I can’t believe we’re having this conversation (Obamacare)

As pointed out at The Bumbling Genius: An All Too Common Answer, those pushing so hard for health care reform typically just point out problems with the current system and jump to the conclusion that whatever Obama is proposing is going to fix the problems and not cause any new ones.

Anybody see the problems with that?

If the current system is too expensive, how will total costs go down by eliminating competition?

If the current system is too expensive, what data do they have to suggest that government ownership will reduce costs?

If the current system isn’t working well, what data do they have to suggest that government ownership will improve effectiveness?  Anybody been to the DMV lately?  How about Walter Reed Memorial Hospital?

If the proposed system is so swell, why won’t the proponents be subject to it?

If this issue is so important that it transcends politics, why isn’t it important enough for legislators and Obama to actually read the Bill?

Does the tone from Obama sound familiar to the stimulus bill debacle that wasted untold amounts of money?  You know, the “this is too important to be bi-partisan about or debate” language?

Why are people acting surprised that abortions will be covered and funded by taxpayers?  The pro-abortionists already use the euphemism “reproductive health” to describe abortions.  Of course they expect you to pay for the abortions of others.

The system has flaws, to be sure, but people get health care already.  Most of the uninsured are illegal aliens and those who don’t want to pay for insurance.

Will illegal aliens be covered in the new plan?  Why not pay for health care for the whole world and not just those who enter our country illegally?

Steve Forbes has some outstanding ideas on how to truly reduce costs and improve care.  Think about these:

Conventional Lasik eye surgery costs a third of what it did ten years ago. And there has been virtually no inflation in the prices of cosmetic surgery, even though there have been enormous technological advances, and the demand for these procedures has increased sixfold since the early 1990s.

Special hospital facilities in India, Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere that engage in medical ”tourism” have infection rates a fraction of those found in most U.S. hospitals. These positive results are driven by the fact that patients write the checks and are thus fully conscious of the costs, as well as by the fact that providers are under pressure to make their offerings more enticing and affordable.

Here are some helpful and constructive measures that can move us to a more genuinely free-enterprise health care system.

–Equalize the tax treatment of individuals and businesses. If the company you work for doesn’t provide insurance or you don’t like the plan offered, you are forced to try to buy a policy with aftertax dollars. If an individual wishes or needs to buy health insurance on his own, why shouldn’t he get a refund tax credit of, say, $4,000–and a family, $8,000?

–Allow consumers to shop for health insurance across state lines. Today it’s illegal for someone in Chicago to buy a health insurance policy that someone living in New York City can buy.

–Encourage the use of Health Savings Accounts. That way consumers–not government bureaucrats or employers–would control the purse strings, or at least a portion of them.

–Permit small businesses to form pools so they can increase their pricing leverage with insurers.

–Remove state-imposed obstacles to allowing routine medical care to be offered in, say, Wal-Mart ( WMTnews - people ) stores.

–Remove the obstacles that prevent entrepreneurs from setting up new clinics or hospitals. A number of states make this extremely difficult by demanding that such entrepreneurs obtain a certificate of need. In fact, in some jurisdictions hospitals must get permission to make major capital purchases.

Genuine free-market reforms in health care will slash the number of the uninsured and lead to the same kinds of innovations and efficiencies that are experienced in most of the rest of the economy.

58 thoughts on “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation (Obamacare)

  1. I missed the Obama speech as one of my kids wanted to go out and play outside…

    I’m glad you’re covering this…

    I would – give full scholarships to doctors and biochemist for giving back to the community…this might sound like socialism…but might work. There is a group of doctors and dentists that give 5% of their time & work back to the community. http://www.cmda.org/ We need more of these…

  2. We shouldnt allow the complex or loaded question to arise (that the current healthcare system is in desperate need of repair). IF our current system is in such a state of dispair, why do people flock to America to be treated….when was the last time you heard of an American travelling abroad to seek medical care??

    Agenda driven liberals have been succesful using the same approach to global warming…they have managed to halt the debate as to the validity of the premise, nows its gone onto “what are going to do about it”.

    Oldest trick in the debate book,,,how often do you beat your wife??

    • People with money flock to America for the health care because in America, it is a commodity to be bought and sold. In the American system, doctors can choose to provide their services to patients with deep pocket from other countries rather than poor people with no insurance in their own country. And you call it the American dream.

      And by the way, I just finished beating my wife. At basketball.

      • Why is the Mayo Clinic better than County General?

        If this is the best approach for health care, why is this not the best approach for housing? The soviet republics had excellent success with the state deciding how many units of housing would be built each year, and who was most deserving of getting those housing units.

        If regulations, government oversight, and committee based decision making are the best ways of conducting health care, why was American health care so superior to Soviet health care?

        If regulations, government oversight, and committee based decision making are the best ways of building housing…? Well, I think you see where I’m going with this.

      • I understand all that. It’s the same way in Canada. Where I used to live, I would not go to that emergency room if I stabbed in their lobby. Now, I’m closer to a much better hospital. Different regions are responsible for their funding, and some do a better job than others, but the bottom line is: I can get help in my darkest hour of need, at any hospital, in any city, and I will never get a bill that will make me lose my house.

        It’s not a perfect system, but in my opinion, it’s better.

        I understand the Communism analogy, but this about keeping people alive, and keeping people in a state where they can work and make money to support their families. I’ve lived with government health care my whole life, and the horror stories I’m hearing here are not the norm.

  3. Ryan, you apparently dont understand what a commodity is….there is no distinction of quality amongst commodities (see: Socialized medicine)

    What evidence do you have to suggest healthcare is uniform and can not be distinguished qualitatively in America….why did Teddy Kennedy get treatment for cancer in Carolina when he could have stayed home and gotten the exact treatment?

    Unless of course, you mean to say its just a product that is available for commerce….oh the horror, someone making a living off making people healthier….the shame of it all.

    What Obama and you apparently what to do is make healthcare a commodity…just…like…this:

    • Do you think that Canadian doctors and nurses work for free? I don’t have a problem with people making money off of health care. Most of my family makes their money off health care. I don’t want corporations making the decisions on who gets what treatment, and I don’t want rich people getting access to better doctors than poor people.

      I believe that this life is all we have to live, and one’s relative wealth should not determine one’s chances of living a healthy life. I also don’t think a person should be worried about the costs to his family when deciding on a treatment. That is criminal in my opinion.

      The ability for people to pay for treatment they deem to be better than what is available in the public system will always be there, as it is in Canada. This is about providing basic coverage to people, many of whom have none currently.

      • What evidence do you have to make the claim that corporations are making decisions on who gets healthcare…when my family and I walk into our multiple doctors theres no phone call to some corporation. Its between the doctor and us. Of course, even if that were the case, I;d take the opinion of a succesful corproation all day long over a parasitic government bureaucrat.

      • When your doctor thinks you should have a procedure done, does the insurance company have any say about whether or not they will pay for it? In Canada, if a doctor (any doctor) thinks you need procedure X, you get it. The doctors here don’t need to call “the government”.

        You trust a corporation to make decisions about your health? Their board meetings are centered around how many costs they are able to AVOID, not how much better Bret is feeling after his last surgery.

      • “When your doctor thinks you should have a procedure done, does the insurance company have any say about whether or not they will pay for it?”

        NO…in fact my insurance company doesnt even get called until after the fact., we get the procedure based on the diagnosis of our doctors.

      • Not completely. I worked in the financial support area of a cancer treatment center, and most of my time was spent contacting insurance companies in order to get payment approval for treatments. This was all done before any treatment was provided. If payment approval was denied, we either appealed the decision or found another treatment.

      • Not very many. The reason for this is because the great majority of treatments are predetermined by what the diagnosis is. In other words, there is a prescribed treatment plan for breast cancer, another for pancreatic cancer, another for brain cancer, etc. Frankly, once the diagnosis is made, pretty much anyone could have come up with the treatment plan. The only time something would get denied was if the original treatments weren’t working and the doctor wanted to try another drug that hadn’t been approved by the government for that specific type of cancer. There was one case in particular where a man didn’t respond to initial treatments and the doctor wanted to try a different drug which had shown some success in a few studies, but hadn’t completed the approval process yet. In that case the treatment was denied payment. The patient was given the drug anyway though. Through a combinatino of him paying for it, raising money through charity, and the hospital writing off significant portions of the bill, he was able to pay the substantial debt.

      • Can you give me a rough estimate…what does not very many mean…roughly on a percentage basis??

      • Your insurance company offers carte blanche coverage for whatever your doctor wants to give you? How much do you pay for that? They must have a blank cheque on file for you.

        Many insurance companies say they will provide coverage for treatment, but they will either limit the treatment, or have lists of “alternative” treatments that are far cheaper, but less successful, more painful or more risky.

      • Your insurance company offers carte blanche coverage for whatever your doctor wants to give you?

        YES. My family of four has never experienced an alternative treatment being recommended or discussed.

        However, in Britains pitiful sustem you will find that NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), does exactly what you are describing, that is, a POLITICIAN decised whats reasonable treatement for you to receive. Massachucetts is currently considering that alternative to help eliminate thier rise of 46% in healthcare costs. As a result, upto 18% more Bristish women who have had breast cancer die compared to their US counterparts.

        http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2009/3622nice_who_dies.html

      • As I wrote in my other reply above, much of that decision making is done long before you even go into the hospital. Doctors and hospitals have contracts with certain inurance companies. These contracts include using an “approved treatment” lists. Any diversion from those approved lists requires an appeal and special approval from the insurance company.

      • An example:

        My good friend has very severe foot problems. He has had one leg amputated to just below the knee already and the other leg is having the same problems. He and his doctor want to try some preliminary surgeries to try and save the leg. His insurance company won’t approve those surgeries and instead want to go straight to amputation. I’m sure they figure they can save the costs of the other surgeries and feel the end result will still be amputation anyway.

      • Well, I’m glad you have good coverage. I just wish that was available to more people. By the way, the breast cancer survival rates are even higher in Canada than in the US.

        Insurance companies have one goal – to pay the least amount for your care. My son has had 33 operations already at the age of 5, and 10 of those procedures were working on his left eye to repair damage due to prematurity. He’s completely blind in that eye. The last 4 operations have just been done to improve the overall condition of the eye, so that in 10 or 20 years, when there is a chance that retinas can be repaired, he may be eligible for new procedures that could restore the eye.

        Does that sound like the health care system you hear horror stories about?

      • So you call a few examples of the poor quality of healthcare in canada fearmongering yet I am supposed to find your one example which hasnt been documented at all, convincing of the terrific government healthcare system?

      • It’s fear-mongering because they are focusing on the worst cases they could find. I’m giving you my own example, which is, incidentally, not one example, but numerous examples. I lived in a hospital for four months with my son, and have been back at least once a week for 5 years, so I think I can speak with some authority on the state of health care in Canada.

        As for my case not being documented? I assure you it is.

        You had your examples, and I’m giving you mine. Ignore it if you like. It’s not proof that you are wrong, it’s just another opinion.

      • IF your going to throw facts out there please use a source:

        “By the way, the breast cancer survival rates are even higher in Canada than in the US.”

        Wrong: heres my source:

        But an analysis of 2001 to 2003 data by June O’Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and economist David O’Neill, found that overall cancer survival rates are higher in the United States than in Canada

        http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba596

      • Overall cancer survival rates are higher in the US. There are many factors that contribute to this, including the types of cancers that are more or less prevalent in different cultures. Canadians also have a longer lifespan, and that means more people will end up having cancer be their cause of death later in life.

        I read a study a couple of weeks ago that listed the breast cancer survival rates as slightly higher in Canada. It also said that prostate cancer survival rates were slightly better in the US. I can’t find it again, but that’s what it said.

        I found another study that illustrates my point better. This study is from 2009, and compares health care for low income women, and the results show higher survival rates for breast cancer in Canada.

        http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/short/dyp193v1?rss=1

        Cancer survival rates for the US are skewed, as higher income people have much better survival rates, and lower income people have much lower survival rates. Is that acceptable to you?

  4. “but the bottom line is: I can get help in my darkest hour of need, at any hospital, in any city, and I will never get a bill that will make me lose my house.”

    If you get treated in time, that is. Didn’t the Canadian Supreme Court decide that in order for someone to truly have a right to life, private alternatives would be necessary, because people waited so long for treatment? http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6378

    • If you need medical care to save your life or limb in Canada, you get it that very minute. There are wait lists of a few months if you need a hip or knee replacement, and I think that needs to be improved, but the rumors that Canadians wait for urgent care (or even non-urgent care) are usually fear-mongering. In my family (and I’m including about a hundred people here), I don’t know of any case where anybody waited a single day for urgent care, and actually I can’t think of anyone waiting for any care at all.

      I can get a doctors appointment tomorrow morning with my family doctor. My brother was at the doctors today for a problem with a shoulder he broke a few years ago. He’s seeing an orthopedic surgeon on Friday to have it checked out. What you are hearing are generally lies.

      • In Canada, it is a doctor who decides, and if you don’t like the decision of one doctor, you are free to go to another.. In no way does the government have any say.

      • “If you need medical care to save your life or limb in Canada, you get it that very minute” In a minute…wow thats fast.

        Guess what? In the states EVEN the uninsured get treated in your example..it cant be denied.

        Nows here is a terrific example of what America can be expecting from Obamacare, taken from the failing healthcare system currently in Massachucetts..an increase in healthcare costs of 46% leading to tax hikes, fines for not particpating in the plan and the all time favorite alternative, limited healthcare based on a politicians decision.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123811121310853037.html

      • Back in 1996, when I was 16 in high school I crashed into a plate glass window in a gymnasium. What wasn’t supposed to break did, and the glass cut my ulna artery, five flexor tendons and the unla nerve. After I got to the hospital it took 9 hours to go into surgery. In the emergency surgery waiting area were several people munching on potato chips (I was still coherent enough to joke about emergency liposuction to my mom), some people looking like they were in pain, and then me with several pints of blood splashed all over myself. The plastic surgeon who operated told me that if there were more of him, they could have saved more feeling in my hand. The arteries heal, the tendons heal with scar tissue, but the nerve does it’s own thing. Whenever I move the last two fingers I get pins and needles shooting up my arm, but it doesn’t bother me anymore.

        I think there are alarmists on both sides. Personally, I’d rather pay insurance than have the majority of my substantial income tax fund the same 20% of the population who abuse 80% of the system for free.

      • Thanks for admitting cancer patients in the US have a higher survival rate than canada.

  5. I had a lot to say on this on another thread, and my position remains that the free market should not be in complete control of vital finite resources.

    Though I’m in favour of socialised healthcare in general, I don’t see the need to do away with private healthcare altogether; why is it necessary to interfere with the free market to that extent? People should be entitled to buy something better if they can afford it (and by “better” I mean things such as not having to wait hours for emergency treatment, which is going to happen anywhere where you have lots of people availing of these finite resources).

    I have been the recipient of emergency treatment under a socialised system, and I was and still am extremely grateful for it, and although there were times when I probably could have been looked after better, I had nothing but praise for the staff and didn’t complain once in 2 weeks in hospital. I don’t see that it’s necessary for someone who can afford the “better” treatment to be put through the same system however.

    I also think that all elective procedures should not be free and that includes abortions. I know a lot of people would say that abortion is a necessary procedure to get rid of something unwanted, you guys know I don’t agree with that. I wouldn’t want to pay for someone’s abortion either. But I’d happily contribute taxes towards childcare for that person should they decide to keep the baby.

    • Curious, do you think a socialized healthcare plan should force you to go to a doctor based on age? Literally force you to go. OR do you think that its fair that if I dont want to participate for whatever reason that I should be fined for not participating?

      • Of course you should not be forced to participate. I do believe that neglecting to take a child to a doctor should be grounds for action of some type.

        If you do not want to go to a doctor that’s fine. If you want to use alternative medicine, that’s fine too. If you want to hire your own personal doctor, and build a clinic in your basement, go right ahead. Nothing in Canada prevents any of this. to me, socialized medical care means having hospitals that provide good care to anyone who needs it, and wants to use it, without financial burden.

      • Obamas plan forces those on Social Security to see a doctor (pg 425-26).

        The plan also fines individuals for not participating $1000 in the form of “shared responsibility payments”

      • I think you might be mistaking me for a huge Obama fan :-)

        Sure I would have voted for him, but I’m no cheerleader. I have not read the bill, and I really don’t want to, but I’m glad there are Americans scrutinizing it. I am not “in favour” of this bill – I’m just in favour of socialized medicine.

      • Thanks for the point of clarification. Dont worry about reading the bill….none of our politicians have read it either.

      • I’m not American and have no truck with Obama one way or another. So I echo Ryan’s sentiment above; I may be fairly liberal in my outlook on many things, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of what you guys call “Obamacare”.

  6. As usual Obama is trying fix something without addressing the root cause of the problem. Until we get tort reform there will be nothing that can be done about the cost of health care. As long as I can sue a doctor for millions for removing my fingernail to cure a hangnail there will be draconian insurance premiums those doctors have to pay, and therefore the cost of health care will go up.

    Note, I don’t even have to win that lawsuit, as long as I can bring it the doctor will be forced to pay legal fees to defend himself. I am not advocating not holding medical providers responsible for their mistakes, just that until frivolous lawsuits are checked, health care costs will rise no matter who is paying for it.

  7. LCB said “If this is the best approach for health care, why is this not the best approach for housing?”

    I’m not sure whether I should say I like the reasoning or “shhh! Someone might hear you.”

  8. My wife and I just moved from our “active Senior” Apartment complex to her elderly Dad’s house so we could be there to take care of him. We filled out a change of address card.

    Recently, we received mail for a man who lives in the apartment complex who has the same last name but a different first name. He also lived on a completely different floor than we did, with a completely different apartment number.

    Now, imagine, if you will, this same kind of mix-up in a government run hospital rather than the government run post office.

    Government should stick to providing for the defense and security of the citizenry, and leave medical care to the medical professionals.

    • “Government should stick to providing for the defense and security of the citizenry, and leave medical care to the medical professionals.”

      That is exactly what my blog entry for yesterday was about!

    • I suppose the phone company has never messed up a monthly bill? Wal-mart has never charged you incorrectly at the till? Yes, it’s just the government employees that screw up.

      So, if the government starts employing the very same people currently working at hospitals, they will start making mistakes?

      Maybe I misunderstand the US system a bit. Do all the doctors work for private companies? What about nurses, technicians, lab people, clerks, and other hospital staff? Who owns the hospitals?

      • Do me a favor, run to the post office real quick then run ovver to UPS…tell me who is more efficent, has better service and better customer relations.

      • UPS is fantastic, and I use it all the time. Of course they are better since they charge 10-20 times the postal service rate for letters. It’s beyond the reach for many people though.

        UPS is a premium service. Does your phone company send you your bill via UPS?

      • Youre incorrect, when looking at comparable services, ie: overnight delivery, UPS is cheaper that USPS in price….youre comparing apples to oranges….the price comparison for boxes and freight at UPS versus USPS is much much lower, faster and more effecient.

        Conclusion: a private businessm that competes in an open market, competitive environment is less expensive and more efficient that ANY government program. And the icing on the cake: tax dollars have never been used to bail out UPS the way theyve been used to bailout USPS.

      • I was talking about the basic postal service. UPS will always beat USPS because they don’t have to shuffle letters around at 40 cents each all day long. When you can cut out the segment of your business that is not profitable, your bottom line, and your high end customers benefit greatly.

        Is that how you want the health care system to work?

      • UPS doesnt offer basic postal service….USPS has a monolpoly on it via law that wouldnt allow for UPS to use mailboxes. You cant compare the two, that was my point. So you have to compare the service that both UPS and USPS offer…and the private company beats the government time in time out. Give me any real example of ANY government agency being able to beat the private sector in effeciency and service.

        If your government does such a better job on healthcare than the private sector why was there even a need to go to the Supreme Court to fight for private alternatives?

      • FWIW, for years UPS and FedEx have wanted to get into the letter service business. They are prevented by law from doing so.

      • They are prevented by law against using the postal service infrastructure, not for starting their own service for people to send letters. I can send a letter via FedEx.

    • Wish that were true, but medical care is in the hands of the insurance companies.

      We are a family of six and decent coverage costs over $1,000 a month. The coverage we do have forces us to drive 44 miles ( an hour drive) for a doctor that is covered by insurance. Why? The fees they are expected to recieve leaves them paying out of pocket to treat us!

      It took over a year and three CPS cases later to find out the growth on my step daughter’s back was of NO CONCERN and present since birth. I don’t care what you people say, private healthcare SUCKS!!!

  9. Obama is wants to replicate California’s failed policies toward global warming via cap and tax, and we see where that has left California (IOU’s).

    Now, Obama wants to replicate Massachucetts failing healthcare plan….even as hospitals in that state are sueing the state government because of the programs failings.

    These are two models of what NOT to do.

  10. From the beginning its been previous administrations ultimate fault that illegal immigration has never been retired. Years of neglect and intentional overlooking of the laws that were in place? It’s grandiose excuse to allow the 20 million plus illegal immigrants to stay on American soil. Congress when enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 has been flagrantly ignored. The IRCA toughened criminal sanctions for employers who hired illegal aliens, denied illegal aliens federally funded welfare benefits, and legitimized some aliens through an amnesty program–EXCEPT THESE LAWS NEVER WERE ENFORCED?

    There has always been complicity since the earliest days, between the lawmakers, big business, the open border zealots and radical pro-immigration and anti-American sovereignty organizations. Just like the Globalist they have an attitude that American taxpayers should accommodate every illegal family, with free medical care, schooling and a comfortable prison cell, for criminals and for the thousands of illegal alien drunken drivers every year. That globalist agenda has always been a free movement of cheap labor, between all of South America, Canada and Mexico, just as secretly arranged with the 3 countries leaders in Waco, Texas, at the end of March 2005.

    Americans only forceful action is to build on E-verify, but not to replace it? Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York and chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration wants consider up-grading the application, with modifications to authenticate the employee’s identity by using a specific and unique biometric identifiers? Schumer, stated “improving employment verification is critical to boosting public confidence about curbing illegal immigration, which will build support for comprehensive immigration reform.” These politicians just don’t get it? Outside of the American Civil War, there will be a battle over giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship free-ride? What about the millions of people with integrity and believe in the Rule of Law, who sit and wait in far off foreign countries for an entry visa?

    Whatever the outcome it will not be easy to pass any Immigration reform or AMNESTY? Say–NO– because it going to cost trillions of dollars (with a T) in enactment. Health care, Pensions, retirement and a rush on government benefits, for those who haven’t already cheated the system. Then they will want their immediate families here? And waiting millions will swarm the open areas of the sovereign border fence? IT WILL NEVER END? Call your Politician today at 202-224-3121 GOOGLE—NUMBERSUSA, AMERICANPATROL for facts, that will not be found in most press releases.

    As a Independent voter, I do believe in a alternative government medical system, but I adamantly disagree on donating my taxes from public treasuries free health care to anybody who steals across our border or anything that smells of AMNESTY?

    Copy, Paste & Distribute freely

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