Monday, August 17, 2009

Catch me on Focus on the Family, all this week as I sit in for Dr. Dobson!  Tune in at 430am, 730am, 1130am, and 10pm.
330-338Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute (, overviews the health care plan.  Sally says we can reduce health insurance costs by:  1) making insurance portable, not tied to your job, 2) allow customers to buy it across state lines, increasing competition among companies, 3) unbundle the mandates so that companies can provide services customers want, rather than so many coverages they don't want, 4) limit the settlements in medical malpractice suits to lower the doctors' costs, much like in Texas, 5) change the tax code so there are incentives rather than deterrents to companies and individuals for health insurance, and 6) offer government vouchers directly to the poor so they can shop for the best value.
343-354Sally Pipes
The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.  Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.
"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."
// Doig says there are some "very good things" about Canada's health-care system, but she points out that many people have stories about times when things didn't go well for them or their family.
"(Canadians) have to understand that the system that we have right now - if it keeps on going without change - is not sustainable," said Doig.
"They have to look at the evidence that's being presented and will be presented at (the meeting) and realize what Canada's doctors are trying to tell you, that you can get better care than what you're getting and we all have to participate in the discussion around how do we do that and of course how do we pay for it."
Further to my weekend column on how a government health system inevitably means restricted access to treatment, a word from British Columbia:
         The Fraser Health Authority confirmed Thursday it intends to cut surgeries, seniors' programs and services for the mentally ill to help deal with a budget shortfall of up to $160 million.  However, it said the emergency department at Mission Memorial Hospital will stay open.
That's awfully sporting of them, all things considered.
         The board said 10 to 15 per cent of elective surgeries will be cut in the latter part of the 2009-10 fiscal year, with slowdowns already scheduled for the Olympic period.
That's how it works. You can elect to have the surgery but they won't elect to give it to you. And don't ask me why hosting the Winter Olympics should necessitate cuts in health care. Unless they're expecting an epidemic of two-man luge teams with buttocks frozen to the sled or men's ice-dancing teams felled by attempting a double-axle in a too tight bolero jacket, it would seem to be just one of those things that happens when governments of advanced wealthy nations decide they can run every aspect of life more "efficiently" than the citizenry.
413-423 – • Politico (8/17/09) White House disables e-tip box.
• As Congress debated the launch of Medicare in 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee calculated that Part A, the hospital entitlement, would cost taxpayers $9 billion in 1990. In fact, that year's outlay was $67 billion, or 744 percent of what Ways and Means forecast.
• In 1967, Ways and Means predicted that the entire Medicare program would cost the Treasury $12 billion in 1990. Actual expenditure: $110 billion. That is 917 percent of what the committee projected.
• Congressional number crunchers reported in 1987 that Medicaid's Disproportionate Share Hospital payments (cash for medical centers that primarily serve the poor and uninsured) would be about $1 billion, just five years later. In 1992, thanks to loopholes that states exploited to milk Uncle Sam, this narrow program exploded to $17 billion, 1,700 percent of what taxpayers were told to expect.
• States witness this pattern, too. Massachusetts Commonwealth Care — an Obama-like program launched in 2006 by then-GOP governor Willard Mitt Romney — was supposed to cost $472 million in fiscal year 2008. That year's real tally was $628 million, 33 percent above what Bay State residents were prepared to pay. Democratic state senator Jamie Eldridge complained in the Columbia Journalism Review, "health care reform has cost the Commonwealth much more than expected."
What triggers these cost overruns? The Joint Economic Committee's report explains that "initial public estimates appear simply to have underestimated the level of demand for the proposed new benefits, perhaps due to insufficient data or a lack of experience administering benefits of that sort."
Also, government lacks the profit motive, which generally forces private-sector managers to control costs, lest they get fired. Private supervisors also have incentives to boost profits: bonuses, corner offices, stock options, and promotions. In government, carefully stewarding taxpayer dollars might advance one's career. But because bureaucrats rarely earn bonuses, and there are no stocks to option in public agencies, government workers lack the accountability that pay-for-performance brings. And they rarely get sacked. When federal expenses zoom into the heavens, Congress orders a fresh round of greenbacks to be spent, which the Treasury obligingly prints. Federal bond sales borrow the deficit between taxes and outlays. The result is the next generation's indebtedness and the Republic's long-term impoverishment.
458-508Steve Blackwell, ( a Chaplain in the U.S. Army, is looking for new Chaplain recruits!  Steve was pastor of Greenville United Methodist Church in Joelton, TN, then 9/11 happened, and he joined the Army.  He's got a bachelor's in math from Middle Tennessee State University and an M.Div. from Vanderbilt.  He served for 6 months as the Chaplain at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.  His wife Diane lives in Tennessee and he lives in Los Angeles, and they enjoy three adult children.  Talking about the suicide rate in the army and how it's related to people not having Christ. 
• Ellen Ratner, WorldNetDaily (8/3/09) Stress and suicide in the military.
512-523Steve Blackwell
528-538How has God answered your prayers recently?  "God, I want to thank you for…" – How would you finish that sentence?
612-623 Calls
628-638Sally Pipes (Reprise)
644-700Sally Pipes (Reprise)
• Politico (8/17/09) Health concession fuels blowback.
• NYT (8/15/09) Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich.  Listeners, are you in a church like this?  How does faith play into hard economic times?
• New York Post (8/16/09) Sweet Lemonade Kid $lapped.  Did the agents do the right thing in giving the girl a ticket?  What was your entrepreneur idea as a kid?  Were you successful?
• Washington Post (8/16/09) Vick Feels 'Disgust' Over Past Behavior.  Do you think Michael Vick should be allowed to play in the NFL again?
• NRO Editors (8/17/09) Rationing and Rationality.

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