health care


In the Lansing (NY) Star a few days ago:

Tompkins County residents should be watching their mailboxes for their new Tompkins County Prescription Drug Discount Card, a card that provides significant savings on brand-name and generic prescription drugs. The discount cards are being mailed next week to more than 42,000 addresses in Tompkins County. 
Tompkins County government is partnering with ProAct, Inc. to provide uninsured and underinsured residents with the free pharmacy benefits discount card, at no cost to the County. Most prescription drugs are covered, with discounts ranging from 10-20% on brand-name drugs and 20-70% for generics. 
"In these tough economic times, it's exciting and gratifying to offer county residents an easy way to save money on their prescription medications," says Frank Proto, Chair of the County Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee. "The new ProAct drug card will be hitting mailboxes the week of August 19th. Keep alert! Please use the card both locally and nationwide..." what's in it for ProAct?  Don't they compete with firms such as Medco?
Questions like that are good ones for people to ask as a matter of course whenever there are "public-private partnerships"...because such "teamwork" oftren runs counter to free markets.
There's a resource available to those who value free markets, Crony Chronicles. It's got lots of useful links, like this one to a little book entitled, The Morality of Capitalism: What Your Professors Won't Tell You. The distinction between a free-market system and cronyism is made on pg. 9:
...Sadly, “crony capitalism” is a term that can with increasing accuracy also be applied to the economy of the United States, a country in which failed firms are routinely “bailed out” with money taken from taxpayers, in which the national capital is little more than a gigantic pulsating hive of “rent-seeking” lobbyists, bureaucrats, politicians, consultants, and hacks, and in which appointed officials of the Treasury Department and the central bank (the Federal Reserve System) take it on themselves to reward some firms and harm others. Such corrupt cronyism shouldn’t be confused with “free-market capitalism,” which refers to a system of production and exchange that is based on the rule of law, on equality of rights for all, on the freedom to choose, on the freedom to trade, on the freedom to innovate, on the guiding discipline of profits and losses, and on the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors, of one’s savings, of one’s investments, without fearing confiscation or restriction from those who have invested, not in production of wealth, but in political power.
And from another link at the site on the topic of health care and cronyism:
...The healthcare industry is rife with examples of cronyism. While much of the industry thrives because people genuinely desire medical services, there is also more than a little cronyism occurring behind the scenes. Much of this cronyism takes the form of people trying to shut down competing services, leaving consumers with fewer options and potentially higher prices to pay...
Yes, it's hard to escape the law of unintended consequences.
And if all this sounds a little esoteric and difficult for many people to apply to their everyday lives, maybe this will help:
There's so much of this stuff going on at every level of government that it's hard to stay on top of it all.
But as someone once said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Talk on the health care debate this Monday evening at Cornell



The Program on Freedom and Free Societies at Cornell University is sponsoring a presentation by Yuval Levin, founding editor of National Affairs and a leading conservative thinker, entitled Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Understanding the Health Care Debate on Monday, April 11 at 7:30 pm in the Kaufmann Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall on the Cornell University campus.  This program is free and open to the public.

Oh, and by the way...repeal doesn't increase the deficit

From Heritage earlier this month:

When now-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) was sworn in as Speaker on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8.67 trillion. By the time Pelosi surrendered the gavel to Speaker John Boehner (R–OH)..., the national debt stood at $14.01 trillion. At $5.34 trillion, that means Speaker Pelosi added more than $1 trillion in debt per year during her tenure as Speaker. And yet she has the audacity to tell reporters...: “Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.”

Only someone so out of touch with reality that they could claim that “deficit reduction” has been their “highest priority” while simultaneously adding more than $1 trillion a year to the debt could possibly claim that repealing Obamacare would add to the debt. But that is exactly what Pelosi wants us to believe. Also... she claimed that repealing Obamacare would do “very serious violence to the national debt and deficit.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

And more recently from Heritage, via Human Events (h/t Tom):

...The House will soon consider H.R. 2, a measure to fully repeal ObamaCare. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it would increase the deficit by $145 billion between 2012 and 2019.

This projection is based on CBO’s March 2010 report. But though the March report said the new law would decrease federal deficits, this was never really going to be the case. Repealing the law wouldn’t increase the deficit at all. CBO does respectable work, but their analysts have their hands tied by certain assumptions which significantly change the outlook they provide.
First, CBO is required to assume that current law will be enacted as written, even in cases where this seems improbable at best....
....Second, CBO must ignore budget gimmicks written into the legislation, including hundreds of billions in double-counted savings, [....which is] akin to trying to make a mortgage payment and buy a Macbook with the same paycheck: In the real world, you can spend money only once....
....ObamaCare won’t reduce the deficit, so repeal doesn’t need to be offset. Repeal is in keeping with the spirit of PAYGO, which exists to encourage long-term deficit reduction. Moreover, PAYGO requires deficit neutrality only over a 10-year budget window, so legislation can create savings in one decade but run trillions in deficits the next and still meet PAYGO requirements. The loopholes of 10-year scoring weren’t lost on the 111th Congress -- the costliest provisions of Obamacare don’t go into effect until 2014, so the CBO score includes only six years of heavy spending....
There's more—read it all, as they say, but you get the idea.
Memo to House Republicans: You are in charge of the House. Your new majority is 242-193.
Once again, tell Richard Hanna your thoughts through his House web site.

Hanna Responds on ObamaCare Repeal

Congressman Richard Hanna (NY-24) responded today to a request to repeal the health care law ("ObamaCare") passed by Democrats last year.  In part, he wrote:
... "The current law also raises taxes, expands government, increases costs, but does not improve quality of care. 
... "The goal of reform ought to be to increase access to health care through lower costs, without compromising the ability of our economy to create jobs and put New Yorkers back to work.  To that end, I support replacing the current law with reforms that increase access to quality healthcare through more competition and choice.  I will support legislation that achieves the following goals:
  • Fosters economic growth and private sector job creation;
  • Lowers premiums through increased competition and choice;
  • Allows folks with pre-existing conditions access to affordable coverage;
  • Reforms the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending;
  • Preserves the patient's ability to keep a plan if he or she likes it;
  • Increases the number of insured New Yorkers; and
  • Expands incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs."
A vote in the House on H.R. 2, Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, is due tomorrow, January 19, 2011.
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