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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for April, 2011

The Political Implications of An Unexpected Change in the Medicare Advantage Program

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Millions of seniors in Medicare Advantage insurance plans offered through Medicare will get a reprieve from several of the most controversial Medicare cuts in ObamaCare. Critics see this as a political maneuver. HHS will now award quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans rated merely average.The bonuses would stop service cuts that might have been a problem for Obama and Democrats in next year’s elections since many of the eleven million Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans rated average. Recently, GOP lawmakers sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius questioning the administration’s new support for Medicare Advantage.

A Pushback on the The Independent Payment Advisory Board

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Both Democrats and Republicans are together in  opposing one of the prime  features of  Obama’s new deficit reduction plan, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a powerful independent board that could institute sweeping cuts in Medicare spending. The President has said he wants to expand the power of the 15-member panel. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said the board would be a backstop to ensure that health costs are reduced. You can be certain  that this is a first step to intense rationing of health care for the elderly.

Another Obama “Victory” in Foreign Policy.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The Obama foreign policy has been one false step after another. It appears that a big loss might The Revolt of the Hedge Funds.
There’s a news story about Afghanistan which is circulating, and if true, could be calamitous for the United States. It has been leaked that there was an April 16 meeting in Kabul which involved the Pakistani Prime Minister, Gilani and Afghan President Karzai. Galani is said to have told Karzi that the United States had failed both countries and that Karzai should abandon long-term military cooperation with the United States and instead throw in with Pakistan and its close ally, China. Then, Pakistan and China would help broker a peace deal with the Taliban and help Afghanistan rebuild its economy. This kind of disastrous event for the United States has been fostered by among other missteps: the Obama announcement that the United States will withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, the Obama administration’s negative relationship with Karzai, and the declaration today that Gen. David Petreaus would leave his post as Commander of the American Forces in Afghanistan and become director of the CIA.What all this means for the United States and its influence in the Middle East can only be conjectured at this time. But, it doesn’t look good.

Revolt of The Hedge Funds

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

It appears that “buyer’s remorse” has hit some financial movers and shakers. Hedge fund managers supported Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2008 in a most dramatic fashion. However, now that 2012 is on the horizon and two years of Obama economics are a reality, a number of prominent fund managers have turned overwhelmingly to the Republicans. These hedge fund managers who have as their clients institutions and the truly wealthy, have recoiled at Obama’s attacks on Wall Street and his determination to raise taxes on the so-called “wealthy.” In 2006 and 2008 many of these fund managers believed that their support of Democrats and Obama would immunize them against such tax assaults. However, many of them see their efforts as a grand mistake, despite the fact that from 1990 to 2008 these fund managers and their employees contributed about $40 million to congressional candidates, and about two thirds of that amount went to Democrats. So, things have changed. In the 2010 election cycle 53% of contributions went to Republicans (hedge fund managers and their employee contributions totaled $11 million).
What effect this apparent switch will have on the 2012 reelection efforts of Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats is still unknown. Stay tuned.

The Paul Ryan Plan for Deficit and Government Spending Reduction vs the Federal Reserve

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

A most provocative article by Lewis E. Lehrman appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, April 26, 2011 (wsj.com). The title of the article is “Monetary Reform: The Key to Spending Restraint.” I’d like to quote several lines from this article and urge everyone to read the whole piece.
“No man in America is a match for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on the federal budget. No congressman in my lifetime has been more determined to cut government spending. No one is better informed for the task he has set himself. Nor has anyone developed a more comprehensive plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate the federal budget deficit than the House Budget resolution submitted by Mr. Ryan on April 5.
“But experience in the operations of the Federal Reserve system compelled me to predict that Mr. Ryan’s heroic efforts to balance the budget by 2015 without raising taxes will not end in success ––– even with a Republican majority in both Houses and a Republican president in 2012.
“Why? Because the House Budget Resolution fails to reform the federal reserve system that supplies the new money and credit to finance both the budget deficit and the balance-of-payments deficit. So long as the Treasury deficit can be financed with discretionary money and credit ––– newly created by the Federal Reserve, by the banking system, and by foreign central banks ––– the federal budget deficit will persist.”

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