Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, History, Law, Politics, United Kingdom | Tags: A Looming Train Wreck, The NHS Failure, The ObamaCare Disaster
The Obama administration lied to you from the beginning. They claimed that health care costs were spiraling out of control and by reforming health care they would bring costs down. In fact, the costs of health care were slowly coming down in response to new diagnostic tools and new medicines that saved higher hospital costs. They claimed that they were echoing Massachusetts health plan, but the president’s advisers on health care were all great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service.
The advisers looked at the cost of health care and determined that most of the cost for any person came in the final years of their lives. If they could get rid of that cost, then American health care would cost lots less. So if someone was in their 80s or 90s, they shouldn’t be allowed to rack up big costs for operations or expensive treatments.
A new report on Britain’s National Health Service notes that as many as 13,000 needless deaths have occurred in 14 NHS hospital trusts since 2005. This is no fluke. It’s the result of socialized medicine, done by experts.
In ObamaCare, the government panel that controls what procedures one may receive (cost effectiveness) is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) or as Sarah Palin called it — the Death Panel. It would decide when you could get dialysis and when they pulled the cord.
Then there was the “Liverpool Care Pathway” — an Orwellian death panel operation, where nurses shouted to visitors to not give their dying relatives sips of water for fear it would interfere with the hospital’s death target. “No one was doing anything ‘wrong’ since everything was done by the book,” wrote Jenkins.
Keogh found that as many as 13,000 “needless” deaths were the result, about 3 per day in each hospital district.
The U.K. has seen reform after reform of its health care system, but none has made much difference.
The administration granted a one-year delay in the employer mandate, something that he cannot legally do. The House just passed a one-year delay for the individual mandate, which Obama says he will veto. Obama’s goal is to get as many people signed up or ObamaCare subsidies as he can, as quickly as he can, so that any repeal of the law becomes politically impossible. That’s why the administration is paying people to sign individuals up. Delaying the employer mandate guarantees that hundreds of thousands of people will end up at an ObamaCare exchange after their employers use the delay to drop coverage.
He is even allowing states to take the applicants’ word for it that they don’t have coverage available to them at work and that their income is as low as they claim it is. It opens the door to fraud, but lax enforcement means more will sign up.
Unions are turning against ObamaCare in a big way, they are learning about the downside. The law will drive up insurance costs, massively increase government spending, create huge shortages of doctors with no way to solve that problem except for long waits to see a doctor, $1 trillion in new taxes, continue to destroy full-time jobs, and do nothing whatsoever to control health care costs.
It is a train wreck. Even Democrats are wanting to repeal and replace. But they are obsessed with “public” rather than “private”, “non-profit” rather than “for profit” that they become oblivious to simple basic facts. Some Democrats see the solution as moving everyone into Medicare, but that would not solve a single problem in ObamaCare.
A warning shot was fired a few months ago when one hospital, Mid-Staffordshire, was found to be a veritable death trap of neglect, misspent funds and starved investment. Now a new report on 14 NHS trusts, released by government-appointed Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh this week, finds that neglect and “needless” deaths are pretty much a characteristic of the entire system.
Socialized medicine simply doesn’t work. The state can cover up big problems, state priorities trump those of the consumer, bureaucracies resist change. Is that really what we need— a system to provide needless death?
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: The ObamaCare Disaster, Unanticipated Difficulties, Unlikely 2014 Roll-Out
The Department of Health and Human Services, the designated agency for rolling out and making sense of ObamaCare, under the direction of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just doled out a $3.1 million Public Relations contract to improve the image of ObamaCare. Advertising Age reports that Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans that the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” ( I can’t write that name without snorting)” is good for them and convince them that they should enroll in a health plan.”
Administration officials insist the ads won’t be political, but just before the 2010 midterm election, HHS spent $3.2 million on an ad campaign featuring the late actor Andy Griffith, who told his fellow old folks that “more good things are coming from Medicare,” but neglected to mention the dramatic cuts to 10 million Medicare Advantage members, who may have already seen their plans ended or can expect to see them end soon. FactCheck said: “The words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that benefits will remain the same” is as fictional as the town of Mayberry, when Griffith played the local sheriff.
In fact ObamaCare is becoming more unpopular as people begin to “find out what’s in it,” to quote Nancy Pelosi, and are faced with the astonishing rise in their health care premiums or with losing them entirely. Of course, the Democrats sneaky attempt to excuse themselves and their staffs and employees from having to participate, was exposed by the national media, and should sour anyone who is still wavering on the supposed wonderfulness of ObamaCare.
The thing is, nobody did know what was in it, nor understood what the consequences of what was in it were. There are always consequences. People respond to incentives and disincentives. Those who were responsible for drafting this bill were vaguely aware that they needed to figure out how to pay for it, so they decided to add a tax on medical devices. No big deal if granny had to pay a little extra for her walker.
The consequences were more complicated. Many of the manufacturers of medical devices are small businesses operating on tight budgets, as startups usually do. It’s a rapidly changing field with lots of expensive research and development. They are laying off workers — in an economy already suffering from high unemployment. And in a specific industry with many layoffs, those workers will have a hard time finding a new job. You can’t just put a new kind of stent, or a new kind of knee-joint out — they have to be tested on real people, and if they don’t work there’s a huge cost for insurance. Then you suddenly have a terrorist bombing in Boston and all sorts of people needing prosthesis. They didn’t plan on that kind of thing. Congress seems to agree that it was a bad idea and wants to repeal that part, but that’s complicated too.
The 22,000-member United Union of Roofers has issued a public statement calling for “repeal or complete reform” of ObamaCare. A Union. At no point since it passed has ObamaCare been regarded favorably by more than 45 percent, and the latest Kaiser Family Health Foundation pegs its nationwide support at only 37 percent.
Insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket next year, and it looks as if key parts of ObamaCare will miss their start date. Secretary Sebelius complained that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in setting up ObamaCare. (Republicans did) But of course she blamed “obstructionist Republicans” for engaging in “state-by-state political battles” to slow down the creation of the exchanges. Perhaps it would be less complicated if she hadn’t granted waivers to cronies and Democrats.
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the main architects calls the bill “probably the most complex piece of legislation” ever passed by the U.S. Congress. Max Baucus (D-MO) says “I just see a huge train wreck coming.” Coincidentally both Senators are retiring next year. A study by the Society of Actuaries has predicted that medical claims per policyholder will rise by 32 percent in the individual plans in the health care exchanges. In some states the increase could rise to 80 percent.
The Obama administration is preparing for the worst. Michael Cannon of Cato says they are getting ready to spend $600 billion that Congress never authorized on federally run state exchanges in order to ease the possibility of sticker shock. The old hide the increase game.
Advertising firm Weber Shandwick has their work cut out for them. This is a real case of putting lipstick on a pig, and no matter how you pretty-up the pig, it remains a pig. An emotional appeal with sob stories? A beloved character to be the public face? A tear-jerker with victims of Sandy, Newtown, or the Boston Marathon? The one thing they cannot do is tell the truth.
It is a pig of a law.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Freedom, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: 13000 Pages of Tax Rules, Democrat OverReach, The ObamaCare Disaster
You may remember this chart which lays out the reach of ObamaCare. [Click to enlarge, then use your mouse to drag it larger]. It shows the reporting lines and lines of responsibility. There are supposedly something like 100 new agencies involved, each with many employees, all of whom receive salaries and benefits. Yet Obama has claimed that it will be less costly than our present health care system, and our costs for insurance will go down— described as “bending the cost curve down.” This, of course, is preposterous. It will be many times more expensive.
We have a lot of misconceptions about the whole health care debate. First of all, it is not about our health care, it is about insurance. The only interest in actual health care is how to cut expenses. In the case of ObamaCare, it means eliminating the highest expenses which are for old people in the last years of their lives, and for those who serve no useful purpose, the demented, the completely disabled. They want to get rid of the expensive nuisances.
Obama’s health care advisors were uniformly great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service. Even in Britain, those who can afford it have private insurance and go to private doctors and hospitals. James Delingpole offers us some advice. Surely you have noticed that all of those who are so enthusiastically trying to force us into ObamaCare have excluded themselves from any necessity to participate
Much is made of international comparisons. The United States, we are told spends way more than other countries, therefore we spend too much. Trouble is they try to make these comparisons based on purchasing power parity, and summing up of transactions. For uncomplicated dental fillings, reimbursement data underestimate total costs by 50% in nine European countries. Countries account for long term care and out-of-pocket spending differently. The accounting treatment of overhead and capital costs also varies. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), an OECD project to harmonize national accounting methods began in 2000, but even when methods are harmonized, the choice of a price adjustment method can alter hospital cost estimates by as much as 400%.
The U.S, compares more favorably when real resources are measured rather than monetary accounts. Per capita, the US uses fewer physicians, nurses, hospital beds, physician visits and hospital days than the median OECD country. The average annual rate of growth of real per capita US health care spending is slightly below OE average over the last decade and over the last four decades.
The US infant mortality rates vary a factor of two or three to one across racial and ethnic groups, a cross cities, and across states for reasons that seem to have little to do with health care. The big difference seems to be in national differences in the definition of a live birth.
We spend more on prescription drugs, do more tests, have more major diagnostic equipment, and a better rate of survival for cancers, less pertussis, measles and Hepatitis B, 36% of cases of high blood pressure are controlled. We have short waits for cataract surgery, prompt coronary bypass, rapid hip replacement. We know about waiting times in other countries, but we don’t know about the people who live with pain or poor sight.
Much has been made of the uninsured — but most uninsurance is transitory, while people are between jobs. A major part of the uninsured are uninsured by choice. Obama has made much of bankruptcies caused by medical debt, but the claim conflicts with four decades of economic research. The label “medical bankruptcy” was applied if out-of-pocket medical bills exceeded $1,000, even though out-of-pocket expenses of the average US household were $2,182 in the year studied. Recalculating the study’s data, they concluded that only 17% of the sample had medical expenditure bankruptcies.
Can the free market work in health care? NCPA points out that:
In cosmetic surgery, virtually all payments are out-of-pocket and transparent package prices covering all services are the norm. Even though technological progress is frequently assumed to increase health care costs, the real price of cosmetic surgery has declined over the past 15 years, despite substantial technological progress and a six-fold increase in demand. In corrective vision surgery, out-of-pocket payments and package prices are the norm, and the real price has declined by 30% over the past decade. Price transparency is absent in virtually every other kind of surgery.
Many are now demanding that since Republicans are urging repeal of ObamaCare, the Republican candidate should be able to explain in a sentence or two just what his plan is. It took 2074 pages to enumerate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and it is reported today that lawyers have already drafted 13,000 pages of regulations for the new ObamaCare tax law.
Scholars at the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Cato Institute, the American College of Physicians, The Pacific Research Institute, and many other think-tanks, foundations and individuals have been working on ideas since Hillary Care. And they have a lot of impressive ideas: tort reform, cross-state border insurance, health savings accounts, Paul Ryan’s plan for direct subsidies for buying health insurance is promising. Above all, they are not looking for power, they are looking for a free-market solution that both gives you care for your own health and that of your family, but preserves your individual freedom.
When a third party (your insurance company) pays for your medical care, there is no incentive to try to hold down costs. Incentives matter. The Medicare Drug Benefit is unique as a government program in that it has come in costing less than estimates because of the incentives to use generic drugs and keep costs down when possible. Republicans believe in incentives because they work.
They started with wrong assumptions; their goals—which seem to be about control of the people—are reprehensible; the results of their sloppy work will do all sorts of damage to the country, and the monumental tax increases may well bankrupt the country. These people are somewhat wanting in economic expertise.
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism | Tags: Broken Before It Begins, Sec. Sebelius Misses Deadlines, The ObamaCare Disaster
The non-partisan Congressional Research Service has issued a new report, commissioned by Senator Tom Coburn MD (R-OK) and others, finds astonishing proof of the administrative failure in implementing ObamaCare. According to the report, Health and Human Services has missed one-third of the deadlines contained in the legislation to be met in the first six months under the new health care regime.
The seven missed deadlines are listed below. Additionally there were four deadlines where CRS could not reach a conclusion, so more may have been missed. (click to enlarge).