Obama & Pelosi’s Gift to Health Insurance Industry

Sheldon Richman lays out why the health care “reform” package approved by the U.S. House Sunday night is a big gift-wrapped present to the health insurance industry:

Note that the attention of nearly all the “reformers” is on the insurance industry. What ostensibly started out as “health-care reform” quickly became health-insurance regulation. A common theme of all of the leading proposals is that insurance companies have too few restrictions on them. So under Obamacare, government will issue more commands: preexisting conditions must be covered; policy renewal must be guaranteed; premiums may not reflect the health status or sex of policyholders; the difference between premiums charged young and old must be within government specs; lifetime caps on benefits are prohibited, et cetera.

In return for these new federal rules, insurance companies are to have a guaranteed market through a mandate that will require every person to have insurance. So what looks like onerous new regulations on the insurance companies turns out to be a bargain they are happy to accept. Instead of having to innovatively and competitively attract young healthy people to buy their products, the companies will count on the government to compel them to do so. Playing the populist role, Obama & Co. bash the insurance companies, but in fact the “reform” compels everyone to do business with them.

What about this would the insurance companies dislike? Health insurance is not the most profitable business you can be in; the profit margin is 3-4 cents on the dollar. So a guaranteed clientele is an attractive prospect. The people who will be forced to buy policies are the healthy, who will pay premiums and make few claims. The only thing the companies don’t like is that that penalty for not complying with the mandate is too small. Many young people may choose to pay the penalty rather than buy the insurance because it will be cheaper. But that presents a problem: when the uninsured get sick and apply for coverage, they won’t be turned down because that would be against the law. So look for harsher penalties in the future to prevent this gaming of the system. The insurance companies win again.

Indeed, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has already proclaimed the House’s approval as a “positive step.” On Wall Street, health insurers and big pharma were big winners on Monday, the only industries to see gains that day. Big Pharma also voiced their approval for the House’s passage of the bill, after dropping millions in advertising in support for the bill.

Over the past year, “progressives” tried to convince the public that the people opposed to Obamacare were somehow in the pocket of health insurance or pharmaceutical companies. But the facts are in, and it is quite obvious that the progressives were flat-out lying.

Community College System Moves Foward on Illegal Immigrants

The North Carolina Community College Board voted last week to allow illegal immigrants admission to community colleges in this state.  This makes very little sense considering that United States law declares that it is illegal for an illegal immigrant to be hired in this country.

Considering that one of the central goals of the NC Community College System is train individuals to enter the workforce, why would the system allow illegal immigrants to be admitted to community colleges?  It seems that there is a disconnect.  What are these illegal immigrants being trained for?  Jobs that they cannot legally obtain.

Exlcuding Unaffiliateds a Bad Idea

It appears that there are some within the NC GOP that want to go back to the days of excluding unaffiliated voters from the party’s primary elections.  This would be a bad idea for a number of reasons.

1. The numbers of voters registering as unaffiliated is exploding.  Just in the past month, new unaffiliated voter registrations were 3.5x that of Republicans and Democrats combined.

2. As Republican registration has plateaued, there is a growing need to for it to appeal to unaffiliated voters to win elections.  If unaffiliated voters are excluded from the primary process it allows the Democrats to begin building a relationship and appealing to those voters earlier.  If the Democratic primary is open to unaffiliated voters, Democrats will pursue those votes and unaffiliateds could begin to form a comfort level in voting for Democratic candidates, a relationship that Republicans would not have.  Thus, Republicans would have more ground to make up with unaffiliated voters when they really need them — in Novembers.

Just look at the numbers — only 31.75% of voters are registered Republican.  Republicans must get 18.25% of the vote from somewhere else.  The most logical place being unaffiliated voters.

3. They don’t change election outcomes.  McCain didn’t win NC the NC primary because of unaffiliateds  — neither did McCrory win the gubernatorial primary because of them.  The unaffiliateds that would choose to vote in Republican primaries aren’t all that different ideologically from Republicans.  In a poll we conducted in April 2008, before the primary election, we asked unaffiliated voters if they would be choosing to participate in the Republican or Democratic primary.  Those that chose the Republican primary were just as conservative ideologically as registered Republicans.

4. A significant portion of the growth of unaffiliated voters over the past two years are disaffected Republicans fed up with their party.  These are people the Republican party need to bring back into the fold, not push further away.

5. Roughly 40% of unaffiliated voters consider themselves conservative, according to our polling.  Those are going to be the voters who choose to participate in the Republican primary, and the ones that would be excluded under the proposal.

6. Unaffiliateds represent a very small portion of the primary vote.  In the 2004, 2006, and 2008 primaries unaffiliateds comprised somewhere between 8-12% of the voters in the Republican primary.  Fact is, unaffiliateds generally don’t turn out to vote in primaries.  While there may be more unaffiliated voters overall, they are still less likely that a registered R or D to vote in a primary.

I’m all for electing people to office that will uphold conservative values, but alienating a very large (and growing) segment of voters is not the way to win elections.  Excluding unaffiliateds may actually be a way to for Republicans to ensure they are a minority party in North Carolina for the foreseeable future.

McHenry Hunting ACORN

North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry has ACORN in his sights and and is readying to take the shot.  At the Sept. 30 hearing conducted by the House Financial Services Committee, as reported by not by CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times or the Washington Post but by BigGovernment.com, he was on the hunt.

McHenry had a union boss on the hot seat at the meeting from ACORN’s big labor partner ; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Anna Burger flatly stated that SEIU had cut all ties with ACORN.  McHenry continued to press her for details:

“What was the extent of your financial ties with ACORN?” the congressman asked.

“I will get that information for you for the record,” she said. Called the “queen of labor” by some, Burger is an officer of George Soros’s Democracy Alliance, a left-wing billionaire donors’ collaborative that has steered funds to ACORN. She also chairs the powerful labor federation known as Change to Win.

So the cozy relationship between SEIU and ACORN is over?  Which group wanted to protect its reputation? ACORN or SEIU?

ACORN has long used public sector unions to shakedown politicians to increase their funding and grow their membership.  The election of former Congressman Rod Blagojevich as the Governor of Chicago Illinois is a classic example of the con game run by ACORN.

The unholy alliance between ACORN, Big Labor and Darth Soros is just beginning to be seen in public with the efforts of leaders like McHenry and California Congressman Darrell Issa, the blogs of the right while the mainstream media refuses to run any story connected to ACORN until the Congress symbolically votes to cut their federal funds.

Read the whole sorted affair at the American Spectator Blog.

Healthcare Press Conference…

Maybe this should have been the topic of Mr. Obama’s press conference:

“The last issue I’d like to address is health care the government costs.

Right now, Congress is debating various health care government costreform proposals. This is obviously a complicated issue, but I am very optimistic about the progress that they’re making.

Like energy, this is legislation that must and will be paid for. It will not add to our deficits over the next decade. We will find the money through savings and efficiencies within the health care government system — some of which we’ve already announced.

We will also ensure that the reform we pass brings down the crushing cost of health care government. We simply can’t have a system where we throw good money after bad habits. We need to control the skyrocketing costs that are driving families, businesses, and our government into greater and greater debt.

There’s no doubt that we must preserve what’s best about our health care government system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctors legislators and their health care tax plans to keep them. But unless we fix what’s broken in our current system, everyone’s health care tax dollars will be in jeopardy. Unless we act, premiums taxes will climb higher, benefits will erode further, and the roles of the uninsured non-taxpayers will swell to include millions more Americans. Unless we act, one three out of every five dollars that we earn will be spent on health care government within a decade. And the amount our government spends on Medicare food and Medicaid entertainment will eventually grow larger than what our government spends on everything else today.

When it comes to health care government, the status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable. So reform is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And I hope that Congress will continue to make significant progress on this issue in the weeks ahead.”

The transcript in its entirety  can be found here

Homosexual Agenda Trumps Freedom of Conscience

What to know what will happen if North Carolina recognizes homosexuality as a protected class?

In case you missed it, the CA Supreme Court ruled this week that doctors with conscientious objections to homosexuality cannot legally refuse to artificially inseminate lesbian couples.

Robert Tyler, the head attorney for the group that represented the defendants, has pledged to appeal the decision: “This decision cannot stand and we will evaluate our options to seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court.” Tyler also expressed concern that “the Supreme Court’s desire to promote the homosexual lifestyle risks infringing upon the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.”

Here in North Carolina, the General Assembly came close to passing legislation (HB 1366) that would have recognized sexual orientation as a protected class for the first time in N.C. law. It is very likely this legislation will be reintroduced in 2009. Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham) also sponsored a bill (HB 1789) that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes recognized in hiring state and local employees.

“Father” of Canadian Health Care Admits its a Failure

Just yesterday, I wrote about how unpopular the British healthcare system has become. Today comes news that the man largely responsible for Canada’s conversion to a single-payer health care system has admitted the system’s failure:

“Back in the 1960s, (Claude) Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.

The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker: “the father of Quebec medicare.” Even this title seems modest; Castonguay’s work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.”

Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in “crisis.”

“We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: “We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice.”

As more and more nations throughout the world seek to infuse more private, market-based solutions into their government-controlled healthcare systems, for some reason lefties in this country want to make the same mistake that countries like Canada made decades ago. Let’s hope voters in North Carolina and across the US wake up, or else we may be forced to confront “rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money” into a system that even one of its pioneers admits to being a failure.