Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In a Tight Spot, Pelosi Calls Health Care Critics un-American

She would certainly know all about being un-American. That good old Leftist projection again

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned the health care debate up a notch Monday, penning a column along with her top deputy that questioned the patriotism of those disrupting town hall meetings to air their complaints. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer claimed such behavior is "simply un-American."

It's hardly the first time Pelosi, who earlier this year accused the CIA of lying to Congress and repeatedly has called Republicans unpatriotic, has employed some serious name-calling to characterize her opponents' views.

The jab Monday drew swift scorn from Republicans and critics who say the health care demonstrations are as American as apple pie. "I, like most Americans, would find that kind of characterization of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to be offensive," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told FOX News. "There's nothing more American than letting your elected representatives know how you feel about important issues facing the nation." House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, released a statement calling the charge "outrageous and reprehensible."

Pelosi and Hoyer made the accusation as part of a lengthy column in USA Today stressing the need for action on health care reform. The piece was published as lawmakers return to their districts for summer recess, a period that could imperil the legislation if health care critics cause moderate Democrats to lose their stomachs for sweeping reform. Critics have confronted lawmakers about the bills, sometimes shouting at them, at a number of town halls in the past week alone.

On Monday, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill tried a new tack in rebutting the protesters while also minimizing their complaints. She got several hands when she asked audience members at a town hall meeting to raise their hands if they're so scared about the federal government running health care that they "can't think straight."

For Pelosi and Hoyer, they charged that an "ugly campaign" is afoot to misrepresent the legislation, "disrupt" the public meetings and prevent members of Congress from "conducting a civil dialogue" on the topic. "Let the facts be heard," they wrote. "These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views -- but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."

The "un-American" dig was a sign the debate is heating up. In a tight spot, Pelosi is known for employing tough rhetoric and accusations to muscle her way out. Back in September 2008, Pelosi used similar language to complain about Republicans who weren't showing up to talks on a Wall Street bailout package. "I thought it was very unpatriotic of them not to show up, not to show up, in some ways, boycott the meetings earlier in the week," she said. She also reportedly called the GOP budget in 2006 "unpatriotic" because it drove up the national debt.

This past May, she accused the CIA of lying to Congress, as she was facing questions about how much she knew early on about the Bush administration's interrogation policies. Then last week, with the health care debate growing more heated, she invoked Nazi Germany, accusing protesters of "carrying swastikas and symbols like that" to meetings. A spokesman for Pelosi later said the speaker was referencing a photo taken at a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., which showed a protester holding a sign of a swastika crossed out over President Obama's name and a question mark.

Yet the language Pelosi is using for health care critics is nothing like the language she used to describe anti-war protesters criticized by war supporters as unpatriotic. Pelosi, who led efforts to withdraw from Iraq before troops had finished the job, tolerated anti-war hecklers on several occasions. "It's always exciting," she said of protesters who interrupted a meeting in January 2006, according to an account in the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is democracy in action. I'm energized by it, frankly." At an event in June 2007, she told anti-war protesters "just go for it, I respect your enthusiasm," according to another account.

The claims of "un-American" behavior by critics is not something made by President Obama, who on Monday withheld criticism of his health care detractors. "We are having a vigorous debate in the United States and I think that's a healthy thing," he said, speaking at a North American summit in Mexico.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there's not really any "substantive difference" between the anti-war protests of MoveOn and Code Pink then and the health care reform criticism today -- other than the subject being addressed. Cornyn told FOX News he thinks the latest charge of being "un-American" is a "pretty harsh statement" about Americans who have serious concerns about the health care legislation.


Fuzzy Health Care Math

According the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 report, "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States," 46.9 million people are uninsured in the U.S. There's only one problem with this statistic: approximately 31.85 million of them do not actually exist.

The numbers really cannot lie, although the report does. Out of a total population of 297.05 million, the report states on Page 20 that the "number of people covered by private insurance was... 201.7 million in 2006" and the "number of people covered by government health programs was... 80.3 million in 2006." Therefore, 282 million had insurance. Which means that out of a total population of 297.05 million, 15.05 million did not have insurance. Right?

Not at the U.S. Census Bureau. There, 297.05 million minus 282 million equals 46.9 million Americans uninsured. How? Well, call it “fuzzy math.” In the above figure, taken from Page 20 of Census’ report, the fine print reads, “The estimates by type of coverage are not mutually exclusive; people can be covered by more than one type of insurance during the year.” But, nobody can be covered by insurance and not covered by it.

In other words, some 31.85 million people reported as uninsured in 2006 did have some coverage, and the Census included them in both categories. Why? They were probably between jobs at some point during the year, which is not abnormal. It doesn’t mean they do not have access to health care at all. They were simply temporarily uninsured. Only 15.05 million people fell into the category of being completely uninsured according to the Census’ own data.

Of course, there’s an obvious problem with the use of the Census’ methodology. Nobody told the American people of this critical footnote. Instead, as recently as July 22nd, they were told by Barack Obama that “This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job or change their job.” He said it without any qualification. Without any footnote explaining the complex methodology that grossly overstates the amount of people without any health coverage at all. And certainly without explanation as to why he would propose offering health coverage to over 30 million people who actually have it.

According to the data, 10.1 million of the 46.9 million of Census’ reported uninsured were unemployed for the entire year, and 5.6 million worked part-time, which can safely be said for the most part not to have had access to care. Of the other 31.2 million, 22 million worked full-time, 8.6 million were under 18, and 542 thousand were 65 or older.

So, if we’re to believe Census’ report, every year, over 30 million Americans have coverage, subsequently lose that coverage, and then for most of the year fail to get new coverage. Only that’s impossible, since 22 million of them were working full-time according to the report. They didn’t lose their jobs. So, how is it possible that they lost their coverage?

It isn’t. But, based upon the data, in the next year, roughly the same amount of people again had access to coverage, lost it, and then for most of the year failed to get new coverage—and yet did not lose their jobs.

Remarkably, the number of individuals without any insurance at all has remained about the same, meaning that folks who did lose insurance regain it in less than a year’s time. In both 2005 and 2006, the number of absolutely uninsured was 15 million. In the more recent 2007 report the number decreased to 13.6 million who had no health coverage at all. 285 million did have coverage out of a total of 298.6 million. So, what gives? Simply put, the reports are wrong, and they have simply become the bureaucratic means of giving politicians the “proof” they want to fit their hypothesis of a “crisis.”

It therefore makes no sense to screw over the 285 million who already have coverage by completely reorganizing the entire system to offer welfare to some 13.6-15.05 million without it. Because, it is not necessary for the government to take over the entire health care system, such as is proposed under ObamaCare, in order to offer health coverage to those people. And the politicians know it.

This is why they are making use of gross exaggeration to concoct the crisis of 47 million “uninsured.” It’s not about providing health care at all. It’s about expanding bureaucracy. It’s about a takeover. It’s about control. Only, now you know.


Rep. Tsongas tries to explain why Congress is exempt from Obamacare. Fails.

Herein lies the ultimate Achilles’ Heel of Obamacare. Watch as Democrat Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachussetts attempts to explain why Congress is exempt from the government health care takeover mandates. The exchange starts at 4:00: Transcript:
CONSTITUENT: My question to you, Congresswoman Tsongas, is that if this is such a great plan, why did you opt out of it when you took the vote [loud applause, standing ovation]?

TSONGAS: People often say why don’t the American people have what those of us in Congress have. [Audience erupts] Let me explain what I have. Let me explain what I have. What I have is a tremendous array — you know, last year when I went to a discussion — what I have is a tremendous array of choices. And I made a choice based on what I was willing to pay for and what made sense in terms of coverage for me and my family. [Audience shouts out: "We want choice! We want choice!] This is essentially what we are creating for the American people. We are creating greater choice.

[Smattering of applause overwhelmed by boos.]

Epic fail. The imperious “Do as I say, not as I do” ways of Washington cannot be packaged as choice-enhancing, no matter how hard Rep. Tsongas tries. Refresher from 5 key freedoms you’ll lose under Obamacare:
In short, the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage — including a lot of benefits people would never pay for with their own money — but deliver it through a highly restrictive, HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can’t have. It’s a revolution, all right, but in the wrong direction.

More than 150,000 have signed GOP Rep. John Fleming’s petition telling Congress to live under the health care mandates it forces on the rest of the country. If the Democrats can’t come up with a better answer than Tsongas (and they can’t), Obamacare is toast.

SOURCE (Video at link)

Roundup of news and views

Healthcare crisis solved (with vouchers): “Democratic proposals to reform the American healthcare industry require too much faith in government while Republican proposals don’t solve the problem of the uninsured. The best known hybrid proposal, the Wyden-Bennett plan, overhauls the current insurance industry and solves the uninsured problem by mandating coverage. But as we have learned from Massachusetts’ experience, enforcing mandated coverage is very difficult. Americans deserve reform that deals with the three most important problems with American healthcare: (1) many people are uninsured, (2) those who have insurance worry that if they lose their job they might become locked out of the system because of a pre-existing condition, and (3) many people are frustrated with increasingly intrusive insurance companies that treat patients more like criminals than customers. … Any plan that doesn’t address these three problems is inadequate. Any plan that requires nationalizing healthcare is excessive and prone to failure.”

The market doesn’t ration health care: “When a person buys five apples in a grocery store rather than ten because he wishes to use the rest of his money for other purposes, it seems entirely wrong to say the market (or even the grocer) has rationed the apples. The customer makes his choice on the basis of his preferences and the money available (which is the result of previous transactions). It is true that as a result of market exchanges, goods and resources change hands and (except for land) locations. But in no sense is this rationing or allocation. The resulting arrangement of resources is simply a product of many transactions. Of course, people’s choices of what and what not to buy and sell at which prices create an arrangement of goods and resources that tends to be intelligible in terms of consumers’ subjective priorities. But that does not warrant calling the process rationing or allocation.”

Real health reform: "For most Americans, the shortfalls of our health care system express themselves in high costs (leading to the high number of uninsured), the instability of health coverage tied to employment, and the long-term fiscal nightmare of our Medicare and Medicaid entitlements. To begin to address costs, conservatives should stress some ways of combating the inefficiencies of the current system. Ending the tax penalty for purchasing health coverage outside the employer system would help build a genuine individual market in health insurance and encourage the informed consumer choices and provider competition essential to reining in costs. The Democrats are increasingly open to taxing employer health benefits to pay for their massive new entitlement. Republican reformers should instead propose to extend the benefit to everyone in the form of a refundable tax credit for individuals to enable the creation of a true private health insurance market.”

AARP suffers backlash over health “reform” stance: “Elected officials aren’t the only ones facing frustrated, angry crowds at healthcare town hall meetings. The senior advocacy group AARP is now coming under criticism from its own members for appearing to support President Obama’s healthcare reform plans. The internal debate is heating up as lawmakers prepare to enter what could be the final stretch in writing legislation, with just one committee left to vote on it. But just as constituents are giving their elected representatives a piece of their mind over the August recess, some seniors are starting to protest the AARP. Last week, AARP officials speaking at a forum in Dallas walked out after several seniors interrupted the meeting with critical questions and comments.”

Ten questions politicians won’t answer: “The past week’s debate about health care has shown that in Washington the only things more stubborn than facts are politicians who evade them. In spite of a torrent of independent analyses showing that the so-called health-care ‘reform’ bills moving through Congress will dramatically increase the deficit and cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, the politicians leading the effort have steadfastly refused to consider that their ideas and policies, rather than the character of their critics, may be flawed. At the same time, the politicians writing the bill still refuse to answer basic questions about how it will be paid for and how it will affect patients.”

Obama’s latest health care weapon: A White House website: “The White House has rolled out its newest weapon in the cyberwars over health care: A website called ‘Reality Check.’ The White House says its site ‘focuses on what reform really means for you and your family, debunks some common myths along the way and provides you with online tools and content to share the facts with friends, family and anyone else in your social network.’”

The myth of free-market health care in America: "ObamaCare is in retreat. That much was clear the moment the president started springing B-grade Hollywood references to `blue pills and red pills' in its defense during his news conference last week. But before ObamaCare can be beaten back decisively, its critics need to answer this question: How did his plan for a government takeover of roughly a fifth of the U.S. economy get this far in the first place? The answer is not that Democrats have a lock on Washington right now - although they do. Nor that Republicans are intellectually bereft - although they are. The answer is that both ObamaCare's supporters and opponents believe that - unlike Europe - America has something called a free market health care system. So long as this myth holds sway, it will be exceedingly difficult to prescribe free market fixes to America's health care woes - or, conversely, end the lure of big government remedies."

Buy now, pay later: "Listen to liberal advocates of health-care reform and you'll hear two constant refrains: We must expand coverage to everyone, and we must control costs. Democrats tend to sell this as a package deal, a sort of political version of the Billie Mays pitch - but that's not all! And while they've put forth a number of plans that would expand coverage by varying degrees, the tacked-on bonus - as is the case with most info-mercials - is essentially a scam: Claims that the Democrats' current proposals will rein in health-care spending are sketchy at best. Nor is that surprising. Despite all the talk of cutting costs, the tacit plan, from the beginning, has been to pass reform by building a coalition that would collectively agree to give members whatever they wanted now, while cheerfully talking around the serious budgetary complications posed by universal coverage."

Perils of Obamacare: The three big lies: "The Congressional Budget Office has made it clear that the reform plans now being debated will increase overall health-care costs, yet President Obama on Friday repeatedly said that his reform would reduce costs and save Americans money. But no matter how many times he says it, the truth is you will pay more - much more - both in higher taxes and in higher premiums. The final health-care bill is expected to cost more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. That means much higher taxes, and not just for the wealthy."

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