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Daily Archives: January 23, 2008

The Truth About Health Costs

Public health programs account for almost half of the $2 trillion spent on U.S. health care, a Hoover Institution report says. An astonishing 80% or more of all medical-care pricing is based on government reimbursement rates set by Medicare.

As for private costs, they would be lower if government didn’t interfere in the market. Regulations imposed on the industry cost more than $330 billion a year, Hoover says.

Perverse tax policies have created a third-party payer system. Patients no longer have first-dollar responsibility for medical bills thanks to employer insurance.

Someone else is paying, so inflation goes unchecked and unabated. […]

So if Uncle Sam made health care so unaffordable, why do so many voters like Democrats’ plans to expand government control of health care? Because they’ve bought into the myth that the private sector has failed and begs for government rescue.

Democrats’ solution to this failed government-heavy system is more government in the form of mandatory health coverage. Public plans offered by Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama all boast of “using government to lower costs and ensure affordability for all.”

But if you think health care is expensive now, just wait until government makes it “free.”[…]

There’s more, but I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Rich Galen has written the best article yet on Thompson’s campaign and subsequent withdrawal.

At about 2 PM Eastern yesterday, Fred Thompson made it official when he had the campaign press shop issue the following statement:

“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.”

Like the campaign itself, the statement was brief, unambiguous, and dignified.

At the time, I was having lunch Christine Byun, the ABC producer who had followed the Thompson campaign from the beginning. Our Blackberries began to wheeze and buzz at the same time with the news of the statement and we swung back into full work mode immediately: She calling her desk for instructions, me answering calls from reporters demanding to know why I hadn’t told them in advance.

The answer was: I didn’t know in advance. Fred Thompson is a private man who makes decisions on his own schedule. Following Saturday’s third place finish in South Carolina, I was beset by calls about what he would do and when he would do it.

I had the same answer for all: You have a deadline to report his decision. He has no deadline on which to make it. […]

Here’s a tale out of school which describes the kind of man Thompson is: One day in the week leading up to the South Carolina primary the campaign office in McLean, Virginia, asked if he would record a video thanking supporters for helping to have raised over a million dollars from the day after the Iowa caucuses to that point.

This video was obviously going to be a veiled pitch to send in more money — a point not lost on Thompson, even though the script I wrote never mentioned it.

He told me he wasn’t going to record it. Knowing we were facing an uphill climb to stay in the race, and knowing the video would tempt viewers to donate to help the campaign to go onto Florida and February 5th, he said, “I am not going to ask for money under false pretenses.” […]

It is strange that the qualities we are looking for in a sitting President — thoughtful, calm, and serious — are exactly the qualities that we penalize in those running for President. […]

Read the full article. Although most of it is here, I left out the responses from the other candidates. Too bad hindsight is 20/20. When foresight demands the same clarity of gaze it almost always falls short. No matter what, every other candidate is going to fall short in some way or another. However, we can look at this article have a little more clarity on our choices, can’t we?

Or  you can listen to the hack. While they might not be mutually exclusive stories, I find Cameron’s gloating just a little hard to take.

A continuation of last night’s concerns.

Medvedev says would support U.N. and Iran

Russian presidential heir apparent Dmitry Medvedev, in his first major campaign speech yesterday, said he would seek to boost the power of the United Nations and would not sever Moscow’s ties to “problem states” like Iran, despite Western pressure.

Mr. Medvedev, chairman of the energy giant Gazprom and longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, also said Russia’s economy needed “decades of stable development” to catch up to the West and promised a vigorous drive to root out corruption.

The nationally televised address took a softer rhetorical line than that favored recently by Mr. Putin but came on a day when Russia’s military staged another exercise heavy with symbolic echoes of the old Soviet superpower days.

Spook’s take on the exercise is:

At the risk of sounding redundant, the Russian exercise in the Bay of Biscay makes a Bear run against the U.S. eastern seaboard all-but-inevitable. With TU-95s scheduled to participate in the current exercise, it would be easy to add an extra “cell” of bombers (two aircraft) to the formation. As the Bears approach the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. Gap, most of the bombers would turn south, steering around Britain and heading toward the exercise area. The remaining two-ship element would break west, bound for our east coast. After flying parallel to the coastline, the Bears would land in Cuba or Venezuela, then return by the same route a few days later.

While you’re at Spook’s place the first article you’ll encounter is this: Pyongyang Takes Notice.

Read it, too.

I thought I should take down all the links and blogrolls today but then I decided not to. According to KrellKrell, there’s something called leverage that be useful in the upcoming elections. At this point in time, I’m not sure what I’m going to do although it’s clear that the tradition of voting for the lesser evil of the Republican nominee is clearly not working for many of us. There never seems to come a time when we don’t have to do that. Those of us who fall into the core conservative category are pretty much left out in the cold and kept silent.

I have no special advice for you except: Vote your conscience. If Thompson is someone you can get behind and support wholeheartedly, then vote for him if he’s still on the ballot in your state. If not, and you still feel that strongly about it, write him in. In the larger scheme of things for the general I doubt it will change the end results as far as who will be the Republican nominee. In spite of that, I do believe it will give us a stronger voice for the future.

God Bless You All.

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