Tuesday, November 17, 2009

U.S. stimulus-recovery and health-care deceptions

The Heritage Foundation wrote in "The Fake Jobs of Obama's Failed Stimulus", posted on Nov.17, 2009 (see here):

"Forget everything bad you’ve ever heard about President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus. Combing through the data on the $18 million Recovery.gov website, you’ll find tons of Obama stimulus success stories from across the country. In Minnesota’s 57th Congressional District, 35 jobs have been saved or created using $404,340 in stimulus funds. In New Mexico’s 22nd Congressional District, 25 jobs have been saved or created using $61,000 in stimulus cash. And in Arizona’s fighting 15th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending.

The it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren’t-our-tax-dollars-at-stake punch line here is that none of the above Congressional Districts actually exist. Yet those jobs “created or saved” claims still sit on the Obama administration’s official “transparency and accountability” website Recovery.gov. As the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso points out, it would have been nearly costless for the Recovery.gov site designers to limit the input fields so that non-existent Congressional Districts never made it into the public domain, but for whatever reason the Obama administration chose otherwise. Defending the fake data on his website, Recovery.gov Communications Director Ed Pound told ABC News: “We report what the recipients submit to us. Some recipients clearly don’t know what congressional district they live in, so they appear to be just throwing in any number. We expected all along that recipients would make mistakes on their congressional districts, on job numbers, on award amounts, and so on. Human beings make mistakes.”

Pound is dead wrong. The problem with Recovery.gov is not human reporting error, but an error of human design. Highly trained professional economists don’t agree on how to tell when a job has been “saved or created,” yet the Obama administration expects a Kentucky shoe-store owner to accurately create such data? “Just throwing in any number.” That just about sums up the accuracy of Recovery.gov. And the usually compliant mainstream press is beginning to notice.

The Washington Examiner has begun tracking stories from established media outlets on bogus job claims made by the Obama administration and they have already identified 75,343 fake jobs out of the 640,000 that the Obama administration claimed. You can track Obama job fakery from around the country on the Examiner’s interactive “Bogus Jobs” map here.

The lesson here is that the American people simply cannot trust any stimulus claims made by the Obama White House. Fortunately we have an objective way to hold Obama accountable.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has been collecting accepted and standardized employment data since the 1940s.

When President Obama was selling his $787 billion stimulus to the American people, he promised unemployment would never rise above 7.8% and that by 2010 the U.S. economy would employ 138.6 million jobs. The unemployment rate now is 10.2%, and with only 130.8 million jobs in the U.S. economy, President Obama is 7.8 million jobs short of what he promised the American people. That makes President Obama’s stimulus an objective failure."


And these are the same Big Government clowns that also want people to believe that only government can run the American health system?!

The Heritage Foundation also wrote in "A Deathblow for ObamaCare ", posted on Nov.16, 2009 (see here):

"Standing in the Rose Garden on November 7th, President Barack Obama celebrated the passage of the House health care bill claiming: “The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality, affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and our government, while strengthening the financial health of Medicare.” Quite a bold statement if true. But a report released Friday by the non-partisan and independent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of running Medicare and Medicaid, blows the lid off of every one of Obama’s claims. All of the following quotes are from the report itself:

Health Care Costs Increase: “In aggregate, we estimate that for calendar years 2010 through 2019 [national health expenditures (NHE)] would increase by $289 billion, or 0.8 percent, over the updates baseline projection that was released on June 29, 2009.” In other words, Obamacare bends the cost curve up, not down.

Millions Lose Existing Private Coverage: “However, a number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the Exchange. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their - and their employees’ - advantage to end their plans … We estimate that such actions would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 12 million.” In other words, Obamacare will cause millions of Americans to lose their existing private coverage.

Millions Pay Fines Yet Remain Uncovered: “18 million are estimated to choose not to be insured and to pay the penalty associated with the individual mandate. For the most part, these would be individuals with relatively low health care expenses for whom the individual or family insurance premium would be significantly in excess of the penalty and their anticipated health benefit value.” In other words, 18 million Americans will either face jail time or be forced to pay a new tax they will receive no benefit from.

Millions Lose Medicare Advantage: “Section 1161 of Division B of H.R. 3962 would set Medicare Advantage capitation benchmarks … We estimate that in 2014 when the MA provisions would be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans would decreased by 64 percent (from its projected level of 13.2 million under current law to 4.7 million under the proposal).” In other words, 8.5 million seniors who currently get such services as coor­dinated care for chronic conditions, routine eye and hearing examinations, and preventive-care services would lose their existing private coverage.

Millions Placed on Welfare: “Of the additional 34 million who are estimated to be insured in 2019 as a result of H.R. 3962, about three-fifths (21 million) would receive Medicaid coverage due to the expansion of eligibility to those adults under 150 percent of the FPL.” In other words, more than half the people who gain health insurance will receive it through the welfare program Medicaid.

Seniors Access to Care Jeopardized: “H.R. 3962 would introduce permanent annual productivity adjustments to price updates for institutional providers… Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” In other words, the Medicare cuts in the House bill are so out of touch with reality that hospitals currently serving Medicare patients might be forced to stop doing so. Thus making it much more difficult for seniors to get health care.

Poor’s Access Problems Exacerbated: “In practice, supply constraints might interfere with providing the services by the additional 34 million insured persons. …providers might tend to accept more patients who have private insurance (with relatively attractive payment rates) and fewer Medicaid patients, exacerbating existing access problems for the latter group.” In other words, those 21 million people who are gaining health insurance through Medicaid are going to have a very tough time finding a doctor who will treat them.

Reacting in part to Friday’s CMS report, Robert J. Samuelson writes in today’s [see here] Washington Post:

"The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he’s doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both."

There is a reason why as more Americans learn about Obamacare, the less popular it gets."

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