Rationale to ration

Medical Welfare Programs Look To Price Another Year Of Life

Medicaid and other medical welfare entitlement programs have created expectations that are bigger than the resources available to meet them. As a result, some welfare bureaucracies are looking to ration expensive drugs through a controversial method designed to put a price on the value of a human life.

If a beneficiary of a social welfare program needs a particular drug whose price exceeds a predetermined value of a “quality-adjusted life year” for the individual, under this method, that person would not get the drug. It is already in use in Great Britain’s single-payer health care system and in other nations. Some in the U.S. think it should be used here, too.

When the government pays for something, it gives bureaucrats a taxpayer-based rationale to refuse to pay for it.

See the Green New Deal fantasy: It’s a list of things, including electricity, gasoline, home heating, land use, product design, hourly wages, preferred occupation, food choice, and, yes, health care; all of which will be rationed or regulated. Why? In order to implement their view of “social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality

Is it any wonder GND proponents support “some are more equal than others” thugs like Venezuela’s Maduro and Cuba’s Castro?

Rombamacare and 2012

Bush was excoriated because he couldn’t tell the MSM about mistakes he had made. Obama does not recognize the possibility that someone who stopped the oceans from rising could ever make a mistake. Conventional wisdom has Bush as an idiot, Obama as a genius.

Mitt Romney also has a reputation as a smart guy, moreover one who understands business and finance. He has an easy path to turn a mistake into a benefit. He could say, “Federalism is, among other things, about the idea that individual states can serve as venues for policy experiments. I led Massachusetts in such an experiment: I was instrumental in designing a state mandated health insurance system upon which Obamacare was modeled. My plan has been a disaster for Massachusetts.

Ironically, that lesson was made possible by the vestigial Federalism which President Obama seeks to finally destroy via initiatives like his own health care mandate. I am able to learn from my mistake, so should the country.

The broader lesson is that central planning cannot replace the free market, no matter how smart the central planner thinks he is. I will not forget that again.

Since Romney apparently cannot do this simple and intelligent thing, I’d agree with this analysis.

Coming to a health care system near you

TOC noted this on Sunday:
Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS

Then this popped up:
Germany Weighs Tax on the Obese

Marco Wanderwitz, a conservative member of parliament for the German state of Saxony, said it is unfair and unsustainable for the taxpayer to carry the entire cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the public health system.

Right. Force the taxpayers to fund health care, giving government a financial interest which is parlayed into reasons government has to protect the taxpayers from the costs: “Since we can’t afford this entitlement we passed, and we’re not going to repeal it, we have to raise taxes on those with the wrong obesity profile.  It’s not rationing, though.”

In Germany, teachers have a suggested plan to satisfy the government’s need to know your weight.

The German teachers association recently called for school kids to be weighed each day, The Daily Telegraph said.

The fat kids could then be reported to social services, who could send them to health clinics.

And put the parents on a list. And issue badges.

Do you consider it possible that this scenario will be applied here once all Americans’ BMI is recorded and government costs for health care become even more unsustainable?

Finding out what’s in it

Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax

When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

…“For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” the president said last September,

He forgot to add, “Until we have to defend it in court.” Of course, the question is semantic, whatever term is used.

Insurers Push Plans Limiting Patient Choice of Doctors

The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead,…

Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.

“Publicly-funded” may be the most dangerous phrase in the English language. Of course, you’ll be able to keep your doctor and your current health insurance under a Federal plan. The president said so.

Lost in Taxation

[W]ith ObamaCare, the agency [IRS] is now responsible for “the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history.” And without “sufficient funding” it won’t be able to discharge these new duties…

Well, well. Republicans argued during the health debate that the IRS would have to hire hundreds of new agents and staff to enforce ObamaCare. They were brushed off by Democrats and the press corps as if they believed the President was born on the moon.

No. That’s Hawaii.

I can’t wait to find out what’s in the financial “reform” legislation.

A Conversation with Nancy Pelosi

On Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi gave the following explanation of the importance of health care reform to an august gathering of San Francisco Democrats:

”It’s like the back of the refrigerator. You see all these wires and the rest,” said Pelosi. “All you need to know is, you open the door. The light goes on. You open this door, you go through a whole different path, in terms of access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.”

I was inspired to imagine: “A Conversation with Nancy Pelosi”

Me: Madam Speaker, let me begin by thanking you for taking time from your busy schedule to speak with me. I understand you have a botox top-up appointment in half an hour, so I’ll get right to it: You recently compared the health care bill to a refrigerator. I quote, “It’s like the back of the refrigerator. You see all these wires and the rest. All you need to know is, you open the door. The light goes on. You open this door, you go through a whole different path, in terms of access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.”

My first question is, How do you know the light goes off when you close the door?

Pelosi: All scientists and economists agree that the light goes off when you close the door, and I personally know because when I opened the door and went down the path, I closed the door behind me. I had to go back for a flashlight.

Me: Madam Speaker, speaking of being inside a refrigerator, you are old enough to remember the 1960s elephant joke fad. There was one that asked, “How can you tell if there is an elephant in your refrigerator? Answer – You can smell the peanuts on his breath.” How can we tell if there’s an ass donkey in our refrigerator.

Pelosi: First of all, you would never find a Republican in the health care fridge, although it would be just like a Republican to endanger those with peanut allergies by breathing noxious fumes at them and burdening our health care system with unnecessary costs. As the President has said, it would probably be done by a doctor… who is also a Republican.

As to a Democrat in the fridge: Except for a few fringe refrigerator repair fanatics the American people do not see health care in partisan terms. The better question is “How can you tell if there’s a Fed in your fridge?” There are several indicators, 1) the 25 watt incandescent light has been replaced with a 5 watt delayed-start CFL, 2) the maraschino cherries have been individually micro-laser engraved with nutrition data, and 3) aside from the cherries the only food in the fridge is groats.

And none of that is a joke.

Me: Groats. That reminds me that some disagree with your contention that the light goes off when you close the door. For example, at least one refrigerator model has been described thusly, “Two shelves where none are needed and, close the door and the light stays ON!“* Isn’t that actually more like your health care bill?

Pelosi: Well, if any such refrigerators exist it is an affront to all right thinking Americans and is probably a conspiracy between power companies and refrigerator manufacturers. Sounds like Congressman Waxman will need to hold hearings and bring General Electric on the carpet.

Me: What other appliances resonate with your legislative agenda?

Pelosi: Before I answer that, let me flesh out the refrigerator analogy a bit more. In addition to not needing to know how a fridge works, you don’t need to know what’s in it. Further, health care reform is also like the back of the inside of a refrigerator; You know, where old food goes to die.

Finally, the freezer section – have you ever noticed the expression of permanent surprise on a whole frozen trout – can be compared to the “freezing” of flesh through botox treatments that I am proud to have secured as a right for working-class Americans.

So, to your question: Upright Freezers are like “Cap and Trade”. And chest freezers are like immigration reform.

Me: Aren’t freezers much the same as refrigerators? How can they represent such different bills? And how can upright freezers differ so drastically from chest freezers?

Pelosi: Simple, all freezers are very cold, and as we all know that’s a sign of global warming. Also, General Electric makes freezers and they are one of the biggest rent seekers in promoting carbon trading.

Chest freezers, while similar to uprights, do make it more difficult to find things as they migrate to the bottom. Just ask my good friend former Congressman William Jefferson. In this way, the chest freezer represents jobs Americans won’t do and the undocumented immigrants lost at the bottom of our society.

Me: OK, but when you open the freezer door, what path are you taking?

Pelosi: The path of access to quality, affordable, carbon-offset, frozen Mexican-grown groats for all Americans.

Me: Getting back to the refrigerator analogy, why mention the back of the refrigerator? You’d have to be in front to open the door, wouldn’t you? And what fridge has wires all over the back of it? Did you mean cooling coils? They haven’t made fridges like that in decades.

Pelosi: The back of the refrigerator is where the dust bunnies of neglect accumulate, it’s the hidden tragedy perpetuated by Republicans, but finally ended with the vacuum of our new bill. And, look, anything that you don’t understand could serve as analogy for most all of our legislation. I just needed some common household object with a bunch of extraneous stuff that made it seem complicated to turn a light on and off.

As to wires and stuff, I already told you you didn’t need to know how it works. That goes for my analogy, too.

Me: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Your insights on these matters are truly a reflection of Congressional diligence.

*Apologies to George Leroy Tirebiter.

H/T James Taranto, Best of the Web Today. You can subscribe to his column via email, free.

More on racism and its promoters

Today, James Taranto had this as part of his online column.

When George W. Bush was president, dissent was patriotic. Now dissent is racist, or so you would believe if you listened to President Obama’s supporters in Congress and the media. An example of the latter category is this lead paragraph from an Associated Press dispatch of March 20, written by Alan Fram:

House Democrats heard it all Saturday–words of inspiration from President Barack Obama and raucous chants of protests from demonstrators. And at times it was flat-out ugly, including some racial epithets aimed at black members of Congress.

The claim that protesters had shouted racial slurs was irresistible to journalists, partly because, if true, it would have had real news value. It’s the 21st century; people simply don’t shout racial slurs anymore. But it’s reasonable to suspect that journalists passed along these rumors of racism in part out of ideological animus. After all, such reports give ammunition to those seeking to demonize dissent.

That last observation, by the way, is not original. We borrowed it from Valerie Bauman, herself an AP reporter:

Opponents have branded the tea party as a group of racists hiding behind economic concerns–and reports that some tea partyers were lobbing racist slurs at black congressmen during last month’s heated health care vote give them ammunition.

Bauman’s dispatch, filed late yesterday, is a useful corrective in other ways to the poisonous dissent-is-racist narrative. Her piece is a profile of black leaders in the tea-party movement. Here’s how it starts:

They’ve been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values. Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement–and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation’s first black president.

“I’ve been told I hate myself. I’ve been called an Uncle Tom. I’ve been told I’m a spook at the door,” said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

“Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks,” he said.

“Oreos,” “Uncle Toms,” “spook at the door”: it turns out people are “lobbing” racial slurs! When Johnson speaks of the assumption that “the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks,” does anyone doubt the accuracy of his perception?

It is Democrats, not Republicans, who hold this race-based assumption. And it doesn’t actually go both ways. No white American today suffers the indignity of being labeled a “traitor” to his race; the supposedly liberal assumption is that blacks, and only blacks, are expected to think a certain way because of the color of their skin. As Bauman reports:

Black conservatives don’t want to have to apologize for their divergent views.

“I’ve gotten the statement, ‘How can you not support the brother?’ ” said David Webb, an organizer of New York City’s Tea Party 365, Inc. movement and a conservative radio personality.

Since Obama’s election, Webb said some black conservatives have even resorted to hiding their political views.

“I know of people who would play the (liberal) role publicly, but have their private opinions,” he said. “They don’t agree with the policy but they have to work, live and exist in the community. . . . Why can’t we speak openly and honestly if we disagree?”

This impulse to close ranks is understandable in the context of history. Blacks in America, after all, have experienced a few decades of full equality after centuries of slavery and segregation. Jim Crow is still a living memory. On the other hand, it is only a memory; there is no danger of its return. Today the defensive demand for ideological conformity is an obstacle to racial equality rather than a guarantor of it.

This may be changing, however. Bauman notes that 37 black Republicans are running for Congress this November. She tells a story from one of them, Charles Lollar:

A tea party supporter running against House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Lollar says he’s finding support in unexpected places.

The 38-year-old U.S. Marine Corps reservist recently walked into a bar in southern Maryland decorated with a Confederate flag. It gave his wife Rosha pause.

“I said, ‘You know what, honey? Many, many of our Southern citizens came together under that flag for the purpose of keeping their family and their state together,’ ” Lollar recalled. “The flag is not what you’re to fear. It’s the stupidity behind the flag that is a problem. I don’t think we’ll find that in here. Let’s go ahead in.”

Once inside, they were treated to a pig roast, a motorcycle rally–and presented with $5,000 in contributions for his campaign.

This is a lovely little parable of racial progress. A black politician with counterstereotypical views overcomes his prejudices and is welcomed with open arms by a white, Confederate-flag-displaying crowd. Among other things, it’s a sign of generational change: At 38, Lollar does not have the experience of being treated as a second-class citizen on account of his race.

It was probably inevitable that when Obama ran into political troubles, his supporters would try to stir up fears of racism in an effort to discredit dissenters. Yet when even a sympathetic media organization like the AP stops playing along, we can conclude that this tactic isn’t working. If liberals and Democrats hate racism so much, why are they so eager to find it in their opponents? It would be unfair to accuse them of being totally insincere, but moral vanity and cynicism surely are a big, and increasing, part of the answer.

Andrew Breitbart at Big Journalism (and at Big Government) has been on this for awhile. No one has collected the $100,000 he offered for proof of the racist epithets the Congressional Black Caucus has been advertising.

You’d think there was at least one CBC member who could use the money for the upcoming campaign or who might be inclined to use truth as a defense.