Posts Tagged ‘socialized medicine’

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Coral Ridge Ministries: Urgent Action Call: Healthcare

October 12, 2009

URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED to stop what political strategist Dick Morris calls “a bloodless coup” now underway.

Please read this special report from Robert Knight, Coral Ridge Ministries Washington, D.C., Correspondent and then call your senators and representative. The Capitol Hill switchboard is (202) 224-3121. (Click these links to identify your senators and representative.)

From Robert Knight:

Folks, in my nearly 20 years in Washington, I have seen a lot of deception and chicanery. But what’s unfolding now takes my breath away. It should raise the blood pressure of every freedom-loving American. The Democrats are still trying to ram through a national health care takeover despite being told over and over by Americans that we do not want it.

The Senate Finance Committee is poised to vote on a massive health care reform bill on Tuesday authored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). A glaring, outrageous fact unreported by the media is that the bill has been kept secret. No one actually knows what’s in it – not even senators, who will be told to vote for it. Entire sections will be added later. That’s what happened with the House version. Nobody read the bill, and 75 “phantom” amendments were added after the vote. A similar maneuver happened in the Senate, when a key committee approved another version of a sweeping health care bill in July without seeing the text. Actual language was unveiled months later in September.

Senators will be voting on something that does not even exist yet.

Even the Congressional Budget Office was operating without actual text when it issued a report this week saying the Baucus plan would cost under $900 billion instead of more than a trillion. When the CBO crunched the detailed, 1,018-page House version this summer, it reported that it would cost far more than President Obama claimed. Obama then broke precedent and summoned the CBO director to the White House for a “talk.” Now the CBO says the Senate bill will cost less. They think. They hope. They speculate.

What’s more, CNSNews.com reports that an aide to Sen. Harry Reid said that current debates may be irrelevant because an entirely different version might be inserted into an unrelated House tax bill, HR 1586. This is a way of getting around the constitutional requirement that all tax bills originate in the House. Sen. Reid wants a “public option” that would ensure a “single-payer” system, which means socialized medicine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that she has the votes necessary to ram through a bill with “the public option” as soon as it comes back to her chamber.

“The real bill will be another 1,000-page, trillion dollar experiment… that vastly expands the role of the federal government in the personal health care decisions of every American,” warns Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer would not rule out the possibility that the House would vote for identical Senate language, thus avoiding the bill going to a House-Senate conference committee for more examination and debate and getting it quickly to President Obama’s desk.

Stunned by the August town halls, TEA parties and the massive Sept. 12 taxpayer rally in Washington, liberals know the window is closing on their plan to nationalize one sixth of America’s economy and put your health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats. So they are working in the dark to ram this through before most Americans find out.

Some details have slipped out:

Do what we say, not what we do–Congress has exempted itself from mandatory coverage provisions that they want to impose on their fellow citizens.

Taxing Class II medical devices, such as breast pumps, pacemakers, ventilators, wheelchairs and needles. Call this the “mommy tax.”

Different tax rates for people in different states. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel reports: “Majority Leader Harry Reid …worked out a deal by which the federal government will pay all of his home state’s additional Medicaid expenses for the next five years. Under the majority leader’s very special formula, only three other states – Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan – qualify for this perk.” This means that Americans in other states would subsidize constituents of Harry Reid and some of his political friends. A dozen Democratic governors have come out against the Medicaid mandate as a budget buster, but Reid is covering his own political interests.

Are you angry yet?

Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.) took to the floor of the House during the earlier spendathon and said the nation is now in the grip of “gangster government,” in which powerful interests are raiding the treasury to ensure their own continued power. The health care “reform” bill is more of the same, but even more dangerous.

The liberal “mainstream” media are providing cover for all this. None is asking to see the bill language. They will get away with it unless Americans speak out now and let them know in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable and tyrannical.

Please, for the sake of your children and grandchildren and your own ability to choose your insurance and your doctor, take a moment. Call your congressman and senators and let them know you want them to start over with a transparent process and consider real, workable reforms, such as curbing malpractice awards and making it easier for people to buy insurance out of state. Tell your friends and neighbors that they need to act, too.

Send them this simple message:

“Show Us the Bill!”

The Capitol Hill switchboard is 202 224-3121. (Click these links to identify your senators and representative.)

Special Note: To learn more about the health care “reform” debate, request the powerful new DVD from Coral Ridge Ministries, The Health Care Lie!

Coral Ridge Ministries Logo

Post Office Box 1920
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33302-1920
1-800-988-7884
www.coralridge.org

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Taking A Razor To President’s Health Reform

June 23, 2009

Taking A Razor To President’s Health Reform

By GEORGE F. WILL | IBD 23 June 2009

To dissect today’s health care debate, the crux of which concerns a “public option,” use the mind’s equivalent of a surgeon’s scalpel, Occam’s razor, a principle of intellectual parsimony: In solving a puzzle, start with the simplest theory.

The puzzle is: Why does the president, who says that were America “starting from scratch” he would favor a “single payer,” government-run system, insist that health care reform include a government insurance plan that competes with private insurers? The simplest answer is that such a plan will lead to a single-payer system.

Conservatives say a government program will have the intended consequence of crowding private insurers out of the market, encouraging employers to stop providing coverage and luring employees from private insurance to the government option.

The Lewin Group estimates that 70% of the 172 million people privately covered might be drawn, or pushed, to the government plan. A significant portion of the children who have enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program since eligibility requirements were relaxed in February had private insurance.

Assurances that the government plan would play by the rules that private insurers play by are implausible. Government is incapable of behaving like market-disciplined private insurers. Competition from the public option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers.

Besides, unless the point of a government plan is to be cheaper, it is pointless: If the public option conforms to the imperatives that regulations and competition impose on private insurers, there is no reason for it.

The president characteristically denies that he is doing what he is doing — putting the nation on a path to an outcome he considers desirable just as he denies any intention of running General Motors.

Nevertheless, the unifying constant of his domestic policies — their connecting thread — is they advance the Democrats’ dependency agenda. The party of government aims to make Americans more equal by making them equally dependent on government.

Arguments for the public option are too feeble to seem ingenuous. The president says competition from a government plan is necessary to keep private insurers “honest.” Presumably, being “honest” means not colluding to set prices. Evidently he thinks that, absent competition from government, there will not be a competitive market for insurance. This ignores two facts:

There are 1,300 competing providers of health insurance. And Roll Call’s Morton Kondracke notes that the 2003 Medicare prescription drug entitlement, relying on competition among private insurers, enjoys 87% approval partly because competition has made premiums less expensive than had been projected. The program’s estimated cost from 2007 to 2016 has been reduced 43%.

Some advocates of a public option say health coverage is so complex that consumers will be befuddled by choices.

But consumers of many complicated products, from auto insurance to computers, have navigated the competition among providers, who have increased quality while lowering prices.

Although 70% of insured Americans rate their health care arrangements good or excellent, radical reform of health care is supposedly necessary because there are 45.7 million uninsured. That number is, however, a snapshot of a nation in which more than 20 million working Americans change jobs every year.

Many of them are briefly uninsured between jobs. If all the uninsured were assembled for a group photograph, and six months later the then-uninsured were assembled for another photograph, about half the people in the photos would be different.

Almost 39% of the uninsured are in five states — Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, all of which are entry points for immigrants; 21% — 9.7 million — of the uninsured are not citizens.

Up to 14 million are eligible for existing government programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Schip, veterans’ benefits, etc. — but have not enrolled.

And 9.1 million have household incomes of at least $75,000 and could purchase insurance. Those last two cohorts are more than half of the 45.7 million.

Insuring the perhaps 20 million people who are protractedly uninsured because they cannot afford insurance is conceptually simple: Give them money — (refundable) tax credits or debit cards (which have replaced food stamps) loaded with a particular value. This would produce people who are more empowered than dependent.

Unfortunately, advocates of a government option consider that a defect.

Which is why the simple idea of the dependency agenda cuts like a razor through the complexities of this debate.

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Dead Wait

June 23, 2009

Dead Wait

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | 22 June 2009

Reform: As Americans debate who’s in control of their health care system, a lot of Britons aren’t concerned about how the argument turns out. They’re too busy trying to get a hospital room before it’s too late.


IBD Exclusive Series: Government-Run Healthcare: A Prescription For Failure


In Great Britain, where the government’s in charge of health care, as many as 1 million people are waiting to get into hospitals at any given time, says the National Center for Policy Analysis.

In Canada, another country where the government metes out care, roughly 900,000 are waiting for hospital beds, the Fraser Institute reports. The New Zealand government says that 90,000 are on hospital waiting lists there.

“Those people constitute only 1% to 2% of the population in those countries,” says NCPA President John Goodman, “but keep in mind that only about 15% of the population actually enters a hospital each year. Many of the people waiting are waiting in pain. Many are risking their lives by waiting. And there is no market mechanism in these countries to get care to people who need it first.”

President Obama told the American Medical Association last week that “there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well,” then said that those who say that he’s “trying to bring about government-run health care” are “not telling the truth.”

Critics of Obama’s public-option plan, in which the federal government offers taxpayer-subsidized medical insurance, believe that such a system will eventually crush the private insurance market. That would leave the federal government as the only provider of coverage and in full control of the health care system.

It’ll be a while before we know who’s telling the truth. But by the time the issue is settled, millions in those countries “where a single-payer system works pretty well” will have died or needlessly suffered waiting to be admitted into a hospital.

Yet we are constantly told that it’s America’s health care system that is substandard. A recent Reuters story that said “the U.S. system consistently ranks worse than other developed countries on many key measures” is typical of the noncritical reporting that convinces the public that American medical care is in shambles.

This is why a national columnist such as Marie Cocco can write without challenge that we have “a system that pretty much everyone believes is crumbling to the point of collapse.”

The perception, though, is easily crushed by the asking of a single question: “If you needed the best health care in the world, where would you go to get it?”

The facts say:

• Survival rates in the U.S. for common cancers are higher, and in some cases much higher, than in Europe and Canada.

• Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed nations and spend less time waiting for care than Canadians and Britons.

• Americans have more access to new medical technologies than Canadians and United Kingdom residents, and are responsible for most health care innovations.

• Americans are more satisfied with their care than their counterparts in nations with socialized medicine.

The argument that American health care is lacking is usually based on rankings compiled by the World Health Organization, which places the U.S. 37th out of 191 nations in its “World Health Report.” It’s a mistake, though, to put much into the WHO’s grades.

“They are not,” says one expert, “an objective measure of the relative performance of national health care systems.”

That expert, Glen Whitman, an associate professor of economics at California State University, Northridge, has looked at the WHO rankings and found that they “depend crucially on a number of underlying assumptions — some of them logically incoherent, some characterized by substantial uncertainty, and some rooted in ideological beliefs and values that not everyone shares.”

No one has a right to health care. Attempts to provide such a right have produced regimes that in reality are far uglier than the American system is perceived to be. Systems will continue to grow worse until policymakers acknowledge that health care is a personal responsibility and grant patients what they should already have: full authority over the decisions that affect their health.

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Socialized Healthcare Posters.

June 15, 2009

From reader John:

From reader Tootywink and her sister:

From reader Kevin:

From blogger Doug Ross:

From reader Pocono Joe:

From reader Dave:

From reader Rob:

source: MichelleMalkin

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How to Stop Socialized Health Care

June 15, 2009
How to Stop Socialized Health Care
Five arguments Republicans must make.
By KARL ROVE
It was a sobering breakfast with one of the smartest Republicans on Capitol Hill. We can fix a lot of bad stuff President Barack Obama might do, he told me. But if Mr. Obama signs into law a “public option,” government-run insurance program as part of health-care reform we won’t be able to undo the damage.
I’d go the Republican member of Congress one further: If Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state. To prevent this from happening, there are five arguments Republicans must make.
The first is it’s unnecessary. Advocates say a government-run insurance program is needed to provide competition for private health insurance. But 1,300 companies sell health insurance plans. That’s competition enough. The results of robust private competition to provide the Medicare drug benefit underscore this. When it was approved, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $74 billion a year by 2008. Nearly 100 providers deliver the drug benefit, competing on better benefits, more choices, and lower prices. So the actual cost was $44 billion in 2008 — nearly 41% less than predicted. No government plan was needed to guarantee competition’s benefits.
Second, a public option will undercut private insurers and pass the tab to taxpayers and health providers just as it does in existing government-run programs. For example, Medicare pays hospitals 71% and doctors 81% of what private insurers pay.
Who covers the rest? Government passes the bill for the outstanding balance to providers and families not covered by government programs. This cost-shifting amounts to a forced subsidy. Families pay about $1,800 more a year for someone else’s health care as a result, according to a recent study by Milliman Inc. It’s also why many doctors limit how many Medicare patients they take: They can afford only so much charity care.
Fixing prices at less than market rates will continue under any public option. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s proposal, for example, has Washington paying providers what Medicare does plus 10%. That will lead to health providers offering less care.
Third, government-run health insurance would crater the private insurance market, forcing most Americans onto the government plan. The Lewin Group estimates 70% of people with private insurance — 120 million
Americans — will quickly lose what they now get from private companies and be forced onto the government-run rolls as businesses decide it is more cost-effective for them to drop coverage. They’d be happy to shift some of the expense — and all of the administration headaches — to Washington. And once the private insurance market has been dismantled it will be gone.
Fourth, the public option is far too expensive. The cost of Medicare — the purest form of a government-run “public choice” for seniors — will start exceeding its payroll-tax “trust fund” in 2017. The Obama administration estimates its health reforms will cost as much as $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. It is no coincidence the Obama budget nearly triples the national debt over that same period.
Medicare and Medicaid cost much more than estimated when they were adopted. One reason is there’s no competition for these government-run insurance programs. In the same way, Americans can expect a public option to cost far more than the Obama administration’s rosy estimates.
Fifth, the public option puts government firmly in the middle of the relationship between patients and their doctors. If you think insurance companies are bad, imagine what happens when government is the insurance carrier, with little or no competition and no concern you’ll change to another company.
In other words, the public option is just phony. It’s a bait-and-switch tactic meant to reassure people that the president’s goals are less radical than they are. Mr. Obama’s real aim, as some candid Democrats admit, is a single-payer, government-run health-care system.
Health care desperately needs far-reaching reforms that put patients and their doctors in charge, bring the benefits of competition and market forces to bear, and ensure access to affordable and portable health care for every American. Republicans have plans to achieve this, and they must make their case for reform in every available forum.
Defeating the public option should be a top priority for the GOP this year. Otherwise, our nation will be changed in damaging ways almost impossible to reverse.
Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

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Canadian Healthcare

June 10, 2009
Canada’s ObamaCare Precedent
Governments always ration care by making you wait. That can be deadly.
By DAVID GRATZER
Congressional Democrats will soon put forward their legislative proposals for reforming health care. Should they succeed, tens of millions of Americans will potentially be joining a new public insurance program and the federal government will increasingly be involved in treatment decisions.
Not long ago, I would have applauded this type of government expansion. Born and raised in Canada, I once believed that government health care is compassionate and equitable. It is neither.
My views changed in medical school. Yes, everyone in Canada is covered by a “single payer” — the government. But Canadians wait for practically any procedure or diagnostic test or specialist consultation in the public system.
The problems were brought home when a relative had difficulty walking. He was in chronic pain. His doctor suggested a referral to a neurologist; an MRI would need to be done, then possibly a referral to another specialist. The wait would have stretched to roughly a year. If surgery was needed, the wait would be months more. Not wanting to stay confined to his house, he had the surgery done in the U.S., at the Mayo Clinic, and paid for it himself.
Such stories are common. For example, Sylvia de Vries, an Ontario woman, had a 40-pound fluid-filled tumor removed from her abdomen by an American surgeon in 2006. Her Michigan doctor estimated that she was within weeks of dying, but she was still on a wait list for a Canadian specialist.
Indeed, Canada’s provincial governments themselves rely on American medicine. Between 2006 and 2008, Ontario sent more than 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery — described by the Globe and Mail newspaper as “broken necks, burst aneurysms and other types of bleeding in or around the brain.”
Only half of ER patients are treated in a timely manner by national and international standards, according to a government study. The physician shortage is so severe that some towns hold lotteries, with the winners gaining access to the local doc.
Overall, according to a study published in Lancet Oncology last year, five-year cancer survival rates are higher in the U.S. than those in Canada. Based on data from the Joint Canada/U.S. Survey of Health (done by Statistics Canada and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics), Americans have greater access to preventive screening tests and have higher treatment rates for chronic illnesses. No wonder: To limit the growth in health spending, governments restrict the supply of health care by rationing it through waiting. The same survey data show, as June and Paul O’Neill note in a paper published in 2007 in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy, that the poor under socialized medicine seem to be less healthy relative to the nonpoor than their American counterparts.
Ironically, as the U.S. is on the verge of rushing toward government health care, Canada is reforming its system in the opposite direction. In 2005, Canada’s supreme court struck down key laws in Quebec that established a government monopoly of health services. Claude Castonguay, who headed the Quebec government commission that recommended the creation of its public health-care system in the 1960s, also has second thoughts. Last year, after completing another review, he declared the system in “crisis” and suggested a massive expansion of private services — even advocating that public hospitals rent facilities to physicians in off-hours.
And the medical establishment? Dr. Brian Day, an orthopedic surgeon, grew increasingly frustrated by government cutbacks that reduced his access to an operating room and increased the number of patients on his hospital waiting list. He built a private hospital in Vancouver in the 1990s. Last year, he completed a term as the president of the Canadian Medical Association and was succeeded by a Quebec radiologist who owns several private clinics.
In Canada, private-sector health care is growing. Dr. Day estimates that 50,000 people are seen at private clinics every year in British Columbia. According to the New York Times, a private clinic opens at a rate of about one a week across the country. Public-private partnerships, once a taboo topic, are embraced by provincial governments.
In the United Kingdom, where socialized medicine was established after World War II through the National Health Service, the present Labour government has introduced a choice in surgeries by allowing patients to choose among facilities, often including private ones. Even in Sweden, the government has turned over services to the private sector.

Americans need to ask a basic question: Why are they rushing into a system of government-dominated health care when the very countries that have experienced it for so long are backing away?

Dr. Gratzer, a physician, is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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Tales From Health Care Crypts

March 5, 2009

Tales From Health Care Crypts

By WALTER E. WILLIAMS | IBD 5 March 2009

Government health care advocates used to sing the praises of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). That’s until its poor delivery of health care services became known.

A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, “Delay, Denial and Dilution,” written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world.

The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care.

Twelve percent of specialists surveyed admitted refusing kidney dialysis to patients suffering from kidney failure because of limits on cash.

Waiting lists for medical treatment have become so long that there are now “waiting lists” for the waiting list.

Government health care advocates sing the praises of Canada’s single-payer system. Canada’s government system isn’t that different from Britain’s.

For example, after a Canadian has been referred to a specialist, the waiting list for gynecological surgery is four to 12 weeks, cataract removal 12 to 18 weeks, tonsillectomy three to 36 weeks and neurosurgery five to 30 weeks.

Toronto-area hospitals, concerned about lawsuits, ask patients to sign a legal release accepting that while delays in treatment may jeopardize their health, they nevertheless hold the hospital blameless.

Canadians have an option Britainers don’t: close proximity of American hospitals. In fact, the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year for Canadians to receive medical treatment in our country. I wonder how much money the U.S. government spends for Americans to be treated in Canada.

“OK, Williams,” you say, “Sweden is the world’s socialist wonder.” Sven R. Larson tells about some of Sweden’s problems in “Lesson from Sweden’s Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt,” published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Spring 2008).

Mr. D., a Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient, was prescribed a new drug. His doctor’s request was denied because the drug was 33% more expensive than the older medicine. Mr. D. offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so. The bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.

Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden’s third-largest city. To see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist. The clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor. The guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full.

Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist in mammography. Sweden’s National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.

Dr. Olle Stendahl, a professor of medicine at Linkoping University, pointed out a side effect of government-run medicine: its impact on innovation.

“In our budget-government health care there is no room for curious, young physicians and other professionals to challenge established views,” he said. “New knowledge is not attractive but typically considered a problem (that brings) increased costs and disturbances in today’s slimmed-down health care.”

These are just a few of the problems of Sweden’s single-payer government-run health care system. I wonder how many Americans would like a system that would, as in the case of Mr. D. of Gothenburg, prohibit private purchase of your own medicine if the government refused paying.

We have problems in our health care system, but most of them are a result of too much government. Over 50% of health care expenditures in our country are made by government. Government health care advocates might say that they will avoid the horrors of other government-run systems. Don’t believe them.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which published Sven Larson’s paper, is a group of liberty-oriented doctors and health care practitioners who haven’t sold their members down the socialist river as have other medical associations. They deserve our thanks for being a major player in the ’90s defeat of “Hillarycare.”