Bush 41 Praises RNC’s Priebus; Romneycare a Bad Omen

Sunday, 24 Jul 2011 01:01 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Mass. Healthcare Reform Augurs Badly for Obamacare
2. George H.W. Bush Praises RNC's Priebus
3. Ex-Harvard President: Facebook Claimants 'A**holes'
4. Margaret Hoover's Book Gets Positive Reviews
5. Study: Americans 'in Poverty' Are Seldom Poor
 

1. Mass. Healthcare Reform Augurs Badly for Obamacare

A new study of the healthcare reform enacted by Massachusetts and its then Gov. Mitt Romney five years ago offers an ominous warning about the likely effects of Obamacare on the nation as a whole.

Researchers at the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University in Boston found that the Bay State healthcare reform plan has led to increased healthcare expenditures and private health insurance costs, as well as additional payments for Medicare and Medicaid, for a total of $8.5 billion in new outlays.

In 2006, Massachusetts enacted healthcare reform legislation that promised to extend healthcare coverage to all citizens while significantly lowering costs. The law imposes mandates on residents to obtain health insurance and on employers to provide it if they have 11 or more employees.

It also expands Medicaid coverage, establishes a health insurance subsidy program, and creates an insurance exchange that helps those who are ineligible for Medicaid buy competitively priced health plans.

The BHI report states: "Now that the law has been in effect for more than five years, we can begin to assess its impact on the state of Massachusetts."

Among the findings:

• State healthcare expenditures have risen by $414 million over the five-year period.

• Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.31 billion.

• The federal government has spent an additional $2.41 billion on Medicaid in Massachusetts.

• Medicare expenditures increased by $1.42 billion.

The total cumulative cost over the period is just over $8.5 billion.

But the state has been able to shift the majority of the costs to the federal government, which continues to absorb a significant part of the cost of healthcare reform through enhanced Medicaid payments and the Medicare program — meaning Americans outside Massachusetts are helping to pay the bills for the healthcare plan.

In analyzing the study's results, the researchers observe: "Cost‐containment is often a major goal of health reform plans. However, this particular healthcare reform legislation did not provide an effective means for containing costs.

"The promise of cost‐containment rested on a vague hope that the newly insured would seek preventive care, access their primary care physicians earlier in their illness and avoid costly emergency room visits. Yet the number of emergency room visits rose from 2.351 million in 2006 to 2.521 million in 2009, or by 7.2 percent over the period. The total cost of emergency visits has soared by 36 percent over the period, or by $943 million."

The large number of newly insured residents in the state has increased demands on the primary care system, forcing patients to visit emergency rooms at a rate significantly higher than expected.

The BHI report also states that "by increasing demand for healthcare services without an equal increase in their supply, the universal healthcare law guaranteed that the price of healthcare services and health insurance would increase."

The researchers point out that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010 is "essentially identical" to the Massachusetts law.

Obama claimed the law will lower healthcare costs. But the researchers conclude: "If the federal law is modeled after the Massachusetts law, it stands to reason that Massachusetts' experience with healthcare reform provides an idea of what is in store for the country under the federal law."

Editor's Note:



2. George H.W. Bush Praises RNC's Priebus

Former President George H.W. Bush has sent a personalized letter to high-level donors strongly praising the Republican National Committee under its new chairman, Reince Priebus.

In the fundraising letter, Bush 41 notes that Priebus — who assumed his post in January, replacing Michael Steele — is working hard to unite the Republican Party and secure GOP victories in the 2012 elections.

"New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is doing the hard work to rebuild our Party and prepare for the tremendous challenges ahead," Bush writes.

"Reince made it clear to me that he has one goal as Chairman: to unite our Party and to secure Republican victories from the White House to state houses all across America, and I back his efforts."

Bush reminds donors that the RNC is the only party committee allowed by federal election law to directly support the next Republican presidential nominee.

Bush also fires a clear shot across Obama's bow, stating that the upcoming campaign "is certain to be one of the most important presidential election cycles in our nation's history."

The former president, who also served as RNC chairman, is making his own campaign gift of $10,000.

Bush accompanies his letter with one from Priebus, who declares: "Leftist special interests are doing their part to keep the most liberal president in our nation's history in office.

"The RNC must post a solid fundraising number so the Obama Democrats and their mouthpieces in the liberal media know we're ready for the battle ahead."

Editor's Note:



3. Ex-Harvard President: Facebook Claimants 'A**holes'

Former Harvard President Larry Summers declares that the Winklevoss twins, who complained to him that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen their idea for Facebook, are "a**holes."

After Zuckerberg launched his social network site, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with another Harvard senior, accused Zuckerberg of misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.

In the movie about the origins of Facebook, "The Social Network," the twins are depicted walking into Summers' Harvard office wearing matching suits and ties.

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday, Summers said: "One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities.

"One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview. The other is that they are an a**hole.

"This was the latter case. Rarely have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind."

In the movie, Summers dismisses the twins, saying: "Since you're on the subject of right and wrong, this action, this meeting, the two of you being here is wrong.

"It's not worthy of Harvard."

Asked if the scene was accurate, Summers — a former Obama economic adviser — said: "I've heard it said that I can be arrogant. If that's true, I surely was on that occasion."

The Winklevoss twins eventually filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg. The suit was settled in February 2008, but several issues remain unresolved.

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4. Margaret Hoover's Book Gets Positive Reviews

A new book by television commentator Margaret Hoover — great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover — is attracting some positive attention in the media.

In "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party," Hoover argues that the GOP needs to move quickly to exploit younger voters' dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama or the largest generation in U.S. history will be lost to it forever.

Reviewing the book for the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin says "it's likely to make some waves."

Rubin writes: "Her main and most valuable point is that the hyperpartisan, anti-Obama rhetoric that gets the juices flowing in tea party gatherings and primary races is not the way to capture younger, less ideological voters.

"Hoover is an engaging personality with timely advice for Republicans. Her book and her message, if seen as a way to expand rather than divide the party, are helpful guides to candidates and political operatives."

Elise Jordan, a former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, writes in National Review that Hoover's book is "insightful and important."

And Amity Shlaes writes for Bloomberg that the author "argues that Herbert Hoover offers lessons for today's Republicans about connecting with young voters, and channels his thoughts about the American system."

In a recent interview with Newsmax.TV, Hoover noted that there are 80 million members of the so-called "millennial generation" — born mostly in the 1980s to baby boomer parents.

"They voted for John Kerry in '04, they voted for Barack Obama in '08," she said, "and so Republicans basically have 16 months to make inroads with this generation or we could lose them for the rest of their lives."

Editor's Note:



5. Study: Americans 'in Poverty' Are Seldom Poor

Most of the Americans the federal government defines as "in poverty" are "not poor in any ordinary sense of the term," according to a new study — especially when compared to the poor in less developed countries.

"To the average American, the word 'poverty' implies significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter, and clothing," the study from The Heritage Foundation states.

"The actual living conditions of America's poor are far different from these images."

The Census Bureau reports that there are 43 million Americans living in poverty. To help them, taxpayers spend some $900 billion a year in federal and state dollars — over $20,000 for each person deemed poor — through more than 70 means-tested programs providing cash, food, housing, medical care and more.

But according to the government's own survey data, in the past decade the average household defined as poor by the government lived in a house or apartment with air conditioning and cable TV, The Heritage Foundation study found.

The household had a car — one-third had two or more cars — two color televisions, a DVD player, and a microwave.

"The home of the average poor family was in good repair and not overcrowded," the study observes.

"In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European — average, not poor.

"When asked, most poor families stated they had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs."

Study authors Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield cite U.S. Department of Energy data showing that in 2005, the most recent year on record:

• 62 percent of poor American households had a clothes washer in the home, and 53.2 percent had a clothes dryer.

• 65.1 percent had more than one TV.

• 54.5 percent had a cellular phone.

• 38.2 percent had a personal computer.

• 36.6 percent had an answering machine.

• 29.3 percent had a video game system.

• 25 percent had a dishwasher.

• 5.2 percent had a photocopier — and .6 percent even had a Jacuzzi.

The study also found that 5.9 percent of households "sometimes" did not have enough food, and just 1.5 percent "often" did not have enough.

"Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population," the study authors concluded.

"Poverty remains an issue of serious social concern, but accurate information about that problem is essential in crafting wise public policy. Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and causes of real material deprivation, thereby hampering the development of well-targeted, effective programs to reduce the problem."

Former Congressman Ernest Istook, now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, echoed that sentiment in a recent Newsmax blog: "By defining poverty so broadly, we drain resources that instead could be focused on those who truly are in dire straits.

"And we spend billions that could be cut from the budget instead."

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Editor's Note:



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