Scranton, Pennsylvania, the hometown of Vice President Joe Biden, has become the hometown of the latest ObamaCare controversy. Jeffrey Lord, writing for the American Spectator, reports that the impending closure of three Catholic hospitals in the Scranton area, almost certainly in part because of the new healthcare legislation, is threatening to become a major public-relations debacle for the Obama administration and a major drag on the electoral prospects for three Democratic congressional candidates.
Anyone who was confused as to why big insurance companies would support such an obviously anti-market piece of legislation as ObamaCare — a law supposedly designed to protect consumers from greedy, heartless insurers — need look no further than a September 30 New York Times report. Reed Abelson writes that the Principal Financial Group, which offers employer-based health insurance to about 840,000 people, “announced on Thursday that it planned to stop selling health insurance, another sign of upheaval emerging among insurers as the new federal health law starts to take effect.”
McDonald’s has just served up a not-so-happy meal to its employees, courtesy of ObamaCare: Because of the federal government’s new rules governing limited-benefit health insurance, also known as “mini-med” plans, the Golden Arches may be forced to stop insuring their nearly 30,000 restaurant workers in the very near future.
Ah, the ironies of politics. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, an early and steadfast proponent of national health insurance, turns out to have spared Americans from such a fate for nearly 40 years.
Once upon a time, so the story goes, the American pharmaceutical industry was a “wild West” in which greedy, unscrupulous snake-oil salesmen preyed on unsuspecting citizens. Average Americans, in the same tale, were incapable of sifting through the claims of drug purveyors and of determining which drugs were both safe and effective, and thus were suffering and dying in droves at the hands of these conniving profiteers. The happy ending to the story is that the federal government, in response to public outcries for salvation, stepped in and forced all drug manufacturers to prove their products were safe and effective before they could sell them; henceforth, Americans could be certain that no drugs would ever harm them again.
On March 9, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), referring to the then-pending ObamaCare legislation, said that Congress “[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.” Congress passed the bill shortly thereafter, and Americans have been finding out what’s in it ever since — to the dismay of both average Americans and Democratic politicians, whose poll numbers have fallen steadily since the bill became law.
Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama said that his healthcare reform plan “would bring down premiums by $2500 for the typical family.” In February of this year he urged Congress to pass healthcare reform or else Americans would “see exploding premiums and out-of-pocket costs burn through more and more family budgets.”
Consumers have won a rare, if possibly temporary, victory for their own freedom to take a drug that has worked for them even if its effectiveness has not been demonstrated to the FDA’s satisfaction.
Everyone is familiar with the routine when visiting a doctor’s office: The doctor or his assistant checks the patient’s vital signs, then discusses any symptoms the patient is experiencing and examines him in relation to those symptoms. If the patient is anything less than healthy, the doctor prescribes a course of treatment.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is putting taxpayers’ money where his mouth is. On August 31, he signed an executive order directing state agencies not to apply for any discretionary funds under ObamaCare.