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Dear Washington: It’s premiums, stupid

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President Trump remarked a few months ago that health care is incredibly complicated. His first clue should have been that medical doctors have to go to school and serve as interns for a very long time before they’re allowed to practice by themselves.

Guaranteeing 20 million people who wouldn’t buy health insurance get it, in exchange for millions of families who desperately need affordable health insurance to pay for their care not being able to afford premiums is wrong-headed and stupid.

His second clue should have been that most people, upon arrival at a health care facility, have to endure running the gauntlet of check-in procedures, insurance cards, co-pays, and forms required for HIPAA and other federal laws. But billionaires who were born with silver spoons hanging from Sikorsky helicopters don’t worry about such things.

In the days of Marcus Welby, M.D.-style medicine, you would call the doctor, and the doctor would come, with a black medical bag. That’s only possible now if (a) you and the doctor are close, warm, personal friends, or (b) you’re rich. The rich can buy pretty much anything they want except good health. Even billionaires get sick, and if there’s one doctor on the planet who can help them, that man can still say “no.” Or he can say “yes, pay me” and the billionaire still dies.

Nobody can buy more life with money. It’s not what economists would call a fungible good. So, yes, it’s complicated.

But in America, we’ve taken complicated to Byzantine levels. We’ve got medical providers—the person who actually sees you; then there’s the medical facility or practice; there’s the administrative group that handles records and billing for the facility; there’s the insurance carrier; and there’s the ever-looming federal government.

The nanny state.

The process of obtaining “health care” is needlessly complicated by a government fixated on as many people as possible participating in a risk-sharing system known as health insurance. The ACA, “Obamacare,” grafted a massive government Medicaid program onto the existing health insurance market, and killed it.

Insurance company after company have withdrawn from state markets because they can’t afford to pay the claims. And people who used to get insurance from their employers at reasonable premiums now can’t afford the coverage. That’s because Obamacare mandated minimum coverages, required insurers to accept pre-existing conditions (like selling fire insurance on an already-torched house), and failed to get enough young, well people into the risk pool to cover the expenses.

This despite the fact that health insurance was required on penalty of hefty fines. But fines only deter to a degree. I read a story a while ago about how Rhode Island charged so much to register a tractor trailer to legally drive through the state that it was cheaper to pay the fines if you’re caught. I think you can guess the result of that. Similarly, people who can’t afford Obamacare premiums and 20 percent increases took their chances with the IRS.

Now President Trump did away with the IRS fines. And the U.S. Senate is about to pass some kind of health care reform, after the House of Representatives passed their version. While Senators and Congressmen argue over funding for Planned Parenthood and tax credits, and the number of people who will “lose health care,” a lot of folks who actually need health insurance aren’t insured because they can’t pay for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-life, and I care about giving a half billion dollars to abortionists. We shouldn’t do it. But on the other hand, our government has it totally wrong about health care. People without health insurance don’t lose health care. Health insurance should be a purely voluntary risk decision, which insurance companies are very well able to deal with.

It’s not the government’s responsibility to ensure everyone has equal health care. That’s because it’s impossible—remember, life is not a fungible good, and even billionaires get sick and die. The only way to ensure everyone gets equal health care is to ensure nobody gets it, so we all get zero. We are headed that way.

Government should have one goal. They should get out of the way. Provide what’s needed for those in genuine need, and ration it if necessary. For everyone else, let the market rule so premiums can decline. Keep drug companies from making obscene profit from patents for the public good, and that’s it.

We’re tired of the nanny state. A note to Washington lawmakers from Americans: It’s the premiums, stupid.

Guns and Crime

Why isn’t Katie Brennan’s #MeToo accusation getting national attention?

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It’s the type of story that should have received national attention immediately. It was sourced by a respected major news outlet, the Wall Street Journal. Both the accuser and the accused are high-ranking public official in New Jersey’s government. The accused stepped down two weeks ago when approached by WSJ for comment. Katie Brennan’s story is a major newsworthy scandal.

As of Monday morning, a day after the story officially broke and four days after it was leaked to other major news outlets, both mainstream media and the #MeToo movement are essentially silent.

That will change soon, possibly today. Brennan, a prominent volunteer for Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign and current Chief of Staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, released this statement:

On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017 I learned that the system is broken.

I have pursued every form of justice available. But it has become clear that this system is not built for survivors.

The details of the assault portrayed in reporter Kate King’s Wall Street Journal report published today are accurate. But to date, I have received no justice.

I decided to come forward because I know that Al Alvarez, and all perpetrators, must be held accountable, must never rape again, and the justice system needs a complete change with regard to sexual violence.

New Jersey residents are only given a two-year window to file a civil suit. After spending an entire year pursuing a criminal case before hitting a dead end, I am left with less than one year to pursue civil action.

It is clear that leadership from the Murphy administration is needed to create meaningful policy change on several levels to make sure future victims do not have to endure what I have. I urge Gov. Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office to eliminate the statute of limitations on civil action related to sexual assault, and to direct prosecutors to be more aggressive in taking on these criminal cases. Further, the Murphy administration and the General Assembly should pursue legislation to ensure New Jersey’s police and other first responders are better trained to handle sexual assault victims.

Finally, sexual predators like Al Alvarez are only able to stay in power when those around them do nothing. Several senior level members of the Murphy administration were aware of my assault and failed to take meaningful action. Al Alvarez remained employed at a senior level in the Murphy administration until just a few weeks ago, when he knew the Wall Street Journal article was coming out and opted to resign. The failure of members of Gov. Murphy’s staff to respond in an aggressive, proactive fashion is unacceptable.

To other sexual assault survivors in New Jersey, I urge you to join me in coming forward if you are able. I will stand with you, because when we stand together, we are safer and stronger. Our voice is our power. Together, we can finally receive the justice we all deserve.

Murphy has not commented other than saying Alvarez should not have been hired. He was made aware of a “sensitive matter” that needed to be discussed by Brennan in June and claimed his staff would set up a meeting. That was the last Brennan heard from Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of aide sex assault allegation questioned

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/governor/2018/10/14/murphys-handling-sexual-assault-allegation-called-into-question/1642517002/His accuser, Katie Brennan, was a Murphy campaign volunteer who said she spent more than a year seeking action against Alvarez for the alleged sexual assault before directly emailing Phil and Tammy Murphy in June. Phil Murphy responded within the hour, according to the Journal.

“Hang in,” he wrote. “We are on it.”

But Alvarez remained in his $140,000-a-year position until October. The alleged assault happened in April 2017.

Standards set by the #MeToo movement dictate that credible accusations should be believed. Brennan appears to be extremely credible, having reported her rape immediately after it allegedly occurred. Alvarez offered a $15,000 settlement that would have been attached to a non-disclosure agreement, which Brennan refused.

Where is MSNBC? Where is CNN? Where is Alyssa Milano?

Social media is starting to take notice. In particular, they’re going after Murphy and his wife for speaking out in support of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Katie Brennan

My Take

I am a strong proponent for what the #MeToo movement once promoted and how it started. The original intent was to embolden women who had experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of men in power over them. The goal was to give courage to those who were in very tough situations.

Recently, the #MeToo movement has been weaponized. I’m not going to draw comparisons between accusations against Kavanaugh and Alvarez. That would be unfair to Ford since Brennan’s accusations against Alvarez are much more recent and have the benefit of an immediate report to the authorities. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that as of now, either the story hasn’t reached the right people or the right people have chosen to ignore it.

We can’t let them.

It’s not as if this is a political hit job against Democrats. Brennan’s image was used in Murphy’s campaign handouts and she was outspoken as a “Young Democrat of the Week” in New Jersey as a result.

Katie Brennan NJ Democrat

I don’t like when something as heinous as rape gets politicized, but silence from mainstream media and the #MeToo movement is deafening. Would they be avoiding the story if Brennan had accused a Republican?

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Culture and Religion

Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

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Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

National Review reporter and Fox News contributor Katherine Timpf often discusses political correctness. She talks about it so often that one might think it’s a subject she enjoys, but in reality it’s simply a problem she passionately wants to solve.

In American society, it is way too easy to offend. People do not want to hear that their perspectives are wrong. That’s apparently some form of violence. They don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint. That’s allegedly a form of oppression. Many on the left feel entitled to express their opinions in any way they see fit and also to prevent others from sharing their opinions if there’s a difference in worldviews.

The hypocrisy of political correctness is thick.

As Timpf recently pointed out on National Review, it’s a problem that doesn’t have an easy solution, but trends are pointing to positive movement against the specter of political correctness.

Political Correctness: Study Finds 80 Percent of Americans Think It’s a Problem

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/political-correctness-problem-according-to-80-percent-of-people/I could go on for pages and pages, but you get the point: Writing about political correctness sometimes makes me feel as if everyone has gone mad, and I’m very glad to see that this doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, a strong majority of people apparently agrees with me. A strong majority believes that political correctness has gone too far, and probably would agree that we need to be careful to protect our ability to speak freely in this country.

That’s certainly encouraging, but it still doesn’t make me feel entirely better. After all, the small, PC-obsessed mob can sometimes be very powerful. Once it decides that someone or something is racist or sexist, that conclusion can carry a lot of weight. It can ruin careers and lives. It can remove perfectly good, innocuous words from acceptable speech, because even the people who might not see a problem with those words don’t want to risk being accused of racism or sexism for using them. The only answer is to keep fighting, to keep exposing and mocking such overreach when it occurs — and to take solace in the fact that so many people have awoken to its dangers.

Keep fighting the good fight, Ms. Timpf.

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Entertainment and Sports

Man who identifies as transgender woman wins Cycling World Championships

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Man who identifies as transgender woman wins Cycling World Championships

Rachel McKinnon. a transgender woman who was born male and possesses all the physical advantages of a man, won the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles. It’s the latest event that draws questions about the fairness of biological males competing in female events.

Despite outcry by biological females and men alike, it is being billed by some as a victory for the LGBTQ community and transgender men or women around the world. Critics point out that biological males have an unfair advantage over biological females when it comes to activities that require physical strength, speed, or endurance. That doesn’t seem to deter those competing in these events.

Biological Male Wins World Championship Event in Women’s Cycling

https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/10/14/biological-male-wins-world-championship-event-in-womens-cycling/McKinnon celebrated the victory on Twitter, writing: “First transgender woman world champion … ever.” Later, the professor responded to criticism from “transphobic bigots” by tweeting:

Allowing biological males who identify as transgender women to compete in women’s athletic events has been a controversial subject, as critics argue that it puts female competitors at an inherent disadvantage.

My Take

Unlike some of my colleagues, I have no problem with transgenderism. What I have a problem with is the unfairness of women’s competitive sports being infiltrated by those who have clear and scientifically demonstrable biological advantages over their competitors.

If performance enhancing drugs are frowned upon in sports, what could be more performance-enhancing than growing up with the musculature and hormone advantage of a man, then competing in women’s sports?

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