The Only Way to cut Health Care Costs while Expanding Coverage is to Ration Services with Death Panels

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

Vermont has solved their health care problem.  To reduce costs they’re going to cover more people.  And in some other world of mathematics, this may actually make sense (see Report: Vt. public health care cost could top $9B by DAVE GRAM posted 11/1/2011 on the Associated Press).

New projections by the state of Vermont say a public, universal health care system would cost between $8.2 billion and $9.5 billion a year – roughly $13,000 to $14,000 per resident – by 2020, but that sticking with the current system based on private insurers would cost even more.

Without a health care overhaul approved by lawmakers this year, including a new law that could move Vermont closer than any other state to a Canadian-style single-payer system, costs would surpass $10 billion by 2020, the report said.

$14,000 per resident is a lot of money.  Which is why a lot of young, healthy people choose not to have health insurance.  Because they don’t consume anywhere near $14,000 per year.  Well, the young and healthy will be paying now.  Because that’s the only to pay for people who consume health care services.  By making the people who don’t consume them pay for those services.

“In a way we’ve been a victim of our own success,” said health care consultant Steve Kappel, who helped write the report. “As people get covered, spending will go up.”

Imagine that.  Cover more people.  And spending will go up.

The goal of this year’s legislation actually runs counter to that – a key target of lawmakers was to reduce cost growth while extending coverage to the roughly 10 percent of Vermonters still without it.

So, you want to reduce costs.  While at the same time you want to expand coverage.  Only one way to do that.  You have to give each person less.  Way less.

The largest category of projected savings would come from “changes in the care process,” the report said. The focus here would be on redoubling efforts to make sure necessary care is delivered and unnecessary care is sharply limited. Among the strategies: better management of chronic diseases like diabetes and getting patients to have regular checkups so they don’t end up in emergency rooms.

I won’t use the expression ‘death panels’ but what you have here is a bureaucratic panel approving treatment.  And denying treatment.  Not a doctor.  So a doctor may say that a certain treatment is necessary to save a patient’s live.  And these bureaucrats may deny that treatment.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a death panel.  Because if you don’t pass muster with the bureaucrats you may be denied life-saving treatment.  Which is the only way to cut costs.  While expanding coverage.  You give each person less.  Way less.  That is, you ration services.  And if someone dies as a result the system will realize real savings.

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It’s the Lack of Capitalism in Health Care that Makes it so Expensive and Inaccessible

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

Why is health care so expensive in the U.S.?  Apparently it’s because of doctors and insurance companies.  Not the people who set the rules doctors and insurance companies must play by (see Health insurance in America: Obamacare is making health insurers bigger posted 10/29/2011 on The Economist).

Good, cheap health care has long eluded America. Doctors are paid for each service, so they deliver as many as possible, necessary or not. Insurers protect margins by micromanaging claims and hiking premiums.  These perverse incentives are addressed, faintly, by Obamacare. For example, there are pilots to reward hospitals for the quality rather than the quantity of their care. Mostly, however, the reform deals with the symptoms of muddled incentives: high premiums and poor access.

Yes, these are perverse incentives.  But this is what happens when you exclude capitalism from health care.

All of the problems, and I mean ALL of the problems, of health care go back to one fatal flaw in how we pay for health care.  We don’t.  That is, we don’t pay for our own health care.  Others do.  And when the recipient of services rendered doesn’t pay for the services rendered you can’t help but to have these perverse incentives.

When you buy a new fridge you don’t let the salesman sell you the most expensive one with the most features if you can’t afford it.  Because you’re going to say no.  Because you can’t afford it.  Those features are nice.  But they’re not necessary for a happy and healthy life of refrigerating stuff.

But if someone else is paying the bill, guess what?  You’re probably going to get the best.  Because it won’t cost you anymore.

Just like people with good prescription coverage don’t buy generics.  Because it doesn’t cost them any more to buy the name brand.

This is what happens when you don’t pay for what you buy.  This is why health care costs are out of control.  And fixing this problem by making the original problem bigger, having other people pay for your health care, as in Obamacare, won’t do a thing to cut costs or provide more access.  What will happen is what has happened in nations with national health care.  Higher taxes and a rationing of services.  To pay for the out of control rise of costs.  Which, surprise surprise, keep rising.  Even in these countries that have ‘solved’ the problem of out of control costs.

If you want to control costs you have to increase the amount of capitalism in the system.  Not reduce it.  Because this is what capitalism does.  And what bureaucrats can’t do.

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When it comes to the Economy People Prefer Conservatives like Ronald Reagan

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

Ronald Reagan is still leading the polls (see Poll: For economy fix, Americans pick Reagan over Roosevelt by The Daily Caller posted 10/31/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Ronald Reagan beat out Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the former president Americans would like to see in the White House during these trying economic times, a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds.

Thirty-six percent of those polled said they wanted the Gipper to lead America out of the economic crisis, while 29 percent picked Roosevelt.

No surprise here.  For Ronald Reagan’s economic recovery from the Jimmy Carter’s economic malaise set economic records.  Whereas FDR’s economic recovery required a world at war.  With some 416,800 U.S. deaths.  A pretty steep price to pay for an economic recovery.

Ronald Reagan didn’t need world war to end anti-business policies.  Like FDR.  That’s why conservatives are better when it comes to the economy.  They can fix messes.  Whereas the Democrats simply double down on bad policy.

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Bill Clinton created the Subprime Mortgage Crisis with his Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

The proof is in the pudding.  And that pudding is the Federal Register.  Or as some would say the smoking gun in the subprime mortgage crisis (see Smoking-Gun Document Ties Policy To Housing Crisis by PAUL SPERRY posted 10/31/2011 on Investors.com).

At President Clinton’s direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties.

The threat was codified in a 20-page “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending” and entered into the Federal Register on April 15, 1994, by the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending. Clinton set up the little-known body to coordinate an unprecedented crackdown on alleged bank redlining.

The edict — completely overlooked by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the mainstream media — was signed by then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Attorney General Janet Reno, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with the heads of six other financial regulatory agencies.

“The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form,” the document warned financial institutions.

So this is where it all started.  In 1994.  When the government pressured lenders to qualify the unqualified.  To put people into houses they couldn’t afford.  Or else.

The unusual full-court press was predicated on a Boston Fed study showing mortgage lenders rejecting blacks and Hispanics in greater proportion than whites. The author of the 1992 study, hired by the Clinton White House, claimed it was racial “discrimination.” But it was simply good underwriting.

It took private analysts, as well as at least one FDIC economist, little time to determine the Boston Fed study was terminally flawed. In addition to finding embarrassing mistakes in the data, they concluded that more relevant measures of a borrower’s credit history — such as past delinquencies and whether the borrower met lenders credit standards — explained the gap in lending between whites and blacks, who on average had poorer credit and higher defaults.

The study did not take into account a host of other relevant data factoring into denials, including applicants’ net worth, debt burden and employment record. Other variables, such as the size of down payments and the amount of the loans sought to the value of the property being bought, also were left out of the analysis. It also failed to consider whether the borrower submitted information that could not be verified, the presence of a cosigner and even the loan amount.

When these missing data were factored in, it became clear that the rejection rates were based on legitimate business decisions, not racism.

Still, the study was used to support a wholesale abandonment of traditional underwriting standards — the root cause of the mortgage crisis.

So there was no racism.  No redlining.  Just good mortgage lending practices.  But good mortgage lending practices don’t buy you votes.  Or get you kickbacks from mortgage lenders.

Confronted with the combined force of 10 federal regulators, lenders naturally toed the line, and were soon aggressively marketing subprime mortgages in urban areas. The marching orders threw such a scare into the industry that the American Bankers Association issued a “fair-lending tool kit” to every member. The Mortgage Bankers Association of America signed a “fair-lending” contract with HUD. So did Countrywide.

HUD also pushed Fannie and Freddie, which in effect set industry underwriting standards, to buy subprime mortgages, freeing lenders to originate even more high-risk loans.

So how do you qualify the unqualified and avoid the wrath of the federal government?  That’s easy.  You create the subprime mortgage market.  And then you get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy these toxic mortgages and pass them on to unsuspecting investors.  Freeing up the mortgage lenders to make more bad loans.  And putting the world on a course to financial calamity.

All in a day’s work for an activist, corrupt, Big Government.

Clinton’s task force survived the Bush administration, during which it produced fair-lending brochures in Spanish for immigrant home-loan applicants.

And it’s still alive today. Obama is building on the fair-lending infrastructure Clinton put in place.

As IBD first reported in July, Attorney General Eric Holder has launched a witch hunt vs. “racist” banks.

“It’s a more aggressive fair-lending enforcement approach now,” said Washington lawyer Andrew Sandler of Buckley Sandler LLP in a recent interview. “It is well beyond anything we saw during the Clinton administration.”

Guess we haven’t learned the lessons of the subprime mortgage crisis.  Or we have and just don’t care.  Because buying votes and getting kickbacks from mortgage lenders is more important than preventing another subprime mortgage crisis.

All of this, of course, means that Wall Street didn’t cause the mess we’re in now.  Bill Clinton did.  And his racist lending policies.  To correct for a racism in mortgage lending that wasn’t there.  By qualifying the unqualified.  And putting them into houses they couldn’t afford.  Which the Obama administration appears to be doubling down on.

Boy.  I’d hate to be in our shoes.

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The 99% is Bitching about the 1% even though the 1% Pays more Income Taxes than the 50% Who Pays None

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

With the Obama administration piling on the class warfare reelection strategy, and the Occupy Wall Street movements lingering on like an annoying bout of constipation, we should look at the numbers.  And just see what those rich sons of bitches are actually paying in taxes (see Making taxes fairer by Michael A. Walsh posted 10/30/2011 on the New York Post).

* In tax year 2009, the top 1 percent of filers — those “millionaires and billionaires” with adjusted gross annual incomes of more $343,927 whom the Occupy Wall Street rabble is demonizing — paid nearly 37 percent of federal income taxes.

* The top 10 percent with incomes over $112,124 (say, a New York City cop and a teacher filing jointly) paid more than 70 percent of income taxes.

* The top 50 percent (starting with princely incomes over $32,396) paid — wait for it — nearly 98 percent of all federal taxes.

The top 1% is only 1% of the population yet they’re paying the tax bill for 37% of the population.  Yeah, they have a large share of the wealth in the country but when they’re picking up 37% of the bill we should stop whining and say thank you.

The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of income taxes.  That ain’t fair.  Having 10% of the population paying the bill for 70% of the population.

Half of the people don’t even pay any income taxes.  That’s just not right.  Especially when those who don’t pay income taxes can vote to raise taxes on those who do.  Taking money that other people earn?  How is this not stealing?

The only way to take more money from the producers to give it to the non-producers is to bring back slavery.  I would hope that the Democrat Party is not in favor of that.  Then again, the Democrat Part is the party of slavery.  So who knows.

Just a quick history lesson here.  Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  He and the Republican Party abolished slavery.  Freed the slaves from the Southern plantations.  That were owned by Southern Democrats.  These few, the planter elite, devastated the Southern states with 4 years of civil war.  To protect their little aristocracy.  So who knows what this ruling elite is capable of today.  To maintain their positions of privilege.  But I digress.

The 1% pays more income taxes than the 99%.  Especially when half of the 99% doesn’t even pay any taxes.  These protesters should know this.  And they probably would if they had gotten useful degrees.  The kind that are actually useful to an employer.

If these people want to bitch perhaps they should direct their bitching to the colleges that sold them these worthless degrees.

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Nancy Pelosi Hates Nonunion Workers because She Can’t Collect Tribute from Them Like She Can from Union Workers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

Nancy Pelosi believes there is such a thing as a bad job.  And I’m not talking about flipping burgers.  I’m talking about building jet planes.  Normally good.  As jet planes dominate U.S. exports.  But these jobs are only good jobs when they are in Seattle.  Not in nonunion South Carolina (see Pelosi Vs. Boeing — And Jobs posted 11/1/2011 on Investors.com).

“Do you think it’s right that Boeing has to close down that plant in South Carolina because it’s nonunion?” asked host Maria Bartiromo.

Pelosi’s quick answer was “yes.”

Pelosi said she preferred the plant in the right-to-work state would unionize; failing that, the National Labor Relations Board is right to shut down the plant where Boeing hopes to build its Dreamliner passenger aircraft.

So instead of adding jobs to the economy Ms. Pelosi would prefer these people collect unemployment checks.  Why?

Union representation must be forced on them so they can be forced to pay union dues, a big chunk of which is funneled into Democratic campaign coffers. Over the past two years, the [International Association of Machinists] donated $1.98 million to Democratic candidates and $34,000 to Republicans.

Similarly, the trillion dollars in wasted stimulus and other legislation have gone mostly to projects using union workers, in particular teacher and construction unions. Stimulus money has also gone to failing but politically connected firms like Solyndra, whose major investors are big Democratic donors.

Nancy and her Democrat colleagues are greedy.  And pine for the days when people like them ruled over others.  Simply by being born into the nobility.  With democracy putting the kibosh on aristocracy they have come up with this clever ruse to put taxpayer dollars into their pockets.

They still steal it.  But not directly.  They give it to someone else.  Who then gives some of it back to them.  If this sounds familiar you may have seen this in the movies.  We call it ‘money laundering’.  She calls it tribute.  The proper respect paid to her privileged class.

This is what it’s all about in the Democrat party.  The money.  So when you hear them talk about creating jobs and stimulating the economy it’s what we call in politics ‘lying’.

They just want the money.  And could care less whether or not they create a job.  If you disagree answer me this.  After 5 years of Pelosi/Obama and all of that stimulus, where are the jobs?

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