Are price controls on health insurance a good idea?

Here’s a startling chunk of President Obama’s speech on health insurance yesterday (the emphasis is mine):

So this is a long-overdue victory for America’s consumers and patients. And yes, it does away with the status quo that some insurance companies have taken advantage of for so long. But insurance companies should see this reform as an opportunity to improve care and increase competition. They shouldn’t see it as an opportunity to enact unjustifiable rate increases that don’t boost care and inflate their bottom line.

The point is that there are genuine cost-drivers that are not caused by insurance companies. But what is also true is we’ve got to make sure that this new law is not being used as an excuse to simply drive up costs. So what we do is make sure that the Affordable Care Act gives us new tools to promote competition, transparency and better deals for consumers. The CEOs here today need to know that they’re going to be required to publicly justify unreasonable premium increases on your websites, as well as the law’s new website — healthcare.gov. As we set up the exchanges, we’ll be watching closely, and we’ll fully support states if they exercise their review authority to keep excessively expensive plans out of their insurance exchanges.
None of this is designed to deprive insurance companies of fair rates. And as I mentioned when we were meeting with the CEOs, there are a lot of cost-drivers other than those that are within insurance companies’ control.

That sounds an awful lot like he wants to impose price controls. Since when do price ceilings ever succeed at anything but causing shortages of whatever product/service they’re supposed to make “affordable?”

A few requests for Tom Ganley

Iceberg aheadFirst, please schedule some campaign events. Your calendar’s empty. If you really want our votes here in Ohio’s 13th District, you’ll have to earn them.
Second, you’ve got a serious Cash for Clunkers problem that you need to solve. Soon.
Third, you also need to take away Betty Sutton’s helpless-victim-of-misogyny card. She’s cashing in on it.
Fourth, how do you plan to address Betty Sutton’s award from the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association?
Fifth, how will you respond to accusations that your business practices are less-than-ethical?
Sixth, if you truly oppose Obamacare (although your current position isn’t clear), and if you want to set yourself apart from Betty Sutton, click on this logo …

Repeal It!

… and sign the pledge.
Time to adjust course, Tom.

Hey Bart Stupak, where’s that Executive Order?

You worked so hard to extract a promise from the Precedent to issue a magic Executive Order, one that can overrule the federal funding of abortion in the Obamacare bill signed into law at noon today. You made such a very big show of accepting your precious little fig leaf, but you’re still standing there naked at 5:00 PM.
Where is it, chump?
10:45 Update: Teh One sure is in a hurry to live up to his word, eh? I’ll bet it’ll help you sleep at night, though, Bart. That is, until Obama decides that his EO is no longer convenient (per Geraghty’s Rule), or until some federal judge permanently enjoins its enforcement as incapable of overturning an Act of Congress, or as an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to a dead baby. But hey, just trust the most radical pro-abortion president in history. It’s bound to go well.
3/26 Update: Stupak’s pathetic attempt to justify his action rings hollow.
3/27 Update: Stupak’s price? $578 million in earmarks for his district.

If you think Bart Stupak is pro-life …

… then today’s betrayal surprised you. I didn’t trust him, but wish I’d known that Stupak telegraphed his move:

There’s no such thing as a “Pro-Life Democrat.” No. Such. Thing.
—-
8:10 PM Update: For the benefit of my progressive readers, a little taste of what’s coming.

Protesters Have Some Friends in the Capitol

Feet from the Capitol, protesters roar when GOP members fly a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag from the House balcony.
Roar from Tea Partiers

We’re just getting started, and we’re not feeling despair. I’m smiling at the thought of November 3rd.
—-
8:45 PM Update: Linda Goldthorpe for Congress

List of Democrats undecided on Obamacare

Courtesy of BarackHatesThis.com, here’s the list of undecided Democrat Congressmen to call and voice your opposition to Obamacare. Melt the phones, people. This is the left’s best chance to turn America into a socialist banana republic. Stop them!

US Representative District Office Capitol Hill Office
Adler, John (732) 608-7235 (202) 225-4765
Altmire, Jason (724) 378-0928 (202) 225-2565
Baird, Brian (360) 352-9768 (202) 225-3536
Berry, Marion (870) 972-4600 (202) 225-4076
Boucher, Rick (540) 628-1145 (202) 225-3861
Carney, Christopher (570) 585-9988 (202) 225-3731
Chandler, Ben (859) 219-1366 (202) 225-4706
Dahlkemper, Kathy (814) 456-2038 (202) 225-5406
Driehaus, Steve (513) 684-2723 (202) 225-2216
Ellsworth, Brad (812) 465-6484 (202) 225-4636
Foster, Bill (630) 406-1114 (202) 225-2976
Giffords, Gabrielle (520) 881-3588 (202) 225-2542
Gordon, Bart (615) 896-1986 (202) 225-4231
Hill, Baron (812) 336-3000 (202) 225-5315
Kilroy, Mary Jo (614) 294-2196 (202) 225-2015
Murphy, Patrick (215) 826-1963 (202) 225-4276
Nye, Glenn (757) 789-5092 (202) 225-4215
Perriello, Tom (434) 293-9631 (202) 225-4711
Pomeroy, Earl (701) 235-9760 (202) 225-2611
Salazar, John (719) 543-8200 (202) 225-4761
Schauer, Mark (517) 780-9075 (202) 225-6276
Space, Zack (740) 779-1636 (202) 225-6265
Teague, Harry (575) 622-4178 (202) 225-2365
Wilson, Charlie (740) 533-9423 (202) 225-5705


 
In case the site is down (it’s been swamped by traffic), here’s what the home page says:
 

Obama yelling

There’s Still Time To Act. What Are You Waiting For?


Don’t believe Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi when you hear them saying they’ve got the votes to pass their monstrosity of a health care reform bill.
This fight is NOT over.
At this very moment, targeted Democrats in the House of Representatives are sweating bullets, trying to decide how they’re going to vote this weekend.
They’ve been reading polls like this one — polls that prove to them that in their very own districts, their constituents are opposed to a government takeover of health care.
They’ve been on the receiving end of millions of dollars of advertisements from the special interests.
As of Friday afternoon, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are still several votes short.
You still have time to make your views known, and make your voice heard.
And don’t think that just because you’ve called YOUR Member of Congress and let him or her know what you think, your work is through.
The vote of a Congressman in Pennsylvania or a Congresswoman in Ohio WILL impact your life, and our nation’s future, no matter WHERE you live.
So call them. Call ALL of them on the target list below.
Call their district offices first, then call their Capitol Hill offices.
Be polite, but be firm. Ask them to please vote to kill the bill.
Send them back to the drawing board, to put together health care reform we can ALL support.
Because there’s NO interest more special than YOURS.

Sayonara, John Boccieri (Updated: Charlie Wilson too)

Democrat John Boccieri (OH-16) just announced he’ll be voting “yes” on Obamacare. In response I just contributed $25.00 to Republican challenger Jim Renacci.
Jim Renacci for Congress
Please do the same and contribute what you can, and let’s replace this craven licker of Nancy Pelosi’s boots.
11:25 AM Update: The rumblings were real. Democrat Charlie Wilson, (OH-06) just caved and will vote “yes” on Obamacare.
Repeal It!
Ohio candidates and voters have signed the pledge to repeal Obamacare, but so far no elected officials have signed it. Encourage them to do so!
12:05 PM Update: More from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.
4:30 PM Update: Tom Blumer has a nice collection of links and a revealing video clip, plus a suggestion to “go local” if Boccieri’s DC phone is busy.

Charlie Wilson (OH-06) is about to cave on Obamacare and vote “yes”

According to The Columbus Dispatch:

Rep. Charlie Wilson is one of a number of Democrats who is officially undecided about the final health care bill – but the St. Clairsville Democrat is giving off strong signals he is headed toward a “yes” vote.

Get on it, folks!
Washington Office
ph: (202) 225-5705
fx: (202) 225-5907
Canfield, OH
ph: (330) 533-7250
fx: (330) 533-7136
Marietta, OH
ph: (740) 376-0868
fx: (740) 376-0886
Bridgeport, OH
ph: (740) 633-5705
fx: (740) 633-5727
Ironton, OH
ph: (740) 533-9423
fx: (740) 533-9359
Wellsville, OH
ph: (330) 532-3740

Betty Sutton (OH-13) will vote “yes” on Obamacare

Unless you’ve spent the last four years living in a cave, this is no surprise at all. In a statement e-mailed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Betty Sutton said:

Obama medalEvery year more than 40,000 people die because they don’t have health insurance coverage, and in this great nation it should not be that way. The legislation is not perfect and indeed contains provisions that I will continue to strive to improve, but I will vote for the bill. By passing this legislation we will take the long overdue step toward ending the egregious, discriminatory practices of insurance companies that deny care based on pre-existing conditions and impose outrageous premium increases. This legislation will also strengthen the solvency of Medicare, lower drug costs for our seniors, and make health insurance more affordable and accessible for small businesses and individuals.

The bosses of the big labor unions want this bill passed, and what union bosses want, Betty Sutton delivers.
By the way, Betty, that “40,000 deaths” statistic is a complete crock of poo:

So, how did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants if they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Drs. Himmelstein, Woolhandler, and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.
At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not.

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have even been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data, and voila: more than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.

At least do your constituents the favor of using honest data when you try to support your socialist initiatives, Betty.

A simple question for progressives (#14)

Under Nancy Pelosi’s version of ObamaCare,

Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

By what authority can Congress require people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States? Please refer to this previous question to aid your answer.