American Elephants

Coercion, Mandates, Rules, Subsidies and Price Controls too! by The Elephant's Child

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama had posted his Health Care Reform Proposal online, and sneeringly said that with the Health Care Summit approaching, it might be useful if the Republicans posted theirs if they had one.  (I paraphrase). Which was more than annoying since Republicans have been posting plans for months.

But now and then one hears someone complain that the Republicans aren’t doing anything.  This is not a bipartisan Congress.  The Democrats control the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.  Until the election of new Senator Scott Brown, Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  That a Health Care bill that is opposed by a significant majority of Americans has not passed, is due to a lot of hard work by Congressional Republicans., and they deserve our gratitude.

The President’s proposal is simply the same-old, same-old, with the addition of price controls, which always fail.  But this is not an administration that learns from experience.

Republican proposals are “Common-Sense Health Care Reforms Our Nation Can Afford”.  Representative Paul Ryan  presented “The Patients’ Choice Act” and Jeffrey H. Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, was speechwriter for HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, has proposed “The Small Bill.”

John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis has “Consumer Driven Health Care.” If you object to ObamaCare as much as I do, you should take a look at the alternatives in order to understand why the majority of  Americans are so opposed, and why Democrats’ policies are so abhorrent.

The Wall Street Journal comments:

“The President’s Proposal,” as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive.  It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill.  And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them — but by expanding them to everyone.

It Begins. California Death Panels Ban Mammograms for Women Under Age 50. by The Elephant's Child

The California Health and Human Services Agency is ending mammogram subsidies for low-income women under age 50.  Under the old rules, women unable to pay could get a subsidy for annual breast-cancer screening beginning at age 40.

The decision by the State of California, which takes effect Jan. 1, follows a federal task force recommendation last month that mammograms before the age of 50 are not generally needed.  As Carly Fiorina notes, the task force does not include any oncologists or radiologists, but simply a bunch of bureaucrats.

HHS Secretary Sibelius, noting the outcry, hastened to say that the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendations were not regulation, and they really didn’t have any say.

California public health  linked the change to the Task Force advisory and also to California’s budget woes.

Breast cancer is a high-profile disease.  Most women know someone who has died of breast cancer.  The only appeal from a government decision is strong opposition.  Congress takes note of opposition if it is loud enough.  But many diseases and conditions are not high-profile, and cost a lot, and under ObamaCare the guidance will not come from your doctor, but from statistics gathered by bureaucrats to see what is cost-effective.

Democrats claim that they will increase preventive care to  control costs.  Studies show that preventive care will not control costs, but increase them.  Democrats don’t know anything whatsoever about controlling costs, or budgeting.  The current health-care bill clearly demonstrates this.

American medicine has always been about saving lives.  Democrat health-care reform is, first of all, about control.  To get that control, they have divided the electorate into groups to whom they promise favors.  Planned Parenthood and feminists demand paid abortions;  members of the Democrat caucus opposed to abortion, demand no paid abortions or they will vote against the bill.  Trial lawyers are second only to labor unions as Democrat donors.  No tort reform, and extra goodies for the unions.  Pleasing everyone means very high costs.  Democrat health-care reform becomes about saving money, and saving money becomes about rationing, because the costs are going to be very high, and rationing is all that’s left.

Republican health-care reform is about individuals, not groups.  They look at where the real problems are in our current health care, and advocate solving the problems before attempting drastic reform.  Doctors freely admit that they practice defensive medicine, ordering more tests than necessary  just to be on the safe side for fear of lawsuits. and nobody really knows how much this costs, but it’s a lot.

Insurance costs differ widely in different states because of requirements imposed by insurance commissioners and legislatures. Opening competition to insurance companies across state lines would bring costs down sharply.  Competition always does.  Bringing the cost of health insurance policies down will make health-care affordable for far more people.  Republicans have all sorts of good ideas.  Correcting the things that are wrong first seems far more sensible than trying to rearrange a big chunk of the economy, with no idea whether any part of it will work at all.

Carly Fiorina Talks About the Health Care Bills Now Before Congress. by The Elephant's Child
December 6, 2009, 12:39 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law | Tags: , ,

And bless her heart, she is running against Barbara Boxer.

(h/t: The Corner, NRO)

A Little History of Health Care Cost Estimates and Actual Results. by The Elephant's Child
October 27, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

Let’s start with the fact that the Democrats want single-payer, government-run health care.  I cannot fathom why they think this would be a good idea, since it has proved so damaging everywhere else.  Damaging to the economy, damaging to the patients who depend on it, and damaging to the medical system itself, and damaging to the society.

But Democrats (Liberals/ Progressives) believe in their good intentions, are uninterested in studies, experience or history, and don’t care much about consequences.  That’s why when they are in pursuit of their enlightened aims, their claims get more and more preposterous.

Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009three times the deficit in 2008 under the evil George W. Bush.  And we have just been told that a new health-care entitlement will reduce the red ink by $81 billion over ten years.

The theory is that a more involved federal role by those brilliant folks in Congress will restrain costs and thus make health care more affordable.  Stop laughing, it isn’t funny.

Before the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health care inflation ran only slightly faster than overall inflation.  In the years since, medical inflation has increased 2.3 times faster than inflation in the regular economy.  Much of this represents advances in technology and new treatments, but the idea of government as thrifty is plain silly.

The Wall Street Journal examined the record of Congressional forecasters in predicting costs.

ED-AK368_1healt_D_20091019182913The record is not good.  Most government programs cost far more than they were estimated to cost, and of course Congress usually cannot keep their hands off and continually tinkers.

The $81 billion “reduction” in cost came from the CBO estimate applied to the Baucus bill which existed only as a bunch of concepts.  We need a good  CBO estimate of whatever they have added in the back room, behind closed doors.  Whatever the estimate, history tells us that it will cost far more.

You will notice that only George Bush’s Prescription Drug benefit came in under predicted cost, but I have read that the Democrats are anxious to fill in the “donut hole” which was the device that brought the program in under estimates, along with greater use of generics, and lower participation by seniors.

Peter Orzag , now White House Budget Director, told Congress when he ran the Congressional Budget Office that the “primary cause” of the cost savings is that “the pricing is coming in better than anticipated, and that is likely a reflection of the competition that’s occurring in the private market.” Competition?  Who knew! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed, adding that when given choices “beneficiaries have overwhelmingly selected less costly drug plans.”

There is a lesson there, but apparently no one is paying attention.

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