Medicare for All=Tyranny for All

The Medicare For All bill introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) is a frontal assault on individual freedom, chock-full of rules, regulations, proscriptions, vote-buying, slush funds and handouts for Democrat special interest groups. Jayapal’s bill is similar to the Sanders bill, and both are awful. If passed, the full noxious effects will not be felt for years to come. Here are some of the more immediate consequences, gleaned from my slog through this 120-page nightmare.

In a cynical attempt to buy votes, illegal aliens will be covered (Section 104 {a}). It’s outrageous, but we’ll be made to pay for the health care of people who have broken our immigration laws. And just to rub our noses in it, Section 104(b) gives illegals the right to sue for “discrimination” in Federal court. This is to prevent states from passing laws to exclude illegal aliens from healthcare coverage. It’s a giveaway to two Democrat constituency groups: trial lawyers and the pro-immigration lobby. Combine universal health care with open borders, and the current flood of illegals now crashing our southern border will turn into a tsunami.

Every child will be enrolled at birth, per Section 105 (1). Parents will have no choice.

Private health insurance will be outlawed, per Sec. 107 (a) (i). Take note, union members – teachers, government employees, members of trade unions – your hard-won deluxe plans will be gone forever. Senior citizens will lose Medicare, a program they have depended upon and which was designed for them, per Title VII (I), breaking 54 years of promises dating back to Medicare’s inception in 1965. Seniors, along with the taxes they’ve paid over a lifetime of work, will be absorbed into the new program. This is the statist no-compete clause. Government can’t compete on a level playing field, so they’re eliminating the competition.

The Jayapal plan, like the revised 2019 Sanders plan, far exceeds what Canada covers (Sec. 201.) This includes, but is not limited to: medical devices, dentistry, prescription drugs, long-term care, audiology, vision, and alternative treatments like acupuncture. The original plan cost an estimated (in 2017-2018) $3.5 trillion per year. At this point, the price tag with the major additions is $3.5 trillion plus??? For context, the entire Federal budget is $4.7 trillion. Democrats have not put a price tag on this bill for an obvious reason: they don’t want us to know.

If our health care is ever nationalized, it will be open season on the unborn and on faith. Section 104 forbids discrimination based on pregnancy. If doctors refuse to do abortions for religious reasons, they risk being disciplined or sued in Federal court. And there are no funding limits. Title VII, Section (3) reads, “Any other provision of law in effect on the date of the enactment of this act restricting the use of Federal funds for any reproductive health service shall not apply to monies in the Trust Fund.” Since the Trust Fund is where the monies come from to pay for the entire program, it will be abortion on demand, no limits.

The right to privately contract with a doctor for covered services will be illegal (Sec. 303.) One of the most basic rights of free people will be illegal. This is to make sure is the government is the sole provider of health care and that everyone waits in line, like in Canada. Canadians wait an average of 5 months for treatment after referral from their GP. That’s five months of pain.

This plan will create mammoth new bureaucracies, starting with Regional Health Offices (Sec. 403.) Each office will be headed by a Regional Director and Deputy Director. Then there’s the Beneficiary Ombudsman (Sec. 404), who is supposed to receive complaints from the public and ostensibly act on behalf of citizens, but can’t actually do anything about their complaints (Section 404 says the Ombudsman can only suggest programmatic changes.) The law also births the Office of Primary Healthcare (Sec. 615.) Nationalization will create millions of new bureaucrats, who will become union members. Their union dues will go directly into the coffers of the Democrat party as campaign contributions. Money laundering? You bet.

If passed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will have the power of life and death over every resident of the United States. The term “the Secretary shall” appears no fewer than 87 times. The Secretary will have the power to approve drugs and new treatments (Sec. 203 {1}), will decide who is covered (Sec. 201 {b}) and how much doctors are paid (Sec. 612). The Secretary of HHS will dictate the number of doctors and nurses per hospital patient, per Section 302 (b). The Secretary will also make rules about professional training for doctors and nurses (Sec. 302 {c}.) The Secretary is charged with writing the regulations that will run the entire health care sector (Section 401.) And in case they forgot to grab every last bit of power, Section 401 (k) reads, “…any other regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.” This is not even close to listing all of the powers granted the Secretary under this insane act.

The Secretary will establish a “national health budget” per Title VI, Section 601(a). There’s no mention of how much it will cost or how it’s paid for.

Within the national health budget are line items for capital expenditures, special projects and administrative costs, Title VI Section 601 (2) (b), (c), (f). If your local hospital needs new medical equipment or a new wing it must be approved by the regional office director and the Secretary of HHS. They will hand out checks with one hand while twisting arms with the other.

The Secretary will have the authority to confiscate any drug or medical device she deems necessary to carry out the program, section 616 (1). Think of the frightening precedent this sets. Inventors don’t own their inventions? The government can commandeer them? Kiss private property rights and medical innovation goodbye.

Outside of wartime, this is the biggest power-grab in American history. Democrats have been itching to take over healthcare since FDR. They blew it with Obamacare and they know it. They will not settle for a partial takeover this time. If they gain sufficient majorities in Congress and the Presidency, they will move heaven and earth to pass this bill, or another just like it. We must oppose this at every turn: in quiet conversations with friends and neighbors, at town hall meetings, in the union halls, in our houses of worship, with our campaign contributions and of course, with our votes. Our hard-won freedoms compel us. Our dignity as free people demands it. Our children’s future and that of future generations depend on it.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

ROARING LIKE THE 20’S

The booming American economy is the envy of the world. The latest numbers released this Friday, May 3rd should gladden the heart and swell the chest of every American. Unemployment reached a 49-year low of 3.6%. We added 263,000 jobs in April alone, and US hourly wages have reached an average of $27.77. While the Democrats promise the “mere crumbs” of a $15-per-hour minimum wage, the private sector’s answer is nearly double that. The greatest gains are in blue-collar jobs, a boon to middle-class earners. Unemployment among women has hit 4.2%, the lowest point since 1953. Hispanic and black unemployment also reached historic lows of 4.2% and 5.9%.

Obama, maybe the most incompetent President since Jimmy Carter, said that manufacturing jobs were never coming back. But because of President Trump’s policies, they are coming back. In the first 21 months of the Trump presidency we’ve added ten times (396,000 since September 2018) the manufacturing jobs of the Obama administration for the same period.

The so-called media geniuses said it couldn’t be done. Here are three headlines from October 2016. The Washington Post: “A President Trump Could Destroy the Economy.” Politico: “Economists: A Trump Win Would Tank World Markets.” The always wrong Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said in the always wrong NY Times: “We are very probably looking at a global recession.”

The economic news released on Friday is top-of-the-fold, banner headline stuff, right? Not to the editors of our local rags. On Saturday, May 4th the Corning Leader’s headline was “Barr Becomes Dem’s New Focus.” The Elmira Star-Gazette chose a local angle with: “Schuyler Man to Help Those in Need in Ukraine.” Obviously, good news for America is bad news for Democrats, and their wing-men in the newspapers know it. The media coverup of good economic news deprives citizens of crucial information and betrays the reason for a free press in the first place, which is to fairly and impartially inform the public.

The Trump policies of tax cuts and deregulation have been done before with stunning success. Presidents Harding, Coolidge, Kennedy and Reagan cut taxes and presided over thriving economies in the 20’s, 60’s and 80’s. The real story is that conservative economic principles work. Low taxes and deregulation have always freed ordinary people to work, earn, invest, take risks, open new businesses and thrive.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

DON’T GET BERNED

Rock legend Mick Jagger could have had his lifesaving heart surgery in the UK, but he chose to have it in the USA. Jagger’s decision speaks volumes about health care in the two countries. But beware: Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, want to bring UK-style care to our shores under the guise of “Medicare for all” or “single payer.”

First, let’s dispense with the cute focus-group-tested names and call Medicare for All what it really is: a hijacking of our healthcare system that would make Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez proud. When government commandeers an entire industry, it’s called nationalization. Instead of “I want you to have Medicare for all,” how about “I want to nationalize your healthcare.” At least it’s honest. Scary, but honest.

Before we turn over our health care and our lives to the government, Bernie and company need to answer some questions. Why is a massively inefficient government the best vehicle to administer health care? What’s proposed is a socialist model; every socialist takeover of any industry has resulted in shortages and long waits; why will it be different this time? Will they create an agency to deny care like the UK has done with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)? Politicians only know how to count votes and money; why are politicians the best choice to run health care for every American? Democrats had a chance to reform health care and instead gave us the mess that is Obamacare, fraught with high premiums, high co-pays and high deductibles. Why do Democrats deserve a second chance? Every Democrat who voted for Obamacare lied about it (including Sens. Sanders and Gillibrand– why should we believe anything they say about health care now?

All they have to do to cover every American is to just say “you’re covered.” It’s that easy, but getting people to a doctor is a much tougher trick. Currently, there are 940,000 physicians practicing in the US. Throw in 388,000 physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, and that brings the number to 1.3 million healthcare providers in the US to care for 325 million people. With these numbers, we can draw up the waiting list right now. Getting a medical degree takes smarts and loads of determination. It takes four years of undergraduate study, four years in medical school and 3-plus years in residency. That’s why doctors are rare. Doctors in Canada and the UK are paid less, so many go abroad to work, creating doctor shortages in their own countries. Where is Bernie going to get the doctors? Or does he plan to wave a magic wand and make them appear?

They say we will save oodles by having the government as the single payer. Not true. Every doctor’s office already submits claims on the same form and uses the same codes to bill for services. All a government takeover will accomplish is to change the mailing address of the bill. The government will have to hire legions of bureaucrats to administer health care to the masses (that’s us). How many? In the UK the National Health Service (NHS) employs 1.5 million to run health care for 66 million Britons, making the NHS the biggest employer in the UK and the 5th largest employer in the world. Extrapolating from the NHS number to 325 million Americans means we will need 7.4 million new bureaucrats. Medicare, the government program designed for seniors, already has unfunded liabilities of $37 trillion. Efficient? No. Money-saving? I don’t think so.

Bernie and his followers love the British system. They always cite the per-capita healthcare spending of the US ($10,224) versus the UK ($4,246) to scold us about how stupid and wasteful we are. The per-capita number is so cold. Let’s try it in human terms. Would you volunteer to have less spent on you or your loved ones when they are in need? Bernie, Kirsten, I don’t see your hands up.

The National Health Service is virtually all that remains of Britain’s brief and painful flirtation with socialism. Like any socialist system, the NHS is centrally planned. A fixed amount of money is allocated by Parliament and is then distributed to where the planners think it should go. When the money runs out, so does health care. The central planners are often wrong. Circumstances arise that the planners didn’t anticipate.

In 2015, an NPR report found that hospitals and ER’s in the UK were overcrowded. It was so bad that ambulances full of suffering patients were left outside hospitals for five hours. Paramedics were forced to treat these unfortunate patients. Hospitals locked doors to keep patients out. To quote the NPR story, “the horror stories just keep coming in.” A 2009 story in the Daily Telegraph found thousands of hospitalized patients were thirsty and hungry. Thousands more were suffering from repeatedly canceled operations. As recently as 2018 the NHS was having a “Winter Crisis” with the influx of patients overwhelming the NHS ability to care for them. That’s the tragedy of central planning: no anticipation, no flexibility equals human suffering. It’s not because of a lack of funding. Health care spending in the UK has increased 160% from 2000 to 2015. Guess what else has increased from 2000 to 2015? Britons’ spending on private health care. It has gone up 233%.

Mick Jagger chose us for two reasons: timeliness and quality. The socialist model always forces people to wait and diminishes quality. No amount of money will fix that. Put yourself in the shoes of a union member or a senior. Nationalization will take away your hard-won plan. Medicare will no longer be for seniors, and deluxe union plans will be outlawed. There will be no choice; it’s the government plan or no plan. There are many lessons to be learned here. Let’s make sure we all get it and tell everyone about it. Our lives depend on it.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

SANCTUARY DENIED

I got a kick out of President Trump floating the idea of releasing recently captured illegal aliens into sanctuary cities. Naturally, Democrats and their allies in the media lost what’s left of their minds. Here’s the headline from USA Today: “Report: White House wanted to release immigrants into sanctuary cities to punish Democrats.”

The link to the story follows:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/white-house-release-immigrants-sanctuary-cities-report/3442543002/

Punish Democrats? Are you kidding? This is a gift, an inner city revitalization plan on steroids. Remember what Democrats have been telling us. There is no crisis on the southern border…so the number of illegals must be a mere trickle. No big deal for any city to handle, sanctuary or otherwise. Illegals commit less crime than Americans, making their cities safer. The more illegal aliens, the lower the crime rate, and the safer the city, right? (Just ignore the teensy matter of crossing the border illegally.) Also, according to Democrats, illegals boost the economy. They will not be a drain on local governments by gobbling up social services; quite the contrary, they will rev the economy into overdrive. So, bring on the border hoppers! The more the merrier, because more illegals means more economic growth. Illegals, who are just looking for a better life, will do the jobs lazy and stupid Americans won’t do. And since diversity is our strength, more illegal border crossers means more diversity and, naturally, stronger communities. Besides – and never ever forget this, you Trumpers – the sanctuary city crowd are far better people than you!

I don’t understand why it took President Trump to come up with this idea. Given all of the benefits that under-educated foreign lawbreakers bring to a community, you would have thought Pelosi, Cuomo, et. al. would have thought of it first. But no, their heads are exploding, and the propaganda arm of the Democrat party -the news media – falls right in line.

Lying hypocrites? You bet.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

IS SOCIALISM ASCENDANT?

Socialism is on the rise in the US, according to an August 2018 Gallup poll. Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism by 57% to 47%. The trend is even more pronounced among young people aged 18 to 29, who favor socialism to capitalism by 51% to 45%. Obviously they don’t know about the repeated failures of socialism and the misery it always causes.

Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has increased. Two DSA members are now in Congress – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) and Rashida Tlaib (D). The DSA’s mission statement is: “…we share a vision of a humane society based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equity and non-oppressive relationships.” This may sound compassionate, but to achieve “control” they must confiscate private property, regulate anything they don’t confiscate and then prosecute anyone who breaks any of their many new rules. There is nothing “democratic” about this, and it is not compassionate.

The latest example of this failed idea is Venezuela. Since Hugo Chavez took over in 1999, 1.5 million have left the country. The Venezuelan economy contracted by 16% in 2016, 14% in 2017, and the prediction is for another 15% in 2018. Starving Venezuelans are looting stores to find food, and nationwide rolling blackouts have resulted in the death of hospital patients.

Another blazing example of socialism’s utter failure comes from the mother country, the United Kingdom. The UK gave us the hallowed institutions of private property rights, common law, rule of law and representative government. It is an efficient country; the trains and buses run more or less on time and the mail gets delivered. If any country could make socialism work, it’s the UK. But they couldn’t make it work.

In 1945 Britons tossed the conservative government of Winston Churchill in

a landslide in favor of Clement Attlee’s Labor government. The Labor slogan was “a socialist party and proud of it,” and they meant it.

The Attlee government nationalized banking, utilities, transportation, health care, mining and steel. What they did not take over they hyper-regulated. The coal industry is a prime example. At the time, coal was used to heat homes and power industry and the railroads; it was the fuel that made

British society go. The Minister of Fuel and Power (similar to a Cabinet appointee in the US but more powerful) appointed a board of nine coal industry leaders to run every coal company in the UK. Coal shortages left Britons in the cold during the unusually chilly winter of 1946-47. But the misery didn’t end there.

Britons still had food rations three years after the end of WWII. In 1948 the average weekly ration for each citizen was 13 oz. of meat, 1.5 oz. of cheese, 6 oz. of butter or margarine, 1 oz. of cooking fat, 8 oz. of sugar, 2 pints of milk and 1 egg. That’s for a full week. Naturally, people were losing weight.

When people are hungry and cold they will find ways to fill those needs, and that leads to prosecutions. The Ministry of Food criminally charged a grocer for selling a few extra pounds of potatoes. Another shopkeeper was fined for selling candy made with his own sugar ration.

Every vestige of this failed program has since been torn out, root and branch, except for the National Health Service (NHS). Why the creaking NHS remains is the subject of another article.

Certain of their success and giddy when they seized the reins of power, the socialists had said,“…a planned socialist system is more efficient than a private enterprise capitalist system…within democratic socialist planning the individual can be given broader social justice, greater security, and more complete freedom than under capitalism.” Does this sound familiar? These same tired promises are heard now from Bernie Sanders, AOC and the rest.

The term Democratic Socialist is literally non-sense. The DSA attaches the word “democratic” to socialism to make it sound friendly. The Nazi party was elected, too, but was Nazism democratic? No. An elected totalitarian is still a totalitarian. Fancy language and gaudy promises disguise the true intent, which is the intent of every totalitarian: control. Elections will not change the ugly spots on this dangerous cat.

Here’s what Winston Churchill said about socialism. “The French have a saying, ‘Drive nature away, and she will return at a gallop.’ Destroy the free market and you create a black market: you overwhelm the people with laws and regulations, and you induce a general disrespect for the law…you may try to destroy wealth, and find that all you have done is increase poverty.”

And now Democrat presidential candidates are proposing to nationalize health care and energy production in the guise of a “Green New Deal” and “Medicare For All.” Having failed to learn history, they want us to recreate the human misery caused by socialism.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

MUELLER CLEARS TRUMP

This is a great day for America. The Mueller report is in and the headline should be:

MUELLER: NO RUSSIA COLLUSION – NO OBSTRUCTION – NO NEW INDICTMENTS.

As usual, a great day for America is a bad day for progressives and the Democrat party. They hoped that Mueller would get Trump. Their in-the-tank media told them so. How many times have their dull pundits said, “the walls are closing in on Trump?” Democrats by nature are unprincipled. Adam Shiff said he had proof of Trump’s collusion. Speaker Pelosi repeatedly said that Putin had something on Trump. Democrats sowed the seeds of distrust in our elections by saying “Russia hacked our democracy.” Winning at any cost is not a principle; it is the absence of principle.

This has done real damage. Polls find that registered Democrats now believe votes were changed or somehow manipulated. This makes no sense. How is it even possible to change votes in our very decentralized system? President Obama himself acknowledged this and said that no votes had been changed.

This shameful hoax began in the Obama administration with a fraudulently obtained FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, using a demonstrably false dossier paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Democrats and their media allies conspired to corrupt our elections, intelligence agencies and the justice system because they lost an election.

The Mueller report will not end the Democrat effort to delegitimize President Trump. They will find another pretext to smear, damn with innuendo and investigate. It is who they are. But the big takeaway is that the Obama-led FBI and Justice Department spied on an opposition political campaign. Democrats didn’t just “hack our democracy.” They did far worse—they tried to overturn an election, thereby destroying democracy to gain power. This must be fully investigated, and the perpetrators of this fraud must be held to account.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

CHANGE TO WIN

Running for office as a Republican is needlessly difficult. It’s a system that is crying out for reform.

Just to get on the ballot, Republican candidates must go through the “petition process,” getting petitions from the Board of Elections and getting them signed by not less than 3% of registered Republicans in the district in which they’re running. To accomplish this, the candidate and members of the Republican Committee, all good people and volunteers, go door to door to obtain the required signatures. A Republican candidate for Corning Town Council, for example, will need about 70 signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Gathering signatures may sound simple. It is not. Citizens can be reluctant, even defensive, when asked to sign a document they’ve never seen before. They ask, “What is this? Why do you need my signature? What for? Why are you bothering me with this?” Lengthy explanations are necessary.

Finally, the completed petitions are submitted to the Board of Elections, and only then does the candidate get on the ballot. At this point, the committee members are done, and it is up to the candidate to campaign in the fall election. No one can blame the committee people for feeling they have done enough.

Republicans front-load all their volunteer time and energy into signing petitions. It’s hard to imagine a greater misallocation of people’s effort.

In contrast, the Democrat Committee in the Town of Corning does not circulate petitions to put their candidates on the November ballot. They caucus and select a candidate. I’ve never met a Democrat who is burning to circulate a petition or is angry because they did not sign one. They don’t waste their volunteers’ efforts months before the general election. Democrats focus on the contest that matters—THE ELECTION! In 2017, Democrat Committee members in the Town campaigned alongside the candidate and helped elect a Democrat in a largely Republican district.

I rarely agree with Democrats on anything, but they have us on this one. New York is a deep blue state that gets bluer by the day. As of now, Democrats enjoy at least a 2:1 advantage over us in voter registration. Doesn’t it make sense to put our energy into the November election?

We are, incidentally, discouraging good Republicans from running for office.

We need to abandon petitions and go to a caucus system. We need to change the role of a committee person from late winter signature-gatherer to fall campaigner. Republican Committee members could concentrate on knocking on doors, distributing literature and lawn signs, stuffing envelopes – in short, doing what is necessary to win an election. The focus of committee members should not be on getting signatures in March, but on helping candidates win in November.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph.D.