Friday, October 30, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Everyone knows that if you don't pay to maintain and repair your car, you limit its life. The same is true as human beings age. We need medical care to avoid becoming clunkers -- disabled, worn out, parked in wheelchairs or nursing homes.
For nearly a half century, Medicare has enabled seniors to get that care. But ObamaCare is about to change that, by limiting what doctors can provide their aging patients.
The Senate Finance Committee health bill released last week controls doctors by cutting their pay if they give older patients more care than the government deems appropriate. Section 3003(b) (p. 683) punishes doctors who land in the 90th percentile or above on what they provide for seniors on Medicare by withholding 5 percent of their compensation.
This withhold provision forces doctors to choose between treating their patients and avoiding government penalties. HMOs used the same cost-cutting device in the early '90s until it was deemed dangerous to patients and outlawed. Now, lawmakers want to use it against the most vulnerable patients, the elderly. This bill and four others under negotiation also would slash about $500 billion from future Medicare funding.
President Obama and his budget director, Peter Orszag, have told seniors not to worry, claiming that Medicare spending could be cut by as much as 30 percent without doing harm. They cite the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare 2008, which tries to prove patients who get less care -- fewer hospital days, doctors' visits and imaging tests -- have the same medical "outcomes" as patients who get more care. But read the fine print.
The Dartmouth authors arrived at their dubious conclusion by restricting their study to patients who died. They examined what Medicare paid to care for these chronically ill patients in their last two years. By definition, the outcomes were all the same: death. The Dartmouth study didn't consider patients who recovered, left the hospital and even resumed active lives. It would be important to know whether these patients survived because they received more care.
The journal Circulation addresses that question in its latest issue (Oct. 16) and disputes the Dartmouth conclusion. Examining patients with heart failure at six California teaching hospitals, doctors found that hospitals giving more care saved more lives. In hospitals that spent less, patients had a smaller chance of survival. That's the opposite of what Obama is claiming and Congress is proposing. The Senate Finance bill establishes a formula that penalizes hospitals for high "Medicare spending per beneficiary" (Section 2001, p. 643). That may save money, but the California study suggests it will cost lives.
When Medicare started in 1965, the law forbade the federal government from interfering in treatment decisions. Doctors decided what patients needed, and Medicare paid for each treatment on a fee-for-service basis. Though this protection from government interference has been whittled away a bit, doctors and patients in Medicare still decide what state-of-the-art medical care they want.
The results are huge improvements in longevity and seniors' quality of life. Life expectancy at age 65 has jumped from 79 years to 84, while disability has steadily declined. Seniors enjoy more active lives than their parents owing to hip and knee replacements, angioplasty and bypass surgery, according to James Lubitz and Ellen Kramarow of the National Center for Health Statistics (Health Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2007). Obama adviser Dr. David Cutler reports that the heart medications and procedures Medicare patients have received over the last 20 years have been a "wise investment" resulting in "excellent value" (Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2007).
Cuts in future Medicare funding -- what Obama calls "savings" -- will mean less help in coping with aging and possibly shorter lives. Do we really want to treat our seniors like clunkers?
Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths .
Monday, October 26, 2009
Many politicians campaign on the excesses of corporations and its executives, claiming that they are “ripping off” the public by reaping excessive profits or earning obscene salaries. In some cases, those claims are correct, but when the accusers (the politicians) are scrutinized, they come out just as corrupt as the people they are condemning in the corporate world.
Many career politicians start out their political careers as reformers of the status quo and end up as millionaires many times over, even by earning a modest salary as an elected official. It’s not supposed to be that way, but power has a tendency to corrupt and politicians seem to be one group that is most vulnerable. It happens on all levels of government, local, state and federal, and many times the corruption is overlooked because of politics. Neither party in power wants to “air its dirty linen” by exposing their fellow politicians as being corrupt. It might just open up a “can of worms” that might just touch them in return. Is that being too cynical?
For instance, right here in Palm Beach County, within the past few years, three commissioners have been convicted of crimes and are now serving time in prison. All three just happened to be Republicans. Just recently, arrests have been made in Broward County whereby some Democrats have been charged with corruption. Some cynics say that local politicians should be limited to two terms, one in office and one in prison. That’s a funny line, but sad at the same time.
Corruption will probably be with us till the end of time, but we could and should try to control its tentacles so that it stays the exception rather than the rule. Some people claim that entrenched politicians are more prone to become corrupt because of the power they exert by being prime targets for the graft that is offered to them by special interests wanting special treatment.
Some people claim that “term limits” is one means of reducing the opportunity of politicians being tempted to take bribes or of getting favorable treatment while in office or when they leave office. The argument against instituting term limits is that we already have a remedy – it’s called elections. Yes, in a fantasy world, that’s the most effective way of trying to keep politicians honest, but in the real world, incumbents win 90% of elections and as a result become bolder and more entrenched as a result and the circle of corruption continues on its merry way.
Another area of ridiculousness is in the area of “self-policing” by the politicians themselves. In 2006, when the Democrats won majorities in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi said that she would “rule”, as Speaker, over the most honest Congress ever. Has she succeeded in carrying out that pledge? Not quite! The impotent “Ethics Committee” has quite a few names of Congressmen under investigation, but nothing has been done. Some egregious charges have been filed against Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Ca.), Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Rep.Charlie Rangel (D-NY), to name just some of the most prominent. Charges have lingered, in some cases, for some time, even years. How come? Do you think politics have played a part in this inaction? Of course!
The Senate Ethics Committee has also been busy investigating their “own”, such as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) for getting “sweetheart” mortgages from their bank, Countrywide Mortgage. After a “thorough” investigation and testimony from people who actually negotiated with these senators to give them the “V.I.P” deals, the Ethics Committee found “insufficient” evidence to punish them. Do you think that the members of the ethics committee might be afflicted with the malady called CRI (Cranial Rectal Inversion)? You make the call.
So yes, a “pox on both political parties” as they go merrily on their self-serving pandering ways to enrich themselves both financially and politically. Maybe we need a “real change” in Washington? Right here in Palm Beach and Broward counties, we have two fresh faces running for Congress, they are Allen West in the 22nd C.D., and Ed Lynch in the 19th C.D. Both are non-lawyers which are a main plus in judging whether they would make an honest, hard-working Congressman with experiences other than the legal profession. We need to clean house in 2010 and bring back some integrity to that august body. Bringing back the same old, same old Congressmen just won’t do it, that’ll be “real change” you can believe in.
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
A Small Business Owner Stands Up for "The Right Change" at a Town Hall meeting.
Catherine Bragg, an Average American, gives Barack Obama proxy Lynn Woolsey a piece of her mind.
Monday, October 19, 2009
That’s a legitimate question and one that surely requires an answer.
When I was born, many moons ago, I believe the average life expectancy of an American citizen was in the upper 60’s. Today the average life span is about 78 for men and approximately 80 for women. That’s quite a jump, don’t you think?
Well, let’s take the year 1960 (50 years ago). Doctors at that time still made house calls for approx. $15.00 per house visit ($10 a visit at the doctor’s office). Many of the cures that my mother used for some of the illnesses was homeopathic (without knowing what that word meant) and natural treatments that were handed down from generation to generation. For an example, if you caught a cold and were congested in the chest or nose, the treatment was hot tea and honey, chicken soup, and Vick’s Vap-o-Rub on the chest, throat, and back, and if the congestion was really bad, a steam atomizer with some tincture of camphor added, usually did the trick. I also remember that the only painkillers that were widely used were, ether and Novocain, depending on the medical problem. These are just a few of the treatments that were available to us at that time.
Now, look at what’s available to treat us today, just 50 years down the road from 1960. Because of some entrepreneurial people and companies, looking to make a profit from their efforts, we have a wide array of medical products and treatments that just boggle the mind. These “new-fangled” products and treatments don’t come cheaply, but they have mostly been the reason why our life expectancy has gone up so dramatically over these past 50 years, as well as the costs.
Let’s see what is available today that wasn’t available in 1960, and why that has caused our medical costs to soar.
*knee and hip replacements
*Bypass heart artery surgery
*Laser treatments for eyes, skin, and kidney and bladder problems
*stents for arteries
*many miracle drugs, researched and produced by the “evil” pharmaceutical Co.’s
*Plus many more too numerous to mention.
All these innovations and life-saving treatments have come about through our free-enterprise profit making system. If we take the financial incentive out of our medical care system by price-fixing, over regulation, and government intrusion, many of our expected future medical breakthroughs will not come about because it would not be worth the time and effort of some person or company, if they are not fairly compensated for the time, effort, and treasure they would have to expend in developing new products, treatments, and drugs. That’s why people from all over the world come here for treatment, especially heads-of-state, even if it is expensive, because it is the best in the world.
And now, we want to scrap our state-of-the-art medical treatment and care system in order to help about 5% of the population that cannot afford this array of life-saving treatments and in some cases, cures? Why throw the baby out with the bath water, when you could solve this problem by having “safety nets” for poor people or for catastrophic illnesses, instituting tort and malpractice reform, letting people buy their health insurance across state lines, institute vigorous fraud and corruption units, especially in the areas of Medicare and Medicaid? Let the private system work (with some government enforcement oversight) and you’ll see our system adjust to the competition by lowering medical costs for everyone. It’s when the government intrudes in the system that things go haywire and costs start to rise, because all government can do is “screw up a free lunch”, which they seem to do quite well..
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought as to why health care is so expensive, and hopefully, I’ve given you some valid ways of how to go about solving the problem.
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
What is in the water here in Palm Beach and Broward counties that seem to generate so much political corruption? Three recent Palm Beach County commissioners are now in prison for acts of corruption while in office (by the way, they were all Republicans). How many more are we waiting for the “next shoe to drop”? As par for the course, we have another sitting Congressman, Alcee Hastings, representing us who is an impeached former federal judge. Isn’t that just great, even if everyone deserves a second chance, but should they be representing us in Congress and making our laws?
The corrupt politicians are “poster children” for instituting term limits for the politicians on the local, county, state, and federal levels. A humorous (but sad in a way) phrase relating to this topic is – “politicians should be restricted to two terms, one in office and one in prison”. What a way to run a country!
The Wash. D.C. “landfill” is slowly reaching capacity with the likes of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY),Rep. William Jefferson (D-La), Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Ca.) etc. All this after Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2006 said that now that the Democrats have gained a majority in Congress they would “drain the swamp of corruption”. How’s she ‘doin so far? If a grade was given, she’d get a “F” for her performance. Any argument?
In addition, look at the people who President Obama has appointed or has tried to appoint to his Administration. Tax cheats (ex. Tim Geithner), people with extreme radical affiliations (ex. Van Jones), and high profile lobbyists (ex. Tom Daschle, who had to withdraw), have all, or almost became, part of the “most honest administration in U.S. history”. His placing of over 30 Czars with no congressional oversight, who wield power over us citizens and who are on the government payroll, is reminiscent of how things were being done in Chicago. You could say we have “Chicago on the Potomac” and, god forbid, you criticize “The One”, you are then called a “racist”, end of argument because you are now a “bad” person in the eyes of the “politically correct” police.
I’m afraid the “Wash. D.C. landfill” is going to be overfilled to capacity by the end of Obama’s first term (let’s hope it’s just one term). Remember, you can’t polish horse manure, no matter how hard you try, it’s still horse manure, and it stinks to high heaven.
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The government, being run by bureaucrats with little incentive to be good custodians of other people's money (namely our tax dollars), has or is in the process of bankrupting the Post Office, Amtrak, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc., etc.
With that track record as a guide, the President ( The Messiah) and the Democrats want to turn over 1/6 of our economy (health care) to the same people who are responsible for the financial demise of the aforementioned government-run disasters.
Are we stuck on stupid, or what?
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Sunday, October 11, 2009
However, in recent years the Committee has gone out of its way to award the prize to individuals who have done nothing to foster world peace.
In 1990 it awarded the Prize to Mikhail Gorbachev for the liberation of Eastern Europe – something he unwillingly did only after being pressured to do so by President Reagan and the revolts in Hungary, Poland, and other countries in the Soviet bloc. In 1994 the award went to Yasser Arafat for his role in “bringing peace to the Middle East.” Thanks to Arafat all of the Middle Eastern countries no longer want Israel eradicated and we now have peace in the Middle East. In 2002 the Committee awarded the prize to Jimmy Carter, the worst President of the U.S. Here is a man who “brought Israel and the PLO together” to achieve peace. Great job Carter. He was instrumental in bringing the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in Iran. Since then Carter has visited and praised Castro, Chavez, and every other socialist or communist dictator he can find. In 2005 the award went to U.N. head weapons inspector Mohamed ElBaradei – an individual who could not find nuclear programs if they were in front of him. Then in 2007 the award went to Al Gore. What Gore has ever done for peace is a mystery to me – although he did claim to invent the Internet.
Sad to say but the award has become a joke.
Written by Jim Pirretti
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The constitution is an annoyance to Barack Obama on his quest to change America. Changes detrimental to the general public and to creators of our countries wealth. He is stocking his staff with Czars of questionable character and integrity, away from the scrutiny of any government mechanisms with oversight. His inexperience is jeopardizing our security and economy. It's abetting rogue nations wishing for our demise.
There's an arrogance about the man that shows in his resentment of people who may disagree or oppose his vision. His stroll is that of a hot shot and he'll do well to learn the meaning of humility.
The dignity and integrity of the presidency must be preserved. He must be held to high standards in accountability and for his fabrications to further his agenda. He has to be harnessed until the next election before further damage is done.
I'll try to explain his plans to change the country to Obamaland in simple terms. Well over 200 years ago, many people of wealth, mostly from the south, used fellow human beings to labor for them without compensation. These poor souls were herded here in chains, in bondage from Africa by some of their own and others of Islamic heritage. They were separated from their families by these traders in human flesh, that still flourish today in some parts of the world.
No one is alive today from that era of shame. Most of us has no lineage to those participants of that despicable act of slavery. Barack Obama has no linkage to anyone who suffered under that injustice. He caters to the radicals and others who have no ancestry from prior civil war, for reparations.
Under tutelage from the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, ACORN and the congressional black caucus, they're brain washed to see themselves as victims, to gain what they didn't earn, nor exert effort to better themselves.
There's a long list of well known minorities who never played the victim game, who gained society's esteem and respect for their achievements; but not by the so called victims who consider them traitors and Uncle Toms. Bill Cosby is an American icon. I'd like to ask him how he sees himself, hyphenated as African-American, or American?
Sturdy oaks grow from hardy acorns, but in the case of ACORN, poison oak.
I offer a parable in explaining Obama's implementation of redistribution: "You're sitting in my seat. Move!" "No I'm not. I paid for my seat and I'm not going to move! I've always had it and it's mine!" Not anymore it isn't, it's Obama's law!"
The gains we made in civil rights are slipping, because Barack Obama is making his regime racial. Instead of his pre-election rhetoric about bringing us together, the country is becoming more racially divisive.
When liberals don't get their way politically they use the race card to shoot down opposition. This always works for the media.
Written by George Giftos
Monday, October 5, 2009
Just like Ponzi’s plan, Social Security does not make any real investments – it just takes money from later “investors” or taxpayers, to pay benefits to earlier, now retired, taxpayers. Like Ponzi, Social Security, in the future, will not be able to recruit new “investors” fast enough to continue paying promised benefits to previous investors (today and tomorrow’s retired seniors). Because each year there is fewer young workers relative to the number of retirees, Social Security will eventually collapse, just like Ponzi’s scheme. It is now estimated that by the year 2017 (or sooner if the recession continues), Social Security will be paying out more than it will be taking in. It is expected to become insolvent around the year 2040 or there about.
How long will it be before our elected representatives finally try to make Social Security a financially viable program so that future retirees will be able to count on receiving benefits during their retirement years? The most “politically incorrect” answer is what Pres. Bush tried to do a few years ago, after reading a report by the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) and former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), who suggested using part of the payments, now being made by today’s workers into the present Social Security system, into private accounts that become the property of the worker, which can be passed on to his/her heirs upon death. It has been shown that over the years, a three or four times better return can be realized by letting people put some of their F.I.C.A. contributions into “blue chip” equities or debt instruments (AAA Bonds). Even in today’s down market, a worker would be getting a greater return on his contributions than he would get from the present system, if he had a partially “private” Social Security account as described above (if it was setup 20 or more years ago). Yes, there is no 100% guarantee, but past experience, over the last century, has shown that it is most probable that a worker would be vastly better off with a partially privatized system, even taking into account the ups and downs of the market, through good economic times or bad. We must try something as the present system is going broke, just like Bernie Madoff’s financial empire which came crashing down. Even a “Ponzi Scheme” run by the government is not immune from disaster.
Written by Chuck Lehmann
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Now she can join the ranks of Joe Biden (I had a private meeting with President Bush), Al Gore (I invented the Internet), Hillary Clinton (I was named after Sir Edmund Hillary after he climbed Mt. Everest, which he did in 1953 some seven years after she was born), the late Senator Kennedy’s false statements concerning Bork, Alioto, and other judges that came before his Committee for confirmation, Nancy Pelosi’s lies about CIA waterboarding and what she claimed was the Catholic position on abortion, etc.
Written by Jim Pirretti
Friday, October 2, 2009
Next we have Michael Moore, also known as the Big Fat Slob, making a film about capitalism and all of its evil ways. The slob is all for the common man, the union workers, except when he has to employ them. It seemed that Moore's film crew used non-union stagehands to film "Capitalism: A Love Story." His offer of free tickets to unions was turned down by the American Federation of because Moore didn't hire any members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees! http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/union_teaches_moore_lesson_sCK9AXSEsqhAtwpyoUkv5K
Some other examples of the hypocrisy of celebrities.
By Jim Pirretti