Sunday, August 29, 2010
New book reveals truth about Obamacare, and it isn't pretty
By Thomas Sowell
There is so much political spin and so many numbers games being played when it comes to medical care that we have to go back to square one and the simplest common sense in order to get some rational idea of what government-run medical care means. In particular, we need to examine the claim that the government can "bring down the cost of medical care."
The most basic fact is that it is cheaper to remain sick than to get medical treatment. What is cheapest of all is to die instead of getting life-saving medications and treatment, which can be very expensive.
Despite these facts, most of us tend to take a somewhat more parochial view of the situation when it is we ourselves who are sick or who face a potentially fatal illness. But what if that decision is taken out of your hands under Obamacare and is being made for you by a bureaucrat in Washington?
We won't know what that leads to until the time comes. As Nancy Pelosi said, we will find out what is in the bill after it has passed. But even now, after Obamacare has been passed, not many people want to read its 2,400 pages. Even if you did, you would still not know what it would be like in practice, after more than 150 boards and commissions issue their specific regulations.
Fortunately — in fact, very fortunately — you don't have to slog through 2,400 pages of legalistic jargon or turn to a fortune teller to divine the future. A new book, "The Truth About Obamacare" by Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute, lays out the facts in the plainest English. While she can't tell you the future, she can tell you enough about government-run medical systems in other countries that it will not take a rocket scientist to figure out what is in store for us if Obamacare doesn't get repealed before it takes full effect in 2014. It is not a pretty picture.
We hear a lot about how wonderful it is that the Canadians or the British or the Swedes get free medical treatment because the government runs the system. But we don't hear much about the quality of that medical care.
We don't hear about more than 4,000 expectant mothers who gave birth inside a hospital, but not in the maternity ward, in just one year in Britain. They had their babies in hallways, bathrooms and even elevators.
British newspapers have for years carried stories about the neglect of patients under the National Health Service, of which this is just one. When nurses don't get around to taking a pregnant woman to the maternity ward in time, the baby doesn't wait.
But the American media don't tell you about such things when they are gushing over the wonders of "universal health care" that will "bring down the cost of medical care."
Instead, the media spin is that various countries with government-run medical systems have life expectancies that are as long as ours, or longer. That is very clever as media spin, if you don't bother to stop and think about it.
Author Pipes did bother to stop and think about it. She points out that medical care is just one of the factors in life expectancy.
She cites a study by professors Ohsfeldt and Schneider at the University of Iowa, which shows that, if you leave out people who are victims of homicide or who die in automobile accidents, Americans live longer than people in any other Western country.
Doctors do not prevent homicides or car crashes. In the things that doctors can affect, such as the survival rates of cancer patients, the United States leads the world.
Americans get the latest pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes years before those drugs are available to people in Britain or in other countries where the government runs the medical system. Why? Because the latest drugs cost more, and it is cheaper to let people die.
The media have often said that we have higher infant mortality rates than other countries with government medical care systems. But we count every baby that dies, and other countries do not. If the media don't tell you that, so much the better for Obamacare.
But is life and death something to play spin games about?
Friday, August 27, 2010
Two-in-Five Canadians Would Scrap Long Gun Registry
Half of respondents believe a complete ban on handguns would be justified, while two-in-five disagree with this notion.
As a decision on the future of the Canadian Firearms Registry draws near, Canadians hold differing views on whether the so-called long gun registry should be scrapped, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.
The online survey of a representative sample of 1,005 Canadian adults also finds that respondents are almost evenly divided on whether it should be illegal for ordinary citizens to own firearms.
Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) believe gun violence in Canada is a "very serious" or "moderately serious" problem.
About half of respondents (49%) think implementing a complete ban on handguns would be justified, since current regulations are not working and guns stolen from legal owners are being used in crimes. Conversely, two-in-five Canadians (39%) believe a complete ban would be unjustified, as it would affect law-abiding Canadians such as collectors and target shooters.
Ontarians, Quebecers and British Columbians tend to side with the pro-ban argument, while Albertans, Atlantic Canadians and those in the Prairie Provinces are more likely to reject this notion.
The Canadian Firearms Registry, also known as the long gun registry, requires the registration of all non-restricted firearms in Canada. Two-in-five Canadians (43%) believe the registry has been unsuccessful in preventing crime in Canada, while three-in-ten (29%) think it has had no effect on crime. Only 13 per cent of respondents believe the Canadian Firearms Registry has been successful.
A plurality of Canadians (44%) calls for scrapping the long gun registry—including large majorities in the Prairies (65%) and Alberta (59%). More than a third of respondents (35%) are opposed to this course of action, including 51 per cent of Quebecers.
Since a survey conducted in November 2009, the proportion of Canadians who oppose the long gun registry has dropped by seven points, while the proportion of supporters has increased by one point.
Canadian are split on another question, with 40 per cent of respondents saying it should be legal for ordinary citizens to own firearms, and 45 per cent wanting to make this illegal. There are some major geographic differences on this question, with majorities in Quebec (54%) and Ontario (53%) wanting to keep firearms away from ordinary citizens, and more than half of Albertans (51%) expressing support for the legality of this practice.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Published June 17, 2010
Apostle Talks Religious Freedom to Boston Youth
Posted By Doug Andersen
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles addressed a group of young adults from Boston, Massachusetts, 10 June 2010. His comments touched on a wide range of topics but prominently featured religious freedom and the need to protect the family.
Excerpts from his remarks:
- "Opposing forces are competing for our allegiance: right versus wrong, good versus evil. They are not always easily discerned."
- "These forces are, in fact, conflicting religious systems of belief. They are theistic (godly) forces and atheistic (ungodly or satanic) forces. These were cited recently by Elder Clayton Christensen in an editorial calling for theistic balance on the U.S. supreme court."
- "Theistic forces, be they Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or Mormon, are based on the fact that there is an absolute right and wrong. Theistic forces inculcate an ethic to revere the righteous judgments of a loving God, and to obey civil and divine law voluntarily. Theistic forces instill a conscience to do what is right, and obey laws that otherwise might be unenforceable."
- "Unfortunately, good culture alone is not strong enough to cause good culture to endure in perpetuity. Additional strength is needed from the power of theistic conviction. For this reason, a policy to separate completely church and state could become completely counterproductive. Theistic forces would be erased and atheistic forces would be allowed to flourish unopposed in the public square. The theistic and noble concept of "freedom of religion," could be twisted and turned to become an atheistic "freedom from religion." Such an unbalanced policy could sweep out theistic forces for societal success and leave the field wide open to atheistic ideology, secularism, suffering huge losses for all."
- "A society undergirded by this (atheistic) culture is clearly recognizable. In the 19th century, the French observer Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: 'America is great because she is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
- "Without the acknowledgment of God and God's law in one's life, momentary pleasures will be continually contaminated by gnawing guilt."
- "Even the definition of marriage is now a topic of heated debate. That is only the tip of a larger iceberg. Below this tip is the weightier matter of free exercise of religion. Contention is raging over two main issues: (1) Can marriage survive as the bedrock of our cultural heritage? and (2) Can our precious freedom of religion be preserved?"
- "If civil law were altered to recognize so-called "same-gender" marriage, you as believers in God, and keepers of His commandments, would then be regarded as exceptions to the rule. Your conscientious convictions would then be regarded as discriminatory. If you were a Christian school teacher, you could be charged with bigotry for upholding the Lord's law of chastity. In truth dear brothers and sisters, if you lose marriage, you also lose freedom of religion. Atheistic moral bedlam and religious repression go hand in hand. At stake is our ability to transmit to the next generation the life-giving and inseparable culture of marriage and the free exercise of religion."
Elder Nelson was an accomplished heart surgeon and medical researcher prior to his call to the apostleship. He is a widely published speaker and writer and listed in Who's Who in the World and Who's Who in Religion.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Memo outlines backdoor 'amnesty' plan
Immigration staffers cite tools available without reform
With Congress gridlocked on an immigration bill, the Obama administration is considering using a back door to stop deporting many illegal immigrants - what a draft government memo said could be "a non-legislative version of amnesty."
The memo, addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration ServicesDirector Alejandro Mayorkas and written by four agency staffers, lists tools it says the administration has to "reduce the threat of removal" for many illegal immigrants who have run afoul of immigration authorities.
"In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations, exercising discretion with regard to parole-in-place, deferred action and the issuance of Notices to Appear," the staffers wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican.
The memo suggests that in-depth discussions have occurred on how to keep many illegal immigrants in the country, which would be at least a temporary alternative to the proposals Democrats in Congress have made to legalize illegal immigrants.
Chris Bentley, a USCIS spokesman, said drafting the memo doesn't mean the agency has embraced the policy and "nobody should mistake deliberation and exchange of ideas for final decisions."
"As a matter of good government, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will discuss just about every issue that comes within the purview of the immigration system," he said in an e-mail statement. "We continue to maintain that comprehensive bipartisan legislation, coupled with smart, effective enforcement, is the only solution to our nation's immigration challenges."
He said the Homeland Security Department "will not grant deferred action or humanitarian parole to the nation's entire illegal immigrant population."
The memo does talk about targeting specific groups of illegal immigrants.
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