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Jeff Goldsmith points out that virtually no one believed President Obama when he promised to enact health care “reform” without adding to the federal budget deficit:
A mid-November Quinnipiac poll found that only 19% of Americans and 35% of his own political party believe health reform will not add to the deficit.
He then goes on to explain the skepticism:
The reason almost no one believes health reform will be deficit neutral is our political system’s lavishly demonstrated inability to say no to anyone.
Next, he provides a well-documented example:
Exhibit A for the prosecution’s case about the inability of our political system to demand sacrifice is the so-called Doctor Fix problem.
This is a reference to the inability of Congress to live with its own “cost-controlling” legislation requiring physician fee cuts if Medicare spending grows faster than the CPI (which it has):
Every year except once (2002), Congress has declined to cut physician fees. The result is a fiscal crater more than $300 billion deep- the equivalent of a huge bad mortgage on the federal balance sheet.
Now, the President and his accomplices in Congress want us to believe that they will suddenly be able to “just say no.” Goldsmith doesn’t believe it. Nor does anyone else with any sense.
Answer: the government agency that must administer whatever health care boondoggle the Democrats finally settle on was about to release its cost estimates. Pelosi and her accomplices wanted to get the
fraud bill passed before the public saw the real cost.
And its not hard to see why they were worried. Turns out this
huge tax increase reform bill will dramatically increase health care costs. The the main numbers guy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid says Pelosicare will jack them up by $289 billion:
The House-approved healthcare overhaul would raise the costs of healthcare by $289 billion over the next 10 years, according to an analysis by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Republicans were pushing for an early release of this report, but the Dems were never going to allow that. And one can see why:
The CMS report is a blow to the White House and House Democrats who have vowed that healthcare reform would curb the growth of healthcare spending … the CMS analysis clearly states that the House bill falls short in attaining a key goal of the Democrats’ effort to reform the nation’s healthcare system.
This is not about controlling health costs or reforming health care. It’s just a way of stealing your money. Indeed, if you don’t buy the government-approved insurance mandated by the Pelosi bill, you pay a fine. And what happens if you refuse to cough up the fine? You go to jail.
Speaker Pelosi was recently asked if this provision was fair and her answer was an unequivocal yes.
Hmm … According to AP:
About 30 unions will run a full-page ad in newspapers Wednesday announcing their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee’s health overhaul bill, a top labor lobbyist said.
Why? The AP article goes does a little throat clearing before getting to the point, but union members get just the kind of “Cadillac” health plans that Baucus wants to tax.
Labor has been a major Democratic ally in the health care debate but is unhappy the legislation lacks a publicly run insurance plan and would tax expensive policies in an effort to drive down costs.
The rubber hits the road on the phrase, “tax expensive policies.” I have the feeling we’ll soon be reading more about special health tax exemptions for union members.
One pledge the President consistently makes is that Americans will have “choice” when his brand of health reform is enacted. Like most of O’s promises, this one is meaningless.
His Orwellian definition of “choice” does not mean, for example, that seniors can spend their own money for their own health insurance without losing their Social Security benefits. Per the WSJ:
President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services had sought to dismiss the suit challenging so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A must also surrender their Social Security benefits.
That’s right. If a senior would prefer some other coverage than Medicare, he must forfeit ALL of his Social Security benefits, even if he is willing to use his own money.
Moreover, this is not even written into law. It is a fiat of health care bureaucrats under Clinton, but the suit has provided a useful glimpse of what the Obama administration means by ”choice.”
The Obama Administration argued that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs had not exhausted the available administrative remedies for challenging POMS.
“Administrative remedies” refers to another feature of government health care. If dissatisfied, you don’t have the right to legal redress in the courts. You must appeal to … the government.
In other words, the government wants to be judge, jury and executioner on health care. It wants to foist Medicare on the plaintiffs and then deny them the right to sue.
President Obama says his plan for a “public option” wouldn’t be coercive … But here is a case where federal bureaucrats are using their power to force Medicare on seniors. Let’s hope the courts restore a genuine right to choose.
Are there really people out there naive enough to believe this kind of thing, and much worse, won’t go on under the public plan? The federal government is not your friend, folks.
Barack Obama ran for president espousing a far different health reform plan than he is about to give us. My latest piece for the American Spectator argues that he deliberately perpetrated a bait and switch on the voters:
On a host of reform issues, including insurance mandates, taxing health benefits and patient choice, Obama has demonstrated that his campaign rhetoric was utterly disingenuous.
Read the entire article here.
It would appear that the president’s health care “reform” project is now doing so poorly in the polls that first lady Michelle Obama has been called in to help save it:
First lady Michelle Obama sought support for the administration’s health-care plans from family advocacy groups and health-care professionals, saying the treatment of women under the current system is ‘unacceptable.’
However, the first lady’s track record at the University of Chicago Medical Center should make her husband’s advisors a little nervous about deploying her in this debate.
The UCMC program, known as the “Urban Health Initiative,” features a gang of “counselors” whose job it is to “advise” low-income patients that they would be better off at other hospitals and clinics.
The UHI has been so successful in getting rid of unwanted patients that the medical center expanded it and hired none other than David Axelrod to sell the program to the public.
But not everyone was sold. Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians suggested that the initiative “reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”
The UHI has also drawn criticism from Senator Charles Grassley and Congressman Bobby Rush, both of whom are very concerned that the program is a thinly veiled dumping scheme.
So, if I were one of the president’s advisors, I’d discourage any effort to send the first lady out to pimp Obamacare. It’s a tactic that could prove very embarrassing.
While the president tries to recruit an army of underage Obots by taking his increasing creepy message to America’s schools, the people at the other end of the age spectrum are more and more suspicious of his intentions:
Polls show seniors … are more likely than other age groups to think Medicare, the government-funded health program for the elderly, will be worse off under any health-care reform.
And, unlike the school kids Obama is attempting to indoctrinate, these suspicious seniors actually vote. This is costing AARP, which has been drinking the Obamacare Kool-Aid, a noticeable portion of its membership:
Since July 1, many of the 60,000 AARP members who have quit over concerns about health care legislation said they were worried it could lead to cuts in Medicare.
And well they should be. As I have pointed out here, there is no doubt that Obama and his minions in Congress are planning to stiff the seniors in order to pay for Obamacare.
The president continues to lie about that, but his plan definitely involves cutting Medicare Advantage, a wildly popular program among poor and minority seniors. And this is very dangerous for the Dems.
Get your KennedyCare t-shirt at www.cafepress.com/KennedyCare
Ann Coulter has it right:
First screw something up, then claim that it’s screwed up because there’s not enough government oversight (it’s the free market run wild!), and then step in and really screw it up in the name of “reform.”
We are now hearing noises from the Dems to the effect that they are willing to compromise on the public plan issue. The more I think about it, the less I believe it.
The bait-and-switch is an Obama/Democrat specialty. These are the people who proposed taxing health insurance benefits after trashing John McCain for a similar proposal.
And, of course, Obama was famously for single-payer before he began running for President and needed to adopt a “moderate” position on health care.
So, when these people start offering a compromise like insurance co-ops, it is prudent to keep one’s hand on one’s wallet.
One of the claims often made by the President and his congressional accomplices, despite longstanding evidence to the contrary, is that health “reform” will save money by encouraging preventive care.
Well, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Ofiice has done the math, and concludes that this claim is pure BS. In fact, the numbers suggest that the opposite is true:
The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.
Unlike the fabulists at the White House and in Congress, the work of the CBO is grounded in objective reality. Nonetheless, the Obots are once again attacking the messenger:
Democrats from President Obama on down have expressed frustration that [CBO Director] Elmendorf doesn’t give Democrats’ health care reform proposals sufficient credit for cost cutting through preventive care.
Reality bites, eh? Fact-based analysis is always an itrritant to these BS artists.
In an apparent attempt to prove that the term ”progressive” is a synonym for “fascist,” the Obama administration has published this seriously creepy request on the White House web site:
If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected]
Yes. you read that right. The Obama administration is asking Americans to inform on their fellow citizens for having the temerity to dissent via e-mail or the internet.
And, in addition to requesting reports about “fishy” e-mails and web posts, the White House wants the Obots to keep alert for “rumors” they hear in “casual conversation.”
Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help.
Call me paranoid, but I’m just a leeeeetle uncomfortable with a Presidential administration that wants to “keep track” of the things people say in casual conversation.
However, I’d like to make one thing clear to any Obot reporting my “fishy” posts to Big Brother: the name is spelled C-A-T-R-O-N. And, as to pronunciation, it rhymes with “patron.”
Oh, yes, I almost forgot. While you’re snitching, make sure you report the conflicts of interest that seep from every pore of Obama’s health care Czarina, Nancy DeParle.
One of the linchpin arguments of government-run health care advocates is that the government can run an insurance program more efficiently and with much lower administrative costs than the private sector. According to them, Medicare overhead is approximately 3% while private insurers have 12% (or 20% or 31% depending on who is talking) in administrative costs.
The argument is complete rubbish.
Put aside the fact that since private insurance companies have to earn a profit for their shareholders, they must also root out fraud. Medicare and Medicaid – which are rife with fraud to the tune of billions of dollars – do not because they rely on a bottomless pit of taxpayer money.
Put aside the fact that private insurers need to collect premiums while the government collects its premiums through the IRS whose administrative costs are nowhere to be found in the so-called Medicare overhead number.
The reason that the Medicare overhead number appears so low is that it is computed as a percentage of total health care costs. Since Medicare covers people over 65 whose costs are much higher than the under-65 population, the admin costs appear lower – but they are not. This is nothing more than lying with statistics.
It seems that the advocates of government-run healthcare didn’t learn anything from the history of the 20th century. Almost 20 years since the end of the Soviet Union and the collapse of world communism, the American left still seems to think that government should run businesses and that profit should be outlawed. There’s absolutely nothing different about health care from any other important good or service that the market provides.
In an apparent effort to confirm our worst fears about socialized medicine, Britain’s rationing Czars have decided to stop paying for therapeutic pain injections:
Tens of thousands with chronic back pain will be forced to live in agony after a decision to slash the number of painkilling injections issued by the NHS, doctors have warned.
And what do these apparatchiks recommend for patients with such pain?
Instead the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is ordering doctors to offer patients remedies like acupuncture and osteopathy.
Meanwhile, the growing number of Americans speaking out against going to such a health care rationing system in the U.S. are being mocked by the “news” media and vilified by the nutroots.
This is good news. When ”progressives” start in with the slander, it usually means they’re afraid. And they should be. The outcry at townhall meetings around the country may be the death knell of Obamacare.
This, by the way, is not unlike what happened in 1993. Hillarycare wasn’t killed by Harry & Louise or the “health care industrial complex.” It died when the public started hearing the details.
Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute addresses the issue of health care “reform” in a new column. Read it all.
Government intervention in medicine is wrecking American health care. Nearly half of all spending on health care in America is already government spending. Yet President Obama’s “reforms” will only expand that intervention.
Prior to the government’s entrance into medicine, health care was regarded as a product to be traded voluntarily on a free market-no different from food, clothing, or any other important good or service. Medical providers competed to provide the best quality services at the lowest possible prices. Virtually all Americans could afford basic health care, while those few who could not were able to rely on abundant private charity.
Had this freedom been allowed to endure, Americans’ rising productivity would have afforded them better and better health care, just as, today, we buy better and more varied food and clothing than people did a century ago. There would be no crisis of affordability, as there isn’t for food or clothing.
This video speaks for itself – and shows that Obama’s various defenses of the public insurance option are more of the same: obfuscation and propaganda.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times is one of the most mendacious commentators on health care in the mainstream media. See my essay The Health Care Lies of Paul Krugman – and this entertaining video. Enjoy!
Hannity ran a segment on the First Lady’s patient-dumping scheme, and they interviewed me pursuant to an article I wrote about it several months ago. Here’s where the rubber hits the road on the “Urban Health Initiative”:
EARHARDT: According to community activist Shannon Bennett, this has led to a backlash among South Side residents.
SHANNON BENETT, KENWOOD-OAKLAND COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: We hear about the university is saying as their purpose of what they want to do. And we see something different. And what see different is that how they leave them out in the cold.
EARHARDT: He’s also skeptical of the program’s claim that patients directed away from the hospital are receiving better care at local clinics.
BENNETTE: They are not getting better care. And part of what the issue is that, these clinics are usually staffed by the county, and to my understanding, that service, of course, is nothing comparable to what you’re going to get at the University of Chicago.
EARHARDT: Health care professional David Catron has spend over 25 years in the business and agrees with Bennett’s assessment.
DAVID CATRON, HEALTHCARE CONSULTANT: The Urban Health Initiative is not about charity. It’s about reserving beds in the University of Chicago Medical Center for well-heeled, well-insured patients.
EARHARDT: In fact, he goes even further, calling the initiative a patient-dumping scheme, a practice outlawed by President Reagan back in 1986.
CATRON: If it doesn’t violate the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit of the law. It is patient-dumping.
Read the full transcript here.
The other day, Peter Singer quoted me in his New York Times piece, Why We Must Ration Health Care:
In the conservative monthly The American Spectator, David Catron … asked whether we really deserve a health care system in which ’soulless bureaucrats arbitrarily put a dollar value on our lives.’
For anyone familiar with Singer’s positions, which include the advocacy of infanticide in certain situations, it will come as no surprise that his answer to my question is “yes.”
The task of health care bureaucrats is then to get the best value for the resources they have been allocated. It is the familiar comparative exercise of getting the most bang for your buck.
This assertion is an excellent argument for not giving those bureaucrats our bucks. It also highlights what Singer and other advocates of government-run health care mean by “we.”
When these people say we need to do something, what they really mean is the government wants to do something to us. And it is always something that we don’t want done.
During last year’s presidential race the Obama campaign accused John McCain of wanting to “tax health care instead of fixing it.” And this accusation probably contributed to McCain’s demise.
Thus, many were outraged when our new President and his congressional accomplices proposed a very similar health benefits tax—-minus McCain’s $5,000 tax credit.
But a funny thing happened during the the July 4 congressional recess: several public opinion polls revealed that the voters still don’t like the idea of a health benefits tax:
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said that public polls conducted over the July 4 congressional recess and reviewed by senators are causing lawmakers to have second thoughts about limiting the tax exclusion for employer health plans.
In other words, the Dems are cowards as well as hypocrites. You can bet, however, that these thieves will find some way to raise your taxes. It’s what they do best.
Having government-provided health insurance doesn’t do a lot of good when the health care is delivered by apathetic, uncaring, unionized, government health workers.
Consider this story (July 5, 2009) in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper:
Cancer patient Pamela Goddard battled against cancer for 50 years before she died of an infected bedsore during a stay in hospital.
The cancer did not kill her, but a bedsore did.
What appeared to be the start of one was noted on her back as she was admitted for radiation treatment in September and it was allowed to gradually develop into a “raging sore” which left Mrs Goddard moaning in pain.
During four weeks of what her family describe as “torture” in a bed in East Surrey Hospital, the sore resulted in a fatal blood infection and she died on October 27.
Her son Adrian Goddard, who lives in the US, said: “She survived cancer for 40 years, then died from a bedsore.
“It is just beyond belief that they could let a bedsore develop to the point where it actually kills someone from septicaemia.”He said the nurses seemed largely unconcerned by the growing size of the sore and his mother’s increasing pain.”
The bedsore was painful. There were various procedures that should have been done. You are supposed to debride the thing, clean it, treat it.”
She was supposed to be lifted and moved so there’s not constant pressure on it,” Mr Goddard said.”There were explanations like ‘there was only one nurse and it wasn’t possible to do it or the equipment was broken’… just a series of excuses.
Of course, the Obama administration denies that UK socialist-style health care cost containment is on the horizon. They prefer the approach of having government pay for health care while hospitals and doctors remain nominally private. However, the Obama approach is like that taken in Canada where stories of hospital neglect – just like in the UK – are reported with great regularity.
A new video produced by the National Center for Policy Analysis features Canadian medical broker Rick Baker of Timely Medical Alternatives who has appeared in several of our health care films. This piece serves as a warning from someone who sees suffering and waiting Canadians on a daily basis.To sign the “Free Our Health Care Now!” petition, visit their website.
The Independence Institute in Colorado has just produced a good video explaining how individual mandates have worked in Massachusetts with the following introduction:
We all agree the health care system is in need of reform. That’s not the issue. The debate is really what kind of reform is needed. There are those rooting for nationalizing health care – Obama Care. What’s that you ask? Obama’s idea of reform is a government takeover of the health care system. One of the most popular forms of government takeover is the “Massachusetts Model.” Those of us opposing “reform” that involves yet more government interference, wish to see a system that incorporates more consumer choice and more competition. Take a minute to watch this new video outlining just one of the many reasons the Massachusetts model has failed.
It’s a shame that ABC’s infomercial for Obamacare bombed so badly in the ratings. It provided genuine moment of clarity.
A skeptical physician asked Obama if he would be willing to submit his own family to the limitations of a public plan such as he has proposed for the rest of us:
Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.
Guess how the President answered:
The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if ‘it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.’
In other words, the President wasn’t willing to commit his own loved ones to the tender mercies of his own health care plan.
That’s all you need to know about Obamacare.
A few weeks ago, it looked like the AMA might collaborate with the President in his effort to dismantle U.S. health care, presumably in the hope that groveling would prevent reimbursement cuts for its membership.
But the President was playing the AMA leadership for chumps. He plans to push through the “public option” and to force doctors to participate in the program. This caused an epiphany at the AMA:
As the health care debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the health care system.
It will be interesting to see if the AMA can influence the outcome of the “public option” debate. The organization once wielded considerable power inside the Beltway, but not so much these days.
One thing is certain: Collaborating with Obama won’t get the AMA anywhere. He’s going to doublecross the health care stakeholders whenever it is politically expedient.
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+ May 2009
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