Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time magazine, though on the cultural left, has it right on marriage in recent article.

Time magazine last month came out with a tremendous article on marriage in America, "Is there hope for the American Marriage?"

The writer, Caitlin Flanagan, begins by tweaking conservatives, pointing to the affairs of conservative politicans Sanford and Ensign. But then goes on to highlight the problem.
In the past 40 years, the face of the American family has changed profoundly. As sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin observes in a landmark new book called The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today, what is significant about contemporary American families, compared with those of other nations, is their combination of "frequent marriage, frequent divorce" and the high number of "short-term co-habiting relationships." Taken together, these forces "create a great turbulence in American family life, a family flux, a coming and going of partners on a scale seen nowhere else. There are more partners in the personal lives of Americans than in the lives of people of any other Western country."
Then she goes on to point out the shifting idea of marriagel from sacrifice and raising children to romance and self satisfaction.
An increasingly fragile construct depending less and less on notions of sacrifice and obligation than on the ephemera of romance and happiness as defined by and for its adult principals, the intact, two-parent family remains our cultural ideal, but it exists under constant assault. It is buffeted by affairs and ennui, subject to the eternal American hope for greater happiness, for changing the hand you dealt yourself. Getting married for life, having children and raising them with your partner — this is still the way most Americans are conducting adult life, but the numbers who are moving in a different direction continue to rise. Most notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39.7%.
Does this shift matter? Absolutely.
How much does this matter? More than words can say. There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers' financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation's underclass.
She then goes on to point out the importance marriage regarding poverty.
The poor and the middle class are very different in the ways they have forsaken marriage. The poor are doing it by uncoupling parenthood from marriage, and the financially secure are doing it by blasting apart their unions if the principals aren't having fun anymore.

The growing tendency of the poor to have children before marriage — the vast majority of unmarried women having babies are undereducated and have low incomes — is a catastrophic approach to life, as three Presidents in a row have tried to convince them. Bill Clinton's welfare-to-work program encouraged marriage, George W. Bush spent millions to promote marriage, and Barack Obama has spoken powerfully on the need for men to stay with their children: "We need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one."

Are dads important and should they be married?

That prompts the question, Does the father have to actually be married to the mother of his children to have a positive effect on them?

"Not if he behaves exactly like a married man," says Robert Rector, a senior research fellow of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation. If a man is willing to contribute 70% of his income to the child's upbringing, dedicate himself around the clock to the child's well-being and create a stable home life — a home life that includes his actually living there with mother and child — he might be able to give his child the boon of fatherhood without having to tie the knot. But that rarely happens. When children are born into a co-habiting, unmarried relationship, says Rector, "they arrive in a family in which the principals haven't resolved their most basic issues," including those of sexual fidelity and how to share responsibilities. Let a little stress enter the picture — and what is more stressful than a baby? — and things start to fall apart. The new mother starts to make wifelike demands on the man, and without the commitment of marriage, he is soon out the door.

Few things hamper a child as much as not having a father at home. "As a feminist, I didn't want to believe it," says Maria Kefalas, a sociologist who studies marriage and family issues and co-authored a seminal book on low-income mothers called Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage. "Women always tell me, 'I can be a mother and a father to a child,' but it's not true." Growing up without a father has a deep psychological effect on a child. "The mom may not need that man," Kefalas says, "but her children still do."

Does family break up affect children? Absolutely.

The reason for these appeals to lasting unions is simple: on every single significant outcome related to short-term well-being and long-term success, children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households. Longevity, drug abuse, school performance and dropout rates, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior and incarceration — if you can measure it, a sociologist has; and in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others.

Does divorce harm children? You bet.

This turns out to be true across the economic spectrum. The groundbreaking research on the effects of divorce on children from middle- and upper-income households comes from a surprising source: a Princeton sociologist and single mother named Sara McLanahan, who decided to study the fates of these children with the tacit assumption that once you control for income, being part of a single-parent household does not adversely affect kids. The results — which she published in the 1994 book Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps — were surprising. "Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent," she found, "are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents' race or educational background."
The most significant part of the article was Flanagan got it right on the fundamental purpose of marriage -- the next generation not adult pleasure.

The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it — given the game-changing realities of birth control, female equality and the fact that motherhood outside of marriage is no longer stigmatized — simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? If so, we might as well hold the wake now: there probably aren't many people whose idea of 24-hour-a-day good times consists of being yoked to the same romantic partner, through bouts of stomach flu and depression, financial setbacks and emotional upsets, until after many a long decade, one or the other eventually dies in harness.

Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood? Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives — that's the generation who will be taking care of us when we are old.

Flanagan lays out the purpose of marriage and the damage to society and individuals when it breaks down. She also, without even mentioning it, totally under cut the basis for homosexual marriage. How? By pointing out how indispensable a mom and a dad are in the lives of their kids and pointing to the purpose of marriage being fundamentally about the next generation, procreation and doing what's best for children. Something same sex marriage inherently can not do. It's not about a self fulfillment and personal happiness -- the guiding principles of homosexual marriage. It's not about me but the next generation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

ELCA embraces homosexual clergy and moral relativism

ELCA embraces homosexual clergy and moral relativism

Group says ELCA has embraced post modernism and rejected the clear teaching of Scripture and Christian practice for nearly 2000 years.

Minneapolis – Tom Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council, said today that the vote by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, (ELCA) to allow congregations to hire clergy in homosexual relationships indicates that the ELCA has fully embraced moral relativism and abdicated it’s moral authority in the community.

"With this vote to affirm homosexual behavior and clergy, the ELCA has fully embraced moral relativism and jettisoned it's moral authority in the community. They've embraced post modernism and rejected the clear teaching of Scripture and Christian practice for nearly 2000 years,” said Prichard.

"Speaking as a Lutheran, with this vote the ELCA needs to change it's name. It's no longer 'Lutheran' or 'Evangelical.' They have turned their back on the authority of the bible, the foundation on which Martin Luther started the Reformation,” said Prichard.

"What's the outcome of this vote? To find the answer, all one has to do is look at the Episcopalians who embraced homosexual behavior a few years ago. They are hemorrhaging members, because they no longer take the Scripture seriously or stand for anything grounded in objective truth,”
"It would be interesting to hear what Martin Luther would say about this. Knowing how Martin Luther thought, it wouldn't be printable."

Harassment of students by teachers unacceptable.

There's been quite a bit of media attention drawn to the recent harassing incident in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. In this instance, it involved harassment of student for being gay, though the student actually wasn't homosexual. Any and all forms of harassment of students, for being gay or anything else, is wrong and should be dealt with strongly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"We are God's partners in matters of life and death." Who said that?

There's an interesting post on Politico yesterday by Ben Smith entitled, "We are God's partners in matters of life and death."

A reader points out that President Obama's call with the rabbis today — as recorded in Rabbi Jack Moline's and other clerics' Twitter feeds — freights health care reform with a great deal of religious meaning, and veers into the blend of policy and faith that outraged liberals in the last administration.

"We are God's partners in matters of life and death," Obama said, according to Moline (paging Sarah Palin...), quoting from the Rosh Hashanah prayer that says that in the holiday period, it is decided "who shall live and who shall die."

The president ended the call by wishing the rabbis "shanah tovah," or happy new year — in reference to the High Holidays a month from now.

Who said that? Must be some leader from the religious right. Wrong. It is President Obama who said this in a conference call with rabbis on his health care reform proposal.

I think it's fine. The more integration of moral discourse in the public square the better. However, one still has to critically evaluate what's actually being said and whether it lines up with what's right and good.

In the case of Obama's push for more government controlled health care I think it moves us farther away from what's right and good. It will mean rationing of care by the government, abortion coverage, premature ending of the lives of many seniors, and of course cost us a lot more money.

Of course, just because one invokes the name of God don't assume it's right and good. Case in point are the ELCA Lutherans and the push of many in that denomination to endorse homosexual behavior, behavior which is clearly a violation of Scriptural standards, and the "Law of Nature and Nature's God", terminology employed by the Founders to describe the grounding of what's truth.

Obama hopes religious leaders will preach politics from the pulpit

Recently, several of our readers have taken issue with MFC and others for perceived violations of separation of church and state. However, the LA Times reports that President Obama will address more than 1,000 religious leaders to “extend his message to legions of faithful in the pews.” (See article below.)

Clearly, the President is mixing politics and religion by trying to persuade religious leaders to support his political initiatives. In fact, organizers hope the call to provide "fodder for sermons."

Many readers of this blog have strongly objected to any attempt to force moral values on a secular state. Here are just a few examples:

Jesus was a liberal: “You can’t lead a country” with “religion.”

Herb: “Its time for politics to put religion where it belongs in the places of worship and in the private sector. If it does not, then our nation will decay. It is detremental (Herb’s spelling) to the growth of our nation and as a morally structured society. To force one mans Morals onto another is in fact immoral in itself.”

Ex-right-wing: "I believe my religion has nothing to do with politics. I believe that what is good for the over all population has nothing to do with religion."

Jesse: “…clergy being allowed to preach politics from the pulpit would certainly create an environment similar to pre-America church-state hostilities - one of the many reasons the Founding Fathers fled their own government's hostility and created these United States of America.”

Is President Obama mixing politics and religion? Is he trying to force his religious values on a secular state? Is he wrong to do so? What do you think of a religious leader that tells his congregation to support the Presidents health care plan?

Well folks, what say you? (I would especially like to hear what my friend, Pastor Greg Boyd has to say about this.)


LA Times
Obama to preach his healthcare message to religious leaders

The president will address more than 1,000 leaders of different faiths in two conference calls, hoping they will pass on his ideas about the overhaul to their parishioners.

Obama is scheduled to address more than 1,000 religious figures in two conference calls, allowing him to extend his message to legions of faithful in the pews.First up is a "High Holy Day" call this morning with rabbis from Judaism's Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. Organizers hope the call will provide fodder for synagogue sermons when the Jewish holidays arrive next month.

Read more…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

With or without 'death panels', Obamacare inevitably means rationing

Whether concern about 'death panels' is justified or not, Obamacare will result in rationed health care because rationing is what government programs inevitably do. It's Econ 101, as ABC's John Stossel points out in The Ugly Truth of Obamacare.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Minnesota more conservative than liberal while also more democrat than republican.

The Gallup organization released a poll on the make-up of the states on the conservative-liberal and republican-democrat fronts.

On the ideology front, conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the country. Even in liberal states like Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Vermont conservatives had one point margins.

In Minnesota, 36% of Minnesotans describe themselves as conservatives while 23% say they are liberals. 38% say they are moderate. The net conservative factor is +13. The net republican factor in Minnesota is a negative -17. That means democrats outnumber republicans by 17 percentage points.

Nationally, Minnesota is described as "somewhat conservative."

I suspect the conservative-liberal gap will continue to grow as Obama pushes his "liberal" agenda on a more "conservative" nation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is dropping "public option" a bait and switch in health care reform strategy? I wouldn't be surprised.

Word out of the White House is they're willing to drop the "public option" provision to get a health care reform bill. If that's the case I'm still very concerned with what they'll come up with. Frankly, public option could just be a stalking horse. They'll just come back with expanded regulations of the private sector or establishment of a government body with extensive regulatory power and get with they want via another means. Push back from liberals in the House will give them cover for pushing for more government, non-"public option" regulations.

Remember, the source of our health care problems is largely the government. It's distorted the health care market to such an extent that people are not responsible for their health care purchases and usage and the costs of health care has gone through the roof. Injecting more government intervention in the system will only make matter's worse. Empowering individuals is what government should do rather than deciding what health care people should have and how they receive it. The worldview of the powers-that-be are clearly in the "more government" camp whatever they come up with.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hypocritical bungling

President Obama's handlers aren't giving him good advice. First, they either underestimated the validity of the grassroots resistance to government health care, or they recognized it as legitimate and tried to combat it with ridicule and name-calling. Whatever motivated this response, it was a big mistake. The hostility to his plan is, for the most part, real, grassroots and unscripted.

To make matters worse, his handlers then put President Obama in a staged town hall meeting with softball questions, especially a scripted question from a young girl whose mother is an Obama organizer.

It's a bit hypocritical to question the legitimacy of average Americans at town hall meeting across the country and then stage a phony town hall meeting of your own.

Let's see what his handlers have planned for Obama's town hall meetings today in Montana.

"Death Panels", Obama, and Palin

Sara Palin's description of the "Advanced Care Planning Consultation" provisions in the House Health Care Bill as "Death Panels" illicited a response by Obama in a recent townhall meeting.
“Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.” [1]
Well, Palin shot back in a Facebook posting which reiterates the very valid concerns about what these consultations will actually result in.
The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.” [2] With all due respect, it’s misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

Section 1233 authorizes advanced care planning consultations for senior citizens on Medicare every five years, and more often “if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual ... or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility... or a hospice program." [3] During those consultations, practitioners must explain “the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice,” and the government benefits available to pay for such services. [4]

Now put this in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.” [5] Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As Charles Lane notes in the Washington Post, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.... If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to “bend the curve” on health-care costs?” [6]

As Lane also points out:

Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite “purely voluntary,” as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, “purely voluntary” means “not unless the patient requests one.” Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.

Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic.

Even columnist Eugene Robinson, a self-described “true believer” who “will almost certainly support” “whatever reform package finally emerges”, agrees that “If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.” [8]

So are these usually friendly pundits wrong? Is this all just a “rumor” to be “disposed of”, as President Obama says? Not according to Democratic New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, who writes:

Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives.... It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen ... should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign. [9]

Of course, it’s not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens....An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” [10] Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which “produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” [11]

President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisors are clear enough. It’s all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform.
Facing off vulnerable, ill, elderly seniors with a doctor about end of life care raises very legitimate concerns about overreach and pressure to sign documents which will end their lives sooner and even prematurely. Knowing the worldview of the bill's proponents regarding abortion, should shed some light on how they might interpret a provision addressing end of life decisions. The specter of euthanasia is not an alarmist concern.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The knife cuts both ways

The same angst that swept President Obama into office is fueling the nationwide grassroots firestorm that is seriously harming his government take over of health care.

It's the recession stupid.

Look for more spin that the recession is over and the economy is recovering.

(Ironically, it was the great communicator himself that enabled the smoldering fire to rage out of control during the August recess by his police acted "stupidly" gaff.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Growing achievement gap in favor of home educated kids versus public educated kids; it's not income, education level of parents, or amount spent.

A study of standardized test scores of home educated and public school educated students reveals a growing achievement gap in favor of home educated kids. According to a recently released study, "Progress Report 2009", the percentile gap increased between home and public educated students from 30 percentage points in 1997 to 37 percentage points in 2009.

"Progress Report 2009: Homeschool academic achievement and demographics" is a study commissioned by The Home School League Defense Association (HSLDA) on the the academic performance of home educated kids. It compared the nationally recognized standardized test results of 11,739 home educated students to public school educated students nationally.

It found a growing gap between the academic performance of home versus public educated students. It found home educated kids continued to do very well regardless of socio-economic background, education level of parents, whether the parent was a certified teacher, whether the state imposed heavy or light regulations on home education or style of home education.

Why do home educated students perform so well? From demographic info in the study, I think there are a couple of factors.

First, family structure and parental involvement. Nearly 98% of the families studied were married. And second, most of the time one parent stayed at home. Just under 20% of home educating mothers worked outside the home and most them, nearly 85%, worked part-time.

The key is parental engagement and time with their kids. That's just not possible in a single parent household or where both parents are working outside the home.

This reaffirms the incredible importance of intact families on our children, our next generation of leaders.

What can government do? Obviously, it can't mandate that parents stay together or educate their children at home. But it can encourage strong families by reforming no fault divorce laws and empowering parents with more educational choices -- like educating their kids at home if they choose to do so. An added benefit of more students educated at home is saving taxpayers a lot of money. The median home educating parent spent between $400 to $600 per student a year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama's health care proposal is only more of status quo and will only make matters worse.

Washington Post economics' columnist Robert Samuelson did a story on Obama's health care plan now in Congress, "Obama's Health Care Will Make it Worse."

Samuelson says Obama isn't doing what he said he would -- change the status.
Obama took a pass. He simply claims that his plan will do things it won't. What he's offering is an enlarged version of the status quo that, as he says, is already unsustainable.
Samuelson adds: reimbursement by government and private insurance has ballooned health spending despite repeated pledges to "contain" costs. For example, health payments for individuals rose from less than 1 percent of federal spending in 1965 to 23 percent in 2008.

Obama would perpetuate this system. No president has spoken more forcefully about the need to control costs. Failure, he's argued, would expand federal budget deficits, raise out-of-pocket health costs and squeeze take-home pay (more compensation would go to insurance). All true. But Obama's program would do little to reduce costs and would increase spending by expanding subsidized insurance. The House legislation would cut the uninsured by 37 million by 2018, estimates the Congressional Budget Office. The uninsured get care now; with insurance they'd get more.

"You'd be adding a third medical entitlement on top of Medicare and Medicaid," says James Capretta, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.

What would a debate over controlling health care costs really look like?
For starters, we wouldn't be arguing about how to "pay for" the $1 trillion or so of costs over a decade of Obama's "reform." Congress wouldn't create new benefits until it had disciplined the old. We'd be debating how to trim the $10 trillion, as estimated by CBO, that Medicare and Medicaid will spend over the next decade, without impairing Americans' health. We'd use Medicare as a vehicle of change. Accounting for more than one-fifth of all health spending, its costs per beneficiary, now about $12,000, rose at a dizzying average annual rate of 8.5 percent a year from 1970 to 2007. (True, that's lower than private insurers' rate at 9.7 percent. But the gap may partly reflect cost-shifting to private payers. When Medicare restrains reimbursement rates, hospitals and doctors raise charges to private insurers.)

Medicare is so big that shifts in its practices spread to the rest of the delivery system. But changing Medicare, and through it one-sixth of the U.S. economy, requires more than a few demonstration projects of "comparative outcomes" research or economic incentives. What's needed is a fundamental restructuring. Fee-for-service medicine -- Medicare's dominant form of payment -- is outmoded. The more doctors and hospitals do, the more they get paid. This promotes fragmentation and the overuse of services.

We should move toward coordinated care networks that take responsibility for their members' medical needs in return for fixed annual payments (called "capitation"). One approach is through vouchers; Medicare recipients would receive a fixed amount and shop for networks with the lowest cost and highest quality. Alternatively, government could shift its reimbursement of hospitals and doctors to "capitation" payments. Limited dollars would, in theory, force improvements in efficiency and effective care.

We're not having this debate. To engage it would require genuine presidential leadership, because, admittedly, these proposals would be hugely controversial. Medicare recipients -- present and future -- would feel threatened. Existing doctor-patient relationships might be disrupted. Spending limits would inspire fears of short-changed care. Hospitals, doctors and device manufacturers would object.
I think the answer, and Samuelson only mentions it in passing and indirectly, is restoring market forces to the health care system, e.g. vouchers for one. Government will have to stop offering everybody something for nothing. More government control and regulation will only make matters worse, e.g. rationing, less access to medical care for those with serious conditions, reduced quality of care, etc.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ObamaCare's Perfect Day

For centuries, doctors took an oath to protect life and to uphold the covenant relationship with their patients. Even now, with the Hippocratic Oath discarded due to its problematic prohibition of abortion and euthanasia ("do no harm"), doctors still recognize at some level that they have a covenant with their patients, not just a code of conduct.

See: The Hippocratic Oath Today (

And: Taking the Hippocratic Oath Seriously (

So with the prospect of government-run health care, my question is this: Where's the oath that the government health care bureaucrats will take? Whose interests will they swear to protect?

With whom will the bureaucrats who run the system and make health care decisions have a covenant - with millions of patients they never see or interact with, or with the government from which they get a paycheck twice a month?

Obamacare advocates like to point to the Mayo Clinic as a model for quality care with controlled costs. Does anybody really think bureaucrats will follow Mayo Clinic's model of care: "The Needs of the Patient Come First" (

For a chilling, prescient view of where Obamacare is headed, read "This Perfect Day" (1966), by Ira Levin. Levin's magic number was 62. I wonder where the actuaries set it now?

France wants health care system more like US while we're trying to do what they've done which doesn't work.

Here's an example of why not to embrace more government health care. What's happening where it exists. Here's a story, "France Fights Universal Care's High Cost" on the problems with French health care which widely touted as the model for where US health should go.

France claims it long ago achieved much of what today's U.S. health-care overhaul is seeking: It covers everyone, and provides what supporters say is high-quality care. But soaring costs are pushing the system into crisis. The result: As Congress fights over whether America should be more like France, the French government is trying to borrow U.S. tactics.

In recent months, France imposed American-style "co-pays" on patients to try to throttle back prescription-drug costs and forced state hospitals to crack down on expenses. "A hospital doesn't need to be money-losing to provide good-quality treatment," President Nicolas Sarkozy thundered in a recent speech to doctors.

And service cuts -- such as the closure of a maternity ward near Ms. Cuccarolo's home -- are prompting complaints from patients, doctors and nurses that care is being rationed. That concern echos worries among some Americans that the U.S. changes could lead to rationing.

The French system's fragile solvency shows how tough it is to provide universal coverage while controlling costs, the professed twin goals of President Barack Obama's proposed overhaul.

In an effort to control costs, bureaucrats are rationing care by deciding who will and won't get services rather than allowing people to make those decides through market forces. Again, government isn't the answer but rather the primary problem in our health care problems.

Friday, August 7, 2009

If Obamacare doesn't pass what will?

Here's an interesting column on health care, "Obamacare developing into Insurance Changes," by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer. He thinks an overal of the entire health care system is not going to pass.

By year’s end, President Barack Obama will emerge with something he can call health care reform. The Democrats in Congress will pass it because they must. Otherwise, they’ll have slain their own savior in his first year in office.

But that bill will look nothing like the massive reform Obama originally intended. The beginning of the retreat was signaled by Obama’s reference — made five times — to “health-insurance reform” in his July 22 news conference.

Reforming the health care system is dead. Cause of death? Blunt trauma administered by the green eyeshades at the Congressional Budget Office.

What did the CBO reveal?

Three blows:

(1) On June 16, the CBO determined that the Senate Finance Committee bill would cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years, delivering a sticker shock that was near fatal.

(2) Five weeks later, the CBO gave its verdict on the Independent Medicare Advisory Council, Dr. Obama’s latest miracle cure, conjured up at the last minute to save Obamacare from fiscal ruin, and consisting of a committee of medical experts highly empowered to make Medicare cuts.

The CBO said that council would do nothing, trimming costs by perhaps 0.2 percent. A 0.2 percent cut is not a solution; it’s a punch line.

(3) The final blow came when the CBO euthanized the Obama “out years” myth. The administration’s argument had been: Sure, Obamacare will initially increase costs and deficits. But it pays for itself in the long run because it bends the curve downward in coming decades.

But instead Congress and Obama will target insurance companies in such a way that it will only make the problem worse. What will it look like?

To win back the vast constituency that has insurance, is happy with it, and is mightily resisting the fatal lures of Obamacare, the president will in the end simply impose heavy regulations on the insurance companies that will make what you already have secure, portable and imperishable: no policy cancellations, no pre-existing condition requirements, perhaps even a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.

Nirvana. But wouldn’t this bankrupt the insurance companies? Of course it would. There will be only one way to make this work: Impose an individual mandate. Force the 18 million Americans between 18 and 34 who (often quite rationally) forgo health insurance to buy it. This will create a huge new pool of customers who rarely get sick but will be paying premiums every month. And those premiums will subsidize nirvana health insurance for older folks.

The net result will be kicking the problem down the road which will only increase problems rather than solve them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We can't afford the US House health care bill.

The House of Representatives was reviewed by the Heritage Foundation which in turn had an independent health care group research firm, The Lewin Group, research the impact of the plan. What did they find? A foretaste of government run health care. According to Heritage Foundation:
There are many interesting findings from the Lewin study, including that 83 million Americans will LOSE their current health insurance and move on to the government-run system while early 17 million Americans will still be uninsured. And all of this at a cost of at least $1 trillion in the first 10 years. This does not even begin to address the fact that in every country that has moved to a government-run system, health outcomes for those who fall ill are dramatically worse than in the United States.
More government, millions uninsured while costing us a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and a massive transfer of people to the federal government health care plan.

What is the answer? Restoring market forces to the current health care system and encourage people to provide their own health care through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). And a plan to help the truly needy and less fortunate. Health care costs will never get controlled unless the market is restored or government rationing is implemented which raises the specter of all sorts of other problems. Remember, many of the problems inherent in our current health care system are due to the government.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Proposed online homosexual high school uses students as "guinea pigs".

There was a story in the Pioneer Press today about the first proposed online homosexual high school, called "GLBTQ Online High School." It will be based in Maplewood, cost $5,900 a year. So far 24 kids have applied and 100 people have applied for staff positions.

What's one to make of it? First, it strikes me as a bit unusual, even bizarre that the school is organized around a person's sexual preferences, e.g. who one desires to have sex with. What would one think of a school which advertised itself as a "Heterosexual school catering to students who were sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex." Yet that's exactly what the proposed school is doing in terms of homosexuality.

Second, parents should be very leery of the school. It smacks of indoctrination rather than education. The curriculum of the school is supposed to differ from traditional school by being more "'GLBTQ-friendly.' That involves abolishing negative messages and highlighting gay, bisexual and transgender people in history." There's clearly a social agenda in place, promoting acceptance of homosexuality rather than educating which would supposedly include various perspectives on homosexuality.

One alleged "advantage" of the school is "It also removes gay students from potentially hostile school environments and places them in what he touts as a 'safe and welcoming educational community.' Instead of facing bullies every day, students would be learning with other students who understand their concerns."
The question is why does it have to be an overtly homosexual environment? Can't avoidance of a "hostile school environment" be achieved through a non-homosexual online program. Again, more evidence that the goal is indoctrination and a social agenda rather than education.

Finally, the school will aggressively promote acceptance of unhealthy sexual behaviors and lifestyle among impressible and often confused adolescents . Homosexual behavior is demonstrably unhealthy yet in the school it will be actively affirmed throughout the curriculum. On top of the curriculum, the program does so by isolating kids so they won't be exposed anything but pro-homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender messages. This will certainly be detrimental to the kids involved with the school.

The organizer says no other school has done this. He says, "people ask us, what's the research behind this? We are the research." Sounds like an admission that the students are being used as guinea pigs.

The bottom line is more kids will be put at risk, emotionally and physically because of the school and it's aggressive promotion of homosexuality.

Obama's end game for health care? Government run, universal, single payer health care.

There's never been any doubt in my mind where President Obama wants to go with health care in the United States. Government run single payer, universal health care system.

In this cut from a 2003 speech to the AFL-CIO, Obama is very explicit about that. He also says "everybody in and nobody out."

What are the implications of such a plan? Rising health care costs. Rationing. Declining quality of health care. Government payment of abortion. Euthanasia. Not a pretty picture.

Again this is a worldview issue. In Obama's worldview, our trust is in government not in God. A denial of how God designed and created our economic and social systems to actually work in the real world. Government will again meet our needs and solve our problems. The result? The abysmal failure of government control of health care in socialist models. From the USSR which takeover everything, including health care, to our neighbors to the north, Canada and European countries such as the UK where rationing and massive waiting periods are the order of the day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Support for Homosexual marriage drops significantly in major polls. Is the public understanding now what's at stake?

It's interesting that since the Left's social agenda is now the agenda in Washington, DC, the public is turning against homosexual marriage. At least that's what several major public opinion polls show.

According to the Pew Research poll,

...the issue of same-sex marriage has occupied center stage politically for the past several years. Maine recently became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and legislative efforts to pass similar laws are underway in other states as well. But a majority of the public (54%) remains opposed to same-sex marriage, reflecting a small but significant increase in opposition since November 2007, when 49% opposed it. Just 35% favor it.

In a CBS/New York Times poll finds,

The poll found 33 percent favor marriage for same-sex couples, down somewhat from a high of 42 percent in April, and another 30 percent support civil unions. A third of Americans think there should be no legal recognition of a same-sex couple’s relationship. Views in this poll are similar to those found back in March of this year.

In a May Gallup poll, support didn't change from 40% while opposition grew from 56% to 57%.

Polls go up and down but in this time when liberalism is on the ascendancy, the support for homosexual marriage is actually going down, not up. I find it also interesting how some of these pollsters analyze the results. One can find liberal bias again. CBS says support for same sex couples is "down somewhat" from 42% to 33%. That doesn't sound like a "somewhat" to me. That sounds like "a lot" to me.

Government health care may be toxic to the elderly

While Obama chides Doctors who abuse the health care system by removing tonsils to make more money, he endorses a plan that pays Doctors to improve ROI by counseling the elderly and terminally ill about what medical care they will receive in their final days.

This article, "Time To Go, Grandpa" by Pat Buchanan sheds some insight into this possibility with Obamacare.

Time To Go, Grandpa
Pat Buchanan

"With "controlling costs" a primary goal of Obamacare, and half of all medical costs coming in the last six months of life, "rationed care" takes on a new meaning for us all.

London's Telegraph reported Sunday that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, known by its Orwellian acronym NICE, intends to slash by 95 percent the number of steroid injections, such as cortisone, given to people who suffer severe and chronic back pain. "

"Specialists fear," said the Telegraph, "tens of thousands of people, mainly the elderly and frail, will be left to suffer excruciating levels of pain or pay as much as 500 pounds each for private treatment."

Now, twin this story with the weekend Washington Post story about Obamacare's "proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical treatment they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills," and there is little doubt as to what is coming."

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