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Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

Bernie Sanders Pushes Healthcare that Failed in Vermont

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 9, 2017

Politicians of both political parties promote programs to satisfy their political base to ensure reelection.  Unfortunately, the tests of efficacy or reasonableness for programs are not based on hard facts or economic realities, but instead on how they could affect politicians’ reelection chances.  This perversion of logic typically results in programs that cause more harm than benefit, especially in the long-run.

Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Independent-Socialist from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, promoted a single-payer healthcare system that is long been popular with the political Left, who Sanders counts on for reelection.  This is overly simplistic solution to America’s significant healthcare problems avoids addressing the real issue, the high cost of healthcare.  Instead, single-payer systems merely move costs around like a shell game, promising Americans more for less.  Politicians make a career out of playing this same broken record.

During a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sanders indicated he will introduce new single-payer health care legislation.  Tapper then asked Sanders why his own state of Vermont, or California, both Democratic states, could not be successful passing single-payer health care: “Let’s talk about single-payer, because it was attempted in your home state of Vermont, and it didn’t work because they couldn’t get the funding, because it would be too expensive, the Democratic governor said.”  Tapper concluded his question by stating that both Democratic governors admitted they could not find funding for single-payer systems in their states.

Tapper then concluded with the following question: “How do you make it national if you can’t even get it in Vermont and California?”  Sanders got uncomfortable and merely answered that it was “difficult”.

Bernie Sanders’ position on single-payer health care is a textbook example of how politicians serve special interests to ensure their reelections.  It also helps demonstrate how flawed programs continue to be promoted, irrespective of efficacy.  In this case, even though the single-payer system could not pass in staunchly Democratic states of Vermont and California due to economic constraints, Sanders would inflict this unviable program on entire Country.

Since the election, Donald Trump has shown significant character flaws that are difficult to support.  However, his suggestion last week to have senators and congressmen live under the same healthcare plans that most Americans do, strikes a chord.

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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!

Posted in Healthcare, healthcare costs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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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Obamacare, Coffeecare, What’s the Difference!

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 2, 2014

Having trouble understanding why our President thinks he can manage America’s healthcare, one-sixth of our economy?  Maybe the video below will help.

Posted in Obamacare | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Obamacare Offers Religious Exemption

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 17, 2012

During President Obama’s sales pitch to the Country for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, the President claimed various attributes for the program.  One incredible claim was that millions of additional Americans would receive healthcare coverage without increasing the overall cost for healthcare.  Since then, the cost of healthcare insurance has increased by about $2.500 per person with a portion of the increase caused by Obamacare mandates.

Beginning in 2014, Obamacare requires that Americans obtain health insurance or pay a monthly fine that Supreme Court has labeled a tax.  One proof statement as to Obamacare’s hidden costs and problems is the hundreds of exemptions the Administration has given to companies and unions with political clout in Washington.  Such exemptions would not be required had the program fulfilled the promises made by the President.

Obamacare may also involve significant exemptions based on religious beliefs.  The Bill includes a general “religious conscience” exception that while based on the interpretation in the tax code, is still to be fully defined.  This exemption may be applicable to the Amish, Christian Scientists and Scientologists.  In addition, the Koran prohibits some insurance products since they are interpreted as having gambling aspects and involve interest charges, both prohibited.  It remains to be seen whether American Muslims will seek exemptions from Obamacare based on an interpretation of the Koran.

When a law is not universally enforced, it lends itself to corruption by those with power of enforcement.  This has already been exemplified by exemptions given on Obamacare.  There are more to come.

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Sarah Palin Calls Nancy Pelosi “Dingbat”

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 1, 2012

During a television interview posted below, former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was asked to comment on the Supreme Court’s healthcare law decision.  Specifically, she was asked about Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to acknowledge that the individual mandate was a tax, a fact that was affirmed by Chief Justice Roberts in his decision.  For that discrepancy, Palin responded that Pelosi was a “dingbat”.

Given the clarity of Roberts’ s decision, Pelosi’s response is indeed worthy of dingbat status.  However, this Blog being cognizant of the importance of political correctness, therefore would differ with Gov. Palin on her terminology.  Pelosi is, in fact, a wingbat.

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Obamacare’s Birth Control Edict Causing Furor

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 10, 2012

President Obama’s supposed signature achievement has been the sweeping health-care reform often referred to as “Obamacare“.  Like most complex government plans, Obamacare will cause more disruptions for America’s healthcare system and the overall economy than the benefits it will offer.  While individual aspects of the massive legislation can be shown to be poorly planned, a simpler and broader explanation of its failings is more useful.  Specifically, Obamacare promises to offer insurance to millions who are currently uninsured without increasing America’s healthcare costs.  Preposterous!

It was broadly publicized that a part of Obamacare will force any institution or company that offer healthcare benefits to supply free birth control as part of the package.  This is an example of Progressives overreaching and forcing their liberal agenda on the greater public.

Any time Washington adds a forced benefit on states or private companies it increases the cost of supplying that benefit.  This guarantees that in the long run the service will become less available as supplying organizations will not be able to afford them.  This is basic Econ 101, a subject Progressives bypass in the elitist universities they attended.

In addition to the financial problems, the Obama Administration’s forced birth-control benefit has ramifications relating to governmental intrusion into freedom of religion.  Various religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have deep-seated beliefs that preclude the use of various birth control methods.  Irrespective of this, the Administration indicated it would force these religious institutions to offer the birth-control services as part of their healthcare packages.  The only option available for these institutions was to close or stop offering healthcare as a benefit.  Posted below is a letter publicized by the Archbishop of Philadelphia on this issue.

The New York Times today reported that the Obama Administration is feeling the political heat.  While the Administration has announced a compromise on the issue, reportedly it will not eliminate the intrusion into religious freedom.  It is remarkable that a President who is so sensitive to certain religious sensitivities, particularly those of Islam, has such low regard for the beliefs of others.  This political correctness is a typical manifestation of Progressive elitism that shows low regard for any overall moral philosophy.

President Obama’s intrusion into religious freedom is a continuation of his radical agenda to transform America.  Certainly Obama promised such actions.  Sadly many Americans in the middle of the political spectrum who voted for him did not heed his words.

The radical Progressives and feminist who approve of Obama’s agenda on birth control will ignore his intrusion on religious freedom.  They do so at their own peril given that government intrusion into individual rights is a slippery slope that has no bounds.

Posted in Healthcare, Obamacare | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Orders Providers to Provide No Co-Pay Birth Control

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 23, 2012

The Hill has reported on yet another governmental intrusion in the markets and the people’s private affairs, this one with significant religious implications.  Last week the Obama Administration ordered that beginning in August, healthcare plans must cover birth control without deductibles or co-pay charges to recipients.

This decision is wrong on so many levels.  On the economic side, it will add additional cost for employer supplied healthcare plans.  This will result in increased co-pays for many workers and worse, cause some companies to drop healthcare coverage altogether, both actions offsetting the financial benefit desired by the government.  It will further coerce companies to move employment outside the United States to offset the rising cost of U.S. based employees.

In addition, the new governmental mandate is being forced on religious entities that offer healthcare coverage to their employees.  This governmental intrusion into the freedom of religion is clearly unconstitutional,  In addition, already some of the religious institutions for which birth control goes against their basic tenants have indicated they will either drop their healthcare coverage altogether, or close their doors, in response to the intrusion.  This will not only kill jobs, but also lessen the supplied services to some of the neediest of society.  But that is in keeping with the Progressives’ goals; move power to the government as it fills the vacuum.

In responding to the furor created by the birth control mandate, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”  It is remarkable how Progressives treat pregnancy more like a disease than a special event in the human existence.  It is also remarkable how they define balance.

Progressives are pleased with the growing governmental intrusions in all aspects of society since most of the actions have been pointed at pet Liberal causes in recent years.  This is a short-sighted approach for what comes around, goes around.  When the reactionaries gain power, as they always do after Leftist intrusions fail, the Right will have its day and use the governmental to further their aims.  This should be of little comfort to any American that believes in the priority of the Constitution, either on the Left or the Right.

Posted in Governmental Intervention, Healthcare | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Health-Care Reform’s Sleight-of-Hand

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 25, 2011

President Obama loves theatrics, often combining them with facts that do not hold up to scrutiny.  Such was the case with the push to promote ObamaCare.

It was obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics that the promises presented by the President for health-care reform did not add up.  For example, the President indicated that the bill would result in millions of uninsured Americans receiving insurance while cutting costs.  Speaking of alchemy!

For the theatrics, Obama promoted that his health-care reform had broad support within the medical profession and often touted the American Medical: Association’s (AMA) backing.  During ceremonies at the White House, Obama held photo ops with doctors to promote the illusion of this broad support, as exemplified in the photograph below still posted on whitehouse.gov.  That assertion was false.

Forbes magazine published an article titled Doctors And AMA Split Over Contentious Issue Of ObamaCare that included some interesting facts:

  • The AMA currently represents 17% of doctors.  The AMA’s support does not mean broad support within the medical community.  In fact, a survey conducted by Jackson & Coker indicated that only 13% of doctors agree with the AMA’s support of Obama’s health reform.
  • Jackson & Coker also reported that of the doctors recently dissociating themselves from the AMA, 47% cited the organizations backing of the health care bill as the reason.
  • In a study by the National Physicians Survey, doctors by a three to one margin indicated their belief American health care quality will deteriorate under ObamaCare.  That survey also found that nine of ten physicians believe ObamaCare will have a negative impact on their profession

The polls also indicate that most Americans believe Obamacare will lead to higher medical costs and less or lower quality services.  This conclusion is reasonable given that of most governmental interventions in the marketplace have shown similar results.  In addition, experience with government agencies from the departments of motor vehicles in states to the US Postal Service has set appropriate expectations.  But this reality has not deterred President Obama from his primary goal to fundamentally change America via more governmental intrusions.  To Progressives like Obama, the masses are but shipped to be shepherded by the elitist Left.

Posted in healthcare reform, Medical | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Administration to Ban Asthma Inhalers

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 24, 2011

In the latest example of the far-reaching tentacles of the nanny–state, the Obama Administration is set to ban over-the-counter inhalers used by asthmatics on December 31, 2011.  Incredibly, the band is the result of an agreement the United States and other nations signed to stop using chemicals that might damage the ozone layer.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that these inhalers only emit miniscule amounts of any chemical, let alone those that may damage the ozone layer.

For years, asthmatics have used over-the-counter inhalers based upon the substance Epinephrine.  Now they will be forced to use “greener” inhalers that contain the drug Albuterol and will require a prescription.  Not surprisingly, the cost to asthma sufferers will increase; yet another example of the government running up the cost of healthcare.  The term “knucklehead” is certainly appropriate for the Progressives and bureaucrats that implement such outrageous laws.

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