Posts Tagged ‘die’

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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In Ted Kennedy’s Honor, Let’s Pass ‘Kopechne Care’

November 22, 2009

I wrote this in August after Ted Kennedy passed away.  I decided not to publish it at the time, out of respect for the recently deceased.  But the Democrat leadership rushing out to invoke Kennedy’s name during and after the vote last night made me realize that the time had come to put it out there:

Nancy Pelosi, eager little demagogue that she is, rushed out as soon as she heard that Ted Kennedy had passed to say:

“Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.”

Democrat Chairman Howard Dean predicted:

“his [Kennedy’s] death absolutely will stiffen the spine of the Democrats to get something this year for this extraordinary giant in Senate history.” Sen. Chris Dodd: “Maybe Teddy’s passing will remind people once again that we are there to get a job done as he would do.”

And Robert Byrd suggested that the subsequent health care reform be named in Ted Kennedy’s honor.

Mind you, in spite of all the blatant politicizing of Ted Kennedy’s death, Democrats bristle with the suggestion that they are doing what they are clearly doing.

The Democratic politicization of Kennedy’s death hearkens to the so-called “Wellstone effect,” as Democrats showed their true colors “honoring” the death of Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone.

And that has some influential conservative voices sounding the alarm and calling foul.

While most prominent Republicans stuck Wednesday and Thursday to sober condolences — and several Republican operatives said it was too early to accuse Democrats of politicizing a sad moment — the conservative media, as well as some operatives, has seized on the whiff of politicization of his passing, recalling the bitter charges and countercharges that followed Sen. Paul Wellstone’s (D-Minn.) memorial service in 2002.

That service, a sometimes boisterous rally that included calls to carry on Wellstone’s political legacy and some catcalls for Republican speakers, turned the memorial into a central campaign issue, and many observers think the still-disputed event helped elect a Republican to fill his seat.

In all the constant eulogizing of the last couple of days, we learn that Ted Kennedy had this “love of humor”:

Meanwhile, listening to ”Reflections on Sen. Kennedy … Lion of the Senate” on the Diane Rehm Show on the drive home last night, I was deeply moved to hear Newsweek’s Ed Klein tell guest host Katty Kay about Kennedy’s love of humor. How the late senator loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes, and was always eager to know if anyone had heard any new ones. Not that Kennedy lacked remorse, Klein quickly added, seeming to intuit that my jaw and perhaps those of other listeners had just hit the floorboards. I gather it was a self-deprecating manuever on Kennedy’s part, exercised with the famous Kennedy charm, though it sounds like one of those “I guess you had to have been there” things.

“Ha, ha, ha.  Can you tell me any new ones about that time when I was driving around drunk late at night with a young woman not my wife – what was her name?  Mary Joe Something? – and drove into the drink?  My favorite ones are about how she tried to claw her way out of the car after I abandoned her to die.”

Well, I’ve got a Chappaquiddick joke for you: why don’t we name the health care bill Democrats want to name in Ted Kennedy’s honor “Kopechne Care” instead?  I’d suggest “Chappaquiddick Care,” but it’s too hard to spell, and it doesn’t give proper recognition to the victims this bill is going to abandon by means of medical rationing.

If your elderly parents get sick, the Kopechne Care plan would call for them to be loaded into the back seat of a car and driven off a bridge.  As the cost of the Democrats’ plan becomes more and more expensive, you will see expressions of regret that the “clunkers” cars were all destroyed.

Let me tell you something: the theme of being trapped in a government system with no way out as your care is rationed away from you actually ties in quite well with the terrible fate that Mary Joe Kopechne suffered.

Barbara Wagner, battling to survive cancer in Oregon’s government health care system, would certainly agree.  An IBD editorial tells her story in the context of the larger debate around the government single-payer system that abandoned her to die:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care,” [Sarah] Palin wrote.

“Such a system is downright evil.”

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s response was, “She made that up.”  Oregon resident Barbara Wagner might beg to differ — as she begs to stay alive. Last year, the 64-year-old received news that her cancer, which had been in remission, had returned. Her only hope was a life-extending drug that her doctor prescribed for her.

The problem was that the drug cost $4,000 a month. The state-run Oregon Health Plan said no, that it was not cost-effective. Oregon’s equivalent of a “death panel” sent her a letter saying it would cover drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost only $50 or so. Oregon could afford that.

“It was horrible,” Wagner told ABCNews.com. “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die.

“But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

The $4,000 could be better spent on someone else.

Death panels are already here it seems, just as they have been for some time in Britain and Canada. The concept behind deciding who lives and who dies and how finite resources should be allocated was described by key Obama health care adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

In his paper, “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” he expounds on what he calls “The Complete Lives System” for allocating treatments and resources.

“When the worse-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly,” he says, “allocating to the better-off is often justifiable.”

These are Dr. Emanuel’s words, not Palin’s. We’re not making this up and neither is she. It is not hard to see this formula for rationing forcing children such as Trig and the elderly such as Barbara Morgan to take a number — a very high number.

So let Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean call it “Kennedy Care.”  I’ll call it “Kopechne Care” – in honor of Ted Kennedy’s first victim.  And point out that if “Kennedy Care” is passed, there will be many, many more victims like Barbara Wagner in the years to come.

It was perfectly fitting for Democrats to honor and mourn the passing of one of their great politicians.  But if they want to turn Kennedy’s passing into a political weapon – and invoke the name of a man who abandoned a helpless woman under his care to die – they had better be aware that it will be a sword that cuts both ways.

John Stossil Takes ObamaCare Apart, Shows Why We Need Profit-Driven System

October 1, 2009

Video:

Stossil has this to say about “better” health care from the government:

President Obama says government will make health care cheaper and better. But there’s no free lunch.

In England, health care is “free” — as long as you don’t mind waiting. People wait so long for dentist appointments that some pull their own teeth. At any one time, half a million people are waiting to get into a British hospital. A British paper reports that one hospital tried to save money by not changing bedsheets. Instead of washing sheets, the staff was encouraged to just turn them over.

Obama insists he is not “trying to bring about government-run healthcare“.

“But government management does the same thing,” says Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute. “To reduce costs they’ll have to ration — deny — care.”

“People line up for care, some of them die. That’s what happens,” says Canadian doctor David Gratzer, author of “The Cure“. He liked Canada’s government health care until he started treating patients.

“The more time I spent in the Canadian system, the more I came across people waiting for radiation therapy, waiting for the knee replacement so they could finally walk up to the second floor of their house.” “You want to see your neurologist because of your stress headache? No problem! Just wait six months. You want an MRI? No problem! Free as the air! Just wait six months.”

Polls show most Canadians like their free health care, but most people aren’t sick when the poll-taker calls. Canadian doctors told us the system is cracking. One complained that he can’t get heart-attack victims into the ICU.

In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it’s much worse in Canada. If you’re sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.

“We can’t send these patients to other hospitals. Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. “Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are.”

More than a million and a half Canadians say they can’t find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, “20/20” videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.

Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery “elective.”

“The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,” she said.

It’s true that America’s partly profit-driven, partly bureaucratic system is expensive, and sometimes wasteful, but the pursuit of profit reduces waste and costs and gives the world the improvements in medicine that ease pain and save lives.

“[America] is the country of medical innovation. This is where people come when they need treatment,” Dr. Gratzer says.

“Literally we’re surrounded by medical miracles. Death by cardiovascular disease has dropped by two-thirds in the last 50 years. You’ve got to pay a price for that type of advancement.”

Canada and England don’t pay the price because they freeload off American innovation. If America adopted their systems, we could worry less about paying for health care, but we’d get 2009-level care — forever. Government monopolies don’t innovate. Profit seekers do.

We saw this in Canada, where we did find one area of medicine that offers easy access to cutting-edge technology — CT scan, endoscopy, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy, etc. It was open 24/7. Patients didn’t have to wait.

But you have to bark or meow to get that kind of treatment. Animal care is the one area of medicine that hasn’t been taken over by the government. Dogs can get a CT scan in one day. For people, the waiting list is a month.

When your health care system is better at treating cats and dogs than it is at treating humans, something is terribly wrong.