Plans and Promises

When I first heard President Obama say, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” I did a double take. Because when a politician begins to say things like that, you’d better take notice, and be on guard. My first thought was, “I’m sorry, what right does he have to say whether I can or can’t keep my health insurance?” Further, “What business is it of his what my health insurance looks like?” But then I began to look into that claim and found that it was not going to be true for a whole lot of people.

So when the news began to break last month that many, many people are not able to keep their health insurance plans, I was not surprised. Because – and this is key – I actually read the what the law said. I didn’t just rely on talking points or media spin; I read the actual law. And I saw that it directed health insurance companies to nix policies that changed after the law was passed (and what policy never changes year to year?). I saw that many Americans’ health insurance plans would be canceled, specifically due to the Affordable Care Act. I read the estimates by government agencies that predicted scores of millions would lose their coverage and be forced into the Obamacare exchanges. It was all right there. I was aghast that so many seemed to not believe it or not care. That was until now.

But since people are now beginning to notice and to speak up, since they are losing the coverage they liked and wished to keep, let us take a look at what the President promised, and what he is saying today. And I dare say that you should be frightened by what you see from the most powerful man in the country.

I must pause here to make an appeal to those who are supporters of the President. Perhaps you voted for him. Perhaps you are a democrat who thinks Mr. Obama is a good leader. Please allow me to ask of you a simple question: Do you have the courage to disagree with him? I ask this because I faced a similar challenge during the Bush years. I was a Bush supporter, who twice voted for him, and generally agreed with him. But there were things he did that I had to have the courage to look at and to say, “No, that’s not right.” Will you look into it? Do you have the courage to speak up and to say, “This is not right”?

“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” said President Obama in 2010. Sounds pretty straight forward. Sounds simple to understand. It does not sound ambiguous. In fact, the President repeated this claim so often that he seemed angry that he had to keep saying it, that anyone would be skeptical. And he said this for a reason. Polls showed the vast majority of people liked their health insurance, and it would be reasonable that they would resist a plan that told them up front they would lose their coverage and be forced into a more expensive plan.

Thing is, the President – and the entire administration – knew this wasn’t true. Because, well, it was written into the law. But do you expect a sitting President to ever say to the nation, “I lied to you”? No, what they will do is spin. The lines from the White House now include:
“Oh no, you’re not having your policy cancelled. You’re getting an upgrade!”
“We didn’t cancel your insurance, those mean insurance companies did.”
And probably the worst is what the President himself recently said:
“If you had or have one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was, you could keep it… if it hasn’t changed since the law’s passed.”

No sir, you didn’t. What you said was, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.”

I won’t discuss here why I think President Obama said what he did, and why his party wrote the law as they did – that is a subject that deserves much more space and a lot of care. But what I will say is what I’ve said many times. Go check things out for yourself, and don’t rely on what the media – or even a President – tells you.

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Math

You may have seen this video recently on social networks or blogs.  Dave Ramsey lays out a very reasonable, rational explanation of what Obamacare is going to do to insurance rates.  And he does what I seek to do, but oftentimes fall short of.  He doesn’t start with the political angle.  He looks at an issue critically and describes what he sees will be the logical result.  Such is what I have been trying to do in telling others of Obamacare’s effects on their lives and the country.  Putting aside the political ramifications, this law will do incredible harm to people, even those we claim to want to help.  It’s not a political argument.  It’s simple math.

The disaster is almost here

Do you have health insurance? You will soon be required by law to have it. And its cost may be more than you can afford to pay.

Beware of government promises, and promises by politicians seeking your vote. Those promises have a funny way of evaporating before you get what you thought you would. And don’t we usually decry this? We disparage smooth talking politicians who make promises they cannot possibly deliver. Yet we continue to believe them, and to elect them.

I believe we are headed for a disaster very soon because of Obamacare. As people begin to realize that the law says they must buy health insurance or pay a fine, and as the cost of insurance continues to rise, the economy will take a major hit. As the economy slows down, more people will be out of work, yet still be required to buy insurance.

I know there are many who have the absolute best of intentions when it comes to their support of the “Affordable Care Act.” They genuinely care about helping the poor and needy, and they think laws like this will help. But my contention from the time this bill was being debated is that it will do far more damage to those less fortunate, to the sick, to the elderly, and even to the middle class than it will ever do to help them.

Some saw problems with our healthcare system and automatically believed that any proposed fix would be a good one. Especially one that supposedly promises to provide health insurance to those who don’t have it. But Obamacare doesn’t do that. It simply says you have to buy health insurance. “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house,” argued…Barack Obama during the 2008 democrat primary. “In some cases, there are people [in Massachusetts] who are paying fines and still can’t afford [health insurance], so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance, and they’re paying a fine…” And he had a good argument. Yet this is the centerpiece of his own healthcare law, its funding mechanism, and the chief reason the law was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court last summer.

And the scenario Mr. Obama pointed out in Massachusetts will be happening across the country, as many will lose their existing health insurance plan from their employer. Either through having their hours cut to part-time or through their employer dropping coverage, many will have to go to the exchanges, where they may or may not be able to afford to buy. Should they not buy, they must pay a fine, and now they are – as our President said – “worse off than they were”.

To be fair, there will be some who will be helped by the law; some whose situations will – in the short term at least – be improved. But the reason I opposed the bill, and why I still support the law’s repeal, is that the bad will far outweigh the good. In a nut shell:

– It will dramatically drive up the cost of insurance for families already struggling to make ends meet.
– It will result in many people’s jobs being cut to part time or eliminated entirely.
– It will result in less available care and poorer quality care for Americans.
– It will cause the rationing of care, meaning many sick or elderly will be denied access to healthcare that could improve their quality of life, or save it entirely.

We have already seen the first two in action. Companies across the nation have been cutting employees’ hours to avoid the heavy cost of Obamacare. I personally know a young man whose hours were cut in half directly because of the law. And the cost of insurance is going through the roof. President Obama often likes to cite individuals’ situations when showing why laws he’s signed are good things. I’d like to cite one family’s current situation.

Andy and Amy Mangione of Louisville, KY are a middle class family with two boys. Because of Obamacare, their premiums are tripling next year, from a little more than $300 a month to nearly $1,000 a month. And their plan includes a high deductible, meaning they are assuming a good amount of risk as it is. Now they are going to have to find a way to cut over $600 from their budget each month just to afford the insurance that the law now says they must have. May I ask, could you afford an extra $600 a month out of your pay check?

As this kind of situation happens more over the country in the coming days, can you imagine the affect it will have on the economy?

In a move to limit costs, many insurance companies are beginning to limit the number doctors a patient can see. This gives less freedom to patients and limits their options.

And finally, Obamacare created the a bureaucracy known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). These 15 people have been given the power to essentially say what care can be given to whom, and by default what care can be withheld from whom. Simply put, these will be the people in charge of health care rationing. The ones that will be affected most by this horrible system are the most vulnerable: the sick and the elderly. Even advisers to the President have been public in their call for these “death panels” (as they call them) as part of a solution to the high cost of healthcare. I think it is despicable for the government to have the power to deny someone life saving or life improving care.

Why do so many oppose this law? It’s not because we’re just meanies who don’t want to help the poor. On the contrary, we see this disaster making many more people poor, and keeping the ones who are already poor from getting out. Get prepared, this could be a very rough ride.

Tough Times

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and I’ve had some time to reflect and to think about all the debate and discussion that was, and to think about what lies ahead. But mostly, I have been mourning. What I see on the horizon has me fearing that a great country is very close to self destruction. The 2012 election was, I think, our last chance to stop the decline before it leads to great damage. I do not believe we cannot recover from it, but I firmly believe very difficult days are ahead very soon.

There are four major areas that I see as crumbling; four pillars of an America that for more than two centuries has been the beacon of freedom to the world, as well as its envy, that are now eroding. These are in no particular order, as they are all important.

Our economy has been weak for more than four years, and it is about to get worse. What drives our economic engine is freedom, and that freedom is being taken away. Success is being punished, and the Obama Administration is attempting, through their tax policy, to close off the opportunity for the middle class to advance beyond it.

One of the first things Mr. Obama wants to do is to raise taxes, which is why I believe we are going over the “fiscal cliff.” Obama knows that if we do, the media will not blame him or his party, but will blame the republicans for “not being willing to compromise.” The republicans could give him everything he wants, but I believe he would refuse it, much like he did in the 2011 debt limit talks.

With taxes raised and people having less money to spend, the economy will begin a quick slide. Businesses will have less money to hire workers, and some will have to lay off workers to pay the extra taxes. Who knows how bad it will be, but I think most people have no idea the economic difficulty that awaits.

Secondly, with Obama re-elected and the democrats still in control of the Senate, Obamacare will be fully implemented, beginning in 2014. This, too, I believe will severely harm the economy. Most people still do not know what the law requires. They are beginning to see the cost of insurance go up rapidly, but wait until the companies they work for begin to stop offering healthcare benefits to them, because they are too expensive. They will then be forced – by law – to go buy health insurance, whether they can afford it or not, or be fined and even jailed. When Americans have even less disposable income because they are having to pay so much to stay in compliance with the law, what do you think the economic result will be? Not to mention the number of companies who will have to reduce their workforce to pay for the new federally approved insurance or the fines for not doing so.

Social issues is another big problem for America. With Barack Obama in charge of Supreme Court nominations for the next four years, it is almost certain that abortion will remain the law of the land for another generation. Can a nation that kills more than a million of its children each year in the womb expect not to face Providential judgment eventually? So called “gay marriage” is also on its way to the Supreme Court, where it could be made the law of the land. If it is, citizens – and especially professing Christians – are in for a very rude awakening. Organizations, even religious ones, will no longer be able to hold to an open view of disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle. They will be forced to hire those who do not hold to the same core values of their organization. Religious adoption agencies will be forced to close or to violate their convictions.

Speaking of being forced to choose whether to violate one’s convictions or close up shop, the Obamacare contraception mandate threatens many businesses and even hospitals across the country. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the Administration to stop the forced coverage of abortion inducing drugs in insurance policies. If the courts do not strike this down, you could see many businesses close, and even Catholic hospitals and charities close their doors. What will this do to the economy, and to the health of the nation?

Finally, our national defense is of great concern. Mr. Obama has said he wants to draw down our defenses, especially our nuclear weapons. The “fiscal cliff” also will ensure deep cuts in defense. The United States cannot afford to weaken itself in the face of growing threats from other nations, especially from those who would seek to misuse nuclear weapons. The current Administration either does not understand the threats we face and the need for a strong military or they do not think it necessary. This would be a terrible error if they continue down this road.

As I said before, I do not think the damage is irreversible, but it will be quite difficult to fix. It will take a willingness on our part to awake from our slumber and to begin to get involved. Maybe the damage that is coming will be enough to bring such a willingness. I can only hope. Get ready, America: The next four years will be very difficult.

This is serious, folks…

Remember when Sarah Palin was lambasted for saying Obamacare would lead to “death panels” – that is, unelected bureaucrats who decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t, and what kind of treatment will be rationed to whom?  It is what happens in every socialized medicinal system.  Eventually, the government realizes that, despite their promises, they cannot pay for everything with other people’s money.  And they begin to ration care.  Now, a former Obama administration official is calling for exactly that.

Former “Car Czar” Steven Rattner said this week in a New York Times Op-Ed:

We need death panels.

Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.

But in the pantheon of toxic issues — the famous “third rails” of American politics — none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.

I’m really surprised this is being openly discussed before the election.  I would expect the healthcare bill architects to continue to hide what it really is until after (they hope) Obama is re-elected.  You may not know this, but recently the Obama administration admitted that many, many people will lose their health plans, whether they like them or not, because of Obamacare. (See here for the story.)  As many as 20 million could lose their employer-based coverage altogether, says the Congressional Budget Office.  This leaves them needing to buy health insurance or face a hefty fine or even be thrown in jail.

“Oh come on, you’re making this up!” Nope. It was in the bill. Said Nancy Pelosi“I think the legislation is very fair in this respect.”

Obama even gave us a preview of this in 2009. He was asked by a citizen at a town hall meeting about what criteria the government would use in deciding the kind of care they would pay for.  She cited her mother – 105 years old – who had surgery at age 100, something she feared the government wouldn’t allow under an Obama plan.  In Obama’s answer, he said this: “At least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help, maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

“We can let doctors know”?  That is rationing.  It is death panels.  And it is coming to America if we sit by and do not stop it.

Obamacare, One Year Later…

A year after Congress passed Obamacare we are beginning to see its devastating effects.  This was a terrible idea from the standpoint of trying to improve health care in the U.S.  And it goes back to a previous post I made about the lack of reasoning by so much of the public.  Many thought the argument was solely about making care more affordable for everyone, and helping more of the uninsured to obtain insurance.  When someone came along and promised that, the debate stopped.  They simply refused to look at the actual bill and what that bill will would do.

There are a multitude of frightening stories already.  And here is one of them.

I maintain that for those in the government who passed the law, this was never about health care.  It was about control.

“The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

-Representative John Dingell, Democrat-Michigan

God help us if we do not change course.

Power Struggle Updated

Praise the Lord for this report: The administration has apparently dropped the mandated “end-of-life planning” from its new Medicare rules.  Apparently public outcry has helped achieve this.  It’s a temporary victory, but let us hope the entire health care law can be repealed in the coming days.