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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Some in Canada consider a Parallel Private Health Care System to reduce Wait Times

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2014

Week in Review

People don’t want Obamacare.  And they are getting angry.  Making the Democrats very nervous.  Especially those up for election this fall.  Which is why there is yet another delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act.  To make voters less angry this fall.

This law was never popular.  The American people never wanted it.  The only reason why we have it is because the Democrats pushed it through when they had control of the House, Senate and White House.  And bought off a few recalcitrant Democrat senators (the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, etc.) to garner the 60 votes necessary to force this unpopular law onto the American people.  So the Democrats could put us on a path towards single-payer.  Which President Obama is on the record preferring.  Single-payer.  But accepted the Affordable Care Act as a means to that end.  So we can one day have a health care system like they have in Canada.  Because things are so much better in Canada (see Waiting times cost B.C. patients $155.5 million last year: Fraser Institute study by Bethany Lindsay posted 3/25/2014 on The Vancouver Sun).

Waiting for medically necessary surgeries cost British Columbian patients about $155.5 million in lost time last year, a Fraser Institute economist claims in a new study.

It estimates that the total cost to Canadian patients of waiting for treatment after seeing a specialist was $1.1 billion in 2013, up from $982 million in 2012. Quebec had the highest cost at $267.7 million.

Author Nadeem Esmail said the report explores a consequence of waiting for care that Canadians don’t often consider…

Esmail said that in order to address the problem of long waiting times, he’d like to see Canada allow more private sector participation in the provision of health care, including the development of a parallel private system…

Overall, British Columbians waited a median 10.4 weeks for treatment after their first appointment with a specialist last year, compared to 9.6 weeks across Canada, according to the study.

Imagine that.  The Republicans were right.  A single-payer health care system leads to rationing of health care resources.  And sick people waiting for their turn for fewer, rationed health care resources leads to, of course, longer wait times.  This is what the Democrats want to force on the American people.  Even when some in Canada are suggesting a parallel private health care system to reduce wait times down from 10 weeks or so.  Which is why the Democrats had to be as devious as possible to pass Obamacare into law.  With shady backroom deals like the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback and Gator Aid.  And then lying through their teeth about being able to keep the health insurance and doctors you liked and wanted to keep.  A lie so bold it earned President Obama the Lie of the Year from PolitiFact.

Will this anger boil over this November at the 2014 midterm elections?  Will voters remember how the Democrats lied and made backroom deals to change a health care system we liked and wanted to keep?  Apparently President Obama thinks so.  Which is why he violated the law once again and extended the enrollment period for Obamacare.  Without having Congress rewrite the law.  To make this latest change in the Affordable Care Act (and the 30 or so that preceded it) legal.  But then again, when the media keeps giving the president a pass on his law-breaking activities what incentive does the administration have to act lawful?  It’s kind of like Vladimir Putin taking Crimea.  The way Putin sees it no one is going to do anything when he breaks the law so what incentive does he have to abide by international law?  If anything he’s probably puzzled why President Obama is saying anything at all.  For what’s a little law-breaking between two law breakers?

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

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wait Times in NHS Emergency Rooms reach 9 Year High

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 8th, 2013

Week in Review

National health care results in long wait times and rationing.  Especially when you have an aging population (see A&E waiting times at nine-year high by pa.press.net posted 6/3/2013 on MSN News UK).

Waiting times for accident and emergency patients have reached a nine-year high, according to figures…

John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund, said: “Emergency care acts as a barometer for the NHS. The worryingly high number of patients waiting longer than four hours in the last quarter of 2012/13 is a clear warning sign that the health system is under severe strain…

“We’ve been absolutely clear that the NHS needs to transform the way health services are delivered to meet the needs of an ageing population focusing more on joined up services and prevention.

Under national health care if you go to an accident and emergency (A/E) and see a doctor in 4 hours you’re doing well.  Not all A/Es in Britain, though, can meet that 4 hour target.  Part of the problem is their aging population.  And the other is the long wait times elsewhere in the NHS.  For a 4-hour wait is like a walk in a park compared to the 18 weeks they have to treat you outside the A/E.  Where a general practitioner (GP) refers you to a specialist who refers you somewhere for treatment.  At which time the 18-week clock starts running.  So is it any wonder that people are flooding these A/Es?

Obamacare will greatly bureaucratize our health care.  Increasing our wait times, too.  Just like in the NHS.  Where they’ve been doing health care since 1948.  And they still don’t have it right.  Unless an 18-week wait time for treatment is your idea of right.  It isn’t their idea of right, though.  If it were people wouldn’t be overflowing their A/Es.  And causing the longest wait times in 9 years.  Just something to look forward too under Obamacare.  The new kid on the block when it comes to national health care.  Who won’t do it anywhere near as good as Britain.  Who has been trying to do it right since 1948.  And struggles to see people in the emergency room in under 4 hours.

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