With the U.S. debt having surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product August 3, to $14.58 trillion, it’s crudely entertaining to see how multimillionaire lawmakers in Congress and administrations both past and present find “compassionate” ways to spend ever-more of taxpayers’ money. The following is just the most recent example of a “compassionate” expenditure taxpayers don’t need.
On September 10, one day before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a piece was published that set out conditions under which the U.S. should (and should not) provide humanitarian aid at taxpayers’ expense, humanitarian projects being by their nature philanthropic.
Just three days later, the Washington Times (one among several other newspapers), ran a story describing how a compassionate George W. Bush was using his namesake institution to jumpstart an initiative combating women’s cancers (cervical and breast) in developing countries, primarily Africa, Vietnam, and Haiti, where such diseases are more rampant than usual due to the high levels of AIDS/HIV. The project is part of the “Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon,” program, the goal of which is to “expand the services of clinics created under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),” while the cancers are presumably still treatable.
Is the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act on the ropes? The long-term care provision of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), sneaked into the bill at the last minute, has long been criticized on Capitol Hill as a future budget buster; and recent moves by the Obama administration suggest that the White House, too, is not particularly enthusiastic about implementing the program.
First the administration asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to zero out funding for CLASS for fiscal year 2012 despite having previously requested $120 million for the program. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) applauded the move, calling it a “good first step,” but said Congress should finish the job by repealing the CLASS Act.
Then on Thursday the chief actuary of CLASS, Robert Yee, announced he would be leaving his post because “the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was closing down the office charged with implementing the program and reassigning its staff,” The Hill reports.
The Associated Press "fact-checked" President Obama’s combative proclamation that "middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires." In broadcasting his new "Buffett Rule" for millionaires — his so-called "revenue" vehicle for the American Jobs Act — Obama tossed a class-warfare grenade, claiming that the wealthy are not covering enough of the tax burden. The President demanded in a bellicose speech Monday that individuals earning over $1 million a year must "pay their fair share" to help slash the soaring federal deficit.
Obama also vowed to veto any Republican bill that does not adopt a "balanced" approach to reducing the deficit, meaning if the bill does not include tax increases on high-earners he will axe the proposal. "I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans," he pledged. "And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share."
Looking at a season on the sidelines, or possibly the end of his Hall of Fame career, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning (#18) apparently traveled recently to Europe for a medical procedure that has not been approved in the United States: adult stem cell therapy.
Manning, who led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, “has had three surgeries in 19 months on his bothersome neck, the latest of which caused the four-time NFL MVP to miss his first game in 14 seasons…,” reported Fox News. While few details were immediately available about the procedure, other than those supplied by Fox Sports commentator Jay Glazer, the therapy most likely did not involve embryonic stem cells — a medical procedure condemned by religious and pro-life leaders as destructive of human life.
Rather, reported bioethics expert Dr. David Prentice on LifeNews.com, the therapy most likely used “adipose (fat) derived adult stem cells from Manning’s own body,” a procedure that “bypasses any problems of transplant rejection and is relatively safe.”
A couple from West Palm Beach, Florida, has just been awarded $4.5 million in a “wrongful birth” suit against a doctor and an ultrasound technician. The couple charged that the medical professionals were negligent because had they known they were to give birth to a severely disabled child, born without arms and with only one leg, they would have aborted the baby.
Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana sued Dr. Marie Morel and her ultrasound technician for a staggering $9 million, estimated to cover the child’s expenses for the next 70 years. Mejia and Santana alleged that the doctor should have been able to see the baby’s disabilities during the ultrasounds.
The jury, consisting of four men and two women, agreed that the doctor and ultrasound technician failed to properly read the sonograms. They determined that the doctor was 85 percent negligent and the technician was 15 percent negligent.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's highly touted RomneyCare has cost Massachusetts some 18,000 jobs, reduced investment in the state by tens of millions, raised health care costs, and lowered per capita disposable income, according to a computer model study by the Suffolk University-based Beacon Hill Institute. RomneyCare became the model for Obama's national health care reform legislation Congress passed in 2010, including an individual mandate, tax penalties for companies that don't offer care, a health insurance exchange, and several other similar key components.
The health care law "does not exist in a vacuum," Beacon Hill Institute executive director David Tuerck wrote in a September 15 press release unveiling the computer modeling study. "The 'shared sacrifice' needed to provide universal health care includes a net loss of jobs, which is attributable to the higher costs that the measure imposed."
The study concluded that the Massachusetts health care reform (HCR) signed by Mitt Romney in 2006 has:
America got a perfect exposition of the great progressivist myth in the September 12 CNN/Tea Party Presidential debate. The great progressivist myth is this: If government doesn't do it, then it won't happen. If the government doesn't do it, it doesn't count. If a person is against government intervening, he therefore must favor the ends the liberal or progressive claims will happen without government intervention. In short, the great progressivist myth is that you either favor government intervention, or you are an awful person who wants some horrible consequence.
During that debate, Dr. Ron Paul, an obstetrician and Texas congressman, had the following exchange with moderator Wolf Blitzer:
Wolf Blitzer: "You're a physician, Ron Paul. So you're a doctor, you know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy, 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, 'you know what, I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance, because I'm healthy. I don't need it.' But you know, something terrible happens. All of a sudden, he needs it. Who's going to pay for it if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?"
Another federal judge has ruled that Obamacare’s key individual mandate is unconstitutional. Judge Christopher C. Conner of the U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, ruled on Tuesday that the federal government cannot mandate American citizens to purchase health care. The ruling addressed one of more than 30 lawsuits nationwide that have been filed against Obamacare since it was signed into law in March 2010.
This particular lawsuit was filed by a Pennsylvania couple, Barbara Goudy-Bachman and George Bachman, who do not have health insurance, but believed they would be subject to the mandate. Conner, a George W. Bush appointee, said that the mandate, which begins in 2014, is an unconstitutional extension of federal authority under the Commerce Clause.
“The nation undoubtedly faces a health care crisis,” Conner said. “Scores of individuals are uninsured and the costs to all citizens are measurable and significant.
When President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, he surely did not foresee the resistance with which his new law would be met. States have lined up to sue the federal government over the law. Some have introduced legislation nullifying ObamaCare or have refused federal grants for setting up its mandated insurance exchanges.
One might expect such resistance in more conservative states such as Oklahoma and Florida — but in New York, a state that went nearly two-to-one for Obama in 2008 and has a popular Democratic Governor? It’s true. According to the New York Times, Republicans in Albany are doing their level best to see to it that the Empire State does not accept federal grants to establish an insurance exchange — despite the fact that failure to set up an exchange could precipitate federal intervention to create one and deprive the state of federal dollars to get it started.
The Newspaper of Record recaps the situation thus:
A few weeks ago, I had what seemed to me a small medical problem, so I phoned my primary physician. However, after we discussed the problem, he directed me to a specialist.
After the specialist examined me, he directed me to a different specialist elsewhere. When I was examined and tested in the second specialist's office, he immediately phoned a hospital, asking to have an operating room available in an hour.
No more than 5 hours elapsed between my seeing the first specialist and the time when I was on an operating table.
This was quite a contrast with what happens in countries with government-run medical systems. In such countries, it is not uncommon to have to wait days to see a physician, weeks to see a specialist and months before you can have an operation. It is very doubtful whether I would have lasted that long.