[December 30, 2008 @ 10:34 pm] David Catron

As I pointed out recently, the socialized medicine crowd has come up with a new pretext for imposing government-run health care on the country—-that it will somehow stimulate the economy. Michael Cannon asks an inconvenient question:

That seems to contradict their usual spiel … that America’s health care sector is wasteful and inefficient … How is pumping more money into such an inefficient economic sector supposed to stimulate growth?

The answer, of course, is that it won’t. Not that this really matters to the advocates of government-run health care. For them, this is just another bogus argument they can use to trick the public into giving them yet more power over our lives and money. 

[December 22, 2008 @ 2:52 pm] David Catron

The more government involvement we have in health care, the more politicized the system becomes. In addition to shenanigans such as those we have seen relating to SCHIP and Medicare Advantage, there will also be straightforward graft. Per the WSJ:

The $8 million in new state money that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly tied to a $50,000 campaign contribution from a children’s-hospital executive would have provided medical treatment to the sickest and poorest children throughout Illinois.

That’s right. In addition the other skulduggery he was up to, Blago was planning to withhold additional funding for seriously sick kids unless hospitals coughed up campaign contributions:

After the governor decided to approve the new $8 million in funding, he told an aide on Oct. 8 that he was considering reversing course because [Children’s Memorial CEO] Magoon hadn’t contributed $50,000 to the governor’s campaign fund.

OK. Now read the following very slowly (then actually think about it): This kind of thing is NOT UNUSUAL when politicians and bureaucrats control health care. For these creeps, it isn’t about health care (universal or otherwise). It’s about money and power.

[December 19, 2008 @ 9:28 pm] David Catron

A favorite talking point of the “universal coverage” crowd is the claim that 18,000 Americans die annually because they have no health coverage. Greg Scandlen does a good job of debunking this canard:

Like other misleading claims, this one is also based on a report by the Institute of Medicine … The study conducts no original research, but is a “meta-analysis” of existing studies. There is little consistency between these studies in quality or methods, and all are “observational rather than experimental.”

Ironically, considering the amount of play this bogus stat gets in the media, the IOM report only mentions the18,000 number in passing:

The number shows up only once in the entire report, buried way back in Appendix D that explains the tortured methodology used to come up with that number.

And, as Scandlen explains, there are so many flaws in this tortured methodology that the oft-repreated datum simply can’t be taken seriously. The bottom line is as follows:

Of all the things that might be said about the uninsured, the one thing that is almost certainly not true is that 18,000 of them die each year simply because they do not have coverage.

Like most of the claims made about the fabled uninsured, the tragic fate of those 18,000 victims is pure fiction.

[December 9, 2008 @ 4:55 pm] David Catron

Like MacBeth, the Obama administration and its accomplices in Congress know the danger of dawdling. They believe that Hillarycare was killed back in 1993 because the Clintons moved too slowly, allowing time for the opposition to mobilize. This time, as the WSJ points out, Obama’s “health care czar” isn’t about to let that happen:

According to Mr. Daschle, because of the Clintons’ hesitation, “reform opponents succeeded in confusing and even frightening Americans about what change might mean.”

He believes, in other words, that the opponents of government-run health care tricked the public into opposing it. Thus, the project of dramatically increasing the government’s role in health care will remain pretty much the same. Only the tactics will change:

[The Democrats] aren’t about to let history repeat itself. And since the lessons they learned from the HillaryCare fiasco are political, and not substantive, they are already moving full-speed ahead.

The Dems are planning to short-circuit the normal legislative process in order to ram this thing down our throats. And they have a plan that will allow them to do it without a filibuster-proof majority:

Democrats are talking up “budget reconciliation” to pass a health overhaul. This process was created in 1974 and allows legislation dealing with government finances to be whisked through Congress on a simple majority after 20 hours of debate.

They will declare victory against the “enemies of reform” and the “news” media will repeat this BS. Eventually, of course, their “reforms” will crash and burn, just as a very similar intiative has failed in Massachusetts.  Why? Because their plan fails to address the underlying diseases afflicting American health care.

With the grim inevitability of Greek tragedy, costs will skyrocket, access will contract, and quality will decline. The only question involves who they will blame it on. Bush will be gone and they control both houses of Congress. Maybe they’ll blame it on global climate change. Yea, that’s the ticket.

[December 3, 2008 @ 5:17 pm] David Catron

Last weekend, as I trudged through the airport, I saw a copy of Time on a magazine rack. When I noticed the title of the cover story, “The Sorry State of American Health Care,” I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a copy.

Predictably, the article was just a recitation of the same old tired arguments and phony statistics repeated over and over (and over) by the advocates of government-run health care.

The phony stats parroted in the piece include our old friend infant mortality. As I pointed out a few days ago, infant mortality rates tell us nothing about a nation’s health care system, but Time doesn’t care about that:

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, about 7 babies out of every 1,000 live births in the U.S. died before their first birthday.

The piece admits that this represents another incremental gain in a century of progress, but then adds a black cloud to the silver lining by repeating the following faux-stat from the OECD:

But globally, it still places us 29th in the world, behind Cuba and Singapore and on a par with Poland and Slovakia.

The piece repeats equally specious canards about life expectancy, the uninsured, preventable deaths, and preventive medicine. All of its assertions about these things have been long ago debunked. 

But this is not about information. The goal is to create a sense of crisis that will cause the public to accept government-run health care. And this “news” magazine has been engaged in this project for a long time.

Obvious and Urgent … Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, and even the American Medical Association, which fought Medicare for so long, are all agreed that a new federal role is necessary to help Americans pay their bills.

In other words, government intervention is urgently needed to avoid catastrophe. The only problem is that the above passage is from a piece that the magazine published in 1971.

That’s right. These people have been giving us the Chicken Little treatment for nearly 40 years. This is reminiscent of the hysterical nonsense they publish about “global climate change.”

But that’s another story.