Posts Tagged ‘reduce costs’

Myth: Obama Birth Control Mandate Will Bring Down Costs. FACT: Obama FORBID Consideration Of Cost Control In That Mandate

February 18, 2012

You’ve smelled this particular emanation of bovine feces before; remember when Obama and all the Democrats were assuring us that ObamaCare would bring down the cost of health care???

And now we’re learning – you know, after Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass ObamaCare “so you can find out what is in it” – that ObamaCare will actually TRIPLE the damn cost of health care.

So now the left and the Democrats and Obama and the mainstream media are assuring us that trampling on the First Amendment, on religious freedom, on personal conscience and on the rights of people NOT to have Antichrist governing every aspect of our increasingly miserable lives will give us a cost savings.  They’re telling us that health insurance companies will save all kinds of money if Obama forces the Catholic Church to violate its theology that Catholics had held for one thousand-five hundred years and provide birth control, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization.  And that they will then pass all that savings on to you.

Well, that sounds good, but it’s a lie just like pretty much every other thing that the left says.

Here’s the FACTS:

Obama: Mandate Saves Money; Mandate Authors: HHS Forbid Determining If It Saves Money
By Terence P. Jeffrey
February 16, 2012

CNSNews.com) – There would be no consideration of cost effectiveness.
 
That was the explicit condition that the Department of Health and Human Services imposed on the panel of health-care experts it commissioned to develop the “preventive services” mandate that will require virtually all health-insurance plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and contraceptives—including those that cause abortions.
 
The fact that HHS prohibited the panel from considering the cost effectiveness of the mandate it developed sharply contrasts with President Obama’s declaration at the White House last Friday that his administration had adopted the panel’s recommendations precisely because they will “make the overall cost of health care lower.”

One economist who served on the panel, meanwhile, suggested in a dissenting opinion that the panel’s recommendations in fact might not be cost effective and that the panel’s process for arriving at its recommendations “tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”
 
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that Obama signed in 2010 included a provision that all new health care plans would be required to cover “preventive services” without charging any fees or co-pay to the insured. The law allowed the secretary of health and human services to determine which “preventive services” would be mandated for women.
 
HHS commissioned and funded a committee of scientists, operating under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine (a part of the National Academies of Sciences), to recommend which “preventive services” for women should be included, cost free, in all insurance plans.
 
The panel—The Committee on Preventive Services for Women–had only 6 months to do its work and met only 5 times. On July 19, 2011, it issued a report with its recommendations. These included the following: “The committee recommends for consideration as a preventive service for women: the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity.”
 
Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 1 of last year, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued the panel’s contraception-sterilization recommendation as a new federal regulation—set to take effect on Aug. 1 of this year.
 
In its report, the committee had noted the short time in which it had to work and repeatedly reiterated HHS’s order that it could not consider cost effectiveness in determining its recommendations.
 
“The committee met five times within six months,” the report said.
 
“The cost-effectiveness of screening or services could not be a factor for the committee to consider in its analysis leading to its recommendations,” the report said.
 
“However, it should be noted that the committee did not have adequate time or resources to conduct its own meta-analyses or comprehensive systematic review of each preventive service,” the committee warned.
 
“Finally,” the committee said, “cost-effectiveness was explicitly excluded as a factor that the committee could use in developing recommendations, and so the committee process could not evaluate preventive services on that basis.”
 
“Furthermore,” the committee said, “for consistency in approach with the other three guidelines used by the ACA and given the time limitations for this study, the committee was restricted from considering cost-effectiveness in its process for identifying gaps in current recommendations.”
 
One of the 16 members of the panel—Prof. Anthony Lo Sasso an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health–issued a dissenting report. He criticized the panel’s process for lack a rigorous analytical method and for filtering things “through a lens of advocacy.” He also suggested there was good reason to believe the panel’s recommendations might not be cost effective.
 
“Readers of the Report should be clear on the facts that the recommendations were made without high quality, systematic evidence of the preventive nature of the services considered,” Lo Sasso wrote. “Put differently, evidence that use of the services in question leads to lower rates of disability or disease and increased rates of well-being is generally absent.
 
“The view of this dissent,” wrote Lo Sasso, “is that the committee process for evaluation of the evidence lacked transparency and was largely subject to the preferences of the committee’s composition. Troublingly, the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through the lends of advocacy. An abiding principle in the evaluation of the evidence and the recommendations put forth as a consequence should be transparency and strict objectivity, but the committee failed to demonstrate these principles in the Report.”
 
Lo Sasso also raised a question about the potential cost effectiveness of offering some preventive services for free because it would create a “benign moral hazard”—leading more people to utilize the free service.
 
“Whether coverage of preventive service leads to a reduction in healthcare expenditure depends on the fraction of enrollees using the service before the service becomes covered and the magnitude of the response among enrollees who experience the reduction in out-of-pocket price,” wrote Lo Sasso. “Knowing how elastic patient demand is to preventive services is a critical element to a coverage decision even if one already has good estimates of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. This is self-evidently a useful parameter to know for any preventive service because it highlights the impact that first-dollar coverage of the service will have, perhaps in relation to other forms of outreach.”
 
Because the committee was not given the time to do a serious analysis of the real impact of the recommended “preventive services,” Lo Sasso recommended that Secretary Sebelius not mandate the services “until such time as the evidence can be objectively and systematically evaluated.”
 
Despite the fact that this scientifically panel charged with coming up with the recommended preventive services had been expressly forbidden from looking at their cost effectiveness, President Obama declared that his administration had moved forward with the recommendations precisely because of their cost effectiveness.
 
“As part of the health care reform law that I signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost,” Obama said last Friday at the White House. “That means free check-ups, free mammograms, immunizations and other basic services. We fought for this because it saves lives and it saves money–for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody. That’s because it’s a lot cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.

“We also accepted a recommendation from the experts at the Institute of Medicine that when it comes to women, preventive care should include coverage of contraceptive services such as birth control,” said Obama. “In addition to family planning, doctors often prescribe contraception as a way to reduce the risks of ovarian and other cancers, and treat a variety of different ailments. And we know that the overall cost of health care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.”

So we have a tyrant who states something as a FACT that he EXPLICITLY demanded not be tested to see if it was true.  Which ought to tell you that his “fact” is in fact probably false.

We have become a nation of despicable people who believe lies.  That’s the bottom line.  People who believe lies and reject the truth are little better than the people who tell the lies in the first place.

We’re seeing “the big lie” over and over and over again from this administration.  And what is most frightening is how Obama lies “in the name of science.”

On the economic front, Obama is telling one lie after another – and using a methane-foggy haze of cooked “statistics” to sell them to an amoral people.

Obama has his thugs at taxpayer-funded Media Matters trying to personally destroy anyone who gets in the way of their messiah:

A little after 1 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2009, Karl Frisch emailed a memo to his bosses, Media Matters for America founder David Brock and president Eric Burns. In the first few lines, Frisch explained why Media Matters should launch a “Fox Fund” whose mission would be to attack the Fox News Channel.

“Simply put,” Frisch wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around any more. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.”

“We must take Fox News head-on in a well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”

What Frisch proceeded to suggest, however, went well beyond what legitimate presidential campaigns attempt. “We should hire private investigators to look into the personal lives of Fox News anchors, hosts, reporters, prominent contributors, senior network and corporate staff,” he wrote.

After that, Frisch argued, should come the legal assault: “We should look into contracting with a major law firm to study any available legal actions that can be taken against Fox News, from a class action law suit to defamation claims for those wronged by the network. I imagine this would be difficult but the right law firm is bound to find some legal ground for us to take action against the network.”

Frisch went on to call for “an elaborate shareholder campaign” against News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News: “This can take many forms, from a front group of shareholders, to passing resolutions at shareholder meetings or massive demonstrations are [sic] shareholder meetings.”

We also find that this taxpayer-funded leftwing hit organization met routinely to coordinate with top-level White House officials such as Valerie Jarrett.  And that their propaganda was routinely picked up by major media sources such as MSNBC, the Washington Post, etc.  And if that isn’t enough, Obama has developed his own Ministry of Propaganda euphemistically called the “Truth Team” to do Obama’s billion-dollar-funded campaign bidding.

Obama is playing the most naked brand of divisive politics to pit – in purely socialist terms – one group against another while he has continually made false promises to poor people who frankly ought to know better by now.  He is promising people whatever it will take to ensure his re-election.

Obama demonically pitted women against Catholics in order to win the women’s vote by sacrificing the Catholics and forcing them to pay for “services” they have found morally reprehensible for one-and-a-half millennia.  That’s how he rolls.

I think back to some haunting words:

…..Any opposition to Hitler is ruthlessly eradicated. Tens of thousands are imprisoned. Journalist Stephan Laurent dared to criticize The Fuehrer…..

“I am writing this from cell 24. Outside a new Germany is being created. Many millions are rejoicing. Hitler is promising everyone precisely what they want. I think when they wake to their sobering senses, they will find they have been led by the nose and duped by lies.”

America will discover one day – especially if it re-elects this despot – that they voted for a truly evil man who did nothing but hurt them while constantly promising he would heal them.

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Neverending Blame Bush Insanity: Democrat Alex Sink Obviously Cheats In Debate, Then Blames It On Republican Opponent

October 27, 2010

Just another of oh-so-many proofs that this election is a plebiscite on national integrity.  If we as a nation are without honor, decency, honor, or virtue, then we will vote for Democrats.

Democratic candidate cheats in Florida debate, then blames opponent for it
By Toby Harnden World Last updated: October 26th, 2010

This is pretty extraordinary. Alex Sink, locked in a tight gubernatorial race in Florida with Rick Scott, reads a message on a Droid shown to her by her make-up artist. That’s against the CNN debate rules. It’s cheating. Scott notices what she’s doing and blows the whistle.

Watch the video:


According to The St Petersburg Times, the message said:

The attorney who [w]on the Sykes suit said alex sink did nothing wrong. Tell not to let him keep talking about her.

Sink was clearly being surreptitious and, far from declining to read the message once she saw it related to the debate, she actively participated in the subterfuge. She was content to be coached and her body language indicates she knew she was doing something wrong.

That’s bad enough. What’s really disgraceful is what she does afterwards. She supposedly fires an aide (initially unnamed but now identified as Brian May, the person who apparently signed the campaign’s agreement to the debate rules) and issues a statement saying this:

While he [the aide] told me it was out of anger with Rick Scott’s repeated distortion of facts, it was a foolish thing to do.

In the annals of non-apology apologies, this takes some beating. The candidate cheats. There is no admission of personal responsibility at all and an aide is blamed. Then she goes one step further, justifying an aide’s ‘foolish’ actions as being motivated by ‘anger’ with her opponent’s ‘repeated distortion of facts’.

Okaaaay. So the candidate’s position is that she didn’t cheat but anyway it’s all her opponent’s fault? It’s the kind of thing few parents would let a six-year-old get away with.

No wonder so many Americans are so disillusioned with their politicians.

Add to that the strange goings-ons inside the voting machines in Nevada, which have a mysterious tendency to prompt voters to select Harry Reid.

Add to that the SEIU pro-Democrat voter-stuffing shenanigans, with clear evidence of massive fraud.

Add to that the 250 absentee ballots the Republican candidate tracked to a vacant lot.

Add to that the evidence in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that the Democrat candidate is flooding the voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.

Add to that voting machines in North Carolina which are “voting” for Democrats even when that is the exact opposite of what voters intend.  Which is simply the icing on the cake of all kinds of other fraud going on there.

Add to that Chicago, where Republicans are being disenfranchised of their right to vote by corrupt Democrat organizations.

Add to that still more corrupt Democrats in Pennsylvania who created a fictitious “Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office” to commit voter fraud.

Add to that a woman who is literally under criminal indictment for past voter fraud with liberal A.C.O.R.N. now heading up yet another corrupt liberal voter fraud group.

Add to that Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer both illegally and immorally requesting public high school teachers to send public school kids to volunteer for her campaign.

Add to that a Democrat organization in Virginia “shocked” that their free beer in exchange for votes was actually criminal.

Add to that illegal immigrants who are actively working to undermine the vote in Washington State for Democrats.  Even as liberal Democrat bastions such as San Fransisco are currently seeking to undermine the sanctity of citizens and the vote altogether.

Add to that campaign ads by Democrat candidates such as Rep. Alan Grayson which so shockingly and deliberately misrepresent the truth that even MSNBC are taking them to the woodshed for their gross lies.

To be a Democrat is to support institutional cheating, fraud and lies.  If you are a Democrat, you are a despicable cheating liar by proxy.  Just embrace it.  It’s who and what you are.  And shame on you.

And it’s not just in campaigning that Democrats are pathologically dishonest frauds; it is in governing.

There was the Generational Fraud Act otherwise known as the stimulus that was sold as preventing unemployment from rising above 8%.  What is it now?

There was the “sales pitch” that promised all sorts of “shovel-ready jobs.”  The problem is that there NEVER WERE any such jobs.  And now we have the admission that there never WERE any “shovel-ready jobs” coming right out of the lying mouth of the liar-in-chief himself.

There was the “sales pitch” that ObamaCare would bend the cost-curve down; that if you liked your health plan you could keep it; that the mandates weren’t a tax; etcetera.  And every single one of those promises was just a filthy lie.

Lately we see the Obama administration playing all kinds of monkey games with the TARP program finances, according to the TARP inspector general.

Don’t trust Democrats.  They are liars without shame or dignity.

Vote them out on November 2.

Of All The Democrats Running For Office, NOT ONE OF THEM Admits To Voting For ObamaCare In Ads

September 9, 2010

There are some major condemnations against ObamaCare in the recent past.  The first major one may have been the announcement by many major corporations that they would have to take billions of dollars in write downs due to the new requirements that were going to be imposed on them.  Given that Obama had promised that businesses were going to love his new health care system, this was bad.  That was made even more glaring when the National Small Business Organization joined the lawsuit against ObamaCare.  Didn’t Obama assure us that small businesses in particular would love his beloved new health care system?

Then there has been the continual trickle of news that now at least 22 states are actively suing the imposition of ObamaCare on them, and a total of 38 are seeking to pass legislation to block its impact on their citizens.  That can’t be good, can it?  And how can this be, given how wonderful ObamaCare is supposed to be?

Then there came the revelations that the central, fundamental promise of ObamaCare was a lie:

Administration Defends Health Law Despite Medicare Report Hiking Nation’s Tab
Published April 23, 2010
FOXNews.com

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday defended the new health insurance law after a report from its own Medicare services agency showed the provisions will increase the nation’s health care tab over the next 10 years instead of bringing costs down.

The sobering assessment by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concludes what Republicans had warned about during heated debate — that the double-counting of Medicare spending — as both savings and as a means to shore up the debt-ridden government fund for seniors’ health care — means the cost is unrealistic.

The analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years, or $311 billion, up from the $222 billion previous estimated.

Other studies are confirming that, yes, health care will be more expensive because of Obama’s meddling, and Americans will spend more out of their pockets.

Now getting caught in such a huge, fundamental lie is clearly bad.  But there you have it.

But we STILL haven’t plumbed the depths of the fallout yet.  Because now we’re seeing that not only do the numbers bear out that Democrats lied, but so also does their own actions.

Take this abandonment of central promises:

Dems retreat on health care cost pitch
By BEN SMITH | 8/19/10 4:55 PM EDT  Updated: 8/20/10 3:31 PM EDT

Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to “improve it.” […]

Now one of the foremost Democrat experts in heath care, who wrote part of and pushed for and voted for the ObamaCare “reform,” is now saying he doesn’t want anything to do with the monster he helped give birth to.  That’s right, Ron Wyden voted to pass that bill before he decided to try to protect his state from the bill he voted for.

And thus we keep sinking to the bottom of the sewer.  Because now the reality of ObamaCare and the fundamental lies that got this awful, heinous, evil collection of 160 new death panel bureaucracies passed silently scream at us.

Silently because most Democrats aren’t saying anything; they’re just walking away from the despicable new boondoggle they imposed on an American people who never wanted it and loudly said they never wanted it.

There are 231 Democrats running for national office [219 Democrats for the House of Representatives, and 12 Democrat Senators as incumbents], and NOT ONE SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS RUNNING A SINGLE AD ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THEY VOTED FOR OBAMACARE.

9/05/2010
Not one Democrat in House running ads saying they supported Obamacare

Dems are unwilling to run on their votes for Obamacare.

At least five of the 34 House Democrats who voted against their party’s health care reform bill are highlighting their “no” votes in ads back home. By contrast, party officials in Washington can’t identify a single House member who’s running an ad boasting of a “yes” vote — despite the fact that 219 House Democrats voted in favor of final passage in March.

One Democratic strategist said it would be “political malfeasance” to run such an ad now.

Democrats have taken that advice to heart; it appears that no Democratic incumbent — in the House or in the Senate — has run a pro-reform TV ad since April, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ran one.

Most of the Democrats running ads highlighting their opposition to the law are in conservative-leaning districts and considered the most endangered. They’re using their vote against the overhaul as proof of their willingness to buck party leadership and their commitment to watching the nation’s debt. . . . .

Democrats are running away from their own very own signature legislative accomplishment in a matter identical to cockroaches who are running away when the kitchen light is switched on.

You’ve got grim analyses such as this one, you know, by the people who were RIGHT ALL ALONG in saying that ObamaCare would cost FAR MORE than government functionaries said it would all along:

The bottom line is that you will lose your health care under this legislation, if not your job, your country as they bankrupt America, and maybe ultimately your life or the life of a loved one. All that to make dreamy, emotionalized, liberals happy, even though many of them are not happy because the socialism in the bill is not overt enough. Moreover, the promises made to the American people to pass the bill are shown in the study to be thoroughly false. This pattern of calculated deception, however, did not fool the American people, only members of Congress, many of whom will now pay with their jobs as a result.

Now, you can decide for yourself whether all the folks who were wrong before are right now, or whether you should believe a guy like Peter Ferrara who was right, and who says that these people STILL haven’t told you how bad ObamaCare will really be.  Me, I’m going with Pete.

This may be our last chance as a nation.  We either give Republicans enough power (by which I mean control of both the House and the Senate) to repeal and replace ObamaCare, or we may well go the way of the Dodo bird as a law that is so fundamentally terrible that even Democrats refuse to be associated with it begins to eat our nation like cancer.

Wall St. Journal Bursts The Obama Bubble: ObamaCare Is All About Rationing

August 19, 2009

Reading through this article, you begin to come to two conclusions: 1) the problem with the costs of health care is NOT that there is too LITTLE government involvement in health care, but rather too MUCH, namely due to stupid government regulations that end up raising costs by undermining individual responsibility; 2) the people who most stand in the way of legitimate health care reform that would really work is Democrats and their special interest allies, such as organized labor.

ObamaCare Is All About Rationing
Overspending is far preferable to artificially limiting the availability of new procedures and technologies.

By MARTIN FELDSTEIN

Although administration officials are eager to deny it, rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan. The Obama strategy is to reduce health costs by rationing the services that we and future generations of patients will receive.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report in June explaining the Obama administration’s goal of reducing projected health spending by 30% over the next two decades. That reduction would be achieved by eliminating “high cost, low-value treatments,” by “implementing a set of performance measures that all providers would adopt,” and by “directly targeting individual providers . . . (and other) high-end outliers.”

The president has emphasized the importance of limiting services to “health care that works.” To identify such care, he provided more than $1 billion in the fiscal stimulus package to jump-start Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) and to finance a federal CER advisory council to implement that idea. That could morph over time into a cost-control mechanism of the sort proposed by former Sen. Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s original choice for White House health czar. Comparative effectiveness could become the vehicle for deciding whether each method of treatment provides enough of an improvement in health care to justify its cost.

In the British national health service, a government agency approves only those expensive treatments that add at least one Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) per £30,000 (about $49,685) of additional health-care spending. If a treatment costs more per QALY, the health service will not pay for it. The existence of such a program in the United States would not only deny lifesaving care but would also cast a pall over medical researchers who would fear that government experts might reject their discoveries as “too expensive.”

One reason the Obama administration is prepared to use rationing to limit health care is to rein in the government’s exploding health-care budget. Government now pays for nearly half of all health care in the U.S., primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The White House predicts that the aging of the population and the current trend in health-care spending per beneficiary would cause government outlays for Medicare and Medicaid to rise to 15% of GDP by 2040 from 6% now. Paying those bills without raising taxes would require cutting other existing social spending programs and shelving the administration’s plans for new government transfers and spending programs.

The rising cost of medical treatments would not be such a large burden on future budgets if the government reduced its share in the financing of health services. Raising the existing Medicare and Medicaid deductibles and coinsurance would slow the growth of these programs without resorting to rationing. Physicians and their patients would continue to decide which tests and other services they believe are worth the cost.

There is, of course, no reason why limiting outlays on Medicare and Medicaid requires cutting health services for the rest of the population. The idea that they must be cut in parallel is just an example of misplaced medical egalitarianism.

But budget considerations aside, health-economics experts agree that private health spending is too high because our tax rules lead to the wrong kind of insurance. Under existing law, employer payments for health insurance are deductible by the employer but are not included in the taxable income of the employee. While an extra $100 paid to someone who earns $45,000 a year will provide only about $60 of after-tax spendable cash, the employer could instead use that $100 to pay $100 of health-insurance premiums for that same individual. It is therefore not surprising that employers and employees have opted for very generous health insurance with very low copayment rates.

Since a typical 20% copayment rate means that an extra dollar of health services costs the patient only 20 cents at the time of care, patients and their doctors opt for excessive tests and other inappropriately expensive forms of care. The evidence on health-care demand implies that the current tax rules raise private health-care spending by as much as 35%.

The best solution to this problem of private overconsumption of health services would be to eliminate the tax rule that is causing the excessive insurance and the resulting rise in health spending. Alternatively, Congress could strengthen the incentives in the existing law for health savings accounts with high insurance copayments. Either way, the result would be more cost-conscious behavior that would lower health-care spending.

But unlike reductions in care achieved by government rationing, individuals with different preferences about health and about risk could buy the care that best suits their preferences. While we all want better health, the different choices that people make about such things as smoking, weight and exercise show that there are substantial differences in the priority that different people attach to health.

Although there has been some talk in Congress about limiting the current health-insurance exclusion, the administration has not supported the idea. The unions are particularly vehement in their opposition to any reduction in the tax subsidy for health insurance, since they regard their ability to negotiate comprehensive health insurance for their members as a major part of their raison d’être.

If changing the tax rule that leads to excessive health insurance is not going to happen, the relevant political choice is between government rationing and continued high levels of health-care spending. Rationing is bad policy. It forces individuals with different preferences to accept the same care. It also imposes an arbitrary cap on the future growth of spending instead of letting it evolve in response to changes in technology, tastes and income. In my judgment, rationing would be much worse than excessive care.

Those who worry about too much health care cite the Congressional Budget Office’s prediction that health-care spending could rise to 30% of GDP in 2035 from 16% now. But during that 25-year period, GDP will rise to about $24 trillion from $14 trillion, implying that the GDP not spent on health will rise to $17 billion in 2035 from $12 billion now. So even if nothing else comes along to slow the growth of health spending during the next 25 years, there would still be a nearly 50% rise in income to spend on other things.

Like virtually every economist I know, I believe the right approach to limiting health spending is by reforming the tax rules. But if that is not going to happen, let’s not destroy the high quality of the best of American health care by government rationing and misplaced egalitarianism.

Mr. Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, is a professor at Harvard and a member of The Wall Street Journal’s board of contributors.

So it’s not private insurance companies’ “excessive profits” that are to be demonized, but the government’s tax rules.  As is usually the case, the reason we’ve got high costs is because government is too involved, and is making things worse.  And again, who is the biggest obstacle to finally fixing the tax rules in a way that will lower costs?  Big labor, a key Democrat ally.

Having Democrats “fix” the system is like having foxes “guard” the chicken coop.

A further culprit in our skyrocketing medical costs are still another powerful Democrat special interest: the trial lawyers.  In exchange for the millions of dollars the trial lawyers give to Democrats, Democrat politicians continue to protect the system that allows lawyers to file frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit.  A simple “loser pays” system – such as the U.K. offers – would cut billions out of the costs of health care.  Instead, not only are doctors’ malpractice insurance costs exorbitant (which doctors must then pass on to patients), but fear of lawsuits leads to a practice known as “defensive medicine.” When 93% of physicians admit to ordering tests, prescribing drugs, or performing procedures to protect themselves from potential lawsuits rather than help their patients, something is just incredibly wrong.

Doctors are literally leaving medicine over the insane costs of medical malpractice.  In certain specialized fields, such as Ob/Gyn, whole regions are losing their doctors.  Insurance premiums for Ob/Gyn doctors are running $250,000 a year – and between higher insurance costs, lower government deductibles, and always high medical school costs, vitally important family care doctors are finding themselves netting less than fast food restaurant managers.

Alan Miller explains another reason why private insurance is absolutely vital to our health care system – and why a government “public option” would be disastrous:

Medicare reimbursements to hospitals fail to cover the actual cost of providing services. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent congressional advisory agency, says hospitals received only 94.1 cents for every dollar they spent treating Medicare patients in 2007. MedPAC projects that number to decline to 93.1 cents per dollar spent in 2009, for an operating shortfall of 7%. Medicare works because hospitals subsidize the care they provide with revenue received from patients who have commercial insurance. Without that revenue, hospitals could not afford to care for those covered by Medicare. In effect, everyone with insurance is subsidizing the Medicare shortfall, which is growing larger every year.

If hospitals had to rely solely on Medicare reimbursements for operating revenue, as would occur under a single-payer system, many hospitals would be forced to eliminate services, cut investments in advanced medical technology, reduce the number of nurses and other employees, and provide less care for the patients they serve. And with the government in control, Americans eventually will see rationing
, the denial of high-priced drugs and sophisticated procedures, and long waits for care.

When we consider that – all protestations aside – some 88 million Americans will be shifted out of their employer-paid private insurance into a “public option” under the Democrats’ plan, we should be very, very worried.

Democrats aren’t doing ANYTHING to reduce the costs of healthcare.  All they are offering is total government control as fiscally-responsible panacea; and that is simply a lie.  Government bureaucracy is not more efficient; it is unimaginably LESS efficient.  The government has never been more efficient at delivering services (remember the $435 hammers? the $640 toilet seats? the $7,600 coffee makers?).  You want efficiency and economies of scale?  How about the government overpaying 618%.  Big government is inherently bureaucratic, inefficient, and corrupt.  And as their costs go up and up and up, the only way they will be able to bring their costs down will be to ration care.

Don’t just listen to me: listen to the man Obama chose to be his health policy adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who said this year:

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide…. Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

And:

“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.”

Please don’t be so stupid not to think that rationing care – particularly to senior citizens who have already “lived their complete lives” – that rationing won’t be essential to government care.  And we will GET government care unless we rise up now to stop it.