Death Panels in/out of Medicare, Obamacare still Betting on Death to Cut Costs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2011

Death is more Cost Efficient than Life

First they denied it.  Then they backtracked when everyone could see they were included.  Then they pulled them.  Then they tried to sneak them back (see Administration reverses on end-of-life counseling by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press, posted 1/5/2011 on The Washington Post).

Medicare coverage for voluntary end-of-life planning was part of the original House version of the overhaul legislation in 2009, but it was dropped after Sarah Palin and other Republicans raised the specter of “death panels” deciding the fate of vulnerable seniors. Those charges were later debunked by several non-partisan fact-checking groups.

I keep hearing this.  That they’re not death panels.  They’re actually good things that people want.  But I have to ask this.  Why are they constantly trying to sneak this legislation in?  I mean, Obamacare itself is controversial and unpopular.  The people already hate it.  So why are they hiding these so called death panels that aren’t death panels?

I can think of only one reason.  Cost control.  With Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all projected to go bankrupt in the not so distant future, there’s no way that Obamacare can escape that same fate.  Unless sick people die quicker.  Before the government spends a fortune trying to extend their lives. 

Yes, it’s a grim prospect.  But that’s the only way you can save cash-strapped programs that incur costs from sick and dying people.  You stop spending money on sick and dying people.  That way you can take in more money than you pay out.  Do that and these programs (Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) can stay solvent.  And there is only one way to do this.  You have to ‘let’ people die.  You get them to choose death.  By persuading them that it’s for the best.  For them.  Their family.  And for the country.  In other words, death panels.  Because death is more cost efficient than life.

Obamacare Welfare:  Wealth Transfer from the Responsible to the Irresponsible

This is what they want to hide from the people.  Because it’s just too ghoulish.  It’s something the Nazis did.  Getting rid of undesirables.  Or the stuff of science fiction like Soylent Green.  Only without the cannibalism.  So far, that is. 

I joke, of course.  Then again, no one knows what’s in the Obamacare legislation.  No one read it.  At least, no one that voted for it.  After all, it was the now deposed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who said we’d have to pass Obamacare to learn what was in it.  So anything can be in it.  We just don’t know.  But we’re learning.

The new regulations have already exploded private health care costs.  Even though they said it wouldn’t.  In fact, everything was supposed to get cheaper.  But when you force private insurers to cover preexisting conditions, they have to act accordingly. 

With preexisting coverage, no one will buy insurance.  They’ll save their money for car payments.  New entertainment centers.  Jet skis.  You know, fun stuff.  Then, if a kid gets leukemia or some other catastrophic diagnosis, then they’ll buy insurance.  Get the picture?  The only people buying insurance will be those with catastrophic medical expenses.  People who will be consuming millions in benefits but only pay a pittance in premiums.  And that ain’t insurance.  That’s pure welfare wealth transfer.  From the responsible.  To the irresponsible.

The House Rules Enabled Corruption and Backroom Deals

And this is just asinine.  So how did they pass something this stupid into law?  Well, have you seen the House rules (see New rules in the House of Representatives by Felicia Sonmez posted 1/5/2011 on The Washington Post)?  Here’re some of the rules back then.  When Congress slipped Obamacare into law.

  1. 1.  No “Constitutional Authority Statement” was required.  A similar statement was required only for bills reported out of committee and was included in the committee report.
  2. 2.  Only bills reported out of committee were required to be “made available” three days before a vote, and they were not required to be posted online.
  3. 3.  Spending increases could be paid for by spending cuts or tax increases.
  4. 4.  Committee chairmen did not have term limits.
  5. 5.  Legislation was not required to be posted online before it was marked up.
  6. 6.  The “Gephardt Rule” allowed the House to automatically raise the debt limit when a joint budget resolution was adopted.
  7. 7.  The Constitution has never been read in full on the House floor.

This is not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.  Not even Alexander Hamilton (the biggest of the ‘big government’ Founding Fathers).  In fact, he would be as shocked as his arch nemesis, Thomas Jefferson (who thought any central government was too much central government).  (Just to prevent any confusion, Jefferson was in France during the Constitutional Convention and did not participate.  His assault against the Constitution escalated after ratification.)

The Constitution means something.  It’s the Rule of Law for the central government.  The Constitution has to authorize everything the central government does.  Why?  Because that’s the law.  And we’re a nation of laws.  At least, we used to be.

The fact that Congress has never read the Constitution in full on the House floor is worrisome.  Why haven’t they?  Are they trying to bury the restrictions it places on Congress?  It would appear so.  And that lawmakers look at it as more of a nuisance than as the foundation of our nation.  Something that checks their power and spending sprees.  Which tax and spend Big Government types just don’t like.

The other rules just invite corruption and backroom deals.  The very thing Jefferson warned about.  And he was right.  Because that’s what it took to pass Obamacare.  They bribed Congress people to vote for it.  The Cornhusker Kickback bribed Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson.  The Louisiana Purchase bribed Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.  And a laundry list of bribes to other people and organizations.  Hidden in the bowels of the health care reform bill.  Which was fast-tracked into law before anyone read it.  Thanks to the rules of the House.

The New 112th Congress to Revise House Rules to Stop the Corruption and Backroom Deals

But all is not lost.  The new 112th Congress is proposing to change the rules.  They even plan to read the Constitution in full on the House floor.  It may be the first time some will learn what’s in it.  And that’s good.  Here are some of the other changes (these numbers correlate to the numbers above):

  1. 1.  All proposed bills must be accompanied by a “Constitutional Authority Statement” that notes the specific section of the Constitution that empowers Congress to enact the legislation.
  2. 2.  All bills must be posted online for three days before they are put up for a vote.
  3. 3.  Spending increases have to be offset by cuts of an equal or greater amount elsewhere and cannot be paid for by tax increases.
  4. 4.  Committee chairmen have a six-year term limit.
  5. 5.  The text of legislation must be posted online 24 hours before it is due to be marked up in committee; the House Rules Committee is exempt from this rule.
  6. 6.  A new rule eliminates automatic debt-limit increase upon passage of joint budget resolutions.
  7. 7.  A full reading of the Constitution will take place on Thursday, the second day of the 112th Congress.

It’s a start.  It might stop some of the Founding Fathers from spinning in their graves.  Probably not Jefferson, though.  It’s going to take a whole lot more to soothe his distraught spirit.

Revised House Rules a Good First Step.  Repealing Obamacare a Good Second Step.

So maybe with the new Congress and the new House rules (if adopted) will prevent another corrupt bill like Obamacare from sneaking through backrooms and into law.  Good.  But that’s just a start.  Now we have to address Obamacare itself.  We need to repeal it.  For a plethora of reasons (see New Congress Begins Fight to Repeal Obamacare and Get Health Care Reform Right by Kathryn Nix posted 1/4/2011 on Heritage’s The Foundry).  Many already know some of these reasons.  But it’s good to keep talking about them.

The negative effects of Obamacare will be felt by all Americans. The new law includes several new taxes and penalties for businesses that threaten to kill job growth and further damage the economy. Budget gimmicks and double counting of savings mean Obamacare will increase federal deficit spending significantly.

Obamacare does nothing to reform the systemic problems and unfunded liabilities represented by Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the new law uses savings in Medicare to fund a new entitlement that experts expect to greatly exceed its projected cost. Obamacare does not fix Medicaid, which already performs poorly, but adds more to its ranks as a means to reduce the uninsured.

Obamacare increases premiums and overall health spending in the U.S. Instead of allowing insured Americans to keep their current coverage, the new law will cause millions to change or lose their health plans. Last but not least, Obamacare will increase federal control of every aspect of the health sector, increasing the role of bureaucracy in the practice of medicine and interfering in the doctor–patient relationship.

If you want more detail, you can find them in Impact of ObamaCare at The Heritage Foundation.   

If we repeal Obamacare, the death panels become a moot point.  And our deficit and debt crises become that much easier to manage.  As will the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid crises.  So let’s do it.  Repeal Obamacare.

Give Grandma a Chance

Obamacare is bad.  We should repeal it.  Death panels and all.  Instead of putting all our eggs into the ‘death’ basket, we should give living a chance.  But we need to get away from welfare.  And move into insurance.  Pay our own way for expected, routine costs.  And buy insurance to protect our finances from unexpected, extraordinary costs.  And allow insurers to compete across state lines, tort reform, etc.  You know, the usual, sensible stuff.

Come on.  Give Grandma a chance.  Repeal Obamacare.

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