Stimulus plan includes adding 1.2 million to Medicaid roles

Instead of dealing with nationalizing health care out in the open, the Obama stimulus plan takes the incremental – but significant step – to add more than one million Americans to the Medicaid roles if they are unemployed, or will soon be unemployed. This plan also includes millionaires who were laid off and not only expands COBRA coverage, but pays for 65 percent of the COBRA coverage!

When I began reading this article in the Wall Street Journal, I kept thinking about the COBRA program, which allows employees to carry their previous insurance for 18 months if they get laid off or another life change event occurs. The employer does not cover the cost of the premiums, but instead, the employee is able to continue coverage by paying the premium the employer was paying during employment. Confusing isn’t it?

Let’s just get rid of that confusion by having the federal government pick up 65 percent of the COBRA premiums!

From Kimberley Strassel’s post in the WSJ, with my emphasis in bold.

Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.

House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.

The “stimulus” also hijacks Cobra, a program that lets the unemployed retain access to their former company health benefits — usually for about 18 months. The new stimulus permits any former employee over the age of 55 to keep using Cobra right up until they qualify for Medicare at age 65. And here’s the kicker: Whereas employees were previously responsible for paying their health premiums while on Cobra, now the feds will pay 65%. CBO estimates? Seven million Americans will have the feds mostly pay their insurance bills in 2009.

Wow. This is not stimulus, this is welfare!

Hot Air and Power Line are on it too.

Who Is John Galt?

And so it begins. With the passage of the porkapalooza the dependency on the state begins. Jefferson warned, Rand reminded … and the Democrats have made permanent. So who is John Galt? If you need to ask … for you it may already be too late.


Breaking News: Distractions cause automobile accidents

I don’t mean to make light of traffic accidents, they happen every day and can be devastating to everyone involved, but how far should the government go to reduce the chance of having an automobile accident?

A national safety group wants to flat out ban the use of cell phones while driving. They insist employers should prohibit cell phone use by employees on the road, and states should ban use as well.

Accident attorneys from Nehora Law Firm claim – rightfully so – that talking while driving, whether using a hands-free device or not, is a distraction that cause 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries per year. My guess is the numbers are totally inflated, but that is not the point.

How many distractions can you list off that can be banned? Billboards, beautiful homes near the side of the road, eating, drinking, pedestrians in crosswalks, car passengers who talk, adjusting mirrors and lighting a cigarette can all be associated with death and serious injury.

How about listening to Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC?

Here is a bit of the AP story found on…


States should ban drivers from using hand-held and hands-free cell phones, and businesses should prohibit employees from using cell phones while driving on the job, the congressionally chartered National Safety Council says, taking those positions for the first time.

The group’s president and chief executive, Janet Froetscher, likened talking on cell phones to drunken driving, saying cell phone use increases the risk of a crash fourfold.

“When our friends have been drinking, we take the car keys away. It’s time to take the cell phone away,” Froetscher said in interview. …

… Froetscher said the council examined more than 50 scientific studies before reaching its decision. One was a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that estimates 6 percent of vehicle crashes, causing about 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries a year, are attributable to cell phone use. Hands-free cell phones are just as risky as hand held phones, she added.


“It’s not just what you’re doing with your hands — it’s that your head is in the conversation and so your eyes are not on the road,” Froetscher said.


Sister Toldjah has more

This is the problem when so-called “safety groups” take things too far in an effort to save people from themselves. They step over a line from a reasonable request to an invasion of someone else’s privacy. It’s one thing to ban drinking while driving – alcohol is not merely a “distraction”; it impairs your ability to think clearly and make good decisions, so the NSC comparing that to talking on a cell phone while driving is like comparing apples to steak. It’s not an invasion of privacy to outlaw drunk driving, but – in my view – it’s not reasonable to expect people not to talk on their cell phones while they’re driving anymore than it is to expect them to stop talking to the passengers in their cars, or to expect them to stop listening to the radio.

We all know that we can make cars and driving safer by passing unreasonably restrictive laws and removing all personal responsibility, but that does not mean that we should do that. We would cross a very important privacy line if we banned all backyard swimming pools.

Almost 800 kids in the United States under 14 died in swimming pool drownings in 2003. More data here.

Drive with care will ya, and watch your kids in the pool.

Health Care Nanny State

As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air put it … he who pays the piper calls the tune and when it comes to universal health care the state … not you will call the tune and not just on health coverage but what you eat too. Exhibit number one … this post at Hot Air.

The pragmatic reason for opposing a nationalized health service arises naturally from the fact that they just don’t work well, as we have seen in Canada and in the UK.  Philosophically, opponents of single-payer health care worry that once the government pays for our medical care, it will have the authority to dictate lifestyle choices to its citizens subjects day-care denizens.  Paul Hsieh points out how this has already begun to happen in Japan for the Christian Science Monitor:

Need more proof … this article at the Boston Globe … Ugg.

The administration’s battle against bulging waistlines also calls for public schools to measure the height and weight of first-, fourth-, seventh-, and 10th-graders and calculate whether a child is overweight.

The finding would be sent home with students along with detailed advice on eating better and exercising more, with the goal of reducing the incidence of health conditions once almost unheard of in the young, including type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

How does Universal Health Care sound now … hmmmm?

Rhode Island, North Carolina & New York – counting the miles

I recently wrote about Obama’s New Deal v2.0 that provides the green light for other cities and states to go ahead and start taxing at will. New York is just going nuts, and more is to come.

Read more

Confirmed again – Schwarzenegger not a conservative

From either the conservatives-already-knew-this or Rush-told-you-so files; Arnold, the muscle-clad governor of California, confirmed once again that he is indeed, not a conservative. Nanny State Alert!

Since California has now become the first state in the Union to ban trans fats, I’m wondering what is next. Since I have a friend that occasionally gets sick to her stomach when she smells beef on a barbecue, I’m thinking that we need to outlaw outdoor grilling. We’ve already made smokers second-class citizens so why not the 42 year-old BBQin’ dads too? Read more