Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Three Early Failures of Obamacare

October 5, 2010

We have barely seen the Obamacare Healthcare Plan go into effect and so far, there have already been three big failures.  I’m sure we’ll see many more as the plan is more widely implemented.

1.  Since they can’t raise rates for pre-existing conditions, the companies will just raise the rates for everyone.

One of the main points in Obamacare is that insurers cannot deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition.  However, nothing in the legislation prevents the companies from raising rates on everyone in order to cover the people with pre-existing conditions.

2.  Insurance companies have decided to stop selling children only plans.

Rather than take on sick kids with pre-existing conditions when parents sign them up for child only plans, the insurers will just stop selling the coverage.  Talk about your backfires.

3.   McDonald’s will drop their partial policy for over 30,000 workers.

So, rather than allow McDonald’s to provide partial coverage to their part-time workers that covers doctor visits and basic medical care, Obamacare mandates that the company provides full coverage.  Instead of making this commitment, McDonald’s will just stop providing any coverage at all.  You could argue that McDonald’s is “evil” for choosing to keep their money, but you could also argue that government intervention is ruining a situation that is working.

I’m sure these cases are just the tip of the iceberg.  The healthcare companies and drug companies spent millions lobbying for the healthcare overhaul.  I’m sure there will be more problems like this that arise, and we won’t have any recourse unless we repeal all or portions of the law.

Obama’s Healthcare “Overhaul”

May 10, 2009

Update – The more I read about this “savings” plan, the more I realize that it is really a way for the healthcare companies to lock in profits for the next 10 years.  You know that any time an industry as big as healthcare voluntarily offers a deal to the government, it is really to benefit themselves.  So, rather than opening a real healthcare debate, they have preemptively offered a $2 trillion savings.  They say “savings” but it is really a reduction in the rate of growth of healthcare spending.  Since the current rate growth is 7%, they are saying that if it was only 1.5%, the country would save $2 trillion in 10 years.  That’s not savings.

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President Obama has announced an “overhaul” of the healthcare system that he touts will save trillions of dollars.  Big healthcare companies are on board as well, because they promise to only raise costs 1.5% a year.  That sounds great, that costs will be controlled, but why should they go up anyway?  This just guarantees a 1.5% increase in their revenue each year.  We should be making huge cuts that result in decreases, not capped increases.

Also, Obama’s plan basically revolves around digitizing our medical records to make hospitals more efficient.  I guess, over the next 200 years, that could save trillions, but what about the up front costs?  There will have to be an increase in cost to digitize all the records and buying equipment to store them.  Who will pick up the tab?  If the government does, then it falls on the taxpayer.  If the government doesn’t, then it will be passed on through premiums.  It’s a lose-lose for the American public.

The only way we will ever control costs and cut health care costs is going to be to get the government and big healthcare providers out of the game.  Until then, costs will continue to skyrocket, and the quality of care will continue to decline.

Already Tired of Obama’s Changes

January 21, 2009

Yesterday was a very important day in American history, don’t get me wrong.  Having a black president is amazing, and it happened a lot sooner than anyone thought it would.  This should be an event that is celebrated as an example of American diversity and open-mindedness.

However, Obama ran on a platform of “change” and so far, it all sounds like a lot more of the same.  The changes he wants to make is just to add to existing programs that already aren’t working.

His speech yesterday called for developing sources of alternative energy, lowering the cost of healthcare, and bettering our education system.

While these are great goals for the country, I wonder why we all believe that the Federal Government is best suited to fix all that ails us.  We can all agree that the current systems are horribly inefficient and do not accomplish what they are supposed to do.  Why should we trust that bureaucrats tweaking the current models is the best way to go?  Who made politicians experts in these fields overnight?

First, if we are to truly to explore forms of alternative energy, we need the government and lobbyists to get out of the way and let the market take over.  There is no reason every new home built should not have solar panels or that new electric car companies should not be emerging.  However, the regulations in place stifle competition and the innovation that made America the great manufacturer it once was.

The big oil and car makers have created a competitive advantage to keep the same cars on the road.  How have we not innovated the basic gas engine in 90 years?  Finally, solar and wind power are gaining ground, but because we are demanding it, not because government is pushing for it.  Let market forces and demands of consumers dictate our energy policy, not lobbyists for companies that stand to profit from one specific alternative energy source.

Second, the only way we are going to bring down the cost of healthcare is to start paying for it ourselves.  I’m not talking about co-pays and premiums, I’m talking about doctor visits, prescriptions, and other routine health services.  We also need to turn health coverage back into health insurance, just as Ron Paul has suggested.  Insurance is for disasters, not going to the doctor for a cold.

Currently, the government or big healthcare corporations pay for doctors, drugs and treatments.  We only pay into the system, but we do not make any direct payments.  This completely distorts the costs because a third party is making the payments.  They have no sense of value and “bang for their buck.”  They have set up payment structures and just collect money.  They do not try to control costs for the patients as long as they make money.

Think about what happens when  you go to a body shop for your car.  The first question they ask is if it’s going through insurance or not.  If it is, they crank up the price, and if you aren’t, they usually have a lower price.  Why can’t we see the same thing is happening with our healthcare?

In order to provide “universal healthcare” we need to make it affordable to everyone, not having government foot the bill for the current cost of care.  Insurance could be purchased based on your needs which would be for catastrophes.  The rest could be set aside in pre-tax health savings accounts.

Also, you should be able to purchase malpractice insurance before you undergo any procedure.  That way, everyone is not paying for someone else’s malpractice suit.  You only pay if you are undergoing surgery or another treatment.  It makes more sense than raising everyone’s cost for one case.

The system would be put back in the hands of doctors and patients, not big corporations, accountants and lawyers.

Finally, the same needs to be done for our Department of Education.  We need to get rid of it.  How does an office of bureaucrats in Washington know what’s best for the education of children in your neighborhood?  Why do we pay taxes for education into a huge pot and not know what projects it is going to?  Why do we teach our students to be good test takers and not free thinkers?

People think of education in this country as a right, and not the priviledge it really is.  Also, it’s not free.  We pay taxes that go towards education.  However, those taxes go to pay Department of Education employees and other expenses that have nothing to do with teaching kids.  Why not pay those taxes as fees to your local school?  Wouldn’t the money go directly to the school your children are attending?  It would also be much more efficient because there wouldn’t be so many layers.

We need to get rid of state mandated tests as well.  The No Child Left Behind Act sounded like a good idea, but the entire year is built in preparation of a standardized test.  Rather than raising “thinkers,” we develop good test takers.  How are we supposed to compete in the global economy if they are just learning test questions and not the fundamental subjects behind them?

Obama might have great intentions, but his efforts are destined to fail.  Central planning has not and will not work.  I know he won’t, but he needs to impart on a real path of change, one where the government gets out of the way and lets the market work.  If this is the change we all voted for, it’s not going to change anything.  Instead, we’re going to need a revolution.

Great Editorial on Health Care

January 7, 2009

Below is one of the best editorials on the state of health care in our country.  It was written by Dr. Tom Price, a member of Congress from Georgia.  I didn’t want to link it because I want to make sure this can be read for a long time.

Please read this and realize that while Obama’s plans sound good, we, as patients, will suffer.  We need health care to focus on doctors and patients, and not accountants, attorneys, and least of all bureaucrats.

Here it is:

The GOP Should Fight Health-Care Rationing

Obama’s HMO deserves principled opposition.

Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of the past eight years was the chance for Republicans to fundamentally reform the terribly broken American health-care system. Access to quality health care has long been a professed priority, yet Republicans have been reluctant to tackle the issue.

As a physician, this is deeply disappointing to me because patient-centered health care is, at its core, conservative. Health care is fundamentally a personal relationship between patients and doctors. To honor this relationship — consistent with Republican ideals — our goal should be to provide a system that allows access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans, in a way that ensures medical decisions are made in doctors’ offices, not Washington.

Republican unwillingness to address the issue, however, has left us facing an emboldened Democratic Party well equipped to push a government-centered health-care agenda. While Democrats are still dangerously misguided in their policies, this time they are prepared to avoid the political mistakes of the Clinton administration.

For a preview, look no further than “What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis,” a book published this year by former Sen. Tom Daschle, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for secretary of Health and Human Services. Atop the list of worrisome ideas proposed by Mr. Daschle is the creation of an innocently termed “Federal Health Advisory Board.”

This board would offer recommendations to private insurers and create a single standard of care for all public programs, including which procedures doctors may perform, which drugs patients may take, and how many diagnostic machines hospitals really need. As with Medicare, for any care provided outside the board’s guidelines, patients and physicians would not be reimbursed.

Mr. Daschle is quick to note the board’s standards would serve only as a suggestion to the private market. Yet to ensure that there are no rogue private insurers, he has proposed making the employer tax deduction for providing health insurance dependent on compliance with the board’s standards. In an overtly political ruse, Democrats will claim they are dictating nothing to private providers, while whipping noncompliant insurers in place through the tax code.

To be sure, this strategy seeks to eliminate private providers completely. Forced into accepting rigid Washington rules and unsustainable financing mechanisms under Mr. Daschle’s plan, most private insurers would be quickly eradicated. Or, as Mr. Daschle soberly predicts in his book, “the health-care industry would have to reconsider its business plan.”

If we fail to recognize the scope and scale of Democratic ambition on this issue, we will find ourselves with a permanent Washington bureaucracy prescribing patient care. Our goal, however, must not be confined to defeating a Democratic proposal. Instead, we must advocate for a positive approach to health-care reform that does not sacrifice patient care to achieve its goals. This patient-centered approach must be built upon two pillars: access to coverage for all Americans and coverage that is truly owned by patients.

First, we must fundamentally reform the tax code so that it makes sense for all people to have health insurance. This may be readily accomplished through the adoption of tax equity for the purchase of insurance, active pooling mechanisms for increased purchasing power, and focused use of tax deductions and credits. Through positive changes in the tax code we can make health-care cost effective and create incentives so there is no reason to be uninsured. This way, care is purchased without government interference between you and your doctor.

Secondly, we must transform our health-care model to one that is owned and controlled by patients. Currently, most Americans receive coverage through a third party, leaving health-care decisions to an employer or the government. By creating a new system in which Americans are provided the opportunity to purchase whichever health-coverage product fits their personal needs, insurers would be forced to focus on patients. Not until patients truly own their own health plans will we see the accountability and flexibility needed to ensure quality care and necessary cost-lowering efficiencies.

A historic debate about American health care is fast approaching. We are not doomed to a Washington-run bureaucratic health-care system, so long as Republicans push for the right remedy for health care and return to being the party of solutions.

Dr. Price, a Republican member of Congress from Georgia, is the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee.