The Soft Tyranny of National Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 14th, 2013

Politics 101

Nazis and Communists acquired Power by Promising their People a Generous Welfare State

Adolf Hitler did not tell the German people that he wanted to wage world war.  Install an oppressive police state.  Or commit genocide.  Joseph Stalin did not tell the Russian people that he wanted to install an oppressive police state.  Starve millions of his people to death.  Or export communist revolution around the world.  Fidel Castro did not tell the Cuban people that he would make life so unbearable for them that they would rather risk dying in the ocean to reach America than staying in Cuba.

These dictators did not say these things.  And if anyone ever asked them of their true intentions they lied.  Especially to their people.  They lied about wanting to brutally oppress their people so they could expand their power.  Instead they told them they were going to take care of the people.  Unlike the evil capitalists.  Hitler’s National Socialism was going to give the people everything they could possibly want.  A job.  Mandatory vacations.  And national health care.  A person would be a fool not to want to give Hitler more power as he was going to make their lives so much better.  Freer.  And more pleasant.  Like a welfare state is supposed to be.

The communist promised that there would be no bourgeoisies exploiting the working man.  Instead everyone would be equal.  A utopia where everyone was each other’s brother.  Or comrade.  There would be no private property.  The people would own everything.  And there would be national health care.  This is the communist utopia Stalin promised his people.  And what Castro promised his people.  Neither meant it.  As no communist dictator meant it.  But by promising the people these things they were able to acquire power.  And the more power they acquired the more the people suffered.  This is why dictators and dictator wannabes lie.  To get the people to give them things the people would never give them if they told the truth.

The Affordable Care Act is a Pathway to the Soft Tyranny of National Health Care

The American left has always wanted the Holy Grail of the socialist state.  National health care.  For it gives them massive power.  As a person’s health is the most important thing in their life.  And once dependent on the state for their health care there is no new tax they won’t approve.  If it’s for their health.  This is why the left wants national health care.  This is why all dictators give their people national health care.  It makes people dependent on government.  And it makes people fear their government.  For if the government doesn’t get what it wants they could withhold health care.  Which could result in their death.

Now the Hitlers, Stalins and the Castros of the world don’t need to withhold health care to kill their people.  Their people feared them because they know their leaders could kill them outright.  The kind of thing that just doesn’t happen in Western democracies.  Which is what makes national health care so attractive.  For it offers a soft tyranny.  For you heard the left’s dire predictions of what would happen if the Republicans shut down the government.  But national health care?  Imagine the fear they could put into the people the next time the Republicans talked about tax cuts. 

The Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) is a pathway to this soft tyranny.  National health care.  While Canada and the United Kingdom struggle under the weight of their state health care systems the American left thought long and carefully of how to bring that same failed system to the American people.  With the health care industry totaling one-sixth of the U.S. economy that was just too great a tax hike to impose on the American people.  Even Democrats would be reluctant to impose such high taxes on people they needed to vote for them.  So they couldn’t go that route.  At least, not yet.

President Obama breaks the Law Again as he Tells Insurers they can still Sell Policies the People Liked

There is one thing standing in their way.  The private health insurance industry.  For with this there is an alternative to massive new taxes.  Which makes massive new taxes politically unattractive.  So they have to destroy the private health insurance industry first.  By lying to them.  Teasing them with government mandates that will give the health insurers a lucrative windfall of business.  While actually sealing their demise.

If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.  Period.  That was the big lie.  Because you can’t.  Secretary Sebelius quickly wrote out the grandfather clause in the Affordable Care Act.  Especially for the individual market.  Where a lot of young and healthy people had only catastrophic policies.  Because they are young and healthy.  If the government was going to mandate the insurers pay for everything under the sun from free birth control to senior care they needed these young and healthy to lose their current policies and replace them with more costly policies with higher deductibles.  Basically forcing them to pay for costly health insurance but never using it because of those high deductibles.  Which transferred the cost of senior care to the young and healthy.  Something the young and healthy would never have been onboard with if the Democrats had told the truth.  Which is why the Democrats lied to them.

With the implementation of Obamacare the lies have become real.  They’re touching people’s lives.  And not in a good way.  Millions of individual policy holders are losing their insurance.  And those with employer-provided insurance will start losing theirs next year.  They’d be feeling the pain today but President Obama broke the law and ordered his administration not to enforce the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.  Giving the employers a year reprieve until they, too, have to drop their non-compliant health insurance policies.  But being caught in the lie the year before the 2014 midterm elections has caused the president and the Democrats a lot of heartburn.  So much that the president is once again breaking the law.  And telling health insurers that they can still offer the health insurance policies the people liked.  When it is virtually impossible for them to do.  For they spent 3 years preparing for Obamacare and calculating insurance premiums based on the mandates bringing in enough money in premiums to pay for everything under the sun they now must cover. 

If they reinstate the old ‘substandard’ policies the young and healthy will buy these instead of buying the more costly Obamacare policies.  While the old and sick will buy the far more generous Obamacare policies.  Which will be a bargain for them as they will consume far more health care dollars than they pay in premiums.  But without the young and healthy subsidizing these policies the insurers will go bankrupt quickly as their benefits paid will far exceed their premiums collected.  Forcing them to increase their premiums to pay for the higher than expected benefits paid.  Until health insurance is so costly no one is buying it.  Putting them out of business.  So they can’t do this and hope to remain in business.  And, therefore, they will not reinstate the old ‘substandard’ policies.  Which is what the president wants.  For he gets to blame the insurers.  While accelerating the demise of the private health insurance industry.  By bankrupting them as planned.  AND getting the people to hate them even more.  A win-win for the Obama administration.  As they lie that they care about the people they are harming to expand their power.  Just like every other tyrant and tin-pot dictator has done throughout history.

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President Obama’s Lies being exposed in California as Obamacare increases the price of Health Insurance

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 22nd, 2013

Week in Review

There is no way Obamacare can lower the cost of health insurance.  Because when you mandate that insurance providers pay for more health care services it will cost the insurance companies more money to do so.  And where do they get their money?  From insurance premiums.  So if they have to spend more they have to charge more (see Obamacare Doctor Rationing Begins in California by Lanhee Chen posted 9/16/2013 on Bloomberg).

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Californians will actually be paying more for less because of the “Affordable” Care Act…

The basic reason Obamacare raises premiums is simple: It fundamentally changes the marketplace for health insurance by putting in place a number of onerous and highly restrictive federal regulations. Most notably, the law requires insurers to cover all comers, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. Obamacare also severely limits the factors that insurers may account for in pricing their policies. For example, insurers may not vary premiums based on health status and must charge a 64-year-old no more than three times as much for the same plan as they would charge an 18-year-old. Finally, the law mandates that insurers cover a number of benefits that they may not have had to previously.

In tension with these economic and regulatory factors working to raise premiums is the political pressure being applied by the Obama administration, particularly in states like California, to keep premiums as low as possible. One of the only ways left, then, for health plans to meet these competing demands is to restrict access to certain care providers — limiting patients’ ability to choose specific doctors or hospitals, lengthening wait times or forcing them to see a new doctor because their current one isn’t part of an insurer’s provider network.

Clearly, then, Obamacare is not about lowering the cost of health insurance.  It’s all about destroying the private health insurance industry.  Why?  Because once Obamacare destroys the private health insurance industry the way is clear for national health care.  Which is the single purpose of Obamacare.  At least based on the “onerous and highly restrictive federal regulations.”

President Obama lied profusely to the American people about Obamacare.  And he treaded lightly in the role out of his great lie.  For if the people caught on before the 2012 election the Republicans might have taken back the Congress and the White House.  And restored sanity to the land by repealing Obamacare.  So to avoid that from happening he delayed the role out and the exposing of the many lies he told until after the 2012 election.  But did he wait too long?  Having waited so long and delayed many parts of it for political reasons has only allowed people to begin experiencing pieces of Obamacare.  To see his lies exposed.  Strengthening the opposition to this horrible piece of legislation.  And now the 2014 mid-term elections are just around the corner.

The plan was to get as many people enrolled between 2012 and 2014 as possible.  To get them dependent on Obamacare.  So should the Republicans take both houses of Congress and the White House in 2014 because enough voters were angry with the Democrats for ruining their health care that there would be too many people enrolled in Obamacare to simply repeal it.  Have these delays put Obamacare at risk?  Have they given the people too much time to see the lies they were telling?  Will the Republicans be able to repeal it once they become the majority power again?

We are approaching the point of no return.  So far the Democrats’ lies have been winning the day.  But they have been destroying the economy in the process.  Will they destroy our health care as well?  We shall soon find out.

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President Obama lied about Obamacare because Socialists are Devious

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 14th, 2013

Week in Review

Politicians lie.  Especially those on the left.  Why?  Because their policies have a record of failure. So when they campaign for office they don’t tell the truth.  Because the people don’t want their taxes to go up.  They don’t want more regulations that might put them out of a job.  They don’t want higher unemployment.  They don’t want more environmental policies to save the world from global warming when the earth hasn’t been warming as predicted.

The people have rejected socialism.  So when the left campaigns for office they don’t use the ‘s’ word these days.  Even though their policies have but one goal.  To turn the United States into a European social democracy.  Despite some of these social democracies moving away from their socialist ways (see Is Rightward Shift In Norway, Australia A Trend? posted 9/10/2013 on Investors).

Elections held in recent days in two modestly populated but economically significant countries show that the global political pendulum may be swinging back toward conservatives.

First came the triumph of Australia’s Liberal (conservative) Party and its socially conservative Catholic leader, Tony Abbott, in national elections last weekend.

That was quickly followed by the surprise victory of the Conservative Party’s Erna Solberg, dubbed “Iron Erna” for her staunch conservatism, in Norway’s national elections.

A mere coincidence? Not likely. Polls show people in most developed countries are fed up. Angry rank-and-file voters are turning away from leftist parties that push welfare spending, higher taxes, increasing debt, more regulation, open-border policies and tight environmental restrictions.

Politically, socialist ideas no longer sell so well.

Which is why politicians on the left lie.  President Obama said if you liked your health insurance plan you could keep it.  Which was a lie to pass Obamacare.  As Obamacare was only a stepping stone to socialized medicine.  And the first step in getting there was to first destroy the private health insurance industry.  And with no private health insurance industry there would be only the government to step in and be the insurer of last resort.  And, voilà, national health care.  A devious way to get there.  But, then again, socialists are devious.  Because they know people don’t want what they’re selling.

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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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FT163: “To cut medical costs Obamacare will pay hospitals, doctors and medical malpractice lawyers less.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Health Care Costs are High because of the Lack of Competition and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Obamacare is a pathway to national health care.  They designed it to get as many employers to drop health insurance for their employees as possible.  By making the penalty for not providing it less than the cost of providing it.  As more employers drop their health insurance plans private health insurers will have to raise rates on the fewer remaining on their plans.  Causing more employers to drop their health insurance plans and pay the less costly fine instead.  Once Obamacare destroys the private health insurance industry the government will step in as the insurer of last resort.  And transform Obamacare into a true national health care system.  Like the National Health Service in Britain.  The ultimate goal for those on the left.

There is support for Obamacare and the national health care it will evolve into.  Especially those who hate doctors, hospitals and the pharmaceutical companies getting rich on the suffering of others.  Who will sue them at the drop of a hat.  And there is a large and prosperous medical malpractice legal community getting rich by helping these people sue.  Helping the little guy get justice from these rich people and rich companies.  Who put profits before people.  Which is why so many people want national health care.  To get the profit incentive out of health care.  And limit the outrageous salaries of those in the health care industries.

What these people don’t understand is that it’s just not their high salaries that run up the costs of health care.  Two large reasons for the high cost of health care are the lack of competition and the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits.  Obamacare will address one of these issues.  But probably not the one those who hate the profit incentive in health care would expect.  Or want.

When the Government pays for Health Care they also pay Medical Malpractice Damage Awards

They are still writing the law for Obamacare.  So anything we say will be conjecture.  But we can see where Obamacare is going by looking at where it will end.  National health care.  And there are numerous examples of that in the world.  Such as the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.  Here is how they address medical malpractice (see Medical Malpractice Liability: United Kingdom (England and Wales) posted on the U.S. Library of Congress website).

Given that damages awarded could reach millions of pounds, which would negatively affect the budget of these Trusts in providing healthcare to the population, a number of programs (known as “schemes” in England) were established to address claims for medical negligence…

Part of the mandate of the NHS Litigation Authority is to avoid litigation, where possible.  Its Framework Document notes that it aims to “maximise the resources available for patient care, by defending unjustified actions robustly [and] settling justified actions efficiently.”[28]  Furthermore, the Litigation Authority notes that it “encourage[s] NHS bodies to offer patients explanations and apologies.[29]  We seek to avoid formal litigation as far as possible and our historical data show that only about 4% of our cases go to court, including settlements made on behalf of minors, which must be approved by a court.”[30]

The mandate of the NHS Litigation Authority further requires it “to minimise the risk that patient care in a particular community is jeopardised by a large settlement against a local NHS body.”[31]  It thus aims to “to spread the costs of settlements more evenly over time”[32] through the use of periodical payments made to the claimant throughout their life, as it considers that this is the fairest method of settling the costs of personal injury claims when costs are significant.[33]

When the government pays for health care they also pay medical malpractice damage awards.  And anything they pay in a medical malpractice award is money they cannot spend on providing medical services to sick people.  So the mandate of the NHS is to fight medical malpractice claims robustly.  By throwing out frivolous lawsuits.  And settling out of court legitimate lawsuits.  Such that only some 4% make it to court.  And a jury trial.  The ultimate objective of malpractice lawyers.  Who want the sympathies of a jury to award massive judgments against rich doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers will be the Big Financial Losers when Obamacare evolves into National Health Care

Medical malpractice lawyers get rich from winning big lawsuits.  That have a big cash award.  Which is how they want their money.  In a big lump-sum.  Because that’s how medical malpractice lawyers get rich.  Quickly.  And that’s not going to happen with settlements paid out over time over the life of the claimant.  Like in the NHS.  They don’t want a stipend.  Stipends don’t buy mansions, luxury cars, private jets, yachts and exotic vacations.  And if their clients are so inconsiderate to die too soon they will selfishly deny these lawyers a portion of that income stream.  However meager it is.  If they even get a piece of that income stream.

Republicans are for a business-friendly environment.  To generate economic activity.  And that business-friendly environment includes low taxes and low regulatory costs.  As well as tort reform.  To limit the high cost of frivolous lawsuits.  Something the trial lawyers vehemently oppose.  So they throw their support behind Democrats.  Who are generally for a less business-friendly environment.  And have no problem with suing ‘greedy’ corporations.  For the richer the trial lawyers get the more campaign donations they get.  So there is a special relationship between the Democrat Party and trial lawyers.  They take care of each other.  Until, that is, Obamacare becomes like the NHS.

The Democrats and their supporters, including the trial lawyers, attack the profit incentive in health care.  Together they have helped to bring Obamacare into law.  Which will begin the long process of removing the profit incentive from health care.  As well as destroying the private health insurers that the medical malpractice lawyers have grown so wealthy by suing.  It will be interesting to see if they will continue their special relationship with the Democrats as health care moves more towards a system like the NHS.  As the medical malpractice lawyers will be the big financial losers when that happens.  Because they just won’t be able to sue the federal government like they have sued the private insurance industry.

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Obamacare: Stupid or Devious?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 1st, 2010

The passage of Obamacare is cutting quite the swath of destruction in its path.  Businesses had to book million dollar charges to comply with the new legislation.  The requirement to insure children with preexisting conditions has caused insurance companies to drop plans for children.  (Not because they are ogres.  But because no one will buy insurance for their kid until they’re sick or injured.  So the cost of these plans will have to equal the actual medical costs.  So what’s the point?  If you’re paying actual costs just pay them directly to the health care provider.  And cut out the middleman.)  And now McDonald’s may drop their mini-med plans.  Because these low-premium policies have the same overhead as comprehensive plans.  Which means they spend more of the premium on overhead costs (as a percentage) than the big comprehensive plans.  So they can’t meet the required medical-loss ratio (the percent of premiums they must spend on actual health care benefits).

The idea was to prevent the ‘evil’ health insurance companies from paying huge bonuses to their people to keep costs down.  But bonuses are the least of their cost worries.  The Obamacare mandate to cover an additional 32 million people is a much bigger cost worry.  Especially when there is no cap on benefits and they’re required to cover all preexisting conditions.  And you know what?  It can’t be done. 

Oh, there will be a doctor shortage, too.  Especially when we add another 36 million or so to the Medicare program.  (If you’re doing the math, that’s an additional 68 million new patients that will need doctors.  Can you say rationing and ‘death panels’?  Someone will have to decide how to use these limited resources.  Replace the hip of an 89 year old grandmother?  Or do the appendectomy on the 21 year old man?)

Obamacare is a train wreck.  You have to ask yourself how did they make such a mess of it.  Well, there are two possible answers.  Either they’re just stupid and these are all unintended consequences.  Or this was the plan all along to kill the private health insurance industry.  So the devious bastards could get their public option/national health care they’ve wanted all along.

You can read McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan by Janet Adamy on the Wall Street Journal on line for more detail.  McDonald’s has denied this, however.  You can read the AP’s Health care law may hamper limited insurance plans by Tom Murphy on Yahoo! Finance for their denial.  Whether or not McDonald’s is considering dropping their mini-med plans (unless they get their exemption) doesn’t change the fate of these mini-med plans under Obamacare.  Those mandated medical-loss ratios could push these very popular plans into extinction.

Lying or stupid.  Either way it’s bad for us.

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