There it was, hidden on page 1,323 of the 2,700-page health care bill: a proposal to define the ideal climate for the Continental United States and Alaska. For no reason I can see, Hawaii is excepted.
Maybe because of skittishness over this bill that would grant “native” Hawaiians sovereignty recently passed in the House of “Representatives.” In the name of the secular god Sensitivity, nobody wants to make Hawaiians angry.
Anyway, I’m no lawyer, so I can’t understand the blah-blah-blah, but the law says that each State will be required to meet a “temperature target.” If the yearly averaged temperature deviated from that target, then certain penalties would kick in. More on those, and the targets, in a moment.
Why a “temperature target” in a health care bill? The language points to scientific studies which purport to show that deviations from “ideal temperatures” result in “challenges to and deviations from homeostasis, which puts undue stress on the immune system”, therefore resulting in greater rates of illness.
Greater rates of illness mean, of course, more sick bodies. And more sick bodies means higher medical and insurance bills, and so forth. We knew these kinds of things were coming: since the government will be taking over health care, it must seek to reduce the costs of that care. And in regulating climate, they think they have found a way to do so.
Supplying insurance against climate change doesn’t work. As I have pointed out until I was sore in my typing fingers, insurance is not health. For example, suppose some lethal new bug is making its way through the population. You can treat the bug via vaccination, antibiotics, by removing the vector that transmits it, or whatever. But it would do no good to announce a policy of insuring the infected.
If you’re sick, you don’t want insurance, you want health; you want a cure, not insurance. You cannot insure your way out of an epidemic. Insurance is just a way to add costs to health care.
So the Obama administration will attack the “vector” that they say will bring increased rates of illness. That vector is “changes in climate”; specifically, temperature change.
The Environmental “Protection” Agency will be in charge of setting both the ideal temperatures and the allowed deviations. The EPA will also be allowed to suggest penalties for when those allowed deviations are exceeded.
There are some constraints the EPA must follow.
The country will be divided into climate “zones.” That is in quotes, because the zones aren’t contiguous; they appear to be climatically gerrymandered. For example, Vermont, California, New York, and Massachusetts are “Zone B”. Texas, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Alaska are “Zone C.” Strangely, Arkansas is its own zone. And so forth.
Each zone will have its own temperature ideal. Like I said, these ideals aren’t yet specified; that will be left to the bureaucracy. But what’s fascinating is that each State in a zone must meet the same ideal. Texas and Alaska, therefore, must have the same yearly averaged temperature.
I’m happy to report that “yearly average temperature” is reasonably defined. The “max minus min divided by two” for the dailies, and then the dailies are averaged. There are words for how to handle missing data. These appear to be lifted directly from the National Climate Data Centers’ boilerplate.
The deviations aren’t specified yet, either. But they are allowed to be different for each zone. And there is a grace period. Ideals won’t have to be met until 2014, and the harshest penalties won’t kick in until 2020. Again, I’m no lawyer, but it appears that if any State in a zone fails to meet it targets, all States in the zone are punished equally.
Those penalties aren’t yet specified, but the law did suggest possibilities. There is the usual “denial of federal funds” language, apparently for highway monies. There are also words about increased health care payout burdens: I gather that each State would be reimbursed for Medicare etc. at a lesser rate.
There are some unique punishments. One is mandatory Earth hours. That is, each State would have to prove that it reduced energy consumption the year following its deviation from the ideal temperature. To do that, citizens would be forced to disable their electrical service for up to “twenty-four hours for each calendar month.”
Another penalty is enforced reductions of flights out of (by not into) a State. A third is that a State must demonstrate that its “highway usage” decreased by some set amount. Presumably, this would mean limiting driving in some way.
Look for these new regulations soon. The EPA is expected to reveal them to the public on April 1, 2011.