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November 2009

Conservative Health-Care Reform Proposal: Part One

MOUNT PLEASANT, IA. -- Is there a problem with health-care in America today? Of course there is! Costs continue to escalate faster than other living costs, not everyone who wants insurance coverage can get it or get it at a price they can afford, and insurance plans – both private and public – often deny coverage when people need it the most. People’s frustrations over this situation has spawned an epic battle for the future of America between those who believe in coercion, control, and central planning, and those who favor choice, competition, and consumer-driven programs. 

“The causes of these problems are prior government interventions in the market and the lack of a real free-market in health care and health insurance.  The solution is to get government to back off and allow private-sector competition to work, not to control the process even more -- to address the underlying cause, rather than just treating the symptoms,” said Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 

First and foremost to improve health insurance for all Americans, change the IRS rules and court decisions which treat health-insurance provided by an employer as tax free, while plans we own as individuals are taxed.  Encourage people to buy and own their own policies tax free, and keep them as they move from place to place, job to job, so they never face exclusion for "pre-existing conditions."   This portability is at the heart of consumer-driven programs. 

Health Savings Accounts should be encouraged by the government instead of the current policies of discouraging their expansion to everyone.  Get rid of the caps and fixed limits – let the market deliver what people want and can afford, not what some bureaucrats think are “best” for others while being covered themselves by a gold-plated plan paid for by the taxpayers.

Governments at the national and state levels need to get rid of the outdated rules which prevent a person from buying or keeping an insurance policy in any of the fifty states, regardless of where they live in order for portability to work, and as an added prod to increase competition which will drive down the price of health insurance. Also, any true reform should require transparency, so people can more easily shop around. The "Doc in a Box" places and Instant-Care clinics which are starting to spring up in shopping malls and grocery stores post a list of their prices on a chart by the door. Every health-care provider should do the same. 

Will this actually work?  Well, the two areas of health care that currently are improving in quality while reducing costs are the two areas where third-party payers (either government or insurance companies) don’t get involved:  laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery.  Let’s do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t if we want true reform.

Public Interest Institute’s INSTITUTE BRIEF, “Conservative Health-Care Reform Proposal: Part One,” is available at

For an interview or more information on this issue, contact Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute.

81% Disagree with New Mammogram Recommendation

A federal medical panel's recommendation that women can now wait until age 50 to get a routine mammogram instead of age 40 is stirring up strong debate. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 81% of adults disagree with the panel's recommendation.  Just nine percent (8%) agree with the new guideline, and another nine percent (9%) are not sure.

“Read ‘Em and Weep”

By Deborah Thornton

Every card player is familiar with the phrase, “Read ‘em and weep!” proclaimed as the winning player shows his cards and takes the pot. It refers to the risks and hopes of gambling. You have no control over the cards, only the risks you take. Iowa Governor Chet Culver probably wept following recent tax reports. The cards are bad and the risk quite large.

Tax collections have been trending downward for over 12 months and the State budget is badly out of balance. The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) officially projects the revenue number used to determine the budget in December for the fiscal year starting the next July. For FY2010, July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010 the REC estimate was done December 2008. 

The REC reviews a variety of data to make its projections. For example, the Department of Revenue produces the Iowa Leading Indicators Index (ILII) every month. This is intended to help determine the economic direction, and presumably the resulting budget bet. In September 2009 the leading indicators continued falling from a March 2008 high of 107.3 to a record low of 94.5. The ILII has been on a straight-line downward path since March 2008.

The December 2007 REC estimate for FY2009 was $6.14 billion. In April 2008, following the March 2008 ILII projection of 107.3, the REC actually increased its FY2009 estimate to $6.18 billion. In October 2008, the ILII fell to 104.43. By December it had fallen even further, to 101.85. Yet the REC dropped its estimate by only $38 million, and by another $100 million at the October and December meetings. Still not low enough as final FY2009 revenues were even lower, falling below $6 billion to $5,934 million.

The real trouble begins with FY2010 projections-the current budget. Though the ILII has been in a straight downward line, last October the REC again projected a revenue increase, this time for FY2010. Finally the REC budget projections were dropped in December, and further in March.

However, Governor Culver and the Democrat-controlled Legislature read last October’s report and stopped. They rejected all budget reduction attempts, including over $400 million Republican proposed cuts. Bolstered by enthusiasm for the federal stimulus Culver signed the largest budget in state history, including $800 million in I-Jobs borrowing. Governor Culver signed the largest budget in state history while his own REC and ILII numbers were dropping significantly. What hand was he playing?

Last month the REC reduced the FY2010 estimate even further, to $5,438 million. Culver called for a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut. But at an October 8 press conference, he said the budget already included, a “couple hundred million from the cash reserve, we’ve already drawn down a third of the cash reserves, and we’re still short.”

Based on the 94.5 September ILII, the FY2011 budget cards are bad. Not only are projections down, but home and car sales, land values, exports, and non-farm jobs are still dropping. We trust the REC will heed these numbers in its FY2011 official estimate in December.

Another gambler saying is, “Go big, or Go home.” In our family that meant you put all 50 pennies in and hoped for the best. But the Governor and Legislature are playing with millions, not pennies in a family poker game. They’re gambling with our schools, our jobs, and our future. They can not keep playing with Iowans’ money and making bad bets. They better read the cards accurately, or we’ll lose everything.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry.

Deborah D. Thornton is a Research Analyst with the Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, IA. 
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Liberals are idiots

Why do liberals - claimers of all government is good, proponents of the government must be the first and only solution to all supposed problems - seem to think that the government is some kind of Fortune 500 business with an endless stream of cash?

Such thinking is void of logic and common sense.

But that's liberal thinking for you.....

Ladies and gentlemen the city of Iowa City can't afford to properly fund basic services and public safety.  The county has made some false promises and can't properly maintain the basic services they're responsible for.  If you've been paying attention, you know that the state is out of money.  And we all know (or should) that the federal government has been deficit spending our grandchildren's earnings, with Obama quadrupling the spending of the Bush years.

Is it any coincidence that all levels of government we in Johnson County deal with are being run by liberals?

The economy is sour and what do liberals in every phase of government want to do?  Spend more of YOUR money!

That's simply illogical.

Iowa City needs another fire station, and what does Mayor Bailey propose to do?  Spend $80K on art!  What does the city council approve?  $10K on Wii consoles, $62K on a pointless survey for the downtown area,  and give a failing theatre $50K annually. 

Johnson County needs to focus more on road maintenance and what do they do?  Spend millions on mental health and build a multi-million dollar facility that isn't being fully utilized and was even suggested to house homeless people because it was unpurposed.


Iowa City - raising taxes instead of cutting their budget; Johnson County - spending exceeding proper budget constraints; State of Iowa - borrowing money to pay bills; Federal Government - deficit spending your grandchildren's wages.

All levels of government you currently live with have liberal leaders at the helm.....

13th Annual Shop With A Cop

Christmas The Iowa City Police Association is hosting its 13th Shop With A Cop event from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 5th, 2009. The event is hosted by the Iowa City Wal-Mart.

After a breakfast break, children selected from the Iowa City area will be "Shopping with a Cop" using funds donated during the Association's recent fund drive. ICPD Officers volunteer their time to assist children in selecting necessity items and gifts. Following the shopping event, the children and officers return to the Iowa City Civic Center for pizza.

The Iowa City Police Association would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals and businesses in Iowa City and the surrounding area who have contributed so generously to our project this year and in the past. Any persons or organizations still wishing to donate to this event should contact Officer Becki Sammons at 356-5276.  A very special thank you to Durham School Services for providing our transportation on this big day!

Wishing you a Safe and Happy Holiday Season,
The Iowa City Police Association

Republicans Post Seven-Point Lead on Generic Ballot

Republican candidates have extended their lead over Democrats to seven points, their biggest lead since early September, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.


Why is giving more money to the government a good thing?

Seriously folks, why is this considered by many, a good thing?

AS IF the government knows how to run your life better than you do?


The government has an abysmal track record of being efficient in anything.  So how is it that the concept of giving them more of our hard-earned money the right thing to do?

It's not.

This country was founded on the principle of individual responsibility.  From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Franklin, our Founding Fathers advocated freedom, liberty and the ability of the individual to create and achieve.

Liberalism is anything BUT that.  Liberalism is more closely related to the BORG. Liberalism = the collective.  Just about anything the government touches, is like the BORG trying to assimilate.  And it doesn't work.  It ruins a society.  Obama, Reid, Pelosi, advocate liberal ideas.  Such ideas are contrary to what Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and all the Founding Fathers fought for.  Seriously, have you forgotten American history?

Liberalism = Federal Housing, highly unsatisfactory - slums

Liberalism = Federal Transportation, Amtrak, bankrupt

Liberalism = Federal mortgage loans, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, bankrupt

Your hard-earned tax dollars are literally going down a toilet.

Can you name any social program the government takes over that outperforms the private sector?

No, no you can't.

Liberalism not only violates the principles of our Founding Fathers, it just plain drains you of financial potential you can realize for you and your family.  It's a scam, it's the stuff of a USSR.

U.S. Sen. Grassley: Grassley seeks information about impact of proposed Medicare tax increase

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Chuck Grassley said today that he’s asked for information from the Joint Committee on Taxation about which taxpayers would be impacted by the Medicare payroll tax increase in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009.

Grassley “If Democratic leaders want to increase Medicare taxes, the revenue should go to Medicare, with Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund scheduled to run dry in eight years and the payroll tax having been established to fund the Medicare program, not for other government spending,” Grassley said.

Beyond that, Grassley said there’s little understanding at this point as to which taxpayers earning less than $200,000 could end up being affected by the Medicare tax increase proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The unintended consequences could be significant,” he said.

Specifically, Grassley said he’s asked the nonpartisan congressional tax experts to determine how this Medicare tax increase could become like the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, where the tax didn’t affect many taxpayers in the beginning but has ended up becoming a major tax burden for more and more taxpayers because it wasn’t indexed. Reid’s Medicare tax increase isn’t tied to inflation, so it will creep down the income ladder like the AMT.

Grassley said the new tax also would impose a marriage penalty. For the first time, under Reid’s proposed Medicare tax increase for couples earning over $250,000, there would be two separate tax rates on the payroll tax base. Married couples would pay higher payroll taxes due solely to being married. Grassley has asked the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation for information about who would be hit with this marriage penalty if Reid’s bill became law.

Finally, Grassley said senators should consider how “Democratic congressional leaders may be tempted, even very soon, to impose this new Medicare tax on people earning less than the threshold that’s proposed today, as Medicare’s financial health continues to deteriorate, jeopardizing the program for seniors, and the new entitlement spending in the health care bill becomes increasingly more expensive,” he said.

Editor's Note:  Have you ever seen something like this coming out of the Harkin camp?