Tuesday, March 30, 2010

National Doctor's Day and the Black Ribbon Project

Today is National Doctor's Day. How ironic.

Update: Even more irony.

The Black Ribbon Project

I am now accepting contributions for a project to distribute black ribbons accompanied by a caduceus pin to symbolize the destruction of health care freedom and the political undermining of the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship.

To kick off this project, the ribbons and pins will be distributed on April 15th at a Tea Party in San Jose, California along with a request for a minimum donation of $1. Each pin will be accompanied with a slip of paper (or business card, depending on funding) explaining the meaning of the symbol. On the back, will be contact information for the following organizations:

Freedom and Individual Rights In Medicine
Americans for Free Choice in Medicine
Patient Power
Lucidicus Project

If you are willing to contribute $50 or more, I will keep track of your contribution and will reimburse you on a proportionate basis for any donations I receive in excess of my costs.

If you just want to purchase a few for your own use, I would appreciate a minimum donation of $1 each to cover my costs. If you want a large number (over 10) it would be helpful to receive the money and order up front. Otherwise, simply send me a check, a self-addressed/stamped envelope and a note telling me how many pins you would like. Email blackribbonproject@gmail.com for specific instructions on receiving a ribbon or for donating to this project.

I realize that if this spreads, I will have no control over what meaning people attribute to it, but I would like to do my best to try and have it associated with one of the following (still working on the final wording):

Version #1
This ribbon is to raise awareness of the recent damage to our health care freedom and to the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. Physicians will no longer be free to employ their medical knowledge, conscience and independent judgment in the best interests of their individual patients, but must tailor their advice and treatment to serve government regulations and politically determined goals.

Version #2
This ribbon is to raise awareness of the recent damage our government has caused to health care freedom and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. Under ObamaCare, physicians will be compelled to base their advice and treatment on politically determined goals, even when in conflict with the best interest of their individual patients.

[Feel free to vote (in the comments) on which version of teh meaning statement you like best.]

Happy National Doctors Day!


J.S. Mill - On Liberty

"The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest."

-- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist Source: On Liberty, 1859

How did we lose sight of this attitude?

When did we, as a country, start thinking that compassion justifies coercion?


Monday, March 29, 2010

The Individual in Society

I have no other knowledge about the work or the author, but I sure do like the quote:

"The individual is the true reality of life.
A cosmos in himself, he does not exist for the State,
nor for that abstraction called 'society,' or the 'nation,'
which is only a collection of individuals."
-- Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Source: The Place of the Individual in Society

HT Liberty Quotes

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Finally, some REALLY good news

There is health value in dark chocolate, says a Baylor University doctor. (HT John Goodman's Health Policy Blog)

Here are a few examples of the benefits:

•At 510 milligrams, dark chocolate contains more flavenols, powerful protective phytonutrients, per 100 grams than apples (110 mg), cherries (96 mg), brewed black tea (65 mg) or red wine (65 mg).

•Cocoa has a higher antioxidant capacity than teas or red wine.

•Population studies suggest that higher flavenoid intake may be associated with improved heart health.

•In people with high blood pressure, dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and LDL (the so-called "bad") cholesterol.

•Also in people with high blood pressure, dark chocolate enhances blood flow, relaxes blood vessels and decreases insulin sensitivity.

Of Dollars and Dimes

Please check out this short and to-the-accurate-point post over at Ron Pisaturo's Blog
In a very few words he captures a fundamental principle on how the welfare state destroys our welfare.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

That Which is Not Seen

One of the great tragedies of government interference into our private lives is that much of what we lose is never seen and never felt because it occurs in the form of the stillborn: all the inventions which are never invented; the companies which are never created; the careers which are never pursued.

Below is a letter a young woman is sending to her Congressman and submitting as a letter to the editor. She has given permission to have it published online in order to spread her thoughts as widely as possible.

Having traveled the path of college, medical school and residency myself-- I know firsthand the deeply satisfying experience of pursuing a career which is both intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying in its ability to provide a valuable service to others. If faced with laboring to become a physician under Obama's system of socialized medicine, I doubt I would make that choice again.

How many other bright, dedicated young adults will turn away from the study of medicine because they are unwilling to surrender their independent judgement to politically controlled health care?

We will never know, because it is that which is not seen.

"Do I Surrender My Rights?"

Dear Society,

I am writing you today to express my deep concern. I am but one of the many silent casualties of healthcare reform. Currently I am a high school junior who is considering my future. One path I am pondering is becoming a doctor. I am an honor student, active in sports, and am taking advanced placement college classes. The fact that I enjoy biology, chemistry, and helping others made me consider the long, arduous journey towards a medical degree.

Recently though, I heard a new phrase in the healthcare debate that gave me cause for concern, "healthcare is a right". My understanding of a right has always been that we were born with it, and it can never come at the expense of others' rights. How can you now lay claim to my hard work and future talents? I now feel that if I choose the medical profession I would become a second class citizen.

My dear American friend, after eight years of intense study, many more years of internship and residency, not to mention the hundreds of thousands in debt, I feel the price I am being asked to pay not just in dollars, but in my freedom is more than I can bear. I ask how many more silent voices in classrooms, from my fellow students with an equal passion for healing the sick, will never be heard in clinics and hospitals across this great country?

Alyssa Z


Friday, March 26, 2010

A Nation of Dependents

"The more we expect government to provide our basic needs, the more we become a nation dependent on government largess, rather than independent individuals personally empowered to earn the values we seek."

Today's post is published over at The American Thinker. Read the rest over there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

62% Want ObamaCare Challenged

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Maybe this country isn't ready for socialism after all.


Excuse me, Mr. President, your hypocrisy is showing, too.

President Obama and his family are also exempted from ObamaCare.

The special exemptions slipped into the health care law are another example of how those statists who rule consider themselves a privileged class, imposing burdens on the country that they will not accept themselves. -Washington Times, March 23, 2010

Read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Excuse Me, Congress, Your Hypocrisy is Showing

Congress Exempts Its Staff From ObamaCare

By Paul Hsieh, MD @ 12:05 AM PermaLink

No, really.

Get ready for two-tiered health care, depending on whether you're part of the ruling class or not.

Hold Them Accountable

"If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, keep your plan."

"[S]mall business owners and people who are being priced out of the insurance market will have the same kind of choice of private health insurance that members of Congress give to themselves."

"This proposal is paid for...[T]his legislation...brings down the cost of health care for families and businesses and the federal government...[It's]one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history."

--Barak Obama, March 19, 2010 speech to students at George Mason University.

1. If you like your doctor you can keep him.

2. If you like your plan, you can keep it.

3. This plan will reduce the deficit.

4. Health care costs will decrease.

5. Access to quality health care will increase.

6. The government is not taking over health care.

These are Obama's and Pelosi's promises.

Keep track of them. Each one is false.

We must work to hold accountable every single person who has made these claims and used them to to tarnish the shining star of American liberty.

Time and experience will prove them false. I can only hope that people will quickly learn from this horrible mistake and begin to reject the destructive collectivist premise which motivates such a perverse use of government power--that man does not own his own life and can be forced by others into servitude.

Only when enough people understand the evil behind the claims of compassion will we be able to reverse the march toward ever greater statism.

Hold them all accountable.

Every last one of them.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Using the CBO to Deceive

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have claimed that the health care control bil just passed will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion dollars in its first decade, and $1 trillion by the end of its second decade.

The CBO is required to analyze each bill as it is written, which allows them to drop the full context of a bill's costs. The following two links will provide you with information you need to understand why Obama and Pelosi's claims can only be acts of intentional deception.

The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform NYT by Former CBO Director Douglas Holz-Eakins

Letter from CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf on the combined effects

of HR 3590 (Senate HC bill just passed) HR 4872 (the "reconcilation" bill) and HR 3961 (Medicare Physicians Payment Reform Act of 2009) March 19, 2010

Also: The Lie of Fiscal Responsibility Reason March 22, 2010


A Day of Mourning

With the passage of ObamaCare, I am in mourning over the damage done to our health care freedom and to the ability of physicians to put their patients' individual best interest ahead of the needs of the common "good."

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Silver Lining

by Doug Reich

(Republished from The Rational Capitalist with author's permission.)

The Wall Street Journal ran a timeline of the many efforts to socialize medicine in America starting with Roosevelt's introduction of the first compulsory health-insurance bill in 1935. The 1954 Revenue Act excluded employer contributions to health plans from taxable income, thus further creating incentives to employer based insurance. The efforts have continued in modern times with the 1993 effort by the Clinton's for universal coverage culminating in last night's passage of another major effort towards socialized medicine.

Each time, broad sweeping efforts were rejected, yet incremental steps were taken. This is because the moral premises justifying the legislation remained unchallenged. In fact, as each broad effort failed, it actually strengthened the cynical notion that this legislation was "the right thing to do" but that the "fat cats" or some other scape goat stood in the way of "social justice." In other words, the Democrats were losing the battles but winning the broader ideological war. And, as long as they held the moral high ground on socialized medicine, they were able to inch their way towards their ultimate goal.

Of course, each incremental step towards socialized medicine wreaked havoc in the health care marketplace. The exclusion of benefits from taxation along with state mandates on coverage encouraged employer provided insurance stimulating artificial demand, increasing costs, and all but destroying the market for individual policies. The 1965 Johnson medicare and medicaid entitlements, while not full socialized medicine, artificially increased demand for services and costs skyrocketed. All of these policies and many more led to disastrous consequences which in light of the moral premises of altruism, only strengthened the left's resolve that "something needs to be done", i.e., the government needs to redistribute more tax payer earnings, enforce more crippling regulations, cut back on reimbursements to doctors, etc.

Of course, every socialist plan must end in a cost explosion/rationing death spiral as both economic logic and history demonstrate. When the profit motive is removed or reduced, supply decreases, entitlement demand increases, prices increase, leading to government price controls, leading to even less profit, more shortages, repeat until dead. This does not matter to them. As Obama has stated, they believe "it is the right thing to do." Historically, the right has basically agreed with them, arguing only that "it costs too much" or must be done in some limited form. This is why we have crept slowly towards socialized medicine. Both sides share the same moral premises.

Once again, the left has fallen short of their ultimate goal of government run health care, but is there any doubt that this bill will effect the same outcome? Naturally, it will lead to higher prices, shortages, and misery thus urging the introduction of even more government control until finally, we will have full government run health care.

What is different this time?

This time, the left won the battle, but those who advocate individual rights and capitalism, may have begun to win the war. Instead of a nominal political defeat amid cynical, "idealistic" resignation, the left has won the political battle but has lost the American people's ideological imprimatur. America is pissed. All the polls show that a majority of Americans oppose this bill. People are taking to the streets, lambasting their congressmen at town hall meetings, crashing their email servers and organizing grass roots protests. Polls show overwhelmingly that the Democrats are poised to lose seats in the mid term elections and perhaps, control of the House itself. This effort by the Dem's has resulted in the formation of a grass roots movement of pro-freedom advocates for the first since, perhaps, the American Revolution. There is a palpable sense that the American welfare state is corrupt, its treasury broke, and its policies a political dead end. More importantly, there is the sense that something is morally wrong with this bill and this regime. People are openly rejecting the idea that they should pay for their neighbor's doctors bill. They are asserting their right to make their own decision with their money and their health. They are beginning to challenge the heretofore unchallengeable: the moral premises of socialized medicine and the welfare state in general.

I don't want to oversell this. Many on the right only rejected this bill because it funded abortions and many only seem to oppose it on the pragmatic grounds that it costs too much rather than on the basis of more fundamental principles. However, this kind of outpouring of anger and hostility at the political process could not be motivated only by fleeting pragmatic concerns. Only morality can ignite this scale of angst - the sense that this bill and this regime is evil.

Fundamental ideas are what motivated our Founding Fathers. They did not simply argue that the stamp tax be reduced by 2.8%. They rejected the idea of monarchy as such - they rejected the notion that they were to be treated as subjects and instead, asserted their unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If I am right, this event could be the beginning of the end for the left, not only politically, but welfare statism as a moral ideal, and that would mean for good. What the Tea Party movement lacks right now is a clear and consistent ideological foundation to positively and articulately assert the principle of individual rights and rational self-interest. If the Republicans win in November without the proper ideology, they will repeat the same mistakes that got us here in the first place.

The Tea Party desperately needs leadership. Everyone concerned with their life and their freedom should be directly involved with this movement. Write, speak, donate money, whatever you can do. Now is the time. The mid-term elections will be the first major battleground. In the immortal words of a man who gave his life fighting for justice: "Let's Roll."

[update: states are organizing to sue the federal government to challenge health care on constitutional grounds. Urge your state representatives to pursue this path.]


Who is the aggressor?

This weekend, while following the developments of the health care vote on FDL, I learned about some unacceptable behavior by some Tea Party protesters on the Washington Mall.[See UPDATE below]

Sen. Barney Frank was call a faggot.
Rep. John Lewis was called a nigger.
Others were reportedly spit upon.
A brick was thrown through the office window of Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Racism and ad hominim attacks such as described above are always inappropriate and worthy of condemnation. Tim Ryan made a statement to the House requesting Republicans condemn the entire Tea Party movement (after referring to them as tea baggers!) The acts above were performed by a few discrete individuals and are not indicative or representative of the movement, which has been been remarkably peaceful and well-behaved, even if angry.

The acts of violence are more disturbing, and have no place in a country which respects individual rights.

But let us be clear about the nature of the struggle in which are are currently engaged. The problem we face is that the instrument of government, whose sole legitimate purpose is the protection of individual rights, is being used to initiate force against innocent, peaceful private citizens. Multiple provisions within the health care bills (individual mandates, state interference in private contracts, price controls, confiscatory taxes, laws which turns some citizens involuntarily into the indentured servants of others) are acts of aggression on the rights of each individual to his own life, liberty and labor and ONLY TO HIS OWN.

Government is coercion: force backed by the threat of violence. The process of voting does not change the moral character of an act which violates an individual's rights. Those of us who protest against the implementation of ObamaCare can see that it is an act of aggression, backed by the threat of violence, against our inalienable rights. Our ability and our right to live free and independent lives is under attack by the very government created for our protection. It is a frightening place to stand.

This country is facing many significant challenges, but the solutions we implement must be consistent with a respect for the life, liberty and property of others—equally before the law. No special interests. No special treatment of one group as opposed to another. All other solutions involve the initiation of force and are neither moral nor practical—and must be actively condemned and resisted.

I am not sure how egregious violations of individual rights by the government must be before responding with physical force is justified. Although this is a question which must eventually be answered, we are not there yet.

That is what the original Tea Party was all about.

3-37-2010 UPDATE: The charges of racial slurs and spitting are most likely inaccurate if not out right fabrications. The spitting incident was caused by the unintentional spittle of a yelling protester. No hard evidence for use of the n-word exists---where as the accusers have a past history of false accusations of racism. HT TIA Daily.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

BILL PASSES 219 - 212

Pelosi Has Her 216

They haven't voted yet, but Pelosi now has commitments from 216.

Cooper and Donnelly were the last to to cave.

We'll never know what she held over each person's head in order to get this vote.

Please send letters of thanks to all those who voted no.

It's not over. The fight for freedom never is.

Up Date: Health Care Bill

Washington Post:

FLinkDL: 214: For
208: Against

8 undecideds:
If you have the stomach to continue to call or fax, here's the numbers. 202-22.....
Rep///Phone/// FAX

Marion Berry 5-4076; 5-5602 no- but vulnerable
Rick Boucher 5-3861 5-0042

Costello 5-5661 5-0285

Donnelly 5-3915 5-6798

Paul Kanjorski 5-6511 5-0764

Lipinski 5-5701 5-1012

Mike Michaud 5-6306 5-2943

Jim Cooper 5-4311 6-1035

Down to the wire.

If you are up for it, here is the call list:http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfndp8bx_33cjs33ghk

Stupak calls a press conference for 4 PM ET.

Current FDL whip count: 208 yes, 209 no, with 5 undecideds. If you throw Lipinski and Costello onto the no side, it’s 208-211.

From the Washington Post:

Update: Stupak and 4 others confirm "yes". Declared now stands at Yes - 213; No-209


Out of the Frying Pan; Into the Fire

MSNBC reporting Stupak’s a yes.

Talk has it a special deal was made with Obama and an executive order.

Pelosi and Obama had their political lives on the line. Having put themselves in this life-or-death situation, they'd be willing to do everything short of murder to pass this bill. I guess we shouldn't' be surprised if they succeed.

Read more here.

For a peek at some of what we are in for, read Brian's Swartz's excellent editorial in Pajama Media "Get Ready for Health Insurance Slum Lords."


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tomorrow's Vote

In case you want to know:

The session tomorrow will begin around 2:00 pm ET. Three votes – potentially four – will be taken. First there will be a vote on the rule, with an hour of debate on it. Expect a vote around 3:00 ET. Then there will be two hours of debate on the reconciliation bill. That will get a vote around 5:00 ET. There would be no debate in between the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill, which would happen around 5:30 ET. If there is a motion to recommit, that would get sandwiched in before the vote on the reconciliation bill. -FDL News

Current Whip count:

For - 205

Lean No (Stupak bloc) - 10

Unknown - 9

Against - 207

List of Undecideds and contact numbers:http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfndp8bx_32hkgt3qgb

Now back to faxing.


Keep Calling: We're Making a Difference

House To Drop “Deem And Pass” Strategy

It's hard to tell if this is a good thing or not as far as defeating the health care bill, but it does show that at least someone in Washington is getting the message that their shenanigans are not acceptable.

The current plan is to take three separate votes.

Vote #1 is on the "rule" which in essence is a resolution to set the terms for debate.

Vote #2 is a package of amendments, essentially demands for changes which the House expects the Senate to approve once the House House passes the Senate bill.

Vote #3 The Senate bill itself.

Meanwhile, pressure and dealing with Stupak continues- maybe even an executive order in exchange for a yes vote.

Health Care count - update


Count update from FDL.

From the Washington Post:
For: 183 Against:207 Undecided: 41

With four vacancies, Nancy Pelosi needs to round up 216 votes for a majority. If the remaining Dems voted the same as they did Nov. 7, the vote would be 216-215.

Faxing is much more difficult getting through yesterday and today. Lots of busy signals and failure to pick up.

I will be frequently updating this google doc with the whip count and representatives to target your calls, emails and faxes.

Points to consider making:

For the Stupak block:

The entire bill is anti-life, even if there is a special deal on abortion funding.

For the Undecideds:

Any bill of this magnitude which can only be passed by such a tortured, political process via marginal, if even legitimate tactics, deserves to be rejected on that ground alone.

The passage of this bill will change the vary character of our nation from one of free and independent citizens into dependent, indentured servants of the state.

Other excellent "talking points" put together by Brian Schwartz can be found at Patient Power.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care "Reform" Countdown


Last Updated: 6:27pm, 3/19/09

I will continue to update the google doc as people declare. Please call or fax. Very difficult to get through today.

Keep up the pressure. Still frighteningly close.

Looking Frightfully Close to Passing

Endgame: Deal with Stupak Bloc Discussed That Would Guarantee Passage of Health Care Bill

What happens when we're all on Medicaid?

Walgreens: no new Medicaid patients as of April 16

Effective April 16, Walgreens drugstores across the state won't take any new Medicaid patients, saying that filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition — the latest development in an ongoing dispute over Medicaid reimbursement. (Emphasis added.)

Today's Health Care Reform Fax to Congressmen

Today I am at it again---this time I will fax a letter from my husband. Faxes work better for me because so many Congressmen do not accept emails from outside their districts. I can understand that they are most interested in hearing for the people who vote them in and out of office---but on any issue that effects the entire nation, they need to hear form the entire nation.

You have my permission to use this as your own. Just send something!

Thank goodness for auto redial to help me past the busy signals.

For a list of key undecideds and their fax numbers, see this google doc: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfndp8bx_32hkgt3qgb

March 18, 2010

RE: health care reform

Dear Representative _________,

Our country needs health care reform---but NOT the bills which are currently before Congress.

Any solution to this country’s challenges must be found within realm of individual rights.

Policies or programs which infringe upon our fundamental rights of life, liberty and property are not moral and will not be sustainable.

Both the House and Senate versions of health care reform are built upon major rights violations:

--mandates on individuals and employers to purchase or provide health insurance: a violation of the right to liberty and property

--poorly defined terms and directives which delegate wide scopes of arbitrary power to regulators and agencies: a clear violation of the rule of law.

--taxes and subsidies which turn some citizens into forced laborers for other citizens, a form of involuntary servitude

--a myriad of rules and regulations which interfere with the right of private citizens to contract and trade with each other for goods and services at a mutually agreeable price

--corrupt deals for special interest groups in violation of equality before the law

These bills do not solve the problem health care affordability and will enact programs and policies which will be ruinous to our economy, and more importantly to our most sacred political principle:

Each man has a right to his own life, and only to his own. The sole legitimate purpose of government is to secure to each individual the rights of life, liberty and property, equally before the law.

Vote to reaffirm these truths upon which our country was founded. Vote NO on the current health care bill.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Projected Budget Deficit Without the Health Care Bill

The CBO Report on Health Care Reform

It may be correct as far as it goes, but it is not the full truth.

Here is the letter I will fax to to as many undecideds and Blue Dog Dems as I can get through to today:

Dear _________

The CBO report is in---but it’s not the whole story.

Do not be fooled by figures that include 10 years of revenue against 6 years of spending. Gimmick-free accounting shows a deficit increase of $460 billion the first 10 years and $1.4 trillion in the second ten years.

Do not be fooled by cost projections for such a large entitlement expansion. History proves they have NEVER been right---usually off by a factor of 10 or more.

1966 Medicare 25 year cost projection: $12 billion

Actual cost: $107 billion

1987 Medicaid 5 year cost projection: $1 billion

Actual cost: $17 billion

1988 Medicare home care benefit cost projection: $4 billion

Actual cost: 10 billion

Do not be fooled by the report that counts on cuts to Medicare which have NEVER occurred. Or worse---that quality of care will not suffer if the cuts ever do go through.

Do not believe the blatant lie “If you like your plan you can keep it.” Medicare destroyed the private health insurance industry for seniors, and this will destroy private health insurance for the rest of us.

But the greatest cost of all is how attempts to pass this bill are undermining of the rule of law and the very mechanisms of our Constitutional republic. This bill is a direct assault on the freedom and independence of all citizens, in clear violation of the fundamental purpose of government: the protection of individual rights.

No man can morally be made the means to another’s end.

I know you know all of this.

I just want you to know that the rest of us know it too.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

4 more

If you have time, here are 4 more fence sitters:

Marcie Kaptur Phone 202-225-4146 FAX 202-225-7711

Jason Altmire Phone 202-225-2565 FAX 202-226-2274

Sanford Bishop Phone 202-225-3631 FAX 202-225-2203

Melissa Bean Phone 202-225-3711 FAX 202-225-7830

It is dangerously close!!

Here's one Whip count:

Adding in Kucinich’s support, and Ann Kirkpatrick’s, to the last whip count puts the number at 193 yes, 205 no, and 208-208 with leaners. That leaves Democrats needing 8 of the final 15 uncommitted votes to come through. The group includes five who voted no last time, and 10 who voted yes. So theoretically, if nobody flips to no, the Democrats have the votes. Here are the final 15:

Lincoln Davis, Jim Matheson, Harry Teague, Travis Childers, John Barrow, Zack Space, Chris Carney, Brad Ellsworth, Jerry Costello, Henry Cuellar, Nick Rahall, Solomon Ortiz, Earl Pomeroy, Bill Foster, Harry Mitchell.

Socialized health care--and there is no question that mandatory insurance with massive subsidies is anything but socialized--is immoral and will be a financial disaster. It has NEVER worked anywhere. It always leads to more and more erosion of liberty.

Email. Call. Fax.

Do what you can!!

Lincoln Davis Phone 202-225-6831 FAX 202-226-5172
Jim Matheson Phone 202-225-3011 FAX 202-225-5638
Harry Teague Phone202-225-2365 FAX 202-225-9599
Travis Childers Phone 202-225-4306 FAX 202-22503549
John Barrow Phone 202-225-2823 FAX 202-225-3377
Zack Space Phone 202-225-6265 FAX 202-225-3394
Chris Carney Phone 202-335-3731 FAX 202-225-9594
Brad Ellsworth Phone 202-225-4636 FAX 202-225-3284
Jerry Costello Phone 202-225-5661 FAX 202-225-0285
Henry Cuellar Phone 202-225-1640 FAX 202-225-1641
Nick Rahall Phone 202-225-3452 FAX 202-225-9061
Solomon Ortiz Phone 202-225-7742 FAX 202-226-1134
Earl Pomeroy Phone 202-225-2611 FAX 202-226-0893
Bill Foster Phone 202-225-2976 FAX 202-225-0697
Harry Mitchell Phone 202-225-2190 FAX 202-225-3263

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Birthday James Madison

There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied … than … that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong … nothing can be more false … it would be the interest of the majority in every community to despoil and enslave the minority of individuals … reestablishing … force as the measure of right.
--James Madison, "Father of the Constitution", in a letter to James Monroe, October 5, 1786

For more quotes see here, here and here. For Letter written my Madison, see here.

Pelosi asks for your story

Speaker Pelosi has a web page asking for emotional ammunition to help her pass the health care bill:

As Speaker Pelosi works with colleagues in Congress to finish the job of repairing America's broken health care system, opponents of reform are mounting their biggest effort yet to kill reform and preserve the status quo.

Add your voice to the millions calling for reform. Share your own health care story with Speaker Pelosi

Here's what I sent to her:

Tragic "health care stories" are only symptoms of the problem which point out the existence of a disease, not its cause. To properly reform health care, you must first have the correct diagnosis In this case it is costly, restrictive, rights-violating government intervention. The cure is a "governmentectomy" followed by a continuous infusion of free market policies.
Keep your hands off my life and the lives of my patients!!
Dr. Beth Haynes, MD

Send her your "story, will you? She needs a cathartic dose of reality--although she may find it a pill she's unable to swallow.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Health Care Endgame

Reposted from FIRM

This upcoming week will be the critical week in the health care fight. Speaker Pelosi is expected to start the process for the House to hold its final vote to approve the Senate bill. The vote will probably take place at the end of this upcoming week.

Right now, they are probably still a few votes shy of the majority they need:

"Dem House vote-counter lacks health care votes now"
Associated Press, 3/14/2010

"Can Nancy Pelosi Get the Votes?"
Michael Barone, Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2010

This is an extremely risky move by the Democrats. Normally, a Speaker wouldn't plan on voting on such major legislation unless he or she was sure of having enough votes.

But the Democrats are also (correctly) concluding that time is not on their side. They have made the calculation that if they push for it now, then maybe then can squeeze out the last few votes via a combination of political carrots and sticks. For example, they have "sweetened" the deal for the wavering moderates by promising billions of dollars of new student loan subsidies.

On the other hand they recognize that if they wait much longer, then when these wavering Congressmen go back home for the Easter recess, they will get an earful from their constituents who are strongly opposed to the bill, and they'll lose even more support.

Hence, from the Left's perspective, it's now or never.

If you (like me) support free-market health reforms, this means three things:

1) We are winning. We have a chance to defeat this terrible bill. [Beth adds: The numbers are too close. Now is not the time to become complacent.]

In particular, do not uncritically accept the inevitable news stories about how the Democrats are "close to getting the votes" or how Pelosi is "confident she'll have the votes". She has to exude an aura of public confidence, otherwise her coalition will quickly unravel.

Polls repeatedly show Americans opposed to ObamaCare:

"Why Obama Can't Move the Health-Care Numbers"
Rasmussen and Schoen, Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2010

Similarly, head counts of House Democrats also show that they don't quite have enough votes yet:

"Scrambling for votes, Democrats face uphill climb to pass healthcare reform"
The Hill, 3/13/2010

"The Hill's 'Whip Count' on ObamaCare –- as of 3/13/2010"

If they had the votes, they'd have already passed it by now.

2) We must keep up the pressure.

The Democrats are pulling out all stops to find some way to get this through now, before the critical Easter recess.

At this point in time, the single most important thing you can do is contact your Congressman and tell him or her what you think:


This is especially important if your Congressman is one of the undecided or swing votes on these "Code Red" lists:

Tea Party Patriots Code Red Alert

Even if your Congressman is a firm "Yes" and you disagree, it's still important to let them know where you stand. If even the liberal Democrats from "safe" seats consistently hear that their constituents are against it, it will give the wavering moderates more political cover to vote "No". They can then tell Pelosi, "Even your constituents hate this thing -- there's no way I can support it".

*** Our counter-pressure is our best weapon against the pressure that the statists will exert on these wavering Congressmen. ***

Your letter doesn't have to be long or eloquent. It just has to convey certainty, passion, and moral conviction. One short letter that I've seen against ObamaCare runs something like this:
"Please vote NO on this terrible health care plan! If you vote yes, you will destroy the ability of me and my family to receive good health care in the future. This is personal! If you vote yes, we will never forgive you for hurting our lives and trampling on our basic freedoms."
(Of course, you should express your opinion in a fashion that reflects your own style and values.)

Feel free to use all contact methods -- phone, fax, and e-mail. And please feel free to contact them multiple times over the upcoming week. In this context, repetition is a virtue!

And of course if you agree with your Congressman's position, then thank him or her. They also need our moral support.

3) If you have friends or family in other parts of the country, tell them to contact their Congressmen.

If you need intellectual ammunition for them, one of my personal favorites is from the AFCM website:

"Fifty Fallacies About Health Care" by Richard Ralston

Jared Rhoads' Lucidicus Project also has a good set of OpEds.

And of course, FIRM has its archive of articles and OpEds.

I personally think that the most important thing we can do in the next few days will be to directly contact our Congressmen and have friends/family do the same. LTEs and OpEds will still be important, but not as much as before. (That said, I'm still going to continue writing and/or disseminating some of my earlier writings to people I know around the country.)

This is the endgame, folks. Most political observers regard the health care bill as a 50-50 "toss-up" or "too close to call". It really could go either way. What happens this week will determine the course of this great country (for good or for ill) for decades to come.

Your voice could be the critical difference in swaying the right one or two minds. If you value your lives and your freedom, the time to speak up isnow!

(Anyone is welcome to forward or repost this to any appropriate recipients or venues.)

Update: Minor language and link changes made 3-16-2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quick and Easy Health Care Reform Survey

NY Rep. Scott Murphy has a simple survey on health care reform. It's the only one I know of with the option "end all entitlement programs (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA) and get government completely out of health care" for the question "what should be the focus of health care reform?"

Disturbing Trends

Budget Deficits: Actual and Projected

June 2009:

155 million workers in the private sector.
Average private sector income $39,751

22.5 million federal, state and local government employees.
Average government employee income $75,419

3.9 million welfare recipients
46.5 million social Security recipients
14.7 million drawing unemployment benefits

From John Goodman's Health Policy Blog:
In 2008:
Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691…the average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046… These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker.

"In 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center." --CNN Money.com

"[O]ne out of every six dollars of American's income is now coming in the form of a federal or state check or voucher." --USA Today

Soon the tax-eaters will exceed the tax-payers.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toyota Recall: A Market Success

Just want to let you know about a well written Op-Ed in the San Jose Mercury News detailing the superior ability of the free market to control for quality.

In cases like Toyota, free market works better than government by Emily Schaefer

[E]ven massive product recalls should be seen not as examples of market failure, but as signs that markets work as they should...

A functioning market is one in which companies produce products that meet consumer demands. When companies make products that are unsafe or ineffective, they risk losing customers and money...

While no company is perfect, correcting errors when they occur is a necessary part of doing business — and necessary to a properly functioning market...

Other private organizations and businesses {Kelley's Blue Book, consumer Reports] also have an incentive to provide reliable, accurate and timely information on product quality and safety...

Private organizations such as Consumers Union must maintain a reputation for accuracy and integrity. If they fail to do so, they lose support, credibility and revenue. Government agencies must meet no such market test. In fact, it is often failure that gets rewarded with larger budgets, additional employees, and more investigative or regulatory authority. Their incentive, therefore, is to exaggerate problems...

Government's incentives — beyond doing the right thing, which most government employees want to do — are often at odds with its mission.

Many proponents of government regulation can not visualize how quality control can be achieved in the free market. Schaefer illustrates how not only it is possible in the free market, it is superior. Read the rest.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Health Care Reform: Why Science and Law Do Not Mix

Regional Cost Differences in Medical Care: A Case in Point
"We have long known that some places...offer high-quality care at costs below average."
--Barak Obama, 09-09-2010, Joint Session of Congress
“[O]ne of the biggest signals of inefficiency in American health care is the massive regional variation in cost and health outcomes…yet the higher cost areas and hospitals don’t generate better outcomes than the lower-cost ones. The result is an estimated $700 billion a year spent on health care that does nothing to improve patient health.”
-- Peter Orszag, OMB blog post, 05-28-2009

It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so.
--Josh Billings, and several others

President Obama has promised he will not sign any health care reform bill that "adds one dime to our deficits" and that his "approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades." In addition to employing deceptive budget gimmicks, Obama's health care budget depends on a 30% reduction in Medicare expenditures. Mr. Obama and his budget director, Peter Orszag, believe this can be accomplished through elimination of rampant "waste and abuse" as evidenced by the wide regional variation in Medicare spending.

Orszag’s claims of $700 billion in potential savings originate from a specific analysis, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the conclusions of which are being challenged, most recently in last month's issues of the New England Journal of Medicine and Medical Care, and others. Critics raise reasonable concerns about the methodology used to conclude that regional differences in health care spending are due to waste and fraud, and that greater expenditures fail to achieve better outcomes. Drs. Jonathan Skinner and Elliot Fisher, principal authors of the original analysis, have publicly responded in defense of their work. This debate is important, not just because it raises serious questions about the potential for savings in proposed reforms, but more importantly, it calls into question justifications for greater government control of health care.

Regardless of who is right and who is wrong on this specific issue, of far greater importance is the inappropriateness of employing scientific research to frame and justify political action. Politicians are increasingly adept at finding and quoting research results which appear to support a particular program or policy, while conveniently ignoring any contradictory evidence or analysis. Through subsequent loud and frequent repetition, a statistic or study result becomes accepted knowledge...even when it isn't so.

Obama and Orszag both refer to scientific studies in an attempt to provide legitimacy to their political agenda. The conclusions of the Dartmouth Health Atlas seem to support allegations that "high spending represents 'waste' and low spending represents 'efficiency'." Yet, even before this month's pair of articles, other investigators (also here and here) have questioned the validity of those conclusions, pointing out erroneous assumptions and faulty methodology. The recent articles strengthen those criticisms.

If Congress succeeds in passing legislation based on results that are false, savings will not materialize, and we will be stuck with an expensive, intrusive bureaucracy scientifically designed to correct a problem which does not exist. All errors will be fossilized in a legal morass. Even the initially correct portions (if any) would remain stuck in a moment of time, unable to shift with changing circumstances or expanded and improved understanding. Leaving the details to regulatory control is not a solution as that merely exchanges the problem of rigidity for the problem of arbitrary and unpredictable rule.

Legislation is rigid, and slow to adapt--a blunt tool which is able to provide restraint, capable of enforcing opinions, but not of uncovering truth. To maintain the Rule of Law and the protection of individual rights, this is precisely what law must be: stable, predictable, thoroughly deliberated, easily understood, and universal.

Science is fluid, and constantly changing. Results are typically complex and controversial, frequently unexpected, arcane and particular.

The political apparatus is not designed to move with the ebb and flow of scientific knowledge, nor should it even attempt to be. Laws of nature are revealed, not legislated. Laws of men, to be objective, are predicated on the unchanging fundamentals of human nature.

We do not need government to enforce scientific findings. Left alone, the truth will emerge. Besides, a superior system already exists which responds flexibly to expansions and refinements in knowledge. This system is fluid, decentralized, relatively quick to react, and consistent with individual rights. This system is the free market-- able to function not just for material goods but also in the realm of ideas. Contrary to the slow, deliberative and ideally universal functioning of government and law, the free market is poised to quickly recognize and apply new information in an almost infinite variety of ways to a multitude of unique situations. With a profusion of simultaneous, privately-funded experiments, entrepreneurs sift through a plethora of alternatives, and then, by competing for the reward of profits earned through voluntary exchange, the most effective, accurate and efficient processes emerge.

Science enhances the ability of free men to make informed decisions regarding how best to achieve their life's goals. Man's flourishing, and very life, depends on the freedom to direct his actions according to his own judgment. When governments employ the fruits of science to usurp private judgment, it turns science against man's lives through the destructive hubris of central planning.

Governments must stick their proper function: the protection of individual rights--and leave the work of science and production to those who do it best: free individuals in peaceful pursuit of their lives.

And any mistakes made, will be on our own dime.