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Archive for the ‘healthcare costs’ Category

Obamacare May Implode

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 19, 2016

The news media and Americans are focused on the upcoming presidential election.  Given the important role the president plays in the United States this is natural.  However, the focus on the election has been on the questionable personal traits of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  This myopic focus masks serious issues that face the Country and the next president, irrespective of who is elected.

The significant challenges the Country faces include international relations, as well as economic issues.  The Middle East is devolving into chaos that will eliminate the artificial borders and countries created after World War I.  Russia is again adversarial and imperialistic.  Economic growth in the United States is tepid with the total debt soon to exceed $20 trillion.  Irrespective of whether Clinton or Trump become president, these issues will prove intractable.

Within the broader subject of economic challenges is the out of control medical costs.  This problem had its roots long before Barack Obama became president.  However, the President’s signature program, Obamacare, exasperated the problems and is showing signs of heading into a death spiral.

The President is aware of Obamacare failings writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association: “Too many Americans still strain to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions, cover their deductibles or pay their monthly insurance bills; struggle to navigate a complex, sometimes bewildering system; and remain uninsured.”  This is a far cry from the President’s promises to the American people that healthcare costs would decrease.  Obamacare not only added expensive mandates to the cost of medical insurance, but covered some 20 million people who previously did not have insurance.  For the President to have made this cost cutting promise indicates incompetence or dishonesty, there is no third option.

A more honest representation of the realities of Obamacare was made earlier this month by former President Bill Clinton who said:

bill-clinton“You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden, 25 million more people have health care and then the people that are out there busting it – sometimes 60 hours a week – wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”

Leave it to Bill Clinton to take a complex issue and break it down to its most basic problem; the middle class and healthy younger Americans are being forced to pay for the health costs of others.  Insurance is a system whereby risk is spread amongst a population of people with an example being auto insurance.  Some drivers will have accidents while others will not.  In the case of so-called health insurance, all beneficiaries will require significant benefits.  Therefore what we call health insurance is an entitlement and cannot be financed as if it was insurance.

In early October Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said: “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable”.  This is no partisan attack coming from a Democrat governor of a state that is projected to have increases in the Affordable Care Act medical exchanges in excess of 50%. (Source)  Other states are facing similar problems.

In business or economics matters, prior to resolving a problem the issue and goals need to be clearly vetted and defined.  This was not done with healthcare reform.  Instead, proponents of Obamacare promoted problems to elicit emotional responses.  This included Americans without medical insurance and the increasing costs of medical care.  Ignored were the basic laws of supply and demand that have impacted these issues and will play a role in any propose resolution.  The upcoming implosion of Obamacare is the result of this gross failure.

After the presidential election the winning party will throw celebrations for the power they gained or maintained in Washington.  Beginning in January a new president who will be forced to address the problems left behind by Barack Obama.  A major issue will be the growing problem of the increasing cost of healthcare.  Democrats will promote a single-payer system; i.e., government run healthcare.  This should concern Americans given the government’s poor track record managing the health care of veterans through the VA Administration.

Republicans will promote market oriented solutions for health care reform.  However, continue calling a solution “insurance” improperly defines the problem and will not lead to productive results that are politically or economically palatable.

When discussing the problems of increasing healthcare costs, rarely will politicians discuss economic realities including supply and demand.  Instead, many scapegoat insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and/or doctors.  While these factors play some role, it is minor compared to demographic changes.  For example, the Country is rapidly aging.  In 2000 there were 35 million Americans over 65 years of age.  In less than two decades this has increased to 47 million.  In addition we have become more obese.  Both factors increase the demand for healthcare and therefore cost.  Not including these issues in the broader discussion of healthcare reform dooms any program to failure.

The Kaiser family Foundation reported that in the last six years, health insurance premiums rose about 19%, three times greater than inflation.  At the same time, peoples’ salaries rose only 11%.  This increasing cost of healthcare as a percentage of total income is one reason the recovery has been sluggish.  Consumer spending on other goods and services has been decreased as a result.  Unless healthcare costs are brought under control, this negative impact on the economy will grow.  May the force be with the next president!

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Affordable Care Act ain’t Affordable

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 27, 2015

Since his first election, Barack Obama has made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) his signature legislation.  While there were many claims made concerning ACA’s suppose it benefits, one repeated by the President in May 2008 claimed it would save the average American family $2,500.  This claim had little basis in reality, but was required to gain the support necessary to have the legislation pass.

The Wall Street Journal recently published information about 2016 rate increases for healthcare provided under ACA exchanges.  The increases include:

  • Tennessee – 36.3%
  • Kentucky – 25.1%
  • Oregon – 25.6%
  • Idaho – 23%
  • Ohio – 14.5%
  • Michigan – 11.4%

While not all states’ exchanges will see the significant increases listed above, the evidence indicates that the ACA is causing cost increases, not the decreases for the average American family promised by the President.  This is of little surprise.  The ACA added significant benefit requirements to healthcare plans, as well as millions of uninsured Americans being covered under it.  To expect this to lead to cost decreases goes beyond stupidity.  However, this is not to imply that Obama lacks intelligence.  In fact, it is likely that he was well aware of the financial implications of ACA, but purposely misled the American people on this issue.

The American people are not blameless in this sleight-of-hand economics orchestrated by President Obama concerning healthcare reform.  The implications of increasing benefits and the number of people covered should have been obvious to any who supported this President and his legislation.  Unfortunately, it is too late to put this genie back in the bottle.

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Increasing C-section Rates Point to Problems in Healthcare System

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 31, 2011

Health News Daily published updated statistics on the rate of cesarean section deliveries in the United States.  The statistics included the following:

  • C- section deliveries in the US climbed to 34% in 2009, an all time high.
  • From 2002 to 2009 in states with publicly available health data, the rate increased from 27% to 34%.
  • Of the 19 states studied, Florida, New Jersey and Texas had the highest C‐section rates, 38, 38 and 36 percent respectively.  The lowest rates were Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado with 22, 25 and 27 percent respectively.
  • The World Health Organization suggests that the Caesarean rate should be 15%.
  • The Joint Commission who accredits health care organizations asserts that “there are no data that higher rates improve any outcomes, yet the Csection rates continue to rise.”

Besides C‐sections being major surgeries with their own risk factors, they are expensive.  The rapid growth in rates for this procedure, as well as the vastly different rates by states, indicates that other factors are in play beyond medical judgment.  This includes convenience for mothers and doctors, as well as profits for a surgical procedure.

The growing use of C-sections is an example of why the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing.  As medical procedures become more available through technology, patients naturally demand them and suppliers want to sell these services.  The Progressives would address this issue by giving government more control over medical services and the choices involved.  This is a central part of Obamacare.  This attempt at micromanaging by government bureaucrats has not worked in other programs and will not work in healthcare.

Out of control healthcare costs are a guaranteed outcome of health insurance.  As companies and the government offered their employees healthcare “insurance”, healthcare became a free or inexpensive item for those that consume it.  It also became a right.

The only way to bring healthcare costs back under control is for all users to have some skin in the game for any services used.  Only by having consumers be the ultimate gate-keeper can unnecessary and overpriced medical procedures be properly managed.

Posted in healthcare costs, healthcare reform | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Repealing ObamaCare would Save Billions

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 8, 2011

The American Spectator posted a story that should surprise no one.  ObamaCare will cost America hundreds of billions of dollars; repealing it would save that same amount.

President Obama and associates promised that through ObamaCare, millions would obtain health insurance that did not have it and many others would receive benefits that previously did not exist.  The cap to this fairly tale was that the new program would cost less than the previous cost of medical care in the United States.  Progressives thought that the American people were ignorant enough to buy this impossible scenario.  However, the November mid-terms proved otherwise.

Below is the current cost estimated of ObamaCare, as indicated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget office.  This faulty legislation must be repealed.

 

Posted in healthcare costs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Obamacare; A Reality Check

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 3, 2010

Guest writer Carl Hackert has some concerns and questions about Obamacare, as posted below.  Obamacare, like most other governmental programs, is doomed to failure for many reasons.  Carl’s explains just a few that are larger enough to guarantee failure.

Obamacare Chart, by Carl Hackert

It was not that long ago that President Obama claimed that his health-care plan’s increased benefits (effectively “rights” entitled to people living in the USA) to those who could not afford health insurance would be partially paid for by cuts in Medicare waste and by new efficiencies, and of course, taxes on the wealthy and the evil health insurance companies.  Additionally, there would be taxes in “Cadillac” plans, hidden threats of IRS enforcement, misleading incentives masquerading as “benefits” that are actually costly and probably  Unconstitutional mandates/fines/taxes/premiums for payees to the benefit of special interest groups, and new or vague regulations which place unprecedented power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Obama promised that the cost of the mandates could not be passed along to average Americans but “paid for” by the rich, evil insurers – in actuality, since it all comes out of the same pocket it is just a book-keeping issue for insurers.

The news of the last few weeks has reported already that the projections of the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) don’t match the CBO estimates and the promises made just a few months ago when the Democrat majority pushed this bill through over the objections of the vast majority of taxpayers.

Below is a mind numbing chart that shows how all of this supposed “efficiency” will be achieved by Obamcare.  This is Orwellian, the stuff that made the book “1984” or Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” mandatory reading for high school students.

If you don’t understand the chart you are not alone.  To prove it, I would suggest that you and your video camera attend a Town Hall Meeting to be held by your local Democrat Congressman or Senator during the Fall 2010 election season.  Pass out copies of the PDF chart to the audience and the members of the media.  Then, when your turn comes, ask the incumbent the following questions:

(1) Do they believe that a Congressman or Senator has a duty to read and understand legislation that they vote on?

(2) If they read and understood the Obama health-care bill in its entirety before voting YES on it, including the info contained in this PDF?

(3) If they answer “YES” to either #1 or #2, ask them to please explain the chart in detail and how they think it will result in efficiency, lower costs and better care?

(4) If they answer “NO” to either # 1 or #2, ask them why did such a disservice to their constituents by voting in favor of a bill that they did not either read or understand fully?

Keep the cameras running… CEH

Posted in Healthcare, healthcare costs, healthcare reform | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canada’s Broken Healthcare System; Part-II

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 1, 2010

On February 28, 2010, this Blog posted an article (Canada’s Broken Healthcare System) relating to a Canada’s high-ranking politicians, Danny Williams, fleeing Canada’s government controlled healthcare system for heart surgery in the United States.  Today a reader posted a thought-provoking addition to the original posting that is posted in full below.  Thanks Carl.

Carl Hackert said:

Competent scientists (Al Gore is not one, by the way) often gather data and, due to the revolutionary nature of the research, they make predictions about the outcome of their experiments and technologies in the abstract.

But, in the case of Progressive Socialistic ventures into Big Centralized Government economic and Welfare-state experiments, the global empirical evidence of the last 80 or so years is “in”.  There’s no further need to speculate with rose-colored glasses that Congress’s wealth redistribution programs and, in particular, Obamacare will work in the USA just because we’ve got the Politically Correct Crowd of pointy headed policy wonks implementing their programs and dismantling the “evil” American capitalistic system, conveniently ignoring the real data that American private wealth system has succeeded for over 200 years, dragging forward even a reluctant socialist world.

Obama’s Ostrich-like Messianic message of change basically says: “Never mind the empirical data that socialism has failed everywhere else. This is me talkin’, guys, the Messiah”.  However, as the article below shows, Canada will soon join Greece, the UK, the PIGS, and the rest of Eastern and Western Europe in failure.  For Americans, there is a stark reality for our future generations who will be burdened with an unsustainable economic calamity of government guarantees.  Our children will endure an Orwellian life in a hopeless, mediocre, pantheistic, secular humanistic, morally bankrupt society of failure and fear.

There are three questions which come to mind:

(1) Will Obama and his willing accomplices in the leftwing Progressive media and academia continue in what has been rightly called “evidence of insanity” committing national suicide by implementing more of the same socialistic programs while the empirical data says that those programs guarantee failure?

(2) Knowing that the failure is certain, who or what globalist entities benefit from the Europeanization of the USA’s economy and the loss of American sovereignty in the New World Economic Order?  (If #2 true and some people stand to benefit from global socialism brought about as a solution to multiple economic, political and natural crises, this is proof of the “world conspiracy theory”.)

(3) Or, is it simply possible that the irrational egos of our current crop of indoctrinated leftwing ideologues prevents these otherwise intelligent people from discerning the overwhelming evidence of failure?  (As President Reagan said, it isn’t that Liberals are stupid people, it’s just that so much of what they know happens to be wrong.)

Soaring Costs Force Canada to Reassess Health Model, Reuters, May 31, 2010 2:38 pm ET

Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Janet Guttsman and Peter Galloway

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate “incentive fees” to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit — an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

It’s likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036.

“There’s got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years,” said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

“We can’t continually see health spending growing above and beyond the growth rate in the economy because, at some point, it means crowding out of all the other government services.

“At some stage we’re going to hit a breaking point.”

MIRROR IMAGE DEBATE

In some ways the Canadian debate is the mirror image of discussions going on in the United States.

Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all “medically necessary” hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.

But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.

“As Ottawa looks to repair its budget balance … one could see these one-time allocations to specific health projects might be curtailed,” said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotia Capital.

Brian Golden, a professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, said provinces are weighing new sources of funding, including “means-testing” and moving toward evidence-based and pay-for-performance models.

“Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There’s going to be a finer look at what we’re paying for and, more importantly, what we’re getting for it,” he said.

Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs.

Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.

“Our objective is to preserve the quality healthcare system we have and indeed to enhance it. But there are difficult decisions ahead and we will continue to make them,” Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told Reuters.

The province has introduced legislation that ties hospital chief executive pay with the quality of patient care and says it wants to put more physicians on salary to save money.

In a report released last week, TD Bank said Ontario should consider other proposals to help cut costs, including scaling back drug coverage for affluent seniors and paying doctors according to quality and efficiency of care.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

The losers could be drug companies and pharmacies, both of which are getting increasingly nervous.

“Many of the advances in healthcare and life expectancy are due to the pharmaceutical industry so we should never demonize them,” said U of T’s Golden. “We need to ensure that they maintain a profitable business but our ability to make it very very profitable is constrained right now.”

Scotia Capital’s Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. “(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing,” she said.

“If it’s absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?”

But change may come slowly. Universal healthcare is central to Canada’s national identity, and decisions are made as much on politics as economics.

“It’s an area that Canadians don’t want to see touched,” said TD’s Burleton. “Essentially it boils down the wishes of the population. But I think, from an economist’s standpoint, we point to the fact that sometimes Canadians in the short term may not realize the cost.”

Posted in Healthcare, healthcare costs, healthcare reform, Progressives, Socialism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NASA’s Cadillac Healthcare Benefit Plan

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 8, 2010

A few weeks ago the politicians in Washington made “Cadillac” medical benefit plans a subject of public discourse.  These deluxe plans are very expensive and offered only to a small minority of American workers.  The plans include soup-to-nuts coverage such as dental, eye glasses, etc.  The implication of the political discussion pursued by the Left was that these benefit plans were elitists and should therefore be subject to a special tax.

Given the politicos discussions about Cadillac healthcare plans we might not expect the government not to offer them to public employees.  But that logic doesn’t work with the elitist political class that now runs our country.  The Wall Street Journal reported that not only has NASA offered some employees and their families Cadillac healthcare plans, but its Chief offered the benefits to himself.  How convenient.  NASA Chief Charles Bolden requested coverage for medical, dental, and vision for life for astronauts and their families, and yes, Bolden himself.

Adding insult to injury was NASA’s response to the negative publicity that started to circulate because of this outrageous benefit for government employees.  NASA stated that the package “would not be envisioned as a benefit, but rather as a means to maximize former astronaut participation in long-term medical studies.  What doubletalk!  Sort of says what they think of the American peoples’ IQ’s.

The astronaut team includes great Americans.  However, that does not justify taking this advantage of the American people.  The greed and money grab is occurring at all levels of government including members of Congress who have their own special medical and retirement plans and access to private jets.

Not so long ago government employees traded higher pay and benefits for job security.  Now they not only have the security, but also better pay and benefits than their private counterparts.  It is time to lower this job security. Underperforming government employees need to be terminated and government agencies must learn to do more with less, just like private industry is being forced to do.  In addition, public employees’ compensation packages must be brought in line with those offered in private industry,

The Progressives are on a perpetual rant against the greed that is shown from the private sector.  Some of this is justified.  But when it comes to the largest corporation of them all, the US government, they lack any moral courage.  Various states including California are on the verge of insolvency due to excessive compensation packages for active and retried employees.  The only alternative to bankruptcy for these states are significant cuts to these costs.  Either the states and federal government will have the courage to implement these changes or they will be force on them, as they are now being forced on Greece.

Posted in Government Ineptness, Government Spendning, Healthcare, healthcare costs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Healthcare Reformed: Now Comes a Shortage of Doctors

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 13, 2010

President Obama and the Democrats spent a year getting their healthcare reform bill through Congress.  Since its passage the Progressives are on to other ways to fundamentally change America.  However, the healthcare challenges that this country faced before the bill past, i.e. the high cost of healthcare, have not been addressed.  In fact it is likely that the healthcare reform bill will increase the total cost of healthcare in the Unites States.

One obvious reason for the coming increased healthcare cost is human nature.  Give people low cost access to healthcare, subsidized by the government, and they will use more of it.  No rocket science here.  In addition government programs always grow over time, adding additional benefits to buy votes.

There is another more insidious reason that the cost of healthcare will increase as a result of the reform bill: doctor shortages.  With the signing of a bill, President Obama promised to give millions of additional Americans access to low-cost or free medical services.  This market manipulation creates unintended consequences.  For example, the Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday titled: “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up”. A link to the article is included below.  It concludes:

  • Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.
  • There are about 110,000 resident positions in the U.S., according to the AAMC. Teaching hospitals rely heavily on Medicare funding to pay for these slots.  In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on funding for medical residencies, which hospitals say has increasingly hurt their ability to expand the number of positions.

Progressives from both political parties continually ignore the laws of supply and demand at the peril of the overall goods of the country.  This convenient omission enables politicians to come up with seemingly noble ideas without having to take responsibilities for their failures.

As the WSJ concluded:  A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients. This will fit in quite well with the Progressives desire to redistribute wealth and services.

Medical Schools Can’t keep Up – WSJ

Posted in economics, healthcare costs, healthcare reform, Progressives, Supply and Demand | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Only Problem with American Healthcare is Cost

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 18, 2010

The effort to pass a healthcare reform bill has been ongoing so long that the important issues behind the bill and the process to pass it have often gotten lost in the noise of time.  While it is likely that President Obama and his fellow Progressives in Congress will force a bill through irrespective of the will of the people, this Blog continues to appose adding another boondoggle to the government’s resume of failures.  The potential damage from this costly program is large as any yet passed by our government.

The American people do not want the Progressive’s plan for healthcare reform and despise the process used to promote it with the lack of transparency and backroom dealings.  While this is well-known, the fact that the Progressives are still promoting the bill makes a bad plan even more tragic.

While there have been many arguments proffered against the healthcare reform being promoted, this article will keep it simple, something needed to critique a bill and processes that have been so corrupted over an extended time period.  Following are three basic reasons why the current healthcare reform bill should not be allowed to be implemented.

Defining The Problem

Before any problem can be resolved, first it must be properly defined.  TheProgressives hijack this process by focusing on sad individual stories that exist within the healthcare system.  While each such story is a tragedy, they do not define the problem, but are attempt to move the discussion to an emotional level.  Emotion, while strong, it hinders real-world problem resolution.

The problem with our current healthcare system at an upper level is simple; it is cost.  All of the sub-problems that can be discussed stem from the fact that healthcare in America is too expensive and growing at an unsustainable rate.  While most Americans agree with this premise, Progressives refuse to acknowledge this simple reality because framing it so distinctly would lead to suggested solutions that they appose.

One piece of the solution that Progressives appose is Tort Reform.  The reason for this is simple.  Trial lawyers are a major benefactor of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Party.  Tort Reform would cut the cost of healthcare in part by taking fees from trial lawyers and then the Democrat Party itself.

Another solution to the cost issue that is a “no-no” with Progressives is allowing insurance companies to offer plans across state lines.  Increased competition will cut cost, that’s a no-brainer.  However, this logical step for cutting cost would take power away from fellow Progressives in state governments that currently regulate all sorts of non-essential benefits be added to plans in their states, further increasing the cost of healthcare.

Listening to the People

Progressives throughout history have shown a disdain for the intellect of the people that they govern.  Remarkably, they justify this elitist approach with their belief in their own superiority.  Our Constitution rightfully puts the power in the hands of the people, not professional politicians.  In fact it was written with concern for the ruling class.

We have already given these professional politicians clear warnings with the election for governors in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as the Senatorial seat in Massachusetts.  But the knucklehead Progressives would rather risk power than listen to the will of the people.  This in itself is scary!

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

Perhaps the biggest reason for junking the current healthcare bill is that the books are being cooked to sell snake oil.  We are told by the pushers of this bill that it will save us money over time.  That is a preposterous claim, which the following simple questions/statements debunk:

  • President Obama has stated that the bill will result in insurance being given to millions who currently have no insurance, while at the same time cutting total healthcare cost for the country.  The only way that such a preposterous claim can be backed up is with complex junk mathematics, the same type that brought us the Wall Street meltdown.  But unlike then, should the US government meltdown under the weight of this financial hocus pocus, there will be no one to bail it (us) out.
  • When is the last time the federal government implemented any program that has not resulted in increased cost to the American taxpayers?  You can search long and hard, but you would be wasting your time.  Governments continually add costs to programs and underestimate costs.  The same result is guaranteed with a national healthcare program.
  • If the government had the expertise to create and run an effective national medical program, why is Medicare such a mess?  If Medicare was a good program, why not just add the millions of uninsured for healthcare instead of creating yet another governmental program?  The answer is simple, Medicare is broke and these Progressives don’t want to focus the peoples’ attention to that reality.  A focus on any other government program would prove why we shouldn’t let healthcare reform to these failed Progressives.

The logic against the passage of the healthcare bill is so strong that the fact that the Progressives are not giving up points to an even more troubling possibility.  Healthcare reform is not their actual goal, but a means to obtain a larger one.  The Progressives see this as an opportunity to take over one sixth of the American economy, healthcare, a plum too important to pass up.  They know that should they fail now, their next opportunity may be years away, or never.  Should they succeed in the take over of this major portion of the American economy, they will have taken a giant step toward socializing the American economy, their ultimate goal.

What if the healthcare bill leads to the an economic collapse as some of us predict?  That too would fall into a satisfactory scenario for Progressives.  Should that occur, then the Progressives can come save us from yet another mess that they themselves created.  And that could well lead to the total socialized solution that Progressives desire for the entire American economy.

The implications of passing the healthcare reform bill are huge, certainly much larger than Obama’s expressed concerned for the uninsured.  There is still time to defeat this bill, but the power of the Presidency and the Speaker of the House is huge.  Without a near rebellion on the part of we the people, I am afraid that the Progressives will have their day on this one.  Once the genie is out of the bottle, it will be tough to place back in it.

Healthcare is its Cost: Paul Ryan Telling it Like it Is

If the above posting does not offer enough meat on the bone, I suggest giving about 6 minutes of your time to listen to Paul Ryan’s, Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, take on the real cost of the healthcare bill.  This guy is good and he’s only 40 years old!  Maybe we are starting to see a new breed of Republican coming to the top?

Posted in Capitalism, Congress, Constitution, economy, Governmental Intervention, Healthcare, healthcare costs, healthcare reform, Progressives, Socialism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Smoking and the President’s Facade

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 2, 2010

During the football season the public was treated to advertisements showing an athletic Barack Obama catching a pass on the White House lawn.  This ad promoted public health and exercise, and yes, the President himself.  We have also been shown videos of the President playing hoops.

The athletic depictions of the President are not entirely accurate.  Kept from the public are photos of the President smoking cigarettes.  This issue was brought to the forefront with the President’s recent medical physical when his long-term smoking habit was raised, according to the guardian.co.uk.  A link to the entire article is below.

Many Americans have lifestyle issues that are injurious to their  health.  These choices are a major reason for the rapidly increasing cost of healthcare in this country.  Two of the larger contributors to this cost epidemic are obesity and smoking.  The President presents a good example to the country on obesity.  He is a poor example when it comes to smoking.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an additional $96.7 billion is spent on public and private healthcare combined and each American household spends $630 a year in federal and state taxes due to smoking.  This huge cost is avoidable and helps indicate why we Americans need to have some skin-in-the-game when it comes to medical costs.  It is not only unfair for people with healthy lifestyles choices to pay for unhealthy behavior, but cheapening the cost of treatment for bad choices will increase those bad choices.

Mr. President, you have spent a great deal of your Presidency to date trying to ram through a healthcare bill that Americans don’t want.  Instead of re-engineering our healthcare system, something that neither you nor the Congress have expertise in, how about leading by example?  Start by a public pronouncement of the First-Man quitting what is a very dangerous behavior for you and an expensive life-style choice for the country.

guardian.co.uk – Obama Smoking

Posted in healthcare costs, healthcare reform, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »