1. The Week Just Past: World Trade = New Jersey Jobs!
2. News Flash: Obamacare's Looming Threat to Access to Health Care
3. The President Demands Tax Increases Again
4. On This Holiday Weekend
The Week Just Past: World Trade = New Jersey Jobs!
"Just about everyone in New Jersey knows someone who's unemployed. In reality, the real "unofficial' unemployment rate here is 17-18 percent. Consequently, I have been spending my time and energy on private sector job creation.
"In this context, I listened respectfully to the President's press conference on Wednesday and while he talked about the need for additional "investments,' which translates into new government spending, I submit that he should belooking to overseas markets to create new jobs here in America!
"This week, I had the opportunity to meet in Newark with the South Korean Ambassador to the United States, Han Duk-soo, to talk about the pending free trade agreement between our two nations. Together, with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, we gathered to mark a dubious anniversary: it was four years ago this week that the Bush Administration signed the agreement with South Korea. And yet, the Obama Administration has yet to send that pact to Congress for approval.
"Here's why this is important:
"In that time, over $13 billion in tariffs have been paid by U.S. exporters. Translated, that means needlessly higher prices in South Korea for American goods and services.
"Signing this Free Trade Agreement will create an estimated 70,000 American jobs and $11 billion in exports from America to South Korea. Those exports translate directly into jobs!
"And we also don't have to look far to see the port of New York and New Jersey, a major gateway for trade throughout the region. It's the third largest port in the nation. With my active support, the Army Corps has been working to dredge the main shipping channel of the Port to a depth of 50 feet, allowing access by the world's largest ocean-going vessels.
"Each year, $80 billion in commerce flows through the port. Total exports from New Jersey have increased by $8.1 billion over the past five years.
"The latest data show 130,500 jobs in New Jersey depend on international trade. Of these, 50,500 are manufacturing jobs. That means one of every six manufacturing jobs in New Jersey is directly connected to global trade, and exports are important to manufacturing workers and we must act to boost more such jobs.
"There is no good reason that the South Korea-U.S. trade agreement has "sat on the shelf' for four years, especially since South Korea is an economic and military ally!
"New Jersey needs jobs. The world needs our goods. This is a great place to start."
Recommended Reading: Sarah Portlock, writing in the Tuesday Star-Ledger," Korea trade deal supporters tout benefits to N.J. "
News Flash: Obamacare's Looming Threat to Access to Health Care
More than a year after distress bells sounded across the nation, a Sunday New York Times article reported that, "Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of "mystery shoppers' to pose as patients, call doctors' offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it."
By Tuesday night, the Administration had scrapped this "secret shopper program" which would have cost taxpayers nearly $350,000.
However, while this specific program was shelved, it appears that Administration is finally showing concern that their new $1 trillion health care law will result in long wait times to see a physician.
It doesn't take a fortune teller to predict what will likely happen when Obamacare's massive cuts in Medicare physician reimbursement begin next year: Medicare beneficiaries will suffer.
Access is already a problem. A recent survey of doctors reveals nearly a third of primary care physicians restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practice mainly on account of low and unreliable government payment. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that more than 12 percent of its doctors simply don't accept Medicare patients, up from 8 percent in 2008 and 6 percent in 2004. Even the president of the New York Medical Society no longer takes Medicare patients!
And the potential impact on access of much lower doctor reimbursement? In this area, the Medicaid program is instructive. Years of inadequate payment rates, below the cost of care at times, have contributed to widespread access problems for needy people for both primary and specialist care:
Inadequate payment is the most common reason for providers not to accept Medicaid patients;
* Only 42% of primary care physicians in 2008 were accepting all or most new Medicaid patients compared to 61% for Medicare patients and 84% for those with private insurance;
* Medicaid enrollees seek care through emergency rooms at twice the rate of the uninsured and those with private coverage. "With states squeezing payments to providers patients are finding it increasingly difficult to locate doctors and dentists who will accept their coverage. Inevitably, many patients defer care or wind up in hospital emergency rooms."
* Acute national shortages of pediatric and adult specialists in Medicaid are "large and growing concerns" according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation roundtable discussion with government officials and experts. "Inadequate access to specialist care poses particular risks for many in the Medicaid population."
* A typical example: an obstetrician who has seen Medicaid patients for a quarter century is forced to limit the type of Medicaid patients he takes because of low reimbursement: "Pregnant women, yes; other women seeking gynecological care, no." Of course, the Obama health care law did NOTHING to stop frivolous lawsuits, a primary reason that doctors must shoulder massive malpractice insurance premiums.
Just this month the New York Times reported "Children on Medicaid Shown to Wait Longer for Care" and "As Number of Medicaid Patients Goes Up, Their Benefits Are About to Drop" referring to anticipated changes now that nearly $90 billion in extra Medicaid money for states in the President's "stimulus" package ran out at midnight.
Last summer, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a study which found that the U.S. will need to add 91,500 new physicians in the next 10 years just in order to keep up with the demands of the Obamacare!
There's no mystery here. Instead of shoring up the current health care system, the President over-reached by establishing a new entitlement that our country cannot afford.
The real mystery is this: will the Administration ever admit that the Obamacare overhaul is hurting senior citizens and failing America's health care system?
Read the Politico story, "White House dumps 'secret shopper' survey of doctors," here.
The President Demands Tax Increases Again
On Wednesday, President Obama held his first press conference since March. However, rather than offering substantive solutions to the looming debt crisis facing America, he called for higher taxes and more federal government spending to spur economic growth and job creation. Instead of putting forth a workable plan to reduce our job-crushing debt and restore certainty for our nation's job creators, President Obama seemingly blamed loopholes for corporate jet owners and oil companies for our debt crisis.
He made several misleading claims and distortions which earned President Obama two "Pinocchios" from Washington Post fact checker Glen Kessler.
Recommended Reading II: Lawrence Lindsey, writing in the Tuesday Wall Street Journal, "The Deficit is Worse Than We Think."
Recommended Reading III: Monday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "Spending His Way to Austerity."
On This Holiday Weekend
Two-hundred and thirty-five years after our Declaration of Independence was first drafted, we still look in awe at the small band of patriots who stood right here in New Jersey and risked everything to defy a king to declare "that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states."
Our Founders also wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
These are not simply words read aloud once a year. They are the principles that define us as a nation, the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society.
This weekend, as you gather with family and friends, take some time to remember the true purpose of the July 4th holiday and salute our men and women of our Armed Forces -- past and present -- who toil every day to defend our homeland.
Since that first 4th of July, some 43 million Americans have defended our freedom in times of war. These brave men and women crossed oceans and continents to defeat dangerous enemies and to secure the peace for generations that followed. We live in liberty because of the courage they displayed -- from the battlefield in Princeton to Kabul, from Bunker Hill to Bataan, from Concord to the Chosin Reservoir -- on this Independence Day we honor their achievements and thank them for their service and that of their families.