05/14/14

OpEd: Real Healthcare Reform Should Focus On Care, Not Just Coverage

As Seen in The Hill
By: Nancy Pfotenhauer
May 8, 2016

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that universal health insurance is the central goal of a successful health care reform. The left sold the Affordable Care Act to the American people on this promise; the right hopes to do the same with an alternative plan set to be unveiled later this year.

Both sides are trying to fix the wrong problem. Universal health insurance is profoundly different from better health care—and so long as reformers focus on the former, the latter will continue to deteriorate.

Real healthcare reform must improve the quality of America’s healthcare system. At its most fundamental level, healthcare exists to improve individuals’ health outcomes and overall well-being. Beneficial reforms will thus improve those outcomes, increase healthcare’s quality and lower its costs, with the ancillary effect of expanding its availability.

This is a more worthy goal than putting a health insurance card in everyone’s hand, a la ObamaCare and its Republican replacements. Universal health insurance is merely the provision of a service regardless of that service’s quality. This cannot be achieved without the assistance of a massive bureaucratic apparatus in Washington that stifles innovation, limits consumer choice and increases its costs. Thus, reforms that seek universal health insurance decrease healthcare’s quality, and they don’t deliver on their promise to make coverage universal.

Better healthcare will not be realized without unleashing market-driven innovation. Reformers can’t pretend that this existed prior to Obama-Care’s passage. Then, as now, federal regulations hemmed in consumers and innovators on every side. ObamaCare’s mandates only expand this restrictive regulatory regime.

Innovators and consumers should be unshackled from the reams of red tape. This starts by putting patients—not bureaucrats or insurance companies—at the center of health care. Patients must be free to choose a health plan that is tailored to their needs, not one with benefit mandates created by special interests. Patients need access to real-time health care provider data that doesn’t hide costs or quality behind an impenetrable wall of bureaucratic regulations. Patients should be empowered to improve their own health using breakthrough technologies and personalized treatments.

Thus free to choose, consumers will seek out products and services that actually fit their needs. Innovators will concurrently strive to develop treatments and health care options that consumers want—and at a price they can afford.

No one-size-fits-all federal policy can accomplish this goal. …

Click here to read the full article.

05/14/14

Rats Deserting a Sinking Ship in Anticipation…

By: Marion Algier
Ask Marion

Little Timmy Geithner — The Treasury Secretary who didn’t pay his taxes for a while after he was the chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. He’s Yale or Harvard, one of the Ivy League schools, with all kinds of degrees in money things, and he claimed that he didn’t understand TurboTax. He wanted to pay his taxes, but for three years and it just… You know, it just didn’t happen. “Oh, it’s okay! He can still be secretary of the Treasury, ’cause he wanted to pay his taxes. He just made an honest mistake.” “And when they asked him to lie… he just went out there and lied.” …Rush Limbaugh

Little Timmy Geithner is just the latest in a long list of insider rats and whistleblowers who have deserted the Obamaland crony ‘first team’ ship that are now writing and talking about life inside that bubble. Just four months ago Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ memoir Duty landed an unexpected punch at the West Wing. Gates gave political advisers in the White House virtually no warning, and no advance copy, of his headline-generating memoir, which included sharp criticisms of Obama’s decision-making. Now Tim Geithner with newly released Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises and Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices are the latest two high-profile authors to spill insider Obama administration details in their back-to-back memoirs… and they certainly won’t be the last.

Gates was sharply critical of Obama’s decision-making in his book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.” He was also unsparing in his critique of Joe Biden, accusing the vice-president of having “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates’ assessment sent the White House into damage control mode for several days, with officials issuing a statement from Obama defending Biden and staging a photo opportunity of the two men having lunch together… And then conveniently a Christie scandal appeared.

It is certainly not unusual for politicians and former high-level officials to write books or discuss their political lives. What is unusual is the rapid succession of their releases and them doing it while their former boss is still in office; especially someone like Tim Geithner who has long-term connections to the President and Valerie Jarrett. Perhaps it is why Geithner always looks so frightened?!? He knows their histories and the extent to which they will go.

Geithner writes in his memoir Stress Test, that the White House communications director asked him the Treasury Secretary to downplay… to lie on Sunday talk shows about the long term cost of Social Security spending to mollify the Democratic Party’s base.

‘I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,’ he says.

‘Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.’

Geithner’s book was released amidst allegations that the White House changed the Sunday show talking points of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s after the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya for political reasons.

The White House has forcefully denied that it made anything other than minor changes to Rice’s talking points, but recently released e-mails between deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and White House communications staff calls the veracity of the Obama administration’s claims into question. The emails show that Rice was instructed to claim the attack was ‘spontaneously inspired ‘ and ‘to ​underscore that these protests were rooted in an Internet video, and were not a broader failure or policy.’

Geithner’s anecdote about White House communications staff trying pressure him into misleading Americans about the country’s ability to meet its future financial obligations once again casts a shadow on the Obama administration’s willingness to tell the truth when the truth is politically unappealing. And early reviews of Geithner’s book indicate that the former Treasury Secretary, who now works at a private equity firm, does not appear to have an axe to grind with Obama, which gives greater weight to his recollections.

Charles Krauthammer noted that this administration has transparency problems, exactly the opposite of what they promised to be. Perhaps highest on the Obama’s broken promise list should be that his administration would be the most transparent in history.

In addition to the recent evidence of Susan Rice’s lies and the administration’s lies concerning their overall involvement in and handling of Benghazi, let us not forget the IRS’s Lois Lerner Bombshell involving the Treasury Department secretly having drafted ‘New Rules’ to restrict activity of Conservative Groups… Yet President Obama said there was no smidgen of corruption. There were also James Clapper who lied to Congress about the NSA, the unending string of DOJ Eric Holder’s lies and withholding of evidence and documents, as well as the President Obama-HHS Sec Sibelius lie of the decade… “If you like your healthcare… your doctor, your HC plan, you can keep it!” as well as additional lies coming out almost daily on ObamaCare as it is phased in.

And on the opposite end of the scale we now have people like General Michael Hayden Gleefully Admitting: “We Kill People Based On Metadata”

Clinton, Geithner and Gates occupied the three most powerful positions in Obama’s Cabinet through much of his first term, giving their accounts heightened importance in a literary landscape already littered with books about this White House and this administration.

Clinton’s book was certainly written to give Hillary a favorable glow for her expected 2016 presidential bid. So, don’t expect anything personally incriminating or a mea culpa on scandals like Benghazi involving both Hillary and Obama in that one!

I recently wrote a piece entitled Sunshine is the Greatest Disinfectant, and that sunshine is finally bringing the Benghazi scandal to the forefront in spite of the ongoing Democrat attempts to squelch an investigation by a Special Committee. And thanks to the political ambitions, courage, attempts to clear their own names before the axe falls or whatever their motivations, the books by these 3-high level Obama administration members, even if skewed, plus an increase in information from media; political, including Obama administration insiders, sources; and the military is increasing the intensity of that sunshine. Even Hollywood is beginning to see the reality of the bigger picture and speak-up now and then. Let us hope that the American people are paying attention and will get-involved and informed! Everyone involved in these scandals, cover-ups and lies needs to be held accountable and nobody should be rewarded with another shot at the public’s trust or election to public office ever again. Each of these scandals, cover-ups and lies are far too serious and have been far too damaging to America as a whole, and we don’t even know the full stories yet, to give any one of these people another chance!

Remember, elections have consequences that everyday Americans will have to pay the price for or reap the rewards of… long after the politicians are gone!

05/14/14

What is Net Neutrality?

Arfen Greebly

Some time back, I asked if anyone could give me a brief, cogent answer to the question, “what is Net Neutrality?”

I complained that the typical answer I get to that question is either some kind of emotionally charged set of assertions or links to some long-winded “explanations” containing fuzzy assertions of their own.

I do believe that I finally have a reasonably simple, reasonably clear, reasonably bullshit-free explanation. And, shockingly, it more or less bears out much of my presumed comprehension, while illuminating those bits of technology where my understandings were weak.

Even more surprising is the source: a trade rag which has always leaned a little to the left of my comfort zone, The Register, out of the UK.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/09/net_neutrality_explained_and_how_to_get_a_better_internet/

Have a read over that bit of clarity. It’s not long, it uses unusually plain language, and it manages to skirt the hysteria.

05/14/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – #HashTag Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!

This week, The MidKnight Review, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, The Pirate’s Cove and The Mellow Jihadi earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

*A note on this week’s selections – due to problems with their host server, The Colossus of Rhodey was unable to submit this week and Rhymes with Right was only able to do so by the lucky chance of finding a separate site that had cut and pasted one of his articles. We regret the omission and look forward to their return next week, as I’m sure all our readers do.

So, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!