Sunday, December 13, 2009


Health Care Reform a Failure

Call this a prediction of you like. The current health care reform being considered in Congress is destined to fail at ameliorating the problems proponents are claiming it will, esp. cost and uninsured persons.

Costs will grow more rapidly than before.
A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation's $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won't shrink under the Democratic blueprint that senators are debating. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing.

More troubling was the report's assessment that the Democrats' plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years in savings relies on specific policy changes that "may be unrealistic" and could lead to cuts in services. The Medicare savings are expected to cover about half the nearly $1 trillion, 10-year cost of expanding coverage to the uninsured.

In still more bad news, the report starkly warned that a new long-term care insurance plan included in the legislation could "face a significant risk of failure" because it would attract people in poor health, leading to higher and higher premiums, and eventually triggering an "insurance death spiral."
(My emphasis,)
Congress also plans taxes on "Cadillac" health insurance plans which would hurt middle class as much as executives.
Members of several labor unions denounced the proposed tax on so-called "Cadillac plans," arguing it wouldn't just hit CEOs but also middle-class Americans who did without salary increases to negotiate better health benefits.
Nothing like driving up the cost of health care, even if you don't use it.

Cancer care faces significant cutbacks. I guess we'll let Grandma and Grandpa die, but we'll give them a pain pill.
The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) today issued a statement warning that oncologists throughout the U.S. may face closing their practices if critical Medicare reimbursement fixes for treating cancer patients are not made as a part of health care reform.

"Current health reform legislation before Congress does not address major inadequacies in Medicare reimbursement and substantial cuts coming in January to cancer care," said Patrick Cobb, M.D., president of COA and managing partner of Hematology-Oncology Centers of the Northern Rockies in Billings, Montana. "These problems are impacting oncologists now. Many have had to let staff go, and some have already closed practices in communities across the U.S."

Predictions show 10 years from now 33 million Americans will still be uninsured for health care.
The healthcare revamp seeks to rein in soaring costs and provide medical coverage to millions of uninsured people. The report said about 57 million people would be without health insurance in 2019 under current laws. The number would be reduced by 24 million if the Senate bill is enacted, it said.
So much for all those uninsured people.

Additionally, we need to keep in mind the financial dangers of letting the government run anything.
And when, would we add, has government ever taken on a large domestic program that has worked well or stayed within its budget? Medicare, when considered in the mid-1960s, was projected to cost $10 billion by 1990. Actual outlays 25 years later came to $107 billion. And now Democrats want to expand it.
No worry. Costs overruns of a factor greater than 10 are no big deal. More from that article:
(point V)They don't begin to cover everyone. The latest leaves 24 million of the 47 million uninsured uncovered by 2019, well after the program starts, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Still, trillions will be spent to take over 17% of our economy and pad the deficit by hundreds of billions a year. The CBO further estimates 10 million will lose their private insurance. By forcing millions of Americans into government run health plans, it will ultimately lead to a single-payer health care system.

(point V)Medical costs will soar. Estimates range from $1 trillion to $6.25 trillion, thanks to mandates requiring you to buy insurance. Even a pared-down version would add $290 billion to the yearly deficit, CBO data show. The real budget-buster is letting 3 million Americans ages 55 to 64 buy in to Medicare, an expansion of nearly 30%. Medicare is already, by government and private estimates, as much as $100 trillion in the red in coming decades.

(point V)Taxes will also go up. The proposed overhaul contains at last count 13 tax hikes. Democrats talk about "free" health care. In fact, as numbers from the Joint Tax Committee show, 17.8 million of us will pay lower taxes, while nearly four times as many -- 68.4 million -- will pay higher taxes.

"A family of four making $54,000 would pay more than $825 per month for one federally managed plan...even after a $10,100 government subsidy," wrote Daniel Foster on
Yikes!! this is considerably more than what I pay for pretty good insurance for me and my kids now. Yes, we're in the best of hands.

In the mean time, Congress takes on the pressing problem of Division 1 college football playoffs.
Dismissing complaints from some members that Congress had more pressing matters, a House subcommittee approved legislation Wednesday aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine its national champion.

“We can walk across the street and chew gum at the same time,” said the subcommittee chairman, Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “We can do a number of things at the same time.”

The legislation, which still faces steep odds, would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game as a national championship unless it results from a playoff. The measure passed by voice vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee, with one audible “no,” from Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittee Chairman Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., center, flanked by subcommittee counsel Timothy Robinson, left, and subcommittee member Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, presides over the subcommittee's hearing to markup legislation on a BCS college football playoff system, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
House Commerce, Trade and Cons…

“With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on,” Barrow said before the vote, although he stressed he didn’t like the current Bowl Championship Series, either.
While I, and President Obama, would like to see a playoff in college football, this is outside the realm of what Congress should ever be considering. (I've never read that Obama thinks Congress should bother with this either.)

The greater point is that there is nothing too trivial or minor that these bozos in Congress don't think they can stick their noses into it and take control of our lives. Although they'll never admit it, politicians love the totalitarian ideal as it gives them the greatest amount of power possible. If you value freedom too little, you deserve to become the serf/slave of the state you will be.

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