Thursday, April 10, 2014

So writes Danielle Kimberly in Ebony, as she discovers for herself what conservatives meant when we repeatedly warned that obtaining health coverage is not the same thing as securing healthcare:
“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.” As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients. My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.”
If you assumed the author of this piece surely learned a valuable political lesson from her experience, you'd be mistaken. She goes on to gush about how "grateful" she is for the "tremendous strides" President Obama has made on healthcare, praising the government's "valiant attempts" to address this problem, and implicitly placing most of the blame for her plight on greedy doctors (I wonder where she got that idea). It goes without saying that less partisan victims won't be as forgiving of the political operation that sold them this bill of goods. Critics of Obamacare have been citing simple math and expert analyses for years in arguing that the new law would exacerbate an increasingly acute doctor shortage. Cheerleaders for Obamacare's enormous Medicaid expansion never seem to mention that the broken program (a) doesn't improve health outcomes for its recipients, (b) deepens the "uncompensated care" problem it's supposed to help alleviate, and (c) all too often provides appallingly bad access to care for beneficiaries. Jim Geragthy runs through just a few relevant stats:
A study from Merritt Hawkins released in February found that less than half the doctors in the nation’s largest cities take Medicaid patients; in 2009 it was above 55 percent. The range varies widely from city to city and from specialty to specialty, but in some cities, it is nearly impossible to find a specialist who accepts Medicaid. Only 7 percent of cardiologists in Minneapolis accept Medicaid; only 15 percent of dermatologists in Philadelphia; only 35 percent of obstetricians and gynecologists in Denver; only 28 percent of orthopedists in Seattle, and only 32 percent of family practitioners in New York City.
This is what we meant when we predicted Obamacare's "access shock" impact, the effects of which are reverberating across the country:
Shortly after Mary West bought health insurance, she realized there was a problem. For years, the Spartanburg resident was treated by a doctor at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Now that she has a shiny new health insurance card in her pocket, she will have to find somewhere else to receive care. “I have to find a different health care provider,” she said. “It's frustrating.” ... What West learned after she bought insurance caught her by surprise. “Consumers' Choice (representatives) told me I could go to Regional, but I was going to have to pay out of pocket,” West said. Of the insurance providers with plans for sale on, Spartanburg Regional, has a contract only with Coventry. It will accept patients with the other plans, but those patients must pay out-of-pocket expenses.
Meanwhile, 1,800 middle class New Jersey families have received letters informing them that their kids' health plans have been canceled under Obamacare. Millennials are fretting over the cost of coverage offerings on the exchange, and Hawaiians on the small group market are bracing for substantial premium increases next year:

Hawaii's troubled Obamacare exchange cost taxpayers $120 million to build, and only enrolled a few thousand consumers.

Competition For Thee, But Not for Me 
 Ann Coulter  / Townhall Columnist
Between having Republican presidential candidates fly to Las Vegas to kiss his ring, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has managed to fit in time to talk Sen. Lindsey Graham into sponsoring a bill banning Internet gambling.

As you may know, Sheldon Adelson is a CASINO OWNER. Internet gambling would compete with his casino business.

On the other hand, when it comes to the services Adelson isn't selling, but buying -- low-skilled workers -- he's for unbridled competition, preferring not to limit the supply even to people who are legally in the United States. (Weirdly, so is Lindsey Graham!)

Adelson is a big backer of amnesty, telling The Wall Street Journal: "It would be inhumane to send those people back, to send 12 million people out of this country. ... So we've got to find a way, find a route for those people to get legal citizenship."

As Milton Friedman said, "With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves."

Adelson is an especially telling example of the self-interest of businessmen on immigration. His newspaper, Israel Today, the largest newspaper in Israel, is wildly patriotic on immigration (and everything else).

Israel Today has trumpeted the success of the 15-foot razor-wire fence along Israel's 140-mile border with Egypt, triumphantly noting last August that, for the first time, "no infiltrations were recorded from the Egyptian border, compared to 193 from the same month last year."

Adelson himself had suggested just such a policy to the Los Angeles Times last year, saying he wanted to "Put a big fence around our country."

By "our country," he, of course, meant Israel. In America, he wants illegal immigrants pouring across the border to provide him with an endless supply of cheap labor.

Recently, Israel has been "rounding up" African refugees, giving them $3,500 and plane tickets to Uganda, to encourage them to "self-deport." Welcome to El Al Airlines. We're about to begin pre-boarding for Flight 259, offering non-stop, one-way service to Kampala, Uganda. At this time we'd like to invite our premium-plus illegal immigrants to board.

Wait! I thought we couldn't "round up" any illegal immigrants! I thought "self-deportation" was a laughable idea! Say, could Adelson buy The New York Times and start pushing those policies here?

For years, the cheap-labor lobby has told us: Immigrants are doing the work Americans simply will not do! We're tired of people who know nothing about our business telling us to pay our workers more. Where are they when beds are unmade? Where are they when crops are rotting in the field? It's not about how much we pay them per hour! Americans don't want these jobs.

But in last week's New York Times story about multimillionaire farmers who need taxpayer-subsidized cheap labor, the Times lost focus and forgot to lie. In one blockbuster sentence, the paper admitted that, last year, "the diminished supply of workers led average farm wages in the region to increase by roughly $1 an hour."

I believe we have an Earth-shattering revelation there! In other words, people were willing to do the work -- as soon as wages were raised. So, apparently, employers were not exploring every option to get workers, such as, for example, paying their employees ONE DOLLAR MORE.

In a catastrophic blunder of epic proportions, The New York Times had inadvertently stumbled across the laws of supply and demand.

Adelson might want to hang onto that Israeli citizenship, in case his preferred policy of amnesty ever does go through: His low-wage workers don't have especially enlightened views of the Jewish people.

The Anti-Defamation League has been taking polls on anti-Semitism in America for decades. In 2013, the ADL reported that -- "once again" -- foreign-born Hispanics had the highest rates of anti-Semitic views: 36 percent compared with 14 percent of all Americans and 20 percent of African-Americans. This was an improvement over 2011, when 42 percent of foreign-born Hispanics were found to have anti-Semitic views.

How might America's support for Israel be affected by having a populace that's 30 or 40 percent Hispanic?

The importation of more than a million poor people to America every year also has the effect of admitting a fair number of terrorists. Among them: Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, Nidal Hasan, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Najibullah Zazi, Sulejman Talovic, Peter Odighizuwa, Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, dozens of Somali terrorists living in Minnesota, Omar Abdel-Rahman and the 9/11 terrorists.

I would think that this country's open-door policy toward terrorists would be of some concern to the owner of any Las Vegas casino -- a well-known terrorist target.

They won't be coming to kiss Adelson's ring.

With $2 Billion in US Aid, Pakistan Leading State Sponsor of Terrorism

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of US aid. Back in October, the US quietly released more than $1.6bn in military and economic aid to Pakistan, even after it became  public knowledge that Pakistan provided safe haven to Osama Bin Laden. And that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI is supporting, fomenting and waging covert jihad (more here).

Pakistan was behind the monstrous jihadi attacks in Mumbai.

US aid to Pakistan is suicidal.

Still, here in America Islamic supremacists and nazi-like Jew-haters run ad campaigns in major cities urging America to end US aid to ….. Israel. My organization AFDI is currently running yet another ad campaign countering their libelous propaganda. (Donate here.)

dc ad campaign
The case for aid to Israel makes sense. She is an ally, fighting the same genocidal ideology that America faces. Israel is our partner in the war against the global jihad. A strategic and tactical strategic partner. Aid to Israel is money well spent.

In 2009, in an attempt to signal the United States’ renewed commitment to Pakistan, the US Congress approved the Enhanced Partnership for Pakistan Act (commonly known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, or KLB). 

KLB’s intention was to put security and development on two separate tracks, insulating the development agenda from unpredictable geopolitical and military events and facilitating longer-term planning for development. The act authorized a tripling of US economic and development-related assistance to Pakistan, or $7.5 billion over five years (FY2010 to FY2014) ….(more here)

It’s time that America stopped funding oppression, subjugation jihad slaughter, creed apartheid and gender apartheid. End US aid to Islamic countries under the sharia.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 12.36.10 PM
“Pakistan: State Sponsor of Terrorism?,” by Christine Williams for Gatestone Institute, April 7, 2014
Pakistan’s High Commission to Canada rebuked Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander for calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. “Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism, as naively alleged by Mr. Alexander, but is itself a victim of terrorism, determined to fight this menace and extend every possible co-operation to our neighbors and allies in this regard,” said Press Counselor Nazia Khalid.

House Oversight GOP: Cummings Behind IRS Probe of True the Vote

By Todd Beamon
 / Newsmax
Image: House Oversight GOP: Cummings Behind IRS Probe of True the Vote
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee accused the panel's senior Democrat on Wednesday of spurring the IRS investigation of True the Vote after the group filed its application for tax-exempt status in 2010.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the panel's chairman, released emails showing that staff working for the ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, had communicated multiple times with the Houston-based group between August 2012 and last year.

Issa also charged that information obtained by Cummings' staff was shared with the IRS and its embattled former supervisor, Lois Lerner, and that the Democrat did not disclose any of those dealings with committee Republicans.

"Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials — which you did not disclose to majority members or staff — indicates otherwise," Issa said in a letter sent to Cummings.

The letter, also signed by the five Republicans who chair oversight subcommittees, referenced the committee's planned vote on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt for her twice refusing to testify before the panel in its investigation.

"You have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS," the letter says.

Cummings, who has been in the House since 1996, has contended that he was conducting appropriate oversight of True the Vote. A staffer told Newsmax on Wednesday that a statement from the congressman was forthcoming.

Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote's president, said Wednesday that the organization filed an ethics complaint against Cummings in February. She criticized the Democrat for his information requests at a committee hearing that month.

"Today's committee action reveals what we knew all along: partisan politics and the weaponization of government against opponents of this administration is real and continues," Englebrecht said. "Elijah Cummings has blocked the IRS abuse investigation all along. We now see clearly that two branches of government have colluded to target and silence private citizens."

She said the organization was amending its complaint against Cummings to include the latest information.

"America has come to a tipping point," Engelbrecht said. "No more lies. No more cover-ups. No more collusion. Enough is enough."

The new emails came as the House Ways and Means Committee voted to recommend that Lerner, who retired from the IRS last year, be investigated for criminal violations by the Justice Department.

That panel found in its investigation that Lerner engaged in an "aggressive and improper pursuit" of Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a nonprofit political group co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.

Ways and Means is calling for a criminal inquiry because it found that Lerner treated conservative groups unfairly.

A vote-monitoring organization founded in 2009, True the Vote was among dozens of tea party, conservative, and religious groups singled out for special scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service in their applications for tax-exempt status starting in 2010 and through the presidential election.

The organization was granted its tax-exempt status last September after three years and a lawsuit against the agency. The lawsuit is pending. The status that True the Vote received, 501(c)(4), allows the organization to keep its donors private.

According to the emails released on Wednesday, members of Cummings' staff first contacted the IRS about True the Vote in August 2012.

The next January, staffers sought more information from the agency about the group. The emails showed that Lerner made special efforts to obtain information from Cummings' office.

For instance, a Jan. 28 email — sent three days after staffers requested more True the Vote information — Lerner wrote to her deputy, Holly Paz, asked, "Did we find anything?"

Paz, who is now on administrative leave in light of the scandal, responded immediately, saying that no information had yet been found.

Lerner then replied, according to the emails, "Thanks, check tomorrow please."

In Feburary, Engelbrecht charged in an Oversight Committee hearing that Cummings “sent letters to True the Vote, demanding much of the same information the IRS had requested” after the group filed its application.

She added that Cummings then “would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization.”

Engelbrecht added that her organization and her manufacturing company received IRS audits and six separate inquiries from the FBI regarding “domestic terrorism” after the group filed its application.

In addition, her business was inspected and fined by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Politico reports.

“For decades I went unnoticed, but now find myself on the receiving end of interagency coordination into and against all facets of my life,” she said at the hearing.

In response, Cummings said: "There is no one that I know of that cares more about the rights of our citizens than I do. I don’t care if you’re tea party or Democrat or Republican — I want to make sure no one is blocked from voting."

Lerner, who headed the agency that evaluated applications for tax-exempt status, ignited the controversy last May when she disclosed the scandal in response to a question asked at a conference in Chicago.

Her response came just before the Treasury Department's inspector general released a report disclosing the IRS targeting.

President Barack Obama fired Steven Miller, head of the IRS, who apologized in testimony to Ways and Means Committee, calling it "horrible customer service," and at least three other IRS workers have been placed on put on administrative leave.

In testimony before the oversight committee, Lerner has twice invoked her Fifth Amendment, though she has denied wrongdoing.

Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, has charged Republicans with trying to "vilify Ms. Lerner for political gain.”

He also disclosed last month that Lerner has discussed the IRS targeting with the Justice Department. Taylor did not disclose the date of the private session but indicated that his client was not under oath.

Kerry blames Israel for collapse of “peace talks”

  / Jihad Watch
kerry_johnOf course Kerry blames Israel. That blame is consistent with the Obama Administration’s hostility to Israel, manifested in numerous ways since the beginning of Obama’s presidency. Blaming Israel is also a manifestation of the Obama Administration’s willful ignorance in refusing to face the genocidal statements of “Palestinian” leaders, or the absolutism and Jew-hatred of the Islamic jihad doctrine that underlines “Palestinian” hostility toward Israel.

“Kerry focuses blame on Israel for collapse of talks,” by Raphael Ahren for the Times of Israel, April 8 (thanks to Jan):
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that both Israelis and Palestinians were responsible for the current crisis in peace talks, but appeared to allocate the lion’s share of the blame to Jerusalem.
At the same time, he expressed hope that the two sides would continue to negotiate, but also warned that there was a “limit” to how much effort the US government could invest in the process if the two parties weren’t serious about negotiating a pact.
“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.
“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.
The secretary of state was referring to the planned fourth release of Palestinian security prisoners, which was originally slated for March 29. Israel did not proceed with the release on time, with Jerusalem saying that it was delayed because the Palestinian Authority had demanded that Israeli Arabs be among those freed and was unwilling to commit to extend peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.
On April 1, the Israel Lands Authority reissued a call for tenders for 708 homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located beyond the 1967 lines and was annexed by Israel.
Later that same day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 letters of accession to multilateral treaties and conventions, in what Israel said was a clear breach of Ramallah’s commitment not to take unilateral steps to advance their statehood bid so long as the talks were ongoing.
“The treaties were unhelpful, and we made that crystal clear to the Palestinians,” Kerry said at the Senate hearing.
He also said that Palestinians recognition of Israel as a Jewish state should be part of a final peace agreement, but added that the step would likely only be achieved at the very end of the process and not at the outset. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent months elevated the demand for such Palestinian recognition to that of a core issue.
Despite his evident frustration, Kerry said it was still possible for the two sides to find a way to extend the talks and return to “substantive discussion.”
Senator John McCain told Kerry that “talks, even though you might drag them out for a bit, are finished,” but the secretary of state replied by saying that the peace process should not be declared dead as long as the two sides declare their willingness to continue negotiating.
At the same time, Kerry said, “there are limits to the amount of time the president and myself can put into this, considering the other challenges around the world, especially if the parties can’t commit to being there in a serious way.”…