Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category
ObamaCare Isn’t Inevitable
While still good, President Barack Obama’s political health is deteriorating, threatened by what he thought would be balm — his ambitious plan for a government takeover of health care.
Mr. Obama remains slightly more popular than most presidents have been in their opening months. But his job approval rating has drifted down to 60% in the RealClearPolitics.com average. His disapproval numbers have nearly doubled to 33%.
More troubling to Team Obama is the growing gap between the president’s approval rating and declining support for major items on his policy agenda. Independents are increasingly joining Republicans in opposition to administration initiatives that range from reviving the economy to closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo.
Things will likely get worse in the coming months as the congressional stage comes to be dominated by health care. A new poll by Resurgent Republic (a nonprofit, right-of-center education organization whose creation I helped spur), reveals some of the president’s challenges. By a 60%-to-31% margin, Americans prefer getting their health coverage through private insurance rather than the federal government.
Mr. Obama’s record-setting spending binge has also made Americans more sensitive to deficits and higher taxes. Thirty-nine percent said they supported “a health-care plan that raises taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans,” while 52% preferred “a plan that does not provide health insurance to all Americans but keeps taxes at current levels.” By a 58%-to-37% margin, American prefer reforming health care “without raising taxes or increasing the deficit” to government investing “new resources to make sure it is done right.”
This is why Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus blanched when committee staffers priced his — which is also the Obama administration’s — draft legislation at a cool $1.6 trillion over the next decade.
The federal government will release an update on the deficit in mid-July, which will likely increase the public’s fear of deficit spending. The current fiscal year’s $1.8 trillion deficit is likely to grow significantly.
There is some good news in the Resurgent Republic poll for Mr. Obama if he can sell his plan as shifting power from “insurance bureaucrats to consumers.” Resurgent’s poll found that Americans favor that by 57% to 38%.
But to argue, as Mr. Obama does, that a government-run health-care plan can control costs better than a market-based system is a mistake. This argument is belied by Medicare’s experience. A study published by the Pacific Research Institute finds that since 1970 Medicare’s costs have risen 34% a year faster than the rest of health care.
Mr. Obama’s trashing of American health care as “a broken system” that must be brought “into the 21st century” doesn’t resonate with most Americans. They are happy about their health care, doctor and hospital. Resurgent’s poll found that 83% of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of care they and their families receive.
Nearly everyone agrees that some reforms are needed. But it is also vital to protect areas of excellence and innovation. Stanford University professor Scott Atlas points out that from 1998 to 2002 nearly twice as many new drugs were launched in the U.S. as in Europe. According the U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Report, some 2,900 new drugs are now being researched here. America’s five top hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country, according to Mr. Atlas. And a McKinsey Co. study reports that 40% of all medical travelers come to the United States for medical treatment.
Transforming health care into a government-run system would be difficult to do under any circumstances. Americans are still wary about big government. Health-care reform also always sounds better in the abstract. Public resistance rises once liberals are forced to release the details of their plans.
Meanwhile, the $787 billion stimulus package has not provided the economic kick Mr. Obama promised. The $410 billion Omnibus spending bill the president signed in March and his $3.5 trillion budget plan for next year are also adding to the river of red ink.
Health-care reform was said to be “inevitable” a few months ago. Today, its prospects are less certain, even to Democrats. The issue may even turn out to be a millstone for the party.
Americans are increasingly concerned about the cost — in money and personal freedom — of Mr. Obama’s nanny-state initiatives. To strengthen the emerging coalition of independents and Republicans, the GOP must fight Mr. Obama’s agenda with reasoned arguments and attractive alternatives. Health care may actually be an issue that helps resurrect the GOP.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
The biggest issue that lies before America is Barack Hussein Obama’s version of national health care. Obama claims that increasing demands on the health care system, which his plan surely will do, is somehow going to lower costs while increasing quality.
Based on the experiences of other countries, including Canada and European nations, Obama-care eventually may lower unit costs modestly (mainly through rationing). On the minus side, it will decimate the quality of care. It will make the world’s gold standard in health care — the U.S. — start to resemble your local Department of Motor Vehicles (“take a number please”).
I’ll be writing on this subject for the next week to 10 days, and I hope you’ll follow along.
One way Obama wants to control health costs is by increasing the number of abortions, both in the U.S. and worldwide. The basic concept is that dead embryos don’t incur any additional health costs. I’ll write more about that later.
For now, however, I want to focus on the severely infirm and/or “terminally ill” elderly. Here’s what Obama recently said about them. He admitted he wants the government to decide what health care Americans receive.
“There’s always going to be an asymmetry of information between patient and provider,” he said. “And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options.” In other words, the federal government would be a middle-man, basically usurping a doctor’s determination what treatment is appropriate.The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
Washington (AP) – President Barack Obama sees expansion of government health insurance to millions of lower-income children as a first step of several to come in providing coverage for all Americans.
Ending a two-year effort by Democrats, Obama signed legislation Wednesday that will allow about 7 million children to continue coverage through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and allow an additional 4 million to sign up.
“The way I see it, providing coverage to 11 million children through CHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American,” Obama said at a White House bill-signing ceremony.
The measure was similar to two bills vetoed by former President George W. Bush. It was pushed through both the House and Senate by Democrats eager to give Obama an early victory on health care.
Most lawmakers and advocacy groups in the health reform debate acknowledge that the next steps toward reform will be harder than expanding SCHIP, given the increasing federal deficit.
More ambitious changes envisioned by Obama will face entrenched interests in the health care community and Republicans who oppose expanding government-funded insurance.
“Republicans are committed to making health care more affordable, more accessible and offer more options to American families,” said Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “Unfortunately, the only options we’ve seen so far this Congress would push us to a one-size-fits all government-run system.”
And not all Democrats are on the same page with Obama. Montana Sen. Max Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, plans to put together a bill that differs from the president’s goal of universal coverage.
Obama acknowledged the difficulties of reforming health care at Wednesday’s bill-signing ceremony “It won’t be easy; it won’t happen all at once,” the president said. “But this bill that I’m about to sign, that wasn’t easy either.”
Since August 2007, the House voted seven times to expand the children’s health insurance program. Opposition from Bush helped stiffen Republican resolve and helped block passage of the measures.
During final debate Wednesday before the bill passed the House, 290-135, Republicans criticized the cost of the measure. They also criticized allowing into the program an estimated 2.4 million children who otherwise might have access to private insurance.
“This debate is about, do we want a children’s health insurance program that covers every child in America with state and federal dollars regardless of their ability to pay?” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. “Do we want to freeze out the private sector for health insurance?”
But supporters said that ensuring children had access to adequate health care was a matter of priorities. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said an estimated 4 million people have lost employer-sponsored insurance in the past year.
“Do they keep their families’ health insurance or do they put food on the table at night? During this economic recession, these kinds of decisions are unfortunately becoming more common,” Pallone said.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
When you read this and think about what Universal Health care will actually do to America, it scares the dickens out of you!!! I like my health care just like it is now, I may have to pay more than I like, but it is better than the alternative.
By PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY | Posted Tuesday, December 09, 2008
You are sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with eight other sick patients, and the nurse announces: The doctor will see all of you now — at the same time. That’s how the Boston Globe recently described shared visits that are being used to cope with the long waits now customary in Massachusetts.
Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama are planning that the new Democratic Congress’ first order of business will be to extend the Massachusetts health care mistake to all 50 states. Like other legislative rush-acts (i.e., the 2007 amnesty bill and the 2008 bailouts), details are currently withheld to avoid giving members of Congress and the public adequate time to analyze the bill before the vote is called.
If Kennedy succeeds in his goal of using the Massachusetts plan as a model for national health care, average Americans will no longer get immediate access to medical care. They will have the long waits and massive new taxpayer costs that the Massachusetts plan has produced.
Defending the practice of group visits, one doctor told the Boston Globe: “People came to me with similar complaints, and I had these canned speeches.” The doctor does not ask the patients to take off their clothes in front of the group — he makes do with less effective, fully clothed examinations.
The group session consists mostly of hearing other people’s complaints, while the doctor dishes out advice in front of all the patients. Privacy and modesty are gone, but you can pick up the germs of the other sick patients in the room with you.
One doctor observed that “this is not the type of medical care anyone with a modicum of intelligence would want.” Is this the change Obama promised?
At Holyoke Health Center in Boston, patients wait four months simply to get an appointment. This causes some patients to go to costly emergency rooms for routine visits.
While emergency rooms are handling routine matters and taking medical histories, people who need urgent attention wait in line. In parts of western Massachusetts, which is non-urban, like most of the United States, the wait has grown longer than one year just to get a physical.
The Massachusetts health care plan is universal and mandatory. The Massachusetts plan also introduces other words into the health care vocabulary, such as group diagnosis, long waits, rationing, forced taxes and high costs.
The Massachusetts plan forces people to buy insurance they do not want or need. Once they are compelled to pay for it, they naturally want something for their money, and that crowds out people who really need medical care.
The Massachusetts plan is a fiscal disaster, costing far more than estimated, with no end in sight. Massachusetts is wealthier than most states, but this plan threatens to bankrupt even it.
The Massachusetts plan forces people to buy insurance under threat of having to pay a penalty on their income tax return. Kennedy’s staff has been quietly meeting with the insurance industry to make sure it will be just as happy with a national version of mandatory insurance as it is in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts politicians had promised voters not to worry about costs because the state would collect $95 million in fees in the first year from small businesses that do not insure their employees. But those fees were never collected because small businesses cannot afford this, and taxpayers are forced to ante up that shortfall.
Massachusetts taxpayers were not told that this plan forces public funding for abortion by anyone who wants one, not only the poor. Kennedy’s plan will likely try to force Americans nationwide to pay for all abortions as the Massachusetts plan does, perhaps by regulations if not by statute.
Massachusetts medical care is beginning to look like Canada, where waiting lists, rationing and travel to foreign countries for care have become the norm. Meanwhile, members of Congress continue to enjoy special gold-plated health care not available to most Americans.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who is a high-paid health care consultant for a lobbying firm, is expected to be appointed secretary of health and human services. He is holding town hall meetings this month to create the illusion of public support for the Kennedy plan.
As HHS secretary, Daschle will write the regulatory details that Congress doesn’t dare put in the proposed statute. So much for Obama’s promise to change Washington, eliminate the influence of lobbyists and avoid conflicts of interest!
Obama is planning to use his giant campaign database to pressure Congress into speedy action. Americans will have to protest quickly if they want to prevent the mandatory and expensive Massachusetts plan from being forced on the country.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie