Get Rid of the “Precious”

The “Replace Obamacare Saga” continues. Critics of the whole idea of getting rid of this failed policy don’t really get it yet:

I’m not sure, though, that enough Republicans get it either:

The problem, as I see it, is that too many of the Republican leaders, and the guy in the White House, remain committed to the idea that the federal government has the authority to dictate healthcare. Republicans want to tinker with the Obamacare disaster, but they haven’t really grasped the fact that the government both shouldn’t and can’t succeed in this endeavor:

No matter how much Trump railed against Obamacare during the campaign, he persisted in promising that the government would make sure everyone is covered. Well, isn’t that what Obama promised? What’s the difference?

Why not free up the system and get the government out of it? Well, says the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the new Republican plan will throw a lot of people off health insurance. What it doesn’t take into account is that many of those are the ones who were forced to get the insurance in the first place. Maybe now they might opt out.

But that would be called liberty . . . and we certainly don’t want that. The Nanny State must be upheld.

Republicans, hear this message, please. Rid yourself of the “Precious.” Throw that Ring into the fires of Mordor once and for all.

Once that is accomplished, perhaps peace and common sense will prevail in the American Shire.

Obama’s Strange Dichotomy

It’s a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, President Obama is fully engaged, while on the other, he’s about as disengaged as a president can be. What am I talking about? On his watch, government has become more intrusive than ever, yet America has nearly disappeared as a world power. I say that’s strange, but the more I think about it, it actually makes sense in an Obama kind of way.

He believes fervently that government direction and control over people’s lives is “better” for them. Government is wiser and more altruistic, in his view. Consequently, he takes over the entire healthcare system (or at least tries to—the jury is out on that, fortunately) and issues executive orders for things a president has no authority to do. Congress, he claims, is too slow and inactive, so he simply must do all of this on his own. He won’t let a little thing like the Constitution stand in his way. He even dares others to try to stop him:

Sue Me

“I have a pen and a phone,” he warns. “So sue me,” he taunts. Those statements won’t exactly go down as some of the most memorable in American presidential history:

Legacies

For the record, I think FDR’s famous line was rather meaningless, but that’s another entire blog post—I’ll skip my thoughts on that one for now.

So our president seems to want to put all Americans in a stranglehold when it comes to their individual choices and he seeks to amass more power for the executive branch than at any time in the American experience. Yet while he focuses on those goals, the world’s problems don’t seem to engage his attention much at all. America, he believes, has been the big bully in the world and needs to step back now. Mouth the right phrases once in a while—Israel has a right to defend itself—but don’t do anything to interfere with the drift into world chaos. In fact, send your secretary of state over to the hot spots like the Middle East and try to win Israel over to all of Hamas’s demands. This is a serious departure from traditional American foreign policy and a near-desertion of one of our staunchest allies.

What does President Obama do while conflagrations abound all around him? He continues to do what he does best:

Oblivious

And fundraisers—don’t forget fundraisers.

While he lives in his fantasy world of government largesse at home and abandonment of global responsibilities, the rest of us suffer the consequences.

National Healthcare=National Trauma

Even as the more prominent scandals and investigations continue to unfold, there’s always Obamacare to capture our attention. What’s the latest on that? If you’ve been keeping up, you know that it seems to be on a collision course of sorts. Polls indicate it’s more unpopular than ever, and the reason is that people are now beginning to feel its effects. Bravado about its inevitability may be premature:

Unsinkable

On the issue of cost, we’re seeing projections that premiums may rise astronomically in the next few years:

Rate Shock

Those “exchanges” that are supposed to be set up aren’t going too well either. The whole thing is turning into a bureaucratic morass—but then is that so unusual? Don’t the words “bureaucratic” and “morass” go together normally?

And remember that big promise the president made a few years ago? What of that?

Reality

In the shady tradition of all snake-oil salesmen, that was another whopper. Just today, I heard that Aetna is dropping all personal health insurance policies in California. That’s the first snowball in the coming avalanche. If the administration has its way, everyone will eventually be forced onto the government plan. Interestingly, some of Obama’s biggest supporters in his campaigns are now shrinking back from this healthcare nightmare as they see its tentacles begin to reach out and touch them:

Your Medicine

When Sarah Palin referred to the coming government review of each person’s medical needs, the mainstream media laughed at her “death panels” rhetoric. Yet we’ve now seen a glimpse of what is coming. That ten-year-old girl who needed a lung transplant was denied by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said the rules cannot be changed. She also said she didn’t have the authority to change them, which was not true. In fact, she simply became the ultimate bureaucrat, dictating who can live and who will die:

Rules Are Rules

Fortunately, in the case of this little girl, a court overruled Sebelius and the transplant occurred without her approval. We can’t always rely on a court doing that, however. If Obamacare is ever fully implemented, it won’t be only healthcare that will be nationalized; we will also suffer a national trauma.

In Praise of Individual Initiative & Ingenuity in Healthcare

Today, I would like to offer praise to a team of physicians, nurses, and staff who took care of my wife, Jan, while we were in New Orleans for her surgery. Two of those doctors initiated a new technique for restorative breast surgery after a mastectomy. Once they established their practice, they took further initiative to construct their own hospital, the St. Charles Surgical Hospital, connected to their Center for Restorative Breast Surgery. It is unique in the country.

The hospital is devoted to this specialized surgery. It has seventeen beds only, and the nurses give the kind of attention to patients that one can only dream of in a typical hospital. Throughout our stay, they exhibited professionalism, to be sure, but they went beyond that. They were kind and caring. One of the nurses who cared for Jan was a Christian who home schools her four children.

So my first purpose today is to give them the honor they deserve. But I have a second purpose as well. I want to emphasize how private initiative in healthcare can meet a need. These doctors had a vision, and they were able to make it a reality. What if all healthcare operated in the same manner? The kind of freedom to develop new techniques and then promote them is in danger of being destroyed.

Does anyone really think that government-controlled healthcare will lead to spectacular innovations? Already many doctors are threatening to close their practices with the implementation of Obamacare. Here’s another concern I have: Jan has now reached that magic decade where healthcare providers under a government system may decide to ration scarce resources. If Obamacare had been in operation when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, would she have received the best treatments or would those have been held in reserve for younger women? Some in the media made fun of Sarah Palin for referring to government death panels, but when the government holds the power of life or death over you by its determination that those resources shouldn’t be “wasted” on you, how inaccurate is it to call that a death panel?

Some may have conveniently forgotten that President Obama actually stated once that maybe your grandmother should be given a pill to ease pain rather than undergo a surgery that would take care of the real problem. With that unfeeling statement, he revealed his lack of concern for those whom the government deems “unworthy” of further care.

Now, with the Supreme Court declaring Obamacare constitutional, we are getting closer to that nightmare. The rationale for the Court’s decision—that it’s a tax—opens the door for anything being taxed. Anything?

The choice we make this November is huge. Will we continue on a path that leads to government-stifled healthcare or will we instead allow individual ingenuity to thrive? Will we have death panels or more centers and hospitals like the one in New Orleans? This is just one of the reasons why this election may be the most significant in our lifetime.

Cartoon Day

I’ve got a cold and don’t want to try to think too much. Is it okay if I just inundate you with cartoons today? I have a lot of new ones. Here’s one dealing with one of my “favorite” organizations:

And of course there’s the continuing healthcare controversy over forcing religious organizations to offer all methods of birth control, even those that could be considered abortifacients:

Then there’s the Republican race, where Rick Santorum is finally making a splash. How do we know? He’s showing up in the political cartoons:

He’s going to have to watch out, though; he’s now a target:

I sincerely hope he’s ready for what he will have to face from those who don’t bother with moral scruples.

Anyone Remember the First Amendment?

President Obama’s switch to hitting the insurance companies directly for mandatory coverage of birth control [even abortifacients] is supposed to be an “accommodation” to the religious organizations who were upset over his unprecedented move to force them to provide the birth control. It’s just the old strategy of smoke and mirrors. Those organizations would still be offering the coverage in their plans, thereby violating their religious beliefs. The First Amendment is still being ignored under the supposed accommodation. Further, this means the president is dictating to insurance companies what they need to offer—still an unconstitutional power grab via Obamacare.

Why all this emphasis on providing birth control anyway? It’s not like it’s so unaffordable if one wants to make use of the methods. Insurance ought to be for the major costs of healthcare, not for everyday minor costs. Yet Obama decides to risk his political capital by forcing this issue. What’s behind this move?

It’s politically foolish. Perhaps he’ll have to come to grips with that:

Speaking of his “fundamental principles,” such as they are:

While I don’t agree with his desire to stifle political speech and override the First Amendment by limiting the amount of money one can spend [as long as all donations are made public], if he really believes what he says he does, he ought to at least be consistent with his beliefs, as inconvenient as they may be to his reelection efforts.

One of the Greatest?

CBS’s 60 Minutes aired an interview with President Obama Sunday night, but they edited out a most interesting portion. Near the end of the interview, he was asked how his presidency stacked up to previous presidents. His response? He concluded that only three other presidents in American history had done more for the country in both domestic and foreign policy than he had. First of all, that’s a lot of hubris—but I’m kind of used to that in this man.

The next question is who were the three he said had done more. One was Lincoln. I certainly agree with that. The other two were FDR and LBJ. Naming them as having done more for the country than any other presidents provides insight into the mind of the current chief executive. Just what did FDR and LBJ do that this president admires so much? Their main claim to fame [infamy?] is their direct assault on the Constitution. FDR used the Great Depression to alter the role of government dramatically in the mid-20th century; LBJ took FDR’s ideas and put them on steroids.

So what has Obama done to be classified as one of the greatest of all presidents in his own mind? He’s taken what FDR and LBJ have done and pushed their ideas over the edge into uncharted territory. His is the single biggest attempt to transform this nation into the nanny state that others have only dreamed about. Welcome to the United States of Europe, Obama’s perfect world.

What does he claim to have accomplished? Universal healthcare that will ensure low costs and quality treatment? Sure, for those the government deems worth saving. A trillion dollar stimulus that has put the country on the right track and invigorated the economy? Is that why we’ve had such wonderful employment and productivity numbers for the past three years?

Let’s allow the cartoonists to carry the message the rest of the way today as they illustrate the joys of living under the Obama regime:

But don’t worry, he’s slowing down the pace:

We’ve had forty-four presidents in our history. In my judgment, as a professional historian, I offer a different opinion on Obama’s ranking in that list. How does forty-fourth sound to you?