Tag Archives: Healthcare

More Health Insurance is Not the Answer!

Health care “reformers” keep talking about getting us more health insurance. Then they talk about cutting costs. This is contradictory nonsense.

Insurance, whether private or a government Ponzi scheme like Medicare, means third parties pay the bills. When someone else pays, costs always go up.

Imagine if you had grocery insurance. You wouldn’t care how much food cost. Why shop around? If someone else were paying 80 percent, you’d buy the most expensive cuts of meat. Prices would skyrocket.

That’s what health insurance does to medical care. Patients rarely even ask what anything costs. Doctors often don’t know. Often nobody even gives a damn. Patients rarely ask, “Is that MRI really necessary? Is there a cheaper place?” We consume without thinking.

By contrast, in areas of medicine where most patients pay their own way, service gets better, while prices fall.

Take plastic surgery and Lasik eye surgery: Because patients shop around and compare prices, doctors work hard to win their business. They often give customers their cell-phone numbers. Service keeps increasing, but prices don’t. “In every other field of medicine, the price is going up faster than consumer prices in general,” says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “But the price of Lasik surgery, on average, has gone down by 30 percent.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise. What holds costs down is patients acting like consumers, looking out for themselves in a competitive market. Providers fight to win business by keeping costs down and quality up.

Yet politicians keep telling us the solution is more insurance. And they mean insurance not just for catastrophic diseases that could bankrupt us but also for routine treatments.

The politicians are so oblivious to reality that they are on course to make things worse. Obama would force every business to either give workers health insurance or pay a fine into the public system. Why is that something we should want employers to do? Premiums come out of our salaries, but insurers are accountable to our bosses, not to us.

Why not just have a free market where people can buy whatever kind of health insurance they want? Competition would then bring prices down.

Obama and his Senate allies would limit competition by requiring insurers to cover everyone for the same “fair” price. No “cherry picking,” the president says. No charging healthy people less.

They call this “community rating,” and it sounds fair. No more cruel “discrimination” against people who have a preexisting condition, obese people or smokers. But such simple-minded one-size-fits-all rules take from insurance companies their best price-dampening tool: Risk-based pricing encourages people to take better care of themselves, just as car-insurance companies reward good drivers. With one-size pricing your car-insurance company must give the town drunk the same deal it gives you.

Insane, but the health-insurance industry is playing along. Insurers say that if government forces everyone to have insurance, they will accept all customers regardless of preexisting illnesses.

They also offered to stop charging higher premiums to sick people. They’re even giving up on gender differences.

Sen. John Kerry huffed, “The disparity between women and men in the individual insurance market is just plain wrong, and it has to change.” The president of the industry trade group, Karen M. Ignagni, agreed that disparities “should be eliminated.”

Give me a break.

Women pay more than men for health insurance for good reason. Despite being healthier than men, they incur higher costs because they go to doctors more often, and they take more medicine. Kerry is pandering. I don’t recall him demanding that men be protected from higher life-insurance and auto-insurance premiums.

“Community rating” hides the cost of health care. It’s as destructive as ordering fire insurance companies to charge identical premiums for wood frame and stone houses. Universal health insurance with “no discrimination” pricing will make health care costs rise even faster.

When politicians interfere with free markets, unintended consequences harm everyone, except the companies that lobby hard enough to protect themselves.

Is it too much to expect our rulers to understand this?

John Stossel @ Reason Online

The Mayo Clinic Leery of Public Health Plan

Dr. Douglas Wood: “If it’s a government-run plan with government price controls, that could be highly detrimental to states like Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and all across the northern tier of the United States.”

I do not know how much weight to give a medical practice, medical school and medical research organization that employs 30,000 people. But many people swear by it.

The Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin in Mayo’s headquarters city reported: “Mayo Clinic leery of public health plan.”

Dr. Wood is the chairman of the clinic’s division of Health Care Policy & Research.

Mayo Clinic supports providing subsidies based on a sliding scale to help make sure that all patients are covered regardless of income level. The clinic contends that health care should be portable instead of tied to a job, and that everyone should be required to have it, Wood said. It also backs prohibiting people from being excluded from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

The clinic has also put forward the idea of “value indexing” to determine how providers get paid. Wood said that the system would take into account patient outcomes and cost over a period of time. He added that the current bills in Congress contain “very little that reflects payment for value.”

It’s expertise in the medical field is both in practice and commercial. Its managers are as competent — and as worthy in my book (someone has to make sure bills get paid) — as its medical professionals.

I am more leery of this dufus-talk from Democratic Sen Amy Klobuchar: “If we just simply change who is paying for something and do nothing to make the system more efficient, we are really not going to get where we want to go.”

This is exactly what is wrong with government-run health programs: Their goal is to save money, not lives. More than abything, this is what my opposition is: Having Sen. Klobuchar decide how “to make the system more efficient.”

– Thanks to Don Surber

Hiding in Health Bill – Billions for Parks, Paths etc..

WASHINGTON – 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?’’

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=107218570517&h=KKW7i&u=GpnEf&ref=nf

Hoyer (D-Md.) – No One Would Vote for ObamaCare if They Read the Bill

The modern definition of gaffe is “the accidental act of a politician telling the truth.”  Steny Hoyer gives us a demonstration in his assessment of the health-care reform bill his party is pushing in both chambers of Congress.  The bill will get plenty of support as long as no one actually bothers to learn what it does:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the health-care reform bill now pending in Congress would garner very few votes if lawmakers actually had to read the entire bill before voting on it.

“If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,” Hoyer told CNSNews.com at his regular weekly news conference.

Hoyer was responding to a question from CNSNews.com on whether he supported a pledge that asks members of the Congress to read the entire bill before voting on it and also make the full text of the bill available to the public for 72 hours before a vote.

In fact, Hoyer found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. “I’m laughing because a) I don’t know how long this bill is going to be, but it’s going to be a very long bill,” he said.

This goes beyond the inanity of Hoyer in this particular application.  We elect Representatives from each district and Senators from each state to make the laws which govern us.  We didn’t elect their staffs to do that work for the empty suits who go to Washington.  The culture in the Beltway has evolved to the point where our elected officials have more or less become accessories to the permanent aide class within DC.

Elected officials will claim that legislation has become too complex to master individually.  Well, there’s a solution for that, too — stop offering bills so hideously complex and expensive that only the most skilled Talmudists can discern their meaning and impact.  It’s precisely because the legislative process has run off the rails that we get bucketloads of unintended consequences from bills like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and McCain-Feingold.

A good rule of thumb: if a Representative or a Senator can’t be expected to read it, it shouldn’t pass into law.  Apply this standard, and watch how that stops the growth of government and the stupidities of the law.

Ed Morrisey – http://bit.ly/12bmyg

Surtax to Pay for Healthcare?

“Don’t think America is heading towards socialism? Then why do we tax our most succesful and productive citizens more then the socialists do?”

In their desperate bid to find half a trillion dollars or so to fund a health care expansion, Democrats have no shortage of bad ideas. Indeed, their new idea is even worse than last month’s dastardly plan to hike taxes on beer and wine.

The Democrat’s new idea is to slap a special “surtax” on high earners. A surtax is simply a flat additional charge based on adjusted gross income. The model for the new scheme seems to be a four percent surtax proposed by House tax writer Charlie Rangel in 2007.

Elsewhere I’ve explained why tax hikes on high earners is poor economic policy.  But politically, what’s striking is how far American economic policy is moving to the left of policies in other major nations.

The chart shows that the current top U.S. personal income tax rate (including the average state rate) is 42 percent, which is the same as the average in the 30 nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

President Obama already plans to increase the top federal rate from 35 percent to 40 percent at the end of 2010. That would push the combined federal-state rate to 47 percent, substantially above the average of other major industrial nations. Imposing a 4-percent surtax on top would push the top rate to 51 percent, which would be higher than many nations that were traditionally more socialist than America, including France (46%), Germany (48%), and Italy (45%).

Obama and the Democrats chafe at being labeled “socialists”, and it’s true that Republicans are just as socialist when it comes to spending policies. But tax rates higher than France? Tax rates over 50%? Come on Democrats, you’ve got to be kidding!

Chris Edwards- http://bit.ly/2thdw

British Rationing of Healthcare- US Future Under Obamacare?

N.I.C.E-National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. England Ration care board.

-In march banned Lapatinib and Sutent that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer.
Comment from the Public Health director “there is a limited pot of money”.-That’s ration care!

-2007 Board restricted access to 2 drugs for macular degeneration(blindness). When certain people got it, they only got it in one eye. Chief Executive on NICE “When treatments are very expensive, we have to use them for the most benefit to certain patients.”

-Alzheimers-limited the use of drugs(Aricept) that could help. MD’s argued vociferously that this is the most effect way to slow it down. NICE ruled it cost 2 much.

Other NICE rulings include the rejection of Kineret, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis; Avonex, which reduces the relapse rate in patients with multiple sclerosis; and lenalidomide, which fights multiple myeloma. Private U.S. insurers often cover all, or at least portions, of the cost of many of these NICE-denied drugs.

NICE has also produced guidance that restrains certain surgical operations and treatments. NICE has restrictions on fertility treatments, as well as on procedures for back pain, including surgeries and steroid injections. The U.K. has recently been absorbed by the cases of several young women who developed cervical cancer after being denied pap smears by a related health authority, the Cervical Screening Programme, which in order to reduce government health-care spending has refused the screens to women under age 25.

The NICE board even has a mathematical formula for doing so, based on a “quality adjusted life year.” Britain cannot afford to spend more than about $22,000 to extend a life by six months. Why $22,000? It seems to be arbitrary, calculated mainly based on how much the government wants to spend on health care.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124692973435303415.html

Private U.S. insurers often cover all, or at least portions, of the cost of many of these NICE-denied drugs.