American Elephants

Those Unexpected Consequences Keep Turning Up and Spoiling Things! by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2011, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care | Tags: , ,

Emergency rooms are expensive. One of the big promises to be found in ObamaCare is that “once everyone has insurance, emergency rooms will no longer be overcrowded, and we will save money on health care.’  Hospital emergency rooms get overcrowded, according to the theory, because people without health insurance have no place else to go.

A new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians says the real problem isn’t caused by people who don’t have insurance — it’s caused by people who do, but who cannot find a doctor who will treat them.

Ninety-seven percent of ER doctors who responded to the survey said they treat patients daily who have Medicaid (the federal-state program for low income people) but cannot find a doctor who will accept their insurance.  This confirms the experience of Massachusetts, where visits to emergency rooms increased in spite of health care reform, and medical insurance does not guarantee access to medical care.

There is already a national shortage of around 45,000 primary care doctors, which is expected to increase to over 150,000. Medical schools and teaching hospitals are not prepared to handle increasingly big numbers potential doctors. Many physicians are expected to retire early when ObamaCare takes effect, and students are looking to other careers instead. Medicine is no longer so attractive.

Massachusetts example believed that by expanding insurance coverage they would reduce the number of emergency room visits.  Instead visits rose 9 percent between 2004 and 2008.  John Goodman, of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a leading health care analyst, estimated that due to the law’s coverage expansion we can expect somewhere between 848,000 to 900,000 additional emergency room visits each year, and cost more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.

For that we’ll get longer wait times for appointments, more crowded emergency rooms — and no guarantee of access to care.

Whatever Labor Wants, Labor Gets! Howcome? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama, in his State of the Union speech in January, said this:

Last month we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs.  This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

That was then, this is now. This week U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and White House economic aide Gene Sperling told journalists that Mr. Obama won’t send any of the pending free trade agreements — with Korea, Colombia or Panama, that have been languishing on his desk — to Congress for a vote until Congress also agrees to expanded subsidies for jobless union workers, and renews the canceled Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

These free trade agreements represent some $10 billion in exports for American companies, and about 360,000 American jobs will be lost if the pacts don’t go through. Canada finalizes it’s pact with Colombia on July 1, so the U.S. will lose a big chunk of its Colombian market to Canada.

Congress dumped the $2.4 billion TAA program for 2011 -2014 because studies have shown it to be of “dubious value.” It encourages workers to blame all job losses, regardless or cause on trade, because it hands idled workers 156 weeks of “income support” on top of 99 weeks of unemployment, creating a five-year free ride instead of creating jobs.

Only three days ago Trade Representative Ron Kirk was testifying before Congress and describing free trade as a job-creating machine.

Big Labor’s political game is to put pressure on its puppet in the White House ahead of an election to extract the concessions they want. The White House plays political games, and the U.S. economy and U.S. workers suffer. Only 11.9 percent of American workers belong to unions, and it would be even fewer if more states were right-to-work states.

Orin Hatch (R-UT), ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said:

It makes no sense to shut the door on increasing U.S. exports by  over $10 billion in order to fund a costly program. With our economy struggling and our nation broke, it’s time to stop the excuses and give our exporters fair access to international markets.

Whatever the unions want the unions get.  You’d think the president would want to do something about the unemployment rate, but campaign donations trump common sense, I guess.

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