Thursday, September 10th, 2009
A Rainier man came up with an innovative — if rather painful — money-making idea and decided to give it a test run Tuesday at the Triangle Center in Longview.
The 23-year-old man held a sign inviting people to kick him in the groin for the bargain price of $5.
Perhaps fortunately for him, only one customer took him up on the deal before police decided to break up his enterprise.
And even worse, he’d dropped the price to $3 for his one customer because she was female, he told Longview police.
After receiving a complaint about the man, Longview police made him leave the area and told him not to return.
He got off lightly compared with a Canadian man who, in 2007, asked women in Guelph, Ontario, to do the same thing to him at no charge. According to a Canadian newspaper, one of the women kicked him repeatedly.
Millions of Americans watched President Barack Obama’s speech last night to a joint session of Congress. Much of it was familiar, having been delivered in at least 111 speeches, town halls, radio addresses and other appearances on health care. But his most revealing remarks on the topic came on Monday, at a Labor Day union picnic in Cincinnati.
There Mr. Obama accused critics of his health reforms of spreading “lies” and said opponents want “to do nothing.” These false charges do not reveal a spirit of bipartisanship nor do they create a foundation for dialogue. It is more like what you’d say if you are planning to jam through a bill without compromise. Which is exactly what Mr. Obama is about to attempt.
Team Obama is essentially asking congressional Democrats to take a huge gamble. The White House is arguing that ramming through a controversial bill is safer for Democrats than not passing anything. This is based on the false premise that the death of HillaryCare is what doomed Democrats in 1994. Mr. Obama told a reporter in July that the defeat of HillaryCare “Helped [Republicans] regain the House.” Former President Bill Clinton echoed that thought recently by saying “doing nothing” today is “the worst thing we can do for the Democrats.”
Actually, attempting to pass HillaryCare is what brought down the party. Voters rejected a massively complicated, hugely expensive government takeover of health care and the Democrats who pushed it.
In reality, it is riskier to be at odds with where Americans are than just standing by as an unpopular proposal goes down. The problem for Democrats is they are scaring voters by proposing a takeover of health care that spends too much money, creates too much debt, gives Washington too much power, and takes too much decision-making away from doctors and patients.
The political risk for Democrats is clearest among seniors. A late July Gallup poll showed they were the age group least likely to believe health-care reform would improve medical care. Seniors are coming out strongly against Mr. Obama’s health-care plan even though they’re already covered by government care. Perhaps it’s because, as a White House fact sheet makes clear, he wants to pay for his plan’s $948 billion cost over the next 10 years by cutting some $622 billion from Medicare and Medicaid.
“The time for bickering is over.” — President Obama
Unlike The One, who finds debate so tediously tiresome, Americans are ready to discuss healthcare.
What we expect from Congress is deliberation. Y’know, little things such as holding public hearings or reading bills before passage.
A GOP Congressman lost his head during the show and cried “Lie” thus making it easier to paint opponents as crude cranks. But his point was correct.
The AP’s FACT CHECK came up with these:
OBAMA: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period.”
THE FACTS: Though there’s no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they’re ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.
House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn’t have to count $245 billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts.
Their reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this “doc fix” from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn’t have to be paid for because they decided it doesn’t have to be paid for.
The administration also said that since Obama already had included the doctor payment in his 10-year budget proposal, it didn’t have to be counted again.
That aside, the long-term prognosis for costs of the health care legislation has not been good.
CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: “We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”
OBAMA: “Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”
THE FACTS: That’s correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they’d be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.
In the past Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” Now he’s stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the plan “requires” any change.
OBAMA: “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” One congressman, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, shouted “You lie!” from his seat in the House chamber when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.
THE FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance, as many do now, but wouldn’t get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due.
OBAMA: “Don’t pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. … That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.”
THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies.
Although wasteful spending in Medicare is widely acknowledged, many experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced benefits from the cuts. That’s particularly true for the 25 percent of Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage.
Supporters contend that providers could absorb the cuts by improving how they operate and wouldn’t have to reduce benefits or pass along costs. But there’s certainly no guarantee they wouldn’t.
OBAMA: Requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies “makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.”
THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much preventive care — particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions — actually costs money instead of saving it. That’s because detecting acute diseases like breast cancer in their early stages involves testing many people who would never end up developing the disease. The costs of a large number of tests, even if they’re relatively cheap, will outweigh the costs of caring for the minority of people who would have ended up getting sick without the testing.
The Congressional Budget Office wrote in August: “The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.”
That doesn’t mean preventive care doesn’t make sense or save lives. It just doesn’t save money.
Read on — there are plenty more.