Posts Tagged ‘111 federal bureaucracies’

Democrats Actually Voting To Raid Medicare To Fund ObamaCare

December 7, 2009

If you are a senior and like your Medicare, then you are a pure idiot for voting Democrat, that’s all I can say.

Medicare cuts focus of Senate health care debate

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans forced Democrats to vote in favor of cutting billions from providers of home care for older people as partisan debate flared Saturday during a rare weekend session on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Obama planned to travel to Capitol Hill on Sunday to help Democrats resolve internal disputes that stand in the way of Majority Leader Harry Reid bringing the 10-year, nearly $1 trillion legislation to a vote.

Ahead of his visit, Republicans, bent on making Democrats cast politically risky votes, offered their third amendment in the debate so far showcasing more than $400 billion in cuts to projected Medicare spending that would pay for the bill, mostly for subsidies to help extend coverage to millions of uninsured.

Like the other two, this one went down to defeat, on a vote of 53 to 41. The measure by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., would have eliminated $42 billion in cuts over 10 years to agencies that provide home health care to seniors under Medicare.

Four moderate Democrats joined all Republicans present in voting for the amendment: Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Underscoring the pressures on the moderates, Lincoln, who faces a difficult re-election next year, initially cast a “no” vote with the Democratic majority but switched to “yes” in the course of the 15-minute vote. Republicans accused her of flip-flopping, but Lincoln said later that she changed her vote after considering how important home health care is to Arkansas.

“That’s why they give us 15 minutes,” said Lincoln.

The more consequential action was taking place behind closed doors Saturday as Democrats struggled to find a compromise on a proposed government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers. Lincoln and several other moderate Democrats are opposed to the government insurance plan in the bill, and Reid, D-Nev., doesn’t have a vote to spare in his 60-member caucus.

Back in 1995, Democrats actually accused Republicans of “cutting Medicare” when they tried to merely slow the rate of growth – even though the actual spending would still increase.    Now the Democrats are flat-out CUTTING Medicare and trying to argue that their cuts are “savings.”

The “more than $400 billion” is actually $460 billion, which is seriously flirting with half a TRILLION dollars in cuts to a Medicare program that was already facing bankruptcy by 2017 – two years earlier than government actuaries estimated only last year.

The Democrats’ logic is to replace a bankrupt government program that will only crash against the seniors it was supposed to cover with a vastly larger government program that will crash with a far larger implosion against everybody.

The federal and states government already controls 61% of health care spending in the United States.  Government control, and government spending, have increased year after year.  I submit to you that too much government control of health care is the real problem, not “the evil insurance companies.”  In point of fact, more than half of Americans who have private insurance have it through not-for-profit insurers; and private insurance company profits are actually incredibly modest in relation to other industries.

Barack Obama has repeatedly said that if you liked your current plan, you could keep it.  That is yet another Obama lie: the fact of the matter is that 11 million seniors very much like their Medicare Advantage programs, and Barack Obama is trying to stop them from keeping it.  And those 11 million are just the tip of the iceberg: the Wall Street Journal demonstrates that some 133 million workers are going to wake up in five years and find out that ObamaCare destroyed their employer-based Erisa coverage.  That’s not nearly all the people that Obama and the Democrats are going to screw with their health care boondoggle – but it’s more than enough.

Seniors are going to die under the Democrats’ plan.  The logic is unavoidable: 1) the plan calls for young, healthy people to buy expensive insurance policies – which they have never purchased before – in order to “spread out risks” for the entire system.  2) If they don’t purchase the coverage, they will be called upon to pay a fine.  The problem is that the fine is much lower than the price of the insurance coverage.  3) Therefore young people largely WON’T purchase the insurance, and will instead pay the fine, knowing that since they CAN’T be rejected for any “pre-existing condition” (such as not being insured), they can’t be turned down if they get sick/injured and then need coverage.  For what it’s worth, a lot of other adults will be encouraged to do the same thing.  4) Therefore, the Democrats’ plan will not raise nearly as much as they think.  And 5) the need to severely ration care will be critical.

The Wall Street Journal rightly calls this fiasco “The Worst Bill Ever.”  Why?

As Congress’s balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can’t regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

The Dean of the Harvard Medical School gave it a “failing grade.”  Dr. Jeffrey Flier argued that:

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

The California Medical Association came out strongly against the Democrat plan:

The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. […]

d“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee.

Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.

The “Independent Medicare Commission” is just one of the many “death panels” this bill would create.  One hundred and eleven death panels, to be precise.

Rasmussen, the nation’s most accurate pollster, points out that Americans are opposed to the Democrats’ plan:

Support for the president’s health care plan fell to 38%, its lowest ever, just before Thanksgiving. Followed by two weeks at 41%, this marks the lowest extended period of support for the plan yet. With the exception of a few days following nationally televised presidential appeals for the legislation, the number of voters opposed to the plan has always exceeded the number who favor it.

“This suggests that public opinion about the health care plan is hardening,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “Despite the fact that most American believe our health care system needs major changes, most are opposed to what Congress is currently doing about it.” […]

While one of the chief stated goals of the plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats is to lower the cost of health care, 57% say costs will go up if the plan is passed. Twenty-one percent (21%) say costs will go down, and 17% believe they will stay about the same.

Similarly, only 23% think the quality of health care will get better if the plan is passed, while 54% predict that it will get worse. Sixteen percent (16%) expect quality to stay about the same.

Other polling shows that 47% trust the private sector more than government to keep health care costs down and the quality of care up. Two-thirds (66%) say an increase in free market competition will do more than government regulation to reduce health care costs.

Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide believe passage of the health care plan will increase the deficit. Seventy-five percent (75%) also think it is at least somewhat likely that middle class taxes will have to be raised to cover the cost of the plan. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say such a tax increase is Very Likely.

Only 27% favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone.

So what do the Democrats – who promised unprecedented “openness” and “transparency” – do?  Barack Obama went to the Senate and had a
“closed-door meeting” that slammed the door shut in Republicans’ faces.  This is a hard care ideologically leftist partisan takever, funded by flat-out bribes paid for by the taxpayers.

Entrenched Democrats bought Mary Landrieu’s vote to proceed with their partisan boondoggle in what amounts to  the Louisiana Purchase, Part Deux.

And of course they have a trillion dollars in porkulus slush fund money to bribe and purchase whoever else they need to fundamentally screw the American people and destroy our way of life.

Is this seriously how you want the future of American health care to be decided?

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Breast Cancer Screening: Government Fires First Volley Of Rationing, Death By Medical Neglect

November 19, 2009

Let me begin by saying that the current versions of ObamaCare don’t have a single death panel.

It’s more like 111 separate death panels.

Some of the names  and acronyms of the dozens and dozens of bureaucracies are undoubtedly different under the new iteration of socialized medicine, but here’s a snapshot of your new health care system if Democrats get their way:

The Senate version is 2,075 pages of fun, I hear.  Nobody understands it.  And nobody is going to end up getting a chance to read it by the time it gets voted on.

If you thought that there was going to be any kind of transparency or accountability – or even honesty – from the Obama administration – you need to stop smoking your crack pipe.

This latest event in the march toward socialized medicine reminds me of the case of Barbara Wagner.  In Oregon, which has “universal coverage” through the state, she was abandoned to die by a system that would not pay for her cancer treatment, but offered to pay for her euthanasia.

Only this time, the government wants to deny treatment on the other side of the cancer diagnosis.

IBD Editorials

Rationing’s First Step

Health Care: A government task force has decided that women need fewer mammograms and later in life. Shouldn’t that be between patient and physician? We have seen the future of health care, and it doesn’t work.

We have warned repeatedly that the net results of health care bills before Congress will be higher demand, fewer doctors, more cost control, all leading to rationing.  New recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding breast cancer and the necessity for early and frequent mammograms do not convince us otherwise.

Just six months ago, the panel, which works under the Health and Human Services Department as a “best practices” study group, was shouting its concern about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a 1% drop in the number of women regularly undergoing such screening and prevention.

The task force was saying that women older than 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years. It found that frequent screening lowered death rates from breast cancer mostly for women ages 50 to 69. But that was then, and this is now.

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does save lives,” Diana Petiti, task force vice chairman, said of the recommendations published Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening.”

Now the panel recommends that women in their 40s stop having routine annual mammograms and that older women should cut back to every two years. The concern allegedly is that too frequent testing can result in increased anxiety, false positives, unneeded follow-up tests and possibly disfiguring biopsies.  Preventing breast cancer and saving lives almost get lost in the new analysis.

“I have a particular concern in this case about who was involved in this task force,” says Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., who was a heart surgeon in private life. “There are no surgeons or oncologists who deal directly with breast cancer or even radiologists. … I’ve seen far too many young women develop late-stage breast cancer because they didn’t have adequate screening.”

Little, if anything, has happened medically in the last six months to cause such a shift. A lot, however, has happened politically as a health care overhaul has limped forward on life support. The Congressional Budget Office has been busy pricing these various bills, a process that includes screening and prevention.

As we have warned, the growing emphasis seems to be on cost containment rather than quality of care. About 39 million women undergo mammograms each year in America, costing the health care system more than $5 billion.

“The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40,” says Otis Brawley, its chief medical officer. “Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider.”

Daniel Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School, says: “Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and those idiots want to do away with it. It’s crazy — unethical, really.”

This, sadly, appears to be the future of medicine under government-run health care. Aside from taxes on insurers, providers and device manufacturers, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in cost-effectiveness boards that will decide who gets what tests and treatments, when and if. These are only recommendations for now, but they are the shape of things to come.

An IBD/TIPP poll found that 45% of medical doctors would consider retiring if the Congressional health care “reform” passes.  Given the fact that an increasing shortage of doctors is already one of the chief burdens in providing health care, this exodus would amount to a catastrophe that our health system would never recover from.

In Canada, the chronic doctor shortage has been bad enough that patients literally have to sign up for a lottery in order to have a chance to “win” a primary care physician.  But now we are learning that overwhelmed Canadian doctors are using a lottery of their own to dump patients.

Why on earth would anyone want this for America?

The Obama administration is preparing the health delivery system to implement the philosophy of Obama advisers such as Robert Reich, Ezekiel Emanuel, and Cass Sunstein, which can be easily summarized with the quote:

It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Robert Reich’s words in context only make the hateful idea sound even more hateful:

And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Then there are the words of Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, who wrote:

“I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

And Rahm Emanuel’s brother Ezekiel, whom Obama appointed as his OMB health policy adviser in addition to selecting him to serve on the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research wrote:

“When implemented, the Complete Lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuatedThe Complete Lives system justifies preference to younger people because of priority to the worst-off rather than instrumental value.”

“Attenuated” means, “to make thin; to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value.”  Attenuated care would be reduced or lessened care.  Dare I say it, in this context it clearly means, “rationed care.”

And Obama himself told a woman who wanted to keep her aging mother alive:

“At least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”

YOU take the painkiller rather than have that lifesaving surgery, Barry Hussein.  And why don’t you insist that Michelle and your two daughters take the pill rather than have that lifesaving surgery, too?  Just to be like all the “little people” out there.

But of course that’s not going to happen.  Rather, Democrats have now exempted themselves from 11 separate amendments that would have required them to have the same ObamaCare that they want to force everyone else to have.

You can understand why they would do so, given the promises that the system will be worse than terrible, and due to the fact that even a complete idiot who looks around and sees how horribly the administration has managed the H1N1 vaccine situation can recognize that taking on 1/6th of the economy would be beyond catastrophic.  I mean, heck, if I were a Democrat, I’d be sure to exempt myself from this monstrosity too, lest MY family members fall under the coming steamroller.

This “recommendation” of reducing mammographies isn’t mandatory now, but that’s because the government hasn’t usurped the health care system yet.  You just wait a decade from now, when the government runs everything, and soaring deficits force them to start cutting costs.