Trump Rule on Heath Care Pricing Assailed
This week the the Trump Administration's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new rules requiring insurers and hospitals to inform patients of the cost of 300 common procedures and tests before the patient agrees to undergo them.
Insurance companies and hospitals complain that the push for full disclosure goes too far. Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren agreed. "Consumers aren't competent to decide which procedures or tests they need," she contended. "Forcing providers to quote prices to them asks these simple people to make judgments they aren't qualified to make. This is the exact opposite direction from where we should be headed on health care."
"My plan for free health care for all will relieve individuals from having to make such decisions by consolidating all authority in the hands of federal administrators," the Senator explained. "Experts will decide how the nation's medical resources will be deployed. This will ensure that the collective welfare of society is the decisive factor in who receives what care. Persons determined to be of sufficient value to warrant treatment will get treatment without having to agonize over the cost. Those who don't deserve treatment will be mercifully spared the trauma of having to weigh their options. They will be provided with palliative care or be offered an assisted suicide alternative."
Warren went on to chide critics of her health care plan for "ignoring the inherent cost-saving that will ensue once all decisions are centralized in the United States like they are in other democratic socialist countries like Cuba and China. The era of selfishness in determining how goods and services are distributed in this country must come to an end. Trump's new rules are incompatible with this objective and cannot be allowed."
HHS Secretary Alex Azar called Warren's plan, "a march toward health care tyranny. The genius of America's system of capitalism is its empowerment of individuals to run their own lives. Government lacks the expertise, knowledge, and moral authority to suppress individual autonomy and replace it with collectivist regimentation. If we really care about good health the patient has to be in control."
In related news, revelation that Warren's tax proposals might, in some cases, result in tax rates higher than 100% of a person's income failed to dent her enthusiasm for reform. "My opinion is that in such cases, my free health care for all should acquire even more fans and supporters. I mean, if taxes take more than you earn you'll need government health care. I will see that you get it."
Congress Told Killing Babies Is Moral
Colleen McNicholas, who performs abortions at the Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis, told members of Congress during a hearing this week that "abortion is moral. Having a baby is a stressful experience. No woman should be forced to endure that experience if we have the means to save her from it. Abortion is that means. Implementing it is her right."
Podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey called McNicholas' argument "appalling. It's like a professional hitman justifying murder as a legitimate service because it helps solve a problem for his customer. The 'hits' put on babies by abortionists like McNicholas are especially gruesome. These tiny humans are torn apart limb-by-limb. There are more humane and moral ways for women who don't want to be mothers to avoid this cruel fate. They could refuse to have unprotected sex. The means to do so are inexpensive and widely available. If these means fail, the life of the child could be spared and his or her care could be undertaken by one of the many other women eager to volunteer for this role."
McNicholas dismissed Stuckey's stance as "detrimental in so many ways. She fails to appreciate the great inconveniences of having to obtain and use condoms or birth-control pills in advance of every amorous encounter or the terrifying ordeals of bearing a child. She also neglects to acknowledge that over 11,000 scientists have recommended a drastic reduction of the human population in order to save the planet from climate change. Aborting unwanted children is a relatively painless method for achieving this goal."
Sanders' Dubious Climate Plan
Now in fourth place among the Democrats vying for the Party's 2020 presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes his $16 trillion plan to mitigate global warming will revive his flagging campaign. The gist of his plan is to expropriate private sector energy companies and use the ill-gotten gains to foster a government-owned alternative energy "ministry." The target is to have 100% of the United States energy needs met from wind, solar, hydropower or geothermal energy by the year 2030.
Sanders rebuffed claims that the notorious inefficiency and ineffectiveness of government would undermine his plan, pointing out that "the expected shortfall in meeting demand is a feature, not a flaw, of the plan. We got into this climate mess by catering to unconstrained desires for comfort and mobility. The free market abetted these unreasonable demands by contriving schemes to increase supply and decrease costs. My plan will end this vicious circle. When supply is unavailable consumers will be compelled to cut back."
Whether solar-powered high-speed rail or mass transit is even feasible seems a major drawback in Sanders' attempt to reshape how Americans would live under his presidency. Sanders, though, remained unfazed, suggesting that "travelers could pack a snack or bring a magazine to read to deal with occasions when the trains or buses are slowed down by cloudy weather or darkness. People in other socialist countries have learned to be patient, I don't see why Americans should fear they can't adapt."
Of course, Sanders' advice to pack a snack is not without potential risk to the traveler. In San Francisco four City cops cuffed and arrested Steve Foster for the crime of eating a sandwich at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station. One of the arresting officers informed Foster that "it's a violation of California law. I have the right to detain you. You're going to jail."
Dems Settle on "Bribery" in Impeachment Push
The initial failure of "quid pro quo" to generate a satisfactory narrative for impeachment within the ranks of voters inspired Democrat Party leaders to search for different terminology. The term they've settled on for now is "bribery."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) lamented that "our internal polls revealed that the Latin phrase 'quid pro quo' is too arcane for the average person to grasp. 'Bribery,' on the other hand is something even the most dense voter can understand—as we discovered from a bevy of focus groups. It has the added advantage of being one of the listed offenses in the Constitution for which a president can be impeached."
A byproduct of this switch is that the "quid pro quo" former Vice-President Joe Biden has boasted about using to coerce the Ukraine government into firing the prosecutor who was investigating the company whose payroll his son Hunter was on is now okay. "Translated, 'quid pro quo' means 'this for that,'" Pelosi observed. "That's basically how the free market works. You perform a service for me, I give you money. The Republicans trying to use that simple trade to tar Biden and his son can now be seen as a big nothing. As the former Vice-President himself has pointed out, President Obama was fully on-board with the deal."
While the word "bribery" may be music to Democrat ears, the absence of evidence that President Trump received or offered a bribe to Ukraine sounds a sour note. Unlike Biden, Trump did not threaten to withhold money from Ukraine. The military aid that was pending during a review of the newly elected Ukraine government was eventually paid. Meanwhile, the investigation of Ukraine's involvement with the Clinton campaign's efforts to smear Trump has been proceeding separately at the direction of Attorney General William Barr.
In related news, documents obtained from the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's office show that millions of dollars were transferred into a fund jointly owned by Devon Archer, Former Secretary of State John Kerry, John Kerry Jr., Kerry's stepson Christopher Heinz, and Hunter Biden—an arrangement that Joe Biden called "the kind of profit-making enterprise that any man would want for his son."
"Hearsay Better than Direct Evidence"
While fans of the TV show Perry Mason are very familiar with the inadmissibility of "hearsay" testimony, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill) asserted at the Schiff impeachment hearing that "hearsay can be much better evidence than direct evidence. Rather than being a collection of isolated facts, hearsay has the distinct advantage of having been vetted by the layers of people telling other people what they heard. This gives it the chance to gel into a coherent narrative in ways that direct evidence might not."
"The most astounding aspect of what we've heard from Taylor, Kent, and Yovanovitch is that while none of them were among those listening in on Trump's phone call to Zelensky they were in perfect agreement that there was something wrong with it," Quigley said. "These witnesses have decades of experience in the US State Department. That experience has given them a unified vision of what our foreign policy should be and how Trump has deviated from that norm."
"The great travesty in the case of Yovanovitch is that she was fired by Trump for trying to enforce normal foreign policy," Quigley added. "It's an unforgivable injustice for a career diplomat to be fired over a mere disagreement about foreign policy. Trump's assertion that the policies she favored had been failing for years is only an opinion, not, in my mind, sufficient cause to remove her from office. We shouldn't be surprised that she broke down in tears during her deposition seeing how badly she's been treated."
More astounding than the groupthink of the aforementioned long time bureaucrats was the admission under oath of both Kent and Yovanovitch that they had been briefed on the shady dealings of Burisma and Biden more than three years ago. Kent even went so far as to acknowledge that "further investigation into those dealings is warranted because we can't have US tax dollars used in a way that fosters more corruption in Ukraine."
Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff insisted that he doesn't know the name of the so-called whistleblower whose hearsay-based accusations kicked off the impeachment hearings, but warned that "any Republicans who mention his name will be locked up in the House jail."
Clinton Defends Snubbing Thatcher in Her Book
Despite becoming the United Kingdom's first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher received no appreciation from Hillary Clinton in her latest book: The Book of Gusty Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience. Asked about the snub, Clinton claimed that "Thatcher didn't make the kind of positive difference that would have merited her inclusion in my book."
"Let's compare two simple statements," Clinton suggested. "Thatcher once said 'the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.' This exhibits a negativity toward social reform that discourages further expansion of government to meet the needs of the people. Besides, it isn't a true statement. As long as there are other people there will be other people's money that can be taken to do good. The Clinton Foundation is a prime example of doing good with other people's money."
"Let's contrast her statement with my observation following our overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya--'we came, we saw, he died,'" Clinton said. "Notice my clever imitation of Caesar's 'I came, I saw, I conquered.' Both were triumphant acclamations of accomplishment, not fallacious reasons for why something can't be done like Thatcher gave. She didn't belong in my book. I do, but I didn't want to make the book about me. That's not the kind of person I am."