We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, November 21. 2008
This is a post by guest writer Bruce Kesler:
Democrats are delirious with glee at their opportunity to impose a national health care regime that gets us closer to their ambition of government-run universal health care.
Their launch point is the 98 page outline issued by Senator Max Baucus. Their point man is to be former Senator Tom Daschle, proposed as Secretary of Health and Human Resources, who has written of similar ambitions and is deemed to be able to wheel and deal toward that end.
Estimates of cost are in the area of $150-billion a year, and growing. Since it shares many of the aspects of
Although only about 20-25% of the 47-million who are uninsured are actually US citizens in financial or underwriting need, let’s for the sake of this exercise use the 47-million number.
At an average monthly premium cost of $158, according to a recent study of actual individual premiums, that means $7.5 billion per month, or $90-billion a year. Make that $250 a month, to include broader benefits that government typically requires in its plans, more health conditions due to guaranteed issue, and more elderly with community rating that averages their costs down while increasing costs for the younger, and you have $11.75 billion per month, or $141-billion a year.
Cut that back by even half, to eliminate benefits for illegal immigrants, for the legal ones whose sponsors are supposed to be responsible, and for those who can afford coverage but choose to go bare, and you’ve got an annual $70-billion program.
Assuming that Democrats are determined to further bust the federal budget and place us deeper in debt, paying or subsidizing the premiums of the truly needy uninsured would be cheaper than their favored schemes. All that without a major disruption of the coverage, benefits, freedom of choice of everyone else, and without creating a huge new government bureaucracy that interferes with innovation in treatments or delivery.
So, is the Democrats’ goal increasing Americans’ access to health care? Or is it increasing their own access to control over Americans, with the increased access to self-enrichment that comes from government programs?
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Dems don't know what they are asking for. They are asking for big trouble - and not just the cost. The side-effects are killers.
This is such a disaster waiting to happen. I just don't understand why dems don't seem to realize that it's not just having the government foot the bill for health care. They're not going to simply give one a check to reimburse the bill of whatever private health care one chooses to use.
It's having the government actually run, manage, and make decisions on your health care. There's a big difference. It's like having the worst of people that work in government offices like the DMV or the post office managing your medical decisions and paperwork. We see how poorly managed those entities are. What a nightmare to have them running your own personal business!
But they just don't get it. They think it's just free money, another handout to do with as they please.
Dems are always saying that the government shouldn't be involved in decisions about one's own body, i.e. abortion. But that's just what government health care is. It's putting the government in charge of what you can and can't do with your own personal medical decisions. And each new administration or congressional majority that's voted into office can try to change what treatments or procedures are approved or funded by government health care.
But they just don't get it. They are so short sighted.
Time to gear up for an all out assault on this idea so that it is DOA in the next Congress. Those pols must be scared within an inch of their political lives: The loss of their cushy seats down in the Imperial Capitol. Time to dust off those great commercials from '93 when Hillary took a shot at it. This medical care scheme, further bailouts, the union check card, Fairness Doctrine, and a few others will require doing all out battle to defeat. Look at it as the tune-up in organizational and fundraising needed to turn the bad guys out in '10, and '12, and put "The People" back in charge once and for all.
GM Punter ... If God grants us the strength and determination to do this I will be forever grateful, and so should all of us be. But it's going to take incredible amounts of work at the grassroots level. Our educational system is badly broken, as a report elsewhere on Maggies points out, so most of the electorate is pretty much clueless about the basic facts of what used to be taught in high school civics classes. That's got to change.
To begin with, "universal" does not equate with "free," and most voters are ignorant of how badly "universal" health care has worked in Britain and Canada. So badly in Canada, in fact, that they have been sending their most difficult health care cases down across the border to the U.S. to solve. In the UK, if you're having a heart attack, maybe they can fit you in for an appointment sometime next month. Maybe.
Secondly, we have got to ask repeatedly why illegal aliens who invaded our country get "universal" health care. Many of the folks who included in the estimates of how many "health uninsured" we have are illegal aliens. I can see why, if they've been run over by a car we should, out of compassion, patch them up on an emergency basis. But I can't justify giving a felon long-term, expensive health interventions, like pacemakers, new kidneys, free treatment for AIDS, expensive therapies of any kind. They're illegals, folks. They sneaked in across our ill-policed borders. They should be extradited and given back to the countries from which they came. In a compromised economy, which ours certainly is right now, anything else is fiscally irresponsible. If we're going to offer free health care to anybody, it ought to go to our own legal citizens first.
One last question, Punter: What are your suggestions on how we are to "scare" the Democrats within an inch of their lives? Seems to me that since they gained control of Congress in 2006, they have been wasting legislative time instituting "investigations" of the evils of the Republicans which went nowhere[more than 100 "investigations" the last time I heard] and naming Post Office buildings.
So tell me, my dear, how can we "scare" these prancing idiots into acting like responsible grown-ups? I'll try to help, until my tiny, clawlike hands fall away from my computer keys. Which may not be as far distant as I'd like it to be.
$150 billion. The NHS over here costs about £100 billion and we only have 60 million people. Universal healthcare is a joke. Your county hospitals are better than our NHS hospitals.
Any chance our Supreme Court believes in the 10th Amendment? By definition, politicans don't.
Just to add another caveat. If this were to devolve to the employer, it would add at least another dollar and hour per employee. We already have another scheduled increase in the minimum wage. So, how many fewer entry level employees would not be hired?
If it were treated as a deduction from wages, then it would result in about a 15% reduction in the wage received for minimum wage employees.
Milton Friedman referred to British physician Max Gammon's study concluding that employing any (government) bureaucracy accelerates costs while decreasing production/quality, which can be seen in healthcare, education and the military within our capitalistic system.
Healthcare benefits were attached to one's job after WWII when employers added such benefits vs. pay raises. Costs have continued to escalate for many reasons, but we are now seeing the fallout within the automotive industry. The Asian carmakers pay equivalent hourly wages, but are not burdened with the healthcare benefits (and retirement) costs of the United Auto Workers' contracts. Plus, I believe that many a bankruptcy is caused by a major medical emergency that wipes out all other assets.
Better: remove healthcare benefits from employment. Each person/family (taxpayer unit) takes responsibility via tax CREDITS for major medical/disability plans and a tax-deductible medical savings account for lesser healthcare expenses, which can be carried over from one year to another in case children need orthodontics, Dad needs a new hip, etc. or one wants to purchase additional insurance.
This would place small businesses and sole proprietorships in the same place as large businesses. If one loses his job, the benefits are not lost, a benefit in our age of revolving-door employment.
The poor would receive benefits much as they do food stamps, housing and other services.
Insurance companies could compete for each person's business through organizations such as colleges/trade schools, AARP, professional and union groups, alumni affiliations (almost everyone belongs to some type of group) or a state-sponsored fund such as the Bright-Star accounts for education.
All U.,S. taxpayers follow this plan INCLUDING Federal and state employees! No exceptions for our lawmakers who are so removed from reality that they haven't a clue what the average person is facing.
This is by no means a perfect solution to the coverage problem, but it seems more practical ( i.e. simple) as we look to the way our future society will be working.
THEO! Finally getting to meet elsewhere than with the "distractions" of your wake-up website (sure, I only read the articles; and I remember names in the morning).
I said the $150-billion is a very lowball, likely to be much higher and, yes, the Dems' schemes will place us in England or Canada's stew of lesser, long-wait care directed by self-serving bureaucrats, who go elsewhere for their own critical care.
This whole thing began to be screwed up bigtime when some evil person or persons within our government decided [unilaterally] some time ago to redefine "benefits" as "entitlements." And look where that has gotten us!
The malign effect of misdefining 'benefit' with its connotation of a gift given not automatically but generously, as an 'entitlement,' with its connotation as an automatic right, has spread all through our society, affecting such disastrous events such as Hurricane Katrina, where third-generation welfare recipients made little or no effort to rescue themselves but waited for The Government to do it for them. To take away a citizen's freedom to make good or bad decisions on his own hook, by saying 'don't worry honey, we're from the government and we're here to help you,' is ultimately an evil thing to do.
"So, is the Democrats’ goal increasing Americans’ access to health care? Or is it increasing their own access to control over Americans, with the increased access to self-enrichment that comes from government programs?"
First, the leftist elites only more control over the population. Dependency on government is good. It increases their power. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.
They could care less about the people. People could be dying left and right and they would be proclaiming look at all we are doing for you. What a perversion!
Remember, they exempt themselves from having to play by the same rules or in this case have the same medical care. That is why they are both elite and tone deaf. What congressman or senator has an HMO? What percent of their kids go to private schools?
The government can't run anything. All the government knows how to do is make transfer payments and take a huge fee (~ 35%) in the process. Social Security, Medicare, and education are examples. For crying out loud, Congress can't even run a cafeteria - they had to close it after losing $18 million last year.
People need to understand price and quality in healthcare. People know how to buy cars, homes, appliances and other large ticket items. You can't make these purchases without information.
Consumer directed healthcare, HSAs, portability, transparency and competition will improve access and lower costs. If given the choice and incentives, people will pursue lower cost solutions and spend healthcare dollars when care is really needed.
Doctors and hospitals will be forced to compete on price and quality. Doctors who kill patients during surgery will end up in another profession or dealing with run-of-the-mill illnesses. Rock star doctors will rise to where they solve the most complex cases.
"Free" healthcare will be more expensive, even if the government was efficient, because people will not discriminate before accessing the healthcare system.
Think of all of those trips to the doctor for colds and runny noses to get antibiotics that are not really needed. In a consumer directed model, people may not rush out to the doctor when it costs them $100. In an entitlement system, everyone will go because they can. Which model will cost more and provided lower quality care?
JMA points out how insurance can be portable and managed.
I sat on the train next to a young lady who recently graduated from college and works at Sloan. She is compassionate and wants to go to medical school. She expressed her emphathy for those who are sick and cannot afford care. We talked about some of the issues discussed in this thread. It was clear to me that she had never thought about healthcare in economic terms and how that would impact the availability and quality of care. I hope she keeps thinking and that I meet her again one day to continue the dialogue.
I have been without health insurance for the better part of the last 25 years, due to my employment situations. It ain't that bad. I paid $1000 to a surgeon for a necessary operation that would have cost a lot more, and the hospital of two overnights was free. Minor things I have paid myself. Because I do not have insurance, I try to lead a healthy life, and see an MD only when I absolutely have to, which hasn't been that much. When you have insurance, you see an MD more than you need to.
Universal healthcare will be a joke, just as many others have mentioned here already. Why don't we have a look at the socialized healthcare that is already extant in our society: U.S. Army healthcare? (Please note: This is not a dig at the Army or anything, it is an example of how government-controlled healthcare works.)
1. Strictly controlled wages and salaries for healthcare professionals do not encourage doctors and nurses to work harder or more creatively = Dull, mindless diagnoses of illness leading to dull, mindless application of the least expensive treatments to absolutely every illness conceivable (eg. prescribing aspirin for a headache, which actually turns out to be a blood clot or a tumor, because no one had the energy or a give-a-*@#! to figure out why the same patient came in repeatedly over the course of a month complaining of headache.)
2. Job security (since they're working for the government) causes competent professionals to cease working so hard (why should they, they won't get fired) and does not weed out those who are completely unfit or incompetent for medical service = poor healthcare for everyone. While this is a sort of equality, I doubt it is the equality that anyone in their right mind is actually seeking.
More problems are obviously inherent in universal healthcare, such as the ridiculous public cost and the dramatic increase of government power over personal liberty, but these are just a couple that I and many others have witnessed in the Army's version of universal healthcare. Plus, Walter Reed. Need I say more?
Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Those who clamor for Universal Health Care should take a close look at Medicare. and part D drug coverage. Look at what the cost was said to be as it was ramed thru the Congress, Look at the cost today. When a health care provider agrees to accept a medicare patient there are more rules and regulations than "Quaker has Oats!". I was talking to the doctor this week, while he was runing a nerve conductivity test on my hand, and i mentioned a doctor that I knew before the days of Medicare that would charge a patient based on his preception of their ability to pay. Some people he charged as little as a quarter. ( Many of hese were eventually written off )He would not tell them , "I am not going to charge you because you can't pay, because it would hurt their dignity. He said that if a doctor agrees to see a medicare covered person he must charge everyone the same rate. So a person without coverage is charged even if the doctor would like to charge less than the going rate. On Part D coverage, there is a list of approved drugs. The government sets the list and the numberof talbets allowed per 30 days. So in a sence they also play doctor and determine what treatment you get. . Medicare and Part D is an abomination and UHS will only make things worse!!!