1.) Remember: You’re a liar and/or an idiot if you call it ‘a government takeover of health care’ — Tomorrow, a group of bureaucrats will meet to determine which treatments private insurance companies will be mandated to cover, and for how long. “The Obama administration faces a tough balancing act,” writes Kaiser Health News. “The benefits package must be broad enough to be comprehensive but not too broad as to be unaffordable. Patient advocates and industry lobbyists already are drawing up wish lists for items they want covered – including autism therapy, obesity treatments, infertility treatments and unlimited chemotherapy visits.” AEI’s Joe Antos told KHN, “This is an invitation for all kinds of lobbying from every conceivable disease group and provider group in the country.” For instance: Joe Nadglowski, CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, thinks insurers should be required to cover bariatric surgery. “Adding a wider range of treatments would raise premium costs, Nadglowski acknowledges, but could save money over time if people sought both prevention and treatment for obesity.” That’s a lot of ifs.
2.) Michelle Rhee announces game plan for Gunshine State — The education reformer who was hounded out of Washington for doing her job is down in Florida now, where she has some big plans. The Orlando Sentinel breaks it down thusly: “‘Elevate’ the teaching profession by evaluating teachers based on ‘student results’ and paying excellent teachers more. Do this by ‘separating teacher evaluation from collective bargaining in union contracts’; ‘Empower’ parents by offering them more choices, including the ability to choose schools outside their neighborhoods.” And in Rhee’s own words: “Work to eliminate laws that hamper superintendents’ and principals’ abilities to optimize their resources, help curb ineffective spending on the state level, and end bureaucratic policies that force district leaders to choose the cheapest food and facilities services, without regard to quality.” Predictably, Florida’s teachers unions are already raising a ruckus. This means that plan is probably a good idea.
3.) Public sector unions are in the dog house — “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 45% of Americans now at least somewhat favor unions for public employees, while the identical number (45%) are opposed to them. These findings include 21% who Strongly Favor such unions versus 30% who are Strongly Opposed to them,” reports the polling firm. “In May of last year, 53% of Adults favored unions for public employees, while 37% opposed them.” If the change from May 2010 to now seems drastic, just wait until their poorly funded pensions are dropped in America’s lap.
4.) Annals of overreaction: put shrinks in charge of gun control — While most Americans would agree that paranoid schizophrenics should not have access to firearms, Gawker’s John Cook retro-remedy for Jared Loughner’s Tucson massacre is a classic example of exactly what not to do: “Ask yourself which measure, had it been in place in the three years prior to the killings, would have been more likely to prevent them: A pledge from Sarah Palin to refrain from violent rhetoric, or a requirement in Arizona that all gun sales be accompanied by a note from a mental health professional certifying competence. Thousands have been demanding the former for the past two days; I haven’t heard anyone propose the latter.” No one’s proposed it yet, but you can bet someone will. A Congressional Democrat has seen fit, after all, to propose a law that desecrates the First Amendment. What’s to stop lawmakers from proposing a law that would add a prohibitively expensive obstacle to maintaing the second one?
5.) Wind farms will make you sick — Mike Eaton of Oregon doesn’t hate the environment, but he does hate feeling nauseated every time he comes home. The windmills near his home “make me seasick and nauseous,” Eaton told Miller-McCune. “I take medication for it, but it just keeps it slightly balanced so I’m not vomiting all the time, to be honest with you.” Dan Williams also has a problem that he can’t ignore. “It’s like a train that’s neither coming or going, or a plane that’s constantly hovering, or an ocean that’s not breaking or receding….I will also sometimes get real tight in the chest and feel like I’m having a panic attack.” In response to these and other allegations of sickness, the windmill industry, which is profiting heavily from government subsidies, hired a group of scientists to call people like Eaton and Williams crazy. “A panel of experts hired by the U.S. and Canadian wind energy associations last year said the noise from wind turbines is no more harmful to human health than the average annoying sound. Setbacks less than a mile, they determined, are fine. Noise problems reported by neighbors, they said, are psychological.”
6.) We are all handicapped now — “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says charges of disability discrimination rose by about 17 percent to 25,165 claims. Overall, the agency received nearly 100,000 claims during the 2010 fiscal year, a 7 percent increase and the highest number in its 45-year history,” reports the AP. “The spike in disability claims began in the months after Congress approved changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2009. The changes made it easier for people with treatable conditions like epilepsy, cancer or mental illness to claim they are disabled.” File this one under “Unintended Consequences.”