Elkhorn Creek Lodge

Socialized Medicine; Stiffing II

Posted in economics, medical by Eugene Podrazik on May 11, 2009

Here’s the report from the Fox News web site.  And here.  A coalition of health care leaders will present a program to “save” two trillion dollars over the next ten years; thereby making Obama’s health care reform fiscally possible by reducing the up-front costs.  What this really is is crony capitalism.  These players get a place at the table, and a cut in the profits.  In exchange, they will do what everyone in government is unwilling to say–ration.

In going to the nirvana of single payer health care, the government is going to take over the private sector to the tune of one trillion dollars per year.  Of the two or so trillions dollars that make up 18 percent of the GDP, the share that is spent on health care, about 45 percent is already tied up in governmental medical programs.  The rest, in the private sector, is what takes care of the rest of us.  And, through cost shifting and unfunded mandates, props up the shortfalls of the governmental sector.  

There is no such thing as “uninsured.”  Thanks to EMTALA (emergency medical treatment and active labor act), you can walk into any emergency room and must be seen, evaluated and deemed “stabilized” regardless of ability to pay–even if you’re an illegal immigrant.  Whether, you show up for a cold or you show up, flat on your back, having just smeared your face over a mile of interstate after wrecking your motorcycle, drunk.  In fact, so 50 percent of emergency visits are gratis thanks to EMTALA.  The fact is, once the private sector is consumed by the government for matters medical, the government will formally own all of those mandates.  That trillion dollars that will be confiscated by the single payer government program is already accounted for.  It will be a recurring cost, above and beyond the current Medicare/Medicaid tab, forever.

So, two trillion divided by ten means that we have to come up with 200 billion dollars of “savings” for the next ten years.  This is assuming that the profligate spending and loose monetary policy doesn’t ignite a round of inflation like that of the 1970’s.  

What this savings really means is there will be an effort to forgo 200 billion dollars of medical care each year.  For hospitals, forgoing expansions and modernizations.  Forgo new investments in equipment.  And certainly, no acquisitions of technology to push into new treatments; since we can’t have even more cost with even newer medical techniques.

But, I don’t know how our hospitals are going to turn down nurses who want raises to cope with rising tax and inflation burdens.

For the pharmaceutical companies; new drugs cost a billions dollars or more to bring to market.  You can kiss drugs with limited applications goodbye, the so-called orphan drugs.  There have been incredible breakthroughs for myriads of diseases; but at a price.  People griping about these new medicines forget that many have replaced surgery or offered a treatment where heretofore there was none.  Welcome to the brave new world of none.  Most of these big drug companies have their fingers in the manufacture and distribution of generics.  I suspect that emphasizing generics rather than innovation will be the new business model for Barry O’s brave new world of single payer health care.

Insurance companies?  They just hired themselves out as the price enforcers.  They, not their governmental overlords, will take the heat for poor reimbursement rates and care denials.  All to keep our politicians accountability-free.  They’ll make a nice profit at being the fall guy.

And the doctors.  Well, you can get free care right now by walking into any emergency room.  It’s required by law.  You’ll also wait 12 hours to get seen.  Only, now the waiting will extend to every clinic and doctor’s office in the land.  

Ration.  That’s the real deal being cut between these health care players and the administration.  Protected turf in exchange for taking the fall for rationing.


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