More Budget Cuts increase Wait Times to see Doctor in the National Health Service

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

The problem with national health care is that it is zero-sum when it comes to budgeting.  There is one big pie of funding that they divide throughout the system to pay for all of its parts.  But anyone who has ever paid attention to a budget debate in Washington has seen that there is never enough in the pie.  And no one is ever satisfied with their slice of the pie.  Worse, every department will spend every last cent in their appropriation lest they reduce next year’s appropriation by the amount of any unspent funds in this year’s appropriation.  No matter how wasteful that spending is.  Such as for conferences in Las Vegas.  Or extravagant office parties at home.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is straining under the cost of an aging population.  More people are leaving the workforce than are entering it.  Which means fewer people are paying taxes.  Just as the number of people using the resources of the NHS is growing.  Forcing the NHS to do more with less.  Which has everyone complaining about their chunk of the NHS budget (see ‘Unprecedented’ cuts see GPs warn half of Britain will be unable to get appointments by Charlie Cooper posted 2/23/2014 on The Independent).

More than 34 million people will fail to secure an appointment with their doctor at some point this year, the GP’s professional body has claimed, blaming “unprecedented” cuts to funding for family practices.

The Royal College of General Practitioners said that the profession was “on its knees” and called for GPs to get a larger share of the NHS budget.

However, the Department of Health dismissed their findings – which would imply that more than half the UK population will miss out an appointment this year – as “complete nonsense” and accused the college of “sensationalising” the issue.

General practice has seen its share of the NHS budget – which totalled more than £109bn in England last year – significantly eroded in recent years, from 11 per cent in 2005/06 to 8.5 per cent in 2011/12…

“GPs and practice nurses want to provide high quality care for every single patient who seeks a consultation, and over the last decade we have increased the number of patients we see each year in England by 40m,” she said. “However [we] can’t keep doing more for less…”

“The GP survey showed the vast majority of patients are satisfied with their GP and rated their experience of making an appointment as good,” the spokesperson said, adding that GPs had been given an extra £50m to modernise services and stay open longer.

Whenever you want to see your doctor you need to make an appointment.  In the NHS that could take a few weeks.  Which is driving a lot of people to the A/E (accident and emergency departments).  Because they are sick now.  And don’t want to wait 2 weeks to see a doctor to get an antibiotic for their strep throat.

If you read the comments following the linked article you can get a feeling of what the British people think about the NHS.  And an idea of what Obamacare may lead to.  They love their NHS.  But are exasperated by it.  Some think the doctors are too greedy.  But there isn’t a mad rush to become a doctor to relieve the doctor shortage.  So whatever the pay is it isn’t enough to get people to join the profession.  Which ultimately increases the wait times to see a doctor.

The problem is that aging population.  People who remember a kinder and gentler NHS remember one before the baby boomers retired and overloaded the system.  Who are living longer into retirement.  Consuming more of the NHS’ limited resources than people did before the baby boomers retired.  Had Britain (and every other advanced economy) not reduced its birthrate around the Sixties they would not have this problem now.  But they did.  So they are.  As we will, too.  And every other advanced economy with an aging population will.  Making it a very bad time for national health care.  Yet President Obama and the Democrats have given us Obamacare at precisely this time.  Which is guaranteed to make health care in the United States worse.  If you don’t believe that just read the comments following the linked article.

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FT208: “Good liars can make anyone like them while those who don’t lie can’t.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 7th, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Having Government remake our Health Care System is not the Limited Government of our Founding Fathers

According to a Gallup poll approximately 38% of people identify themselves as conservative while only 23% identify themselves as liberal (see Liberal Self-Identification Edges Up to New High in 2013 by Jeffrey M. Jones posted 1/10/2014 on Gallup).  With most of the rest (34%) identifying themselves as moderate.  Or, in other words, 77% of the people do NOT identify themselves as liberal.  That’s over three-quarters of the population.  Which means if you were in a group of four people only one of the four would be a liberal.

And yet we have Obamacare.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act passed on partisan lines when the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.  The most liberal change to our health care system (the government will charge people a fine/tax if they don’t buy health insurance).  The only time in history that government has forced people to buy something against their will.  Without having any kind of say in the matter.  Like we do with car insurance.  If you don’t want to buy car insurance all you have to do is NOT drive a car.  But with Obamacare there is no choice.  Everyone has to buy health insurance.  Period.

Having government remake our health care system is not the limited government of our Founding Fathers.  It is actually more in keeping with a royal decree issued by the king the Founding Fathers fought for their independence from.  Ye shall do this.  For the ruler has spoken.  And ye shall pay more taxes to fund this huge growth of government.  Another thing not in keeping with our Founding Fathers.  Higher taxes.  So how have we come to this when 77% of the people don’t want any of this?  Because liberals are some of the best liars in the world.  That’s how.

Discounted Reimbursements are causing Doctors and Hospitals to leave the Obamacare Network

To make Obamacare work they needed to get people to pay more for their health insurance.  So they could raise a lot of money to subsidize health insurance for those who could not afford to buy it.  Which they couldn’t do if people kept the policies they liked and wanted to keep.  Especially those lower-cost ones.  So they made the policies people liked and wanted to keep noncompliant with the Affordable Care Act.  Forcing their insurers to cancel them.  And forcing people to buy more costly policies.  This providing the subsidy money Obamacare needed.

So this was the plan.  To cause mass cancellations.  And then force those people with cancelled policies to buy more expensive policies.  But this was only part of the formula.  To keep more of those higher insurance premiums they also raised deductibles.  So not only did people pay more for their health insurance policies.  Those policies paid for less.  Forcing people to spend a lot more out-of-pocket before their insurance kicked in.

We have huge budget deficits.  And growing national debt.  A big part of that debt is from Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security).  Getting people to pay for other people’s health insurance won’t cut these costs.  But there is something that will, though.  The same thing the government is doing with Medicare.  Pay doctors and hospitals less.  By discounting their reimbursements.  It worked pretty well with Medicare.  So they were sure it would work well with Obamacare.  Of course, health care providers overcharged private insurers to recoup what the government didn’t pay.  So this will no longer be an option under Obamacare.  Which has caused a lot of doctors and hospitals to already leave the Obamacare network.

People would rather hear a Pleasant Lie than an Unpleasant Truth

There was a lot if opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  For the people did not want national health care.  And they felt that was where Obamacare would lead to.  So President Obama told people in person.  And looked into the camera.  Making a promise to the American people.  “If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan.  If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  If you like your hospital you can keep your hospital.  Period.  No one was going to take these away from you.  All we’re going to do is give you better health insurance while saving the average family $2,500 on their annual insurance premium.”  None of which was true.

Of course, had the president told the truth he would only have confirmed everyone’s fears.  Which is why he lied.  A lie so big PolitiFact named it the Lie of the Year.  And he told the lie so easily.  He was so reassuring that the people believed him.  In fact, they wanted to believe him.  For they liked this president.  And they trusted him.  Despite his economic policies having failed to produce a strong economic recovery.  For even when polls showed the people thought his policies were taking the country in the wrong direction the people still liked him.  Because he tried.  Always saying things the people wanted to hear.  A lot of feel-good things.  Affordable health care for everyone.  Leveling the playing field.  Making the rich pay their fair share.  Free birth control.  Not enforcing federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington.  With talk like that no wonder the people liked him.  And why it was so easy for him to lie to the people.  As they were willing to believe just about anything he said.

President Obama is everything our parents aren’t.  Who tell us what we need to do.  What we should do.  And what we shouldn’t do.  Regular killjoys.  Unlike the president.  And the Democrats.  Who don’t mind people having a little fun in their lives.  Unlike the Republicans.  Who are as bad as our parents.  Always telling us things we don’t want to hear.  Like truths.  Facts.  And how things are.  Reality.  While the president and the Democrats tell us how things could be.  How life can be more fun and more carefree their way.  Whereas life requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice the Republicans’ way.  Because reality can suck.  Which is why some people use intoxicants to escape it.  Or vote Democrat.  Willing to accept on faith their fictional
alternative to escape reality.  For it turns out people would rather hear a pleasant lie than an unpleasant truth.  And people will like you if you tell them pleasant lies.  While they won’t like you very much if you tell them unpleasant truths.  Which is why good liars can make anyone like them while those who don’t lie can’t.  This is why people didn’t like Mitt Romney.  He told the truth.  And why people liked President Obama.  Because he told them what they wanted to hear.  Such as things like the Lie of the Year.

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Obamacare on the Path to making People wait 4 Hours to see a Doctor like in Canada

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

Obamacare so far has been a disaster.  The website is a billion dollar embarrassment for the Obama administration.  The lack of enrollees.  Far more old and sick signing up than young and healthy.  Millions of people losing the health insurance they liked and wanted to keep.  People losing their doctors.  People going to doctors thinking they have health insurance only to find out they don’t.  The health insurers are looking at huge losses unless they get a federal bailout.  Even the credit rating agencies have said the entire health insurance industry is in danger of going belly up because of Obamacare.

Still the Obamacare supporters say everything will be fine.  Just give it time.  Sure, there has been a bump or two during the rollout.  But it’s getting better every day.  While there are some who are saying these problems are all due to the insurance companies.  And that we need to cut them out of the loop.  And go with a single-payer system.  Like they have in Canada.  So we can at last have the same high-quality system they have where everyone has everything they need when they need it regardless of cost.  A health care utopia.  Where if you’re sick it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.  You’ll get to wait the same 4 hours to see a doctor as everyone else in Canada has to wait (see Would you pay to not wait in your doctor’s waiting room? This company is betting on it by Erin Anderssen posted 1/22/2014 on The Globe and Mail).

In your hand, you hold the number 52. The nurse shepherding patients through the walk-in clinic just called 12, which means you can expect to be waiting hours.

What’s your time worth? A Montreal-based company is betting you’d be willing to pay less than the equivalent of a grande latte for your “freedom” from the coughing, sniffling and tedium of a doctor’s waiting room. Chronometriq has created a text service – $3 in Quebec (and the expected cost of $4 in Ontario) – that will buzz you on your phone as your number approaches. The company expects the technology, now in place in 24 clinics in Quebec, to expand to 50 walk-in clinics by spring, including some Ontario locations, pending approval from the provincial health ministry.

Its next stop is hospital emergency rooms, where Canadians endure longer waits than citizens of 11 other OECD countries, according to a study released last year.

But it’s also controversial: After all, the program introduces a questionable user-pay element to Canada’s health care system. (The program is optional – you can still save your pennies and linger in the waiting room.)

As Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, points out, it won’t do anything to reduce actual wait times in ERs, where according to the international study 31 per cent of Canadian wa[i]ted more than four hours to be seen by a doctor in 2010. (The average among all countries included was 12 per cent.) “It is not improving access to care at all,” Mehra says. “The issue is people waiting too long to get in the door.”

That’s the point, argues Louis Parent, Chronometriq vice-president. “How many years have government said they will tackle wait times. And nothing has changed. We have to face facts.”

Critics of national health care say it will lead to rationing and longer wait times.  As it has in Canada.  Why?  Because government can’t do anything well.  The huge bureaucracy adds costs by adding layers of people between doctors and patients.  To determine what treatment a doctor may provide for his or her patient.  More and more health care dollars pay for the bureaucracy instead of actually treating patients.  While at the same time an aging population is reducing the number of taxpayers while increasing the number of people consuming taxpayer-funded health care services.  Which means health care providers have to do more with less.  They have to carefully ration what they have.  Which leads to longer waiting times as patients wait their turn for those limited health care services.

This is where the left wants to take the American health care system to.  Even as countries around the world are having the same problems Canada has.  Many of which are privatizing parts of their national health care.  Even Canada.  Who is now charging some patients for the privilege of receiving a text to tell them when their 4 hours of waiting are nearly up.  Of course the Canadians are having these problems because they are not as smart as the American left.  Who after never doing it before will know how to do national health care right.  Just look at how well they rolled out Obamacare.

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Health Care Economics

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2014

Economics 101

Because Obamacare Insurance pays for everything Under the Sun it is anything but Insurance

Do you know what the problem is with health care?  Insurance plans that give away free flu shots.  Not that flu shots are bad.  They’re not.  And it’s a good thing for everyone to get one every year at the onset of the flu season.  For it does seem to limit the spread of the flu virus.  It’s because we get a flu shot every year is why insurance shouldn’t pay for it.  Because we know about this expense.  And we can budget for it.  Just like we can budget for our monthly cellular bill.  Which is in most cases more than ten times the cost of one annual flu shot.

When Lloyds of London started selling marine insurance at that coffee shop they were selling insurance.  Not welfare.  Losing a ship at sea caused a huge financial loss.  And shippers wanted to mitigate that risk.  So every shipper paid a SMALL premium to protect against a LARGE loss.  A POTENTIAL sinking and loss of cargo.  Not every ship sank, though.  In fact, most ships did not.  Which is why that little bit from everyone was able to pay the financial loss of the few shippers that lost their ship and cargo.  But that’s all that Lloyd’s of London paid for.  They didn’t pay a dime to shippers whose ships didn’t sink.  No, those shippers paid every cent they incurred (crew, food, rum, etc.) to ship things across those perilous oceans.  Because they could expect those costs.  And they could budget for them.

This is how insurance works.  Which isn’t how our current health insurance system works.  No.  Today people don’t want to pay for anything out-of-pocket.  Not the unexpected catastrophic costs.  Or the EXPECTED small costs that everyone can budget for in their personal lives.  Like an annual flu shot.  Childhood vaccinations.  Annual checkups.  Childbirth.  Etc.  Even the unexpected things that aren’t that expensive.  Like the stitches required when a child falls off of a bike.  Things that would cost less than someone’s monthly cellular bill.  Or things that people can plan and save for.  Like a house.  A car.  Or a child.  Which is why Obamacare insurance is not insurance.  It pays for way too many expected costs that we can budget for.  And because it does it only increases the cost of our health insurance policies.  Which are now anything but insurance.

Free Market Forces and Insurance for Catastrophic Costs will Fix any Problems in our Health Care System

When we pay these things out-of-pocket there are market forces in play.  For a doctor is not going to charge someone they’ve been seeing for years as much as he will charge a faceless insurance company.  Even today some doctors will waive some fees to help some of their long-time patients during a time of financial hardship.  Because there is a relationship between doctor and patient.  And they want to help.  Which is why they sometimes overcharge insurance companies to recover costs they can’t recover in full from other patients.  (Which is why insurance companies are vigilant in denying overbillings).  Especially those things government pays for.  Medicaid.  And Medicare.  Which the government discounts.  Leaving health care providers little choice but to overbill others to pay for what the government does not.

When we pay out-of-pocket doctors can’t charge as much.  Because they need patients.  If they charge too much their patients may find another good doctor that charges a little less.  Perhaps a younger one trying to establish a practice.  These are market forces.  Just like there are everywhere else in the economy.  Even a cancer patient requiring an expensive miracle drug benefits from market forces.  If there was true insurance in our health care system, that is.  Cancer is an unexpected and catastrophic cost.  But not everyone gets cancer.  Just as every ship does not sink.  Everyone would pay a small fee to insure against a financial loss that can result from cancer.  Where that little bit from everyone buying a catastrophic health insurance policy was able to pay the financial loss of the unfortunate few that require cancer treatment.  Even one including a costly miracle drug.  Because only a few from a large pool would incur these financial losses insurers would compete against other insurers for this business.  Just like they do to insure houses.  And ships crossing perilous oceans.

Health care would work better in the free market.  It doesn’t today because government changed that.  Starting with FDR putting a ceiling on wages.  Which forced employers to offer generous benefits to get the best workers to work for them when they couldn’t offer them more pay.  This was the beginning.  Now the health insurance industry is so bastardized that it doesn’t even resemble insurance anymore.  It’s just a massive cost transfer from one group of people to another.  Instead of a pooling of money to insure against financial risk.  For the few unexpected and catastrophic costs we cannot afford or budget for to pay out-of-pocket.

Because our Health Care System is the Most Expensive in the World it is the Best in the World

The American health care system is the finest in the world.  When you have a serious health care issue and you have the wherewithal there’s only one place you’re going for your medical care.  The United States.  And the best costs.  And it’s because it is so costly that people enter into the health care industry to do wonderful things.  Such as pharmaceutical companies.  Who many rail against for charging so much for the miracle drugs only they produce.  It’s a free country.  Anyone could have created that miracle drug.  All they had to do was to spend a boatload of money for years on other drugs that were losers.  Until they finally found one that wasn’t a loser.  That’s all you had to do.  Yet few do it.  Why?

Because creating miracle drugs is an extremely expensive and often futile endeavor.  Which is why we award patents to the few who do.  Which is the only reason they pour hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development and pay massive liability insurance premiums for taking a huge risk to put a drug onto the market that may harm or kill people.  They do this on the CHANCE that they may develop at least one successful drug that will pay for all of the costs incurred to develop this one drug, the costs for the countless drugs that failed AND provide a profit for their investors.  Who took a huge risk in paying their employees over the many years it took to come up with at least one drug that wasn’t a loser.  Their investors do this only because of the CHANCE that this pharmaceutical will develop that miracle drug that everyone wants.  But most don’t.  And investors just lose their investment.  But it’s the only way miracle drugs become available to us.  Because of rich investors who were willing to risk losing huge amounts of money.

This is what the profit incentive gives us.  The best health care system in the world.  Why the countries based on free market capitalism have the finest health care systems in the world.  And why North Korea, Cuba, the former East Germany, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, etc., have never given us miracle drugs.  There never was an economic incentive throughout the economy to do so.  Like there is in countries with free market capitalism.  Where everyone at every level pursues profits that result overall in a pharmaceutical industry that produces these miracle drugs.

There is an expression that says you get what you pay for.  Our health care system is the most expensive in the world.  And because it is it is the best in the world.  Trying to inhibit the profit incentive for research and development and forcing medical providers to work for less (steeper Medicaid, Medicare and now Obamacare discounts) will change that.  Because you do get what you pay for.  And those who live/have lived in North Korea, Cuba, the former East Germany, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, etc., can attest to.

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Abject Ignorance of things Economic is Destroying our Health Care System

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 18th, 2014

Week in Review

The problem in America these days is the mass ignorance of the people.  Thanks to a public school system that does not educate but programs our children to be good Democrat voters.  Higher education taken over by the leftist radicals of the Sixties that forever changed the curriculum to teach our children to distrust capitalism and love government.  When controlled by Democrats, of course.  And people who are for some reason respected for their economic prowess who are absolutely clueless on things economic (see The Daily Show Nails Why Healthcare Will Never Work As A Free Market by Christina Sterbenz posted 1/18/2014 on Business Insider).

Steven Brill, author of Time’s in-depth healthcare analysis “Bitter Pill,” appeared on The Daily Show this week to discuss his opinion of Obamacare.

Brill’s work exploded his career into a love-hate relationship with Obamacare, now leading to a book. Speaking with Jon Stewart, Brill certainly made his criticisms known but we also feel like he pinpointed exactly why healthcare just can’t work as a free market.

Brill told the story of a cancer patient forced to pay $13,700 out-of-pocket, up-front for transfusion of a drug. And that cost only constituted part of a greater $83,000 payment. Brill claims, however, the drug only cost the pharmaceutical company $300.

Stewart came back at Brill with the typical, conservative argument — creating a free market for healthcare where patients pick-and-choose their coverage to create competition and therefore, better options.

“Everyone says, well it’s a marketplace. That guy [the cancer patient] has no choice in buying that drug. His doctor told him, ‘This will save your life. You don’t take it, you’re gonna die,'” Brill responded.

He further argued free markets must host two aspects — a balance between buyers and sellers and secondly, knowledge — neither of which the current U.S. system offers.

“That cancer drug has a patent. That is a monopoly that the government has given the drug company. There is no other drug. That’s the drug,” Brill said.

Jon Stewart is a comedian.  So one can almost forgive his ignorance.  But you’d think a person writing for a publication with the word ‘business’ in its name would actually understand business.  But the author hasn’t a clue.  It’s not her fault.  It’s because of the politicizing of our educational system.  As her dual degrees in journalism and public affairs would have taught her squat about the classical, Austrian or the Chicago school of economics.  Instead filling her head with Keynesian nonsense.  The one economic school embraced by power-hungry governments everywhere that has a proven track record of failure.  For it was Keynesian policies that gave us the Great Depression, the stagflation of the 1970s, the dot-com bubble and recession of the late 1990s/early 2000s and the Great Recession.  Where massive government spending did not pull the economy out of recession but only made things worse.

Why does this pharmaceutical company have a patent?  Or perhaps a better question would be why do we have this one cancer drug?  Why is it that this one pharmaceutical company developed a cancer drug that works that no other pharmaceutical company or government developed?  Because of that patent.  The only reason they poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development and paid massive liability insurance premiums for taking a huge risk to put a drug onto the market that may harm or kill people.  They do this on the CHANCE that they may develop at least one successful drug that will pay all of their past costs for this one drug, the costs for the countless drugs that failed AND a profit for their investors.  Who took a huge risk investing, giving this pharmaceutical company the money to pay all of their employees over the years it took to come up with at least one drug that wasn’t a loser.

Does the author of this article work for free?  No.  Of course not.  She has bills.  As we all do.  Even the people working at pharmaceutical companies.  Who don’t work there for free.  Even if the vast majority of their work produces nothing that their employer can sell their employer still pays them.  Thanks to their investors who give them the money to do so until they can actually sell something.  But their investors do this only because of the CHANCE that this pharmaceutical will develop that miracle drug that everyone wants.  A miracle drug that would never come into being if it weren’t for investors who were willing to risk losing huge amounts of money.  Something only rich investors can afford to do.

Health care worked as a free market before General Motors made it an employee benefit thanks to FDR’s ceiling on wages.  Once people stopped paying for what they received all free market forces left the health care system.  And costs began to rise.  This whole “healthcare just can’t work as a free market” is a product of the dumbing down of our educational system.  One that produces people who don’t know the difference between insurance and health care.  Insurance protects our assets against a catastrophic and UNEXPECTED loss.  Like when Lloyds of London started selling marine insurance at that coffee shop.  Every shipper paid a small premium to protect against a POTENTIAL sinking and loss of cargo.  A POTENTIAL financial loss.  Not every ship sank, though.  In fact, most ships did not.  Which is why that little bit from everyone was able to pay the financial loss of the few that did.  For the ships that didn’t sink the shippers paid every other cost they incurred to ship things across those perilous oceans.

This is how insurance works.  Which isn’t how our current health insurance works.  Where people don’t expect to pay for anything out-of-pocket.  Not the unexpected catastrophic costs.  Or the EXPECTED small costs that everyone can budget for in their personal lives.  Childhood vaccinations, annual checkups, flu shots, childbirth, etc.  Even the unexpected things that have a low cost.  Like the stitches required when a child falls off of a bike.  Things that would cost less than someone’s annual cellular costs.  Or things that people can plan and save for (like a house, a car or a child).  When we pay these things out-of-pocket there are market forces in play.  For a doctor is not going to charge someone they’ve been seeing for years as much as a faceless insurance company.  Even today some doctors will waive some fees to help some of their long-time patients during a time of financial hardship.  Because there is a relationship between doctor and patient.

When we pay out-of-pocket doctors can’t charge as much.  Because they need patients.  If they charge too much their patients may find another good doctor that charges a little less.  Perhaps a younger one trying to establish a practice.  These are market forces.  Just like there are everywhere else in the economy.  Even a cancer patient requiring an expensive wonder drug would contribute to market forces if there was true insurance in our health care system.  Cancer is an unexpected and catastrophic cost.  But not everyone gets cancer.  Everyone would pay a small fee to insure against a financial loss that can result from cancer.  Where that little bit from everyone was able to pay the financial loss of the unfortunate few that receive a cancer diagnosis.  Because only a few from a large pool would incur this financial loss insurers would compete against other insurers for this business.  Just like they do to insure houses.  And ships crossing perilous oceans.

Health care would work better in the free market.  It doesn’t today because government changed that.  Starting with FDR putting a ceiling on wages.  Which forced employers to offer generous benefits to get the best workers to work for them when they couldn’t offer them more pay.  This was the beginning.  Now the health insurance industry is so bastardized that it doesn’t even resemble insurance anymore.  It’s just a massive cost transfer from one group of people to another.  Instead of a pooling of money to insure against financial risk.  For the few unexpected and catastrophic costs we could not afford and budget for to pay out-of-pocket.

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Obamacare forces Seniors to give up their Doctors and Medicare Advantage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 27th, 2013

Week in Review

During the 2012 campaign the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney as a guy that didn’t care if people with cancer lost their health insurance.  In fact, the company he co-founded, Bain Capital, was accused of being so heartless that it wanted people to die from cancer. 

An employee of a steel plant lost his job and his health insurance after Bain took over the failing company and later closed the plant.  And because of this his wife died from cancer.  Even though she had lost her health insurance before the plant had closed.  Yet this one cancer death was very effective in demonizing Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.  Ironically, President Obama will willingly let many people die from cancer to achieve a political end; national health care (see Elderly patients sick over losing doctors under ObamaCare by Carl Campanile posted 10/25/2013 on the New York Post).

Elderly New Yorkers are in a panic after getting notices that insurance companies are booting their doctors from the Medicare Advantage program as a result of the shifting medical landscape under ObamaCare.

That leaves patients with unenviable choices: keep the same insurance plan and find another doctor, pay out of pocket or look for another plan where their physician is a member…

The [sic] are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers who receive Medicare, the public heath [sic]-insurance program for the elderly.

But one in three patients — nearly 900,000 — are enrolled in Advantage, Medicare HMOs run by private insurers…

Federal funding to Medicare Advantage is being pared back by billions of dollars in coming years under the national Affordable Care Act. Obama said spending on the program was higher than regular Medicare and unsustainable.

President Obama said if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.  And if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  Unless, of course, he wants to gut Medicare Advantage to pay for Obamacare.

He screws his young supporters by forcing them under penalty of law to buy health insurance to pay for the old and sick.  And now he’s screwing the old and sick by taking away their doctors and health insurance.  If he’s willing to screw two large voting blocks that support him imagine what he’ll do to people he doesn’t like.  Like Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party members.  The same conservative group that got special IRS scrutiny during the 2012 campaign.  An election where the Republican base did not turn out like they did during the 2010 elections.  Now imagine how eager they’ll want to be politically active when in addition to special IRS scrutiny the government can take away their doctor.  And deny them treatment for their health problems.  If you want a glimpse into that world you can look here.

Or you can look here.

It can get a little scary when the state becomes all powerful.  Some people at the Founding wanted a more powerful government.  For they were all students of the Enlightenment.  And believed that only like-minded people would ascend to government.  But the Founding Fathers knew their history.  And knew better.  No person should be trusted with power.  For what Lord Acton wrote in 1887 is as true today as it was throughout history.  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

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We have Obamacare because Democrats are Better at Lying than Republicans are at Telling the Truth

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 24th, 2013

Politics 101

President Obama Habitually breaks Every Promise he makes and Suffers no Consequences

President Obama made a promise to Americans as he stumped for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  He said if you like your insurance plan you can keep your plan.  If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  And even those people who did like and want to keep their insurance and doctor would benefit under Obamacare.  Because they would get more for less.  If you do a search on YouTube you can see all sorts of videos where you can hear President Obama make these very promises.  Like this one.

The president was adamant.  He made these promises over and over.  Nothing in his plan would change anything for those happy with what they had.  Period.  He said that a lot.  Period.  These weren’t mere political promises that we expect to be broken as usual.  This was a solemn oath from President Obama.  And we could take that to the bank.  Well, it turns out the American people couldn’t take that to the bank.  For he broke every promise he made.

George Herbert Walker Bush became a one-term president because he said, “Read my lips.  No new taxes.”  And then he made a deal with devious Democrats to raise taxes in exchange for spending cuts.  Spending cuts that never came.  Bush broke one promise and it ended his political career.  While President Obama habitually breaks every promise he makes and suffers no consequences.  At least not yet.  But that may change.

Hackers will call the Obamacare Database the Mother Lode when it comes to Hacking

The whole point of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care affordable for everyone.  So everyone could have health insurance plans that covered everything.   While paying less than they ever had before for health insurance.  So far, though, that hasn’t been happening.  In fact, fewer people have health insurance since Obamacare was rolled out (see More Americans In 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under ObamaCare Than Have Filed An Exchange Account In All 50 by Josh Archambault posted 10/24/2013 on Forbes).

This week the reality of the ObamaCare roll-out appeared in a set of news stories that serve as an ironic juxtaposition. Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states.  In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of “filed.”)…

As I have tracked enrollment by states, many are reporting out both Medicaid and exchange enrollment at the same time.

Therefore the 476,000 number is misleading. My best guess is that for the 17 states that have reported out some data, the number is closer to 193,818 applications (once you pull out the Medicaid applications that have been reported on). Of course, this number is also still too high as it is compromised by the jointly reported data.

People are losing the insurance they like because to keep it requires more than they can afford.  For Obamacare has made the insurance they liked and wanted to keep much more expensive (see Obamacare deductibles a dose of sticker shock by Peter Frost posted 10/13/2013 on the Chicago Tribune).

Many Illinoisans buying health coverage on their own next year will face a similar dilemma spurred by the health care overhaul: pay higher monthly insurance premiums or run the risk of having to shell out thousands more in deductibles for health care if they get sick.

To promote the Oct. 1 debut of the exchanges, the online marketplaces where consumers can shop and buy insurance, Obama administration and Illinois officials touted the lower-than-expected monthly premiums that would make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. But a Tribune analysis shows that 21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage…

Plans with the least expensive monthly premiums — highlighted by state and federal officials as proof the new law will keep costs low for consumers — have deductibles as high as $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, the highest levels allowed under the law.

And then there’s the website.  In an era where identity theft is running rampant where hackers can steal everything in your smartphone while sipping a coffee at Starbucks we are asked to enter all our personal and identifying information into this website.  And after they collect it they will store it in one massive database.  Or as that hacker in Starbucks would call it, the mother lode.  A hacker’s paradise.  So is our personal and identifying information safe?  It doesn’t matter.  For the government has written in the code that by entering our data we acknowledge that we have no expectation of privacy (see Obamacare Website Source Code: ‘No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’ by JERYL BIER posted 10/14/2013 on The Weekly Standard).

The launch of federal government’s Obamacare insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov, has been plagued with delays, errors, and poor website design, even prompting USA Today to call it an “inexcusable mess” and a “nightmare”.  Now comes another example of why the website’s reputation is in tatters.  Buried in the source code of Healthcare.gov is this sentence that could prove embarrassing: “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.”  Though not visible to users and obviously not intended as part of the terms and conditions, the language is nevertheless a part of the underlying code for the “Terms & Conditions” page on the site…

The full portion of the code which does not appear on the visible page displayed for users reads as follows:

You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  Any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose. [The sentence beginning “To continue” also appears again, but is only visible once on the page as displayed for users.]

Talk about your Big Brother.  Once upon a time the Constitution required a warrant for the government to collect this information.  Now it’s the price of health care.  You want to live?  Then you must sign away your Fourth Amendment Right.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Apparently the Obama administration has little regard for the U.S. Constitution.  Funny how these same people railed against George W. Bush and the Patriot Act.  And he was only wire-tapping international telephone calls to suspected terrorists.  Not throwing a dragnet to see what useful information the government could collect on potential political enemies of the state.  Which could be useful in the next election.  Or to silence a critic.

The Taxpayer Bill for the Obamacare Website is $1 Billion and Counting

Proponents of national health care like to say the United States is the only advanced economy without national health care.  But what they don’t say is that those countries they so admire have a mix of public and private.  And those who can choose the private over the public whenever they can.  Australia.  The United Kingdom.  Even Canada.  And the name of the Canadian private network?  The United States.  Well, before Obamacare, at least.  In fact, not only do patients travel across the border for the private American health care system.  So do doctors and nurses.  In search of a decent wage.  For in Canada they have little choice but to accept what the Canadian government pays them.  However little that is.

The lynchpin of Obamacare is getting young, healthy people to buy health insurance policies.  Who will only pay into the system.  For being young and healthy they won’t consume any health care resources.  So the young and healthy can pay for the old and sick.  And with an aging population, the old and sick outnumber the young and healthy.  So the young and healthy will be paying high premiums and high deductibles.  Just as is happening.  While families will pay even more.  And just as they are paying more for their now mandatory health insurance their household incomes are falling.  Employers are pushing full-time workers to part-time.  Laying off workers to have less than 30 on the payroll.  And they’re not hiring anyone to keep from having 30 workers on the payroll.  All because of Obamacare.  So the 10 million or so workers who left the labor force since President Obama assumed office won’t be going back to work any time soon.

So the Affordable Care Act is as bad as the Republicans said it would be.  And then there’s the cost of the website (see Late IT Cash Surge Foreshadowed Health-Law Woes by Peter Gosselin posted 10/24/2013 on Bloomberg Government).

Although the Affordable Care Act has been law for three and a half years, one third of the funds going to the top contractors working on the federal exchanges were awarded in the six months before the new insurance marketplaces opened Oct. 1, a Bloomberg Government Analysis has found. The torrent of late spending — almost $352 million of $1 billion in awards to the top 10 contractors — indicates the magnitude of the work still to be done as opening day approached, and helps explain the information technology problems that have dogged the exchange system since its launch.

$1 billion for a website.  And one that doesn’t work.  Imagine that.  But in the grand scheme of things this will still be the least costly part of the Affordable Care Act.  And we’ll look back to these days as the good old days of Obamacare.  Because it is horrible now.  And it will only get worse.  The Republicans knew this which is why none of them voted for it. The Democrats knew it, too, but they didn’t care.  Because for them Obamacare is not about health care.  It’s about acquiring power.  Sadly, they were able to win this political contest.  Because they are better at lying than the Republicans are at telling the truth.

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National Health Care in Brazil amputates Wrong Leg, turns to Cuba to relieve Doctor Shortage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 12th, 2013

Week in Review

The proponents of Obamacare say the United States is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t have national health care.  Which is probably why the American health care system is the best in the world.  And things like this happen where they do have national health care (see Brazilian doctors remove the wrong leg of patient before amputating other leg by The Associated Press posted 10/9/2013 on The Vancouver Sun).

A Brazilian hospital says a patient with diabetic kidney failure has been left legless after going into an operation to amputate his right leg and having doctors remove his left…

“When the patient’s daughter told doctors they had removed the wrong leg, they amputated the other leg as well.”

Is this an isolated incident?  Or is it an indictment of national health care itself?  Well, according to the Washington Post (see Brazil, facing health-care crisis, imports Cuban doctors by Paula Moura and Juan Forero posted 8/30/2013) it doesn’t look that much like an isolated incident.

Since the 1960s, Cuba has deployed an army of doctors by the tens of thousands to the world’s most inhospitable corners, from Haiti to Africa’s killing fields to the ultra-violent barrios of Venezuela.

Now, thousands of Cubans are heading to relatively affluent Brazil to shore up a decrepit health-care system that has become a national embarrassment.

Two months after mass protests against the substandard condition of public health and other services, President Dilma Rousseff’s government has signed a deal to bring 4,000 Cubans by the end of the year to serve for three years in forlorn outposts where health officials say Brazilian doctors will not work. Under the contract, Brazil will pay the island’s cash-starved government $4,200 a month per doctor, or $200 million annually.

But the government’s plan has its doubters. Among them is Aline Lais Ribeiro, 17, who on a recent day waited three hours to see the lone doctor working a 24-hour shift in a shabby clinic in this gritty Sao Paulo suburb, one of the 700 towns where Cuban doctors will be assigned. She asked why the government has not put resources into building a quality health-care system to match Brazil’s developed-world pretensions.

So national health care in Brazil is “decrepit.”  A “national embarrassment.”  And “substandard.”  It’s so bad they are getting doctors from Cuba to relive their chronic doctor shortage.  With Cubans becoming doctors no doubt so they can escape their godforsaken island.  As the Cuban communists prostitute these doctors to bring in some hard currency to their “cash-starved government.”

If these doctors work about a 60-hour week at $4,200 per month that comes to approximately $16.27 per hour.  Recently in America unskilled fast-food workers went on strike to raise their hourly wage to $15.  Imagine that.  Unskilled workers demanding nearly the same amount of money Cuban doctors will work for in Brazil.  Well, they won’t get all of that money.  Most of it will go to the “cash-starved government” back in Cuba.

As Obamacare rolls out Brazil may lose these Cuban doctors.  As Obamacare creates a doctor shortage in the United States the Americans may offer those Cubans as much as $20 an hour to come practice medicine in America.  As a bonus incentive they will be able to retain their native language.  For the illegal aliens flooding our country who will receive Obamacare speak Spanish.  Not Portuguese like they do in Brazil.  But Spanish.  Like they speak in Cuba.  A win-win for the Obama administration.  And Cuba.  Well, the Cuban government.  For if they are exporting 4,000 Cuban doctors that may make the average Cuban wait a lot longer to see a doctor in their national health care system.

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Canada has Record Number of Doctors but Canadians still have Trouble Finding a Doctor

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 28th, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare is coming.  The path to single-payer/national health care.  Which we’ll have once Obamacare kills the private health insurance business.  By forcing insurers to cover so much that they have to raise their premiums beyond what people can afford.  As people stop buying insurance they will have to raise their premiums further still due to fewer people in the insurance pool.  Which, of course, will force more people out of the pool as they simply won’t be able to afford insurance anymore.  Eventually the insurance companies will not be able to insure enough people to remain in business.  Leaving only the government.  And then the left has their single-payer/national health care.

So what will that be like?  Well, we probably won’t be able to keep our doctors.  Like President Obama promised us we could.  No.  Socialized medicine does not encourage people to go through the hell of medical school to become a doctor.  So there will be fewer doctors.  Requiring higher caseloads per doctor.  Prompting many to retire.  And then it will be more like it is in Canada (see Canadian doctor total at record high posted 9/26/2013 on CBC News).

Canada had a record 75,142 doctors last year and they earned $328,000 gross on average, according to two new reports…

But the numbers alone don’t present the full picture. It’s important to ask not just how many doctors are needed, but where are they most needed and in what specialties, said Geoff Ballinger, CIHI’s manager of physician information.

Kristin Speth, 35, of Toronto, has been looking for a regular doctor since she moved from Alberta four years ago. She’s had headaches since childhood and has been going to walk-in clinics but is frustrated with the experience.

She’s tried the provincial service to find a doctor but keeps getting notices saying there are no leads.

“It is extremely frustrating,” said Speth.

“It’s just so hard to find someone who will just stay longer than the one year that I need for my physical. They just don’t stick around or you know, you can’t find anyone who is taking new patients.”

Canada’s population is around 35 million.  So there’s about one doctor per every 468 Canadians.  The US population is around 314 million with about 691,000 doctors (in 2010).  That’s about one doctor per every 454 Americans.  So the Canadians have more doctors per capita than they do in the US.  But currently finding a doctor in the United States is not as difficult as it is in Canada.  Well, until Obamacare, that is.  After which Americans will be as exasperated as their Canadian neighbors.  Because they already have what Obamacare will give us.  Single-payer.  And doctor shortages.  Even though they have more doctors per capita than we do.  But apparently their ‘single-payer’ workloads are so heavy they just can’t—or won’t— take on new patients.   Something to look forward to under Obamacare.

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Ontario will try to Fix their Doctor and Nurse Shortage by luring Doctors and Nurses from Quebec

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

The political left has long wanted national health care in the United States.  And often point to Canada and their health care system.  For the left does not believe that anyone should be denied their right to medical care.  Or that anyone should profit off of the medical misfortunes of others.  So everybody gets free medical care.  While no one is allowed to profit from the giving of that care.  A noble idea.  But a flawed idea.  For being a doctor or a nurse is not easy.  It requires years of education.  Further years of on the job training.  Enormous school loan debt.  And long and stressful working days.  Not everyone can do it.  Which is why we pay those who do well.  Unless you have national health care.  Which leads to doctor and nurse shortages because they don’t pay their doctors and nurses as well as they do in a private health care system (see Ad aims to lure Quebec doctors to Ontario, targeting values posted 9/12/2013 on CBC News).

An Ontario hospital is trying to lure Quebec-trained health-care workers by tapping into the controversy surrounding Quebec’s values charter.

Lakeridge Health is planning to run the ad, which features a woman wearing a headscarf, in a McGill University student newspaper.

The ad says: “We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it…”

Empey said the hospital is in need of qualified medical staff and they chose to target the ad at McGill students because they have a strong medical program…

Quebec’s proposed secular values charter, announced earlier this week by the Parti Québécois government, includes a provision that would prohibit public employees from wearing obvious religious symbols while performing their official duties.

That includes the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and “large” crosses by civil servants while they are on the job.

There isn’t a whole lot of love between French Canada and English Canada.  Personally I love both Canadas.  I spent a lot of time in both and the people couldn’t have been nicer to me.  It’s just each other they have a problem with.  I won’t go into details about that as it is not necessary to make a point.  That point being that English Canada is trying to lure French Canada to come and be doctors and nurses in their hospitals because there is a doctor and nurse shortage.  This despite the fact they don’t love each other.  Which shows how bad that shortage is.

It is admirable that English Canada is offering these French Canadians a place to work without having to suspend their religious principles.  But note one thing English Canada is NOT doing.  Offering these doctors and nurses more money.  Because they just can’t afford to.  So they hope to exploit Quebec’s new secular values charter to cure a problem common to national health care.  Doctor and nurse shortages.  But if Ontario reduces their shortage it will only increase the shortage in Quebec.  For national health care is a zero-sum game.  For someone to win someone must lose.  As there are a finite number of doctors and nurses in Canada.

This is what Obamacare will do for the American health care system.  Create doctor and nurse shortages.  Because Obamacare is going to fix the high cost of health care by paying doctors and nurses less.  Because no one should profit from the medical misfortunes of others.  But it is okay for patients to wait longer to see a doctor.  Apparently.

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