- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2013

The lousy sign-up website cost a bundle, a fact that will not disappear no matter how much the White House pivots from one issue to the next to deflect public interest away from Obamacare. Numbers persist on the radar. Consider that HealthCare.gov has been allocated $1 billion in federal funds for its development and startup, a sum divided between 10 major contractors. That information comes from a Bloomberg Government Analysis released in late October. Meanwhile, $684 million has been spent to promote the health care law; that figure is from state and federal data compiled by The Associated Press.

And while there is fancy footwork from both the White House and a friendly media suggesting future debt reduction because of health care reform, Obamacare is still going to cost $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years, according to figures from the Congressional Budget Office.

But now we must venture to the global scale.

Despite spending more than twice as much as many other nations on health care, the U.S. does not boast the most long-lived citizens. Oh, woe is us: America languishes near the bottom of life expectancy ratings among 34 nations, according to the Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based economic and social policy research center.

Where do people live the longest? Switzerland is in first place, followed by Italy, Japan and Iceland. But the U.S?

“Despite the fact that the U.S. spends vastly more per capita on health care than any other country, Americans’ life expectancy is only 26th highest,” points out 247wallst.com, in its own analysis of the findings.

And the numbers: Switzerland spent $5,457 per person on health care, Italy spent $3,012. The U.S. spent $8,508. Life expectancy in Switzerland, incidentally, is 82.8 years, in Italy 82.7 years, and in America, it’s 78.7 years.


Republicans and Democrats remain in two opposite worlds as far as Obamacare goes.

A Gallup poll released Friday reveals this: “While 90 percent of Republicans want Congress to repeal or scale back the law, 65 percent of Democrats would like to expand the law or keep it as is.” And Americans themselves? Still not good: 57 percent also would repeal or downsize Obamacare.


Party like it’s Christmas? The Lone Star State is intent on being a national role model of sorts. Earlier this year, Texas passed a “Merry Christmas Law” that allows displays of traditional religious symbols and Christmas greetings in public venues — a phenomenon that is taking a while to soak in. The Frisco Independent School District outside of Dallas, for example, recently issued stringent “Winter Party Rules” for elementary schools that banned all references “to Christmas or any other religious holiday,” and even red and green decorations. Then someone reminded the earnest organizers that there was, well, a law against that.

Candy canes and Tannenbaums have been reinstated.

The Austin-based Liberty Institute, meanwhile, intends to ensure the public knows such celebrations are A-OK. The advocacy group will stage a four-hour, public “Merry Christmas Texas” party at the state Capitol building Monday, billing the big doings as an “education and celebration event.” State legislators and officials from the institute and Texas Values — its sister nonprofit — will be on hand, along with Santa Claus, Christmas displays and Christmas cookies, the groups say.

“Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion,” says Gov. Rick Perry, who signed the Merry Christmas bill into law in mid-June, and entertained a king-sized Santa himself at the governor’s mansion on Sunday.

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