Sunday, August 12, 2012

Obamacare War On Women... And Men... And Children... And The Elderly


You know that $9 per month "free" contraception benefit from Obamacare?  Well, it seems it comes at a significantly greater cost to everyone's health care.

From Forbes:

The Federal Government's War On Medical Innovation

By Paul Hsieh 
The federal government is waging a stealth two-pronged war on medical innovation. And it will cost not just American jobs, but American lives. 
The first prong is through new taxes. Recently, the Cook Medical company announced that it was canceling plans to open new factories because of the impending ObamaCare tax on medical device manufacturers scheduled to take effect in 2013. The 2.3% tax on total sales (not profits) will cost Cook $20 million dollars a year. As a result, the company will not be opening five plants that would have employed up to 300 people each. 
Cook is not the only medical device company affected by the tax. Stryker (which makes artificial joints) will cut 5% of its workforce. Medtronic has announced the tax will cut into its investments in future products. Jonathan Rennert, chairman of Zoll Medical (which makes advanced cardiac defibrillators) has stated that the tax will mean “less innovation, fewer jobs, and fewer lives saved.” 
The second prong of the war on innovation is through regulations. The Wall Street Journal recently reported how a single FDA scientist, Dr. Robert Smith, blocked approval of digital mammography machines for several years last decade. Breast cancer specialists like Dr. Etta Pisano stated that Smith had imposed “obstacles to approval that were unreasonable.” This was especially frustrating for Pisano, who had co-authored a 42,760-patient study in the 2005 New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrated the reliability of digital mammography and showed that it was “‘significantly better’ than film in finding cancer in women under 50 and those before or during menopause.” 
However, Smith’s lawyer claims that Dr. Smith was merely following proper FDA procedure. Smith contends that too many other FDA regulators have an improper “cozy relationship” with medical device manufacturers, whereas Smith was merely being “an honest and rigorous regulator.” 
It would be bad enough if Smith had been a rogue, overzealous regulator. But it’s even worse if Smith is correct, because that means Smith represents how the system is supposed to work. 
As the Wall Street Journal notes, “There is no way of knowing whether any women had cancers advance because of the delays of digital technology.” But a friend (and breast cancer survivor) whom I will call “Cynthia” told me: 
I just realized that if this particular bureaucrat had continued in his position, I probably wouldn’t be here… [P]erhaps I should send him a “thank you for moving on” card.
(Cynthia had an invasive breast cancer that was detected at a still-treatable stage with a digital mammogram. It might not have been detected until a year later if she had been obliged to have a conventional film mammogram.) 
Even though this particular regulator is gone, how many more Dr. Smiths still work at the FDA, delaying other vitally-needed medical innovations for American patients? [read more]
 Mr. Obama, how's that for a war on health care?

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)