Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama's Healthcare Express

By: Laura Adelmann

The train wreck that is socialized medicine is speeding towards us and it seems that there is little being done to stop it. It seems Democrats plan to use budget reconciliation, a procedure normally used to reduce spending, to ram healthcare through without meaningful debate. Clinton was tempted to use budget reconciliation to pass Hillarycare, but the story is that Sen. Byrd enlightened him to the fact that it would not be a proper use of the process. Clinton agreed. Hillarycare was also killed, in part, by the strong opposition of the healthcare industry. Doctors, hospitals, insurers voiced their dissent.

Where is the dissent this time? It seems that the clamor for "free" healthcare is drowning out the sane voices that are pointing out the pending disaster. Obama paints his plan as a public alternative for those not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers, and that if you are happy with your current insurance you can keep it. But, when the government competes against the private sector, it will most likely win. Not because it's better, but because government can run at a deficit.

Private insurers must be profitable or they go out of business. All government has to do is keep providing enough coverage to keep people happy until the private insurers tank and then they can start rationing and dictating your healthcare because then there will be no alternative.

Governments don't go out of business, they just provide shoddy service and tax you more for it. I regularly hear people comment that they would pay more taxes if it would provide universal healthcare in this country. Really? How much more? Will 50% of your income be too much? 70%? Every government program runs inefficiently and costs more and more over time. How many years will we have to live with this mistake before we realize that it's a failure everywhere it's been tried?


JoyFull said...

You hit the nail on the head when you pointed out that when the private insurers tank, then the government can begin to ration care. And don't think that will not happen! Also,having just left the emergency room with my elderly mom, there did not seem to be anyone in there who would be helping me foot the taxes for their care. Just an observation in reality..not a judgement.

Anonymous said...

We have forty million people in this country that can not afford health care, and that number is growing as health care costs rise, income and jobs diminish. Who do you think is paying for their care now? The taxpayers are already paying for their care.

I am a big fan of capitalism, but there are certain things that greed should not be involved in. If my house is burning, I would prefer not to see the case manager walking around trying to determine whether my house is worth the trouble of sending in the fire trucks.

Using that analogy, while I am sitting there dying or God forbid - one of my children - I would prefer that the first thing they think about is trying to save a life (not whether they are going to get paid).

Just my two cents.
Rick Beagle

Anonymous said...

Rick, If that is how you feel you should really look what is happening in the countries that have socialized medicine. WOmen in England are being denied breast cancer treatments. Heart patients are being told that they aren't bad enough.

It is beyond me how anyone who has complaints about insurance coverage believes that the government will improve the availability of care. How do you think they will make it more efficient? How do you think they will provide for everyone at less than what we have now?
I personally want a profit motive. I want the best and the brightest putting their minds to work solving our medical problems. I want drug companies putting years into research. I want hopsitals at my beck and call when I am hurt or sick. I want hospitals trying harder to have better service because they are competing for business. Have you been to any govt entity where they are interested in improving?
We need to address what we are getting for our increased costs. Take maternity care. 50 years ago there were maternity wards, then we all went into semi-private rooms, now there are luxurious birthing centers.
Please do not get fooled into believing the myths put out by the left about health care. Noone is denied health care including the millions of illegal aliens that are here.

Anonymous said...

This is a lovely discussion, so let us continue it a bit shall we?

In your comments you mention that people are not being refused health care, and that is true, sort of. Members on the right are simply referring to emergency care, which as a matter of law can not be denied. When members on the Left state that people are not given access to medical care, we are referring to everything prior to life saving medicine (and recently in CA, there was a hospital accused of kicking out the dying - an anomaly, but it exists). Prenatal care, general children's care (including inoculations), and other preventative measures that would help to reduce the number of people using expensive Emergency Care as their first and only option.

Am I worried about government inefficiencies - yes. But not for the reasons you may think. It is the meddling of politicians and political activists that seem to muck things up. As an example (no opinion either way) will abortions be allowed or how about the morning after pill? How do we handle the numerous illegals in our country? You can already imagine that nightmare being used for political gain. Sigh.

My fear is that our activism, and corrupt political class will prove the endeavor too costly to maintain (lawsuits, redirected funds, security, etc.). There will be the occasional anomaly such as those listed in Britain, but if I can be an arrogant American, no man,woman, or child will be prevented from seeking health care they need (even if we have to walk miles to make it happen). No, health care run by health care professionals given the right amount of funding would be a modern marvel of Americanism.

But in order to do this, people have to understand and embrace a little bit of that socialist doctrine that talks about the needs of the man outweighing the needs of the few (again, just like the military, roads, police, education, fire departments, etc.).

Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like Americans are more about the me a bit too much. I am not a socialist, but then again, I am not above picking up good ideas from different ideologies to make a better America.

I am also not against a bit of force labor for my kids, speaking of which, they need to work in the yard with me!

Rick Beagle

Anonymous said...

Another rude double post, but please accept my apologies.

I received this in my inbox right after typing the last comment.... It is provided for information only and it is germane to this discussion.

Good afternoon,

You are receiving this email because you signed up at My staff and I plan to use these messages as a way to directly communicate about important issues and opportunities, and today I have some encouraging updates about health care reform.

The Vice President and I just met with leaders from the House of Representatives and received their commitment to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill by July 31.

We also have an unprecedented commitment from health care industry leaders, many of whom opposed health reform in the past. Monday, I met with some of these health care stakeholders, and they pledged to do their part to reduce the health care spending growth rate, saving more than two trillion dollars over the next ten years -- around $2,500 for each American family. Then on Tuesday, leaders from some of America's top companies came to the White House to showcase innovative ways to reduce health care costs by improving the health of their workers.

Now the House and Senate are beginning a critical debate that will determine the health of our nation's economy and its families. This process should be transparent and inclusive and its product must drive down costs, assure quality and affordable health care for everyone, and guarantee all of us a choice of doctors and plans.

Reforming health care should also involve you. Think of other people who may want to stay up to date on health care reform and other national issues and tell them to join us here:

Health care reform can't come soon enough. We spend more on health care than any country, but families continue to struggle with skyrocketing premiums and nearly 46 million are without insurance entirely. It is a priority for the American people and a pillar of the new foundation we are seeking to build for our economy.

We'll continue to keep you posted about this and other important issues.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

P.S. If you'd like to get more in-depth information about health reform and how you can participate, be sure to visit

Rick Beagle
PS There are mechanisms there if you want to sent mail to your elected officials. Well worth the time, and with the new techno savvy administration, we can expect this presence to improve and expand.

Anonymous said...

Rick, I do also enjoy a lively debate.
I disgree with several of your premises. First that it is only emergency care that is given to all, this is simply not true. There are many clinics available to those and anyone can go and get care if they are willing to pay. Charities have done a much better job of providing services than any government agency ever will. As a matter of fact the premier childrens hospital is St. Judes which is completely funded by charity. No family is charged for their services. It is one of the finest research facilities and the quality of care is the best anywhere. Shriners hospitals have made the best services in burn care available for anyone. I would much rather see private organizations fund care for those who cannot afford than any government agency.

As for the situation in Britian it is the rule not an anamoly. You as a citizen may NOT pay for care out of your own pocket unless you are willing to lose all future services under the government system. The bureaucrats are the ones that determine whether you are worthy of receiving care. They decide who is too old, not sick enough, too sick. There are as many horror stories about care being denied, delayed under government run programs as we get paraded in front of us by the media as examples of the failure of our system. How often do we get the successes paraded in front of us? How often does the media point out the challenges faced in countries that have socialized medicine. We have a big problem here in that we want the best, we want it now and we dont want to pay for it. If something goes wrong we want to sue and get lottery type judgements.
We will never find efficiencies in health care costs as long as there is a third party paying the bills. We have hospitals at almost every corner. We dont want to wait at all. We never want to be told no. If an insurance company is a problem there are competing companies that can come in and offer a better product. What happens if we dont like the government program? If it is like in England we are completely out of luck.

It is also worth noting that the so often cited 40+ million uninsured is at best misleading, at worst a down right lie. You must exclude the non-citizens and then see the quote from the source usually used "So what is the true extent of the uninsured “crisis?” The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report.

Kaiser’s 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more. It is also worth noting, that, 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous!

First of all, thank you for joining in this discussion and for your excellent comments on the subject!

It is my belief that there are a few problems with your perceptions regarding the pending legislation that I would like to respond to if I may.

But first, thank you for reminding everyone about St. Judes and the wonderful work of the Shriners Club. Unfortunately, as good and noble as these groups are, it seems disingenuous to presume that charity would and should be the solution for our growing uninsured population.

The forty million number floated about does not include nor presume to include illegal aliens. That number actually comes from the Census Bureau's August 2008 report on the matter. There is a relatively good analysis on the matter here. You will find some holes in the information presented:

"The first thing to notice is that the Census Bureau itself admits that this number, from its Current Population Survey (CPS), is too high. Appendix C of the report starts off, “Health insurance coverage is likely to be underreported on the Current Population Survey.”" (um, say what?! The number is too high, but the numbers are underreported????)

Also, it should be noted that the number represents people who are uninsured and UNDER-INSURED, which is probably a conservative number given that latter group.

There are a lot of comments concerning Britain's and Canada's Health Care System of which the majority from the conservative side of the house are fairly negative. While these observations may indeed be true, they are not germane to the discussion. The Obama administration is not proposing that we adopt their health care plan. There is an EXCELLENT article on the matter at My favorite quote from this article is:

"Dr. Brian Day, a Canadian surgeon who was president of the Canadian Medical Association last year, is quoted in the ad saying that "patients are languishing and suffering on wait lists" and "actually dying as they wait for care." Day is certainly not a fan of nationalized health care as it's practiced in his country, arguing that it's inefficient and doesn't provide enough care. But he's no fan of the U.S. system, either. "I do not profess to know how to reform the US system other than to opine that, in terms of value for money spent, yours is the only one in the free world that is worse than ours," Day told us."

Dr Day is of course regularly quoted by those that oppose a nationalized health care system.

This comment is getting a bit long, so let me wrap this up for everyone. Not one of the articles that I have read disputes that we have a Health Care problem in this country (and I have perused hundreds). We can argue all day about which solution is the best, but the one put forward by the Obama administration appears to be an attempt to get affordable health care to those who need it while still trying to preserve the best parts of our privatized system.

Whether you agree with him or not, this is a bold move on Obama's part, I give him kudos for even trying to fix this problem.

Rick Beagle

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