American Elephants

Daniel Hannan Warned Us in 2009. We Didn’t Pay Attention. by The Elephant's Child

I posted this warning from Britain’s Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament way back in 2009, about imitating their National Health Service. He urged us then not to copy their system. But we didn’t have a choice. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. They drew it up in Congressional back rooms, behind locked doors, and passed it without a single Republican vote and without any Republican input. It’s just kind of interesting to see how far we have come since 2009.

If you remember, many on the right posted this diagram of the enormous bureaucracy that was necessary to administer ObamaCare added on top of the networks of insurance companies and the medical profession. Each of these offices and agencies and bureaus is filled with bureaucrats who have to be paid high Beltway salaries and whose healthcare and pensions have to be paid for with taxpayer dollars. They expected to pay for this by taking $500 billion out of Medicare, paying doctors and hospitals less, limiting networks of providers, and eliminating your ability to get care if you travel. ……….(click to enlarge)

ObamaCare flow chart

Is Our Future To Be Found in Medical Tourism to Escape ObamaCare? by The Elephant's Child

Democrats like to claim that the inspiration for ObamaCare came from Massachusetts’ Romney Care. They did copy the individual mandate, I believe, and had as an adviser someone who had helped to develop RomneyCare.

However, the main group of Obama’s health care advisers: Ezekiel Emanuel MD, Tom Daschle, Peter Orzag, Donald Berwick MD and Jacob Hacker, were all great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Much of their admiration was centered on the idea that the highest medical costs came from elderly people in their final years, and that to significantly cut costs, they would have to limit those costs in some way.

Why they would admire a system so mired in scandal — with elderly patients dying in hospital from dehydration and starvation — is hard to understand, for the stories are published regularly in the British newspapers, from people who are using super glue to fasten in their teeth due to inability to see a dentist, to patients parked in ambulances outside hospitals to keep the numbers at emergency rooms down.

Back before ObamaCare first passed in this country, we noted that Canadians unable to get the care they needed in Canada were coming to the US for care in droves. They were suffering from long wait times to see a specialist, lack of availability of advanced diagnostic equipment or long wait times to get to use it. Here, an appointment for a CT scan can be had in 45 minutes.

You don’t get sent to a specialist unless you have a potential problem. Some potential problems are far too catastrophic to wait for several months. Now, we learn that today, as many as 41,838 Canadians — out of a population of around 35 million — left the country last year for health care treatment. More than 42,000 did so in 2012, and more than 46,000 sought treatment elsewhere in 2011. The Fraser Institute calls the 2013 figure a conservative number and says that it is deeply damning about Canadian care.

Canada has companies devoted to arranging medical tourism, including Costa Rica, India, Thailand and the U.S. Some companies send clients to Mexico, Turkey, Poland and the Dominican Republic. Those who leave Canada for treatment do so for reasons related to the country’s government-run health care system: better outcomes, avoidance of the consequences of wait times, concerns about the quality of medicine in a country whose system destroys the incentives needed to build more advanced facilities and develop higher tech medicine. [Note the word “incentives” in that last sentence.]

It is hard to tell, but ObamaCare seems to be in a death spiral — the insurance pool equivalent of bankruptcy — when too many older and sicker people sign up for insurance relative to the number of younger healthier people. According to figures released this week over half the people who have enrolled are over the age of 45, and only 24 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34,  half the number needed to keep premiums affordable.

Democrats will not admit the depth of the problems, and most probably will attempt to switch it to a “single-payer” plan which is what they wanted all the time like Britain’s failed NHS.

The most frightening possibility is attempts to patch, jigger, or reform the current  plan. Obama is determined to do whatever is necessary by executive order, but how far he will take that is unknown. ObamaCare cannot be fixed. The most basic need is to get government out of the business of running American health care. They are not competent to do so.

Free markets, free people — and let innovation triumph.

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