“About 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients could see their extra benefits reduced by an average of $43 per month, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And more recently, a detailed analysis by the Medicare program’s own chief actuary, Richard Foster, stated in April:
“Medicare Actuary Richard Foster: The new provisions will generally reduce MA rebates to plans and thereby result in less generous benefit packages. We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law).At a time when our country is $13.2 trillion in debt, why would the Obama Administration use your hard-earned money to pay for this deceptive marketing campaign? Because it knows the American people aren’t sold on Obama’s health care changes, and for good reason.
“Even the head of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, acknowledges that Medicare Advantage benefits are going to be reduced. ‘I’m sure that some of those additional benefits have been nice,’ the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying in a July 25 report. ‘But I think what we have to look at here is what’s fair and what’s important for the strength of the Medicare program long term.’”
“'Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America,' Hudson wrote in a 32-page decision filed Monday morning. 'Never before has the Commerce Clause … been extended this far.'
"Hudson said there was no clear legal precedent allowing the federal government to impose such a rule, even under Congress’s power to require individuals to pay taxes. However, he also conceded there was no clear precedent to the contrary.
“'Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue,' Hudson wrote. 'No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or the Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce.”
“’I am romantic about the National Health Service. I love it,’ Berwick said during a 2008 speech to British physicians, going on to call it ‘generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just.’ He compared the wonders of British health care to a U.S. system that he described as trapped in ‘the darkness of private enterprise.’If these statements don’t give you a good enough idea on Donald Berwick’s health care philosophy, try this:
“The one thing the NHS is good at is saving money. After all, it is far cheaper to let the sick die than to provide care.
“At the forefront of this cost-based rationing is NICE. It acts as a comparative-effectiveness tool for NHS, comparing various treatments and determining whether the benefits the patient receives, such as prolonged life, are cost-efficient for the government.
“NICE, however, is not simply a government agency that helps bureaucrats decide if one treatment is better than another. With the creation of NICE, the U.K. government has effectively put a dollar amount to how much a citizen’s life is worth. To be exact, each year of added life is worth approximately $44,305 (?30,000). Of course, this is a general rule and, as NICE chairman Michael Rawlins points out, the agency has sometimes approved treatments costing as much as $70,887 (?48,000) per year of extended life.
“To Dr. Berwick , this is exactly how it should be. ‘NICE is not just a national treasure,’ he says, ‘it is a global treasure.’”
As the unemployment rate sits at 9.5%, American jobs are literally floating away. Two oil drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico recently embarked on a two month journey overseas. Diamond Offshore announced one rig is going to the Nile River delta of Egypt and the other is heading to the Republic of Congo; and their job opportunities went with them.
These rigs were sitting idle due to President Obama’s deep water drilling ban and his administration’s subsequent new moratorium, even though a federal judge struck down the first ban. Diamond Offshore could not wait for the Administration to lift the ban in six months. Instead, the company saw an opportunity for up to $234 million to be generated through drilling off the shores of Congo.
The moratorium must be reconsidered before more rigs float away to aid other country’s economies. Additionally, the rigs already existing in the U.S. need to be utilized, under the highest safely standards, to provide more jobs which our nation so desperately needs.
Other countries are benefiting from offshore drilling while the U.S. is slipping far behind, as reported today in the Investor’s Business Daily newspaper:
According to RigLogix, the U.S. offshore rig fleet of 93 rigs of different types is only being used to 38% of capacity. In the Alaskan offshore, none of the four rigs is under use. In the remaining parts of the U.S. offshore, only two of the 28 rigs are in use, a grand total of 7%.
By contrast, 148 of the North Sea's 159 rigs are under contract, for a 93% utilization rate. Off the coast of Brazil, 68 of the 79 rigs are in use, for an 86.1% utilization rate. West Africa, which includes Republic of Congo, has 67% of its 76 rigs in use. Even Mexico, much maligned for not investing and squandering opportunities, utilizes 52% of its 62 rigs.
Just as the U.S. is falling behind in exports, amounting to only 17% of GDP as the rest of the world sails by with higher numbers, the 34% rig utilization shows how badly we're falling behind offshore.
The off shore drilling moratorium must be reconsidered before more rigs float away to aid other country’s economies. The tragedy that has cost the Gulf so much already should not be exploited like this to further an out-of-touch energy policy the President and Congressional Democrats have promised. The rigs already existing in the U.S. need to be utilized to their fullest capacity and under the highest safely standards to provide more jobs which our nation so desperately needs.
It is not too late for the U.S. to be a leader in deep oil drilling and safe exploration. But, President Obama must act quickly before more oil rigs are thousands of miles away providing jobs and revenue to foreign nations.
When the full effects of ObamaCare are felt, be ready to pay more for lunch at the burger joint down the street. Restaurants are anticipating laying-off workers and passing higher costs onto the consumer in order to deal with the requirements in the Democrats’ new health care law.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the impact expected by one burger chain in particular, White Castle:
“The Columbus-based family owned restaurant chain - known for serving small square hamburgers called "sliders" – says a single provision in the bill will eat up roughly 55 percent of its yearly net income after 2014.
“Starting that year, the bill levies a $3,000-per-employee penalty on companies whose workers pay more than 9.5 percent of household income in premiums for company-provided insurance.
“White Castle, which currently provides insurance to all of its full-time workers and picks up 70 to 89 percent of their premium costs, believes it will likely end up paying those penalties. The financial hit will make it hard for the company to maintain its 421 restaurants, let alone create new jobs, says company spokesman Jamie Richardson.”
Likewise, other restaurants will be hurting. The Plain Dealer went on to note George Ebinger, owner of several International House of Pancake restaurants, who expects penalties for not insuring his 140 workers to cost him $220,000. He could insure those workers, but it will cost approximately half as much to pay the penalties and not insure them.
ObamaCare’s business crippling policies will stunt job-growth at a time when job creation is needed most. After all, unemployment continues to hover right around 10%. This bill needs to be repealed in full, plain and simple.
My vote against ObamaCare and commitment to free enterprise recently earned me the Thomas Jefferson Award by the International Foodservice Distributors Association. Clearly, insurance mandates resulting in cost hikes and penalties to the foodservice and restaurant industry are not the road to economic growth.