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Health Care Archives

Thoughts on the 2015 Election Results

No podcast episode coming out  regarding this, but I did want to weigh in.

Not a huge number of results, but some results were huge in this off-year election day.

The “hugest” could be considered the election of a Republican Tea Partier as governor of Kentucky.

Matt Bevin, a Republican political novice, wealthy Louisville businessman and Tea Party favorite, was elected Kentucky’s next governor on Tuesday and swept fellow Republicans into statewide office with him. The stunning victory heralds a new era in a state where Democrats have held the governor’s mansion for all but four of the last 44 years.

In beating his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, by almost nine percentage points, Mr. Bevin, 48, shocked people in his own party, who believed that the climate in Kentucky was ripe for a Republican but feared that Mr. Bevin, a charismatic conservative with a go-it-alone style, was too far out of the mainstream and too inexperienced to win.

A few things about this. First, I have noted before that when Democrats get to run places like the big cities of Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore for decades, with few to no Republicans in that time, and when we see these cities crumbling when they have this free hand, it’s hard to understand why the voters in those cities keep electing folks from the same party over and over. It’s like they think that the same guys who got them into this hole can now dig them out of it using the same shovels. I’m hoping that this signals a change in the voters of Kentucky; that they’ve finally said, “Enough is enough.”

Bevin, as noted above in the NY Times article, was a Tea-Party-type. The Republican establishment was concerned that he was too conservative, or “too far out of the mainstream” to win. It appears that perhaps the “mainstream” isn’t necessarily where those pundits think it is. It may be running more to the political Right.

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Can you live with this?

Can you live with this?

The Supreme Court case, King v Burwell, was essentially a question of whether the ObamaCare law would be interpreted as written, or as it was meant to be written, as best as the justices could divine the intent of Congress. The particular issue was whether the IRS could provide subsidies to those who needed them in states where they had their own health insurance exchanges, or in all states, even if they didn’t have an exchange.

What the law said was that the IRS would administer those subsidies through the exchanges “established by the states”. However, what the IRS did was to funnel them through state and federal exchanges, which is not what the law, y’know, actually said. They essentially reinterpreted the law to mean that exchanges not established by the states qualified as exchanges established by the states.

How this was decided was as much an issue as the outcome itself. Hope you can live with this power that Washington has over you.

Mentioned links:

In 2012, Obamacare’s Architect Agreed With ‘Right-Wing’ Strategy To ‘Gut’ Obamacare

On Obamacare, John Roberts helps overthrow the Constitution

The Supreme Court forgets about Jonathan Gruber, completely botches the Obamacare case

Explainer: What You Should Know About the Obamacare Ruling (King v. Burwell)

SCALIA BLASTS OBAMACARE RULING: ‘WORDS HAVE NO MEANING’ Read the rest of this entry

Being argued today at the high court is King v Burwell, a lawsuit against ObamaCare (also known in some circles as the Affordable Care Act). This is a set of questions and answers that I imagine many people have about this.

Q: What is this case all about?

A: The crux of the issue is a 4-word phrase inside the massive law; “established by the States”. The subsidies supplied by the IRS, according to the text of the law, were to only go to those who applied for insurance via exchanges “established by the States”. If they used the federal exchange (HealthCare.gov), that is not “established by the States” so the subsidies wouldn’t apply.

That’s according to the plain language of the law, and according to Jonathan Gruber, a major influence in the creation of the law.

What happened was that the IRS gave out subsidies to those without state exchanges anyway. The lawsuit is saying that the government broke the law in doing so.

Q: What case is the government making?

A: That the rest of the law, taken as a whole, makes it clear that withholding subsidies from those who didn’t get their insurance via exchanges “established by the States” was not the intent.

Q: Does it actually say in the law somewhere, specifically, that those people should get subsidies?

A: Not that I’ve read. In fact, those articles I’ve seen that have written in defense of the subsidies (like this article by Robert Schlesinger in USA Today) don’t cite any other text that would buttress that opinion. Rather, they argue about the results if the subsidies were overturned.

To me, that sounds like they’re arguing that a law should say what the implementers want it to say, regardless of what the law itself says. That’s a precedent I don’t think we want to create. For example, if a Republican President vetoes legislation, and a Democratic Congress overrides that veto, is the President free to implement the provisions of the law he or she likes and ignore others? I’d say No, and I think those arguing for the ObamaCare interpretation would agree with me if the parties today were reversed.

The IRS did issue a ruling saying that they would, in fact, give subsidies to those in states without exchanges, but as far as I’m aware, the IRS is not part of the legislative branch.

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Beware of  "free" stuff

Beware of “free” stuff

Seems like the more ObamaCare(tm) is implemented, the less the American people like it. First of all, a liberal, Ivy League university has sent its students into an uproar. They want to #FightTheFee that they’ll be charged for not buying the university’s health insurance. Welcome to the real word of socialism! Lesson 1: You won’t like it when it’s applied to you.

And on a broader scale, the American people in general are souring on the idea. A majority oppose the law now, and I wonder how many of them just took Nancy Pelosi’s word for it when she said that they’d have to pass the law to find out what’s in it. The blue-sky promises have turned to thunderclouds. Maybe folks should understand a law before they support it.

Mentioned links:

Cornell students erupt over health care fee

As Public Sours, ObamaCare Faces An Uncertain Future

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Extending the benefits actually cost jobs

Extending the benefits actually cost jobs

Who would have thought that extending unemployment benefits further and further out would actually cause people to stop looking for work altogether? Well, actually, those who know that incentives (and disincentives) actually work; you know, market economics. How many jobs were created after the 99 week benefit system was stopped, and how many folks went back into the labor force? Lots. Listen in.

President Obama did not like the way Bush used executive orders to increase the power of the President. Yet he has used EOs and something just as powerful (but not as well known) to leave Bush, and all presidents for the last 70 years, in the dust. I’ll be discussing the Presidential Memoranda.

And finally, where’s that $2500 per year we were supposed to save from enacting ObamaCare(tm). Numbers grounded in reality tell quite a different story.

Mentioned links:

How Obama has used executive powers compared to his predecessors

Obama issues ‘executive orders by another name’

Extended Unemployment Benefits Hurt Jobs, New Report Finds

OBAMACARE: $2 TRILLION IN SPENDING, $643M IN TAXES, INSURANCE FOR $50K A HEAD

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Another rerun

Another rerun

More free stuff, and making the eeevil rich pay for it. The State of the Union Address was a rerun of so many other speeches by Democratic presidents. So then, what is the state of the State of the Union Address?

There are some extreme medical circumstances that cause women to choose abortion. The latest is really pushing the envelope on the definition of “extreme”.

Harvard professors advised the Obama campaign on many things, including health care. Now that they have Obamacare(tm), their reaction to it is notable.

Episode 100 is coming up in a month or so. I’d like to get your thoughts on how this podcast has made a difference in your thoughts, or how you’ve made a difference in others, and celebrate 100 episodes with your voices. E-mail me at considerthis@ctpodcasting.com, or call 267-CALL-CT-0, 267-225-5280, and let’s hear how you have considered this.

Mentioned links:

Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard

Woman Aborts Baby at 28 Weeks Because of Baby’s Deformed Left Hand

5 Facts About the State of the Union Obama Neglected to Mention

Obama calls for civility, then immediately taunts Republicans over his two presidential wins

Obama Knocks ‘Constant Fundraising,’ Then Immediately Asks for Donations

Obama sets record for veto threats in State of the Union address

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Is this trend continuing? Yup.

Is this trend continuing? Yup.

What do the top 10 states that had the largest GDP growth in 2013 have in common? And once you know that, will knowing what works affect your vote? (Clearly, it doesn’t affect people all the same way. Just look at those who are ignoring what works.)

If you stop a policy that was taking guns off the street (out of the hands of the bad guys, specifically), and shootings rise, shouldn’t that tell you something? I mean, if you know something doesn’t work, shouldn’t you avoid it? (Clearly, not everyone looks at it the same way. Just look at those who are ignoring what doesn’t work.)

Who was singing the praises of VA health care, even as it was killing our vets? And who is more than happy to foist that particular kind of health care on all of us? (Clearly…aw, you know what I’m going to say.)

Mentioned links

Not a Story: Red States Dominate Government’s 2013 GDP Growth Report

Episode 65: Canadians Escaping Their Health System, American Workers Get Better Health Care From a Corporation, and How Wisconsin Got a Billion Dollar Surplus

Shootings spike in NYC over the last year

THE IRONY, IT BURNS

Does The Government Run Health Care Better?

When socialism works in America

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Socialized medicine?

Socialized medicine?

A little unfinished business from last episode about the troubles with veterans getting health care from the VA. In an opinion piece at the Huffington Post by H. A. Goodman, he argues that Republicans have been complaining about how bad the VA is, but hypocritically voted against a bill for various funding for the VA back in January. But there’s a problem with that, and it’s not something you’ll hear on most newscasts.

I’ll be discussing a human rights article written by the Hoover Institution, which asks the burning human rights question of our time.

One of the alternatives to ObamaCare that the Left suggested is that Medicare should just be expanded to cover everyone. It “worked”, so they said, and thus that would be a simpler way to get health care coverage expanded. But what do you mean by “worked”, actually? I’ll talk about what taking Medicare nationally might mean.

Mentioned links:

41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February, Today They Blame the VA

VA expects to have more medical-care funding than it can spend for the fifth year in a row

Poverty Rate was falling…Until the War on Poverty began

Do Chimps Have Human Rights?

CMS Won’t Review Billings Despite IG Report That It Overpays Doctors Read the rest of this entry

Government health care (Gary Varvel)

Government health care (Gary Varvel)

Keep an eye on Matt Sissel and the Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit against ObamaCare. They are taking a tact that’s not been used before, that ultimately the Supreme Court will likely have to look into. Listen in for details.

The problems with the Veterans Administration health care system may not be solved just by more money. (That’s usually the case, isn’t it?) The issue may be the very socialized medicine framework that it uses. And what does that have to say for the results of ObamaCare?

Mentioned links:

Obamacare’s doom

Remarks in Kansas City, Missouri: “A Sacred Trust”

He KNEW! Obama told of Veterans Affairs health care debacle as far back as 2008

MSNBC Guest Repeatedly Breaks Hosts’ Hearts by Insisting VA Scandal Not About Funding

SHAPIRO: Left’s VA-Worship Comes Back to Bite

Veterans are dying, but at least this criminal still gets his sex change

Comedian Argus Hamilton

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The Impact of ObamaCare

The Impact of ObamaCare

In spite of all its rollout issues, the glitches, the delays and the special privileges, the promise of ObamaCare was that, in getting more people, mostly the young and the poor, insured, that would spread out the risk and make insurance cheaper overall, even with those subsidies. By how much? Well, there were promises made, over and over. But many states are seeing insurance rates rise at a faster clip.

Part of ObamaCare was the PCIP, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. John Lott notes that, at its height, at the beginning of 2013, there were 115,000 enrolled in it. Giving them targeted subsidies would have been a lot cheaper.

Millions of Californians have been added to the ranks of the insured, but 1/3 of California primary care physicians are set to retire. What are we going to do now? We passed a law that said insurance should be magically cheaper. That didn’t work. So then let’s pass a law to make doctors magically appear!

Mentioned links:

Survey shows ObamaCare sending premiums rising at fastest clip in decades

Note that at its height 115,000 Americans are said to have had pre-existing health issues that made it difficult for them to get “affordable” insurance

Pre-Existing Conditions: The Case For The Unaffordable Care Act

ConsumerWatch: Some Covered California Patients Say They Can’t See A Doctor

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