A Plan to Hurt You

FrontPageMag | Floyd and Mary Beth Brown | June 26, 2009

Imagine waiting for a year to have cancer surgery while the malignancy spreads – and then be told, “Sorry. You waited too long. Go home and die.” It happens in Britain and Canada because they have socialized medicine.

Now imagine a federal bureaucrat possessing the power to choose your doctor, tell doctors what treatments they can prescribe and which tests they can run. They decide at what age you are no longer eligible to undergo dialysis or receive an organ transplant or a CAT scan, even treatments as simple as antibiotics.

Are you ready for a law that forbids you from consulting a private physician for better treatment or to get a second opinion — even if you’re willing to pay for the service yourself?

These are all features of President Obama’s health care plan which he recently announced, saying: “After decades of inaction, we have finally decided to fix what is broken about health care in America. We have decided that it’s time to give every American quality health care at an affordable cost.”

Obama is using the excuse that millions of Americans are uninsured to take over America’s health care system — and he will destroy it.

The health care “crisis” is a myth. Medical costs are high, but this is a result of the best care in the world. There’s no health-care crisis in America. Improvements can be made, but according to Investor’s Business Daily the crisis is exaggerated: “According to ‘Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,’ a Census Bureau report published last August, of the 45.6 million persons in the U.S. that did not have health insurance at some point in 2007, 9.7 million, or about 21 percent, were not U.S. citizens. Also among the uninsured are 17 million Americans who live in households where the annual income exceeds $50,000; 7 million of those without coverage have incomes of $75,000 a year or more.”

IBD continues: “Many of the uninsured are young and healthy (40 percent are between ages 18 and 34) and at this point in their lives, particularly in this economy, choose to put their dollars elsewhere.”

Apparently those who are legally in this country, and are involuntarily uninsured for an extended period of time, constitute a small number of people. Moreover, the involuntarily uninsured are not forced in this country to go without medical treatment.

IBD again: “The notion that the uninsured are without health care is bogus, as well. They consumed an estimated $116 billion worth of health care in 2008, according to the advocacy group Families USA.”

So based on a fabricated crisis, Obama panics and is attempting to hand doctors, hospitals, and patients over to an army of bureaucrats.

Senator Richard Shelby recently said that President Barack Obama’s proposed health care plan is the “first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known.”

Dick Morris captured the progressive nature of the plan this way: “Now that the cameras have been put away and the media is no longer watching their secret emerges: They are going to cut medical costs by cutting medical care… These decisions will not be medical but financial. They will not be based on a doctor’s opinion of what his or her patient needs, but a bureaucrat’s and an accountant s opinion of what the new health care system can afford.

“And you will not be able to bypass their rulings and pay for this care yourself… What we now call a private fee for service will metastasize into a bribe.”

Everything Obama’s is doing moves the U.S. economy closer and closer to financial collapse. We stand on the brink of the precipice, staring down into the abyss. Three of the most recent estimates, place the “true cost” of Obama bailouts at anywhere from $3.2 trillion to $12.8 trillion.

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Comments

  1. Jim Holman says:

    The health care “crisis” is a myth.

    Where do these people come from. . . . .

    Medical costs are high, but this is a result of the best care in the world.

    Best care in the world? Based on what? What is the statistic? Where are the data? Even within the U.S. health care costs vary greatly, and seem to be driven by physician practice patterns. And the places with the higher health care costs aren’t any healthier.

    Also among the uninsured are 17 million Americans who live in households where the annual income exceeds $50,000; 7 million of those without coverage have incomes of $75,000 a year or more.”

    I know a few of these people. They are terrified — terrified — of something going wrong, of someone becoming seriously ill, and being financially ruined. $75K per year isn’t that much any more, especially for a family. Some of these people would like to purchase health insurance, but they can’t because of a pre-existing condition.

    Here’s a reality check. Recently my spouse had a routine outpatient gall bladder operation. In the hospital at 6 a.m., out at 2 p.m., with a two-hour surgery. The bill? $18,700. And that’s just for the surgery. Add in the surgeon and anesthesiologist, and that’s another $7,000. Add in another $1,000 or so for diagnostic tests. And that’s for a simple outpatient surgery. Fortunately we had decent insurance.

    A significant number of bankruptcies every year are caused by medical expenses, and many of those involve people who have insurance.

    Basically, almost all of us are on the edge of the abyss, and a single serious illness can be financially disastrous. You lose your job (and your income) and then have to pay $800 a month for insurance. A lot of people can’t afford that.

    There are countless stories of people being denied insurance, or even having insurance “rescinded” once they get sick.

    Crisis? You bet there’s a crisis. Whatever political party you might belong to, whatever you think the solution might be, there’s a crisis.

  2. Blog-Editor says:

    Jim, The insanity and idiocy of the Obama socialist health-care pipe dreams are exposed by Dick Morris’ observations:

    He [Obama] will ask 800,000 doctors in the U.S. to treat 300 million people as opposed to 250 million who are now insured. But there won’t be any more doctors. In fact, with fee restrictions, there will be fewer. That means that less care will have to suffice for more people. The result will be rationing as in Canada. There, the cancer death rate is 16% higher than in the U.S. because of this rationing of medical care. It takes an eight week wait to get radiation therapy for cancer.

    Wake up and see reality! I have lived and suffered under the socialist “health-care solutions”, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies. Many friends and family members suffered and died because of the “quality” and “availability” of such “care.”

  3. Jim Holman says:

    Chris writes: “He [Obama] will ask 800,000 doctors in the U.S. to treat 300 million people as opposed to 250 million who are now insured.”

    Most of what I’ve heard has been about a “public plan” option. So far the criticisms of it that I have heard have been contradictory. On the one hand it will be terrible, because the government can’t do anything right. On the other hand, it will be so popular that private insurance won’t be able to compete with it. Well, which is it?

    By the way, most of those uninsured people are now getting treated. They are just getting treated in the most expensive way possible: the emergency room. And they often get treated late in the disease process rather than earlier — in other words, when it’s most expensive rather than cheaper.

    For a small amount you can treat many cases of hypertension. Or, you can want until these people have strokes and heart attacks. Which is cheaper?

    I don’t know where your’re getting your cancer statistics. Is there a reference?

  4. Jim you want the government to “fix” the health-care system like it “fixed” welfare, public education, medicare, etc.? Get real! Found some arguments to contradict your pie-in-the-sky thinking regarding government control of yet more of our lives:

    The first thing you need to understand is that health insurance is not a right. It’s no more a right than vacation insurance is a right. It’s an option – a smart option, but still just an option. You have the right to secure health insurance. You also have the right to live without it.

    In the last 60 years, health insurance has become a part of most employers’ compensation packages.

    But even the 40-hour-a-week employee does not have the right to health insurance. Employers are not bound by law to offer it. It’s just a benefit.

    Second, health insurance is not supposed to be what it has become. The notion that it should cover all health-related expenses is relatively new and completely misguided. Health insurance is exactly what it says it is: insurance for your health.

    If something catastrophic should occur, you break a bone, you find yourself in need of extended, expensive treatment, insurance is there to protect you from going bankrupt. Otherwise, you pay your routine expenses/visits out of pocket.

    Today, however, people want health insurance to pay for everything from Vioxx to Viagra, sore throats and slight fevers. People run to the doctor at the slightest provocation because, well, why not? It doesn’t cost anything more than a co-pay.

    The average American can’t keep away from the doctor. He’s addicted to free health care.

    And now we are proposing to spend more than a trillion dollars (that’s $1,000,000,000,000) to feed this addiction and to guarantee this right that isn’t a right.

    Worse than that, we are going to let the government run it. And, really, is there much of a track record to boost confidence that this time around, our government will run a stellar operation?

    Where’s the money you’ve been contributing to Social Security all these years? How’s MediCal working out? How easy is it to deal with VA benefits? How efficient are our public schools? How about our banking watchdogs on Capitol Hill?

    Look, I’m not suggesting that the health care system in place today is so great. It’s a mess. HMOs wield too much power. Costs are soaring. Doctors are making less and less. It needs fixing.

    But let’s not be foolish. Fix it by making it consumer-based like it used to be. Carry catastrophic insurance, but cover the rest yourself. Cut out the middleman (your HMO/PPO) and take responsibility for your own health care. – Bob Dickson

  5. Hi Jim – Long time no correspond with.

    You wrote:

    “And the places with the higher health care costs aren’t any healthier.”

    You realize that you are thinking about this backwards, right? Of course health care costs are higher where people are less healthy. People who spend more are usually less healthy for a variety of cultural and genetic reasons.

    “So far the criticisms of it that I have heard have been contradictory. On the one hand it will be terrible, because the government can’t do anything right. On the other hand, it will be so popular that private insurance won’t be able to compete with it. Well, which is it?”

    The problem with the public plan “competing” with the private plans is that the competition will be illusory. The public plan will appear to cost less due to hidden subsidies. But once “universalized” the costs will be trully accounted for and rationing the only way to control them.

  6. Jim Holman says:

    Tom writes: “Hi Jim – Long time no correspond with.”

    And greetings also to you.

    Tom: “You realize that you are thinking about this backwards, right? Of course health care costs are higher where people are less healthy. People who spend more are usually less healthy for a variety of cultural and genetic reasons.”

    What’s interesting is that health care costs vary greatly even between communities that have essentially the same demographics. An article in the New Yorker, “The Cost Conundrum,” compares McAllen and El Paso, Texas:

    Yet public-health statistics show that cardiovascular-disease rates in the county [in which McAllen is located] are actually lower than average, probably because its smoking rates are quite low. Rates of asthma, H.I.V., infant mortality, cancer, and injury are lower, too. El Paso County, eight hundred miles up the border, has essentially the same demographics. Both counties have a population of roughly seven hundred thousand, similar public-health statistics, and similar percentages of non-English speakers, illegal immigrants, and the unemployed. Yet in 2006 Medicare expenditures (our best approximation of over-all spending patterns) in El Paso were $7,504 per enrollee—half as much as in McAllen.

    It’s an interesting article. I won’t reproduce any more of it, but you can read the whole piece here.

    Another interesting article describes the German system of health care. It’s not socialized medicine, but it does involve regulating the private insurance companies.

  7. D. George says:

    I agree with Mr. Holman that that health care crisis is no myth. I wonder about these columnists sometimes. The crisis is rampant inflation in the cost of health care. This inflation is not simply due to rapidly increasing quality of care, as the authors imply.

    The crisis has been caused by many factors, but Obama’s plan addresses none of them. His solution is for the most part a crude combination of price fixing and forced demand reduction through central planning, and will make matters worse. There will be a combination of shortages and reduced options for treatment. I doubt the government will have the stomach to raise taxes sufficiently to pay for the scheme, so I expect all of this (along with all the other recent spending programs) will be paid for through debasement of the dollar, which is essentially a highly regressive form of taxation. So much for looking out for the “little guy.”

  8. Blog-Editor says:

    D. George, You’re quite right, the Obama and the Democrats (socialists) plan does little to help the people. The latest iteration of this nightmare of a bill reveals the hypocrisy of it all. Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe correctly points out:

    Sweeping healthcare legislation working its way through Congress is more than an effort to provide insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Tucked within is a provision that could provide billions of dollars for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers’ markets.

    The add-ons – characterized as part of a broad effort to improve the nation’s health “infrastructure” – appear in House and Senate versions of the bill.

    Critics argue the provision is a thinly disguised effort to insert pork-barrel spending into a bill that has been widely portrayed to the public as dealing with expanding health coverage and cutting medical costs. A leading critic, Senator Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, ridicules the local projects, asking: “How can Democrats justify the wasteful spending in this bill?”

    But advocates, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, defend the proposed spending as a necessary way to promote healthier lives and, in the long run, cut medical costs. “These are not public works grants; they are community transformation grants,” said Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Kennedy, chairman of the Senate health committee whose healthcare bill includes the projects.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/07/09/in_health_bill_billions_for_parks_paths/

  9. James K says:

    It appears that Israel has had some success with their partially-subsidized healthcare.

    It has its own issues, as Dr Glick admits, but he also states:

    There’s nobody in Israel who’s bankrupt like in the United States because of health care. Health care is available readily. It may not be as luxurious. It may not be as pleasant or offer as much choice, but I think most people are reasonably satisfied with the health care system.

  10. There’s nobody in Israel who’s bankrupt like in the United States because of health care. Health care is available readily. It may not be as luxurious. It may not be as pleasant or offer as much choice, but I think most people are reasonably satisfied with the health care system.

    Israel pockets billions in US tax payer subsidies every. No one is going to pick up the tab for our health care socialization. We will eat that cost ourselves.

    Didn’t anyone notice that we are bankrupt? The Government is borrowing, printing, stealing money left and right. How is the government going to pay for this?

  11. #6 Jim -

    I read the articles. The one in the New Yorker simply illustrates the pernicious effect of the “third-party-payer” system. Where there is no incentive for unhealthy people to limit their medical care they will consume full tilt and the medical providers will be happy to comply – since somebody else is paying. There are two remedies for this: 1) forced rationing of care, and 2) alignment of consumption and payment. I favor a system that emphasizes #2.

    The second article was written by a music critic who doesn’t understand the distincition between revenue and profit. The German system is intriguing, though, and some aspects of it might work here.

    Health care costs a lot in the US because we are wealthy enough to consume a lot of it.

  12. Anyone in America who advocates government run health care has no idea what a pathetic failure socialized medicine has been in Europe and Canada. I stand amazed that our country has gotten to the point it has. I worked for a Dutch company and I can say with facts in hand, they hated their health care which is just as Canada’s. We used to say but you have free education, free health care and other benefits, but we soon found out that the amount of taxes they paid for all these “free” benefits was astronomical. Everyone there wanted to work at one of the America divisions. They would tell us how blessed and thankful we should be that be lived in a country where you at least had a choice.

    People we must wake up and do something. Telling our Congressman and Senators doesn’t seem to be the answer anymore. They’re sitting in their ivory towers and act like lords and queens. We live in a free country, many men and women have died so we could continue living this way. We simply cannot stand by and not honor them and allowing a President to run us in the ground.