Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Unemployment rate rises: 169,000 more people not in labor force

First, I hope everyone remembers about the William Lane Craig vs Alex Rosenberg debate tonight at Purdue University. There is live-streaming available, details here.

And now, three scary stories from CNS News.

First, this one about the recent depressing jobs report.

Excerpt:

The number of Americans not in the labor force grew by 169,000 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report.

BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work. There were 89 million of them last month.

[...]The nation’s unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point in January, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent, a level the Labor Department described as “essentially unchanged.”

Second, this one about Obamacare health care plans.

Excerpt:

In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.

Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.

The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.

The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.

And finally, this one about Obamacare’s effect on job creators, aka “the rich” who need to “pay their fair share”.

Excerpt:

Sixty-one percent of U.S. small business owners said they were “worried about the potential cost of healthcare” and 56 percent said they were “worried about new government regulations,” according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup small business index released on Jan. 31, which also showed that 30 percent of small business owners are not hiring and fear going out of business within a year.

“At the bottom of the list, but still at a surprisingly high level, 30% of owners say they are not hiring because they are worried they may no longer be in business in 12 months,” according to Gallup’s index summary. “This is up from 24% who had the same worry in January 2012.”

[...]Gallup said the reasons given for less hiring, such as healthcare and government regulations, are “troublesome” and have negative implications for the U.S. economy.

Bad news! I remember the good old days of the Bush administration, when we had lower taxes, a 4.4% unemployment rate, and a $160 billion dollar budget deficit. Maybe watching tonight’s debate with WLC and this Duke University naturalist tonight will cheer me up.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New FAA regulations will cause shortage of airline pilots

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

U.S. airlines are facing what threatens to be their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with higher experience requirements for new hires about to take hold just as the industry braces for a wave of retirements.

Federal mandates taking effect next summer will require all newly hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience—six times the current minimum—raising the cost and time to train new fliers in an era when pay cuts and more-demanding schedules already have made the profession less attractive. Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines soon will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65.

[...]Another federal safety rule, to take effect in early 2014, also will squeeze the supply, by giving pilots more daily rest time. This change is expected to force passenger airlines to increase their pilot ranks by at least 5%. Adding to the problem is a small but steady stream of U.S. pilots moving to overseas carriers, many of which already face an acute shortage of aviators and pay handsomely to land well-trained U.S. captains.

[...]Estimates differ on the problem’s magnitude. Airlines for America, a trade group of the largest carriers that collectively employ 50,800 pilots now, cites a study by the University of North Dakota’s aviation department that indicates major airlines will need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to replace departures and cover expansion.

Mr. Darby’s firm calculates that all U.S. airlines, including cargo, charter and regional carriers, together employ nearly 96,000 pilots, and will need to find more than 65,000 over the next eight years.

[...]Dave Barger, chief executive of JetBlue Airways Corp., said in an October speech that the industry is “facing an exodus of talent in the next few years” and could “wake up one day and find we have no one to operate or maintain those planes.”

The same thing is already happening with doctors because of Obamacare. And there is also a broad-based effort to put policies in place that cause private sector businesses to raise their prices, for example, by raising gas prices because of blocks on domestic energy development. Why would a socialist government pass taxes and regulations that cause consumers to become dissatisfied the private sector?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada’s “free” single-payer health care system costs each family $11,000 per year

From the Vancouver Sun.

Excerpt:

The true cost of Canada’s health care system is more than $11,000 in taxes each year for an average family, according to Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute.

The institute’s report calculates the amount of taxes the average family pays to all levels of government in a year and the percentage of the total tax bill that goes towards public health care insurance.

A family of two parents with an average income of $113,226 and two children will pay $11,401 for public health care insurance, the report says.

[...]Institute senior fellow Nadeem Esmail said in a news release sent out this morning: “There’s a widespread belief that health care is free in Canada. It’s not; our tax dollars cover the cost of it. But the way we pay for health care disguises exactly how much public health care insurance costs Canadian families and how that cost is increasing over time.”

The release noted that since 2002, the cost of health care insurance for the average Canadian family increased by 59.8 per cent before inflation.

“By way of comparison, the cost of public health care increased more than twice as fast as the cost of shelter, roughly four times as fast as the cost of food, and more than five times as fast as the cost of clothing,” the release said.

This is the system that Obamacare is trying to force onto us by eliminating private sector health care. But proponents of single payer health care tell us that it’s better for patients than the American free enterprise system. Is it? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

A defense of American health care

Story from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

The article compares American health care to health care in other places like Canada, the UK and Europe.

The full article. I almost never cite the full article, but this is a must read.

MEDICINE AND HEALTH:
Here’s a Second Opinion

By Scott W. Atlas

Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose. ByScott W. Atlas.

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

  • Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.


This essay appeared on the website of the National Center for Policy Analysis on March 24, 2009. An earlier version was published in theWashington Times.

Available from the Hoover Press is Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions, edited by Scott W. Atlas. To order, call 800.935.2882 or visitwww.hooverpress.org.


Scott W. Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School.

Note that the author is a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School. Stanford and Harvard are generally regarded as the two best universities in the United States.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CBO: 20 million Americans could lose employer-provided health coverage under Obamacare

From The Hill:

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage because of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a new report Thursday.

The figure represents the worst-case scenario, CBO says, and the law could just as well increase the number of people with employer-based coverage by 3 million in 2019.

The best estimate, subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that about 3 million to 5 million fewer people will obtain coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022.

The new report adds more detail to this week’s update of the law’s coverage provisions, which CBO released Tuesday. Compared to a year ago, the law is now anticipated to cover 2 million fewer people but cost $50 billion less over 10 years, after factoring penalties paid by individuals and businesses that don’t get or provide healthcare coverage.

Republicans immediately pounced after the new numbers came out because they appear to violate Obama’s pledge that people who like their health plans will be able to keep them. Last year, CBO’s best estimate was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.

“President Obama’s string of empty promises is quickly becoming a disappointing trail of broken promises,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “He promised Americans that his overhaul of the health care sector would not jeopardize the health coverage of those who liked what they had. As nonpartisan analysts made clear today, millions of Americans will soon learn the hard way that Washington’s overreach into their health care decisions will result in sharp disruptions to their coverage and their care.”

I think this is important because conservatives are constantly being portrayed as “mean” in the media because we don’t embrace big government health care solutions. Everyone agrees on the problems, and everyone wants to help. The difference is that we conservatives think that health care is better when it is run profitably and is responsive to consumers and offers choice, low prices and high quality – like Amazon. We want privatized, market-driven health care with vouchers given to each citizen to purchase what they need, and to encourage them to save the rest for their old age while making healthier choices now.

The alternative is Department of Motor Vehicles health care – long lines, huge budget overruns, one-size-fits-all, lousy service and nowhere else to go for better better service. Why think that government is better at anything than the private sector? The private sector does everything better and cheaper and with better quality. So what if people get rich providing goods and services? As long as the customers are happy, and the children of the customers don’t get stuck paying for huge trillion dollar cost overruns.

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare:

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obamacare: higher taxes, higher debt, higher unemployment and higher premiums

A few of the problems with Obamacare

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare

But I thought that the best defense is a good offense, and so without further ado, let me re-post something that defends American health care.

A defense of American health care

Story from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

The article compares American health care to health care in other places like Canada, the UK and Europe.

The full article. I almost never cite the full article, but this is a must read.

MEDICINE AND HEALTH:
Here’s a Second Opinion

By Scott W. Atlas

Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose. By Scott W. Atlas.

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

  • Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.


This essay appeared on the website of the National Center for Policy Analysis on March 24, 2009. An earlier version was published in the Washington Times.

Available from the Hoover Press is Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions, edited by Scott W. Atlas. To order, call 800.935.2882 or visit www.hooverpress.org.


Scott W. Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School.

Note that the author is a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School. Stanford and Harvard are generally regarded as the two best universities in the United States.

Correcting myths about American health care

Some people believe misleading myths about American health care by cherry-picking data from left-wing propaganda movies or Guardian editorials/comments, but here is the Michael Tanner, health care policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, to give us the facts.

Excerpt:

The Claim: Though we spend more, we get less.

The Facts: America offers the highest quality health care in the world. Most of the world’s top doctors, hospitals and research facilities are located in the United States. Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. U.S. companies have developed half of all the major new medicines introduced worldwide over the past 20 years. And Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, the United States is the place you want to be. Tens of thousands of patients from around the world come to this country every year for treatment.

Critics of American health care often point out that other countries have higher life expectancies or lower infant mortality rates, but those two indicators are bad ways to measure the quality of a nation’s health-care system. In the United States, very low-birth-weight infants have a much greater chance of being brought to term with the latest medical technologies. Some of those low-birth-weight babies die soon after birth, which boosts our infant mortality rate, but in many other Western countries, those high-risk, low-birth-weight infants are not included when infant mortality is calculated.

Life expectancies are also affected by other factors like violent crime, poverty, obesity, tobacco, and drug use, and other issues unrelated to health care. When you compare the outcome for specific diseases like cancer or heart disease, the United States outperforms the rest of the world.

And one more myth:

The Claim: A government-run health-care system would expand access to care.

The Facts: The one common characteristic of all national health care systems is that they ration care. Sometimes they ration it by denying certain types of treatment altogether. More often, they ration indirectly, imposing cost constraints through budgets, waiting lines, or limited technology. One million Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals at any given time, and shortages force the NHS to cancel as many as 100,000 operations each year. Roughly 90,000 New Zealanders are facing similar waits. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks. In Canada more than 800,000 patients are currently on waiting lists for medical procedures.

If you liked this post, please tweet it on Twitter, share it on Facebook and e-mail it to your friends. Get the discussion started now before the election. The left is counting on us to be distracted with television, movies and other nonsense. We need to be persuading people now because this could be our last chance to turn away from socialism in this country.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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