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Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

Shortages always occur and the poor always suffer with government schemes because price signals (and profit) are not linked to supply-and-demand. In the free market, when demand begins to outpace supply, prices and profits rise — and more producers and employees gravitate to the lucrative field.  This is why there has never been a severe shortage of a free market good or service, e.g., televisions, cars, computers, etc.)  With government controlled industries, this pricing mechanism is destroyed.  As an example, Medicaid reimbursements are now so low that profits of primary care physicians are dropping as their work load increases.  And fewer people are entering the field. We have already seen how this turns out in other countries.  This is why in 2009, 750 women in labor in Great Britain were turned away from hospitals and waiting lists are torturous in Canada for those who can’t afford to pay to travel to the U.S.   Now according to an article in Wall St. Cheat Sheet, Obamacare is bringing this problem to the U.S.  “By throwing nine million additional people into the system, without finding a remedy for this problem, the Affordable Care Act will make it even harder for Medicaid patients to find doctors…
“If Medicaid patients and new exchange enrollees cannot actually see doctors, their only recourse will to visit the emergency rooms for care. But with so many ERs filled over capacity, causing the closure of more than 650 in the past two decades, that is not a good solution. There are facts that back up this supposition; Harvard researchers have discovered that emergency room utilization increased in all 11 Massachusetts hospitals after a carbon-copy of Obamacare was implemented in 2006.”

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“I am Obamacare” woman is not poor, did not qualify for Medicaid, and could have purchased insurance. Still, Obamacare spent $30,000 to reduce what should have been a $14000+ bill to a $4000+ bill –and with her current cost of insurance, this was not even a good deal for her.

Let us be clear: No one in the United States is denied medical care because of a lack of money. No one. Medicaid covers all necessary medical operations for the poor. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at the medical story of “Miss M,” now famous as the “I am Obamacare” woman, to show how misleading the story is. What her famous note is implying and what politicians who spread her story would like you to believe is that Miss M is poor, that poor women in the United States could not get hysterectomies and so were dying of cancer, and that President Obama saved her life and paid for all her bills. All of these implications are not just false; they are dangerously so. As we shall see, under Obamacare, Miss M would have paid significantly more for her operation than without it – or if she had a Health Savings Account. Worse, the true cost of her operation exposes how harmful this program will be for the poor. Here are the facts:
1) Medicaid pays for hysterectomies –as well as all other necessary medical expenses. Poor women not only were getting hysterectomies in the U.S., but they were getting the highest quality medical care in the world – and without the dangerous and agonizing wait lines of nations with single payer systems. The only reason Miss M would not qualify for Medicaid and a “free” hysterectomy is because she is not poor.
2) Miss M admits that despite being employed she was not buying health insurance for herself – which is now illegal under Obamacare. Indeed, all the pro-HCR politicians derided those who were choosing not to purchase healthcare as “free riders” who were “gaming the system.” Today, Miss M is paying $237 a month in insurance. Had she been paying this same amount since she was 27, she would have paid $22,752 into insurance companies by the time she was 34. This is what she is advocating everyone be forced to do.
3) According to Healthcare Blue Book, the total fair price for a full hysterectomy with cancer in the U.S. is $14,125 – including operation, anesthesia, physician services and hospital stay. Miss M’s bill, she notes, was $40,316.02 – and, according to her, this did “not include the doctor, assistant, the anesthesiologist…” Why would she not check prices ahead of time and search for a less expensive hospital rather than pay nearly three times the amount of a fair price for a full hysterectomy for cancer, seemingly setting fire to more than $26,000? Because it is not her money. The government is paying for it. Such lack of price shopping, wasteful spending, and perverse incentives is the main driver of the high health costs today—and Obamacare will only add to it.
4) Miss M then notes that she is still forced to pay $4155.69 for the operation. (Note that this is nearly as much as the highest of high deductibles for people with a Health Savings Account!) But she is thankful it is so cheap. Unfortunately, she is forgetting the $22,752 she would have been paying into insurance companies for the previous 8 years, as forced by Obamacare. So instead, her own out of pocket expenses would have been $26907.69 for all her medical expenses of the last 8 years, including an operation that probably would have only cost her $14,125 if she had price shopped and negotiated. Meanwhile, the taxpayer, a word not mentioned on her blog, was on the hook for roughly $30,000 for her operation. And she is also a taxpayer and helps pay for that too.
5) Had she purchased a cheap, high-deductible plan for $50 to $100 a month, she would have been likely billed $5000, not much more than the $4155.69 in Obamacare – for which she is currently paying $237 per month. Over 8 years this high deductible would only have cost $4800 to $9600 – as opposed to the $22,752 at her current insurance rate. She’s paying $10000 to $20000 more with Obamacare. The same is true if, instead of a high deductible, she had put her $237 a month into a savings account that she set aside for health care. In both these cases, she saves a significant amount of money, and the tax payer pays nothing. But despite all the extra money Miss M would have been paying, she is still getting a better deal than the vast majority of young women between the ages of 27 to 34 – who never need such a major operation. They are truly the victims of Obamacare, forced to overpay insurance companies and then forced to overpay taxes for an inefficient system – and never reaping benefits.
6) Miss M says, “Without Health Care Reform, PCIP would not exist and I would not have been able to get the insurance I needed to get the surgery I required.” Well, if she means she couldn’t have waited until she needed an operation and then purchased insurance after the fact, that is true. However, the notion that she was too poor to afford a $50 to $100 a month for a high deductible plan is false. If so, she would have qualified for Medicaid. What is more, even if we assume she never purchased any insurance, even a cheap high deductible, and never saved any money, her total bill would have been $14,125. For the same $237 she’s paying now, she could have paid that off with $150-a-month loan and still have money to pay for an $87 high deductible insurance plan. Plus, she would have saved the $4155.69 she owes with Obamacare. Oh, and she would have saved the $22,752 that she didn’t pay into insurance for the prior 8 years, which she would now be forced to do. And again, economically speaking she is getting a better deal than most women her age in Obamacare. The vast majority of healthy women at her age are exclusively payers into the system – and get essentially no benefit at all.
7) Finally, as is always the case in big government systems, the biggest victims will be the poor. When the government can no longer be so wasteful, it will have to start implementing Venezuelan-style price controls, which is happening now in Massachusetts. This will stress doctors and hospitals, cause many medical centers to close, stop many doctors and hospitals from taking Medicaid patients, and cause practitioners to leave the system. Then come the wait lines –as the wealthy move to the head of the line with private hospitals. The poor will still have a “right” to “free” health care, they just now won’t be able to get it.  As we saw in Canada, that’s when the real tragedy begins.

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Idaho may opt for nullification and refuse to obey the mandates of Health Care Reform. So what happens then? Will the current administration send in the troops -- in order to make the people of Idaho healthier?

In their exasperation at being forced to adopt Obamacare, Idaho is seriously considering nullification, the concept by which a state refuses to follow Federal Mandates that, in the view of the state, exceed its constitutional limits.  This is a rather rare and even desperate maneuver, typically indicating an extremely sharp ideological divide between different regions of the nation.  In 1854, Wisconsin nullified the Federal Fugitive Slave Act which forced all states to capture and return escaped slaves.  If Idaho follows through with the threat, we could witness a potentially volatile situation where the current administration might send in federal troops to enforce their laws and arrest those people who refuse to purchase health insurance or pay any fines.  This would  be a rather vivid emphasizing of the oft-neglected fact that all laws are enforced at gunpoint, helping expose the authoritarian and domineering mindset that undergirds all progressive schemes.  Moreover, it is likely a number of people might see the irrationality of the current administration using armed Federal agents in siege-like showdowns in an effort to punish the uninsured.  They’re going to make you healthier, you see, even if they have to jail you. (more…)

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Yesterday (12/14/10), the Virginia judge, Henry Hudson, observed the otherwise obvious fact that the extraordinarily peculiar and shamelessly authoritarian notion that the U.S. federal government can force you to purchase some product, whether you want it or not, is unconstitutional.  The government in its defense had argued it had the right to enforce this mandate under the Commerce Clause, which is an extraordinary perversion of the actual meaning of that clause.  Quite obviously, just being alive in the U.S. and not purchasing health care is not an example of engaging in interstate commerce.  As he often does, Judge Napolitano has provided a brilliant analysis of this clause and the current administration’s effort to overrun it, and I encourage all to watch his video.

Another video, below, helps underscore the mentality of this administration (and the Justices they promote) regarding the Congressional powers imbued by the Commerce Clause.  Here Senator Tom Coburn cleverly exposes the fact that Elena Kagan actually believes the Commerce Clause allows the Congress to force every citizen to eat three vegetables and fruits every day.

Napolitano helps bring us back to reality. As his video points out, the original, libertarian intention of the Commerce Clause in the constitution is quite clear.  (more…)

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Last year, in the UK, hospitals turned away 750 women in labor -- and some had to drive as far as 99 miles to find an available facility.

Many frightening and cruel examples of lack of access to quality health care abound throughout the industrialized world.  Unfortunately, since these occur exclusively in nations with socialized health care or because of semi-socialist schemes, we rarely hear about it.  (more…)

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Here are the actual top ten countries ranked in terms of quality of health care provided, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

1) United States
2) Switzerland
3) Luxembourg
4) Denmark
5) Germany
6) Japan
7) Norway (7-8)
8] Canada (7-8)
9) Netherlands
10) Sweden

This is actually far more in line with what most educated people should suspect about national ranks in terms of provision of health care – and corresponds with common knowledge about world-class hospitals, surgeons, education, medical technologies, pharmaceutical industries, access, etc.
So why do we frequently hear that the WHO ranks the US 37th in the world, just a bit ahead of Cuba, in “health care”?  That number refers to the WHO’s “overall healthcare ranking” – which relies on a combination of criteria, most of it ideological in nature. Incredibly, in the WHO’s overall rankings, quality of health care provided (referred to in the WHO’s annoyingly bland, scholastic jargon as “responsiveness”) only makes up 12.5% of their calculus. Instead, the WHO places much greater significance on such categories as “fairness in financial contribution” and “health distribution” – which are categories devoted to determining how close a nation achieves what WHO believes to be a socialist ideal.

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