Jacob Hacker’s Trojan Horse

This is the brainchild behind the proposed ObamaCare/single payer train wreck:

……(Jacob) Hacker (formerly at Yale, now at Berkeley) sounds friendly and cheerful in appearances recorded in January 2007 and July 2008. With a government-option plan, he says in 2007, “You can at least make the claim that there’s a competitive system between the public and the private sector,” but he predicts that the government option “would eliminate the small group insurance.”

Speaking of the government option in 2008, he says, “Someone told me this was a Trojan horse for single-payer. Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there. I’m telling you. We’re going to get there, over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employer-based health insurance as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance. We’re going to give them a choice of public and private insurance when they’re in the pool, and we’re going to let them keep their private employer-based insurance if their employer continues to provide it.”

The problem with that statement is the part about “choice of public and private insurance”. Under a single payer system, you won’t get a choice. It’s the government’s discretion, not yours.

Of course there’s no guarantee employers will. Many employers, single-payer advocates hope, will be happy to let their employees go onto the government plan. The Lewin Group, cited often by various analysts, estimates that a government-option plan, depending on how the law is written, could move as many as 100 million households off private insurance and onto the government plan in a few years.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Video-proof-Obama-wants-a-single-payer-system-52699182.html

Hitting the Democrats with hard questions and disputing their made-up facts undermines their spin and talking points, and they can’t have that.

Case in point: The following is a classic meltdown by Congressman David Scott (D-GA), when a constituent, who happens to be a medical doctor in his district, asked him if he was going to vote on the health care bill.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BttTtjhlvmY&eurl=]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BttTtjhlvmY&eurl=

Obama’s charade isn’t working. The American people are not fooled by the scheme to eliminate employer coverage and personal choice. They’re speaking out and the Dems are shell-shocked. What happened to the compliant sheeple? They got a healthy dose of reality.

27 thoughts on “Jacob Hacker’s Trojan Horse”

  1. Danglingwrangler

    Your information about The Public Option is categorically incorrect. It is NOT single payer, like Canada. It’s universal like Germany and there is a huge difference. This article is about your political agenda regardless of the facts.
    Too bad!

    1. Dangling,

      Obama’s government-run option, regardless of what you call it, whether “universal care” or “single payer”, is chock full of socialist agenda. His entire regime is packed with communists and socialists.
      Van Jones…Mark Lloyd…Rosa Brooks…Sonia Sotomayor….Janet Napolitano….talk about an agenda.

      You’re clueless.

      Too bad!

      SFC MAC

  2. The Center Square

    For you, government control is a non-starter. That is your ideology; fair enough. For me, that is a risk, but not a non-starter. Medicare is much better run than private insurance, for example. For me, it is a choice between a proven failure (private health insurance as we have it today) and the risk of a government program. There’s no point in staying in a burning building.

    I have to move on, but this has been an interesting conversation. Ironically, I own a pretty good-sized healthcare company, about 1000 employees. So, my time is limited, and I need to spend less of it here. But I wish you well. I hope you don’t get sick and have to go to Asia for treatment *lol*.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      For anyone with an iota of appreciation for free enterprise and individual choice, government is ALWAYS a non-starter. Most health care providers agree with that. As I said before, my ideology is based on the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
      Remember this quote:

      “That government which governs best, governs least.”

      All the proof I need for this argument is the government’s own track record.

      Martin Feldman at the Wall Street Journal has some observations of note:

      The rising cost of medical treatments would not be such a large burden on future budgets if the government reduced its share in the financing of health services. Raising the existing Medicare and Medicaid deductibles and coinsurance would slow the growth of these programs without resorting to rationing. Physicians and their patients would continue to decide which tests and other services they believe are worth the cost.

      There is, of course, no reason why limiting outlays on Medicare and Medicaid requires cutting health services for the rest of the population. The idea that they must be cut in parallel is just an example of misplaced medical egalitarianism.

      But budget considerations aside, health-economics experts agree that private health spending is too high because our tax rules lead to the wrong kind of insurance. Under existing law, employer payments for health insurance are deductible by the employer but are not included in the taxable income of the employee. While an extra $100 paid to someone who earns $45,000 a year will provide only about $60 of after-tax spendable cash, the employer could instead use that $100 to pay $100 of health-insurance premiums for that same individual. (My Note: John Mackey discussed this as well) It is therefore not surprising that employers and employees have opted for very generous health insurance with very low copayment rates.

      Since a typical 20% copayment rate means that an extra dollar of health services costs the patient only 20 cents at the time of care, patients and their doctors opt for excessive tests and other inappropriately expensive forms of care. The evidence on health-care demand implies that the current tax rules raise private health-care spending by as much as 35%.

      The best solution to this problem of private overconsumption of health services would be to eliminate the tax rule that is causing the excessive insurance and the resulting rise in health spending. Alternatively, Congress could strengthen the incentives in the existing law for health savings accounts with high insurance copayments. Either way, the result would be more cost-conscious behavior that would lower health-care spending.
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204683204574358233780260914.html

      In other words, one of the reasons health care costs are high to begin with, is because of too much government involvement and ineptitude.

      Any business owner with common sense does not want the government taking over their business.

      The risk we face right now is too much government intrusion. If you think government does such a great job running private business, just wait until Obama takes over yours as well. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Health Care Provider. You’ll end up with no building to burn. If you get sick under Obama Care, there will be no where to go.

      Take care.

      SFC MAC

  3. The Center Square

    I thought you would be interested in this piece from this morning’s NYT [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/business/economy/26leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp]. It is a good explanation of why both the status quo and HR 3200 are certain failures. Wyden-Bennett would be true reform in the best interests of all of us.

    You seem smart, which is why I don’t understand why you seem unable to realize or acknowledge the catastrophe that is our current healthcare system. Did you have any reaction at all to the data about healthcare spending rising to more than 20% of GDP by 2018 if we do nothing? The current system is going to bury us. “[H]ealth care reform, in whatever shape it takes, is best left to American citizens” means doing nothing. Retaining what we have now is ruinous. Surely you know that, no? Would you support Wyden-Bennett?

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      I have never denied that our current health care system needs an over haul. What I’ve been saying, and I’m surprised you haven’t grasped it, is that ObamaCare (i.e. a total government-run health care system) is not the answer. The status quo 20% spending of our GDP by 2018, will pale in comparison if legislation like Obama’s is allowed to pass. Right now, he’s placed a projected $9 trillion alone just on H.R. 3200.

      We both agree on those points.

      Now, let’s talk about alternatives. You think Wyden-Bennett (aka s. 334, The Healthy Americans Act) is the right approach. It’s a universal health care proposal to be paid for with public (taxes) and private donations.

      Now, anytime you see the words “universal” and “public option” with regard to health care proposals, a little red flag with the words “GOVERNMENT-RUN” should pop up in your head.

      Any such plan should be heavily scrutinized.

      A breakdown from the Heritage Foundation:

      The bill correctly targets the inequitable tax treatment of health care that favors coverage obtained through the place of work. It also recognizes the weakness of the existing public health programs, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bipartisan bill has attracted a dozen co-sponsors, drawn equally from both parties.

      Still, as the chief sponsors point out, the bill is a work in progress, intended to stimulate discussion. And despite many attractive tax reform aspects, a troubling feature of the bill is that it would replace the current health system with one that is heavily regulated by the federal government: Individuals would have access only to plans permitted by the government and would be required to purchase such a plan.

      Instead of adopting features of the bill that turn to government regulation in an effort to squeeze out efficiencies in the system, lawmakers attracted to tax features of the Wyden-Bennett bill should look at a better way of achieving efficient and affordable insurance. Specifically, Congress should replace the existing system of public and private third-party arrangements with a robust consumer-based system in which individuals and families, not the government, are the key decision-makers and change is driven by the free-market principles of personal choice and genuine competition.

      The rest, including a point by point discussion of the bill here: http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm1849.cfm

      The article gives a balanced look at the bill and offers suggestions to improve it. I would take it a step further and incorporate some of the ideas of John Mackey’s and that of the 3 alternative plans drawn up by Republicans. All four have very good recommendations in common.

      What I and others have emphasized, is that you cannot force everyone into government-run health care, overload the system, tax people until they’re broke, and spend trillions on this kind of socialist fantasy without paying an awful price in quality, patient care rationing, and in a monstrous deficit.

      The status quo is terrible, Obama’s socialist tack will not work, and an overhaul is needed. I think I’m smart enough to figure that out.

      The proposals I’ve seen—John Mackey’s, The Patient’s Choice Act of 2009, Health Care Freedom Plan S. 1324, and Empowering Patients First Act H.R. 3400—along with Wyden-Bennett, all have overlapping good points, and are a step in the right direction. I would glean the best, comprehesive parts from each and combine them into one simple bill.

      SFC MAC

  4. The Center Square

    I completely agree with stopping pork barrel projects, but save it for another blog entry. It has nothing to do with the healthcare cost crisis.

    I completely agree with not using Medicare/SS money for government operations, but save it for another blog entry. It has nothing to do with the healthcare cost crisis. Also, doing so makes the federal deficit worse and increases federal debt. I thought that was your main concern here.

    I completely agree with preserving the rights of individuals to make their own health insurance choices. That is what we have now, and therefore obviously is not solving the healthcare cost crisis. (I do find it interesting that you are pro-choice in this regard, though, unless someone wanted to choose a public option. Who are you to limit other people’s choices?)

    I read Mackey’s op ed piece in the WSJ, and I agree with some of his ideas. The cornerstone of Whole Foods’ benefit plan is high-deductible private health insurance. Again, that option exists right now, and yet obviously has not solved existing healthcare cost crisis.

    You have no facts to support your assertion that France’s healthcare has been made worse. I have provided extensive facts that it performs at a high level. I have documented the millions of Americans forced to seek healthcare in other countries (although to be fair, you did document 160 Canadians who had to come here).

    You say “for all the money countries like France spend” as if they are the ones with runaway healthcare costs. No, the United States, and the United States alone, is being bankrupted by its healthcare system (see my follow up comment from earlier this morning). France isn’t. Germany isn’t. Britain isn’t. We are. Only us. That’s where things stand right now, if we do nothing. In fact, if we reduced our spending on healthcare to France’s level, we would SAVE $750 BILLION PER YEAR, and it would be far and away the single greatest act of fiscal discipline in the history of mankind.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      The elimination of pork barrel projects has a lot to do with this discussion because like health care, it’s part of the big economic deficit picture.
      At least, I’m glad to see we’ve achieved some common ground on this subject.

      By the way: Republicans submitted 3 alternative health care reforms. The three Republican bills total just about 400 pages and have been on the table since May and June. They contain preventive health care, tax credits, and reduction of fraud and abuse in existing federal health care programs.

      The Patient’s Choice Act of 2009
      http://www.house.gov/ryan/PCA/index.htm
      http://www.house.gov/ryan/PCA/PCAsummary2p.pdf
      http://www.house.gov/ryan/PCA/PCAsummary15p.pdf

      Health Care Freedom Plan, S. 1324
      http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s1324is.txt.pdf

      Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 3400
      http://rsc.tomprice.house.gov/UploadedFiles/RSC_EPFA_One-Page_Summary–FINAL.pdf
      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3400:

      With respect to the entire Euro/Canadian socialist health care system, I’ve already provided numerous examples from the doctors and patients themselves. If you haven’t read and heeded them, you certainly should. I won’t bother to re-post the ones I’ve already cited, but I will reference new ones to add to the growing encyclopedia of horror stories.

      From Britain:
      Heart patients dying due to poor hospital care.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jun/04/nhs.health2

      Dental patients face care lottery
      http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=127814&in_page_id=34

      Women in labor turned away by maternity units
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/21/health.nhs

      British hospitals told to delay surgeries
      http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2007/01/02/British-hospitals-told-to-delay-surgeries/UPI-52441167771563/

      Record numbers go abroad for health treatment with 70,000 escaping NHS
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-490233/Record-numbers-abroad-health-treatment-70-000-escaping-NHS.html

      Canada:
      Canada’s Expectant Moms Heading to U.S. to Deliver
      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,300939,00.html

      ‘Sicko’ slant irksome even in Canada
      http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/25776

      Man, woman who couldn’t get quick treatment travelled to U.S. to get brain tumours removed.
      http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/253664

      If ObamaCare takes over, where will Canadians and Brits go to get their health care?

      France’s health care system is only slightly better off than its Euro counterparts. It’s funded by a combination of government subsidy, patient cost sharing, direct payment of physicians by patients, and incredibly high income taxes; about 21%. That’s just in a country the size of Texas.
      65% is picked up by the public health system, the rest, by private health insurance. Since everything is “free” (a misnomer) or paid for with a nominal fee by the patient, there tends to be no limit on the demand, and no moderation of visits. They’re trying to keep costs down in the face of a current $12-14 Billion deficit, which will increase every year. Government spending exceeds economical growth. Sound familiar? Inspite of their health care paradise, they’re even talking about “change”.

      French physicians earn only about $55,000 per year. Their medical school is paid for, but I wonder if their cost of living (food, rent, utilities), is also subsidized by their government to offset the menial salary. Physicians manage to earn more by increasing their patient load, or by ordering unnecessary procedures.
      More comparisons:
      http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Socialized+failure%3a+dissecting+health-care+data+from+Britain%2c+Canada%2c…-a0199802195

      From the CATO Institute:
      http://www.cato.org/pubs/catosletter/catosletterv3n1.pdf

      The American Spectator:
      http://spectator.org/blog/2009/04/07/socialized-medicine-an-interna
      Euro-style health care is bankrupt both monetarily, and in quality.
      You should know by now, the government can never do better than the private sector. Not one government agency or department is run more efficiently than what the private sector is capable of doing. If a private company doesn’t run its business efficiently, it will fold. The government just keeps digging into our pockets to cover their bad ‘business’ decisions.

      Having said that, health care reform, in whatever shape it takes, is best left to American citizens.

      SFC MAC

  5. The Center Square

    I hit send too soon. When I state that the current healthcare system is ruinous, please remember these facts:

    (1) In the U.S., we spend 16.0% of our GDP on healthcare. That is half again as much as second-ranked France among 31 OECD countries (11.0%). We spend $7290 per capita on healthcare; no other OECD country exceed $4800. [Source: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/33/38979719.pdf%5D.

    (2) The trends are terrifying. Without reform, expenditures will reach 20.3% of the GDP by 2018 [source: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/proj2008.pdf%5D.

    Can we agree that reform of the system is a national imperative?

    1. Steve,
      The mandate in H.R. 3200 will not avoid that ruin. How about this approach, which I’ve stated time and time again:

      Stop pork barrel projects.

      Stop taking money that was meant for Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare and spending it on other government ‘appropriations’.

      Enact tort reform.

      Preserve the rights of individuals to choose their own private insurance and negotiate with their employer for programs that fit their needs.

      Here, READ John Mackey’s suggestions: http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/whole-foods-ceo-blasted-by-the-left-for-not-bowing-to-obamacare/

      He gives a common sense approach to health care choice, which has worked very well with his employees.

      The creation of a massive government-run health care entitlement that will add trilllions of dollars to the already bloated deficit, with no end in sight, is not the answer. There’s not enough taxpayers to squeeze in this or the next century, to pay for this socialist disaster.

      For all the money countries like France spend on taxpayer-funded healthcare, it hasn’t improved the system; it’s done quite the opposite.

      SFC MAC

  6. The Center Square

    Either way — status quo or HR 3200 — we are financially ruined. The mandate is to avoid that ruin. What approach do you think we should take?

  7. The Center Square

    Why is it okay for the status quo healthcare system to bankrupt this country?

    1. Steve,

      The “status quo” will not bankrupt this country to the tune of 23.7 trillion dollars. What will, is Obama’s tax/spend/bailout/ and health care “reform”.

      You think that’s okay?

      SFC MAC

  8. The Center Square

    I am glad to see this last comment from you; it is precisely what I was saying. You think it is socialism, you think it is a power grab, you believe it is an intrusion against individual liberties. That is your ideology. Fair enough. But yours is not the mainstream view. Be open to the idea that your opinions are your opinions, and thus reflect your ideology.

    One thing you have never grasped through all of this is that I am opposed to HR 3200. Your challenges to my ideology are without basis. I just don’t think that such opposition justifies misinformation in the debate about the bill, and I took the opportunity to refute your many incorrect or selective facts.

    What I do believe is that uninsured Americans are a problem that should be addressed, and that you and I are footing the bill for the healthcare of these individuals already. HR 3200 is a bad solution. But the status quo also is a bad solution. I am paying for those people’s people healthcare now, but in the worst and most expensive possible ways. I think that I can pay less than what I currently pay, if a plan is designed with intelligence and foresight. That is why your vitriolic style of debate is so harmful to America. You paralyze the process, leaving us with a broken status quo that is bankrupting me. Because you are willing to abandon reason and fact, in the name of your ideology, you make it impossible for our government to constructively govern. You force the choice to be between a status quo that bankrupts my future and a single government bill that bankrupts my future. Way to go.

    1. Steve,

      Au contraire, mine is the mainstream view…mainsteam America, that is. You lend entirely too much creedence to a hostile leftwing media that portrays us as “terrorists” and “racists”. The “fifth column” has mounted a contemptable attack against the very people who are fighting to preserve their basic freedoms. They usually bad-mouth the military, now they’ve added average citizens to their campaign of smear tactics.
      I think it’s socialism? That’s exactly what it is. Anyone with even a modicum of understanding can recognize it. My gawd, even Hugo Chavez had this to say:

      “Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right,” Chavez joked on a live television broadcast.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/ObamaEconomy/idUSTRE5520GX20090603

      British journalist Gerald Warner:

      ……Health care?……Even the American left balks at a socialist scheme for health care that would have had Nye Bevan shouting “Hold on a moment!” Your brainchild, Barack – enjoy.

      Meanwhile, in the wider world, American foreign policy is beginning very satisfactorily to fill the vacuum left by the Soviet Union. The Obama administration has set itself the objective of establishing Marxist regimes in the remaining democratic states of Latin America. Fidel has had his thunder stolen by Barack. The current project, being enthusiastically pursued by the White House, is to reinstate the Marxist fruitcake Manuel Zelaya, client of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, as president of Honduras.
      Read the entire article:
      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100004404/barack-obama-discovers-socialist-projects-at-home-and-a-pro-marxist-foreign-policy-are-making-him-unpopular/

      H.R. 3200 will not work because it proposes a government takover of healthcare, forcing at least 47 million more Americans into the system, a rationing of treatment, and a gargantuan tax increase to pay for all of it.

      It is a power grab, and right in line with Obama’s socialist vision for this country. How else would you describe a political leader who seizes control of banks, private industry, and corporations? Since he took office he’s used threats and coersion to add several business entities to government dominion. That is unprecedented in the history of the United States. He is trying, systematically, to destroy the fiber of this country. He’s trampling on the Constitution and individual rights. He’s hellbent on dismantling free market capitalist enterprise.
      The only misinformation being bantered about is from Obama and the Democrats. They know the American public doesn’t want his rotten bill of goods. He changes his explaination and comes up with another lame excuse every day.

      There’s nothing “selective” about my facts. I used examples from H.R. 3200 to make my points. I’ve READ it.

      The only “refuting” you’ve done is to justify this socialist legislation and dismiss legitimate concerns as mere “ideology”, when Obama’s regime and approach to governing is socialist in its entirety. Take the time to research his background in the Chicago political machine, his mentors, and his radical friends, and you’ll understand why.

      If believing in the Bill of Rights and Constitution is considered an “ideology”, then by all means, it’s my ideology.

      As for “vitrolic style of debate” being “harmful to America”, look no further than the fine upstanding examples in the Democratic Party.
      They call us “nazis”, “terrorists”, and “un-American” for standing up to their tyranny.
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/how-the-democrats-feel-about-american-protesters/
      Any government that tries to ramrod detrimental law down the throats of its citizenry, and sics union thugs and the media on them to squelch dissent, is authoritarian. Last I checked we were supposed to be a democratic republic. The politicians, Democrats in particular, sure are acting as if we’re not.

      The government-run propsal in H.R. 3200 is not the way to improve the status quo. Neither are the bailouts or government takeovers.

      Read the post about John Mackey. He puts forth some of the common sense needed for true reform, not a socialist disaster.
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/whole-foods-ceo-blasted-by-the-left-for-not-bowing-to-obamacare/

      As for bankrupting your future, the 23.7 trillion dollar projected deficit will do that nicely. The left still can’t get it through their thick skulls that you cannot spend your way out of a deficit. “We have to spend in order to avoid bankruptcy.”—Joe (foot-in-mouth) Biden.
      Your vote for THE ONE got that “change” you wanted.

      Congratulations.

      SFC MAC

  9. The Center Square

    I think that you are ideologically opposed to this plan, and therefore selectively construct arguments against it. For the record, I am against HR 3200 also. But I fear a future in which ideology shouts out thought more than anything else. You are the future that I fear. Sorry to be so blunt.

    But I do wish you well, and I hope neither of has much occasion to test the mettle of the healthcare system.

    1. Steve,

      Speaking of ideology, Obama’s health care reform is chock full of ideology: socialist government control of our health care. I’ve been very specific about the reasons as to why the majority of Americans are opposed to this. I READ the bill. It’s 1017 pages of mindboggling BS that hasn’t even been read by the very Obamabots eager to sign on to this socialist monstrosity.

      This is NOT about providing better health care to all Americans or saving money on health care. This is about another one of Obama’s power grabs.

      So far, he’s engaged in outrageous bank bailouts, huge “stimulus” payoffs to special interests, and nationalization of the auto industry. He’s proposing an ideological-based tax on energy (the “Cap and Trade” scam), and presenting this country with trillions of dollars in new debt.

      Obama has been making it perfectly clear as far back as 2003 that he favors a single-payer system. Single-payer is simply a code word for “government”, with one entity footing the bill. Guess who that is.

      My observations are based on exactly what the bill contains and what Obama said he intends to do. You try to justify this “reform” with comparisons to Canadian and British government-allocated healthcare, which has proven to be an abject failure. The people are taxed to the extreme to pay for an overburdened healthcare system which struggles to maintain even a modicum of quality. Period.

      Whether or not Obama models his “reform” exactly on Euro-socialized medicine, the results will be the same. The more government legislates itself into the lives of citizens, the less rights they have.

      You need to read these: http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/the-devil-in-the-details-of-the-obamacare-bill/

      And especially this one:
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/whole-foods-ceo-blasted-by-the-left-for-not-bowing-to-obamacare/

      Hopefully, those are the reasons why you are also against the bill.

      You may not see anything wrong with government intrusion into individal rights, but the rest of us do.

      People like Obama and his followers make me afraid for my country. People who stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights restore my faith. Unfortunately, I think you belong to the first group.
      Get off the fence, Steve…or in your case the center square.
      Sorry to be so blunt.

      SFC MAC

  10. The Center Square

    Sorry, I’ve been away for a few days. I hope you didn’t miss my rapier-like debate too much… or think your own rapier-like debate had mortally wounded me. And sorry for the gender mishap.

    You stated, “Yes, I MEANT TRILLION.”
    • What you stated earlier was $998 trillion. You didn’t mean that, surely. But as I said, I know that was a slip of the tongue, so no matter.

    You quoted, “…the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years.”
    • There are a number of different cost saving aspects of the bill. The quote you cited references only one of them: the one where an independent panel will review costs. What the CBO actually says is: “enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period. That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill’s insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years.” [Source: http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=332.%5D See that part, “net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion”?
    Granted, this still does mean a net increase in the federal deficit, of $23.9 billion per year over ten years. But I wish we could debate this proposal over the CBO’s stated fact, rather than the false assertion that it will cost $1 trillion, have savings of $2 billion, and therefore impose a net cost of $998 billion.

    Regarding Canadian healthcare, you cite “The most visible consequence of socialized medicine in Canada is in the poor quality of services. Health care has become more and more impersonal. Patients often feel they are on an assembly line. Doctors and hospitals already have more patients than they can handle and no financial incentive to provide good service,” and “Between 2006 and 2008, Ontario sent more than 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery.”
    • The first quote is a measure of people’s satisfaction with the healthcare system, not an analysis of its quality, nor, certainly of its cost. Here are some key facts about the quality of Canada’s health system:
    (1) Healthcare costs in Canada are 10.1% of GDP. In the U.S., we spend 16.0%. Canada spends $3895 per capita on healthcare; the U.S. spends $7290. [Source: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/33/38979719.pdf.%5D If there is a serious concern about us being bankrupted by healthcare spending, shouldn’t we at least be learning what we can from Canada?
    (2) Average life expectancy in Canada is 80.7 years, about 2.5 years higher than in the U.S. The infant mortality rate there is 5.0 per 1000 live births, compared to 6.7 in the U.S. [Same source.] While I do not think that life expectancy and infant mortality rates tell the whole story of quality of healthcare, it is hard to draw a conclusion that Canadian healthcare sucks without ignoring this information.
    (3) Canadians experience better outcomes than we do in the U.S. for colorectal cancer, leukemia, kidney transplants, liver transplants, and hepatitis B. The U.S. is ahead in some other areas. The real conclusion of the study [source: http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/23/3/89/T1%5D is that there is no big difference among the countries studied.
    (4) The quote about 160 neurosurgeries being done in the U.S. for Canadians is interesting. Do you consider that sort of outcome evidence of a broken healthcare system? Good, because that situation is exploding right here in the U.S. So many Americans can either not afford or don’t have access to care, that they are being forced to go to other countries for medical care.
    (a) Millions of Americans spend billions of dollars a year getting prescriptions filled from Canada [source: http://www.resultsforamerica.org/calendar/files/Inexpensive%20drugs%20from%20Canada%20spur%20many%20to%20defy%20FDA.pdf.%5D And, it is not just Canadian prescriptions.
    (b) People are being forced to go outside the U.S. for necessary (and discretionary) medical care in rising numbers because of our broken insurance system. Read this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15513596/. Even the State of West Virginia has considered legislation to send people to other countries for medical care, because of the cost issues here!

    • In other words, there is no evidence that I see which justifies using Canada as a cautionary tale of a system gone horribly awry and to be avoided at all costs. If anything the criticisms leveled at Canada — high costs, unable to access care — are documentably worse in the U.S. Canada would be an improvement.

    You quote, “a few specifics would be nice before we place our health care system — 17% of the economy — under government control.”
    • Just a reminder that the government already pays for half the healthcare in this country. For whatever that’s worth.

    You quote, “the Lewin Group, a consulting firm respected for its nonpartisan analysis of health care issues, put out another report this week that found… that… more than 88 million Americans could lose their employer-based health coverage as businesses switch to the new taxpayer-subsidized public option that will compete with private insurers for enrollment.”
    • The Lewin Group may be respected by some, but also is vilified by others. It is, after all, wholly owned by healthcare insurance giant United Healthcare. From their website: “The Lewin Group is an Ingenix company. Ingenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group….” [Source: http://www.lewin.com/WhyLewin/AboutUs/.%5D
    • Your source incorrectly cites Lewin’s findings. Lewin estimates that private plan enrollment would decline between 34.9 million and 83.4 million. Not sure where the 88 million comes from. [Source: http://www.lewin.com/News/Article/27/.%5D
    • Lewin estimates that the legislation will end up saving the government money. READ THAT TWICE… ISN’T THAT ASTONISHING?!!! Here are their exact words: “If all Americans are permitted to participate in the public exchange, total cost to the federal government over the same ten year period, before offsets, would be $858 billion, and $55.3 billion after the changes. State and local governments would spend $67.8 billion less than they currently do if eligibility is limited to small firms, $158.3 billion less than they currently do if the exchange is open to all.” [Same source.] So, the increase burden on the federal budget will be $55.3 billion, and the decreased burden on state and local governments would be $158.3 billion. That is $103 billion to the good. Where is the financial disaster???

    You state, “Bottom of the pack? How did you come up with that ridiculous assertion? We lead the world in specialized care. Why do you think there’s such an influx of foreigners who come here to receive our care as well as practice medicine here? It’s a proven fact—substantiated by the doctors, patients, and overall decrease in care—that socialized medicine is an abject failure.”
    • You are right, and I did embellish too much in that statement. The U.S. in fact ranked 72nd out of 191 countries ranked by the WHO in terms of national level of health. It ranked 37th in terms of health system performance. That is hardly “bottom of the pack.” I apologize for the exaggeration. At the same time, I think “top of the pack” is equally indefensible. I think we lead the world in terms of medical knowledge and resources. But our horribly broken system of delivering and paying for the care makes it like the Ferrari that your dad never lets out of the garage. I do wish someone could explain how we spend all this money, vastly more than any other country on the planet, have all this knowledge and resources, and still end up with mediocre medical care.

    1. Steve,
      Before I pick up this discussion where I left off, you need to know that the Dems and Obama are starting to back off this socialist “public option” ObamaCare monstrosity, because the American people—even the zombies who voted for THE ONE—know a scam when they see one.

      Momentum behind a new government-run health care plan appeared to slow considerably Sunday, as a lead Democratic negotiator called the option a “wasted effort” and President Obama’s health secretary suggested the White House is ready to accept a health care reform package without it.
      Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., one of six negotiators trying to hammer out a bipartisan compromise measure on the Senate Finance Committee, told “FOX News Sunday” that the so-called public option simply does not have the votes to pass.
      “The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option. There never have been,” he said. “So to continue to chase that rabbit I think is just a wasted effort.”
      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/16/public-option-wasted-effort-lead-democratic-negotiator-says/

      But, the Democrats are now talking nonsense about the creation of “non-profit insurance cooperatives”. These government sponsored co-ops would sell insurance in competition with the private sector. Lest you think that would provide healthy competition, think again. These co-ops will have $4 billion in initial support from the government, under a national plan with state affiliates. In spite of the government monetary kick-start and oversight, they will supposedly be “independent” of the government. Right. Non-profit? What if they operate at a loss? You can bet your last tax dollar that Obama will bail them out.
      You said:

      Sorry, I’ve been away for a few days. I hope you didn’t miss my rapier-like debate too much… or think your own rapier-like debate had mortally wounded me.

      Your ‘rapier’ wit couldn’t cut through melted butter. Gawd forbid I should mortally wound anyone, except for the Islamic terrorists I helped send to Allah during my Iraq deployments.
      Have you even bothered to READ the HR bill 3200? I have. The entire premise of the so-called healthcare “reform” is not “reform” at all. It’s a proposed socialist government control of your medical care.
      You said:

      Granted, this still does mean a net increase in the federal deficit, of $23.9 billion per year over ten years. But I wish we could debate this proposal over the CBO’s stated fact, rather than the false assertion that it will cost $1 trillion, have savings of $2 billion, and therefore impose a net cost of $998 billion.

      False assertion? That little tidbit about Medicare came from the CBO itself. Remember? Should I repost the link?
      A “savings” of $2 Billion out of $239 billion net increase in the deficit. And they’re going to make that up with a hat trick involving a supposed ‘$219 billion dollar savings over the same period’. The hat trick involves ‘revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion’. With what? More output from the Treasury printing presses? Where do you think that ‘revenue’ will come from? You omitted the fact that taxes always increase to make up for any government shortfall or to generate an increase in revenue. It would be done at the expense of working (and retired) taxpayers to feed the maws of a gigantic ObamaCare blackhole. We both know that any time the government creates a program, tax increases are sure to follow.
      The CBO’s calculations don’t jive with ObamaCare.
      Before Obama is through, there will be a projected total of a $23.7 Trillion deficit as a result of his bailout/tax/spend/TARP/healthcare ‘reform’ orgy. Your great-great grandchildren will still be paying for this well into the next century.
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/congressional-budget-officedeficit-is-a-tad-more-than-we-projected/
      That estimate is a total sum of everything including the healthcare “public option/public exchange reform”. What about saving only $2 billion dollars out of a sky-high price tag got lost in translation?
      You said:

      Here are their exact words: “If all Americans are permitted to participate in the public exchange, total cost to the federal government over the same ten year period, before offsets, would be $858 billion, and $55.3 billion after the changes. State and local governments would spend $67.8 billion less than they currently do if eligibility is limited to small firms, $158.3 billion less than they currently do if the exchange is open to all.” [Same source.] So, the increase burden on the federal budget will be $55.3 billion, and the decreased burden on state and local governments would be $158.3 billion. That is $103 billion to the good. Where is the financial disaster???

      The WHOLE THING is a financial disaster. What you’re missing is the definition of “public exchange”. The devil is in the ObamaCare details.
      Here’s an American doctor’s response to Obama:
      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/a_doctor_responds_to_obamas_ny.html
      Do you really believe that “offsets” will make a substantial dent in a government–controlled–subsidized –with—taxpayer–funds program, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale…cheap.
      The CBO estimates that the cost for “public option” ObamaCare will run in the vicinity of an added $202 billion to the deficit by 2019.

      By the end of the 10-year period, in 2019, the coverage provisions would add $202 billion to the federal deficit, CBO and JCT estimate. That increase would be partially offset by net cost savings of $50 billion and additional revenues of $86 billion, resulting in a net increase in the deficit of an estimated $65 billion. It is important to note that the figures presented here do not represent a complete
      cost estimate for the coverage provisions of the legislation.

      http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/104xx/doc10464/hr3200.pdf

      The “net cost savings” will likely be determined by what ailment you have and if the government is willing to pay for it. (With money it took from you, by the way). Pay close attention to the “additional revenues” phrase. Where do you think that will come from?
      More on the trillion dollar cost:
      http://www.washtimes.com/news/2009/aug/16/or-a-trillion-dollar-word/
      There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone will pay for any and all healthcare “reform”, just like the current level of Medicare/Medicaid. Guess who.
      Where is the SAVINGS????
      The fact still remains that the .02% “savings” is a punch line to a very bad joke.
      READ THAT AS MANY TIMES AS IT TAKES FOR YOU TO GET IT.
      The cost for this Statist clusterfuck would be immeasurable in terms of dollars and healthcare quality.
      You said:

      ……If there is a serious concern about us being bankrupted by healthcare spending, shouldn’t we at least be learning what we can from Canada?

      READ what the Canadian doctors have to say about what they’ve learned about their socialized health care system:
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/want-a-taste-of-obamacare-try-canada/
      The example set by Canadian and British socialized medicine should serve as a warning. They’ve learned, and they’re warning us not to follow their example.
      This is a link to just some of the atrocious crap that happens when a government forces rationed care on its people.
      http://www.angelfire.com/pa/sergeman/issues/healthcare/socialized.html
      The incoming director of the Canadian Medical Association says that the healthcare north of the border is about to implode.
      http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jbjzPEY0Y3bvRD335rGu_Z3KXoQw
      All nationalized healthcare ends badly due to overburden and hidden costs.
      You said:

      Just a reminder that the government already pays for half the healthcare in this country.
      For whatever that’s worth.

      No. THE TAXPAYER pays for it. The government uses the Medicare and Medicaid taxes taken from the paychecks of working Americans to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. For what it’s worth? Well, according to the CBO, Medicaid expansion alone would cost $500 Billion.
      http://spectator.org/blog/2009/07/08/cbo-says-medicaid-expansion-wo
      And, as the CBO so kindly pointed out, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, primarily because of the rising cost of (government-sponsored) health care.
      http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/health.cfm
      Americans are healthier and living longer. As the number of elderly with age-related health problems climbs, the younger working generation will foot an even larger bill. The system is overburdened as it is and the braindead Democrats want to stuff it with about 47 million more Americans (at the onset) with MANDATORY government-run medical care. No choice. No paying for your own private insurance to get immediate and adequate care. The government will ration doctors, treatment, and allocation of funds for whatever they see fit, whether it’s in your best interest or not.
      Again: Whenever the government invents a program ask yourself one question: HOW will they pay for all this?
      Three guesses, first two don’t count.
      You said:

      The Lewin Group may be respected by some, but also is vilified by others…..

      Vilify them all you want. They simply point out, as do other reputable sources, that the government cannot tax us until we are all destitute, in order to finance out of control spending.
      Have you seen all the special interest groups behind Obamacare?

      Almost all of the special interests have been enticed or bullied into cooperating with Obamacare. The alphabet soup of major players on health-care policy is basically on board — PhRMA (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), the AMA (American Medical Association), the AHA (American Hospital Association), AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), and the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).
      http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWUxMmIyNTQ0YWVmYzMwNjZlNjRjMzJkYjc0YTgzMzQ=

      A new coalition on Thursday launched $12 million in television ads to support President Barack Obama’s health reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars this fall.
      The new group, funded largely by the pharmaceutical industry, is called Americans for Stable Quality Care. It includes some odd bedfellows: the American Medical Association, FamiliesUSA, the Federation of American Hospitals, PhRMA and SEIU, the service employees’ union.
      The group is likely to be the biggest spender in support of health reform. The campaign will serve as a counterweight to the critics at town meetings, which are getting saturation news coverage while Congress is out of town.
      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/26076.html

      You said:

      You are right, and I did embellish too much in that statement. The U.S. in fact ranked 72nd out of 191 countries ranked by the WHO in terms of national level of health. It ranked 37th in terms of health system performance. That is hardly “bottom of the pack.” I apologize for the exaggeration. At the same time, I think “top of the pack” is equally indefensible. I think we lead the world in terms of medical knowledge and resources. But our horribly broken system of delivering and paying for the care makes it like the Ferrari that your dad never lets out of the garage. I do wish someone could explain how we spend all this money, vastly more than any other country on the planet, have all this knowledge and resources, and still end up with mediocre medical care.

      Mediocre care? When was the last time you had ‘mediocre care’? By the time the government gets done gouging us (even more) for Obama’s healthcare Frankenstein, we won’t be able to afford a Tata Nano, or a garage to put it in.
      The WHO is not exactly a reliable, unbiased source. Problems with the WHO rankings have been noted by The CATO Institute:

      “One ranking claims to measure “overall attainment” (OA) while another claims to measure “overall performance” (OP). These two indices are constructed from the same underlying data, but the OP index is adjusted to reflect a country’s performance relative to how well it theoretically could have performed.”
      Using the OP rankings, the United States is number 37. But using the OA rankings, the United States is 15.
      25% of a country’s ranking is based on “financial fairness,” which is determined by looking at the “dispersion in the percentage of household income spent on health care.” As the reports says “The FF factor is not an objective measure of health attainment, but rather reflects a value judgment that rich people should pay more for health care, even if they consume the same amount.”
      The report notes this introduces a bias against countries that rely on market mechanisms for paying for health care.
      There’s another problem with FF, too: “Put more simply, the FF penalizes a country because some households are especially likely to become impoverished from health costs—but it also penalizes a country because some households are especially unlikely to become impoverished from health costs. In short, the FF factor can cause a country’s rank to suffer because of desirable outcomes.”

      Overall, the WHO rankings’ mathematical formulations serve only to distract attention from the authors’ underlying distaste for individual choice in health care. The report largely ignores the extraordinary benefits the American marketplace brings to health care worldwide, such as new drugs, advanced diagnostic instruments such as MRIs and CAT scans, and lifesaving therapies for cancer and heart-disease patients. Under a WHO-style health care system, lifesaving research and innovation would be stifled and individual choice would be discarded in favor of collective control. Bureaucrats would decide who receives care — and who does not — on the basis of statistical tallies that devalue the lives of the elderly, the disabled and the chronically ill.
      By contrast, a free-market health care system upholds the right of every person to make his own decisions. Patients are given choices, not issued numbers, and doctors are freed from impersonal “expert panels” dictating what care they can and cannot provide. The WHO’s idea of government-provided universal health care is a fantasy that masks a system of dangerous, formula-based rationing. If you value your health, don’t trust the WHO.
      http://wichitaliberty.org/health-care/world-health-organization-ranking-biased-not-reliable/
      http://www.cato.org/pubs/bp/bp101.pdf

      Via Scott W. Atlas, M.D., a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center:

      Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America’s health care system should be considered.

      Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.
      Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.
      Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.
      Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:
      • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
      • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
      • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
      • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).
      Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”[5]http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649

      Fact No. 4 hits home for me. My sister was diagnosed and treated for the initial stage of breast cancer within a very short amount of time. Not a month after the diagnosis, she received 6 weeks of radiation therapy resulting in erradication of the tumor. She gets an annual mamogram, and has received a clean bill of health. Had she been forced to submit to a government-rationed healthcare system, she would have had to wait until the government approved her care, what doctor she would see, if any, and whether or not timely treatment met government standards. She’d probably be dead.
      Don’t forget, doctors in this country are not limited to Medicare/Medicaid payments. Their options include payment from private insurance as well as those who can afford out-of-pocket expenses. That actually helps keep the costs and the waiting time down, as well as maintain a good level of quality. Doctors are not restrained by a the tangle of bureaucratic red tape like that of socialized medicine.
      Our healthcare system, even with all its faults, has yet to sink to the level of other countries with failed socialized medicine experiments.

      I don’t see Americans flocking to Europe or Canada the way foreigners come here for treatment.
      Must be something about the choices.

      SFC MAC

  11. The Center Square

    Dude! It is very hard to debate the wisdom of this plan if we cannot understand the facts. Let’s start with that. First of all, you mean $998 billion, not $998 trillion. Not that that changes your point, but still, c’mon.

    Secondly, let’s look at what the CBO actually does say (http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/104xx/doc10464/hr3200.pdf). The preliminary estimates released on July 17 looked at H.R. 3200. It concluded that the bill would add $239 billion total over 10 years to the deficit. That is $23.9 billion per year. Granted, that is not a net savings. But neither is it “spending us into a abyss” as you assert.

    You assert that “the quality of medical care, as demonstrated by countries who now find themselves in a socialized medicine quagmire, will take a nose dive.” Let’s break that down. There are two western countries with ‘socialized’-style medicine — i.e., where the government directs healthcare decisions — and those are Britain and Canada. Can you identify any similarities in the US plan to the programs in those countries? There are none. If you believe otherwise, you need to articulate those similarities. Be specific.

    Beyond that, how do you square your assertion of a nose dive in quality of medical care with the reality that the US is at the BOTTOM of the pack NOW? All these countries whose health systems you scorn are delivering BETTER quality medical care than we currently get in the US. Do you disagree with that fact?

    I hope you can re-assess your views against those facts, because you have some valid points to make. There IS a valid point that this is an enormously expensive undertaking. There IS a valid point that this represents an ideological shift that is hard for people who oppose government action to accept.

    But you need to construct your views on a foundation of facts, not ideology. If you believe it is too expensive, there is an argument to be made there. But your starting point cannot be the false statement that spending will increase by $998 trillion. The true starting point is that the government’s burden (if HR 3200 becomes the final plan) will increase by an average $24 billion per year. Explain why THAT is catastrophic.

    If you believe that quality of care will deteriorate, there is an argument to be made there. But your starting point cannot be the false statement that quality of care is worse in countries that already have government-based programs. The true starting point is that the quality of medical care in most of these other countries already ranks ahead of the US. Explain why THAT is catastrophic.

    Finally, I am simply curious: what, if anything, do you think the U.S. should do about the tens of millions of Americans who do not have insurance, who have limited or no access to healthcare? In other words, do you think the status quo is an acceptable outcome in this debate?

    Thanks for the conversation.

    1. Steve,

      First of all it’s “dudette”. Read the “about me and this blog” section.

      By all means, don’t allow your myopic support of ObamaCare get in the way of a solid foundation of facts.

      Yes, I MEANT TRILLION.
      To reiterate the CBO:

      Congressional Budget Office said the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years- a drop in the bucket compared to the bill’s $1 trillion price tag.
      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25415.html

      Wow. That’s a whole 0.2% savings.

      CBO: Key Obama Cost-Savings Plan Will Pay for 0.2% of Obamacare
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/07/cbo_key_obama_costsavings_plan.asp

      The CBO doesn’t like ObamaCare:

      Under questioning by members of the Senate Budget Committee, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose “the sort of fundamental changes” necessary to rein in the skyrocketing cost of government health programs, particularly Medicare. On the contrary, Elmendorf said, the measures would pile on an expensive new program to cover the uninsured.

      ……Elmendorf responded: “No, Mr. Chairman.” Although the House plan to cover the uninsured, for example, would add more than $1 trillion to federal health spending over the next decade, according to the CBO, it would trim about $500 billion from existing programs — increasing federal health spending overall.
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/16/AR2009071602242.html

      More on the ObamaCare bureaucracy:
      http://michellemalkin.com/2009/07/17/inside-the-monstrous-obamacare-bureaucracy/

      Specifics:
      A comparison of American health care with Canadian socialized medicine, from a CANADIAN:

      The most visible consequence of socialized medicine in Canada is in the poor quality of services. Health care has become more and more impersonal. Patients often feel they are on an assembly line. Doctors and hospitals already have more patients than they can handle and no financial incentive to provide good service. Their customers are not the ones who write the checks anyway.
      Read more: http://www.theadvocates.org/freeman/8903lemi.html

      READ THE COMMENT FROM A CANADIAN DOCTOR:

      Indeed, Canada’s provincial governments themselves rely on American medicine. Between 2006 and 2008, Ontario sent more than 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery — described by the Globe and Mail newspaper as “broken necks, burst aneurysms and other types of bleeding in or around the brain.”

      Only half of ER patients are treated in a timely manner by national and international standards, according to a government study. The physician shortage is so severe that some towns hold lotteries, with the winners gaining access to the local doc.
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451570546396929.html

      There’s a lot about socialized medicine to scorn.

      A breakdown of ObamaCare specifics from Investors Business Daily:

      Sure, we heard a lot of wonkish rhetoric — this president seems to think all he has to do is talk, and everyone will bend to his will — but there were few specifics.

      And a few specifics would be nice before we place our health care system — 17% of the economy — under government control.

      We didn’t even hear the president explain how he could demand immediate action on bills that he himself hasn’t read. (But then, to be fair, the somnambulant journalists in attendance didn’t bother to ask.)

      This became obvious Monday, when he was asked about a point we brought up in an editorial last week on whether the House bill in effect outlaws new private individual health care insurance the year it becomes law.

      “You know,” Obama told a group of hand-selected, sympathetic bloggers, “I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”

      Obama isn’t the only one who isn’t familiar with the “reform” he wants so badly. Tens of millions of other Americans are also trying to make heads or tails out of it — because it’s something that will affect each and every one of them.

      Fortunately, some people are sorting through the particulars. For example, the Lewin Group, a consulting firm respected for its nonpartisan analysis of health care issues, put out another report this week that found, among other things, that:

      • More than 88 million Americans could lose their employer-based health coverage as businesses switch to the new taxpayer-subsidized public option that will compete with private insurers for enrollment. Doesn’t this refute the claim that we can keep our current coverage?

      • Yearly premiums for Americans with private coverage could rise as much as $460 per person as a result of the cost-shifting that would result from the public option. How does this jibe with the claim that costs will be lower?

      • Physicians’ net income would fall by 6.3%, or an average of $18,900 per doctor, as a result of lower reimbursements under the public option and higher practice expenses associated with providing services to the newly insured.

      If this results in fewer doctors, what does it mean for the promise of better care, especially when 47 million more people are gaining access to the system?

      These questions and many others demand answers from the president — in or out of press conferences — as well as Congress before this legislation gets any further. Because all we’re being told now is that if we cede control to Washington, we’ll get better care for more people at lower costs, and these claims just don’t add up.

      One, care will be poorer as fewer doctors become overworked by the rush of newly insured patients. Two, more than 103 million Americans, the Lewin Group says, will be herded against their wishes into the government-run public option. Third, costs will keep rising because incentives to self-ration will be further weakened by a system that encourages patients to overuse it.

      Until we hear some specifics that refute our reading of the legislation, we remain unconvinced that government-run health care will live up to its promise.
      http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=333240344694377&kw=The Lewin Group

      Bottom of the pack? How did you come up with that ridiculous assertion? We lead the world in specialized care. Why do you think there’s such an influx of foreigners who come here to receive our care as well as practice medicine here?
      It’s a proven fact—substantiated by the doctors, patients, and overall decrease in care—that socialized medicine is an abject failure.

      Re-assess my views? Exchange freedom of choice for medical care to a socialist government-run health care system. No thanks. Ideological shift? Here’s where your ideology is a dead giveaway:

      ….this represents an ideological shift that is hard for people who oppose government action to accept.

      You’re damned right. I, and millions of other American refuse to goosestep to Dear Leader’s programs. Obama’s policies are chock full of socialist ideology. His mentors, friends, and associates include William Ayers, Frank Marshall Davis, and Saul Alinsky. He injects his ideology into every decision he makes. You want us to do an ‘ideological shift’ towards marxist politics. Don’t hold your breath. We will never relinquish free-market enterprise in favor of total government control. Not only no, but hell no. Most of us still advocate the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      An increase of $24 billion per year is acceptable to you? The end result of the Obama tax/spend/ orgy is a projected 23.7 trillion dollar deficit.
      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/20/watchdog-financial-bailout-support-reach-trillion/

      The flood of people into a government-mandated health care system will deplete the the quality of care.

      I should not have to explain why THAT is catastrophic.

      The tens of millions of people who do not have medical care are either elderly, or able bodied people who are perpetual welfare recipients, or disabled people like my sister, who already receive tax-subsidized Medicare and Medicaid. By all means, take care of the truly needy, but leave my right to options regarding my own health care provider and treatment alone. That should be the status quo.

      Ask yourself why so many people are up in arms over the Democrats’ shoving this monstrosity down our throats. Why do you think the Dems are busy squelching dissent and refusing to face their constituents? There’s absolutely nothing good about this bill. Aside from the outrageous spending involved, it will place even more burden on the already overwhelmed taxpayer. It will give total control of your healthcare to the government. That should scare the shit out of you. They will decide your fate. They will decide if you’re ‘sick enough’ to warrant treatment, what kind of treatment you’ll receive and which doctor you will have. You will have no choice. That’s not rhetoric. That’s not Democracy; that’s socialism.

      Thanks for the conversation, as well.
      SFC MAC

  12. The Center Square

    “WE still foot the bill to the tune of 998,000,000,000.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That is not the fact. The fact is that the federal government is expected to spend LESS if this plan is adopted than if it isn’t. That is why there is savings, according to the CBO. How can there be $998 billion in additional spending AND savings? That makes no sense.

    This is a good discussion here. Let me propose an arrangement. You respond to just my single point (above), and offer a single point of your own. I will then do the same. Otherwise, we (like the whole country) get lost in sweeping rhetoric. Sound good?

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      Correction: There WON’T BE any savings to speak of when you have to SPEND $998 billion just to “save” $2 billion, so that it doesn’t end up being 1 trillion. THAT doesn’t make any sense. What kind of government plan results in an astonomical deficit of $988 billion, yet still brags about a 2 billion dollar “savings”, as if it were something to be proud of. Which government school did you attend? “Savings….” That would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. That isn’t “rhetoric”, that’s a sad fact of government incompetence and socialist blundering.

      Do you really want the government spending us into a abyss that will take generations to pay off? Not only that, but the quality of medical care, as demonstrated by countries who now find themselves in a socialized medicine quagmire, will take a nose dive.

      I can handle more than one point at a time. How bout you?

      Answer the points I brought up in my previous comment. (‘status quo’, French healthcare).

      SFC MAC

  13. The Center Square

    I do understand and agree that this is an enormous undertaking, and shouldn’t be viewed lightly. But at the same time, I think people need to separate the facts from the rhetoric. For example, you cite, “For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.” Read that carefully. What it says it that the Obama plan will SAVE MONEY, albeit a tiny amount. That’s from your source.

    So, if YOUR source is saying the Obama plan saves money, even a little bit, how do you square that to your question “Who do think will foot the bill for this train wreck?” How do you square it to your statement, “If you think the cost of medical treatment is high enough now, just wait if Obama gets his way”? Based on your information, if we cannot afford Obama’s plan, then we can afford the status quo even less. Right?

    Regarding “The socialized medicine in Europe and Canada is so dicked up that seriously ill people will fly or drive here to get treatment,” let’s look at the French system, which the plan most closely resembles (it bears NO resemblance to the British and Canadian plans). The French cover 100% of their population; the system pays more (or all) the costs for extremely expensive care, such as cancer; all care is delivered in the private market, with little interference in diagnosis or treatment decisions from the government; and they post far better health outcomes than the US does. And, they do all of that for about 55% what we spend. Source: http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/wn_20090718_3933.php. What is bad about that? Wouldn’t we trade for that in a heartbeat? Shouldn’t we? If not, why not?

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      Re-Read this statement: “…the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.” A teeny, tiny amount. What does that tell you? Their plan will cost more than it’s worth.

      For instance, the proposal for an independent panel to “keep Medicare in check”. The amount of money it will “save” is miniscule and laughable compared to the bill’s $1 trillion price tag.

      ……the Congressional Budget Office said the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years- a drop in the bucket compared to the bill’s $1 trillion price tag.
      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25415.html

      Get it? Here, let me explain it so simply that an ObamaCare proponent can understand: 2,000,000,000 from 1,000,000,000,000 comes out to 998,000,000,000. In other words, enacting this train wreck will still cost the American taxpayers 998,000,000,000.

      WE still foot the bill to the tune of 998,000,000,000.

      Those are facts, not rhetoric.

      The ‘status quo’…like choosing my medical care, doctor, and insurance policy? You damned right I’d rather have the status quo than the government dictating my health care. Single payer system is not a good idea.

      1. It places healthcare in the hands of the government.

      2. If you want Washington bureaucrats making life and death decisions as to whether or not you, or members of your family, receive care or just go off and die, then the single payer system is for you.

      3. If you want to wait 6 months to a year for the care you need because the system is overwhelmed, then the single payer system is for you.

      As for me, I’ll take the ‘status quo’.

      What’s so bad about European (French) health care? For one thing our population is larger than France at a 5:1 ratio. You need better sources. How about from the French themselves:

      Obama’s package of heathcare reforms – mandatory health insurance, public health option and increased federal government financing – is being sold as preserving independent high quality care and choice for patients while keeping down costs. Taxpayers and patients in both Canada and France know better.

      Unfortunately, our experience is that once the government gets its nose in the healthcare tent, not only is spending not contained, but health care professionals lose their freedom to practice. Left with few choices, patients face shortages and waiting lists.

      ……Physicians’ freedom to practice outside the public option will become increasingly hedged with restrictions, perhaps ultimately ending up, as in Canada, with doctors in the public system being prohibited from taking private patients.

      Or, more plausibly, in the short term at least, private insurers will gradually withdraw from the business, incapable of winning against a government-subsidized “competitor.”

      In both cases, competition in the health insurance sector will progressively vanish and the U.S. will wake up with a monopolistic-style health insurance system, à la France or Canada.

      Consider yourself warned.

      Our respective health care systems have proven incapable of reining in rising costs. Health spending in France, while lower than the U.S., is among the highest in the world, whatever the indicator, despite decades of mandatory, subsidized health insurance. After 1988, the public health care system has regularly been in the red, with deficits numbered in the billions of euros. The forecast deficit for 2009 alone: 9.4 billion euros (over US$13 billion).

      French officials are scrambling to take more control of the system to bring these costs down, but Canada, where government controls all “medically necessary care,” shows that this is no solution at all. A growing share of Canadian provincial budgets is also swallowed by the health care system, going in 20 years (1983-2003) from 32% to 41% and on the way to 50% in a few short years. As a portion of GDP, and adjusting for population age, Canadian health care spending even ranked ahead of France’s in 2005.

      http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2009/07/20/healthcare-reforms-warnings-from-france-and-canada/

      Yeah, I want to exchange our current workable system for one like France. I wouldn’t trade our level of care for theirs. Ever.

      SFC MAC

  14. The Center Square

    Just a couple of comments, to ensure, as you put it, a healthy dose of reality. First, people should understand that the Lewin Group is a wholly-owned unit of health insurance giant United Healthcare. Source: http://www.lewin.com/WhyLewin/AboutUs/. Not that that inherently means their work is wholly bogus, but it does demand keen scrutiny.

    In contrast with the insurance industry’s (Lewin Group’s) estimates, “the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, under the House bill, the number of people with employer-sponsored insurance would climb to 162 million in 2016, which is 3 million more than expected under current law. Further, it said, enrollment in the proposed public plan might total 11 million, far lower than estimates cited by Republicans.” Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/health/policy/10facts.html?hp.

    Republicans trumpeted the CBO’s analysis when it showed problems with earlier drafts of the legislation. Let’s hope their admiration for the CBO does not wane, as it now contradicts the insurance industry’s warnings and projects better outcomes for the revised legislation. Personally, I’ll take the CBO’s view over that of the insurance industry any day.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

    1. Steve,

      Since we’re on the subject of a dose of reality and the Congressional Budget office….

      In yet more disappointing news for Democrats pushing for health care reform, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, offered a skeptical view Friday of the cost savings that could result from preventive care — an area that President Obama and congressional Democrats repeatedly had emphasized as a way health care reform would be less expensive in the long term.

      Obviously successful preventive care can make Americans healthier and save lives. But, Elmendorf wrote, it may not save money as Democrats had been arguing.

      http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08/congressional-budget-expert-says-preventive-care-will-raise-not-cut-costs.html

      The director of the Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf updated his projections for the budget and economic outlook and is now anticipating a $1.8 trillion deficit this year, and $1.4 trillion in 2010.
      http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=216

      In short, the US government is borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends.
      This train wreck is part and parcel to ObamaCare and every other aspect of his socialist tax/spend/hostile government takeover. By the time THE ONE gets through destroying our economy, we’ll have a deficit of 23.7 trillion dollars.
      http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/forget-a-9-trillion-deficit-how-about-23-7-trillion/
      The leftwing New York Times is very selective about which ‘facts’ it trumpets. Given Bill Keller’s blatant slant, keen scrutiny is a necessity.

      Speaking of keen scrutiny, you’d better see who’s bankrolling the ObamaCare push:

      In another sign of the urgency gripping the pro-health care reform camp, billionaire George Soros has pledged to sink $5 million into the fight, the group getting the money confirmed.

      Soros — whose operation carefully guards the privacy of such donations — made the pledge to Health Care For America Now, the leading coalition of pro-reform groups, unions and providers, HCAN chief Richard Kirsch confirmed in an email…
      http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/george-soros-pledges-5-million-to-bankroll-health-care-reform-push-group-says/

      As for the House Bill, the majority of proponents, who’ve never READ IT, need to scrutinize it a bit more. There’s a lot of unpleasant things buried in that 1000 page catastrophe, including cuts in care for the elderly.

      And since you’re into the CBO’s views, here’s another nugget:

      For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.

      A key House chairman and moderate House Democrats on Tuesday agreed to a White House-backed proposal that would give an outside panel the power to make cuts to government-financed health care programs. White House budget director Peter Orszag declared the plan “probably the most important piece that can be added” to the House’s health care reform legislation.

      But on Saturday, the Congressional Budget Office said the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years- a drop in the bucket compared to the bill’s $1 trillion price tag.
      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25415.html

      That totally contradicts Obama’s claims of “cost-saving provisions”. Funny, but just about every assessment from the CBO is at odds with the Obama party line.
      Personally, I’ll take their view as well.

      I cannot emphasize this enough:

      (One of my comments on a previous post):

      If the government takes over health care in this country, there will be a Darwinization of medicine. Government claims agents will be appointed to decide whether or not your life is worth saving or if it’s “necessary” to provide treatment. The government will decide which doctor you will have, what kind of treatment will be allocated, and when. Like Canada. Like Britain. Like Germany. You will have no choice.

      If you think the cost of medical treatment is high enough now, just wait if Obama gets his way.
      Who do think will foot the bill for this train wreck? If you said “the already overburdened taxpayers”, congratulations.

      The socialized medicine in Europe and Canada is so dicked up that seriously ill people will fly or drive here to get treatment. If anyone is stupid enough to believe that we should model our system after theirs, by all means travel to Canada, and see for yourself.

      And take a number.

      The bottom line is the government wants to take away your choice of employer-sponsored insurance and private insurance, and replace it with an exclusive government-run health care system.
      No one in their right mind wants the government to seize control of their health care.

      SFC MAC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial