Liberals have asked me, “But you’re a doctor, why wouldn’t you want healthcare to be provided to everybody?” This is the reason:
If the government cannot provide comprehensive and efficient healthcare on a smaller scale i.e. Medicare or Medicaid, how can it provide sufficiently for every American? Take a look at government healthcare so far. Medicare is a broken system. It was bankrupt by 1972. Since then physicians who accept Medicare have had to face ever-worsening financial garnishment on reimbursements forcing many doctors to stop treating Medicare patients altogether.
Primarily, elderly patients are seeing restrictions on the amount of care they can receive and with the aging of the baby boomers, demand will increase and this is only going to get worse. Furthermore, the overwhelming financial expense of universal healthcare will eventually result in the some type of healthcare rationing. How is this possible? President Obama has already been laying down the framework for the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) council. This means that all your care is analyzed in a computer database to compare cost effectiveness against other types of care (I doubt my patients would like their medical history to be part of this national experiment). If at any point the computer says your care is too costly, the treatment options available to you will likely be diminished. You may even incur penalties if you engage in any sort of “risky” behavior such as overeating or riding a motorcycle.
The CER also involves bureaucrats influencing doctor’s decisions by initiating a process that can result in non-reimbursement for care. When this happens, and reimbursement doesn’t match the effort or quality care that a doctor gives, there is little incentive to provide better quality care. Obama warned that physicians will have to "tighten their belts”. If you want to know what that looks like, just ask the U.K. They drove many of their doctors, especially their dentists, to other countries where they could get reasonable reimbursement for their time and education. When doctors leave and fewer students go to medical school, the country is left with a provider shortage. This reduces timely, quality care and causes further rationing, which also drives up the cost of getting drugs (especially expensive ones like those for cancer). This has already been seen in other countries. Here is a couple examples of what the UK and Canada have to say about their socialized medicine. Click here for hundreds of examples.
The babies born in hospital corridors: Bed shortage forces 4,000 mothers to give birth in lifts, offices and hospital toilets
Hope and Mcdermott, August 26, 2009 [Daily Express (UK)]
Couples Face an IVF Postcode Lottery
- Katherine Fenech, August 6, 2009 [Daily Express (UK)]
Kidney cancer patients denied life-saving drugs by NHS rationing body NICE
- April 29, 2009 [Daily Mail (UK)]
Girl, 3, has heart operation cancelled three times because of bed shortage
- David Rose, April 23, 2009 [Times Online]
Surgery postponed indefinitely for 1,000 Kelowna patients
- Cathryn Atkinson, April 8, 2008 [Globe and Mail]
Majority of Que. dentists quit health-care system
- March 27, 2008 [CTV.ca]
Wait times for surgery, medical treatments at all-time high: report
- October 15, 2007 [CBC News (Canada)]
[Many, many more typical news articles from countries with socialized health care programs here.]
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Effects of Obamacare on Medicare Censored : Humana ordered to stop telling seniors how their benefits will be cut under Obama's health care plan.
"While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable," it said.Obama's HHS office took offense at Humana exercising their free speech rights with the truth and ordered the company to immediately halt any such mailings, and remove any related materials from its Web site. In the letter, the government also said it may take other action against Humana.
It urged seniors to sign up with Humana for regular updates on the health care legislation, and encouraged them to contact their lawmakers in Washington.
Here is a screen shot of the mailer. Click image for a larger view.Although there is nothing misleading about this mailer, HHS alleged that seniors were so senile they would mistake the mailer for an official Medicare communication.
PDF of full mailer is here.
The HHS did not, however, have any problems with AARP's bulletin to their members that incorrectly claims that Medicare benefits will not be affected.
Not only is this a blatant disregard of the first amendment, but it is an example of the Obama administration abusing its power by silencing the counter-arguments of its critics. If Obama and the Democrat's plan really is better, it should stand up to the scrutiny and debate of both sides. Silencing the arguments of one's opponents is a tactic of a totalitarian government, not a democracy.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
- Despite what President Obama and congressional Democrats say, their bill would increase health care costs rather than lower them by pushing a government takeover of health care.
- The house Democrat's bill would inevitabley lead to rationing of care, such as we see in every other government-run medical system.
- Patients and doctors, not government bureaucrats, should make medical decisions. But the House Democrats’ bill puts bureaucrats in charge.
- In the midst of an economic recession when thousands of jobs are being lost, the last thing families and small businesses need are higher taxes. Yet the House Democrats’ bill would do just that.
- The House Democrats’ bill includes numerous provisions supposedly designed to “control costs” but in fact it is largely just more of the same.
- Small businesses don’t fare well under the House Democrats’ bill, whether it is new tax hikes, new fines, or new government mandates.
- The House Democrats’ Bill Will Result in Federally Mandated and Subsidized Coverage of Abortion
- The House Democrats’ bill eliminates choices for patients, undermining their rights at the expense of government bureaucrats.
- The House Democrats’ bill breaks a number of President Obama’s promises.
- Written with the help of special interests, it’s easy to understand why the House Democrats’ bill provides numerous giveaways to special interest groups and their allies.
- The House Democrats’ bill gives uncheck power to a new “Health Care Choices Commissioner.” This is extremely troubling given the large scope of responsibility given to the Commissioner. In fact, the Commissioner is so powerful that the title is referenced 182 times in the House Democrat’s bill.
- The House Democrats’ bill erodes the ability of small businesses and other employers to exercise their rights and obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to provide benefits tailored to their own workforce.
- The House Democrats’ bill creates a massive new federal bureaucracy littered with new federal agencies, new programs, and new bureaucrats.
Read all the specific references to this summary at http://docs.google.com/View?id=dtd6rhs_5gczwjfgj
How can there be $67 billion in Medicare/Medicaid fraud and waste? Do you know that $1 billion equals $1,000 million. How does this atrocity happen? Obviously, it just didn’t occur yesterday. Our current administration inherited a portion of it and this dire situation continues to grow and grow and grow. Did everyone involved put their head in the sand and just hope it would go away? Who is responsible? I don’t know how it got so out of hand, but I can guess. What I do know is that it has to stop. Kathleen Selibus is now Secretary of Health and Human Services in the current administration. I looked on the internet but couldn’t find out what qualifies her for this position. I would think that one of the qualifications would be that the chosen individual has an extensive medical background. What are the criteria for putting someone in charge of healthcare other than the President nominating her.
I am asking that the current administration get a handle on this horrible situation today, not tomorrow or in the future. There is no reason to have to wait for healthcare reform to start getting this intolerable mess under control. Fraud and waste are a bane on our society. If you or I committed any type of crime including fraud, embezzlement, theft, robbery, or just plain trickery, we would be arrested and thrown in jail.
I want individuals who work for the government run programs to be accountable. I want all agencies, contractors, insurance companies and doctors to be accountable. I am tired of everyone blaming everyone else. Medicare/Medicaid should be a program that helps seniors and people in need to deal with their medical issues. It should not be a program for thieves, swindlers and people just out to make a buck from other people’s pain.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
A recent poll shows what we already know, an overwhelming percentage of Americans prefer our American Health Care System (with all it's known faults) to the monstrosity of bureaucracy and draconian rationing Obama and his Congress are concocting.
More Americans would rather Congress do nothing than pass Obama's plan: 46 percent to 37 percent of people polled say they prefer the current health care system to the one the president has proposed.
Similarly, more people oppose — 48 percent — the health care reform legislation being considered right now than favor it — 38 percent. While most Democrats — 65 percent — favor the reforms, majorities of Republicans — 79 percent — and independents (55 percent) oppose them.
This is not surprising given less than one in four Americans (22 percent) think they would be better off under the reforms, and many (60 percent) think they will probably have to make changes to their health coverage despite Obama's assurances that they will not have to. In addition, a sizable majority (67 percent) thinks the president's plan will increase the national deficit.
By more than three-to-one, Americans say if they were sick they would rather be covered by a privately-run health insurance plan (62 percent) than a government-run plan (20 percent).
(Poll Data) Poll conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from Sept. 15 to 16. The poll has a 3-point margin of error.
Now I don't think this means that Americans don't want health care reform. I think it clearly shows that Americans don't want any single payer/universal/socialized/European-style health care program run by the government. We are a democracy, that means that the government is supposed to do what the people want. The people want changes in our Health Care system that will allow for better, more efficient coverage more more people without losing our quintessentially American system of free enterprise. That system has allowed our health care o be the envy of the world; the place where they go when they want quality health care. Americans clearly don't want to change that.
I would also add that this poll also shows that 60% of Americans (R 76%, I 60%, D 48%) think the country is more divided since Obama has become president vs. 27% (D 38%, I 23%, R 13%) who disagree.
Friday, September 11, 2009
While Obama and Democratic leadership have said again and again there will be no health care rationing under the Health Care Reform bill they are pushing, there are several reasons for us not to believe their claims:
Every other government-run health care program has had health care rationing, sometimes quite severe. Here are some examples from the UK. (Thanks curateipsum)
In Canada, a famous American actress died because their health care system couldn't afford the necessary equipment.
Cancer patients told life-prolonging treatment is too expensive for NHS
- Lyndsay Moss, February 13, 2007 [The Scotsman]
Wait times for surgery, medical treatments at all-time high: report
- October 15, 2007 [CBC News (Canada)]
Grads fail to slow doctor shortage
- Jennifer O'Brien, May 21, 2005 [London Free Press]
Hundreds on waiting list as hospital pleads for help
- August 23, 2004 [The New Zealand Herald]
Women in labour turned away by maternity units
- John Carvel, March 21, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]
Dental patients face care lotteryTop doctors slam NHS drug rationing
- March 26, 2008 [Metro(UK)].
- Sarah-Kate Templeton, August 24, 2008 [The Times])
Our current government-run health care programs already give rationed, second-rate care. Medicare, veteran's hospitals, Medicaid; every one of these and many more currently government-run health care programs run under massive deficits. Partly this is because the government, as always, spends a lot more on bureaucracy and overhead than the private insurance companies; partly it is because the people these programs serve pay little or none of their own health care costs. Because of the lack of money, these programs notoriously ration and limit care to those under their care.
The Obama administration is already planning health care rationing. 180 degrees from what they are claiming, it is clear that rationing will be an integral part of Health Care reform. Section 1233 of the Health Care Reform Bill (HR 3200) calls for "end of life consultation" meetings with senior citizens that have been dubbed Death Panels by concerned seniors everywhere. And then there is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is a key healthcare advisor to President Obam:
As an example, he and his coauthors proposed a system of valuation that could take into account that "[a] young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses.While Forbes and the New York Times try to minimize the seriousness of health care rationing, the Wall Street Journal says the obvious truth: Health care rationing will be politicized. Care will be given to the people and groups that will be of the most service to the government at the expense of the others. This puts the government in control of your health care--over your life or death, not you and your doctor. That is tyranny.
In a 1996 article in another journal, Dr. Emanuel similarly hypothesized that "services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.
You probably don't know this, but there actually is an alternative bill to the unpopular Health Care Reform bill Obama and the Democrats in congress and trying to push on the American people. Democrat leadership has stalled the bill in committee so they can keep falsely accusing Republicans of having "no better alternatives."
Empowering Patients First Act - HR 3400
Bill Status: Referred to House Committee (stuck in committee)Bill Summary: Introduced in House 7/30/09The Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 3400) would allow:
- Individuals to choose their health insurance (no mandates)
- Deductibility of health insurance premiums regardless of who pays
- Employers to provide flexible health insurance options to employees
- Health insurance coverage for low-income families (300 percent of the federal poverty level)
- Health insurance for high-risk individuals (pre-existing conditions)
- Sale of health insurance across state lines
- Expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
- Individual membership association health insurance plan
- Association Health Insurance Plans
- Medical liability limitations (Tort reform)
Shhhh! There’s a Republican Alternative to Democrat-Care; Don’t Let Anyone Know!August 31, 2009
By Herman Cain
The Republican alternative to Democrat-care, which liberals don’t want you to know about, has been hijacked. They don’t want people to know about it because the Astroturf, un-American crazies might like it.
The “Empowering Patients First Act” (H.R 3400) was introduced by Representative Tom Price (R-GA) and 27 co-sponsors on July 30, 2009 prior to the congressional recess. It was then referred to eight House committees.
The head hijacker is Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As Congressman Price pointed out during a radio interview with me last week, the rules in the House assert that bills will remain in committees “for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker.” Thank you Nancy!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
1. Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Section 123, p. 30)
2. Health Choices Administration (Section 141, p. 41)
3. Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman (Section 144, p. 47)
4. Program of administrative simplification (Section 163, p. 57)
5. Retiree Reserve Trust Fund (Section 164(d), p. 70)
6. Health Insurance Exchange (Section 201, p. 72)
7. Mechanism for insurance risk pooling to be established by Health Choices Administration Commissioner (Section 206(b), p. 106)
8. Special Inspector General for the Health Insurance Exchange (Section 206(c), p. 107)
9. Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (Section 207, p. 109)
10. State-based Health Insurance Exchanges (Section 208, p. 111)
11. "Public Health Insurance Option" (Section 221, p. 116)
12. Ombudsman for "Public Health Insurance Option" (Section 221(d), p. 117)
13. Account for receipts and disbursements for "Public Health Insurance Option" (Section 222(b), p. 119)
14. Telehealth Advisory Committee (Section 1191, p. 380)
15. Demonstration program providing reimbursement for "culturally and linguistically appropriate services" (Section 1222, p. 405)
16. Demonstration program for shared decision making using patient decision aids (Section 1236, p. 438)
17. Accountable Care Organization pilot program (Section 1301, p. 443)
18. Independent patient-centered medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302, p. 462)
19. Community-based medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302(d), p. 468)
20. Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (Section 1401(a), p. 502)
21. Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission (Section 1401(a), p. 505)
22. Patient ombudsman for comparative effectiveness research (Section 1401(a), p. 519)
23. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1412(b)(1), p. 546)
24. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for nursing facilities (Section 1412 (b)(2), p. 548)
25. Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1413(a)(3), p. 559)
26. Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 1413(b)(3), p. 565)
27. National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 1422, p. 607)
28. Demonstration program for approved teaching health centers with respect to Medicare GME (Section 1502(d), p. 674)
29. Pilot program to develop anti-fraud compliance systems for Medicare providers (Section 1635, p. 716)
30. Medical home pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1722, p. 780)
31. Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (Section 1802, p. 824)
32. "Identifiable office or program" within CMS to "provide for improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid in the case of dual eligibles" (Section 1905, p. 852)
33. Public Health Investment Fund (Section 2002, p. 859)
34. Scholarships for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 870)
35. Loan repayment program for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 873)
36. Program for training medical residents in community-based settings (Section 2214, p. 882)
37. Grant program for training in dentistry programs (Section 2215, p. 887)
38. Public Health Workforce Corps (Section 2231, p. 898)
39. Public health workforce scholarship program (Section 2231, p. 900)
40. Public health workforce loan forgiveness program (Section 2231, p. 904)
41. Grant program for innovations in interdisciplinary care (Section 2252, p. 917)
42. Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation and Assessment (Section 2261, p. 920)
43. Prevention and Wellness Trust (Section 2301, p. 932)
44. Clinical Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 941)
45. Community Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 947)
46. Grant program for community prevention and wellness research (Section 2301, p. 950)
47. Grant program for community prevention and wellness services (Section 2301, p. 951)
48. Grant program for public health infrastructure (Section 2301, p. 955)
49. Center for Quality Improvement (Section 2401, p. 965)
50. Assistant Secretary for Health Information (Section 2402, p. 972)
51. Grant program to support the operation of school-based health clinics (Section 2511, p. 993)
52. National Medical Device Registry (Section 2521, p. 1001)
53. Grants for labor-management programs for nursing training (Section 2531, p. 1008)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Problem 4: Trial Lawyer Profiteering
Problem 5: Coverage Denials due to Pre-Existing Conditions
Problem 6: Government Supported Insurance Monopolies
Friday, September 4, 2009
Only 87% of the premiums you pay to the insurance company goes to pay for healthcare costs. The rest goes to pay for the company’s administrative costs and profit. (source) And the truth is, much less than 87% pays for your health care because the money is not paid out evenly for each policy. The guy having brain surgery is using much more than his share than you are.
If you think about it you will realize it is true: You could not possibly get your money’s worth out of your insurance company or they could never stay in business. They have to make sure they pay out less money then you pay in one of three ways: raising your premiums and fees, denying certain procedures, paying doctors and hospitals less. That’s why your insurance probably only lets you go to certain doctors: they’ve cut a deal with these doctors to pay them less for their services. What they don’t tell you is that you end up paying more than the amount they save paying the doctor. The dirty secret is that if you saved up all the money you pay the insurance company in a savings account and paid for your health care from it, you would save a lot of money over your life.
Problem 2: Government Health Care Programs
As messed up as Health Insurance seems, it has nothing on government health care programs. Medicare has all of the problems of private Health Insurance companies, compounded exponentially by the unfortunate fact that they are the government and feel they are above the laws and rules of normal businesses. The government automatically seizes your “premiums” for medicare, whether you plan on using it or not. They then take your money and spend it on whatever they want: paying bloated government salaries, pet environmental and social programs, etc. To court the vote of minorities, they give healthcare to people who pay little or nothing into the pot.
The situation is so bad, the government would never dream of releasing where all the money goes like insurance companies are required to do. By 2012 it is estimated that medicare will eat up one in five tax dollars. By 2030, Medicare will claim one in three dollars and by 2050, that number rises to one in every two tax dollars. Obviously, our government’s health care spending spree cannot last forever; we cannot afford to spend half of our tax dollars on people’s medical bills!
The government has notoriously already begun the necessary steps to keep the scheme going: raising taxes, denying/rationing more and more procedures, slashing reimbursements to doctors and hospitals (to the point where many are going out of business) and borrowing massive amounts of money from China. At least private insurance companies have to follow the laws: the government can confiscate your money and offers no guarantee of health care benefits.
Problem 3: The Uninsured
Obama and Democrats keep touting the statistic that 46.6 million Americans were without health care insurance in 2005. First of all, this statistic is disingenuously misleading. After subtracting out the 37% of these people who make over $50k and could afford health insurance if they wanted, the 20% who are not US citizens and therefore do not pay into the system, and the 33% who are already being covered by existing government programs, there only about $4 million left who are without health insurance and in need. However, even these people receive free medical care in emergency rooms and charity clinics. (source)
That being said, the uninsured in America are causing us problems because the government provides them high quality health care with your money! Illegal immigrants and criminals in prison are given great health care even though they pay nothing of their own money towards it! And then there are our government employees themselves: Providing themselves with the finest health plans the world has ever seen while they talk of rationing care for the public.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Free-market solutions for health care abound, such as health saving accounts (HSA), minute clinics, increased insurance coverage options and extended nurse and physician assistant responsibilites. American healthcare is the best in the world because we encourage doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals to provide the best possible health care by rewarding them for their years of study and effort. The American way is for companies and professionals to analyse public demand and adjust prices and services to meet their needs. Socialist solutions like siezing money from the rich to pay for the health care of the poor, reducing the population by refusing care to the elderly and undesired pregnancies is not only fundamentally un-American but will not work. Europe and Canada provide perfect examples of the failure of socialized medicine.
Join us as we tell our country's leaders that we will not accept a healthcare system designed and run by the people who brought us the DMV and the IRS. Say "NO" to socialized medicine and "YES" to American health care.