FT219: “Obamacare will give us rationing and long wait times like America’s other national health care: the VA.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 25th, 2014

Fundamental truth

Our Veterans have been Wounded and Maimed and we thank them for their Service with the VA

Where do the rich and famous go when they go to a hospital?  They can afford the best.  So you will hear hospitals like Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Mount Sinai, etc.  The crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  But one name you won’t hear?  Any VA hospital.

Rich and famous people have something our veterans don’t.  Choice.  They can choose to go to the crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  While our veterans have no choice but to go to the dregs of the best health care system in the world.  Very often the worst place you can go in the United States for health care.

It’s sad, really.  For our veterans have given more than any other American.  They have put themselves in harm’s way.  Had people shoot at them.  Lob hand grenades at them.  Had mortar rounds and artillery rounds land near them.  And had improvised explosive devices (IED) detonate around them.  Our veterans have been wounded and maimed and faced the hell of combat.  And our thanks for their volunteering to do this for us?  The VA.

Our VA Hospitals are so bad because they know our Military will be good Soldiers and Wait

There aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  So some veterans have to travel to get to one.  And when they get there they have to wait.  As there are a lot of other veterans in the waiting room with them.  Because there aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  But that’s not the only waiting they’re going to do.

If they need surgery or treatment there will be even more waiting.  A lot more waiting.  Because there aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  Or a lot of VA health care providers.  Or a lot of VA diagnostic equipment.  Which means they have to ration out health care in our VA hospitals.  And when you ration health care you make people wait longer for treatment.  An alien concept for the rich and famous.  Who get what they want when they want it.  Because they have choice.

Our veterans, on the other hand, continue to be good soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.  And wait.  Just like the old military joke to ‘hurry up and wait’.  Where they will get up before dawn to wait on the tarmac for 4 hours to board an aircraft.  So we’ve trained our military personnel well in waiting.  Perhaps this why our VA hospitals are so bad.  Because they know our military will be good soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.  And wait.

VA Hospitals are run so poorly that Veterans are dying as they wait for this National Health Care

The sad thing is that some of our veterans are waiting so long that they are dying (see A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list by Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin posted 4/24/2014 on CNN).  Because rationing leads to longer wait times.  And longer wait times lead to more deaths.  And this is why the VA hospitals (America’s national health care) are the dregs of the best health care system in the world.

The American left wants national health care.  They want VA hospitals for everyone.  Except them, of course.  For they will be going to the hospitals the rich and famous go to.  But it’s VA hospitals for the rest of us.  Where they will ration health care.  Increase wait times.  And provide some of the most inefficient health care service.  Another reason veterans have to wait so long is that the VA still uses paper records.  Like they did before the 1970s.

The left settled for Obamacare.  They wanted national health care but accepted Obamacare as a stepping stone to national health care.  For they think the government can run health care better than the private sector.  Even though they’ve been running the VA for decades without ever modernizing it.  The government runs the VA hospitals so inefficiently that veterans are dying as they wait for this rationed national health care.  But these same people who can’t bring the VA into the 20th century say they can improve the crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  But if they do the VA poorly they will do all national health care poorly.  Because the government just can’t do anything well.

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The Democrats think they can do National Health Care better than Britain despite the Obamacare Website Rollout Disaster

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2014

Week in Review

Those on the left settled for the Affordable Care Act.  It’s not what they wanted.  But they think it can, in time, give them what they want.  Single-payer health care.  Or a true national health care system.  Like they have in Britain.  Oh how the left would love to have a no nonsense National Health Service (NHS) in the United States.  A system totally funded by general taxation.  Because that would be better than Obamacare.  And far better than what Obamacare replaced.  Now those who think that are either lying to the American people.  Or are completely ignorant to what’s going on in the NHS.  For the highly esteemed NHS is on life support (see £10 each can save the NHS by Norman Warner and Jack O’Sullivan posted 3/30/2014 on the guardian).

A care and cash crisis is sending the NHS bust. In its present form, a shortfall of £30bn a year, or more, is expected by 2020. Paying off the nation’s deficit means five more years of further deep public expenditure cuts, whoever is in government. So, over-protecting an outdated, cosseted and unaffordable healthcare system inevitably means starving other vital public services, unless we choke off economic growth and worsen the cost of living with big tax increases. That might be worth contemplating if the NHS was offering brilliant care. But it isn’t.

Just look at the thousands of frail elderly people who get the care they need only by queuing in A&E and spending weeks in hospital – the most expensive and often the worst way to look after them. And let’s not forget that the NHS is sleepwalking through an obesity epidemic.

These are truths hidden from public view. Many politicians and clinicians are scared to tell people that our much-loved 65-year-old NHS no longer meets the country’s needs. Frankly, it is often poor value for money, and the greatest public spending challenge after the general election…

Our specialist hospital services should be concentrated in fewer, safer, better-equipped and more expert centres with 24/7 consultant cover and improved transport links…

A new integrated “National Health and Care Service” would pioneer a “co-producing” health partnership between state and citizen, with annual personal health MOTs agreeing responsibilities over the year for both services and the individual. At the heart of this relationship would be an NHS membership scheme, charging £10 a month (with some exemptions) collected through council tax for local preventative services to help people stay healthy.

This is one of several new funding streams urgently needed to renew impoverished parts of our care system but preserving a mainly tax-funded NHS that is largely free at the point of use. We have to escape the constraints of general taxation if we want a decent system…

Just 3.5% of the annual 500,000 deaths lead to payment of inheritance tax. We must expect the elderly, after their deaths, to contribute more. NHS free entitlements, such as continuing care, could be reduced or means-tested and hotel costs in hospital charged, as in France and Germany.

Britain has an aging population.  Fewer people are entering the workforce to pay the taxes that fund the NHS.  While more people are leaving the workforce and consuming NHS resources.  So less money is going into the NHS while the NHS is spending more and more money on patients.  Leading to a deficit that they can’t pay for without killing the economy.  Or taking money away from other government services.

If the NHS was providing quality health care they could probably justify taking money away from other areas.  But it’s not.  The one argument for passing Obamacare was that it would reduce the burden on emergency rooms.  But it’s not doing that in Britain.  The wait times are so long to see a doctor or get a procedure that people are going to the emergency room (A/E in Britain) and waiting for hours instead of waiting for months.  Further increasing costs and wait times.  And frustrating patients.

So what is the solution to a failing national health care system?  Close hospitals and make people travel further for treatment.  And charge them £10 ($16.64) monthly in addition to some of the highest tax rates they already pay to fund the NHS.  So, to summarize, to make national health care work in Britain they need to close hospitals, make people travel further for care, charge them more money and make them wait longer for treatment.  Which is basically the argument against the Affordable Care Act.  It would lead to rationing.  And longer wait times.  Worse, the quality of care will decline.  As it has in Britain.  As it will in the United States.  For we also have an aging population.  And we have about five-times the people they have in Britain.  Which will make our problems five-times worse than theirs.

What’s happening in the NHS is no secret.  Any proponent of national health care no doubt looks at Britain and their NHS.  So they must be familiar with how it’s failing.  Yet they press on for a similar system in the United States.  Why?  If it won’t improve our health care system why do they want national health care?  This is the question we should be asking the Democrats.  Why?  Of course they will say Britain just isn’t doing national health care right.  After all, they’ve only been doing it for 66 years.  So what do they know about national health care?  While we, the liberal Democrats will say, will get national health care right from the get-go.  Because we are just so much smarter than everyone else in the world.

Of course the British could, and should, fire back with, “Yeah?  How did that Obamacare website rollout go?  You’d think that someone who is so smart that they could do national health care right from the get-go could actually build a sodding website that works.”

But, of course, they didn’t.  And the website was the easiest part of Obamacare.  A one and done thing.  And if they couldn’t do that right do we really want these people anywhere near our health care?  No.  Especially when the British are struggling with national health care after trying it for 66 years.  For national health care is apparently more difficult to do than building a sodding website that works.

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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 is Expensive because the Government doesn’t pay their Bills in Full

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 4th, 2014

Week in Review

Health care is expensive.  It’s why we have Obamacare.  To lower the cost of health care.  And give quality health care to everyone.  But why exactly is health care so costly?  And who’s to blame?  Well, let’s take a look at the cost of an appendectomy to get an idea (see Reddit User Posts $55,000 Hospital Bill for Appendectomy by SYDNEY LUPKIN, ABC News, posted 1/1/2014 on Yahoo! News).

When a 20-year-old man got over the pain of having his burst appendix removed in October, he got hit with a hospital bill he wasn’t expecting.

The bill from Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., said the total charges were $55,029.31 but that the patient owed only $11,119.23 because his insurance had covered the rest.

Shocked, the patient took to Reddit to post the bill and vent his frustrations.

“I never truly understood how much health care in the U.S. costs until I got appendicitis in October,” he wrote on the social media site. “I’m a 20-year-old guy. Thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the U.S…”

But the bill was not so unusual, given recent studies that showed how the cost of medical procedures could vary from hospital to hospital, said Timothy McBride, a professor and health policy analyst at Washington University in St. Louis….

Sutter General Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Turner said hospital billing is complicated, and that the hospital has people available to help patients navigate it. She said hospitals often serve many patients who don’t pay at all or don’t pay the actual cost of treatment because they are on Medicare or Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.

“Sutter Health agrees that an improved billing structure is needed, where published charges are more closely aligned with actual costs,” Turner said. “And a more straightforward pricing system is only possible when reimbursement from government-sponsored patients covers actual costs.”

How much did your television cost?  How much is your cable bill?  How much was your laptop?  Your tablet?  How much was your mobile device?  How much is your cable bill?  How much is your cellular bill?  People know these costs very well.  For they are very discerning shoppers.  And because they are manufacturers and providers bend over backwards to give their customers what they want at the lowest possible price.  This is free market capitalism at work.  Competition for our dollars makes businesses try to give us the highest quality at the lowest price.  But none of this happens in health care.  Because there are no free market forces in health care.

No one knows what their health care costs are.  Because they don’t pay the bill.  So they don’t know.  And they don’t care.  It’s so bad today that most couldn’t shop and pay for the own health care if they tried.  On the rare occasion they pay attention to their bill what do they do?  Blame the hospital for gouging on their bill.  But there is a reason they do this.  And it’s not because they’re greedy.  They do it because it’s the only way they can keep their doors open.  Thanks to the people who don’t pay their bills.  And the government who doesn’t pay all of their bills.  Leaving no choice for health care providers but to over-bill the insurance companies.  Who are the only people paying their bills in full and then some.

Obamacare will only make this worse.  By giving ‘free’ health care to more people.  Health care that the government won’t pay in full.  Which will force the health insurers to raise their premium prices further.  Until it is so expensive that no one will buy it anymore.  The so-called death spiral.  Opening the door for single-payer health care.  And Medicaid-quality health care for everyone.  Well, perhaps not quite Medicaid-quality health care.  With more people in the program wait times and rationing will be greater than they are currently in Medicaid.  So it will be worse than Medicaid.  The worse-quality health care currently available in the United States.

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Unlike the July Effect the High Inpatient Mortality of the Obamacare Effect will be Year Round

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 9th, 2013

Week in Review

The Affordable Care Act is making health insurance unaffordable for many.  Especially for those young and healthy who are being whacked open like a cash piñata to pay for the poor, old and sick.  Which is why they are losing their health insurance.  So they must enter the exchanges.  And pay for a lot of insurance coverage they will never use.  Well, to be fare, chances are they will never use any of their insurance with those sky-high deductibles.  Making any doctor visit an out-of-pocket visit.

But that isn’t the only place the Affordable Care Act is shaking down people.  Obamacare is also shaking down doctors.  By cutting their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.  Making them take pennies on the dollars.  Making it hard for those in a private practice to pay their staff.  And their bills.  Which isn’t why they went into medicine.  So these doctors are leaving Medicare and Medicaid.  Some are even retiring.  Leaving the profession instead of being beaten up by Obamacare.  So just as Obamacare is giving more free health care to people there will be fewer health care providers.  Which puts a story like this into a new light (see Sicker heart attack patients fare worse in July by C. E. Huggins posted 11/7/2013 on Reuters UK).

Rumor has it the worst time and place to be sick is in a teaching hospital in July, when new doctors-in-training enter the wards and others are promoted. A new study of heart attack patients shows this pattern of worse outcomes known as the “July effect” may indeed be true – but only for the sickest people.

“Patients who are already at high risk of inpatient mortality – because of their age and other (co-existing) diseases – are likely the most to be affected by physician inexperience in July,” Dr. Anupam Jena told Reuters Health in an email. He led the research at Harvard Medical School in Boston…

“Our study is different because it recognizes that the July effect should not be present for all patients, but primarily those patients for whom small clinical errors or relative physician inexperience can substantively impact patient outcomes,” Jena said.

There will be a new name to explain another rise in inpatient mortality.  The Obamacare effect.  Where fewer health care providers will have to do more with less.  Increasing wait times.  Overworked doctors will spend less time with each patient.  And they will make mistakes.  Or miss things they might have caught if they had more time.

So in the future as you sit around with your grandchild on your knee you can talk about the good old days.  Before the Obamacare effect.  When we rushed people to the hospital to make them well.  And most got well.  Unlike after the Obamacare effect.  Which turned the once envied U.S. health care system into the VA hospitals of the Seventies.  Places to avoid like the plague.  Which is why after the Obamacare effect people would rather take their chances with heart attacks and strokes at home.  Instead of going into an Obamacare hospital for near certain death.

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The NHS shows Obamacare will lead to a Fall in Efficiency and Quality in our Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 8th, 2013

Week in Review

The holy grail for the left is national health care.  They were hoping that Obamacare would be their holy grail.  But there were Democrats who worried about their reelection chances if they voted against the will of their constituents.  So they took out the public option.  The thing that made Obamacare national health care.  Instead having to settle for Plan B.  Destroy the private health insurance industry.  Leaving only the government as the lone provider of health insurance.  And then, voilà, national health care.  And then the left will get their holy grail.  And our health care will become like that in the NHS (see John Neill: Why does this man think he can cure the NHS? by Margareta Pagano  posted 9/7/2013 on The Independent).

John Neill has a challenge for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt: “Give me the NHS and I will prove that we can change the culture – improve the quality of care for patients, inspire the employees, innovate, reduce waiting times, improve nursing and increase the output of the doctors, and reduce costs.”

So this is national health care?  It doesn’t sound that good.  In fact, it sounds pretty bad.  Something we can look forward to under Obamacare.  And whatever it evolves into after it destroys the private health insurance industry.  “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it.  If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”  None of that turned out to be true.  Worse, Obamacare is raising the cost of health insurance.  So hello national health care.  And poor quality, uninspired employees, a lack of innovation, longer waiting times, poorer nursing, doctors doing less and higher costs.

What’s more, he will do it for free. Mr Neill is chairman and chief executive of Unipart, one of the UK’s biggest private companies with clients including Jaguar, Asos, Vodafone, BMW and Sky…

So where’s the catch, Mr Neill? “There isn’t one. But what I know is that there is a moral and economic imperative for the health service to become massively more efficient. And I really mean this – we could change the culture – and for free. Sadly, it’s the mythology that holds the NHS back from changing. It’s too political, and politicised…

Nor does he see any problems between comparing the health service with making cars: “I’m going to be frank with you, and this will upset a lot of people in healthcare, but if we ran our factories with the same level of defects as those in an average hospital then we’d be out of business in 24 hours. And, we would go bust if we ran the factories only five days a week, as many hospitals are doing…”

His greater worry is that the government is not doing enough to improve productivity: “Growth comes from competitiveness, and that comes from productivity. That’s going to be tough for the UK as nearly half the economy is in the public sector. What are government ministers doing about it?”

So, in national health care, everyone gets free health care.  As long it is during business hours.  Which means if you suffer a heart attack or are seriously hurt in a car accident on the weekend you better hope your accident/emergency room is not one of the many closed on the weekend.  Or else you may be forced to postpone your heart attack or car accident.  Of course if you could do that you could probably avoid them in the first place.  But you can’t.  Which means you’ll be in for a long drive.  Or a long wait until your hospital opens on Monday for business.

This is why you don’t want government taking over more of the private sector.  Because when they do the things they take over become political and politicized.  And suffer in efficiency and quality.  As things are wont to do when government takes them over.  As demonstrated by the NHS.  Providing a clarion call to anyone who will listen.  It’s as if the British are warning us.  Don’t do what we did, they tell us.  Learn from our mistake, they say.  But will the Americans heed their warning?  Not as long as the Democrats are in control.  For they don’t care how horrible health care becomes.  As long as they get national health care.  Their holy grail.  So they can politicize it.  Create a mythology.  And use it to increase their political power.

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Elderly Patients suffer Poor Care and Neglect in the NHS as Hospital Staff finds them too Burdensome

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 27th, 2013

Week in Review

One of the big problems with national health care is old people.  They cost a lot.  And consume a lot of the limited resources available.  Especially with their repeat hospital stays.  Becoming too great a burden for some hospital personnel.  Leading to poor care.  And neglect.  As this family in Wales experienced (see NHS neglect: Calls for inquiry after woman’s death by India Pollock posted 7/25/2013 on BBC News Wales).

“It was absolutely appalling,” a relative said. “Quite often I’d go in to visit her and I would find that she had been left nil by mouth for several days until she was weak and wasn’t able to lift a glass of water to her mouth, she was dehydrated.”

Another family member said: “We sat by her bedside until her tongue swelled up and cracked and her lips split open for want of hydration.

“She became delirious at first, then barely conscious, almost coma-like…”

The health board said it would conduct a Protection of Vulnerable Adults (Pova) investigation.

However, the board did not contact the family for six months. It apologised and said that lessons had been learnt but no Pova proceedings took place.

When the woman was readmitted in 2012, relatives said they discovered the same problems.

They reported their concerns to social services which is when they learnt that a Pova investigation had not actually taken place.

Pova proceedings were then used and a number of allegations were proved.

The health board admitted giving unnecessary sedation and failing to administer prescribed medication.

The board also failed to care for the woman’s amputated leg.

A family member added: “We explained how her prosthesis could be taken off and showed them the bag of clean amputation socks that we’d taken in for her.

“We also gave them oils to treat her leg to ensure it didn’t become inflamed. We explained it all to the staff.

“When I complained that she was having unnecessary sedation, they said it was because she was screaming at night. When I asked her why she was screaming at night, she told me that they hadn’t taken her leg off in the two weeks that she’d been there.

“A member of staff pulled back the bedclothes and sat by the side of her bed and took her leg off with me, and took off the urine sodden socks that had been left on her amputation for two weeks and he turned away in disgust, holding the urine sodden socks at arms’ length.”

Recommendations were put in place, but the family said there were similar issues when the woman was admitted to Neath Port Talbot hospital in August 2012.

Then she was transferred to the Princess of Wales Hospital, where she died in November.

The family said they were told by staff that they were stopping her medication as she was dying of pneumonia.

However, a post mortem examination was carried out and the coroner’s report said her lungs were free of chronic disease, and that she died of a heart attack…

Peter Tyndall, the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, said: “It’s absolutely tragic for the individual and for the family, and I think although there are lots of people who have very good experiences of the NHS in Wales, there are still too many cases of this kind occurring.”

He said there had been a 30% increase in complaints about the NHS in Wales in a year.

This is our future.  What we can expect under Obamacare.  As the government moves us closer and closer to national health care.  Poor care.  Neglect.  And an unfeeling bureaucracy.  Who will look at our loved ones with contempt.  Annoyed by their excessive health care needs.  Looking for any opportunity to withhold their medications so they just hurry up and die.  So they can go and treat less burdensome patients.

You won’t find the phrase ‘death panel’ in Obamacare.  Just as you won’t find them in the NHS.  But they have one.  It’s called the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  A death panel by another name.  Which lets patients supposedly die with dignity.  After consulting with the patient’s family.  But that didn’t happen with this patient in Wales.  And, sadly, it’s not an isolated incident.

For those of you who wanted Obamacare, for those of you who want national health care, this is what you have to look forward too.  It’s not utopia.  It’s trying to do more with less.  Which is just a recipe for poor care and neglect.  For the only way to cut costs so you can provide health care to more people is by giving everybody a less costly and a lower quality level of care.  It’s simply math.  The more people you treat the less each person gets.  And things like this become a little too common in the NHS.  As they will under Obamacare.

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One Fifth of the NHS Budget set aside to pay for Poor Health Care Lawsuits

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 20th, 2013

Week in Review

Britain’s aging population is playing havoc with the National Health Service (NHS).  More taxpayers are leaving the workforce than are entering it.  Leaving less money to pay for a growing number of retirees who are living longer.  Costs have grown so out of control that they are trying to find £20 billion ($30.54 billion) in efficiency savings over three years.  Perhaps the best way for them to do that would be to just improve the quality of their care (see ‘Jaw-dropping’ rise in NHS claims after scandals by Laura Donnelly posted 7/19/2013 on The Telegraph).

A total of £22.7 billion – nearly one fifth of the health service’s annual budget – has had to be set aside to pay compensation to thousands of people harmed by poor care…

In total, more than 16,000 patients lodged claims during 2012/13, compared with around 13,500 the previous year…

In December, 38 families were offered settlements from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals trust over a series of failings, including the case of a man who starved to death…

The highest individual pay outs are connected to NHS errors which have led to babies becoming brain damaged, with around 100 such cases occurring each year.

A man starved to death?  In a hospital?  How does that happen?  The man must be in a bed.  Nurses and doctors must look at the people occupying these beds.  Is there no chart showing what this patient ate?  And if nothing was written in under what the patient ate shouldn’t that have been a red flag that this patient didn’t eat?

I can understand trying to diagnose some diseases can be difficult.  For some diseases can be devious bastards.  Hiding deep with a patient’s myriad symptoms.  But hunger?

“Hello, random patient.  Bowels okay?”

“I haven’t had a BM in days because no one is feeding me.”

“Not feeding you, eh?  Well, we’d better do something about that?  Let me find your nurse.  She can give me the form to address that.  Then you’ll be right as rain, my good man.  Take care.  And do work on those bowel movements.”

The soothing warmth of red tape in a government bureaucracy.  Just makes you wish Obamacare would hurry up and get here already.

Forms.  Yes, forms.  Beautiful forms.  Filling in blanks.  Filing in triplicate.  The way health care was meant to be.  And the way it will be under Obamacare.

“Hungry?  Not to worry.  I have just the form here.  See?  Here we fill in what you ate.  And here we fill in what you passed.  Beautiful, yes?  And by studying the connection between the two we can fill another 1,000 positions in the health care authority.  Isn’t that wonderful?”

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New British Report to show how Horrible National Health Care Is

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 20th, 2013

Week in Review

A lot of those on the left like to point out how the United States is the only advanced economy that doesn’t have national health care.  Of course those on the right will note that the U.S. health care system is the best in the world.  And probably is because it is the only advanced economy not to have national health care.  But proponents of national health care will be quick to poo poo that.  Noting how wonderful Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is.  Doing everything a national health care system should.  Well, apart from the appalling care they provide at times (see Evening Briefing: Losing our faith in the NHS religion by Will Heaven posted 7/15/2013 on The Telegraph).

Tomorrow is D-Day for the NHS. A damning 1500-page report on failings at 14 NHS hospital trusts will be published. Written by Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS’s Medical Director, it will spell out failings that have led to up to 13,000 needless deaths since 2005, we report. Crucially, it will also note that the scandal of Mid Staffordshire Hospital was not a “one-off”. It follows closely today’s review of the Liverpool Care Pathway by Baroness Neuberger. She said of the LCP: “Among the worst stories were of people on the Liverpool Care Pathway for days going into weeks without communication or review or discussion. And also desperate stories of desperate people who are longing for a drink of water who were, through misunderstanding of the LCP and poor care, denied a drink.”

Make no mistake: if the NHS is Britain’s national religion, then we are currently going through a brutal reformation. Polling last month showed that 58 per cent don’t trust the NHS to be open about its standards.

Barely half those polled about the vaunted NHS trust it.  Which isn’t much of a ringing endorsement for national health care.  And yet here we are.  With Obamacare taking us down that road.  For the Democrats said they could give quality health care to everyone while cutting costs at the same time.  Something the British found to be not quite possible.  But on this side of the pond American politicians think they are so much wiser that they’ll be able to do what the British could not.

Some would call the Liverpool Care Pathway a death panel.  For it is basically a program to let people die with dignity.  People who are so ill that nothing further can be for them.  The hospital is supposed to discuss this with the family.  To help them accept that the end is nigh for their loved one.  That’s part of the official LCP.  But as it turned out hospitals were putting a lot of patients onto the LCP without consulting the family.  To, as some have claimed, cut costs.  For keeping sick people alive is costly.  And a distraction to health care providers desperately needed elsewhere in their state-run hospitals.

Anyway, this is what Obamacare will look like.  Eventually.  As they cut costs to reduce the high cost of health care.  Of course, the United States has about 5 times the population of the UK.  So the number of needless deaths the US can expect could be as many 65,000 (13,000 X 5).  And if the Americans throw in an LCP of their own that number will likely be higher.  Even if the words ‘death panels’ aren’t included in the bill.  For the LCP is a quasi death panel but they don’t call it a death panel.  Well, some do.  Those who had the pleasure of experiencing what the LCP did to their loved one.

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