Boehner vs. Billy

It didn't seem like the healthcare debate could get any more explosive, but the House GOP leader has just decided to set off a pretty big bomb. House Republicans have never been at the table on healthcare reform, refusing to work on the issue with Democrats and pounding away with criticism every step of the way. Now their leader, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), has decided to attack the drug industry for working with Democrats to find consensus on healthcare.

In a letter to former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who now heads up the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Boehner blasted Tauzin for working with Senate Democrats and the White House on a healthcare deal.

Set theory, applied to politics

During my vacation to Chicago and then Lake Geneva, my wife insisted that I get some exercise, and so I set off on the running trail in both places, listening to an interesting little book called The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, The Kabbalah and the Search for Infinity.

It is basically a biography of one of the greatest mathematicians in history, Georg Cantor, and his efforts to prove the existence of infinity.

As the book’s cover summarized it, “The mind-twisting, deeply philosophical work of Cantor has its roots in ancient Greek mathematics and Jewish numerology as found in the mystical work known s the Kabbalah. Cantor’s theory of the infinite is famous for its many seeming contradictions: for example we can prove that in all time there are as many years as days, that there are as many points on a once one inch line as on a one-mile line. While the inspiration for Cantor’s mind-twisting genius lies in the very origins of mathematics, its meaning is still being interpreted.”

Democrats Dig their Healthcare Reform Grave

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers questions about the troubled healthcare debate for Democrats, and looks at how the GOP is winning the healthcare war by simply opposing Obama's plan.


Generational Fiction in Times Op-Ed

Richard Dooling, a successful novelist, tries his hand at health policy in a provocative, though ultimately misguided, op-ed today’s New York Times.

It’s the job of any novelist to make his narrative stimulating and interesting, but the picture Dooling paints of greedy seniors selfishly milking away the earnings of grandchildren while they receive unnecessary medical treatment is farcical. Dooling creates a false choice between funding unnecessary and expensive surgeries for terminal patients and funding preventive care for children:

[…] shouldn’t we instantly cut some of the money spent on exorbitant intensive-care medicine for dying, elderly people and redirect it to pediatricians and obstetricians offering preventive care for children and mothers?

The Death of the Public Option

So the public option is dead, eh?

Good! It was always a stupid idea anyway.

The left didn’t like it. They want the government-run healthcare, and to them, a public option just isn’t good enough.

The right didn’t like it. They saw it as the first step to a single-payer plan.

And the middle didn’t like it. They saw it as a sure sign that our country was going to go bankrupt.

There's Life After 'Death Panel' Fabrication

One of the ironies of the fabricated “death panel” controversy is that the proposed provision will actually lead to less government involvement in end-of-life issues. The provision, supported by wild-eyed liberals like Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), authorizes Medicare to pay for a voluntary counseling session between a patient and a doctor to discuss the patient’s wishes for treatment if they were to become incapacitated.

The President Should Fight for the Public Healthcare Option

The president supports the public option for healthcare. The House of Representatives will pass a bill that includes the public option. A majority of senators supports the public option. The president should fight for this, stand firm for this, and if he does, in the end, I believe he wins. Let me add, I talked to the Senate majority leader at some length shortly before the recess, and without divulging secrets of state, this battle has only begun.

McCaskill Wrong on Healthcare, but Right to Reject Left's Tactics

“I think it’s been a mistake for anyone to say this has been a manufactured effort on the part of many of these folks shouting out. … This is real. It’s grass roots. Now they’re organizing, but that’s what we do in America. People do it on the left. People do it on the right. Most of the people, frankly, in the middle don’t, and that’s where I’m trying to stay focused."

A surprising admission from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News last evening.

With the left desperately attempting to label the town hall attendees who oppose ObamaCare as "fringe" players — or even dangerous radicals — as a way to marginalize the impact, significance and influence these voters have with their elected officials, McCaskill is rejecting the left's orders to engage in the name-calling. The faux outrage on the left over the "rude" behavior of town hall attendees who dare to question what the elite left in Washington have in store for them against their will is backfiring. Especially since it was this same crowd on the left who were the architects of the anti-war demonstrations during the Bush administration. Remember those?

Sympathy for the Protester

“F$#@k you, you well-dressed fascist,” the first protester screamed at me with venom in his voice. He was right about one thing. At that particular event I was well-dressed. “You are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. Their blood is on your hands,” another screamed at me as I entered the facility where we had scheduled a political event for later that day at the GOP convention in New York City a few years ago.

In a perfect world, people wouldn’t yell at a town hall meeting and everyone’s opinion could be heard equally. In a perfect world, people wouldn’t use over-the-top rhetoric when simply expressing their view in an even-handed manner would get the job done.

Cardin Won't Vote for Healthcare Bill if it Increases the Deficit

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) promised right out loud yesterday at a town hall meeting in Hagerstown that he will NOT vote for a healthcare bill that increases the deficit. Pretty amazing.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that ObamaCare will increase the deficit by no less than $239 billion.

Did Cardin just gift himself a get-out-of-jail-free card? After all, President Barack Obama claims his plan will NOT increase the deficit. CBO says it will, and they're not the only ones. When the proverbial rubber hits the road in the fall and there are votes in Congress, this may be the biggest point of contention.