Monday, July 20, 2009

Health Care Reform observation

On a day when a government "expert" has concluded the ridiculous recent bailout/stimulus monstrosity will cost an additional 23.7 trillion dollars in the long run, I am struck with how absolutely asinine President Obama's plan to reform health care is.

Health care costs in the United States are drastically askew and a significant drag on our economy. I get that. Most people get that. The problem is- how can it be fixed in an effective, equitable way without lowering the quality of care we have in this country?

One way it shouldn't be fixed, it seems to me (and I could be wrong), is the way President Obama proposes. Essentially he wants to move toward federalizing (a big fat red flag should be flying when you see this term) health insurance with people making a household income of more than 280K paying higher taxes to fund the massive expenditure such a program would cost.

I have been trying to read through the pages of text, it's confusing to say the least. One thing is clear- if this bill or one similar is passed, it will add an incalculable new level of bureaucracy that has to cost millions and probably billions in the near term. Who knows how much in the long term? Further, how can more bureaucracy help with health care quality? Does anyone think it will? Seriously? It's unfathomable as to how this will lower health care costs to say nothing of the sense of class warfare it will promote when the "rich" are taxed 5.5% more than they already are to pay for all of it. Of course, just today Douglas Elmendorf from the congressional budget office essentially said even with a huge tax hike, the proposed bill can't be paid for. Another unfunded mandate? No way.

On the point about "class warfare", which I think is promoted by any re-distribution of wealth tax structure: how will most doctors react to having their taxes raised to pay for the patients they are treating? Think about it. Many doctors make $280K annually, lots make more- and deservedly so in my opinion. They are in the demographic that will be forced to foot the bill for this monstrosity of a "health" plan. It has to be weird for them to think of the multiple ways their income will be reduced under this system. In addition to government regulations on fees they can charge, they'll be taxed at a higher rate, and will very likely have to work more hours with more patients coming to see them for non-essential treatments because it will supposedly be so cheap.

You have to think such a system will de-motivate some pretty bright people from being doctors. This can't be good for our country's health care situation.

In general the health care crisis in the United States isn't about the quality of care that is available. Where else would you want to live when facing a medical crisis? The problem is cost. Right? There has to be a better way than Obama is promoting.

Is there a fool left who thinks the federal government can improve the quality and efficiency of anything? Thankfully the most recent polls show support for this wrong-headed plan slipping. It is true as the President so often says- we cannot afford to nothing. But it is more true that we cannot afford to do what he suggests.


Shawn Zents said...

Tony - I've always enjoyed your enthusiasm. However, your blogging and constant negative comments about the current Administration fall very short of being any kind of "leader". It is extremely easy to be negative on a controversial issue. But it is very difficult to come up with good solutions to major problems. Perhaps, that is why there are only a "few" people who are actually in-charge of anything (companies, crews, ships, etc...). Constant rhetoric about our "bad government" gets people nowhere. Truly - nowhere. It's the people with balls that stick their neck out to actually change a bad situation (the ones who take chances) that make America what it is today - the best place in the WORLD to live. I admit - our government, from local unions straight up to the President of the United States, is as corrupt as one would imagine. The power of money has a very heavy influence on even the most seasoned Christians. In order to stop cancer, you must first FIND the cancer. To treat it, you must then know what STOPS the cancer. Our "cancer" is the drug companies, who spend (literally) billions of dollars "wining and dining" lawmakers into making financial, I mean, life-changing decisions for all Americans. We know where the cancer is. We know how to stop the cancer. Now, someone is trying to treat it. Sorry about all of your negative comments. I hope that someday, as an American, you will realize that there is more power in a positive attitude than there ever will be in a negative attitude.

Fred said...

It absolutely is not about quality. EVen the WHO recently ranked the U.S. as #1 out of 191 nations for quality of health care, including access to doctors.

Rick Calohan said...

Is this the same Federal Government that is responsible for a pyramid scheme known as Social Security that has raised the cost of health care with Medicare and Medicaid and because we have not secured our borders increased the cost in health and education with the influx of illegal aliens receiving services at tax payer expense?

Is this same Federal Government that forces people such as my mom with pension plans out of decent health care plans into Medicare at the age of 65?

In 1946, the Hill Burton Act was passed into law in short places such as Truman Medicare Center and KU Med Center accept patients without means to pay.

Don’t get me wrong I do not think a person should be denied simply on the basis of money, but the notion that 40 million plus Americans are without insurance seems to negate that some of those people have elected not to use the plans their employers provide.

Unlike those in the private sector as a Federal employee I have access to various plans. My family plan cost me to provide health insurance to my family $117.39 per pay period to wit I have 26 thus annually cost me $3,052.14 annually and cost you the tax payer $352.19 per pay period thus $9,156.94 plus my cost equal $12,209.08 for 2009.

In one year my co pay for a doctors visit went up $5, specialist went up $20, urgent care went up $25, and emergency room went up $200 from 2008 co pay.

My plan only has basic dental, my wife’s plan at Nordstrom provides better dental coverage basically $1,500 of dental care annually per family member.

The cost of health care is high is because of fraud waste and abuse and no I am not talking about the Medical profession or the Employee Plans but the Federal Government.

This notion that we do not have socialized health care already is a farce; we have had socialism since March 4, 1933 the day FDR took office and incrementally with Truman, JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and now Barry O is only going to expand even greater.

I am reminded of the ole adage attributed to President Thomas Jefferson, The government that governs least, governs best. I am also reminded of the wit and wisdom of President Ronald Reagan who said, “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”

Also in the words of Ronald Reagan, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are... I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”

Reepicheep said...


I'm not sure how to address your response, it seems to be a defense of Obama more than a logical response to my criticism of his proposal. I'm obviously not alone in my critique of his awful plan.

As for your saying-

"I hope that someday, as an American, you will realize that there is more power in a positive attitude than there ever will be in a negative attitude."


Just have a positive attitude, that's how to be a good American?


So you agree with taxing people and then giving their money to others who don't pay taxes? You think the Federal government will manage your health care well? You think a federal committee should decide on what health care you get? You believe building another huge beaurocracy (outlined in a 1000 page bill that is all but indecipherable) will actually reduce costs? Do you have an example of a federal project that reduced costs?

Don't worry, be happy? Is that your motto here.

Sorry, I just don't get what you are saying.

Frontier Forest said...

Your astute banter with Shawn sounds like a repeat dialog I had recently with my Obama-mania daughter. We all remember the old saying, “If it aint’ broke don’t fix it.” But this is way broke and to Socialize medicine ain’t going to fix nothing. Maybe Hillary has got the answer? “It takes a Community….” of beaurocracats?

Roger Mann said...

As Thomas Sowell aptly points out, the Obomaites who are pushing so hard for the complete socialization of our medical care system “confuse bringing down the price of medical care with bringing down the cost.” They are clearly not the same thing. He writes:

“Nothing is easier than for governments to impose price controls. They have been doing this, off an on, for thousands of years-- repeatedly resulting in (1) shortages, (2) quality deterioration and (3) black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things when it comes to medical care?
Refusing to pay the costs is not the same as bringing down the cost. That is why price controls create these problems. When developing a new pharmaceutical drug costs roughly a billion dollars, you are either going to pay the billion dollars or cause people to stop spending a billion dollars to develop new drugs.” (Medical Care Confusion)

By the way, Shawn, if Obama wants to “fix” something, how about letting him fix the bureaucratic waste, inefficiency, and looming insolvency of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security before trying to shove a universal medical insurance program down our throats? If the federal government can’t run these programs efficiently, then why on earth would we want to let them expand their control over the entire medical care system?

Actually, I have an even better idea: lets get the federal government out of the medical care and retirement business altogether, considering it has ZERO Constitutional authority to be stealing our money to fund these types of programs to begin with! The last time I checked, neither the Constitution nor Scripture authorizes the involuntary redistribution of wealth from one person to another. Doesn’t the Bible teach something about voluntary charity to help the poor and elderly, or something like that?

Reepicheep said...

Absolutely RIGHT ON, Roger.

Anonymous said...

Shawn,A Positive attitude-uhm, sound like an excuse to me for not dealing with issues.
My point a positive attitude is great, but has nothing to do with standing up for what is right.
Blindness is treatable, only by a change in the heart. Obama is not a savior nor has he done anything to date for the salvation of this economy,except help the downward spiral. If we all just keep a positive attitude we will all be wearing grey clothes standing in lines for government food rationing, forced to work for nothing,and imprisoned for my beliefs and just for thinking. Just ask the brothers and sisters that have suffered under such positive thinking ideas around the world,such as Russia, Moldova, the Sudan,Germany etc. Stand up for what you believe or sit down and suffer the conseqences. Oh,balls has nothing to do with it either.
America was founded by more than a positive attitude, by men that feared God and took a stand and fought and lost their lives for what is right.
Just my 2 cents worth.

Phantom495 said...

Great post Tony, and great points Roger! Along with most everything else in Shawn's comments, I must disagree with one point in particular. He stated that "It is extremely easy to be negative on a controversial issue. But it is very difficult to come up with good solutions to major problems.", and oh how wrong is that statement. It is actually far more difficult, and brave to speak out against a president who is so blindly and staunchly supported by the local and national media, that the truth about his policies rarely see the light of day.

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." -Voltaire

Also, it is a far easier road (that Obama has taken) to attempt a government takeover of every aspect of our lives. It is un-American to say, "Well, we have a problem here that only government can solve." Government is rarely the answer to problems in our society.

"You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too." -John Kenneth Galbraith

Although the "power of money" does have a heavy influence in our lives, Obama and his administration are much more under the spell of power. Look deeper at all of his actions over these last 6 months and you can see that, for Obama, it is about establishing his power-base and doing what he can to maintain it indefinitely. Where is the leadership in that? The real "cancer" in our current healthcare system can begin to be treated by radical tort reform. The root of many of the cost issues in healthcare today starts with the lawyers who helped Mr. Obama get elected.

Anyway, don't ya just love how, whenever a conservative comments on a failed or failing policy it is just "negative thinking", and your "American credentials" are suddenly questioned? Good grief!

I am ever so thankful that GOD IS SOVEREIGN!!!