No Gun Ever Killed Anyone

Read the article below. Read it now!

No Gun Ever Killed Anyone

Stop saying the warning signs were missed.  They were not missed.  The Rodger family was begging, pleading for help from therapists, the police; just as did my own family, my mother, my sister, Sally, my cousins, nephews and I intervened our guts out to absolutely no avail.  There is no system left in this country to deal with these traumas. This is a mental health issue and no more. We are surrounded by phony bleeding hearts who can coolly step over the sacred bodies of the wretchedly ill lying about our streets and sashay into a shop to eat a sandwich.  Shame on all of you and may an huge share of the blame fall upon the shoulders of the perpetrators of this mercilessness, my sister, Kate Millett, and her fawning, ghoulish band of “liberating” acolytes.  These people are the ones responsible for this chaos in our world. 

Looking for a social injustice to rage against? Try this on for size. It is tragic – and unconscionable – that so many of our mentally ill are left to languish on our streets. Only a small percentage of these will go on to commit violent crimes, true, but even the benign schizophrenic deserves more than to live life in a pee-soaked gutter.

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We Conservatives Will Not Take Away Your Precious Contraception

All along, the Obama campaign has been trying to frighten women away from Mitt Romney by claiming that he will take away a woman’s “right to control her body.” This ad – which, to my very great annoyance, has been played in Virginia – is one example. A speech Obama delivered at a campaign stop in Colorado is another. In the latter, Obama claims that conservative health care policies would leave decisions regarding female reproductive health care in the hands of employers, insurance companies and politicians. But of course, as in all things, he is wrong.

First point: Insurance companies and employers may indeed have inordinate power over each American’s health care decisions at the present time — but that is precisely because of our third-party dominated system. If employers didn’t have to be health care providers – if, instead, they could just give their employees pre-tax dollars to purchase their own health care in the individual market – the issues of employer control and lack of portability would go away. (And by the way, Catholic employers would no longer have to worry about violating the creeds of the Church; according to the Church’s principles of moral philosophy, they would not be held responsible for what their employees might do with their health care stipends because those consequences are unpredictable.) Likewise, if patients had more opportunity to work directly with their doctors instead of going through their insurance companies, the power of those insurance companies would also diminish.

The question is, does Obama’s approach to health care policy come close to this genuine solution? H-E-double-hockey-sticks no. Instead, ACA doubles down on the failed policies of the past. It still requires employers to be health care providers. It still hands power to the insurance companies. It simply adds another layer of bureaucracy and regulations in a futile attempt to control the perverse incentives that plague our health care institutions. It does nothing to actually remove those incentives.

Obama feels the contraception mandate is necessary to prevent employers and health insurance companies from denying coverage for the birth control pill — but Obama’s policies embrace the system that made this a potential problem in the first place. Conservative health care policy, on the other hand, is designed to give the power back to the patient. If patients were in control of their health care dollars (via an HSA or something of that sort), then they – and only they – could decide what to spend their money on. On the basic things, they could completely bypass the bureaucracy — and the supply side of the market would respond by – gasp! – advertising prices to attract more customers and developing new ways to keep said prices appealing. And no — this isn’t just theory. This is what’s already happening in the fields of cosmetic and Lasik surgery.

Second point: There are many birth control options out there that are wholly affordable. Except for the initial class, charting methods are free. The condom is either free or dirt cheap and can be found at any local drug store or student health center. Generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen is available for $9 a month at Walmart. And finally, there are patient assistance programs available for the pricier birth control methods. Bottom line, there is no birth control access problem. There is, instead, an education problem; people simply don’t know that there are cheaper options out there because certain folks have a vested interest in keeping us helpless.

Final point: I would like to invite all the ladies out there to consider the possibility that handing a girl the birth control pill is not the same thing as providing holistic health care. Because in reality, the pill is merely convenient. The birth control pill does nothing to address the emotional consequences of our post-modern sexual landscape and only covers up the hormonal imbalances that result in many female complaints. Its existence also encourages a persistent ignorance regarding how our bodies actually work. Personally, I believe women deserve something better. They deserve a shot at genuine cures; they don’t deserve to be brushed aside by an expedient “panacea.”

But hey — if you, as a woman, like being dependent on a paternalistic government, vote for Obama. I won’t stop you. I do reserve the right, however, to question your commitment to authentic feminism.

A Quick Comment on a Certain Pro-Obama Super PAC Ad

So — it has been discovered that this ad, in which Mitt Romney is accused of contributing to a cancer patient’s death, is a steaming pile of horse dung. But even if it were absolutely true that the woman in question lost her health insurance coverage after Bain shut down her husband’s steel mill, the left would still have been wrong to launch that attack.

Why are certain people uninsured? Well, first of all, young and healthy customers have been priced out of the market due to state mandates that force them to buy coverage for medical care they don’t really need. Secondly, no one has thought to make employer-provided plans portable; thus, if you lose or change your job, you also lose your health plan. (This is the primary reason why we have people with “pre-existing conditions” who are having trouble finding plans that are affordable.) Third, people – like me – who buy plans in the individual market have to use after-tax dollars while people who get their insurance through their employer are using before-tax dollars. In other words, we suckers in the individual market don’t get cut the same breaks.

And you know what? All of these problems are addressed by conservative health care policy proposals. We want to offer healthy people low cost, high-deductible plans with health savings accounts that will allow them to budget and save for standard health care. We want to decouple health insurance from employment so people can change jobs without worrying that they will lose their current coverage. And we want to give people in the individual market the same tax breaks that are given to those who receive employer-provided insurance. So if you want to prevent people from prematurely dying of undetected cancer (or diabetes, heart disease, etc.), you need to vote for us. Obama? He doesn’t have the right answer.

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, XII: The "You Can’t Argue With What’s In My Heart" Edition

Okay — so here’s how the most recent bit of Facebook liberal idiocy went down:

First of all, one of my liberal friends posted a link to a CBO report estimating that Obamacare will lower federal costs by $84 billion over eleven years.

In response, one conservative “friend of a friend” observed, quite reasonably, that:

The cost has gone up. It saved $200 billion over ten years back in March of last year. And then there’s the poll released today that shows 10% of companies are thinking of dropping their health coverage since Obamacare will force them to buy more comprehensive coverage than what they currently do. That will drive up costs by a bunch and isn’t accounted for in the current CBO estimate.

The original poster’s reply?

So we’re back to “Let them die.” Great. Including the couple that was shot at the Colorado movie. I’m sorry, my right-wing friends, but there’s just nothing you guys can say that will convince me we should let millions of Americans die because of this. And wasn’t it your side complaining about (made up) “death panels?” And your side that talks incessantly about a “culture of life?” And yet who is it that screams “Let him die!” at debates and wants to deny working Americans health care? I’m sorry, gang, but there’s just no way I can get behind that kind of approach to life. No way. No matter how you dress it up in anti-big-gubment rhetoric and complain about “socialized” this and that, it just isn’t gonna fly here. Take it elsewhere, because all the argument in the world will not change my mind or, more importantly, my heart.

Let’s take apart this completely unhinged statement one step at a time, shall we?

So we’re back to “Let them die.” Great. Including the couple that was shot at the Colorado movie. I’m sorry, my right-wing friends, but there’s just nothing you guys can say that will convince me we should let millions of Americans die because of this.

My visceral reaction to this is unprintable on a family blog. How do we go from opposing the Affordable Care Act to “letting people die?” Once again, in typical liberal fashion, you are arguing with a straw man. There is no one – NO ONE – who believes that our health care system is perfectly fine the way it is. There is no one who does not worry about rising health care costs — or about those Americans who may be slipping through the cracks. Disagreement only arises when we get to specific policy proposals. Those who oppose PPACA do not do so because they malevolently wish to deny working Americans access to health care. Speaking for myself, I oppose PPACA because I believe it to be a ridiculously bureaucratic “solution” that erroneously conflates access to health care with access to health insurance. I was uninsured from 2004 to 2006, and at no time was I ever denied care. I was still able to see my primary care physician. I was still able to see my rheumatologist. And when I landed in the hospital several times in the summer and fall of 2006, said hospital wrote off 75% of my expenses.

To be sure, privately insured patients tend to see better medical outcomes when you look at the averages, but the same cannot be said for patients on, oh, Medicaid, which PPACA seeks to expand despite the program’s desperate need for reform. Further, putting undue emphasis on broadening access to comprehensive health insurance ignores other avenues for change. For example, instead of introducing more third-party payers into the system, why not return some of the responsibility for health care to the consumer? If healthy and employed Americans could actually see how much certain things cost, they might hold off on visiting their doctors for cases of the seasonal flu, thereby freeing up resources for those in more urgent need. We definitely don’t want somebody to go broke because they developed cancer – or some other serious chronic illness – but I think mandating insurance coverage for standard “oil changes” is going way overboard.

I guess what I’m trying to convey here is that PPACA is not the be-all and end-all of health care policy in America. There are other ideas out there — ideas that, in my opinion, are based on sound economics. Oppose them if you choose, but please don’t imply that they don’t exist.

And wasn’t it your side complaining about (made up) “death panels?”

And what of the Independent Payment Advisory Board? Isn’t that 15-member body empowered to cut payments to Medicare providers? Please explain how that will not result, ultimately, in health care rationing for seniors.

And your side that talks incessantly about a “culture of life?” And yet who is it that screams “Let him die!” at debates and wants to deny working Americans health care?

Ugh! This leftist urban legend again! I urge you to actually go back and watch the video of the debate in question. When the moderator asked Ron Paul if the uninsured American in his hypothetical should be left to die, only one or two assholes in the audience shouted “Yeah!” — and they were met with nervous titters here and there, not thunderous applause. Again, I ask that you stop spreading vicious falsehoods about your opposition. Try engaging us in good faith for a change.

I’m sorry, gang, but there’s just no way I can get behind that kind of approach to life. No way. No matter how you dress it up in anti-big-gubment rhetoric and complain about “socialized” this and that, it just isn’t gonna fly here. Take it elsewhere, because all the argument in the world will not change my mind or, more importantly, my heart.

And here, my Facebook friend finally reveals just how mired he is in emotional thinking. Obamacare is right in my heart! How dare anyone challenge it using inconvenient facts!   

Well, pardon me for bursting your bubble, but as your other friend’s comment reveals, there are legitimate reasons to doubt that Obama’s pet legislation will actually do anything to control health care costs or improve access. Stick your fingers in your ears and shout “La-la-la! Republicans are EVIL and want you to DIE!” all you want, but don’t be surprised if we conservatives then throw up our hands and drop you from our reading lists. Assuming ill motives where none exist is an excellent way to lose friends and antagonize people. Indeed, that attitude is likely to earn you a punch in the face.

Crushing Blow or Landslide Win?

I’m still desperately trying to fully understand their ruling, but an executive summary, as I’m reading the info on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the PPACA:

  • Congress has the power to enforce the individual mandate only if it is structured as a tax (not as a mandate with a penalty).  In other words, they can’t make you buy broccoli directly, but they can tax the crap out of you to pay for broccoli for everyone.  The only good news is that the commerce clause argument was struck down, meaning that Progressives have found some sort of limit on what they can argue falls within Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce.  If they want to do something like this again, they can’t try to argue that it isn’t a tax.
  • The medicaid expansion provision of the law, which includes penalties for states refusing to accept additional medicaid funds from the government, was ruled unconstitutional only in so much as the penalties for the states couldn’t be enforced.  Congress has to the power to be an ATM, but not a thief.  They can give states money, but states have a right to refuse it without penalty.
  • The rest of the law is upheld for now (as the court has not entertained every question).
Several problems with this:
ObamaCare was sold to the American people by Congress as NOT raising taxes.  For the millions of Americans who currently don’t have insurance by CHOICE (because they can’t afford it), they now have only the choice of being taxed or buying insurance.  This ruling is, essentially, the end of any attempts by Conservatives to stop the spread of Congressional power in any way other than voting in a very Republican House AND Senate AND President (the confluence of which will be rare, no matter how well our ideas actually work).  The amazing thing is that, although Verilli argued that the mandate could be viewed as a tax in court, the bill was passed by lying to the American people and claiming it was NOT a tax.  Of course, you won’t be taxed if you buy insurance, but how is there any moral or ethical distinction between holding a gun at someone’s head and saying, “buy this or I’ll blow you away!” and holding out the same gun and saying “you have a choice…you can do what I tell you, you can take the gun and blow YOURSELF away, or I can do it for you?”  I don’t see how taxing people for not doing what the government orders is any less evil than simply charging a fee.  Are we really saying that this is actually a constitutional provision simply because we’ve been calling it the wrong thing all along?  REALLY?
I also don’t see how that can’t be viewed as a huge win for Progressivism.  After all, if all Congress has to do is call something a fee that is ruled by the courts as a tax to get us to buy anything they want, what’s next?  Solar panel ‘mandates’?  Democrat party donation ‘mandates’?
The medicaid thing will help…because there are still 28 red states who will be eager to turn down medicaid funds just to make a point about the Federal Government’s attempted power grab, but on the whole, this decision is disastrous from a legal perspective.
HOWEVER…
This gives Romney two huge gifts in the Presidential election.  First, he can now say that the Dems were lying all along about this not raising your taxes by pointing out that there is now, on the books, a $4000 tax for every American family (less the ones whose employers happen to offer free insurance whose ranks will continue to drop as companies realize that they can’t afford rising premium costs) – they can either pay it by buying insurance or by writing a check to the IRS, but they’re paying it despite Congress telling them there was no tax.  And second, he can now spend the rest of the campaign standing next to an issue and smiling, as they say in “politico” school.  The American people don’t like ObamaCare…that isn’t going to change by November.  Especially if Romney hammers away at it every chance he gets, running on a platform starting with “I’ll repeal this monstrosity!”
I now look forward to Presidential debates…because this issue will be front and center and if Romney can pick Obama apart, it could be a hilariously lopsided election win for Conservatives.
The problem is…even if we win in 2012…we lose the war.  We can overturn laws and reap the rewards, but Progressives have no hard limits on their power to continue to push an agenda favoring gigantic government power and endless government intrusion.  If this Supreme Court won’t stop them…no one will.  I genuinely fear for the country today.

Wow. Just Wow. Obama’s Abortion Motive Revealed.

Do yourselves a favor and read this article.  The mainstream media won’t cover it because it’s not useful to their bid to elect Obama for another term, but here it is:

The Little Known Abortion Mandate

In short, the second, lesser-known mandate from Kathleen Sebelius requires that all insurance companies which provide elective abortion coverage set aside an abortion allocation fund and then charge their recipients at least one dollar per month specifically for that fund, which will be paid to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to cover abortion costs.  And on top of that, the mandate literally precludes insurers from telling would-be purchasers that their plan will include the abortion fee.

Obama sees that the states are crippling his efforts to keep publicly funded abortion clinics open in GOP controlled territory and has decided to trick millions of Americans who might have a religious objection to abortion into paying private dollars to fund Planned Parenthood as required by Queen Sebelius and any in her royal lineage that follow as HHS bureaucrat-dictator.

I have only one thing to say about this.

WOW.

The Coming Medical Ethics Crisis

The Coming Medical Ethics Crisis
by Jeffrey A. Singer

In a nutshell, hospitals, clinics, and health care providers have been given incentives to organize into teams that will get assigned groups of 5,000 or more Medicare patients. They will be expected to follow practice guidelines and protocols approved by Medicare. If they achieve certain goals established by Medicare with respect to cost, length of hospital stay, re-admissions, or other “core measures,” they will get to share a portion of Medicare’s savings. If the reverse happens, they will face economic penalties.

Private insurance companies are currently setting up the non-Medicare version of the ACO. These will be sold in the federally subsidized exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act. In this model, there are no fee-for-service payments to providers. Instead, an ACO is given a lump sum, or “bundled” payment for the entire care for a large group of insurance beneficiaries. The ACOs are expected to follow the same Medicare-approved practice protocols, but all of the financial risks are assumed by the ACOs. If the ACOs keep costs down, the team of providers and hospitals reap the financial reward: a surplus from the lump sum payment. If they lose money, the providers and hospitals eat the loss.

In both the Medicare and non-Medicare varieties of the ACO, cost control and compliance with centrally-planned practice guidelines are the primary goal. The hospital and provider networks will live or die by these objectives.

So where does all this place the medical profession with respect to its ethical credo? In a few years, almost all doctors will be employees of hospitals and will be ordered to practice medicine according to federally prescribed guidelines—guidelines that put the best interests of the state ahead of the interests of individual patients.

When the physician’s primary obligation is to satisfy the wishes of the payer—ultimately the wishes of the state—how can patients be truly confident in their doctors’ decisions?

Again, the biggest problem with the new health care law is not necessarily the individual mandate (although that’s pretty bad in itself). The biggest problem is its overall dependence on bureaucracy. “Obamacare” empowers the federal government to intrude on our personal decisions like never before — and that’s why it needs to be repealed and replaced with something better.

Doc Wars – A New Hope

A glowing review of the latest Ryan proposal…now jointly presented with DEMOCRAT senator Wyden (!) as Ryan continues to demonstrate that he is precisely awesome.

Ryan/Wyden Plan Could Save Medicare

The best part is the shrill idiocy in the comments section presented by libertarians and the reasoned response of people who actually know health care economics.

Ron Paul and his band of merry men need to go away and let us work within the system to bring conservative solutions GRADUALLY into the fold.