VIDEO: Medicare’s Chief Actuary talks of dangers of price controls

Scary:

Via the House Budget Committee’s You Tube page, which provides a recap of what Chief Actuary Richard Foster said:

At today’s House Budget Committee hearing, Congressman Tom Price of Georgia asked Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster about the practical impact of the President’s health care law — in which savings are sought by paying providers less for the same amount of care. Under the President’s health care law, according to Medicare’s Chief Actuary, providers of Medicare services will see cuts to their Medicare reimbursements past the point at which they can reasonably provide care to seniors. Providers would be reimbursed for their services at under 50 cents on the dollar by 2030, and down to 33 cents on the dollar in the years beyond.

When asked about the impact of these price controls on seniors’ access to quality care, Medicare’s chief actuary replied: “We’d like not to find out…”

Here’s more from the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein:

Richard Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, testified before the House Budget Committee said that the cuts to medical providers set by President Obama’s national health care law were unrealistic.

“It’s pretty hard to imagine they could be sustainable,” Foster said, under questioning from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The health care law reduces the rate of growth for payments to hospitals, nursing facilities, and other medical providers. But over time, the payment rates will decline so steeply that he said future Congresses may not actually implement them, just as they have routinely voted to avert scheduled cuts to physicians payments.

If the cuts do go into effect, many providers would be “unwilling or unable to continue providing services,” Foster said.

Speaking truth to power. Too bad the “power” refuses to listen.

Canada stands on principle; Obama goes “meh.”

**Posted by Phineas

A couple of weeks ago I could barely contain my disgust over the appointment of North Korea as head of the UN Conference on Disarmament. It seems I wasn’t the only one, and it’s great to see a liberal democracy refuse to participate in this disgraceful sham.

Good for you, Canada:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was last week named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament.

“North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body as its leaders are working in the exact opposite direction,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening.

“Our government feels this undermines not only the Conference on Disarmament, but the UN itself. And Canada will not be party to that . . . Our government received a strong mandate to advance Canada’s values — freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law — on the world stage.”

During North Korea’s term as chair, Canada will not “engage” in the conference, the source said Baird will announce Monday.

Meanwhile for the Obama administration, it’s no “big deal:

The Obama administration will not follow Canada’s lead and boycott a session of the U.N.-linked Conference on Disarmament to protest North Korea’s appointment to the body’s rotating presidency.

“We have chosen not to make a big deal out of this because it’s a relatively low-level, inconsequential event,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.

In one sense, Nuland is right; UN conferences often aren’t “big deals,” serving as little more than occasions to pad a resume, collect a per diem, and shop for things not available in your own country.

On the other hand, if the United States won’t defend the principles on which the commission and the larger UN were founded in the little, easy instances such as this, who should believe we would care in the big instances? By assenting to North Korea’s chairmanship of the conference and lending that act our prestige by our participation, we also say that North Korea’s serial illegal arms-trafficking is “no big deal” and encourage them (and others) to do even more. It’s an example of the broken-windows theory to international relations.

Canada and the Harper cabinet are right in this case, while the Obama administration again shows its casual, amateurish approach to foreign affairs.

via The Jawa Report and Weasel Zippers

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama: Your “unneeded money” belongs to the government

**Posted by Phineas

And “unneeded,” of course, is defined by Obama. Historian John Steele Gordon noticed this appalling assertion during the President’s news conference two days ago:

And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.

(Emphasis added.)

That is just awful. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing a red “Che” shirt.

Gordon scores a quick TKO when exposes Obama’s economic folly. Here are the key paragraphs, but do read the whole thing:

There is, of course, nothing whatever stopping Barack Obama, taxpaying citizen, from donating his excess income to the United States Treasury. But his statement demonstrates an astonishing economic illiteracy. To be sure, someone earning a great deal of money has an income greater than what he spends. You can only spend so much on luxurious living however hard you try, a reality so rich with comic possibilities that a 1902 novel called Brewster’s Millions has been made into a movie no fewer than nine times.

But, unlike Scrooge McDuck, the rich do not put the excess in a vast money bin and frolic about in it. They invest it. What a concept! Where does Obama think new capital comes from, the tooth fairy? It’s nothing more than the excess of income over outgo. Take away the income the rich “don’t need” and spend it on social programs, and capital formation in this country drops to zero.

Along with economic growth, productive new jobs, and a growing middle class. All in the name of a childish, envy-based definition of “fairness.”

But it’s not just revealing of the President’s boneheadedness in economics; it’s also a probably unintentional reminder of his true politics, which are deeply rooted in New York and Chicago’s Socialist communities. This is another “spread the wealth” moment that shows Obama is much more concerned with redistribution than with wealth-creation and that government is the proper vehicle for arranging that redistribution. It fits like a glove with the Progressive notion that boards of government experts are better able to decide how an individual will run his life than is the individual himself, and that includes how to dispose of his own money. And as one’s money is one’s property, it strikes at the very idea of property rights.

And it’s not just “excess money.” If the government can say how much money you don’t need, why not for other forms of property, too? If I have enough money to buy a truck to go with my small car, can Obama say I really don’t need it, and thus take it and give it to someone “in need” out of fairness? What about land? If I own two acres of land and someone less successful has none, can the government take half of mine and give it to the other guy, so we’re both equal? (Hello, Kelo)

Thus we come back to Obama’s “additional income I don’t need.” The income is no longer mine to dispose of as I wish, it is the government’s first and it is the government that decides what I am allowed to keep. This point of view necessarily entails a fundamental denial of individual liberty, of which property rights are a cornerstone, and turns the freeborn citizen into a creature of the State.

Every four years, it seems, we hear “this is the most important election of our lives.” In 2012, I think that may well be true.

PS: I don’t have a problem with government taking money in taxes to fund its necessary and proper functions, though folks can argue about just what those are. But the view held by Obama and the DSA crowd that dominates the Democratic Party in Congress is an utter inversion of everything we were founded on and needs to be called out for what it is — Statism.

PPS: I like Scrooge McDuck.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Was Obama’s story about his mom’s health insurance issues a lie?

Sure sounds like it:

“She was in her hospital room looking at insurance forms because the insurance company said that maybe she had a pre-existing condition and maybe they wouldn’t have to reimburse her for her medical bills,” Obama added in January 2008.

“The insurance companies were saying, ‘Maybe there’s a pre-existing condition and we don’t have to pay your medical bills,’ ” Obama said in a debate with Republican opponent Sen. John McCain in October 2008.

It was a simple and powerful story, one Obama would tell many more times as president during the national health care debate. But now we’re learning the real story of Ann Dunham’s health coverage is not quite what her son made it out to be.

The news is in “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,” a generally admiring new biography written by former New York Times reporter Janny Scott. According to the book, Ann Dunham, an anthropologist who spent most of her working life in Indonesia, moved from Jakarta to New York in 1992 to work for a nonprofit called Women’s World Banking, which encouraged micro-lending in Third World countries. Unhappy in New York, in 1994 Dunham took a job with an American company called Development Alternatives, which had a contract with the Indonesian State Ministry for the Role of Women. Dunham returned to Jakarta to work, and Scott reports the job provided Dunham with health insurance, a housing allowance, and a car.

At the time she took the job, Dunham was increasingly worried about her health; she was suffering from intense abdominal pains. In November 1994, Dunham went to an Indonesian doctor who diagnosed appendicitis. As Dunham debated whether to leave the country for surgery, she called her boss at Development Alternatives. “You’ve got health insurance, that’s taken care of,” the boss told her. “We can cover the airfare.”

Dunham decided to stay in Jakarta, where she underwent an appendectomy. But the pain did not go away, and Dunham feared, correctly, that she was terribly ill. In January 1995 she left Indonesia to go home to Honolulu, where she was diagnosed with advanced uterine and ovarian cancer. She began a regime of surgery and chemotherapy.

That is the time during which Obama says his mother battled insurance companies to cover her illness. But Scott, who had access to Dunham’s correspondence from the time, reveals that Dunham unquestionably had health coverage. “Ann’s compensation for her job in Jakarta had included health insurance, which covered most of the costs of her medical treatment,” Scott writes. “Once she was back in Hawaii, the hospital billed her insurance company directly, leaving Ann to pay only the deductible and any uncovered expenses, which, she said, came to several hundred dollars a month.”

So, IOW, it appears the issue was with disability insurance – not health insurance.

If this story pans out, and it appears it will considering the book – according to Byron York – is mostly friendly towards Obama’s mother, it will not be the first time President Obama has either embellished or lied about a “health coverage denied” story and it certainly won’t be the first time he, er, stretched the truth about his family history.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If things are as bad as Democrats make them out to be, why do they always have to make up emotion-based stories to justify their various positions? :-?