And seeing what sticks.
The benefit of substantial Democratic majorities is to allow the glib leadership (in both houses and the oval office) a chance to fully take the reins and render perfection out of our oh so obviously broken-down health care system. Now that they’re in control, they can rectify those glaring deficiencies with their brilliant solutions that seems to have just eluded millions of doctors, nurses and sundry health professionals too dim-witted to see the obvious solutions only apparent to the enlighten few that now run the executive and legislative branches our the federal government.
Except that three hundred million people have unique medical needs that somehow don’t fit into any tight delivery scheme. Certainly not the lowest common denominator expectations that Obama’s “best practices” will generate. “Best practices” really do work except in the cases of exceptions. Exceptions that occur about every time a new patient walks into your office.
Now that the Democrats literally have the votes to pass anything they want, they also discover that they will own what ever mess they will create when they move this country into the Nirvana of “reformed” and “universal” health care.
And, everyone is starting to discover, now that the Democrats are seriously scheming to destroy the best health system in the world, that as bad as our system may be, every alternative is worse.
There was a reason to rush this “reform” through in the dark of night. That reason became abundantly clear when a whole summer’s worth of town hall meetings laid bare some of the myths that drove this reform need–those pesky peasants from fly-over country; just don’t know what’s best for them. Those same said peasants also objected to the price tag because one trillion dollars is a lot of money. 900 billion dollars is a lot of money. In fact, in the hurly-burly of making your household budget balance, 100 bucks is a lot of money.
In the process we learned that there are, as Mark Twain noted, lies, damn lies and statistics. We learned that American medicine does the best job in treating cancer, shortest waiting times and bringing the latest medical innovations to the patient fastest. We learned that American life expectancy is increasing. We learned that, factoring traffic accidents and homicide, we have the best life expectancy on earth. We learned that our infant mortality rate isn’t the best because we count premature births as live births unlike other countries who only count full-term births as live births. And, we have highly skilled neonatologists that that actually try to save these premies.
We learned that for all the griping, most Americans are satisfied with their medical coverage.
We learned, surprise, surprise, that there will be rationing. That rationing will be borne, in particular, by the elderly. That rationing will be forced by penalizing the the top ten percent of doctors (in terms of resource use).
We learned, courtesy former Labor Secretary Reich, that if you’re old we’re going to let you die. Further, don’t expect further increases in life expectancy since money for innovation will no longer be there. Yet, for all the contractions and cuts in care and resources for care; for all the taxes proposed–many to fall squarely on the middle class–we still have “reform” that will destroy the level of care we have now and beggar this country, our children and their grandchildren.
Yet, folks like Reid and Pelosi persist. Especially with their stalking horse for socialized medicine–the “public option.” In some respects, it is almost an obsession of a gambling addict that keeps doubling the ante in the center of the table in hopes of winning the jackpot.
There is no reason for this “reform” when more reasonable alternative are available. Equal tax treatment for all insurance plans whether purchased by an employer or an individual. Allowing insurance companies to purchase plans across state lines.
No, the real reason is the push to bring the entire medical system under governmental control. And, the folks pushing it the most are the Democratic leadership in both houses who all share a common trait of being superannuated Woodstock hippies who sense that this will be the last time, in a generation, that they can push medical socialization through. For them, the leadership in particular, it will be the last time in their lives since most of these individuals are 70 or older. These were the folks who were going to “change the system” by “working in the system.” Now, at the end of their careers, having labored for so long in the vinyards of the hall of congress, they finally have the perfect convergence to get their dream of socialism through. But, even now, their overreaching with things like the “stimulus” leave them just inches short.
They need to do this because socialized medicine is the surest vehicle to wreck a country. France and Britain used to be major players in world affairs–with military muscle to back it up. But, thanks to the enormous drain of resources by their respective social welfare programs, they are now, well, second rate. Now, it is our turn. This an attempt to so consume our country in spending and taxes so as to bleed every other priority dry–especially defense. And, to run individual initiative and economic into the ground; bye bye American Exceptionalism. These aging hippies will finally have the sure-fire solution to any future “Vietnams.” A solution to America’s “horrible oppressions” in the world. Bankrupt America.
Now the Democrats are dangling the promise of averting planned Medicare reimbursement cuts before the AMA in return for support for “health care” reform. And, we shall see if the AMA will truly stand by our nation’s physicians and the finest health care system built by their hard work. Or, will they fall for the fraud.
Even if the “cuts” are restored, we still have a system that so grossly underpays that physicians will still need to cost shift in order to break even. Further, this “restoration” will only avert a cut in reimbursement from the current levels. Levels so bad that seniors are having trouble, even under the current reimbursement rates, finding physicians in the first place.
Also, in many respects, the Democrats aren’t really giving anything away. Seniors vote and any Democrat should know a political third rail when they see one; after all they made Social Security one such. The net effect is that those Medicare reimbursement rates were going to be raised back (er, maintained) to their current levels anyhow.
Ultimately, the only answer is “no.” No, because this whole process of reform is a lie and fraud. Baucus’ plan was supposed to be paid in part by a 500 billion dollar reduction in Medicare. The 247 billion dollars to be “restored” is half of the money slated to “pay” for health care “reform.”
The docs at the AMA should look to the object lesson of the insurance companies. They signed on to “reform” under the supposition that community ratings and no pre-existing conditions would be offset by a robust mandate to sign up young uninsured persons. But, when someone’s constituency got stepped on the mandate got watered down and the insurance companies got stuck with adverse selection nightmare that will, frankly, bankrupt them. The insurance companies no longer had anything to lose by releasing the PriceWaterhouseCooper study. They’re screwed anyway.
Ultimately, the real goal is a banana-republic style expropriation of one sixth of the economy. It say no is to stay free. Accepting the Medicare bribe is just negotiating the terms of your serfdom.
Smoke, mirrors and accounting slights of hand and we have health care “reform” for only about 829 billion dollars. It conveniently comes in under under Obama’s price tag of 900 billion dollars. Wow. Bacus may look and talk like Montana, but he’s been in Washington much too long; and gone totally native. Because while 829 billion dollars is a real saving compared to 900 billion, here in fly-over land, 829 billion dollars is still a lot of money.
But, this is all a wink and a nod to sell a very expensive new entitlement that will cost far more than the 829 billion dollar loss leader. This will be an entitlement that will grow to consume the federal budget and, indeed, the economy to transform America into a no-growth, no-job zone like everyone of Europe’s nanny states. England, France and Germany used to actually be major players on the international stage. But with social welfare, with “universal” health care leading the way, so consuming every mark, franc and pound (sorry, euro) there’s no money for the real priorities of a nation-state such as defense. No, with universal health care coverage brought to you by the snuggle bears of Health and Human Services, we won’t have to worry about Afganistan, Islamo-fasism or the war on terror. We simply won’t have the money to fight.
Let’s go through the fraud. First, Obama will sign anything, something that carries the label of “health care reform.” For all of his new found fiscal rectitude, he’ll sign if it cost ten bucks or ten trillion bucks. Since the Bacus bill is only the skeleton for the final reform, we can more than expect the price to go up. But, fear not, whatever the price, we can depend on an immediate loss of any fiscal scruples on Obama’s part.
About 500 billion dollars will come out of Medicare “savings.” Like that’s going to happen. Say what you will about making the wealthiest senior generation in the history of mankind footing more of the bill, they vote. Expect, after a proper chastising at the polls in 2010, Congress to come back and restore every penny of Medicare. You’d think, after the Democratic Party made Social Security the “third rail” of politics, that Bacus would recognize a third rail when he saw one.
Then, we have the taxation of the so-called Cadillac health plans. This was supposed to raise some serious money. I’ve read somewhere as much as 200 billion dollars. Well, my dynamic scoring scores this income stream at zero. You can expect every health insurance plan to carefully calibrate premiums to fall just under the limits of $8000 and $21,000 for individuals and families, respectively. And, big labor hasn’t weighed in yet.
How about a tax on durable medical goods and devices. Who uses such things as artificial hip and knee replacement? Pacemakers? Wheel chairs? The same said seniors who are going to clobber the Democrats in 2010 over Medicare. Another 30 billion dollars or so that are purely mythical.
So, what you have is a massive benefit cut for seniors. And, we haven’t started to account for the most spoiled generation, the boomers, who will be joining demanding, with a capital “D,” services as Medicare beneficiaries.
And, after looting the seniors, you have a bill that amounts to a huge middle class tax.
In some respect, it’s good that the Democrats have the majorities that they now possess. Because they, in their arrogance, thought they somehow knew better and could in a mere six months remake the finest health care system on earth. That they had answers and solutions, that somehow eluded the millions of professional that populate the health care system, that only they could see. Of course its a creaky system; how could it be otherwise in dealing with the health needs of 300 million Americans. So, we can now sit back and see the Democrat philosopher-kings, lead by Obama, Reid and Pelosi, come up with something better that the worker bees in the trenches are just too stupid to see.
Go ahead vote that bill. And, better yet, do it in the dark of night before any has a chance to read it. That bill will provide 1000 plus pages of GOP campaign material for 2010 and 2012.
The headlong, damn-the-torpedoes approach to health care “reform” is a function of democratic congressional leadership in the hands of a bunch of aging Woodstock era hippies. Much of the top leadership hails from the early 1970’s, especially from the class of 1974; Democrats elected at the height of the Watergate scandal. Many of these were the hippies or fellow travelers who were going to carry the revolution to the establishment by working “in the system” and thereby undermine the “system.”
But, their 30 year journey was greatly frustrated by a misalignment of stars. The last time the Democrats held the balance of power as they do now was in Jimmy Carter’s first two years (1977-78). At that time these hippies were much too junior to exert much influence in the House and Senate. And, so the dream to radicalize America fizzled.
But, now comes the next opportunity. But, for the leadership, their last opportunity since many of them are in their 70’s and will literally be pushing up daisies when the next opportunity comes around. So, we see the most heavy handed legislative pushes on record to move health care “reform,” cap and trade and card check to remake America as some socialist utopia.
True to their boomer roots this leadership will push this agenda forward with out the slightest care about the consequences and damages their children and grandchildren will have to bear. They care not a whit for unintended consequences since they will live their remaining years on a lush congressional pension and then be dead shortly thereafter. They have exempted themselves from the maw of rationing that will be unloaded on the rest of America thanks to their socialized medical monstrosity. And, they will be able to avail themselves of what was once the finest medical system on earth before their “reforms” grind American medicine into the socialized mediocrity that now graces England and Canada.
Reid plans to jam health care reform through on reconciliation or some other obscure parliamentary trick to side it through on 51 votes. This will in effect kill the filibuster and turn the Senate into a more grandiose version of the House. Frankly, Reid has the votes; it only takes 51 votes to kill the filibuster right now. But, once that rule is gone, it’ll never come back. But, what does Reid care that he’ll turn the deliberative functions of the Senate into an over-glorified student senate. He’ll be departed from the scene; hopefully as soon as November 2010.
And, this same leadership is fighting to jam this bill through before anyone has a chance to read it. This may give Reid, Pelosi and company some cheap thrills. But, it’ll be murder for their party. Because the Republicans, going into 2010 and 2012 will have over a thousand pages of selective quotes from that unvetted bill to bludgeon the Democrats. Remember, the actual reform doesn’t take place until 2013. So, the actual vote buying potential of this entitlement will not be around until after the 2010 mid-term elections. Nor the 2012 presidential election.
To hell with all of you left on the Titanic, suckers, I’ve already got my place on the lifeboat.