For those who continue to support Obamacare and believe the fallacious claims regarding its benefits including substantial cost saving, maintenance of quality, easy availability of care with no rationing, we have a reality check for you: examine the Massachusetts “experiment” in healthcare. It is an unmitigated failure on the premier and expected fronts – cost, quality and availability.
The Massachusetts healthcare system should portend what America can expect when such a plan is implemented nationally. Well, actually worse as it would be run by the Federal Government.
Costs Soaring After Bay State Health Change
Sally C. Pipes 06/30/2010
Anyone wanting a preview of Obama-Care need just focus on Massachusetts, the state that provided the blueprint for Obama's plan. It makes a great case for making haste in repealing ObamaCare.
In Massachusetts, health care prices are out of control, emergency rooms are overcrowded, the government is at war with itself and private insurers are running in the red, refusing to enter critical markets on the government's unrealistic terms.
The party line now is that the Bay State's reform was not about cost control but rather expanding access to care. The program's backers claim that the price spiral they find themselves in was expected, anticipated, even if they didn't actually have a plan for it.
That's a revisionist's tale. In early 2006, the plan's backers — led by then Republican Gov. Mitt Romney — adamantly asserted that his plan would in fact control costs, provide universal coverage and improve the quality of care. (If this sounds familiar, it's because Obama's team borrowed the marketing scripts.)
Disinterested outsiders predicted that both prices and total costs would most likely increase under the government-dominated system, since massive new demand, reimbursed at the lowest prices, would be forced on a fixed supply. They were shouted down by insiders vested in getting the reform passed.
Guess who was right?
Two data points are harbingers of collapse. First, an academic study "The Effect of Massachusetts' Health Reform on Employer-Sponsored Insurance Premiums" by professors John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard and Daniel Kessler, confirmed the prediction.
Massachusetts' reform not only did not decrease prices and spending, as promised, but prices are increasing at rates greater than national trend lines and greater than rates in the Bay State prior to reform.
Three years prior to reform, insurance premiums for employers were increasing 3.7% more slowly in Massachusetts than in the rest of the country. Today, the opposite is true. Prices in Massachusetts are increasing 5.7% more than in other states. In Boston, prices for employer-provided family plans are increasing 8.2% faster than in other large metropolitan areas.
"Because the plan's main components are the same as those of the new health reform law," the study's authors note, "the effects of the plan provide a window onto the country's future."
Post-reform, prices are up, more people have insurance, and more people are headed to the emergency room. If this sounds odd, it should. Among former Gov. Romney's favorite arguments for reform was that it would shift dollars from inefficient emergency room care to the more efficient venue of the primary care doctor.
The Obama administration passed its reform on the backs of health insurers — couching the reform as health insurance reform rather than the actual remaking of health care delivery.
In this election year, Gov. Deval Patrick's administration has torn this page from Obama's playbook. He demanded the right to approve insurance prices in February and then had his bureaucrats deny necessary increases in April. Prior to reform, rates had to be actuarially sound. Post-reform, it's more important that they be politically sound.
Those in his own bureaucracy charged with making sure that insurers can pay their bills called this a "train wreck" and put three insurers under solvency watch. The Patrick administration stood resolute in its election-year pandering. "It's unacceptable for consumers to be treated this way and it will not be tolerated," thundered Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Patrick Murphy, in April.
Last week, the administration's own hearing officers sided with the first insurance company whose case made it through the process. The increased rates, it determined, were fair and necessary.
The Patrick administration's political folks, like Romney's before, will not be swayed by inconvenient facts. Insurance commissioner Murphy "strongly disagrees" with his own hearing officers' ruling.
Is it any wonder then that the state's bureaucracy responsible for managing its health care cannot entice any of the state's major insurance carriers to offer plans to small businesses? Carriers representing 90% of the state's insurance market share are refusing to offer plans to small business through the state's Connector.
"Given the rate cap that the administration has imposed on the health plans, none of them is in a position to enter into any new endeavors with the state at this time," explains Eric Linzer, a spokesperson for the industry association. State officials have responded by sending letters to insurance carriers threatening legal action.
Get ready to wait, America — unless ObamaCare is repealed and reversed.
• Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute. Her next book, "The Truth About ObamaCare" (Regnery Publishing), will be released in August.
Great Britain and Canada are finding that the relentlessly escalating costs of socialized medicine present a financially untenable situation. There is not enough money to meet the needs of the unrestrained demand. Of course, this situation was entirely predictable despite the dissembling and prevarication by liberals.
How are they contemplating addressing this problem? Rationing.
Since they can’t afford to pay for all the services demanded, the governments will selectively limit usage by restricting visits, procedures and other utilizations. In addition, there will be a requisite deterioration in quality of care.
Such an outcome was resolutely predicted and feared by millions of Americans who opposed Obamacare. In spite of this vociferous opposition, Obama and the arrogant elitist Congressional Democrats rammed the legislation through, needing corrupt stratagems in order to bribe some of their fellow ideologues to vote yes.
If Obamacare is not repealed or defunded, what is transpiring in Great Britain, Canada and elsewhere will occur here as well, long after the deconstruction of the world’s best healthcare system. And we will also be tens of trillions of dollars more in debt than necessary … and probably bankrupt.
The Doctor Will See You Later
Investors Business Daily 06/07/2010
Health Care: The British government has decided that it needs to cut millions of operations because the public system cannot afford them. This is coming soon to a hospital or doctor's office near you.
According to the Daily Mail, Britain's National Health Service is "preparing to cut millions of operations" so that it can save $29 billion by 2014. Procedures that will be "decommissioned," if we may borrow a particularly descriptive term used by one doctor, include hip replacements for obese patients, some operations for hernias and gallstones, and treatments for varicose veins, ear and nose problems, and cataract surgery.
Thus is the future of all socialized medicine. Bureaucratic rationing of treatment is inevitable. No system can forever meet the demand of "free" care. Jeff Taylor of the Economic Voice clarified the problem when he wrote last week that "the U.K. is broke."
"Our whole society and way of life is now built on the shaky foundation of debt," he writes in response to the NHS cuts.
"Our hospitals, schools, armed forces, police, prisons and social services are founded on debt. In truth we have not yet paid for the operations that have already taken place."
As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously — and fittingly — said: The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money to spend. This is a universal truth, more universal than the health care provided in Britain. To trifle with it, ignore it, disrespect it, attempt to repeal it or arrogantly try to bypass it will always lead to trouble.
Yet the political left continually makes those mistakes and operates as if governments will never run out of other people's money. Until it does. And then the government has to make cuts and ration the benefits.
What have the congressional Democrats who rammed through their health care overhaul been watching over the years as both hard and soft socialist governments have either collapsed, continued to bring misery or become unsustainable? Despite ample evidence that a welfare state cannot thrive, these lawmakers have forced on the country a "reform" that will load Americans with a burden they will not long be able to bear.
Though it was sold to the public as a plan that, at $940 billion over the first decade, would bring down the deficit, the real cost for the initial 10 years could be as much as $2.5 trillion, including mandates placed on the private sector, according to an estimate by the Cato Institute.
It's possible that the Cato projection is off. But history shows us that it's more likely to be right than Washington's estimate. Government programs always cost more than the rosy initial projections that are used to drum up public support. It's another lesson that remains unlearned by most of our elected officials and the voters who keep putting them in office despite the problems the lawmakers refuse to stop creating.
Given our lawmakers' inability to learn from the health care policy blunders committed in Britain and Canada — which is reassessing its model because of ruinous costs — no one should be surprised when rationing by bureaucracy becomes a feature of the U.S. public health care system.
There should be no shock when waiting lists for treatment are simply rosters of Americans suffering — and in some cases dying — from a lack of care. No astonishment when those who do get treatment get substandard care, no dismay as a two-tiered system develops in which the more important among us get top-flight medicine while the rest get what the public clinics have to offer.
Our own polling shows that the disapproval of the Democrats' health care legislation is beginning to wane. That's as alarming as the heated opposition to the law had been encouraging. If we surrender ourselves to the soft tyranny of elected officials gone too far, we will be leaving an America that future generations won't want.
Fresh and ongoing from it initiating, feeding and perpetuating the housing debacle and collapse, the Federal government with its pernicious Obamacare is poised to destroy medicine and medical care as we know it here in the United States. If allowed to take root, gone will be the world’s best and most sophisticated healthcare system, home of most of the most important innovations and discoveries in medical care. In its place will be a near 3rd world level of “quality” of care encumbered by an oppressive and arcane government controlled system. At least in third world countries they don’t have swarms of attorneys pullulating like flies looking for their next jackpot.
It is commonly known that there will be a significant shortage of primary care physicians in the future which Obamacare will tremendously exacerbate for myriad reasons. Of course, neither Obama or Congressional Democrats considered this in their reckless haste to ram the healthcare reform legislation into effect. What a surprise – politicians didn’t anticipate something inherently important?
The end result? You will have the “right” of healthcare but you may not have a doctor to provide it to you. If you are ultimately able to schedule an appointment to see a doctor, you may have to wait an excessively long period of time to finally be seen, or be seen by a physician located far from where you live or work, or be herded through like cattle spending little time with the doctor who is massively overworked and overloaded with patients (and over-regulated).
Does the word “rationing” ring a bell? Or decreased quality of care? These were all important issues that were raised by those who opposed the Democrats’ plans but were ignored or denigrated by them and the press.
What is a “brilliant” solution for this problem that is being considered by the government? Have nurses act like doctors. Add a little more training, change some statutes and voila! Doctorlight. Easy! Just don’t be very sick or you might not make it to a real doctor.
And if the nurse gets a PhD, they can officially be addressed as Dr., adding to confusion but subtracting from quality. This proposal would place millions of Americans at unnecessary risk due to inferior training and as a consequence, inferior care.
Furthermore, given the government’s plan to reimburse these nurses the same or marginally less than real doctors, why would any sane person want to become a doctor? After all, for maybe $5 to $10 more per patient that a doctor would be reimbursed versus a nurse, that person would also have to go to medical school and residency for up to 11 or more years, assume debt to pay for school of $250,000 or more and then pay malpractice rates in practice that can exceed $100,000/ year.
This will surely dissuade many including the best and brightest from seeking a career in medicine and don’t we want our doctors to be smart and competent?
Sounds like another government plan causing unintended consequences.
Doctor shortage? 28 states may expand nurses' role
By Carla K. Johnson (AP) – 4/15/2010
CHICAGO — A nurse may soon be your doctor. With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor's watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics. And if they hold a doctorate, they want to be called "Doctor."
For years, nurse practitioners have been playing a bigger role in the nation's health care, especially in regions with few doctors. With 32 million more Americans gaining health insurance within a few years, the health care overhaul is putting more money into nurse-managed clinics.
Those newly insured patients will be looking for doctors and may find nurses instead.
The medical establishment is fighting to protect turf. In some statehouses, doctors have shown up in white coats to testify against nurse practitioner bills. The American Medical Association, which supported the national health care overhaul, says a doctor shortage is no reason to put nurses in charge and endanger patients.
Nurse practitioners argue there's no danger. They say they're highly trained and as skilled as doctors at diagnosing illness during office visits. They know when to refer the sickest patients to doctor specialists. Plus, they spend more time with patients and charge less.
"We're constantly having to prove ourselves," said Chicago nurse practitioner Amanda Cockrell, 32, who tells patients she's just like a doctor "except for the pay."
On top of four years in nursing school, Cockrell spent another three years in a nurse practitioner program, much of it working with patients. Doctors generally spend four years in undergraduate school, four years in medical school and an additional three in primary care residency training.
Medicare, which sets the pace for payments by private insurance, pays nurse practitioners 85 percent of what it pays doctors. An office visit for a Medicare patient in Chicago, for example, pays a doctor about $70 and a nurse practitioner about $60.
The health care overhaul law gave nurse midwives, a type of advanced practice nurse, a Medicare raise to 100 percent of what obstetrician-gynecologists make — and that may be just the beginning.
States regulate nurse practitioners and laws vary on what they are permitted to do:
_ In Florida and Alabama, for instance, nurse practitioners are barred from prescribing controlled substances.
_ In Washington, nurse practitioners can recommend medical marijuana to their patients when a new law takes effect in June.
_ In Montana, nurse practitioners don't need a doctor involved with their practice in any way.
_ Many other states put doctors in charge of nurse practitioners or require collaborative agreements signed by a doctor.
_ In some states, nurse practitioners with a doctorate in nursing practice can't use the title "Dr." Most states allow it.
The AMA argues the title "Dr." creates confusion. Nurse practitioners say patients aren't confused by veterinarians calling themselves "Dr." Or chiropractors. Or dentists. So why, they ask, would patients be confused by a nurse using the title?
The feud over "Dr." is no joke. By 2015, most new nurse practitioners will hold doctorates, or a DNP, in nursing practice, according to a goal set by nursing educators. By then, the doctorate will be the standard for all graduating nurse practitioners, said Polly Bednash, executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Many with the title use it with pride.
"I don't think patients are ever confused. People are not stupid," said Linda Roemer, a nurse practitioner in Sedona, Ariz., who uses "Dr. Roemer" as part of her e-mail address.
What's the evidence on the quality of care given by nurse practitioners?
The best U.S. study comparing nurse practitioners and doctors randomly assigned more than 1,300 patients to either a nurse practitioner or a doctor. After six months, overall health, diabetes tests, asthma tests and use of medical services like specialists were essentially the same in the two groups.
"The argument that patients' health is put in jeopardy by nurse practitioners? There's no evidence to support that," said Jack Needleman, a health policy expert at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health.
Other studies have shown that nurse practitioners are better at listening to patients, Needleman said. And they make good decisions about when to refer patients to doctors for more specialized care.
The nonpartisan Macy Foundation, a New York-based charity that focuses on the education of health professionals, recently called for nurse practitioners to be among the leaders of primary care teams. The foundation also urged the removal of state and federal barriers preventing nurse practitioners from providing primary care.
The American Medical Association is fighting proposals in about 28 states that are considering steps to expand what nurse practitioners can do.
"A shortage of one type of professional is not a reason to change the standards of medical care," said AMA president-elect Dr. Cecil Wilson. "We need to train more physicians."
In Florida, a bill to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances is stalled in committee.
One patient, Karen Reid of Balrico, Fla., said she was left in pain over a holiday weekend because her nurse practitioner couldn't prescribe a powerful enough medication and the doctor couldn't be found. Dying hospice patients have been denied morphine in their final hours because a doctor couldn't be reached in the middle of the night, nurses told The Associated Press.
Massachusetts, the model for the federal health care overhaul, passed its law in 2006 expanding health insurance to nearly all residents and creating long waits for primary care. In 2008, the state passed a law requiring health plans to recognize and reimburse nurse practitioners as primary care providers.
That means insurers now list nurse practitioners along with doctors as primary care choices, said Mary Ann Hart, a nurse and public policy expert at Regis College in Weston, Mass. "That greatly opens up the supply of primary care providers," Hart said.
But it hasn't helped much so far. A study last year by the Massachusetts Medical Society found the percentage of primary care practices closed to new patients was higher than ever. And despite the swelling demand, the medical society still believes nurse practitioners should be under doctor supervision.
The group supports more training and incentives for primary care doctors and a team approach to medicine that includes nurse practitioners and physician assistants, whose training is comparable.
"We do not believe, however, that nurse practitioners have the qualifications to be independent primary care practitioners," said Dr. Mario Motta, president of the state medical society.
The new U.S. health care law expands the role of nurses with:
_ $50 million to nurse-managed health clinics that offer primary care to low-income patients.
_ $50 million annually from 2012-15 for hospitals to train nurses with advanced degrees to care for Medicare patients.
_ 10 percent bonuses from Medicare from 2011-16 to primary care providers, including nurse practitioners, who work in areas where doctors are scarce.
_ A boost in the Medicare reimbursement rate for certified nurse midwives to bring their pay to the same level as a doctor's.
The American Nurses Association hopes the 100 percent Medicare parity for nurse midwives will be extended to other nurses with advanced degrees.
"We know we need to get to 100 percent for everybody. This is a crack in the door," said Michelle Artz of ANA. "We're hopeful this sets the tone."
In Chicago, only a few patients balk at seeing a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor, Cockrell said. She gladly sends those patients to her doctor partners.
She believes patients get real advantages by letting her manage their care. Nurse practitioners' uphill battle for respect makes them precise, accurate and careful, she said. She schedules 40 minutes for a physical exam; the doctors in her office book 30 minutes for same appointment.
Joseline Nunez, 26, is a patient of Cockrell's and happy with her care.
"I feel that we get more time with the nurse practitioner," Nunez said. "The doctor always seems to be rushing off somewhere."
As we have mentioned myriad times, an overwhelming majority of physicians are resolutely opposed and in a state of perpetual outrage at the dictates of Obamacare. This may not necessarily be apparent given that most have elected to vent their disapproval in quieter ways such as e-mailing, writing and calling their Senators and Representatives.
One physician who did decide to be a little more overt in his vehemence, Jack Cassel MD, the Florida urologist who posted a sign on his door regarding those who voted for Obama, did get his message heard … and nationally. Unfortunately, the malignant and portentous Representative of his district, Alan Grayson (D – Florida) then initiated malicious verbal assaults on him including calling him racist and unprofessional and has indicated that he will seek professional sanctions and legal charges against him. This has become a dangerous and illegal pattern of Democrat politicians pursuing whatever measures possible to squelch First Amendment Rights. Threaten and silence the opposition into submission.
With this scenario fresh in mind and cognizant of the ubiquitous threats from the Government, media and even liberal loons, Dr. Joseph Scherzer, a Scottsdale, Arizona Dermatologist in practice for 34 years, felt that for the good of the country and patient care in particular, more needed to be shared with the public. He has bravely elected to speak out on the pernicious nature of the Obamacare legislation and its severe and adverse impact on medical care in America which will lead to irreparable harm to the world’s best healthcare system.
Neil Cavuto interviews Dr. Joseph Scherzer on FoxNews:
With government control there will be rationing and restriction of care. No matter how bad and evil insurance companies are portrayed, the federal government is much worse and there are many examples to substantiate this point. Furthermore, with some persistence, many insurance companies will cave in. The federal government, on the other hand, will not and moves at glacial speed to arrive at that rejection. Just visualize the compassion, efficiency and organization of the post office – and then add more layers of bureaucracy to it and you get government run healthcare.
The following and not uncommon example from Canada is what we can expect here if Obamacare is passed.
Sick man faces bankruptcy — or death
Cancer patient must pay for drug needed to keep him alive
By MARK BONOKOSKI, QMI Agency March 6, 2010
Kent Pankow and wife Deborah, fought the Alberta government to have his brain-cancer treatment paid by the province.
Kent Pankow lives in Edmonton, in a province and a country that is trying to either kill him or bankrupt him.
No sense mincing words.
Suffering from brain cancer, Kent Pankow was literally forced to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for lifesaving surgery — at a cost to family and friends of $106,000 — after the health-care system in Alberta left him hanging in bureaucratic limbo for 16 crucial days, his tumour meanwhile migrating to an unreachable part of the brain, while it dithered over his case file, ultimately deciding he was not surgery worthy.
Now, with the Mayo Clinic having done what the Alberta Cancer Board wouldn’t authorize or even explain, but with the tumour unable to be totally removed, the province will now not fund the expensive drug, Avastin, that the Mayo prescribed to keep him alive and keep the remaining tumour from increasing in size — despite the costs of the drug being totally funded by the province for other forms of cancer.
Kent Pankow, as it turns out, has the right disease but he has it in the wrong place.
Had he lung cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer, then the cost of the drug — $4,555 per treatment, two times a month — would be totally covered by Alberta’s version of OHIP.
But he doesn’t.
And so he is not only a victim of brain cancer, he is also a victim of arbitrary discrimination.
Full disclosure. Kent Pankow, a 40-year-old Red Seal sous chef, is a son of the man who married the spouse of my late brother. And it was while vacationing with them at their winter home in Los Cabos, Mexico, recently that this story began to unfold back in their home province of Alberta.
But do not think, even for a moment, that this could never happen in Toronto or other parts of Ontario.
Our supposedly universal federal health care system, the pride of most Canadians and the political struggle of America, is only as good as the length of the waiting line and whether you have the right disease at the right time.
After writing more than 150 letters to everyone from the prime minister to virtually all health authorities both federal and provincial, and being ignored in return, Kent Pankow’s wife, Deborah Hurford, decided to finally go public.
CTV Edmonton did a major feature on the family’s plight on the 6 o’clock news and, almost before the program ended, Alberta’s health and wellness minister, Gene Zwozdesky, was on the phone to their home — ensuring himself some positive press in the followup that aired later that night.
Then, when he heard the Pankows had filed a human rights complaint against the province, justifiably citing medicare-based discrimination, Zwozdesky suddenly went mute — stating he could no longer discuss the matter publicly.
Ten years ago, when first diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour (GBM), Kent Pankow was given five years to live.
After beating it down once, however, with his first surgery having been performed in Alberta, he spent nearly seven years in remission until the cancer’s return in 2008.
And he is not prepared to give up.
“He’s a fighter,” says his wife, admitting, however, that the cost of the drug has been a significant drain on friends and family who have not only donated large sums of their own money, but have also organized fundraisers to keep hope alive, including school penny drives.
“When Kent goes for his Avastin IV injection, he sits next to patients who receive the same drug for free because they have another type of cancer — like colon cancer,” Hurford says.
“Brain tumour patients deserve the same rights as other cancer patients, including access to the same lifesaving treatments — and without additional costs.
“I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated, angry, disgusted and appalled I am with both the Alberta health system and the individuals within the system who continue to perpetuate such an archaic and inhumane approach to the treatment of patients.” she says. “It seems like they are doing everything in their power to ensure that Kent succumbs to an early and unnecessary death.”
“The Avastin is working. The size of the remaining tumour has remained static since October,” she says.
“But how can anyone afford almost $10,000 a month for a drug — even if it is saving a loved one’s life?”
When Alberta health minister Gene Zwozdesky called the Pankow home on the night CTV Edmonton aired its story, he purportedly blamed the feds, namely Health Canada, for deciding what drugs are covered, and for what.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, however, in a letter to Deborah Hurford, wrote that “while Health Canada is responsible for the market authorization of drug products, the province and territorial governments are responsible for managing the list of drugs for which public reimbursement from government drug plans is available.”
This, too, is passing the buck.
What Aglukkaq would not explain to Hurford — citing confidentiality — was why Avastin received a notice of compliance from Health Canada for other forms of cancer, but not yet for brain cancer as in the United States.
Nor would she offer any information regarding any application before her department for the use of Avastin in the treatment of brain tumours.
“Based on Kent’s MRI’s and radiology reports, and analysis by his surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, Avastin is playing a key role in stabilizing Kent’s tumour,” says Hurford.
“Without it, Kent’s tumour will grow and he will die.
“So why then,” asks Hurford, “is (everyone) choosing not to help Kent and other brain tumour patients who are forced to go public with their private health issues and fundraise for their lifesaving medical treatments?
Over the last year, we have expressed our resolute opposition to Government controlled healthcare reform independent of the various iterations that have been promulgated. The present behemoth legislation, in excess of 2700 pages, will destroy the best healthcare system in the world and ultimately bankrupt this country with uncontrollable and unsustainable costs.
There are countless reasons to oppose this legislation, many of which have received little exposure in the press or by analysts (privacy issues). Regardless, this bill must be vehemently fought and opposed by all Americans if we want to preserve the world’s best healthcare as well as our rights and freedoms.
Below, is an abbreviated list assembled by Investors Business Daily of some of the reasons why Obamacare should not be implemented.
Why Health Bill Makes No Sense
Investors Business Daily 03/12/2010
Health Reform: So it's come down to this — desperate Democratic leaders strong-arming members on the worst bill ever before they go home to explain to constituents why they decided to commit political suicide.
We've said just about all we've had to say on this issue — actually dating back to 1993-94, when we wrote nearly 100 editorials in opposition to HillaryCare. Since January of last year, we've weighed in 150 more times against the latest version of socialized medicine.
But to review, here are just 15 reasons why a government takeover of the finest medical system in the world makes no sense at all:
1. The people don't want it! This, we would think, should have some bearing on decision-making. Yet the Democrats forge ahead without consent of the governed. In the latest Rasmussen poll, 53% opposed the Democrats' reform while 42% were in favor. More than four in 10 "strongly" opposed; just two in 10 "strongly" favored. This jibes with other surveys, including our own IBD/TIPP Poll, taken since last year.
2. Doctors don't want it! A survey we took last summer of 1,376 practicing physicians found that 45% would consider leaving their practices or taking early retirements if the Democrats' reform became law. In December, the results were validated by a Medicus poll in which 25% of doctors said they'd retire early if a public option is implemented and another 21% would stop practicing even though they were far from their retirement years. Even if the bill doesn't have a "public option," nearly 30% said they'd quit the profession under the plans being considered.
3. Half the Congress doesn't want it! Not a single Republican backed the health care bill that cleared the Senate on Christmas Eve 60-39. House passage was by a slim 220 to 215, and the lone Republican "aye" has since switched to "no."
Columnist Michael Barone says other changes would put the House vote today at 216-215 in favor, and he has doubts Democrats can even muster 216.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her job of securing yes votes even more difficult last week when she told a meeting of county officials that "we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." Members of Congress aren't waiting: They've already exempted themselves from whatever they inflict on us.
4. People are happy with the health care they've got! Polls show that 84% of Americans have health insurance and that few are displeased with what they've got. Last month, the St. Petersburg Times looked at eight polls and reported that satisfaction rates averaged 87%.
5. It doesn't even cover the people they set out to cover! Supporters of government-run health care say there are as many as 47 million Americans — 9 million to 10 million of them illegal aliens — without medical insurance. The Democrats' plans, however, will put only 31 million of the uninsured under coverage.
6. Costs will go up, not down! Democrats say their plans will cost less than $1 trillion over the first decade. But analyst Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute puts the cost at $2.5 trillion over the first 10 years. Even if we go with the government's lower estimates, the cost is already on the rise. A new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office puts the cost of the Senate bill at $875 billion over 10 years, $4 billion more than its original projection. Imagine how fast costs would soar if one of the bills became public policy.
7. Real cost controls are nowhere to be found! The Democrats are offering no meaningful tort reform that will help push down the high malpractice insurance premiums that are a burden to doctors and their patients. Nor are they considering any other cost-saving provisions, such as allowing the sale of individual health plans across state lines or easing health insurance mandates.
8. Insurance premiums will rise, not fall! One goal of nationalizing health care is to lower costs, to bend the spending curve downward. Yet, as Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin acknowledged Wednesday, that won't be the case.
"Anyone who would stand before you and say, 'Well, if you pass health care reform, next year's health care premiums are going down,' I don't think is telling the truth," he said from the Senate floor. "I think it is likely they would go up."
An analysis completed by the CBO at the request of Sen. Evan Bayh confirms Durbin's suspicions. Insurance coverage in the individual market will "be about 10% to 13% higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law," it concluded.
9. Medicare is already bankrupting us! The Medicare trust fund, which has unfunded obligations of $37.8 trillion, will be insolvent in 2017. How can lawmakers justify another entitlement that will cost trillions when they can't pay for existing liabilities?
10. There aren't enough doctors now! Last month, 26% of physicians responding to a Web poll on Sermo.com, which calls itself "the largest online physician community," said they had been forced to close, or were considering closing, their solo practices. Providing coverage for an additional 31 million Americans when the number of doctors is shrinking won't improve our health care.
11. The doctor-patient relationship will be wrecked! The latest IBD/TIPP Poll, taken just last week, found that Americans, by a wide 48%-26% margin, believe the doctor-patient relationship will decline if the Democrats' plan is passed.
12. Medical care will also deteriorate! IBD/TIPP has also found that 51% of Americans believe care would get worse under government control. Only 10.5% said they felt it would improve. In our doctor poll, 72% disagreed with administration claims that the government could cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.
13. Rationing of care is inevitable! Health care is not an unlimited resource and must be rationed, either by the individual, providers or government. In Britain and Canada, where the government does the rationing, medical treatment waiting lists are sometimes deadly and quite often excessively long.
For instance, late cancer diagnoses in an overcrowded public health care system cause up to 10,000 needless deaths a year in Britain. The reasons cited for the late diagnoses include doctor delay, delay in primary care, system delay and delay in secondary care.
14. Private health insurers will be destroyed! Added mandates and price controls will force many insurers to simply get out of the health plan business because it will no longer be profitable.
15. It's probably unconstitutional! One way to help bring down the number of uninsured is to demand that those without coverage buy health plans. But the government has never passed a law requiring Americans to buy any good or service.
Constitutional scholars say any such mandate would likely draw a legal challenge.
Obama and the Congressional Democrats are trying to seize control of and transform healthcare in America which parallels their Marxist doctrine. By doing so, they will ultimately dismantle the best healthcare system in the world, precipitate a mass exodus of physicians from the practice of medicine and drive our country to bankruptcy in shorter order.
There already is a physician shortage in this country partially based on rational personal decisions made by those who might have contemplated careers in medicine. With implementation of Obamacare, there will be many reasons for doctors to either work less or flee medical practice altogether. This combined with an inevitable precipitous increase in consumption of medical care by previously “uninsured” Americans and illegal aliens will result in a supply and demand imbalance, fostered by unwise government intervention.
The result: healthcare rationing, poor quality care and long waits to receive care.
The Doctor Shortage
Investors Business Daily 03/04/2010
Health Reform: Democrats promise their plan will improve care at lower cost while thinning the ranks of the uninsured. How will they do this with fewer doctors?
America's population is 305 million. If the Democrats are correct about the number of uninsured, roughly 260 million are covered by a health care plan. When the insured — and the uninsured who use the traditional method of paying out of pocket — are sick, they are treated by 800,000 physicians.
It would be foolish to believe that today's already stretched doctor-patient ratio will remain stable. In the near future we will have fewer doctors treating a growing population.
Physician search firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates estimates that by 2020 we'll need 90,000 to 200,000 more doctors than we'll have then. As alarming as that estimate is, it could be low.
Last August, our IBD/TIPP Poll found that 45% of doctors would consider leaving their practices or taking early retirement if the Democrats' version of reform were to become law.
Last month, 26% of physicians responding to a Web poll on Sermo.com, which calls itself "the largest online physician community," said they had been forced to close, or were considering closing, their solo practices.
Reasons include "low and delayed reimbursements, problems with management companies, and a lack of business/practice management education," as well as high malpractice insurance costs.
Not every doctor who told these polls that he or she would consider leaving the field will do so. Some will go into group practices and others move on to positions at hospitals and in the military. Another group will change nothing.
Even if half followed through with their threats, our care will suffer. If the Democrats' plans become law, fewer than 700,000 physicians would be available to treat a patient population growing in size, aging in years, shunning medical education and receiving "free" health care or insurance coverage from the government in increasing numbers.
The result will be longer wait times to see a doctor and a decline in the high quality of care Americans are accustomed to as overworked physicians try to keep up.
To see how this works in reality, look at the Canadian and British government health systems that encourage unnecessary doctor visits with the illusion of free care. Both have long, and sometimes deadly, wait times. Neither provides treatment as high in quality as what's found in the U.S, where the system is supposedly broken.
With demand for doctors already outstripping supply, the last thing we need is to aggravate the situation with poorly thought-out public policy.
Washington has meddled in health care too much already.
As the ObamaCare legislation is being scrutinized by the public, innumerable insidious, discriminatory, restrictive, unconstitutional, and generally outrageous clauses and mandates are being discovered that were intentionally hidden because they were either “illegal”, reflective of corruption or egregiously bad for the public. We also suspect that not one politician who voted for the legislation has read the entire bill. What unalloyed arrogance! These contemptuous politicians all need to be voted out office at their next elections.
More Reasons For Killing Off Health Reform
Phyllis Schlafly 12/29/2009
New reasons emerge almost daily as to why ObamaCare can and must be defeated.
1. Americans oppose ObamaCare by almost 2 to 1 in the latest CNN poll. Other polls show lopsided opposition to passing either the Senate or House health care bill.
Public opinion is against the bill because of its obscene costs in higher taxes, burdensome debt, anti-freedom mandates, rationing and reduced care for seniors. The American people have awakened to the fact that ObamaCare is transformational legislation that will drag us against popular will into European-style socialism.
2. The Democrats' double-counting of ObamaCare's financial benefits has been exposed as a colossal lie. Harry Reid told the Senate that his bill strengthens our future by both "cutting our towering national deficit by as much as $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years" and "strengthening Medicare and extending its life by nearly a decade."
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) refuted that assertion. CBO said the claim that ObamaCare would provide these benefits simultaneously "would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal position."
3. ObamaCare is unconstitutional because of its mandate that all individuals must carry "approved" health insurance and all businesses must give health insurance to their employees whether or not the company can afford it. "Universal" coverage will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service with power to punish those who don't have such a plan.
Constitutional lawyers say the Commerce Clause does not give Congress authority to force Americans to buy health insurance as a condition of living in the U.S. because personal health insurance is not "commerce." The CBO wrote that "a mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action"; the Supreme Court has never upheld any requirement that an individual must participate in economic activity.
4. Since the Senate bill imposes sharp limits on health insurance companies' ability to raise fees or exclude coverage, it likely will force many of them out of business. ObamaCare is unconstitutional because it violates the Bill of Rights protections against takings without just compensation and deprivation of property without due process of law.
5. Other ObamaCare provisions blatantly legislate racial and other forms of discrimination. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights sent two letters to the president and congressional leaders warning about the obnoxious requirements for racist and sexist quotas.
The Senate bill requires that "priority" for federal grants be given to institutions offering "preferential" admissions to minorities (race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation and religion).
Institutions training social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioral pediatricians, psychiatric nurses and counselors will be ineligible for federal grants unless they enroll "individuals and groups from different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic and class backgrounds, and different genders and sexual orientations."
6. Obama's claim that "everybody" will now be covered creates few winners but lots of losers. Universal health insurance will be achieved by forcing young people to pay the additional costs (insurance for the youngest third of the population would rise by 35%), and by restricting and rationing care for the elderly.
7. According to columnist Robert Samuelson, the "wild card is immigration." From 1999 to 2008, 60% of the increase in the uninsured occurred among Hispanics, and Obama's refusal to close our borders will make this problem more costly every year.
8. ObamaCare gives Medicare bureaucrats the power to ration health care by forcing doctors to prescribe cheaper medical devices and drugs. In the recent case of Hays v. Sebelius, the court ruled that Medicare doesn't have the right to make this rule, but ObamaCare takes jurisdiction away from the courts to hear any appeal from decisions of the new Medicare Commission.
The "stick" applied to primary-care doctors is imposing financial penalties if they refer too many patients to specialists. The "carrot" is financial rewards to doctors who give up small practices and join into larger medical groups or become salaried employees of hospitals or other large institutions.
9. The Senate bill contains at least a dozen of what can be described as bribes. Sen. Mary Landrieu received a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for her state (known as the Second Louisiana Purchase), and a $100 million bribe to Sen. Ben Nelson gives Nebraska a permanent exemption from the costs of Medicaid expansion.
10. The Senate bill even has a four-page section artfully written to enable Acorn to get federal health care grants. This section describes grant recipients as "community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups" having "existing relationships ... with uninsured and underinsured consumers."
Instead of having options to tailor your health insurance plan to you specific needs, under the Obamanocare legislation it will be essentially one plan fits all. You are a 62 year old man but guess what? You will be forced to pay for maternity coverage.
No need for mental health coverage or physical therapy? Too bad! Once again you will be unnecessarily paying for it - and subsidizing the benefits of others.
Your rights to choose regarding your healthcare will be severely restricted. You will ultimately be paying far more in insurance premiums and taxes yet receiving fewer benefits, limited choices for treatments, and have to wait longer and not necessarily see the doctor of your choice.
And these are just a few of the myriad disastrous issues that we will be facing.
ObamaCare: No exit
By Scott Gottlieb December 21, 2009
Perhaps the most common question I'm asked about ObamaCare is: "Will I be able to buy my way out of it?" The answer is: "Not unless you're very rich."
The plan before the Senate creates a set of 50 state-based insurance "exchanges" that are established as markets for health plans. Consumers must buy policies from their employers or through the exchanges — but, either way, their choice of coverage is limited to one of four basic insurance plans that the government sanctions.
Private insurers will still compete to offer policies but must model their coverage on one of these four templates. In short, the Senate bill explicitly standardizes health benefits and then establishes elaborate mechanisms (including subsidies and penalties) to pay for them.
Here's the rub: While these four plans vary from low- to high-cost options, the benefits offered under them are pretty much the same. The difference between the cheaper and pricier plans is mostly the amount of cost sharing (e.g., you pay less for insurance if your co-pays are higher).
In effect, the plan creates a single national health-insurance policy. Consumers' only real option is to trade higher co-pays for lower premiums. But we'll all get the same package of benefits established by a series of new agencies and an "insurance czar" seated in Washington.
Once the exchanges are in place, the individual market — the ability to go directly to an insurer and buy a health-care policy — will disappear. You'll have only two places to buy insurance, in the exchanges or through your workplace.
As for health plans offered by employers, "no health-insurance policies could be issued (other than grandfathered plans) that don't meet the actuarial standards set for these plans" sold in the exchanges. The government will "define the essential health benefits" that all plans must eventually offer, not only those sold in the exchanges but also plans offered by employers. But like other elements of today's private coverage, the grandfathered plans also disappear in short time. While the bill allows some employer plans to continue as they are today, that's only so long as the policy doesn't change — and natural market forces will ensure that most such policies must change within a few years after the bill becomes law.
All of which brings us to the question of whether you'll be able to spend extra money to add benefits that exceed the government's basic package or opt out of that plan entirely. The bill doesn't address this question directly — yet I can say with great confidence that it will be costly and in some cases impossible.
The bill leaves these issues in the hands of the bureaucracies that will write the law's enabling regulations. And it's clear both what the spirit of the Obama plan and the habits of these bureaucracies will produce.
The overriding goal of this reform is to turn health insurance into a more "egalitarian" benefit that's the same for everyone, regardless of income, personal preference or need. So rules written under President Obama to implement the Obama plan are a sure bet to intentionally curtail anyone's ability to wrap around this national coverage with a supplemental policy or to contract privately with doctors to pay your way out of its limitations.
This is exactly what the bureaucracy's done with Medicare. Doctors accepting Medicare can't contract privately with Medicare patients to bill for services that Medicare doesn't cover. Nor can patients buy added coverage to help plug Medicare's gaps. (The "Medigap" that many seniors now buy are tightly regulated by the government to limit how much they expand on Medicare's basic benefits; they mostly just help defray co-pays.)
In short, beneficiaries are trapped inside the Medicare insurance scheme, just as they'll soon be trapped inside the ObamaCare exchanges. Doctors can't offer benefits not covered by the government plans, and patients can't buy extra insurance to make up for many gaps.
These restrictions were designed into Medicare for a reason: Progressives don't want it to be easy for rich seniors to buy their out; they fear that if the well-off can leave the federal plan, it will become a lower-end benefit. That is, it will wind up like Medicaid, whose enormous problems are largely ignored by politicians because poor Americans don't have the political power to force improvements.
The very rich, of course, will be able to buy their way out of ObamaCare. Many of the best doctors will go cash only, opting entirely out of the Obama program, to cater to a wealthy clientele. But only the truly affluent will have the cash to escape.
The vast rest of us will be locked inside the new system — stuck with the same collection of government-decreed medical benefits.