Nov 202013
 

Near the end of Human Action Ludwig von Mises declared that it was the “primary civic duty” to learn the teachings of economics. The public’s growing furor over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — popularly known as “ObamaCare” — beautifully illustrates Mises’s point. No one has any business being shocked — shocked! — that millions of Americans will lose their current health insurance (including the present, irritated, writer), because such an outcome was obvious all along. Furthermore, the hilarious snags with healthcare.gov are merely a sideshow; the true problems with ObamaCare run much deeper than a malfunctioning website.

The Basic Structure of “ObamaCare”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was formally signed into law on March 23, 2010. There are numerous provisions that kick in at various stages, through 2020. For our purposes in this article, there are four key elements of the ACA that merit our attention:

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Nov 152013
 

For the life of me, I still don’t understand why Republican congressmen had that big fight over Obamacare and the budget resolution. I mean, why start a fight when you know that you’re going to throw in the towel before the fight is over? After the Republicans started the fight, I tweeted my prediction: that the Republicans would end up throwing in the towel. Why? Because Republicans always throw in the towel. They’ll huff and puff about the importance of principle but it usually only lasts a short while before they throw in the towel and succumb to the forces of statism. Of course, President Obama also knew that the Republicans would throw in the towel, which is why he called their bluff and refused to negotiate.

But there is something much more fundamental going on here. One might call it the reform syndrome, which has long afflicted the conservative movement. Having long ago thrown in the towel on the principles of economic liberty, conservatives have relegated themselves to criticizing liberal reform plans from the Left and coming up with their own conservative reform plans for socialist and interventionist programs.

What’s wrong with that?

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Nov 042013
 


I recently experienced severe pain in my feet, particularly in the big toes. In my imagination it felt like my feet had been run over by a truck and that several of my toes had been broken. But I knew that was not the case, and that the pain came on slowly at first, and then spread to other parts of my feet until I could barely walk.

My first approach was to take some ibuprofen to relieve the pain and swelling. When this did not resolve the matter, I thought perhaps a new pair of soft shoes might work. That idea also failed, and with a little internet research I realized I had a classic case of the gout. I was soon off to see my doctor to determine what the problem was and to get it solved with the powers of modern medicine.

The doctor confirmed that I had the gout. I was not pleased to find out, that in my case, the gout was probably brought on by another drug that I had been taking daily, against my better judgment. However, I was pleased to learn that I would no longer have to take it, that as part of my treatment I was being prescribed an ancient and natural drug, and that I would only have to take this drug “as needed.”

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Jul 292013
 


America already has socialized medicine and Medicare and Medicaid now cover the heathcare costs of nearly 60% of Americans to the tune of a trillion bucks a year.  Under Obamacare, direct insurance company subsidies are estimated to cost another trillion.  By the time Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies kick in, it’s doubtful that there will be many left in America who won’t have heavily subsidized or totally cost free healthcare.

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May 222013
 

The American medical system is corrupt, ineffective and unnecessarily costly. These outcomes are due to state violence on behalf of the politically connected elite (namely private insurers, physicians, pharmaceutical and medical device companies). Artificial scarcity, price-gouging, misallocation of research funding and the suppression of alternative (non-patentable) therapies can be ameliorated by revoking state-conferred elite privilege and re-establishing cooperative, mutualized healthcare financing.

“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17, 157–61

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Feb 222013
 

At a time when soldiers kill themselves in record numbers – 18 veterans per day – the armed forces spend a fortune on a drug known to increase the chance of suicide.

Before his military doctors were through with him, Spc. Andrew Trotto, a 24-year-old Army gunner, would be on as many as 20 psychiatric medications. It started in 2008 while he was in Iraq, fighting in Sadr City, at first with difficulty falling asleep, a common problem among soldiers in a combat zone, particularly those, like Trotto, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. “For sleep, the first drug they like to go to in Iraq is Seroquel,” says Trotto, of the atypical antipsychotic originally developed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. “They hand that shit out like Skittles. You get a bottle for 10 days, and if you run out, they give you more.” His body adapted to the pill over time, and he was soon taking a dose meant for actual psychotics. “They had no clue what the hell they were doing,” Trotto says of the doctors at the battalion aid station who prescribed the pills. “They just throw you on a drug, and if it doesn't work, they throw you on something else. 'Try this. Try this. Try this.'”

Though he continued to function in day-to-day combat – nighttime missions clearing houses – his brain was polluted with pharmaceuticals. In addition to Seroquel, he was taking Zoloft for anxiety and Vicodin to relieve pain from ruptured disks he sustained falling nine feet off a tank – and he was still being thrown into combat. “Let me remind you,” he says, “I was a gunner, completely whacked out of my mind.There were quite a few of us on Seroquel and antidepressants.”

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Feb 132013
 

Introduction by Paul Craig Roberts

The article below is the most comprehensive analysis available of “Obamacare” – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The author, a knowledgeable person who wishes to remain anonymous, explains how Obamacare works for the insurance companies but not for you.

Obamacare was formulated on the concept of health care as a commercial commodity and was cloaked in ideological slogans such as “shared responsibility,” “no free riders” and “ownership society.” These slogans dress the insurance industry’s raid on public resources in the cloak of a “free market” health care system.

You will learn how to purchase a subsidized plan at the Exchange, what will happen when income and family circumstances change during the year or from one year to the next, and other perils brought to you by Obamacare. It is one of the most important articles that will be posted on my website this year. Americans will be shocked to learn the extent to which they have been deceived. The legislation neither protects the patient nor are the plans affordable.

The author shows that for those Americans whose income places them between 138% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, the out-of-pocket cost for one of the least expensive (lower coverage) subsidized policies ranges from 2% to 9.5% of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), a tax base larger than the Adjusted Gross Income used for calculating federal income tax.

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Dec 032012
 

Health care reform is a hot topic today, as it has been for much of America’s history. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, warned in 1787 that medical freedom needed to be included in the American Constitution. Without this protection, Rush warned that the medical establishment would naturally progress – as many of mankind’s institutions do – into an oppressive dictatorship. His words, echoing from over 200 years ago, ring strikingly true today:

“The Constitution of this Republic should make special provision for medical freedom. To restrict the art of healing to one class will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic. … Unless we put medical freedom into the constitution the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship and force people who wish doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers.”**

The spirit of managerial scientific control that drives this beast is summarized in the words of Frederick Taylor, a pioneer in “scientific management.” As Taylor stated in 1907, ”Too great liberty results in a large number of people going wrong who would be right if they had been forced into good habits.” This spirit of quasi-altruistic scientific control begins to fade away towards the higher ranks of the system, however.

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Oct 042012
 

The senseless Batman killings in Aurora, Colorado, as well as those that occurred years earlier in Columbine a few miles away, have something in common with the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States and an important potential cause of teen suicide: prescription drugs approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As an Austrian economist, I am not saying that FDA-approved drugs "caused" these problems. The people who took those drugs and did those things are the people who "caused" those bad outcomes. What I am saying is that the FDA is guilty of manipulating information and people’s choices and thereby contributes to all these negative outcomes.[1] I am also not saying that all FDA-approved drugs are inherently harmful, ineffective, or should never be used.

Most importantly, FDA-approved drugs and products help to make Americans fatter, weaker, dumber, sicker, poorer, and in general less healthy. We have been lulled into substituting prescription drugs for healthy lifestyles. "You don’t need to correct unhealthy conditions in your life, just take this pill everyday for the rest of your life. The experts at the FDA have approved it and your doctor has advised you to take them." Collectively, this process is unconscionable, even though it is now considered normal.

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Jul 082012
 

Once again, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has made a terrible decision. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. They have a history of making very poor decisions. Sure, they make some good, constitutionally sound decisions, but every once in a while they make decisions that make one scratch one’s head. The recent decision on the personal mandate on so called Obamacare is such a decision. It has left more questions than answers. It has widened a divide that has been growing since this poorly worded and even more poorly thought out legislation was passed.

There were many who thought that a reversal of this legislation was in the bag. They were hopeful this unconstitutional, job killing, business ending burden on the American people would be struck down. That hope was killed much like the hope that Obama would actually bring viable positive change to this country died in less than a year after he was elected. But, as I said, the decision of the Supreme Court did not surprise me. What did surprise me is who sided with those who think government can dictate to individuals what they can and cannot buy in the marketplace. Chief Justice Roberts, who was supposed to be loyal to the Constitution, has wiped out years of principle and shown that he no longer has any fealty to that document.

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