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From Defense to Offense Using Medicare Jiu Jitzu

The Conventional Wisdom Regarding The Selection Of Paul Ryan

The selection of Paul Ryan was initially viewed by pundits as a highly risky one for the Romney campaign. So-called conventional wisdom, such that it is among the media elites, believes that Ryan’s stand on entitlements will drag down the Romney campaign.

When “conventional” precedes “wisdom” in media matters, it usually refers to something based more on faith than intellect. It usually represents a convenient belief that has been perpetuated under the non-logic of “well, everyone knows ….” It needs no defending because “it is so obvious.”

Entitlements have been known as the “third rail” of American politics for years. Going near them, is thought to be career-threatening. Hence, Paul Ryan, who publicly states that entitlements need more than touching, is therefor harmful to the Romney campaign. So goes the shallow logic of the media.

What Has Changed?

For decades Democrat politicians have demagogued mercilessly on entitlements, scaring the poor and elderly with tales of cruel, heartless Republicans wanting to take away their benefits. The demagoguery has been an integral part of every national Democrat campaign since at least the 1970s. Some Dem pols know no other way to campaign. Like generals fighting the last war, these political animals march forward spouting whatever they believe worked in the past. And so, this campaign began with the criticisms of Mr. Ryan.

No one wants to have his benefits reduced or taken away, save a few posturing political props like Warren Buffett. But times have changed and most people recognize that. Prior to this last economic recession, most believed (wrongfully) that resources were virtually unlimited. With these beliefs, any attempts to cut entitlements was seen as unnecessary and could be demagogued as meanness and cruelty. The Democrats utilized this misunderstanding to great advantage.

The economic crisis, which began about five years ago, has opened the eyes of many previously unconcerned citizens. Fear of government bankruptcy

The Noose Tightens on Your Healthcare

Seven years ago my wife and I re-located to the Asheville, NC area. I was 63 and in search of the services required in a new area. Among these needs was a medical doctor.

I located a family practice nearby, looked at the backgrounds of the doctors, chose one and called to set up an appointment. While providing preliminary information over the phone, I was told that Dr. X was not taking any new Medicare patients. I was not on Medicare I said. But, I was told, I would be in two years. I ended up being allocated to a doctor whose Medicare burden apparently was light.

As it turned out the doctor I was assigned to was fine as best as I can tell (although I am no longer with him). My objection was that I was unable to choose my doctor as a result of government interference in the medical profession. This story illustrates what price controls do to medicine or any other good for that matter.

My experience was seven years ago, before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama or ObamaCare. Medicare was already squeezing prices on doctors. The supply/quality of service was affected then. For an economist, there are no surprises in this story. Price controls always reduce supply and quality.

Flash forward to today and matters have gotten much worse. When (if?) ObamaCare is implemented, matters will deteriorate more. Here is an article of pre-ObamaCare and what is now the state of the health industry. None of this can be improved by more intervention. That will only make matters worse, much worse. From the Daily Caller:

Thirty-six percent of doctors say they are no longer accepting new Medicaid patients due in large part to declining reimbursements, a new national survey has found.

The survey of 2,232 physicians across all specialties conducted in late April by Jackson Healthcare in Atlanta — the fourth-largest health care staffing company in the U.S. — further found that broken down for specialty, 66 percent of dermatologists, 64 percent of endocrinologists,

A Wimpy Budget

From DirectorBlue comes this analysis of Obama and the current budget:

J. Wellington Wimpy — better known simply as “Wimpy” — was Popeye’s recurring sidekick in the long-running cartoon series.

And Wimpy had a motto that could just as well be President Obama’s: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”
As Cato explains, Obama’s budgets consist of tax hikes now, with spending cuts and accounting gimmicks sometime… in… teh… future.

We’ve become so used to these unfathomable levels of deficits and debt—and to the once-rare concept of trillions of dollars—that we forget how new all this debt is. In 1981, after 190 years of federal spending, the national debt was “only” $1 trillion. Now, just 30 years later, it’s past $15 trillion…

As ATR points out, the “Obama Plan Uses Budget Gimmickry To Mask Explosive Spending“:

• The budget continues to call for spending at historic levels: the request sets spending for

All Economic Goods are “Rationed”

The nonsense of government and the notion that it can manage medical costs is discussed below by ThinkMarkets. Every society, no matter how rich, must deal with scarcity. It has always been so and always will be. If a good is in virtual unlimited supply, it is not an economic good in the sense that it is free. Think of air as an example.

By definition, an economic good is scarce. That is, there are more potential users (demand) than the supply can accommodate. Thus all economic goods must be “rationed” via some means. The issue is not rationing, but who will do the rationing. The free-market price system is our traditional means. Because individuals don’t have the same intensity of demand for goods, they can alter their purchases in such a way as to maximize their individual satisfaction within limited means.

The other alternative is to have some central planning agency make decisions for everyone. In this case, everyone will get the same amount regardless of whether it is wanted or needed. The only way to effect such a system is by force — do this or else!

The following article discusses healthcare from these two perspectives.

Medicare Reform, RIP?

Posted: 06 May 2011 08:32 AM PDT

by Mario Rizzo

The Financial Times reports today that the Republicans may be backing away from the (Paul) Ryan proposal  eventually to replace traditional Medicare with subsidies for the purchase of  private insurance. The Financial Times says, “This would shift exposure to rising health costs away from the  government and on to seniors…” Of course, this is literally true if there is  never an increase in the dollar amount of the subsidy, an unlikely event in  view of the regular increases in Social Security benefits.

Putting aside, for the moment, the details of the Ryan plan,  what many voters refuse to understand is the unpleasant choice they inevitably face. Either cost-control by the consumers or cost-control

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