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Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

This bit of humor is somewhat similar to the Texas police exam joke from yesterday.

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So you’re a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home available for you, what do you do?

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. You are allowed to shoot four Congressmen.

Of course, this means you will be sent to prison where you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air conditioning and all the health care you need!

Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They’re all covered.

And, as an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often as they do now.

And who will be paying for all of this? It’s the same government that just told you that you they cannot afford for you to go into a home.

Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any income taxes anymore.

Is this a great country or what?

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This new video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity discusses a proposal to solve Medicare’s bankrupt finances by replacing an unsustainable entitlement with a “premium-support” system for private insurance, also known as vouchers.

This topic is very hot right now, in part because Medicare reform is included in the bold budget approved by House Republicans, but also because Newt Gingrich inexplicably has decided to echo White House talking points by attacking Congressman Ryan’s voucher plan.

Narrated by yours truly, the video has two sections. The first part reviews Congressman Ryan’s proposal and notes that it is based on a plan put together with Alice Rivlin, who served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton. Among serious budget people (as opposed to the hacks on Capitol Hill), this is an important sign of bipartisan support.

The video also notes that the “voucher” proposal is actually very similar to the plan that is used by Members of Congress and their staff. This is a selling point that proponents should emphasize since most Americans realize that lawmakers would never subject themselves to something that didn’t work.

The second part discusses the economics of the health care sector, and explains the critical need to address the third-party payer crisis. More specifically, 88 percent of every health care dollar in America is paid for by someone other than the consumer. People do pay huge amounts for health care, to be sure, but not at the point of delivery. Instead, they pay high tax burdens and have huge shares of their compensation diverted to pay for insurance policies.

I’ve explained before that this inefficient system causes spiraling costs and bureaucratic inefficiency because it erodes any incentive to be a smart shopper when buying health care services (much as it’s difficult to maintain a good diet by pre-paying for a year of dining at all-you-can-eat restaurants).  In other words, government intervention has largely eroded market forces in health care. And this was true even before Obamacare was enacted.

Medicare reform, by itself, won’t solve the third-party payer problem, but it could be part of the solution – especially if seniors used their vouchers to purchase real insurance (i.e., for large, unexpected expenses) rather than the inefficient pre-paid health plans that are so prevalent today.

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Eline van den Broek probably is not happy today since she was in South Africa watching her team lose a high-scoring battle with Spain, but she should be very proud of the new video she narrated that urges the repeal of Obamacare – and also points out some of the other reforms that are needed to restore markets to the US healthcare system.

Her comments on how the American healthcare system was a mess even before Obamacare are particularly important.

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I don’t get to talk for the first three minutes, but I then kick the you-know-what out of Obama’s statist healthcare scheme.

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I had to laugh when I saw this article linked on the Drudge Report. Does Obama really think that Democrats in the House will be intimidated by a threat not to campaign for them? Look what wonders Obama did campaigning for Corzine in New Jersey and Coakley in Massachusetts. If he can’t boost Democrats in very blue states, I doubt he would be helpful for Blue Dog Democrats from red states. Here’s the laugh line from the article:

Barack Obama has said he will not campaign for any Democratic congressmen who fails to support health care reform.

Jay Leno was much more accurate when he joked the other night that, “President Obama turned the heat up on Congress to pass healthcare reform. He’s telling Democrats if they don’t vote for this bill, he will campaign for them in November.”

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As usual, Tom Sowell uses basic economics to explain a confusing topic. His core insight is that government has undermined market forces, which is leading to rising costs. Obama and the other statists somehow think more government will make things better:

…policies based on political hype over the years are what have gotten us into what is most wrong with medical care today– namely, the way it is paid for. Insurance companies or the government pay directly for most of the costs of most medical treatment in the United States. That is virtually a guarantee that more people will demand more medical treatment than they would if they were paying directly out of their own pockets, instead of paying indirectly in premiums and taxes. Since people who staff either insurance company bureaucracies or government bureaucracies have to be paid, this is not bringing down the cost of medical care, but adding to it. What also adds to the costs are politicians at both state and federal levels who mandate additional benefits to be paid for by insurance companies, thereby driving up the cost of insurance. If medical insurance simply covered risks– which is what insurance is all about– that would be far less expensive than covering completely predictable things like annual checkups. Far more people could afford medical insurance, thereby reducing the ranks of the uninsured.

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Click on the box and the image will appear.

And if any wordpress experts want to give me advice on getting pictuers to show up without this extra step, let me know. I am completely baffled (my collectivist friends will say that’s a common occurence) why pictures embed properly only 50 percent of the time.

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I’m finishing up a swing through Canada, giving speeches for the Fraser Institute to audiences in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. I’ve been talking about the size of government and the future of capitalism. As you might imagine, several people have asked about the battle in America over government-run healthcare and how the sysetm in the United States today compares to the Canadian system. I make two points. First, I tell tham that America’s health care system already is largely run by government. Obama’s proposal simply increases the level of control from perhaps 70 percent to 80 percent. Second, I tell them that the surviving remnants of a free market in the United States are worth preserving. Politicians have made the American system very cumbersome and expensive, but it is nonetheless the place where people want to be when their lives are on the line. So it’s quite appropriate that this bit of news was just unveiled:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States. CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 59, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week. The premier’s office provided few details, beyond confirming that he would have heart surgery and saying that it was not necessarily a routine procedure.

Why is it that Canadian politicians come to the United States, but the medical traffic never heads in the other direction? Somebody should ask Obama to provide an answer.

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This is a great speech by Judge Napolitano. The first and last parts focus on whether Congress has the authority (or competence) to run a health care system. The answer, for those who care about the Constitution, is no. The middle part of the speech, though, is about government oppression and the PATRIOT Act. I hope that he somehow has it wrong and this is not really part of the law.

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In a Cato podcast, I explain why government-run healthcare system will be vastly more expensive than we are being told. This covers some of the same material that is in my recent video, but there’s no need to see my face (and if you don’t like my voice or want to see my face, you can read a two-page report on the topic from Cato).

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Here’s a very clever video from the Ladies4Liberty. It’s funny, but the lesson about what will happen to our healthcare system is deadly serious.

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The punitive class-warfare mentality of the left can be found buried in the healthcare bill. The Wall Street Journal dug deep and found a big capital gains tax increase. Ideally, there should be no double taxation of income that is saved and invested, which means the right tax rate is zero. Boosting the rate from 15 percent to 25.4 percent is a big step in the wrong direction, of course, and almost surely will lose revenue (and definitely will undermine growth):

Our job is to read bad legislation so you don’t have to, and on that score we may demand combat pay for plowing our way through the House health-care bill that passed on Saturday. …House Democrats are funding their new entitlement with a 5.4% surtax on incomes above $500,000 for individuals and above $1 million for joint filers. The surcharge is intended to snag the greatest number of taxpayers to raise some $460.5 billion, and so the House has written it to apply to modified adjusted gross income. That means it includes both capital gains and dividends. That surtax takes effect on January 1, 2011, or the day the Bush tax rates of 2001 and 2003 expire. Today’s capital gains tax rate of 15% would bounce back to 20% because of the Bush repeal and then to 25.4% with the surtax. That’s a 69% increase, overnight.

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This video provides 12 reasons in less than 7 minutes.

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Republicans usually are not very creative, so I’m uncharacteristically impressed that they have come up with a devastating chart showing the bureaucratic nightmare that will be created (on top of the current mess) for health care.

Congressman Brady of Texas gets an award for the best one-liner, saying about the Pelosi plan that “If the IRS and Medicare had a baby, it would look like this.”

Pelosi Plan

For a closer look, click this PDF link.

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Yesterday’s elections were almost a complete disaster for the White House. In the races for governor, the GOP won a huge landslide in Virginia and knocked off the Democratic incumbent in New Jersey. The only silver lining to Obama’s dark cloud came in upstate New York, where the collectivist Republican nominee apparently was successful in helping the Democratic candidate beat the Conservative Party candidate in the race to fill a seat in the House of Representatives.

But this was a 99 percent defeat for the Obama Administration. Especially New Jersey.

From a policy perspective, it will make Democrats on Capitol Hill much more nervous about supporting government-run health care. This does not guarantee the defeat of Obamacare, but it is much less likely now than it was 24 hours ago.

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In this new video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Eline van den Broek of the Netherlands needs only about four minutes to explain why government-run healthcare in Europe is a mistake and why the problems in the U.S. healthcare system are the result of too much government, not too little.

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The Politicians and Bureaucrats Are Lying about the Cost of Government-Run Healthcare. The Wall Street Journal issues a devastating indictment against the absurd claim that the Senate plan for socialized health care will reduce the deficit:

Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009, even as we are told a new health-care entitlement will reduce red ink by $81 billion over 10 years. To believe that fantastic claim, you have to ignore everything we know about Washington and the history of government health-care programs. …Let’s start with the claim that a more pervasive federal role will restrain costs and thus make health care more affordable. We know that over the past four decades precisely the opposite has occurred. Prior to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health-care inflation ran slightly faster than overall inflation. In the years since, medical inflation has climbed 2.3 times faster than cost increases elsewhere in the economy. …Next let’s examine the record of Congressional forecasters in predicting costs. Start with Medicaid, the joint state-federal program for the poor. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that its first-year costs would be $238 million. Instead it hit more than $1 billion, and costs have kept climbing. Thanks in part to expansions promoted by California’s Henry Waxman, a principal author of the current House bill, Medicaid now costs 37 times more than it did when it was launched—after adjusting for inflation. Its current cost is $251 billion, up 24.7% or $50 billion in fiscal 2009 alone, and that’s before the health-care bill covers millions of new beneficiaries. Medicare has a similar record. In 1965, Congressional budgeters said that it would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost that year was $90 billion. Whoops. The hospitalization program alone was supposed to cost $9 billion but wound up costing $67 billion. These aren’t small forecasting errors. The rate of increase in Medicare spending has outpaced overall inflation in nearly every year (up 9.8% in 2009), so a program that began at $4 billion now costs $428 billion. The Medicare program for renal disease was originally estimated in 1973 to cover 11,000 participants. Today it covers 395,000, at a cost of $22 billion. The 1988 Medicare home-care benefit was supposed to cost $4 billion by 1993, but the actual cost was $10 billion, because many more people participated than expected.

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