’ always loyal Democratic voters.  And ObamaCare is doing that by taking dollars away from drug developers and using those dollars to subsidize hospitals through a program called 340B, with the patient unfriendly side effect being that ObamaCare will actually increase the cost of cancer care, while lowering the quality of care cancer patients receive. This is because under program 340B, hospitals get to buy cancer drugs from drug companies at a mandated discount of at least 25% to 50% but can bill for the full cost of the drugs, and pocket the difference for themselves…with the sick be damned.

To date, 1,675+ hospitals...a third of all hospitals in this country...qualify for 340B.  Also because of ObamaCare, hospitals are buying private oncology practices so that they can acquire more drug purchases at the discount rates and make more money by treating cancer patients in-house instead of in out-patient clinics. In fact, about 400 oncology practices have been bought by hospitals since ObamaCare’s passage, but instead of it lowering cancer care costs the amount charged has actually risen because it is monetarily advantageous for hospitals to admit and treat cancer patients in hospital…remember, right now a single aspirin can cost double-digit dollars so just imagine how much hospitals can charge and pocket for an in-hospital stay and the cancer drugs administered, while the cancer patient is still left holding the bag for a large co-pay amount.

What a racket built on the back of cancer patients courtesy of ObamaCare.

And if all this wasn’t bad enough, the ultimate insult to cancer patients could be Barack HUSSEIN Obama holding an ‘all about me’ photo-op press conference to announce that due to the wonders of ObamaCare cancer has been cured…but he will fail to say that the cure came by redefining what cancer is. Remember, this past July the government agency for cancer research…the National Cancer Institute…recommended that the term ‘cancer’ be used only for tumors that are likely to kill the person if left untreated, with slower growing tumors being renamed ‘indolent lesions of epithelial origin’…equating to if it’s NOT really cancer there’s NO need to spend the money to treat it as if it was cancer…more niceties for those who’ve heard the dreaded three words, “You have cancer.”

And the bottom line in all this is that we cannot allow Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his bullies to take over our health care system…we cannot allow Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his what amounts to ‘death panels’ decide who will live and who will die…who will be treated and who will NOT be treated and for how long they will be treated.

ObamaCare is NOT the panacea for some people’s health care woes nor is it good medicine. ObamaCare is NOTHING but one narcissistic individual and his minions trying to rule over us all by stripping away control of our own bodies as ObamaCare turns what should be personal health decisions over to DC bureaucrats sitting in ivory towers. ObamaCare is built upon a foundation of LIES…just like the man it’s named for. ObamaCare is constructed so that it hurts the sickest amongst us…cancer patients who are fighting for their very lives…cancer patients who do NOT need the abomination known as ObamaCare dictating their treatment or lack thereof.

My BFF will beat her cancer in spite of ObamaCare, and my dear friend Bamboo Bob will beat his cancer because thankfully he does NOT need to rely on ObamaCare…two people trying to reach the same goal of being cured but each traveling a different path to that goal...but both saying ObamaCare be damned…and in that I so agree.