healthcare

Who Will Provide My Health Care?

by Deane Waldman

Whom  do you want to operate on your heart: a doctor or a bureaucrat?  This  scenario is neither a joke nor an exaggeration.  Two trends happening right  now make it likely that the person who  will provide your health care will have a BA or MBA after his name rather than  “MD” or “RN.”

Trend  1: Losing doctors

Doctors  are increasingly refusing to see government-insured — viz., Medicare —  patients, or leaving medicine altogether.  With our government attacking  our doctors, why should they keep seeing government-insured patients?  And  the word “attack” is truth, not hype.

Imagine  you are a doctor.  You help a sick patient and bill for your services.   The government pays whatever it wants — a small fraction of your bill.   Worse, it continually reduces these payments, now below your cost to stay  in business.  The ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable  [hah!] Health Care Act,  or ObamaCare) spends over $1 trillion on bureaucrats, taking it from doctors,  and thereby reducing patient care.

You  are still the doctor.  You spend your time and energy trying to follow an  ever-increasing number of rules and staying within regulatory compliance,  instead of seeing your patients or thinking about their care.  You  constantly cry, “Please, government!  Stop piling on useless and harmful regulations.  Stop telling me what I  can do and what I cannot.  Stop practicing medicine.  Leave that to  doctors!”

Now  you are a patient.  Though most doctors and nurses do very well for you,  some patients have bad outcomes.  In one second, the same care provider you

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/who_will_provide_my_health_care.html#ixzz1xhkWc2ww

Unequal Protection Under the Health Care Law

by Hal Scherz

One  of life’s minor annoyances occurs when someone receives preferential treatment  because of his wealth or perceived power.  Many people have experienced  this firsthand when a “VIP” comes into a restaurant and jumps ahead while  they’ve been waiting for a table.  This offends most Americans because it  is contrary to our sense of fair play.  It divides people into elites and  everyone else.

This  is where we are heading with health care.  Don’t think so?  Well, on  October 11, 2011, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) declared  that PSA screening for prostate cancer in healthy men was no longer  recommended.  No urologists — the acknowledged experts in the treatment of prostate cancer — were involved in this decision.  During the time  that PSA screening has been available, prostate cancer deaths have steadily  declined.  Then why have these recommendations been issued?  Because  in a top-down, government-controlled health care system, dollars need to be  trimmed and patients cannot get everything that they want, even when it means  screening for cancer.  Patients have no say over their health care, and the  government decides where health care dollars are allocated — perhaps instead to  Planned Parenthood for abortions.  Incidentally, President Obama underwent  PSA screening several months ago.

During  the contentious debates over the Affordable Care Act, the SEIU and other unions  which were staunch Obama allies spent tens of millions of dollars to produce  marketing campaigns in support of passage of the bill.  As Nancy Pelosi has  so ineloquently stated, “we need to pass the bill to find out what is in  it.”  And once we did and learned how much it was going to cost, these  devoted supporters discovered that they couldn’t afford ObamaCare and flooded  the Department of Health and Human Services with a tsunami of requests to exempt  them from the new law.  To date, 1,231 waivers have been granted as  political favors, many to the very groups who were instrumental in getting the  law passed.  This includes 38 waivers granted in a single day in Nancy  Pelosi’s district — many to fancy nightclubs, swank hotels, and expensive  restaurants which advertise $59 Porterhouse steaks.

If  ObamaCare stands, and once fully implemented in 2014, ordinary men will no  longer receive PSA screening; women will no longer receive routine mammography  looking for breast cancer (a 2010 USPSTF recommendation); and soon these  government restrictions on cancer screening will likely extend to colonoscopy,  as occurs in several Canadian provinces, where routine screening is no longer  offered.  Seniors will wait longer for life-saving procedures like  dialysis, heart surgery, or chemotherapy.  Surgeries that improve quality  of life like joint replacement will be denied outright.  How can this not  be the case when ObamaCare raids Medicare and steals $500 billion from it to be  redistributed elsewhere?

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/unequal_protection_under_the_healthcare_law.html#ixzz1maFbeCY1

Obamacare Heads to the Supreme Court

by Doug Bandow

When Congress was pushing through President Barack Obama’s plan to nationalize health care decision-making, legislators gave little thought to the Constitution. After all, the denizens of Capitol Hill had grown accustomed to passing whatever laws they desired, with the expectation that, if necessary, compliant courts would fashion another magical legal doctrine or two to justify Congress’ action. Naturally, all of the president’s men and their allies dismissed the legal cases filed against Obamacare after it became law.

However, the advocates of government-controlled medicine are no longer laughing. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week struckdown an essential part of the legislation. This evens the score, balancing an earlier decision by the Sixth Circuit to uphold the vast expansion of federal power. In the latest case, Judge Frank Hull, a Democratic appointee, voted with Chief Judge Joel Dubina to overturn the legislation.

The substantive sections of the majority opinion inState of Florida, et al., vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services run roughly 150 pages, making it the longest and most detailed decision yet. As such, noted my Cato Institute colleague Ilya Shapiro, the “ruling shows that the constitutional issues raised by the healthcare reform — and especially the individual mandate — are complex, serious, and non-ideological.”

Read more here:

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/08/19/obamacare-heads-to-the-supreme

Obamacare: Government Decided and Government Provided.

by Barbara Samuells

In 2014 your healthcare will change.
Your doctors and hospitals are all planning changes right now to comply with the PPACA
(Obamacare) so they can remain in business.

Did you know that in 2011 your W-2 will have to include the value of employer provided healthcare benefits?  Not taxed…yet.

Did you know millions of low income Seniors, income under about $20,000 per couple,will be forced onto Medicaid?

Did you know that 17% of hospitals may close due to PPACA (Obamacare) per the CBO (Congressional Budget Office)?

Did you know a physician shortage of 63,000 doctors is estimated by 2015 as doctors retire and move into other medical roles to escape PPACA?

Did you know that all insurance companies will provide only those treatments approved by the Secretary of HHS or the company will be OUT of the insurance exchange and OUT of business?

Did you know what happens in your doctor’s office no longer stays there? Your medical history, procedures, medications, conditions, will be available to your dentist, therapist, any medical professional treating you and various government workers overseeing the database.

Did you knowthat in 2011 cuts to Medicare home health care are denying basic services such as home health care,  physical therapy and home health aides?

Did you know that in 2012 Medicare cuts to
dialysis treatments begin?

Did you know that in 2012 cuts to Medicare Hospice
begin?

Did you know in 2014 government IPAB begins
submitting proposals to cut Medicare?

Did you know in 2014 the government will impose
tax on nearly all private health insurance plans.

Did you know in 2017 all physicians must use pay-for-quality
programs where your doctors receive more for following government treatment
guides and are penalized if they do not?

Did you know that doctors are now combining into
large medical centers so they can comply with the complex mandates and stay in
business?

Did you know Obamacare relies on ACO’s (remember
HMO’s?) to take care of us as our “medical home” where we can be tracked and
provided ONLY THAT CARE the government’s Independent Payment Advisory Board
determines should be given?

Any of these changes by themselves is detrimental to our healthcare and in combination will destroy America’s healthcare…the finest in the world.  Notice everyone wants to come here for their care.

PPACA (Obamacare) will take away access to healthcare with rationing by waiting.

Just having insurance does no good, if there are no providers because they have been driven out of business by Obamacare.  Americans will be begging for any medical care and this administration would use that crisis to provide government chosen and government trained medicasl staff.
Every facet of your healthcare: Doctor, hospital, dialysis, stents…

              Government Decided and Government Provided.

 

Let’s Not Forget About Obamacare

by David Harsanyi

Democrats will often get irritable when some clingy philistine refers to Obamacare as “socialized medicine.” It’s simply not a precise phrase for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In any event, it’s not socialized yet, you ignoramuses! Progress doesn’t happen overnight. No worries, though, recent signs portend that Obamacare will give us the state-run plan we proles deserve.

A new study published in McKinsey Quarterly claims that in 2014, the provisions of Obamacare will induce 3 in 10 employers to “definitely or probably” stop offering health coverage to their employees. And we can only assume the companies have had the good sense not to read the legislation.

Sure, the president promised we could keep our insurance if we liked it. But why would you want to be mixed up with pitiless corporations that focus on profits, anyway? Obamacare courageously forces states to implement concocted “exchanges” so that someone much smarter than you can pick participants, regulate prices and keep an eye on things. Sounds like a vigorous marketplace. It’s only a wonder that more Americans aren’t clamoring for government-run supermarkets, smartphones and dating exchanges, as well.

You’ll also recall that the un-socialized system allowed 20, 30, 40 million (please feel free to come up with any number you’d like; The New York Times won’t care) people to go uninsured. Medicare’s chief actuary estimated that 400,000 would sign up for these high-risk pools before Obamacare kicked in. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the budget would be able to handle 200,000, and others claimed that the program would need eight times the funding to meet demand. This was the driving reason for Obamacare. But as Megan McArdle of The Atlantic points out, just as with the exchanges, folks have been standoffish, with only about 18,000 people signing up.

Victory, right? The success of a government handout is always measured by how little Americans need to use it, right? Well, judging from the food stamp administration’s actions, that would be a big no. What this probably calls out for is more public service announcements or a wider net. Hey, we’ll just get some toffee-nosed yacht jockeys to offset the cost.

Read more here:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/06/08/lets_not_forget_about_obamacare_110129.html

Debt, Health Care, & Recession

It was bad government policies that got us into this mess. Better policies could get us out.

When Standard & Poor’s downgraded its credit outlook for the United States, former senator Phil Gramm (R., Tex.) was not surprised. Now an investment banker, Gramm regularly visits the central banks of China, South Korea, and Japan — the three largest holders of dollar-denominated assets in the world — and hears their complaints about their increasingly worrisome debtor. “The S&P is expressing in ratings what they’re expressing in terms of concern,” Gramm tells National Review Online: “Things cannot go on as they are.”

It’s a stark message. Another blunt point Gramm makes in his Texan drawl is that our current recovery is much weaker than the one that followed the 1982 recession. Echoing his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Gramm explains, “If we had recovered at the rate we recovered from the 1982 recession — and I remind you we had a little bit higher unemployment then than we had in this recession — we would have 15 million more jobs today and per-capita income in real terms would be $4,000 higher.”

Continuing the history lesson, Gramm, who was a professor of economics before he entered politics, argues that the only other recovery that was as lackluster as the present one was the recovery from the Great Depression. “There were some big recessions, like those in 1907 and 1920–21,” Gramm recounts. “They dwarfed the current recession, and yet the economy came back like a rocket. But in these two cases, the recovery lagged badly, and the government policies are quite similar, except for the fact that in the Depression we had very bad monetary policy. I think you could say monetary policy has been about as accommodating as it could be in this recession.”

Gramm argues that, contrary to what is commonly believed, President Roosevelt’s big-spending policies actually prolonged the Great Depression: “People forget that the other developed countries recovered from the Depression much more rapidly than we did. By 1938, industrial production was still down 20 percent in the U.S. from pre-Depression levels. It was up 20 percent in Great Britain.”

When I play devil’s advocate — that is, when I cite Paul Krugman — and argue that the economy lagged in 1937–38 because Roosevelt cut government spending then, Gramm responds, “Economists normally attribute it to the increase in reserve requirements by the Federal Reserve. But the wonderful thing about America is that everybody can have their own opinion.”

His own opinion, however, is that President Obama is as guilty of economic mismanagement as Roosevelt. “I personally believe that the policies of the Obama administration — the massive increases in spending, the tax increases, the expansive regulatory policies, the fact that the president clearly has a chip on his shoulder about business and successful people — I think those things have had an impact on business confidence,” Gramm reasons.

And if you’re wondering, Gramm lays little blame at the feet of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke: “Overall, he’s done a pretty good job.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), on the other hand, has done an excellent job, Gramm believes. The former senator calls the congressman’s proposed budget “one of the most remarkable economic documents in the modern history of the country. The fact that it passed the House of Representatives shows that the American government in a crisis is capable of making hard decisions,” Gramm assures NRO, before adding, “or at least the House is.” And Ryan, he thinks, is a remarkable man: “He’s sincere, which I think is the highest praise you can have for a politician.”

Meanwhile, Gramm is less than impressed with President Obama, and he wonders why Obamacare’s promises to cut health-care costs are taken so seriously. “If I had proposed in the Reagan budget, or any other budget I worked on, Medicare reform where I claimed that we would save hundreds of billions of dollars by ‘bending the cost curve,’ people would have laughed in my face. Who doesn’t want to bend the cost curve? The question is, how do you do it?”

#pageGramm’s solution, like Ryan’s, is to put consumers in charge of their own health-care decisions. “In Obamacare,” he says, “it’s always some panel that is going to make decisions to save money — I guess through rationing — rather than changing incentives for people to be more cost-conscious. I want Americans to exercise more control over their own health-care costs. I don’t want some appointed or elected commission to make those decisions.”

 http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/265315/debt-health-care-recession-brian-bolduc

The End of Medicare As We Know It

By Christopher Chantil

As usual, Mark Steyn has comically grasped the essence of the budget problem.  Democrats are right, he admits, when they say that the Ryan Budget Plan means the end of Medicare as we know it.  But let’s be honest about the alternative.

The Democrats’ “plan” — business as usual — will end America as we know it.

That’s because under the Democrats’ business as usual, we will end up Greece or Ireland or Portugal where the government can’t borrow money at the rates offered by the money market.  According to Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in This Time is Different, you typically get to Default City when a government is facing about 10 percent of GDP in annual interest payments.

Meanwhile, in Washington State, we’ve already ended Medicare as we know it, and I’m part of the reason why.  I’ll be 65 in about three months and it’s time to sign up for Medicare.  I’m thinking of abandoning my conservative principles and signing up for Medicare Advantage with Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative.  That way I won’t be buying a Medigap policy from the dreaded AARP.

There are three collective institutions that proudly define the essence of liberal Seattle.  There is PCC Natural Markets, “a certified organic grocery store & Seattle Washington co-op;” there is REI, the outdoor clothing and gear co-op, and there is Group Health, “a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that coordinates care and coverage.”

According to Group Health’s website, it seems that you can’t get ordinary Medicare at Group Health.  For individuals, the choice is between  an “Individual & Family” plan or “Medicare Advantage.”  So much for the idea that ObamaCare was going to slit the throat of Medicare Advantage.  It won’t happen here in Washington State.  Talk to a liberal about Group Health and she will get a faraway look in her eye.  If she’s over 65 she’s on Medicare Advantage at Group Health.

I figure that long before the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback and the notorious ObamaCare “waivers” that Seattle liberals already made their Immaculate Reception.  Here’s a nickel that says that Sen. Patty Murray (D), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), Rep. “Baghdad” Jim McDermott (D) and the rest of the Washington State (D) crew got themselves a deal with the White House to protect Group Health.  Only you and I never got to hear about it.

GHC has several Medicare Advantage programs and I plan to sign up for the one with the biggest deductible.  It makes quite a difference.  The plan with the maximum annual out-of-pocket expense of $3,200 has a monthly payment of $19.  The plan with the minimum out-of-pocket expense of $1,000 costs $210 a month.  On top of that, you get to pay $115.40 a month directly to the Feds; that amount comes off your Social Security check.  For reference, my current individual health insurance plan costs me $168.94 a month with a $5,000 deductible.

Read more here:
http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/the_end_of_medicare_as_we_know.html

Editorial: Death panels, maybe. Rationing, probably

It’s debatable whether, under Obamacare, “death panels,” perhaps committees of bureaucrats charged with deciding what types of medical care the government will pay for and what it won’t, especially as the costs rise toward the end of life, are a fevered fantasy or a prudent fear, with respectable arguments either way. What now cannot be debated is that the Obama administration has decided to incorporate, by administrative fiat, the provision in the health care proposal that not quite accurately sparked the death-panel debate.

During debate last year over the president’s health care proposal, a Medicare provision authorizing payment for end-of-life consultations with doctors – advance directives on extraordinary measures to prolong life and the like – was part of the bill. It was a stretch to extrapolate this, as some did, into “death panels” deciding what treatments would be allowed based on considerations other than the best interests of the patient (another provision, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, is a better candidate). Instead of defending this provision, however, the administration simply removed it from the version that achieved final passage.

Apparently the possibility that this provision would not have been approved by Congress (let alone the new Congress coming in January) didn’t discourage advocates. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently approved a regulation permitting Medicare payment for such consultations, not every five years, as in the Obamacare proposal, but annually. At least one member of Congress who supports the provision advised other supporters not to broadcast the decision too widely lest it stir up controversy. The controversial apparently is to be done in as much secrecy as possible – although apparently not that much given the proliferation of regular and irregular news sources.

Besides highlighting an administration preference for administrative over democratic procedures – and the penchant for operating with considerably less than full disclosure in an administration that had promised unprecedented transparency – the new provision could contribute over time to the kind of bureaucratic rationing of health care many Americans fear. It creates a new Medicare entitlement without paying for it. As such entitlements proliferate to the point that outlays exceed inputs in a system already approaching a fiscal tipping point, the temptation to ration care to keep costs down is likely to become irresistible. Whether those who administer such rationing are called “death panels” or something else could well be academic.

As the Department of Health and Human Services over the next year continues to implement provisions of the new health care law in the face of a House that just might try to prevent such implementation being funded, we can expect numerous similar issues to arise. We will see whether traditional American resistance to the administrative “rule of experts” that is the soul of progressivism can slow down its implementation by those who believe they are the proper experts to rule us.

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/provision-281948-health-care.html 

Obamacare: An Unacquired Taste

Americans understand the health-care law, and they hate it.

‘History repeats itself — first as tragedy, then as farce,” noted Karl Marx. With the new Republican majority in the House planning to vote next Wednesday on repeal of Obamare, Democrats appear well into farce.

Throughout the debate over health-care reform, Democrats constantly told us (and themselves) that if only they could explain the bill better, Americans would come to understand how good it was for them. So President Obama went out and gave more than a hundred remarks, speeches, press conferences, and town-hall orations. But somehow voters resisted the president’s silver-tongued oratory. The more the president talked, cajoled, and explained, the greater public opposition to the bill grew. That January, voters in Massachusetts sent Scott Brown to the Senate largely on the basis of his promise to vote against Obamacare.

But Democrats were undaunted. They knew that once the bill finally passed the public would love it. As Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein predicted, the bill would “become more popular after passage than it was before passage.” New York senator Chuck Schumer summed up the Democratic argument, “Once it passes, it’s going to become more popular — because the lies that have been spread, they vanish, because you see what’s in the bill.” The bill passed. The public saw what was in it. The public hated it.

But surely, Democrats said, when the bill’s consumer protections go into effect in September, then the public will come around. “People don’t know all the nuances of this thing,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, “Bit by bit, we’ll get it out there. Ten people will know, then it’ll grow to 20, then it’ll grow to 80, and it’ll have a snowball effect.” White House adviser David Axelrod echoed the sentiment. “I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular,” he told Meet the Press. But, September came and went, the new rules went into effect, and the bill didn’t become more popular.

So the Democrats decided that the public was a bunch of dolts who were “scared” and “not thinking clearly,” in the words of President Obama. Then Democrats headed off into the November elections, in which every Republican running for an office higher than dog catcher was campaigning in favor of repealing the bill. Those doltish voters overwhelming rejected Democrats who had supported the health-care bill, giving Republicans one of the biggest midterm election victories in more than 60 years. A post-election survey found that 45 percent saw their vote as a specific message of opposition to the health-care bill.

Now, Democrats say they are anxious for another debate over health-care reform, because it will give Democrats an opportunity to explain the bill — again. And this time, no matter how dense the public has shown itself to be so far, the voters will finally get it, rise up, and punish Republicans for trying to undo the Obama administration’s signature achievement. According to the New York Times, Democrats “see the renewed debate as a chance to show that the law will be a boon to millions of Americans and hope to turn ‘Obamacare’ from a pejorative into a tag for one of the president’s proudest achievements.”

Given that the latest Rasmussen poll shows that 60 percent of likely voters support repeal, Democrats might have an only slightly harder time convincing the public to pardon Osama bin Laden, and they continue to labor under the delusion that the problem with health-care reform isn’t policy, but public relations. Americans oppose the health-care program because they don’t understand it. Sooner or later, the thinking goes, they will find the magic words that will convince the public of how right the Democrats have been all along.

But given two years of almost continuous debate on the issue, it is far more likely that the public really does understand the bill. They know, for example, that, despite the president’s reassurances, they are not going to be able to keep their current health insurance, even if they like it. They understand that outside experts now predict that Obamacare will cost at least $2.7 trillion over its first ten years of actual operation, not the $950 billion originally predicted, adding more than $350 billion to the deficit over that period, despite massive new taxes. They’ve seen their insurance premiums skyrocket in response to the law’s new mandates and regulations. Their common sense tells them that imposing the employer mandate will increase the cost of hiring workers and mean fewer jobs at a time when unemployment is still a national crisis. They oppose the unconstitutional individual mandate as an assault on their personal liberty. And they are rightfully concerned over how the law will affect the quality of the care they receive.

That’s not a situation likely to enhance Obamacare’s popularity.

Sure, there are some consumer reforms in the bill that are at least superficially popular. But even those come with fine print. For example: Starting today, parents will be able to keep their children on their insurance plans until age 26. Democrats imply that that extended coverage is free. But, in reality, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that it will cost an estimated $3,380 a year per child. And since employers are balking at picking up the added cost, the parents themselves will have to pay more if they want to continue their children’s coverage. Democrats will also point out that insurers can no longer refuse coverage to children with preexisting conditions. True: And in response, insurers in Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri, among others, have stopped offering child-only insurance plans, depriving thousands of Americans of an inexpensive coverage option. Insurers are also prohibited from imposing annual or lifetime coverage limits. But this provision has proved so onerous that the administration has been forced to issue more than 100 waivers to prevent companies from dropping their employees’ coverage altogether.

Democrats claim that they welcome a fight over repealing Obamacare. Republicans should welcome the opportunity to give them one.

Americans understand the health-care law, and they hate it.

‘History repeats itself — first as tragedy, then as farce,” noted Karl Marx. With the new Republican majority in the House planning to vote next Wednesday on repeal of Obamare, Democrats appear well into farce.

Throughout the debate over health-care reform, Democrats constantly told us (and themselves) that if only they could explain the bill better, Americans would come to understand how good it was for them. So President Obama went out and gave more than a hundred remarks, speeches, press conferences, and town-hall orations. But somehow voters resisted the president’s silver-tongued oratory. The more the president talked, cajoled, and explained, the greater public opposition to the bill grew. That January, voters in Massachusetts sent Scott Brown to the Senate largely on the basis of his promise to vote against Obamacare.

But Democrats were undaunted. They knew that once the bill finally passed the public would love it. As Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein predicted, the bill would “become more popular after passage than it was before passage.” New York senator Chuck Schumer summed up the Democratic argument, “Once it passes, it’s going to become more popular — because the lies that have been spread, they vanish, because you see what’s in the bill.” The bill passed. The public saw what was in it. The public hated it.

But surely, Democrats said, when the bill’s consumer protections go into effect in September, then the public will come around. “People don’t know all the nuances of this thing,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, “Bit by bit, we’ll get it out there. Ten people will know, then it’ll grow to 20, then it’ll grow to 80, and it’ll have a snowball effect.” White House adviser David Axelrod echoed the sentiment. “I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular,” he told Meet the Press. But, September came and went, the new rules went into effect, and the bill didn’t become more popular.

So the Democrats decided that the public was a bunch of dolts who were “scared” and “not thinking clearly,” in the words of President Obama. Then Democrats headed off into the November elections, in which every Republican running for an office higher than dog catcher was campaigning in favor of repealing the bill. Those doltish voters overwhelming rejected Democrats who had supported the health-care bill, giving Republicans one of the biggest midterm election victories in more than 60 years. A post-election survey found that 45 percent saw their vote as a specific message of opposition to the health-care bill.

Now, Democrats say they are anxious for another debate over health-care reform, because it will give Democrats an opportunity to explain the bill — again. And this time, no matter how dense the public has shown itself to be so far, the voters will finally get it, rise up, and punish Republicans for trying to undo the Obama administration’s signature achievement. According to the New York Times, Democrats “see the renewed debate as a chance to show that the law will be a boon to millions of Americans and hope to turn ‘Obamacare’ from a pejorative into a tag for one of the president’s proudest achievements.”

Given that the latest Rasmussen poll shows that 60 percent of likely voters support repeal, Democrats might have an only slightly harder time convincing the public to pardon Osama bin Laden, and they continue to labor under the delusion that the problem with health-care reform isn’t policy, but public relations. Americans oppose the health-care program because they don’t understand it. Sooner or later, the thinking goes, they will find the magic words that will convince the public of how right the Democrats have been all along.

But given two years of almost continuous debate on the issue, it is far more likely that the public really does understand the bill. They know, for example, that, despite the president’s reassurances, they are not going to be able to keep their current health insurance, even if they like it. They understand that outside experts now predict that Obamacare will cost at least $2.7 trillion over its first ten years of actual operation, not the $950 billion originally predicted, adding more than $350 billion to the deficit over that period, despite massive new taxes. They’ve seen their insurance premiums skyrocket in response to the law’s new mandates and regulations. Their common sense tells them that imposing the employer mandate will increase the cost of hiring workers and mean fewer jobs at a time when unemployment is still a national crisis. They oppose the unconstitutional individual mandate as an assault on their personal liberty. And they are rightfully concerned over how the law will affect the quality of the care they receive.

That’s not a situation likely to enhance Obamacare’s popularity.

Sure, there are some consumer reforms in the bill that are at least superficially popular. But even those come with fine print. For example: Starting today, parents will be able to keep their children on their insurance plans until age 26. Democrats imply that that extended coverage is free. But, in reality, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that it will cost an estimated $3,380 a year per child. And since employers are balking at picking up the added cost, the parents themselves will have to pay more if they want to continue their children’s coverage. Democrats will also point out that insurers can no longer refuse coverage to children with preexisting conditions. True: And in response, insurers in Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri, among others, have stopped offering child-only insurance plans, depriving thousands of Americans of an inexpensive coverage option. Insurers are also prohibited from imposing annual or lifetime coverage limits. But this provision has proved so onerous that the administration has been forced to issue more than 100 waivers to prevent companies from dropping their employees’ coverage altogether.

Democrats claim that they welcome a fight over repealing Obamacare. Republicans should welcome the opportunity to give them one.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2652593/posts

Obamacare Pushes for Early Death

The Obama White House has backed off expressly including end-of-life counseling as part of annual well visits for seniors on Medicare.

That is a victory for Americans of all ages who spoke out against this government intrusion in how and when we die. But two problems remain to be solved: the government’s attempts to script what is said between doctor and patient on this issue, and government’s heavy-handed efforts to motivate doctors financially to push patients into end-of-life counseling.

Under the Obama health law (section 936), government is developing and widely disseminating “decision aids”; that is, brochures and the like for Medicare patients on how and when to die. That is not the government’s business.

Uncle Sam is not an impartial adviser. The sooner you give up on medical care, the less money the federal government has to pay out. It would be like asking any health insurer when you should say “enough is enough” to medical care.

The shift of resources from Medicare to Medicaid under the new Obama health law puts this in perspective. That law, enacted in March 2010, expands Medicaid and children’s health programs to cover an estimated 85 million people in 2014, and funds that expansion largely by reducing future funding for Medicare.

It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul, only it’s robbing Grandma and Grandpa. That makes the administration’s offering of yearly end-of-life counseling particularly suspect.

All of us will face end-of-life decisions for our family members and ourselves. A trusted doctor, a sympathetic nurse, a cleric, a family member or long time friend is where we should turn.

Every hospital also provides information on advanced directives to every adult patient. We don’t need lessons produced by the Obama-funded “Shared Decision Making Resource Center.”

One of the new Congress’ first actions should be to defund section 936, Obamacare’s early death propaganda machine.

Medicare officials call the counseling “voluntary.” Medicare grades and pays doctors based on compliance with protocols. Getting patients to sign advanced directives is one of the measures that affect doctors’ compensation.

Measure 47 of the Physician Quality Reporting Index is “percentage of patients aged 65 years and older who have an advance care plan or surrogate decision maker documented in the medical record or documentation . . . that an advanced care plan was discussed.”

Until 2015, doctors will earn a bonus for high scores on the PQRI, and under the Obama health law beginning in 2015 they will be penalized for low scores. In other words, if patients don’t take the end of life consultation and follow through by making living wills, it could lower the doctor’s pay for the entire year.

Doctors are paid so little by Medicare that many are leaving the program, so it is predictable that some doctors will pressure patients into end-of-life counseling.

When a medical professional in a white coat asks a patient to sit and listen, it’s hard to say no.

In that sense, end-of-life counseling will not always be voluntary. The remedy is to remove it from the grading system, so the choice is truly the patient’s.

Keep government out of the business of producing end-of-life lessons. 

http://www.newsmax.com/McCaughey/obamacare-physician-quality-reporting/2011/01/06/id/382027

 

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