Tag Archive | "healthcare reform"

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Under The Radar: 10th Amendment Movement Picks Up Steam

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-07-20 21:25:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Nancy Morgan
RightBias.com
July 19, 2009

Millions of Americans watch with horror as the Obama administration continues to implement its own version of ‘change.’ Change that involves an unprecedented and systematic devolution of power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the Constitution.

From the pending takeover of 17% of economy under the auspices of health care reform, to the government takeover and subsequent ownership of automobile companies, to the unconstitutional interference in the formerly private market under the rubric of stimulating the economy. Not to mention the proposed cap and trade legislation which would give the federal government unlimited powers of taxation and regulation under the guise of saving the planet.

Totally ignored by elected officials of both parties is the tenth amendment of the Constitution, which states very clearly, “The power not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Many Americans don’t agree with the left’s idea of a ‘living constitution’, arguing that the intent of the founders should govern the interpretation and application of the Constitution, not the whimsical and politically motivated present day politicians. And, largely unreported by the media, they are starting to stand up to the federal government.

To date, 37 states have introduced sovereignty resolutions, asserting their state’s sovereign rights under the tenth amendment.

Earlier this month, Louisiana became the seventh state, joining Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho and Tennessee to officially adopt a resolution affirming their sovereignty. These states are putting the federal government on notice that politicians in Washington do not have the right, under the Constitution, to continue to impose their increasingly onerous federal mandates on sovereign states.

Some states, with Arizona leading the way, are going a step further.

Under Arizona’s Health Care Freedom Act, which was passed by the Arizona state legislature this month, a voting initiative will be placed on the 2010 ballot that, if passed, will allow Arizona to opt out of any federal health care plan.

Following Arizona’s lead, five other states — Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming — are considering similar initiatives to opt out of federal health care for their 2010 ballots This, even before Congress has created the program.

Arizona is also preparing for the misnamed ‘climate’ bill, that passed the House this month. (With eight Republican votes.) The Arizona state Senate voted 19-10 to approve a bill banning the Department of Environmental Quality from enacting or enforcing measures with language pertaining to climate change.

Other states are stepping up to the plate and asserting their state’s sovereign right under the second amendment – a right that guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

On July 6, Florida introduced the Firearms Freedom Act which seeks to provide “that specified firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition for personal use manufactured in state are not subject to federal law or regulation” in the State of Florida.

Increasingly, the representatives ‘we the people’ have elected to preserve and protect our rights, are ignoring the clear, unequivocal language of the Constitution. Our politicians seem unaware of the fact that the Constitution does not include congressional power to override state laws.

In fact, the power our representatives are now accruing to the federal government was expressly voted down, not once, but several times.

During the Constitutional ratification process, James Madison drafted the ‘Virginia Plan’ which advocated a strong federal government. It proposed, among other things, giving Congress legislative authority, and a veto over state laws. Each of Madison’s proposals was soundly defeated. Our founders clear intent was vesting all powers in the states, with but a few, listed exceptions.

Ever since 1938, when FDR used the occasion of the great depression to drastically expand the scope of federal government (Wickard vs Filburn) using an absurd reading of the Commerce Clause, this unconstitutional taking of power by the central government has gone virtually unchallenged. Until now.

Though the media has ignored these efforts, ‘we the people’ are starting to fight back, via our state and local representatives.

Politicians need to be reminded that our Constitution is still in effect. And Americans need to be reminded that just because some believe the trendy notion that our Constitution is a ‘living, breathing’ document, doesn’t make it so.

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Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina

Article has been published with permission


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On the Health Care System We Aspire To

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-06-24 12:22:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Today I got a call from my Mom. She and my Dad both live in the city I was born in – Warsaw, Poland. They are both elderly and live off of a government pension akin to the US social security system. The reason she called was to let me know of an excruciating pain she has recently been suffering from, resulting from a progressively degenerative neurological condition in her wrist. As all Poles are, she is entitled to free medical care in government health care facilities under the country’s universal health care insurance program. Trying to get help for her condition, she has visited with several general practitioners covered under her free plan, all of whom admit she needs to see a specialist. The last one finally crafted a referral for her and she is now scheduled to see a neurologist … in three months. Ouch !

Her options now include continuing to suffer the intolerable pain for the next 3 months or pay out of pocket to see a private specialist. The fee for a consultation with a neurologist in private practice exceeds two months of her pension income, but under the circumstances she will have to do just that. The costs of any resulting treatments, if not covered under the government health care plan, may have a devastating financial effect on her and my dad’s retirement lifestyle.

My parents could have opted to purchase private health care insurance coverage which provides access to services in private hospitals and clinics with the most skilled specialists but, because the government program is so dominant and pervasive, the cost of the private alternative is beyond the reach of most middle-class Poles. As a result, it is accessible to only the most affluent (or motivated by dire circumstances and lacking other options) individuals.

Interestingly enough, in many European countries the Polish medical system as a whole is actually touted as one of the better and when compared with the British system in particular, it receives accolades for efficiency and quality of care. What is underscored is the diminishing role of the public plan option and the progressively increasing percentage of services being offered under private insurance. The availability and increasing popularity of the private health care option is viewed with envy. A good summary of these changes in the Polish medical system can be found in this article from CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). With this shift, as more competition is introduced in the private sector and the dominance of the government program is lessened (or eliminated), my mom might yet one day be able to afford a private insurance plan and access to the highly skilled medical professionals in Poland, heretofore not accessible to her under her existing plan and her present means.

But in the US exactly the opposite direction is being proposed. There can be very little doubt, and certainly countless examples of dysfunctional government programs across Europe and other countries serve as an example, that a private health care system necessarily offers superior services at a competitive price. As I have written in a prior Naked Liberty article on the Dangers of Comparative Effectiveness, instead of experimenting with proven failed systems, the US should adopt targeted approaches to improving those parts of our current system which offer opportunities for improvement, such as for example the implementation of a national electronic medical records system and tax incentives to support wellness and health awareness.

What’s being proposed is like trading in your comfortable and dependable SUV for a Yugo just because you happened to have gotten a flat tire. Let’s fix the tire and get on with our lives without any more government intervening in it.

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Quotation of the Day:

“We should manage our fortunes as we do our health – enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.“

Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

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We welcome your comments and suggestions, either directly inline, or via email to editor@nakedliberty.com. If you would like to have your article published in Naked Liberty, please contact the editor at the above email address.

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Daniel Hannan on the American Past and Future

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-13 20:55:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Brian Brown
August 11, 2009
Humane Pursuits

Last week Daniel Hannan, the member of the European Parliament best-known for his scathing dressing-down of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, delivered a lecture at The Heritage Foundation. It’s a good 40 minutes or so, but well worth watching–Hannan articulates American political principles better than most Americans, and warns against chasing a technocratic solution to health care or any other problem.  Though he underestimates how far America has already walked down the path of rationalism, he is an entertaining speaker who has a penchant for quietly working great political thought into his words (see if you can find the subtle not-quite-quotations of Edmund Burke).  Watch it here.

One of Hannan’s more insightful points responds to the question of why, if Britain’s statist government is so bad, British voters have not long since gotten rid of it (Britain has had government-run health care since 1948).  Hannan blames it on the temperamental conservatism of the British people–its resistance to change, its fear of (relevant to Bryan’s point) an abstract alternative that does not yet exist.  Though Hannan faults such conservatism in this case, his criticism is gentle, almost as if he were reproving a particularly close friend for a well-intentioned mistake.

Appropriate enough, since Hannan’s speech ultimately defends such conservatism against the kind of revolutionary liberalism that brought about government health care in the first place.  At the heart of such liberalism is the belief that life as we currently know it is intolerable and must be radically changed.  At the heart of conservatism is the belief (conscious or not) that life as we currently know it is worth living.

The significance of this distinction is that the revolutionary liberal wishes to reshape the world in the here and now, while the conservative wishes to preserve it and pass it on, preferably somewhat improved, to the next generation.  To borrow Anna’s analogy, conservatism holds less potential for a brand-new building, but also less potential for the destruction of generations-old foundations.  Hannan urges his listeners not to forget how good their foundation is–not to forget that life, as they know it, is worth living.

In its respect for its foundations, Hannan argues, it is the American way–not the utopian dreams of radical reformers–that is truly oriented toward the future.  The genius of the American people, as Hannah Arendt once observed, “consisted in the extraordinary capacity to look upon yesterday with the eyes of centuries to come.”

Hannan channels Arendt’s observation in his remarks, arguing that America’s ability to bind itself back to a beginning, to build on the foundation chosen by generations past, is what enables it to keep its constitutional promise to pass on the building to future generations.  In one of his most poignant lines, Hannan warns that in chasing European-style statism, “You are breaking faith with your founders, and also with your posterity.”

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Brian Brown writes for Humane Pursuits

Article has been published with the author’s permission

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Democrats Demand Sartorial Handicap in Health Care Reform Debate

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-11 21:21:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Scott-Spiegelby Scott Spiegel
August 8, 2009
ScottSpiegel.com

Senator Barbara Boxer recently declared that, before the current round of town hall meetings on health care reform, the last time she had seen such suspiciously well-dressed protestors was during the 2000 Florida election recount. Well, yes—until Obama’s presidency, that’s the last time Republicans showed up en masse to get really angry about something; screaming and chanting are political tactics more naturally suited to the left.

As for the couture angle—here’s a newsflash for Boxer: Republicans have higher standards than Democrats. A typical left-wing protest involves twenty-somethings in ratty T-shirts and shredded jeans breaking windows at a local Starbucks during the midmorning rush.

The typical right-wing protest—invariably held in the evening, since attendees have jobs in the daytime—involves adults who dress as though they would like to elevate community standards, not degrade them. Participants address their concerns directly to those in power, such as legislators, rather than assailing defenseless third parties, such as coffee franchise employees. The fact that most conservative protestors come directly from work may explain why they wear suits and skirts; but apparently Senate Democrats believe opinions are valid only if expressed by people sporting “Kill Bush” buttons and Birkenstocks.

When Boxer and other Congressional Democrats realized that Americans don’t view “well-dressed” as an epithet, they moved in the opposite direction: they claimed that the protestors were scruffy rabble-rousers after all. House Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted that she had seen demonstrators “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.” Translation: One protestor had a swastika with a slash through it, and others were displaying American flags and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ banners—you know, symbols like swastikas.

Saddling protestors with the “brownshirt” label didn’t work, so Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina warned Democrats who were planning town hall meetings, “If you get hit… punch back twice as hard.”

Evidently some representatives took this message literally: at a town hall meeting in Ohio, Representative Russ Carnahan hired union organizers to deny entry to citizens who looked as though they might oppose health care reform legislation, several of whom were promptly mauled by union thugs and sent to the hospital. Outside, black conservative Kenneth Gladney was racially slandered and physically attacked and sent to the emergency room by an unidentified opponent for handing out ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags. Protestors were also roughed up at a meeting held by Florida Representatives Kathy Castor and Betty Reed.

Naturally, Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid’s response to this onslaught of leftist violence and intimidation was… to blame Republicans for not minding their manners. Reid accused protesters of attempting to “sabotage” the process; he said, “These are nothing more than destructive efforts to interrupt a debate… They are doing this because they don’t have any better ideas.”

Well, yes, actually, we do have one or two, which you may not have heard, because we’ve only been ranting about them for the past, oh, two decades: malpractice tort reform, Medicare reform, health savings accounts, healthcare tax credits, vouchers for private insurance, and pay for performance. More generally, competition in the private market for health insurance, and individual autonomy regarding level and type of coverage and risk tolerance. Other than that, we’re flush out of ideas!

In an effort to quell dissatisfaction among constituents, Democrats in Congress finally decided to listen to town hall participants’ ideas and give thoughtful responses that address their concerns. Just kidding! The latest tactics being employed by congressmen across the nation are: (1) showing up at town hall meetings, reciting a few talking points, claiming the crowd is too boisterous when they open their mouths, and leaving; (2) announcing meetings at the last minute in the hope that no one will attend; and (3) holding “virtual” town hall meetings.

For example, Representative Kathy Castor’s spokeswoman defended Castor’s abbreviated appearance in Florida by stating, “We said all along our role was to come and give an update on the bill in Congress… [T]hat’s what we did.” And that’s what websites are for.

Michigan Representative John Dingell waited to announce last Thursday’s 6pm town hall meeting until Thursday morning. Word of mouth spread, however, and Dingell faced hundreds of constituents who were not impressed by his deceitful maneuver.

At least Castor and Dingell showed up in person; other congressmen, such as Representative Brian Baird of Washington, are planning virtual “meetings” with constituents. According to The Columbian, “If you happen to be sitting near a publicly listed Clark County telephone line on the right day at the right time, your phone will ring… [T]he exact date and time will be kept secret from the public… [A]n automated message will ask whether you have a question… Sitting at his own telephone at an as-yet-undisclosed location, Baird then will choose a name based on its location and the topic… After the call is over, the recording will be posted on his Web site.”

Baird helpfully notes that this system will allow for “a much better cross-section of the public”; by which he means “a cross-section of the public that is not knowledgeable or concerned enough to attend a town hall meeting.” Note to Baird: There’s a reason they’re called “town hall meetings,” not “prescreened anonymous secret one-way teleconference recordings.”

In the end, some congressmen have decided to simply give up on their constituents. New York Representative Tim Bishop chose to suspend town hall meetings in his district until late August—you know, when just everyone will be around—because he concluded that there was no point in facing an “unruly mob.” Senator Claire McCaskill similarly issued a last-minute cancellation of a scheduled event due to “safety” concerns.

In the same way that Democrats denigrate protestors who adhere to a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” standard, they have sunk to a new low: projecting their own party’s historic propensity for mob rule and violent agitprop onto frail, elderly grandparents in bowties and cardigans.

 

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Scott Spiegel is the editor of ScottSpiegel.com

Article has been published with permission

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On the Hidden Dangers of Comparative Effectiveness

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-06-18 21:15:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

As part of the stimulus spending package approved by the government earlier this year, funding in the amount of $1.1 billion was included to sponsor research into comparing the relative effectiveness of one form of medical treatment to another. Such research, as the program’s sponsors and supporters argued, would over time reduce the net cost of medical services by determining which medical procedures offer the lowest cost treatment to address common ailments. Armed with such information, it was further argued, doctors and medical professionals would apply this additional economic data in their decision to prescribe specific medicines and treatments.

On the surface this would seem to make good common sense in that it would provide some stabilizing relief to the increasing costs to the government of operating the country’s medicaid, medicare and veteran benefit systems. However, some of the less known aspects of the research bring out a number of troubling issues. Among these is the inclusion of studies which add the dimension of patient characteristics (such as age, gender, lifestyle) into the formula of overall effectiveness. As a result, effectiveness is defined in terms of a cost-benefit ratio as applied to a specific type of individual. For example, a comparative value is placed on the benefit of curing an illness in an 80 year-old versus 20 year-old man.  When faced with limited resources the results of the research would then be intended to provide guidance as to how those limited resources should be applied and when to apply available cures relative to the cost and benefit that such cures would provide. In the case cited, the 80 year-old man has little chance of receiving priority consideration.

While such policy is widely accepted in many European countries, I dare say to any American pondering such gross delegation of power over life and death decisions this has to be deeply concerning. There are numerous specific opportunities to bring new efficiency and reduce the resulting costs associated with providing healthcare. National electronic medical records, individual (not employer) management of healthcare insurance subscription, tax incentives to support wellness and health awareness are all excellent examples.

The recipe is to make individuals more responsible for the management of their health and medical matters. Delegating this to a disinterested third part, especially a government bureaucracy is tantamount to relinquishing one’s freedom.

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Quotation of the Day:

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)
We welcome your comments and suggestions, either directly inline, or via email to editor@nakedliberty.com. If you would like to have your article published in Naked Liberty, please contact the editor at the above email address.

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