Tag Archives: healthcare

Making health insurance available and less expensive for low income workers

Another one from the “I told you so” files, McDonalds will drop insurance coverage for about 30,000 low wage workers because of requirements in the health care law.

Obviously, they are making health care more affordable by making it unavailable.

And I’m sure there’s more of this to come!


What an excellent point

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek asks a very good question in a letter to the NY Times.

Apart from supplying national defense, policing, and courts of law, there’s no duty that people believe to be more central to the core role of government than building and maintaining infrastructure.  So if government can’t or won’t perform one of its core functions, why entrust it with additional functions – such as managing the costs of medical care – that are not at its core?

Yes.  Why would anyone think the Government, which can’t do the basic things it’s charged with doing efficiently, can handle more complicated things, like the entire health care industry?

Harder than it looks

The One is going to learn being President and running for re-election is much more difficult when you have an actual record.

The Cato Institute puts together a nice summary of all His positions on ObamaCare

First, The One said there will be no individual mandate.

Then, The One signed a law with an individual mandate.

Then, The One said an individual mandate is not a tax.

Then, when faced with a Constitutional challenge to a law very few people want (or understand), The One’s administration says the individual mandate is a tax, because that makes the law Constitutional.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so scary.

This simply can not be possible

In the US, with our substandard health care, long waits, and incredible expense, cancer death rates are dropping.  Oh, and that’s with better detection and people living longer, both things that should make this look worse, not better.

Of course, on the same day, the news was released that The One will appoint Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare.  As a recess appointment (something Candidate Obama wouldn’t have done) to avoid scrutiny of his record, which some might find a touch troubling.

Please don’t put your faith in market forces,” he said (italics in original).  “It’s a popular idea: that Adam Smith’s invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can. I find little evidence that market forces relying on consumers choosing among an array of products, with competitors fighting it out, leads to the healthcare system you want and need. In the US, competition is a major reason for our duplicative, supply driven, fragmented care system.”

Berwick argued that purposely provided an inadequate supply of health-care—as Britain’s health-care system does—is superior to allowing the market to provide an excess.

“In America, the best predictor of cost is supply; the more we make, the more we use—hospi­tal beds, consultancy services, procedures, diagnostic tests,” Dr. Berwick wrote.  “… Here, you choose a harder path. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too lit­tle of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.”

Because everyone knows that mean old free market with its excessive healthcare availability can’t possibly be as good as one with planned shortages.

In case it didn’t catch your eye the first time, this is the mantra of state run, centrally planned healthcare:

You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too lit­tle of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.

Good luck with that.  I’m gonna buy it on my own.

Wow, here’s a shocker

The health care reform bill will raise costs.  I mean, who would have predicted that?

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs. It also warned that Medicare cuts may be unrealistic and unsustainable, driving about 15% of hospitals into the red and “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.

The mixed verdict for Obama’s signature issue is the first comprehensive look by neutral experts.

In particular, the warnings about Medicare could become a major political liability for Democratic lawmakers in the midterm elections. Seniors are more likely to vote than younger people and polls show they are already deeply skeptical of the law.

Of course, we should wait, as this information has not been blessed by The One.

The report from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary carried a disclaimer saying it does not represent the official position of the Obama administration. White House officials have repeatedly complained that such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law’s potential to achieve savings.

That mean old math making people pessimistic.

In addition to flagging the cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers as potentially unsustainable, it projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular program. Enrollment would plummet by about 50%, as the plans reduce extra benefits that they currently offer. Seniors leaving the private plans would still have health insurance under traditional Medicare, but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.

In another flashing yellow light, the report warned that a new voluntary long-term care insurance program created under the law faces “a very serious risk” of insolvency.

I guess we’ll just need another bill to fix this one.  I trust them, don’t you?

They PUT the loopholes there!

The headline reads:

Insurance Companies Find Loopholes in New Health Bill

No.  The insurance companies were in on writing the bill.

The White House and lawmakers are bracing themselves for what is sure to be an onslaught of problems and ambiguities in the aftermath of the health care bill being signed into law.

Which sums up nicely why so many were against it, and why so many people in Congress will be looking for new jobs in the fall.

I talked about the baby with a preexisting condition here.

The unintended consequenses already started

And Waxman is going to get to the bottom of it.

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has summoned some of the nation’s top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses.  Waxman is also demanding that the executives give lawmakers internal company documents related to health care finances — a move one committee Republicans describes as “an attempt to intimidate and silence opponents of the Democrats’ flawed health care reform legislation.”

On Thursday and Friday, the companies — so far, they include AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, Deere, Valero Energy, AK Steel and 3M — said a tax provision in the new health care law will make it far more expensive to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees.  Now, both retirees and current employees of those companies are wondering whether the new law could mean reduced or canceled benefits for them in the future.

The health care reform bill increases costs to companies, and those that are publicly traded are required by law to immediately make adjustments for new laws.  So a bunch of them are.  That’s apparently not what the Democrats wanted, so we’ll have hearings.   Go figure.

Any predictions on what they do when health insurance premiums skyrocket?

Quote of the Day, Polish Edition

Today’s QotD comes from our housekeeper. Magda moved to the US from Poland several yeas ago. In Poland, she was a professional (an accountant, I think). Here, she cleans houses for about $20 an hour. In Poland, she had access all the grand services of European Socialism, including, of course, healthcare.  She came here to better her life.

She asked my wife what she thought about the health care bill passing, and after my wife’s response, she said:

It will be just like at home.  If you need something special, like an MRI, you will have to wait a year.  It’s OK for regular things, but for special, you need to pay to get care faster.

There’s a reason people give up their lives and leave their homeland to move here.  There’s a reason people risk their lives to travel 90 miles in the water using not much more than an inner tube to get to our shores.

We are slowly getting rid of those reasons.  When they’re gone, where will people run to freedom?

I’m just not that worked up about it

As I’m sure you know, the House passed the Senate version of health care ‘reform’.  As I’m also sure you know, there’s a lot of hand wringing and celebration, depending on your perspective.

I’m not all that worked up about it.  I’m actually far more angry that my money is being used to buy votes than I am about what they were voting on, although I’m certainly not a supporter of passing this bill.

Here’s why I’m not worked up:

It’s not all that different from the current system. Sure, it’s going to be a less effective and more expensive version of the current system, but at least a lot of the costs and redistribution will be transparent.  We weren’t going to move towards what I’d like (and what would work), which is a system where the patient is the consumer and pays most of the costs at the time of service (fee for service).

I can provide for myself. I suggested previously that you plan for Obamacare.   I will not need to rely on the government for my health care, so plans can get worse, they can ration care, I will always be able to pay my own way if I need to get better care.  They can talk all they want about making care the same for everyone, but they can’t actually do it.  So while the rest of you move towards more expensive less effective care, I will be in a position to spend my own money and get whatever I need.  Sure, my taxes will go up, sure costs will go up, but I either can handle it or will work to be able to handle it.

It’s unconstitutional, and I have some faith in the Supreme Court. Might be 5-4, but right now, I’m pretty sure when the challenges get to the Court, most, if not all, of this law will be ruled unconstitutional.  Because it is… nowhere does the Constitution give Congress the power to do this.

This vote will destroy the power of the Left for 20 years. I’m completely convinced the Left has committed suicide with this.  Congress will learn just what Change ™ means in November, and President Obama will be replaced in 2012.  My hope is that we will see a more limited government movement, with the power struggle between big government Republicans and new small government Republicans and Libertarians, giving Liberty an actual shot.

My final point:  if you are counting on the government to take care of you, expect to be disappointed.

Quote of the Day, healthcare edition

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek says

Putting any part of the economy into the hands of politicians is like putting the space program into the hands of astrologers.

And no, I’m not surprised at Donna Edwards lack of intelligence.

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