Thursday, March 20, 2014

Free Market Healthcare Ramps Up As ObamaCare Self-Destructs By Dr. Susan Berry


28 Oct 2013

Nancy Pelosi’s flippant remark to “pass the bill first, then find out what’s in it,” has led Americans to the discovery that ObamaCare is indeed a “nightmare,” fraught with bureaucratic tangles, the risk to personal privacy, and the real possibility that, when all is said and done, many will have a health insurance card, but no actual health care.

The free market, apparently, will have none of that, however, as America’s entrepreneurial spirit in real health care marketplaces is moving forward, with doctors and patients negotiating health care outside of government interference.

MediBid, for example, is a website that offers Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) and self-pay patients access to doctors who will provide them with quality medical care and direct cash pricing. The site also provides doctors with access to self-pay patients, allowing them to avoid insurance companies who underpay, and then only after months following the actual treatment or surgery.

Ralph Weber, MediBid’s president and CEO, opened the global marketplace for healthcare in January of 2010 after living in Canada and witnessing the need for a free market in the healthcare industry in a place where healthcare is rationed by the government.

On MediBid, patients can create a free, private profile, and then pay a one-request fee of $25 or $4.95 per month for a year of unlimited medical requests. Patients can then make a medical request for the type of treatment or surgery they need, and physicians and facilities are matched to patients who can proceed to collect bids from them.

Weber provided some insight into how MediBid can work for Americans who decide not to sign up for ObamaCare.

“A lot of procedures are a lot more affordable than big insurance companies want us to think they are,” Weber told KATU in Oregon. “If someone chooses to be uninsured next year, the individual penalty is $95 or up to 1% of your income. I think some people will choose to remain uninsured and shop for care as they go.”

One patient, George Law from Chicago, said that health insurance is simply not affordable for him. He requested a colonoscopy on MediBid and doctors around the country “bid” to perform it.

Dr. Scott Gibson of Oregon won the bid, charging cash customers about $800 for a colonoscopy, a great deal compared to the $3,500 Law would have to pay in Chicago.

“You might say come on, you can actually travel from Chicago to Oregon, rent a car, stay in a hotel and pay for your medical services?” said Law. “Not only did I come out ahead, it was less than half the price [of having the procedure done in Chicago].”

According to Dr. Gibson, the huge price difference is related to where the service is performed.

“Hospitals have high overheads, so they tend to charge more,” he said.

Paul Freeman also drove 600 miles from his home in Texhoma, Oklahoma last year to save himself, and his employer, thousands of dollars on his surgery.

According to, Freeman’s insurer covered his travel costs and the bill for his treatment because a medical center in Oklahoma City could remove the loose cartilage in his knee for about 70 percent less than a hospital near Freeman’s home. Without the change in location for his surgery, Freeman would have paid about $5,000 out of pocket.

“You immediately think, ‘Oh, they’re going to take me into a butcher shop and it’s going to be real scary,’” Freeman, 53, said. Instead, however, he noted he had a “wonderful experience.” 

MediBid claims it can save the average customer 50 percent on services. However, the savings are realized because patients using MediBid need to check out a doctor’s background on their own and are responsible for getting test results, such as X-rays, blood test lab reports, etc. to the doctor performing the service.

“We waste an enormous amount of money in this country by overpaying for health care,” states John Goodman, an economist and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “The only way to get rid of waste is to have people compete in a real marketplace.”

A move toward more free market healthcare delivery means patients need to change their outlook on how their medical care is delivered to them, and do more of the footwork themselves. In the free market, special treatments and surgeries are directed by patients themselves, just like a kitchen renovation or an engine overhaul. Customers investigate service providers who can do the job, get references, and find the best person for the best price.

With ObamaCare being the disaster it is, it looks like any big government takeover of healthcare is going to create more work and greater risk for Americans. Perhaps it’s better to take matters into our own hands so we know what we’re getting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The myth of ‘settled science’ By Charles Krauthammer


February 20, 2014

I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.

So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?

But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.

Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.

Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall . And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.

Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.

None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.

Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon -belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

Ah, settled science in action.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Krauthammer: Here's an urgent to-do list for Barack Obama


March 14, 2014
by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, The Washington Post

The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama's Ukraine policy by saying "What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?" Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing.

The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the last five years, Obama's fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea and Russia in Ukraine. But what's done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now?

We have three objectives. In ascending order of difficulty: Reassure NATO. Deter further Russian incursion into Ukraine. Reverse the annexation of Crimea.

Reassure NATO:

We're already sending U.S. aircraft to patrol the airspace of the Baltic states. That's not enough.

1. Send the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the Baltics to arrange joint maneuvers.

2. Same for the four NATO countries bordering Ukraine -- Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

3. Urgently revive the original missile defense agreements concluded with Poland and the Czech Republic before Obama canceled them unilaterally to appease Russia.

Deter Russia in Ukraine:

1. Extend the Black Sea maneuvers in which the USS Truxtun is currently engaged with Romania and Bulgaria. These were previously scheduled. Order immediate -- and continual -- follow-ons.

2. Declare that any further Russian military incursion beyond Crimea will lead to a rapid and favorable response from NATO to any request from Kiev for weapons. These would be accompanied by significant numbers of NATO trainers and advisers.

This is no land-war strategy. This is the "tripwire" strategy successful for half a century in Germany and Korea. Any Russian push into western Ukraine would then engage a thin tripwire of NATO trainer/advisers. That is something the most rabid Soviet expansionist never risked. Nor would Putin. It would, therefore, establish a ring of protection at least around the core of western Ukraine.

Reverse the annexation of Crimea:

Clearly the most difficult. In the short run, likely impossible. There are no military cards to play, Russia holding all of them. Ukraine's forces are very weak. The steps must be diplomatic and economic.

First, Crimean secession under Russian occupation must lead to Russia's immediate expulsion from the G-8. To assuage the tremulous Angela Merkel, we could do it by subtraction: All seven democracies withdraw from the G-8, then instantly reconstitute as the original G-7.  

As for economic sanctions, they are currently puny. We haven't done a thing. We haven't even named names. We've just authorized the penalizing of individuals.

Name the names, freeze their accounts. But any real effect will require broader sanctions and for that we need European cooperation. The ultimate sanction is to cut off Russian oligarchs, companies and banks from the Western financial system. That's the economic "nuclear option" that brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table. It would have a devastating effect on Putin's economy.

As of now, the Germans, French and British have balked. They have too much economic interest in the Moscow connection.

Which means we can do nothing decisive in the short or even medium term. But we can severely squeeze Russia in the long term.

How? For serious sanctions to become possible, Europe must first be weaned off Russian gas. Obama should order the Energy Department to expedite authorization for roughly 25 liquid natural gas export facilities. Demand all decisions within six weeks.

Second, call for urgent bipartisan consultation with congressional leaders for an emergency increase in defense spending, restoring at least $100 billion annually to the defense budget to keep U.S. armed forces at current strength or greater. Obama won't do it but he should. Nothing demonstrates American global retreat more than a budget that reduces the U.S. Army to 1940 levels.

Obama is not the first president to conduct a weak foreign policy. Jimmy Carter was similarly inclined -- until Russia invaded Afghanistan, at which point the scales fell from Carter's eyes. He responded boldly: imposing the grain embargo on the Soviets, boycotting the Moscow Olympics, increasing defense spending and ostentatiously sending a machine gun-toting Zbigniew Brzezinski to the Khyber Pass, symbolizing the massive military aid we began sending the mujahedeen, whose insurgency so bled the Russians over the next decade that they not only lost Afghanistan but were fatally weakened as a global imperial power.

Invasion woke Carter from his illusions. Will it wake Obama?
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