Friday, June 28, 2013

$600 MRI

Mark Perry has a very interesting story about a Milwaukee center that has the low-cost scan. Amazingly, the price has not changed in six years. "Over that period, writes Perry, "overall consumer prices increased by about 12% and the CPI for medical services increased by 22.65%."

How are they able to keep costs down? "With an increasing population of patients with high-deductible insurance plans or Health Savings Accounts (HSA), it was clear that the world of medicine was changing."

Obamacare, of course, took a wrecking balls to HSAs and its proponents don't like high-deductible plans that resemble, you know, insurance plans.

Yesterday, Gallup found 47% of the people believe Obamacare will make worse "the healthcare situation in the U.S," while 34% believe it will make it better.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Acton: Can America Remain the Land of Religious Liberty?

"A few examples of current threats to religious liberty (a partial list) are the HHS Mandate, discrimination against Christians in public schools and universities, new restrictions on Christian adoption agencies, and a New York City ban on churches renting public schools for worship space," writes Ray Nothstine at

Thursday saw a (hopefully not temporary) victory for Hobby Lobby, as the 10th Circuit ruled that during the business' challenge of the HHS mandate, it will not have to pay millions in fines. True victory, of course, will only occur if they and others are allowed to practice business according to their religious beliefs.

(Yesterday, when I linked to The Transom newsletter, I had the wrong address. I put, and it should have been Again, highly recommend subscribing to it.)


Not surprising but still a sad night.

Newt Judges You is back!

Wednesday brought some exciting news for Newt, as it was officially announced he would host CNN's "Crossfire."

With him back in the news, the hilarious Tumblr "Newt Judges You," which was shut down after Newt exited the race, will see updates again.

I stumble back across it every couple of months, and when I do, I nearly re-read the entire site.

Here are some of my favorites: Stephanopoulos, debate promisewhen Dan Kotman showed him the site last year, and Biden.

It's written by Ben Domenech, who is very sharp and who writes a daily newsletter, The Transom. I can't recommend it enough. You can subscribe here. (Update, had wrong link earlier.)

Here's a recent piece of his -- a great example of what you get by subscribing -- on religious liberty.

You can follow him on Twitter, @bdomenech.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Record number wants Obamacare repealed

(A brief aside: since posting it Sunday. I've had to relay the story to another person.)

The latest bit of bad news for the law:
A record number of voters want the 2010 Affordable Care Act repealed entirely, while sizable majorities say they are worried about their health care under the new law and expect their medical costs will go up, according to a new Fox News poll. The poll, released Wednesday, finds that 58 percent of voters favor repealing all (39 percent) or some (19 percent) of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
More from the poll: "The 39 percent who want to repeal the health care law entirely is a record high, up from 30 percent who felt that way in March 2013." This on the heels of a report Tuesday saying a "top administration aide in charge of implementing Obamacare said on Tuesday that he would be 'surprised' if it starts perfectly."

Combined with the recent bad news surrounding the implementation -- skyrocketing premiums, its principal author warning of a "trainwreck," fundraising scandals involving my former governor, and an administration official hoping the rollout isn't a "third-world experience" -- it's tough to see how they get enough young, healthy people signed up. Without whom it has no chance of surviving.

This joy goes live in just over three months.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why August 2012 Mattered

In August of last year, the GOP primaries here in Kansas was a battle between liberal Republicans -- who had essentially caucused with the few Senate Democrats to stop conservative legislation -- and conservatives.

Much of the media attention -- both nationally and here in the state -- wanted to frame the election as moderates versus conservatives. That was nonsense. If you receive an F from the NRA and support economic freedom 25% of the time, you are not a moderate. A moderate, it would seem to me, would receive a C and an economic freedom score closer to 50%.

When the results came in on August 7th, it was a clear resounding victory for conservatism.

In 2012, the average state senator received a -3.5 economic freedom score from the Kansas Policy Institute. Twelve Republicans had a negative score, with one pulling in the lowest score of the entire senate, minus 30.

Only two of those twelve would return, some losing their races and others retiring to avoid a likely defeat.

In 2013, only four Republicans registered a negative score. The average senator's score was 9.7. (2013 scores haven't been officially finalized, and if they change considerably once they are, I will make a note here.)

The result was that Kansas' income tax is now on a "glide path to zero" and spending controls were put in place. Besides the economy, other needed reforms made possible by the influx of conservatives included a pro-2nd Amendment bill that is among the best in the country and a strong pro-life bill.

After years of a growing government, holding back job creation, Kansas is now firmly headed in the right direction.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Best Therapy

As you can probably tell, my hope to blog about the elections didn't quite work out. I was volunteering quite a bit in the second half of 2012, and then this year a new job and relationship have taken time up.

But if you don't mind, I wanted to write again about what Newt 2012 meant to me. For two reasons.

The first is that many -- including a few of my family members, who like to jest (I think?) -- see those in politics as shady (at best). When those in my family, friends, or other people I know have said that recently, I have started to try to explain to them -- using the following -- how that reputation is often the farthest thing from the truth. (Though, after finally getting around to House of Cards and binge-watching that this weekend, I doubt that idea is going away anytime soon.)

Last year, at the end of Newt 2012, I wrote here about my mom. Several people, both staffers and those I was lucky enough to come across in those months, wrote to me. That was the first anyone from the campaign had heard of my mom being sick. As silly as it may sound, I didn't want to distract from the purpose of getting Newt elected, even if it would have been a very short distraction.

I will always be grateful for those I met during the campaign, and I'll always consider them friends. You'd be hard-pressed to find a stereotypical heartless operative in that bunch.

Besides my first political love -- to borrow a phrase -- I think the campaign meant so much because of what was happening in my life. Just a few days before the infamous consultant exodus of June 9th, my dog Bucky, who had been shot about fourteen months earlier, passed away. (That's reason number two, as we just passed the two-year mark.) He was a tough SOB, who fought like crazy but just was never able to fully recover. To show how stubborn he was, he insisted on crawling to the car when I found him. I was able to hurry up and pick him up before he went too far, but he was going to give it his all. (Maybe he thought a crying mess like myself might have trouble trying to lug his butt too far.) Not to mention fighting his mom -- to the point of me having to separate them -- not two weeks after coming home. Stubborn.

Six months after my mom passed, my uncle -- her brother -- who had been in and out of the hospital for a few weeks, died. Once again, working helped ease the loss.

What would I have done had I had a job that I didn't love so much? I don't know, but I'm glad I did.

On a final note, relating just to my mom and not the campaign, a friend I've known since Kindergarten was scheduled to go overseas just days after my mom's funeral. While over there, she -- unbeknownst to me at the time -- flew a flag on my mom's birthday.

After we finally got together after she came back, she gave me it to me for my birthday. I was stunned for a moment, not knowing what the proper response to that is. She was such an awesome help during the last couple of months of my mom's life, and between that and everything else, I don't know how I could ever pay her and her family back.

You really learn a lot about people in tough situations -- for good or bad. And I feel blessed to have those people in my life.
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