Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Premiere of Evan Coyne Maloney's Indoctrinate U

I just received the following e-mail from the Moving Picture Institute.

Back to school season is here -- and so is Evan Coyne Maloney's scorching indictment of American higher education, Indoctrinate U.

The Moving Picture Institute is proud to announce that on September 28, Indoctrinate U will premiere at the American Film Renaissance Film Festival in Washington, D.C. The festival's marquee event, Maloney's film will screen at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Auditorium.

Tickets for the screening are on sale now -- and are going fast. Click here to secure your tickets now.

Featured recently on Hannity's America and in the New York Times, Maloney's pathbreaking documentary has caused a sensation among journalists and higher education leaders. "This film hits you in the gut" wrote Stanley Kurtz in National Review Online, while Carol Iannone, editor of the journal Academic Questions, has called the film "shocking -- even to someone who knows a lot about political coercion on today's campuses."

Indoctrinate U's Washington debut marks the first of several fall showings. Almost 25,000 people across the country have signed up at www.IndoctrinateU.com to see the film -- and in response, MPI is arranging screenings in a number of major U.S. cities. Details will be announced as the events are scheduled.

Join us in Washington to celebrate a film that will shock, anger, and inspire you by turns, and that will change the way America understands what it means to go to college.

Moving Picture Institute | Tribeca Film Center | 375 Greenwich Street | New York | NY | 10013

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jeffrey Golin Announces Legal Defense Fund

>"We are finally starting to roll on our legal fund for Nancy Golin's civil rights suit. We have already raised $5,000 each from two donors for a total of $10,000 and we are trying for a goal of $50,000. Mr. Beauvais has agreed to help us win if we can merely cover his litigation costs. Mr. Beauvais, a noted civil rights attorney, is up to speed on this case, and he wins cases! If anyone wishes to charitably donate to help us reach our goal they may do so by sending their checks directly to him, at the address below:

>Mr. David J. Beauvais, Esq.
1904 Franklin St.
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: (510) 832-3605

>Make sure your check purpose is identified for the FreeNancy legal fund. Call Mr. Beauvais at the phone number listed for details.

>Mr. Beauvais' bio was published last year in the Berkeley Planet, found online at:
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/text/article.cfm?archiveDate=04-28-06&storyID=24001
They may also obtain more information from noted New York family attorney Gerard W. Wallace of Albany Law School who has been supporting this case pro bono for two years, at the following numbers: (518) 445-3266 (W), (845) 594-6378.

>For a short summary of legal information about this case, see the attached Executive Summary, or visit our FreeNancy web site:

>http:\\www.freenancy.com

>If someone cannot contribute but still wants to express their support for Nancy by attending the next crucial court hearing scheduled on August 24, 2007, at 9am at the Santa Clara County Courthouse, 191 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95113, tentatively scheduled in Department 10. All of the judges in Santa Clara County have recused themselves from this case! They have brought in a retired judge Thomas J. Breen from Hollister to hear this case, which we think should be moved somewhere else because of the influence of these public officials cited for misconduct in this case, so we need to keep an eye on this proceeding to make sure it is fair and impartial.

>Please circulate this notice to all parents and other interested parties"

Health Care Vouchers: a Market-Based Approach that Would Cost Little or Nothing

According to One More Political Blog, Michael Moore has been embroiled in a debate with Sanjay Gupta about health costs in Cuba:

"Dr. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, claimed that Moore fudged the facts in SiCKO by saying that Cuba spent only $25 per person per person on health care. Of course, it turned out that Moore did no such thing; he had given the correct figure, $251".

$251 is ten times $25, but both numbers are low relative to American health costs, which are twenty-five times as much again.

How much does the US already spend on health care for the poor? In 2005 Newsmax.com wrote:

"The extension of taxpayer-funded Medicaid to the working poor has led to the largest expansion of a government entitlement since the Great Society was launched in the 1960s.

"The soaring costs of Medicaid – which will more than double this year to close to $330 billion since 1999 – is largely due to legislation that extended Medicaid coverage to many Americans who have low-paying jobs
."

Medicaid does not include Medicare, health insurance for the elderly, so it understates health cost transfers. According to the Census Bureau, there are 302,648,273 Americans as of this writing, so let us assume 305 million this year. Thus, very conservatively, Americans spend $330,000,000,000/ 305,000,000 = $1,081 per capita on health care for the poor. If we add Medicare, which according to the Heritage Foundation will cost $454 billion in 2008, America now spends more than $784 billion on health care for the poor and elderly, or $2,570 per capita in cost ($784 billion/305 million), compared to Cuba's $250 per capita on health care for everyone. In addition, according to the American Enterprise Institute, corporate tax deductions for health insurance were worth $188.5 billion in 2004. Moreover, according to Monthly Labor Review, in 2006 state and local government employees' health insurance averaged 10.7 percent of payrolls, which according to the Census Bureau were $61 billion for March 2007. Multiplying by 12 months and taking 10.7 percent yields $78.3 billion. David S. C. Chu, undersecretary for defense readiness, estimates the total cost of military health benefits to be $39 billion. The cost of the Federal Employees' Health Benefits Plan to the federal government is about $22.3 billion in 2007, according to John E. Dicken, director of health care for the government accounting office. Civilian Government employees pay 28 percent of the cost and the federal government pays 72 percent. If we add these costs:

Medicaid: $330 billion
Medicare: 454 billion
Corporate tax deductions: $188.5 billion
State and local government: $78.3 billion
Military: $39 billion
Civilian federal employees: $22.3 billion

The total of $1.112 trillion in government cash and tax expenditures divided by 305 million Americans is $3,645 per capita. According to Kaiser Permanente health care costs in the US amounted to $2 trillion in 2005, divided by 305 million Americans is $6,667 per capita. Thus, roughly 55% of total health costs are already covered through government plans and subsidies.

The Cuban per capita cost for national health insurance amounts to only 10.28% of the per capita cost of current American contributions to the poor and elderly. Yet, the Democrats and Michael Moore argue that we contribute too little money to health care for the poor. Of course, much of US health care costs is due to mismanagement, unnecessary operations regarding prostate cancer, cardiac bypass and heroic end of life treatments. More fundamentally, providers and health care professionals enjoy a combination of artificially induced monopoly through licensure and other entry restrictions coupled with artificially stimulated demand. Such waste, mismanagement and rent extraction by professional interests will unquestionably be increased under a national health insurance scheme. There is already ample corruption and abuse arising from the regulated and third-party-financed system. A publicly financed American health care system, much like New York's Medicaid system, will be a Pandora's box of corruption and mismanagment.

Government cash and tax expenditures are already the bulk of the cost of universal health coverage. If a tax credit scheme were to exclude the top twenty percent of households earning over $86,867 in 2003, then the per capita government expenditure of $4,633 (1.1 trillion divided by 244 million and excluding the 61 million in the top twenty percent)is 69 percent of the average per capita health insurance cost of $6,667. This is nearly the 72 percent that the federal government covers for civilian government employees. Moreover, the $6,667 reflects a considerable degree of mismanagement. Four months ago I called the Cigna Insurance Company in New York and learned that Cigna offered New Yorkers individual coverage coverage for $198 per month ($2,376 per year), with family coverage costing roughly twice as much. If the CIGNA rate were applicable to everyone, which it is not, we would already be paying for national health insurance simply through Medicaid and Medicare spending. As Phil Orenstein of Democracy Projectpoints out in a recent blog, there is significant waste in the health system, especially in government plans, so the true cost (excluding massive mismanagement) may be closer to the $2,376 than the $6,667.

As Phil Orenstein also has blogged, Rudolph Giuliani has proposed tax incentives of $7,500 to individuals and $15,000 to families to help pay for the costs of private health coverage that they choose themselves.

I would suggest that vouchers aka tax credits are the way to go. Tax credits could be paid for via the termination of Medicare, Medicaid, government employee plans and through avoidance of double counting via the termination of corporate health insurance deductibility. A tax credit voucher, or dollar for dollar tax abatement, would replace Medicare, Medicaid, government employee plans and corporate tax deductions. For individuals who pay less in federal taxes than the voucher amount, a reverse or negative income payment could cover it. This would not cost taxpayers much because Medicare, Medicaid, government employee plans and the corporate tax deduction cover much if not all of the cost of a tax credit that would cover everyone. Even if average costs are $7,500 per person, and exceed savings from terminating Medicaid, Medicare, government employee plans and corporate tax deductions, additional savings could accrue by encouraging insurance schemes that limit payments for unnecessary treatments and bureaucracy.

The cost and coverage problems associated with health insurance are primarily managerial. They could be solved through market competition and redistribution of the monies already expended on health care, much of which goes toward unnecessary care, waste and mismanagement. These could be reduced because the vouchers could be set at a level for a plan that excludes various kinds of waste, such as unnecessary operations and futile end of life care.

Golin v. Allenby*: Santa Clara Judges Play Football with Nancy Golin

The case of Golin v. Allenby has reached a crossroads. All of the judges of Santa Clara have recused themselves from Jeffrey Golin's case involving his autistic daughter. A court order issued earlier this month reads:

"Plaintiffs have named as a defendant My-le Jacqueline Duong, who on July 23, 2007 was sworn as judge of this Court necessitating the recusal of all judges of the Superior Court of the County of Santa Clara."

Jeffrey Golin is suing the County of Santa Clara for kidnapping his daughter, mistakenly and falsely accusing him and his wife of abusing her. The County of Santa Clara put poor Nancy into a public adult care facility where she has been seriously harmed and possibly beaten and raped. As I have previously blogged, Golin v. Allenby suggests the foolhardiness of any move toward public sector health care and, as well, the ongoing corruption in our court system.

Jeffrey Golin writes:

"On Thursday I found the (above) order in my mailbox. It says that all the judges in Santa Clara County are recusing themselves from this case. The order states that the move is "necessitated" by the swearing-in of one of the defendants from the DA's office as a new judge. I'm not quite sure why this is, but after recusing themselves they unrecused themselves long enough to appoint a private judge from another county to preside over our case in the same courthouse...My sources tell me this happens when the case is so unpopular with the judges that no judge wants to be seen as ruling on it because it is a sympathetic case, so they get one of these private judges who have no accountability to do their dirty work. As one of my lawyer friends, who is an activist for judicial reform says, what are they going to do if they cite someone like this, tell them that now you are REALLY retired,because they are retired already. As set right now this guy is supposed to hear the demurrers and motions to strike and "anti-SLAPP" motions against us this Friday."

*Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara Case No. 1-07-CV-082823