The Government Bureaucracy will make Health Care as Abysmal as the Obamacare Rollout

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2014

Week in Review

Government wants to run everything.  And they think they can fix anything.  But few people want to deal with the government.  No one enjoys renewing their driver’s license.  Or dealing with any other government bureaucracy.   Because they know it will not be a quick or an enjoyable experience.  They’d much rather go to a store or a restaurant.  Any place in the private sector where the customer is king.  This is what people prefer.  And yet here we are.  Turing over our health care to the people we least like having to deal with.  But really now, how bad can it be (see HHS official resigns with scathing letter, rips ‘dysfunctional’ bureaucracy by Kellan Howell posted 3/15/2014 on The Washington Times)?

A top Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official resigned, accusing the agency of fostering a “dysfunctional” environment on the way out…

Mr. Wright wrote that his research was rewarding but that it only accounted for 35 percent of his job. The rest of his time was spent “navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy.”

According to Mr. Wright’s letter, tasks that took a couple of days at a university research center, required weeks or months and that the budget was micromanaged by senior officials.

If you ever wondered why the rollout of Obamacare was so abysmal this is why.  Because HHS is abysmal.  As all government bureaucracies are.  A bunch of career bureaucrats who are more interested in maintaining their beloved bureaucracy than making the customer king.  For the more complex and convoluted their bureaucracy is the more their jobs are secured.  And the bigger they grow the more funding they can get.  Bureaucrats love that.  Because there will always be a place for them in the government.  So they will never have to get a job in the private sector.  Where people hire based on merit.  Where they only keep people who have value.  And fire anyone doing a horrible job.  Like the kind of job the people who rolled our Obamacare did.  Which is why they want nothing to do with the private sector.  Preferring to stay snug and warm in the cocoon of their bureaucracy.  Comforted by the fact they can remain there no matter how incompetent or irrelevant they are.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , ,

Obamacare already has more Ignored Complaints than they have in the NHS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2014

Week in Review

People hate government bureaucracies.  They can’t stand getting their driver’s license renewed.  They hate getting the necessary approvals before making an improvement on their property.  They especially hate having to deal with the IRS.  Giving the choice we would all gladly have our dentists fix our cavities then endure those ordeals.  Without Novocain.  Because it is so frustrating dealing with a slow-moving, inefficient and inept government bureaucracy.  Which is why people don’t want national health care.

Obamacare is already showing what a slow-moving, inefficient and inept government bureaucracy it is.  From the abysmal rollout.  To those 22,000 people trying to get that slow-moving, inefficient and inept government bureaucracy to correct the mistakes that bureaucracy made.  They submitted complaints through the proper channels.  Where they promptly disappeared in the system and went ignored.  Something we can expect more of with this new slow-moving, inefficient and inept government bureaucracy.  As it is a common feature of a national health care system (see NHS watchdog accused of ‘throwing away’ complaints by Laura Donnelly posted 2/3/2014 on The Telegraph).

An NHS watchdog has been accused of failing thousands of patients and bereaved relatives after admitting it fully investigated less than 400 of 16,000 patient complaints made last year.

The figures emerged as a leaked report, seen by The Telegraph, discloses a litany of errors investigating a death at the heart of the Morecambe Bay hospital scandal, where up to 16 babies died amid poor care.

Last night bereaved parents said the Health Service Ombudsman – the body with ultimate responsibility for complaints against the NHS – was “a disaster for patients” while health experts said the organisation was “virtually ignoring” the desperate pleas of families seeking explanations for poor care.

The watchdog’s own records disclose that during the year 2012/13, less than three per cent of complaints which came to them were “fully investigated”.

Unlike Obamacare these complaints are not about data entry errors.  These complaints are about substandard care resulting in patient harm.  And death.  But what happens when the bungling bureaucracy investigates itself?  They tend to circle the wagons to protect their beloved bureaucracy.  While failing the people.  Which will happen with Obamacare.  Where they are already circling the wagons to protect their beloved bureaucracy over data entry errors.  Imagine the callousness that will enter the system when people suffer harm and death from substandard care.

Of course we can trust the government to prevent this from happening.  After all have they let us down yet in the investigation of their ineptitude and callousness over Benghazi?  And let us not forget how they got to the bottom of IRS targeting conservative groups to silence them during the 2012 election.  That thing where there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption.”  Yet the woman in charge of that pleaded the Fifth Amendment.  Which defendants do for only one reason.  So they don’t incriminate themselves.  But there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption” here.

Is it any wonder 22,000 people can’t get someone to respond to their complaints?  Or that government bureaucracies rarely do a good job when they investigate themselves?  So get ready for a similar fate the British people are suffering with their NHS.  But instead of 16,000 complaints being ignored there will be about 80,000 complaints that will be ignored.  Or more.  As we have about 5 times the population the UK has.  And we don’t have the 66 years of experience in doing national health care they have.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Planter Elite, Southern Democrats and the Political Left’s Embrace of Racism

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 18th, 2013

Politics 101

The Left needs Racism to Exist so they can Continue the Fight to End Racism

George Zimmerman had what pretty much everyone said was a fair trial.  And extensive attempts to detect a racial motivation have been in vain.  Most people seem to agree that race was not a factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.   Yet since the ‘not guilty’ verdict some have been saying things like if Trayvon Martin was a white kid Zimmerman would not have followed him.  And that if Martin was a white kid and a black man shot him a jury would have found that black man guilty of first degree murder.

These things are so obvious that some people (primarily those on the political left) are demanding the federal government charge Zimmerman with a race-based hate crime.  And for violating Martin’s civil rights.  Despite pretty much everyone having said it was a fair trial.  And extensive attempts to detect a racial motivation have been in vain.  But it’s now about race.  Why?  And where is their concern for what’s happening in Chicago?  Where the black on black murder rate is soaring?

Government fixes problems.  And Big Government fixes big problems.  Problems like racism.  By creating agencies and writing legislation to end racism.  Increasing the size of the government.  And increasing their power.  Putting more and more people into powerful positions.  Earning large salaries.  While activists agitate.  Getting more time in the news whenever they speak out against racism.  Staying relevant.  And allowing them to collect vast sums of money to continue the fight to end racism.  Which brings us to why the political left is giving the Zimmerman case a racial component when none exists.  For they need racism to exist.  So they can continue the fight to end racism.  Because it gives them power.  And pays them so well.

The Left has transformed Rugged Individualism into Complacency, Lethargy and Subservience

The political left wants to expand the size of government.  They want the government to do more for the people.  Like the social democracies in Europe.  And they want the people to be dependent on the government.  With the government redistributing ever more wealth.  And they want to be the people deciding who gets this redistributed wealth.  Because of the power it gives them.  And the wealth.  For the more wealth that passes through the government the more they can skim off the top.  So they can make ‘investments’ in selected businesses.  Businesses, coincidentally, that their friends own.  Who return the favor with campaign donations.  From the very tax money they ‘invested’ in those businesses.

But their crony capitalist friends in business are not the only recipients of government largesse.  The government gives alms to the people.  To make them dependent on government.  Form Social Security to Medicare to Obamacare to food stamps.  Not a lot to make their lives really comfortable.  But enough that they can survive without working.  Getting them complacent.  Lethargic.  And subservient.  A permanent underclass.  Afraid to lose their government benefits.  So they keep voting the political left into office.  To keep their benefits.  Keeping them complacent.  Lethargic.  And subservient.  A long way from the rugged individualism of our grandfathers.

But it’s just not the crony capitalism.  And the alms.  There are also the agencies and the legislation.  And the vast government bureaucracy.  That becomes so entrenched that it becomes impossible to get rid of it.  Which is why government only grows.  It never shrinks.  Because government bureaucracies take on a life of their own.  And like any living organism they grow.  And the more agencies and legislation for that permanent underclass the greater that vast government bureaucracy is.  The more positions of power.  And the more money that passes through government.

The Left is making the Zimmerman Verdict about Race because it gives them Purpose, Power and Wealth

During the mid 1800s the majority of southerners lived and worked on family-owned farms.  Were poor.  And did not own slaves.  For slaves were expensive.  The great slave populations were on the plantations.  Owned by the rich planter class.  Who ran the government.  A true Old World aristocracy if there ever was one.  You’ve seen Gone with the Wind.  Glorious mansions.  Huge landholdings.  Servants.  And family names so great they were nearly royalty.  People treated them like royalty.  And they expected the people to treat them as royalty.  For they were.  In the plantation South.  And this was what they were fighting to preserve.  That part of the Old World that the United States broke free from.  Where some people were better than you based on their birth.  And it mattered what your last name was.

So they plunged their people into war.  Telling them it was about states’ rights.  And northern aggression.  When it was nothing more than these few people, the planter elite, the southern Democrats, trying to keep the South in the 18th century.  With them enjoying their positions of privilege.  While the masses toiled for them.  In fact they were so exalted that they actually owned human beings.  Like barons.  And earls.  And dukes.  They liked that world.  Just as landowning aristocracies have for millennium.  Then the Founding Fathers had to come along and muck everything up.  With their “all men are created equal.”  And their Constitution.  Creating a government of the people.  Instead of what it should be.  A government of the privileged elite.  Then that abominable Abraham Lincoln.  And his “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  How they hated that.  And ever since losing the Civil War the southern Democrats struggled to maintain their position of privilege.

The descendants of those southern Democrats, liberals, still seek privilege and power.  And few have suffered as much to advance their cause than blacks.  They destroyed the black family with Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Where the government replaced the father in the black families on AFDC.  Saying these women didn’t need to get married.  Or live with the fathers of their children.  So black children grew up without fathers.  Or male role models.  Which spurred the creation of Big Brothers.  To provide positive role models for these black kids harmed by liberal policies.  So they wouldn’t turn to the streets.  Or gangs.  Which they did.  And still do.  In alarming numbers.  And today little has changed in the black community.  The vast majority of black children are born to single mothers.  And the streets of Chicago run red with the blood of black teens and young adults.  But the political left doesn’t care about these blacks.  Because their deaths can’t help them politically.  Especially when it’s their policies that caused all of this violence.  But when a light-skin Hispanic (who those on the left called a ‘white’ Hispanic) kills a black teen, why, that’s close enough to a white man killing a black teen.  And THAT can help them politically.  Which is why the left is making this a case about race.  Because it gives the left purpose.  And purpose leads to power and wealth.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The NHS is Rationing Cataract Operations to Senior Citizens as Obamacare will Probably do as Well

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 12th, 2012

Week in Review

The British are proud of their national health Service (NHS).  But they are not always happy with it.  Especially the elderly (see Eye surgeons unite to condemn rationing of cataract operations by half of NHS trusts by Jenny Hope posted 8/12/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Eye surgeons are warning that the rationing of cataract operations by more than half of NHS trusts is putting thousands of patients at risk.

Elderly victims of the cutbacks are being left unable to read, write or drive as they wait longer for surgery…

A joint statement from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometrists and the Optical Confederation calls for primary care trusts (PCTs) to abandon caps on operations that mean patients have to wait longer.

They say that, in some cases, patients with cataracts in both eyes are being told their PCT will treat only one, leaving people unable to judge distances and more likely to have accidents. ..

‘However, we must remember that the NHS is facing an unprecedented financial challenge and commissioners must live within their means while providing high quality care.’

Again, it’s that again population.  As the senior population swells so does the need for cataract surgeries.  There are just too many people at the top of the pyramid for the fewer workers in the workforce to pay for them.  Which leaves Britain really with only two options.  Compel doctors to work for less (as well as force students to go to medical school so they can come out after that grueling ordeal to make as much as someone who didn’t sacrifice eight years or so to become a doctor).   Or they ration services.  Guess which option they chose?

Watching the NHS as they struggle with both an aging population and budget deficits is telling of what we can expect of Obamacare.  For we have an aging population, too.  In fact, our aging population is much larger than their aging population.  And we have budget deficits.  Which are even larger than Britain’s.  Based on this what is the obvious conclusion?  Obamacare will ration cataract operations for senior citizens, too.

Of course some will say this is the price we must pay for universal coverage.  Denying coverage to some through rationing.  (Did you catch the irony there?)  But the question that just begs to be asked is this.  Is our health care system this bad as it is now?  No, it’s not.  But it will be.  When we turn it over to a vast government bureaucracy.  For whenever did a vast government bureaucracy run anything well?  Or didn’t require ever more funding?

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The International Fight against Universal Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 16th, 2011

The Most Effective Cost Control Mechanism is Market Forces

They keep saying that they’re not trying to nationalize our health care.  In fact, Obama promised that if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor with the new Obamacare.  Of course, that decision won’t be entirely yours.  For your doctor may choose to drop you.  And if they keeping cutting Medicare doctor reimbursements, doctors will finally say enough is enough.  I’m outta here.  No more Medicare patients.  Which could force you to find another doctor.  Even though Obama promised that wouldn’t happen.

There’s a lot of talk about controlling costs in Medicare.  And there’s only one way to that with the current system.  You pay doctors less.  Which they are always trying to do.  Is that fair?  Put yourself in their position.  Would you keep seeing patients?  After doing what so few other people do (go to college, medical school, serve an internship and a residency after racking up huge student loan debt that has to be paid back at the same time you have to pay ever rising medical malpractice insurance premiums leaving you with little money to enjoy the first decade or so of your new medical career)?  Because some government bureaucrat says you’ve earned enough money?  All the while no government restrictions are placed on public sector pay and benefits?  To add the ultimate insult to injury, a lot of those same bureaucrats telling doctors that they’ve earned enough money and should be happy with what the government deems is appropriate will no doubt make more than the doctor.  With far less training.  And far less responsibility.  Which just ain’t right.

They like to blame the doctors for the runaway costs.  But they’re not the lone scapegoat.  They also blame the pharmaceutical companies.  The hospitals.  And, of course, the great ‘big bad’ in the health care industry, the insurance companies.  Whose costs keep going up.  Greater than the rate of inflation.  So the runaway costs in the health care system must be their fault.  Because they’re greedy.  It can’t have anything to do with the system we force them into.  Where third party payments shut out all market forces (the person receiving the service isn’t paying the bill), thus eliminating the only effective cost control mechanism.  And introduces government.  Making health care a public good.  Where non-health care government bureaucrats determine fair pricing, supply and demand.  And you know where that will lead to.  To the here and now.

Labour fights against Market Forces for the NHS in the UK

Government bureaucrats don’t like privatization.  Or market forces.  They’d rather manage things.  Because they’re smarter.  Narcissistic.   And they covet that money and power.  They want all those tax dollars funding health care to go through their fingers.  And having people dependent on them for their health care makes that a whole lot easier.  So when conservatives try to introduce effective cost mechanisms, liberals push back.  In the US.  In Canada.  And in the UK (see NHS bill to ‘substantively’ change, says Oliver Letwin posted 4/16/2011 on the BBC).

Labour wants the plans for the NHS in England, which encourage more private sector competition, to be scrapped.

Under the shake-up, GPs are also to be given control of much of the NHS budget.

To cut costs, reduce wait times and improve quality of the NHS, the UK is trying to decentralize the NHS.  Give more decision-making authority to the general practitioners (GPs) in the local communities.  Letting the local health care providers in the communities they serve determine how to best spend the NHS money.  Which, of course, is anathema to Big Government liberals.  Such as Labour in the UK.

Liberals fight against Market Forces for the CHA in Canada

Wherever you find national health care, you’ll find bitter partisan debate over the money paying for that health care.  Except in Cuba.  Or North Korea.  Luckily, for them, there are no opposition parties.  And no one complains about anything.  For they know better.  But Canada has a national funded health care system.  And opposition parties.  Which can get pretty nasty when they’re trailing in the polls (see Liberals drop gloves with attack ad on Harper’s ‘secret’ health agenda by John Ibbitson posted 4/16/2011 in The Globe and Mail).

Conservatives are reacting with fury to a Liberal attack ad that accuses them of harbouring a secret agenda to cut health care funding if they obtain a majority government.

“The Liberal ad uses some of the dirtiest tricks in the book — including twisting words out of context and deliberately altering dates to make old words appear recent,” Tory campaign manager Jenni Byrne wrote to party supporters in reaction to the new attack ad.

In America, the go-to strategy is to threaten Medicare.  In the UK it’s the NHS.  In Canada, it’s the Canada Health Act (CHA).  The reason is, of course, the sheer size of this budget item.  If you’re trying to cut a budget deficit, that’s where you do it.  Cuts elsewhere just won’t be big enough to matter.  And everyone knows it.

If Mr. Harper is given “absolute power,” the ad warns, he plans to cut $11-billion from the federal budget. “Where would Harper’s cuts leave your family’s health?” the narrator asks.

“The stakes are too high. Vote Liberal.”

So you threaten certain death for you and your family should the opposition get elected.  While all the time promising yourself to cut the deficit.  Which, of course, you won’t.  For it will require cuts in health care funding.  And you’re not going to do that.  For there will be another election.  Eventually.  Sure, it makes you a hypocrite.  But a hypocrite with a job.

The Conservatives do plan to cut government spending as part of their own plan to balance the budget, but they promise to do so without reducing transfers to provinces, including health transfers.

It is true that the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien cut funding for health care in the 1990s as part of its efforts to eliminate the federal deficit. Once the budget was balanced, the Paul Martin government signed a ten-year accord to increase funding by six per cent a year. The Conservatives, when they came to power, honoured that commitment, and pledge to continue the arrangement, as does Mr. Ignatieff.

Anyone living near the Canadian-US border only knows too well the consequences of painful health care cuts.  When doctors and nurses get pay cuts, they scoot across the border for higher paying jobs in the US.  Which makes Canadians’ long waits for health care even longer.  This is the ultimate consequence of national health care.  Cost problems you solve by rationing services.  Whether in the UK.  Canada.  Or the USA.

Massachusetts:  Blueprint for Obamacare

We have Obamacare now.  Maybe.  We’ll see.  There’s a popular movement to repeal it.  After it was snuck through Congress.  By the time people learned what was in it (long after Congress voted it into law), the majority of the population didn’t want it.  It’s a big reason why the Republicans won back the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections.  For the people felt betrayed by their representatives.  So they fired a bunch of them.  Except Nancy Pelosi.  Who the good people of San Francisco reelected with like 80% of the vote even though her national approval numbers as Speaker of the House were closer to 10%.  Which makes it clear that the San Francisco district she represents is an anomaly in the American fabric.  Where the people think against the national grain, so to speak.  But I digress.

Anyway, before Obamacare there was Massachusetts.  And their little experiment in universal health care.  Which now covers every man, woman and child.  Well, almost.  Only 98% are covered.  That other 2% are the state’s Republicans.  I’m kidding, of course.  I don’t know who that 2% is.  Except that they must be the most unlucky sons of bitches ever to live in Massachusetts.  To live in a state where everyone gets free health care and they still get bupkis.  Imagine how that would make you feel.

But even there, in that universal health care utopia, they have a problem.    They gave health care to everyone (except that unlucky 2%, the poor bastards) but they never figured out how to pay for it (see Massachusetts, pioneer of universal health care, now may try new approach to costs by Amy Goldstein posted 4/15/2011 on The Washington Post).

Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) is trying to “shove,” as he put it, the health-care system here into a new era of cost control. He is proposing a new way of paying for care that would try to propel changes in the way it is delivered. It would give lump payments to teams of doctors responsible for almost all the care of a group of patients, with bonuses for saving money and dispensing high-caliber services that keep people healthy.

Interesting.  Sort of going the route of the GPs in the UK.  Decentralizing the health care system.  After they just centralized it.

Massachusetts in 2006 created a health insurance exchange, a requirement that most residents carry coverage and subsidies to help them pay for it — central elements now in the federal law. As a result, 98 percent of the residents here are now insured, the highest rate in the nation. But the state’s first round of health-care changes devoted far less attention to medical costs.

“We did access first,” said state Senate President Therese Murray (D). “Now we have to figure out how we afford that.”

Oops.  No doubt during the debate for universal care the opponents said something like, “Are you out of your minds?  You have any idea what something like that will cost?”  Which, of course, the proponents replied, “Don’t worry about it.  We have a plan.”  And that plan was apparently to get the law passed first then figure out how to pay for it.

Fee-for-service medicine “is a primary contributor to escalating costs and pervasive problems of uneven quality,” the commission unanimously concluded in 2009.

Despite the consensus, huge questions loom: Who should be part of the new medical teams? How would the idea work for most doctors who practice alone or in small groups? How much clout should the state wield to blunt the ability of powerful local health systems to drive up costs? And, importantly, how heavy a hand should the government use to compel change?

Fee for service is NOT the problem.  It’s never the problem.  If I want to hire a contractor to build a deck in my backyard, I’ll ask some contractors to quote their fee to build a deck.  If the prices are $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 for identical services, guess who I’m going to hire.  Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that each of these prices are fair prices for each of these contractors because of their cost structure (e.g., one may have his office on the beach and pays ten times as much in property tax as the others and therefore has to charge more). 

Now in a system where the government steps in to make prices fair, let’s see what happens.  Say a bureaucrat gets three quotes and determines the fair price is $10,000 (the average of the three).  So the contractor who quoted $15,000 now has to build decks at $10,000 and lose money, eventually going out of business.  The contractor that quoted $5,000 will get rich making over a 100% profit on each deck.  And me?  I’ll end up paying twice as much as I had to for the deck.  This is what happens when you don’t let the market set prices.  You get a mess.

In the pressure-cooker of medical costs in the United States, Massachusetts offers a particularly vivid example. The spending per person on health care is 15 percent higher than the national average — even taking into account the comparatively high wages here and outsize role of medical research and training. The move to near-universal coverage, state figures show, accounts for a sliver of recent increases in insurance premiums, which have soared above inflation. The main reason has been a rapid escalation in prices.

“The growth is outstripping every single measure of society’s ability to keep up,” said Glen Shor, executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, which runs the insurance exchange.

So much for the theory of an insurance exchange being the panacea Obama claimed it would be.  For whenever has a bureaucracy been cost efficient?  Never.  It’s impossible.  You can’t manage an economy and do better than market forces.  It’s never happened yet in human history.  So why do some people (i.e., Big Government liberals) still think they can do a better job?  Oh, but we must remove filthy, nasty profits from health care.  This ‘public good’ deserves better.  It deserves the tender love of a caring government bureaucracy.  Not some evil corporation trying to maximize profits.  Of course, look at what happens when these corporations do just that.  Stuff we like and want to buy is plentiful and inexpensive.  But God forbid if we do that to health care.

Some doctors are embracing the new way of working. David C. Pickul is the medical director of the physicians group affiliated with Lowell General Hospital, in an economically bruised community about 30 miles northwest of Boston. The group is in the third year of a five-year “alternative quality” contract with Blue Cross involving a hub of 70 primary care doctors and a looser group of 200 specialists who are responsible for 20,000 HMO patients. The team now has a financial incentive, Pickul said, to track down patients when it is time for their mammograms or for eye exams for those with diabetes. Under Blue Cross’s quality rating, Lowell has soared the past two years.

Blue Cross is not alone. At Partners HealthCare, the famous Boston-based medical system that dominates health care here, Massachusetts General Hospital has been conducting a Medicare experiment in which nurses are assigned to coordinate care for about 2,500 older patients with multiple ailments. The experiment, which began five years ago, so far has reduced hospital re-admissions by one-fifth and cut medical spending by 7 percent.

“Frankly, the market has already . . . responded,” said Gary Gottlieb, Partners’ president and chief executive. “There is enough momentum for us to do this without instrumental regulation” by the state.

The governor and some other officials disagree. The need to lower costs, they say, is urgent enough that the government should step in, and they have been laying groundwork.

Financial incentive?  Isn’t that another word for profit?  And this pursuit of profits has done what?  Improved patient quality?  Reduced hospital readmissions by one-fifth?  And cut medical spending by 7 percent?  Amazing what will happen when you let the market respond.  What a success story.  But they want to do what?  Step in?  To lower costs?  After the market lowered costs already by 7 percent?  You got to be kidding me.  Whatever happened to if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?

And Alice Coombs, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, is especially concerned about physicians who work alone or in small groups, older physicians who might choose to retire rather than switch or new doctors who might leave for other states.

And how do you solve that problem?  With compulsory medical service.  Which universal health care coverage gives you.  If you worry about doctors opting out of a new cost-contained system, you make it impossible to opt out.  You simply nationalize health care.  Letting the doctors know, yeah, they may be miserable and unhappy with the new system, but you’ll be just as miserable and unhappy where ever you go.  So why move out of state?  For any where you go, we’ll be there.  Understand?  So just keep curing the people and stop your bitching. 

Sure will make all that medical school, internship and residency worth it, won’t it?

The Song Remains the Same

Liberals everywhere want to expand the size of government.  And a national health care is the holy grail of government expansion.  But everywhere it’s tried the same thing happens.  Cost and wait times increase.  Quality decreases.  And services are rationed.  Most people (especially liberals) want to blame the greed of those who work in health care.  So they come up with new ways to manage and control costs.  Which inevitably adds yet more layers of bureaucracy.  Which benefits liberal governments.  At the expense of the taxpayer.  And patients’ health.

But nothing they try works.  Costs keep going up.  For good reason.  Because the problem is not the greed of the health care people.  It’s the health care system.  There are no market forces in it.  Which is the most efficient cost control mechanism.  Of course, admitting this is an admission that Big Government has failed.  And liberals can’t have that.  So they fight.  Demonize.  And scapegoat. And try to scare the bejesus out of everyone by saying conservatives want to cut health care funding so they can kill your family.

Whatever the name, whatever the country, the song remains the same.  Conservatives will try to cut deficits by reforming the biggest budget item.  And liberals will fight them every step of the way.  Ultimately giving us a health care system with greater costs, longer wait times, lower quality and rationed care.  As demonstrated everywhere in countries with a national health care system.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Health Care and the Deficit: Government Bureaucracy vs. Market Forces

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 12th, 2010

Birth Control and Abortion Bankrupting our Nation

Health care is expensive.  When it comes to the federal budget, nothing costs more.  And its cost will only increase (see Health Care and the Deficit editorial published 12/11/2010 on The New York Times).

This year, Medicare, Medicaid and a related children’s health insurance program will account for more than 20 percent of all federal spending — higher than Social Security or defense. Unless there are big changes, by 2035 federal health care spending — driven by rising medical costs and an aging population — is projected to account for almost 40 percent of the budget.

Politicians are whores who steal from the American people.  Earmarks, kickbacks, patronage, fat pay and benefit packages, uber generous pensions, whatever.  The bottom line is that they’re screwing us while they live a far better life than we ever will.  And as bad as their screwing of us is, their screwing of us ain’t the worse of it.  It’s the entitlement spending that’s gonna bankrupt us.  Especially healthcare spending for old people.

Thanks to birth control and abortion, the American people shrunk their family size starting with the boomer generation.  Instead of 10 kids in a family we started to have only 2 or 3 kids.  And it is this reduction in family size that will ultimately bankrupt our nation.

Cutting Medicare Because Nothing else is Big Enough to Cut

Thanks to birth control and abortion, we have an aging population.  The kids of families with 10+ kids are aging and reaching retirement.  But the kids of families with 2-3 kids are paying their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  More people are collecting benefits than are paying taxes to fund those benefits.  BIG problem.

When FDR implemented the great Ponzi scheme, Social Security, a bunch of people were supporting each beneficiary.  As the population ages, fewer and fewer people are supporting each beneficiary.  So they have to keep raising taxes on each individual.  But there is a limit.  Eventually, an individual will have to pay more in taxes to support a retiree than they spend on their own family.  And few people will whistle a happy tune when more of their hard-earned pay goes to someone else instead of their own family. 

If we’re not having more babies, then we gotta cut costs.  There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.  So they’re talking about cutting costs.  By making us pay more for our benefits.

The White House commission, headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, proposes to wring nearly $400 billion from health care spending between 2012 and 2020, of which the biggest single element — $110 billion — would come from increased cost-sharing by Medicare beneficiaries. The second commission, an independent panel headed by Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, seeks to save $137 billion from Medicare cost-sharing.

So even though Obama denied it over and over again, they’re going to cut Medicare.  Why?  It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  To make any significant cost savings you gotta cut something big.  And few things are bigger than Medicare.

Taxing our Health Care Benefits

They’ll cut Medicare.  And raise taxes.

The Domenici-Rivlin panel, the more aggressive on health care, would also phase out the exclusion that exempts workers from paying taxes for employer-subsidized insurance, a benefit that also encourages excessive use of medical care. The long-term gain in tax revenue could be huge — more than $3 trillion between 2012 and 2030 and almost $10 trillion by 2040.

Few people don’t realize how much their employer pays for their health insurance.  They will now.  Though they won’t be getting a big pay raise, they will pay taxes as if they had.  That’s right, they will tax the total cost of your health care benefits as taxable income.  Even if you never see a doctor.

Wither on the Vine

You know things are bad when they propose something their enemy once proposed.

The Domenici-Rivlin panel has a far-reaching proposal to give Medicare enrollees vouchers to buy coverage from Medicare or a competing private plan offered on a Medicare exchange. The voucher would increase in value at roughly half the likely rate of medical inflation. If the cost of coverage rose faster than that, the beneficiary would have to pay an extra premium to cover the difference or seek a cheaper plan.

Sound familiar?  Newt Gingrich proposed this.  Back in the 1990s.  He said that as more people voluntarily enrolled in private insurance Medicare would wither on the vine.  Of course, the political opposition said Gingrich was just trying to kill senior citizens.  So his proposal was defeated.  And here we are.  Same problem.  Only more costly to solve now.

Competition Makes Everything Better

The big problem with health care is that there is no competition.  No market forces.

The commission believes that competition on the exchanges will cause insurance plans to find ways to lower premiums. It also believes beneficiaries will restrain their own spending. The panel projects savings from premium support and its near-term cuts and cost-shifting could be huge — more than $2 trillion through 2030 and more than $7 trillion through 2040.

Competition makes everything better.  And there’d be more competition now.  If the government didn’t forbid it.  For it is the government that forbids insurance companies from competing across state lines.

Can you Say Death Panels?

A spending cap is just another way to say rationing. 

The health care reform law already seeks to cap the growth in Medicare spending per beneficiary to roughly half the rate it has been increasing in recent decades. It empowers a new board to find savings should the target be breached, subject to Congressional veto. The Bowles-Simpson commission would expand that approach by placing a cap on total federal spending for health care — not just Medicare and Medicaid but the subsidies on new exchanges and tax exemptions. But the commission punts on what to do should the growth cap be exceeded, as many experts deem likely.

This board will have the power of life and death.  They will say who will live.  And who will die.  They can deny it but that’s what rationing is.  We have enough healthcare services for one person today.  Who will get it?  The 39 year old factory worker who has many taxpaying years left (so the government can recoup its ‘investment’)?  Or the old retired guy?  Hmm.   The old retired pain in the ass who won’t hurry up and die?  Or the young guy that we can squeeze more taxes out of for another 20 years or so?

Cut Out the Middle Man

They have big hopes for Obamacare.

The best way to lower health care spending is to reform the dysfunctional health care system whose costs seem unrelated to the quality of care delivered. The reform law makes a good start, sponsoring research to determine which treatments are effective and which are not, starting pilot projects to change the way care is delivered and paid for, and setting up new organizations to rush successful approaches into wide use in Medicare and ultimately the private sector.

The problem with health care is that we approach it from a cost standpoint rather than a quality of care standpoint.  No law or board will change that.  Real competition would.  Such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines.

One thing not mentioned by the New York Times is tort reform.  If we keep the jackals off of the doctors, they can spend more time administering health care instead of enriching ambulance chasers.

Perhaps the greatest cost control measure we can take is to cut out the middle man.  Have people pay for the services they receive.  Health care insurance is supposed to be insurance.  Not welfare.  It is to protect us from unexpected catastrophic medical expenses.  Like cancer.  Not to pay for a doctor appointment because we have the sniffles.

We Need more Market Forces.  Not more Government.

Increasing the size of a bureaucracy never made anything more efficient.  Price caps never made anything more plentiful.  And having someone else pay your bills never gives you the best quality.  That’s why we say beggars can’t be choosy.  Because we give beggars crap.

To fix our health care insurance woes we need to introduce market forces.  Not more government.  Medical savings accounts and tort reform would go a long way in fixing our problems.  As will competition across state lines.  And, of course, repealing Obamacare.

And we need to pay for our health care services.  For when we pay we seek the best value for our money.  Because we give a damn.  Unlike a disinterested government bureaucrat.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stupid Republicans Help Smart Democrats Lose Elections

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 22nd, 2010

Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure

Is a 70 degree Fahrenheit a warm day?  Or a cold day?  It depends on your perspective.  If you’re from Norilsk, Russia, you’d probably say it’s warm.  If you’re from Al’Azizyah, Libya, you’d probably say it’s cold.  70 degree Fahrenheit is a fact.  But it means different things to different people.  And neither the Russian nor the Libyan is wrong.  Weather is relative.

The Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, a majority of the state governorships and a majority of the state legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections (see Election 2010 posted on The New York Times for election results).  Some say this is a rejection of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda.  Some say the Democrats lost so much because the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda did not go far enough.

Interesting, huh?  The same data reviewed by different people who then reach such different conclusions.  Are the election results as relative as the weather?  Or is Mark Twain closer to the truth?  “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” 

Old, Stupid White Men Vote Republican?

There is a political divide across the country.  You can see it when you look at the election map.  The nation is mostly red.  With some blue on the coasts.  And around the big cities in between.  I look at that and I have an idea why it looks like that.  The Washington Post, on the other hand, has a different interpretation (see Political divide between coasts and Midwest deepening, midterm election analysis shows by T.W. Farnam, Washington Post Staff Writer, posted 11/21/2010 on The Washington Post).

The Republican Party’s big gains in the House came largely from districts that were older, less diverse and less educated than the nation as a whole. Democrats kept their big majorities in the cities.

Translation?  Old, stupid white men vote Republican.  I see it differently.  What are big cities full of?  Poor people.  And welfare.  Big city governments.  With big union pay and benefits.  Big bureaucracies that employ the unemployable and increase the costs of doing business.  Big universities.  University professors.  University students.  Art museums.  Theatres.  A liberal and libertine party atmosphere (which draws the young).  Teen pregnancy.  Abortions.  STDs.  Drug addicts.  Prostitutes.  Etc.

The Obama coalition remained intact. Democrats remained strong in areas with the party’s core of minorities and higher-educated whites. But movement of white working-class voters away from the party is a concern for Democrats, especially because of President Obama’s traditional weakness with those voters.

Higher-educated whites?  Yeah, right.  A lot of those degrees are from the big universities in the big cities.  Women’s studies.  Art History.  Philosophy.  American Studies.  English Lit.  Communications.  Poetry.  And, of course, Law.  Very popular with the anti-business crowd.  And, as it turns out, very unpopular with actual businesses. 

Higher educated, perhaps.  But an education that has little market value.  So they end up working for a nonprofit dependent on government funding.  Or work as another piece of deadwood in a bloated government bureaucracy.  Or file frivolous lawsuits and are dependent on government NOT to reform tort law.

“There’s definitely been a hardening of Democratic support along the coasts since 1994,” said James Gimpel, a political scientist at the University of Maryland.

New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Coastal cities.  Homes of the uber liberal.  Here they sip their lattes and look down their noses at flyover country. They’re only 20% of the population.  But when you concentrate 20% of the population in these small geographical areas, those areas will have liberal majorities.  While at the same time if you pull that 20% out of the rest of the country, that big geographical area they call flyover country is left conservative.

The Poor, Unemployable and Irresponsible Vote Democrat

It’s not that Republicans are old, stupid white men.  Democrats have lost so much of the country because they and their agenda don’t appeal to people who have jobs.  So who do they appeal to?  The poor, unemployable and irresponsible.  And lawyers.  Who all tend to be anti-business.  Like the Democrat Party.

Saying the reason why you lose elections is because the electorate is stupid is figuring with facts.  The facts say otherwise.  Besides, when the young is a strong demographic for you, you kind of lose that argument.  Young people are uneducated and inexperienced.  Young people fill our Colleges.  And they’re going there not because they’re smart.  They’re there going to get ‘smart’.

Meanwhile, the higher educated liberals often have those useless degrees.  Because they care about people, not profits.  So they don’t do anything so coarse as to get a degree that might help a business earn a profit.  Instead, they’ll subsist off of government funding.  Or by suing businesses for unearned wealth.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,