The right's lies about the current health insurance proposals before Congress have rarely been compiled in such concise form before.
What follows is an article from the Right Wing blog ChronWatch:
Page After Page of Reasons to Hate ObamaCare
By Alan Caruba
The problem is, there's something missing, such as context. See, the writer is expecting the reader to take everything as gospel, and agree that it's bad, without any sort of explanation. It's a list of all of the things that are wrong with the current state of the health care reform bill before Congress. If you'd like to follow along, feel free to click here to go to the bill itself. In fact, I would encourage you to look at it for yourself; it's an easy way to learn what's actually in it, without having to read through all of the legalese.
We're not called Please Cut the Crap for no reason. Below each item the right wing assures readers we're supposed to hate, I've inserted context, and explained why you really shouldn't hate it. Unless you should. All of my responses are italicized and printed in red, so that you can tell whose words are whose.
I'll warn you, this is a long one, but it's an important one, so get a glass of tea, print this out, and read it to everyone who spews one of these talking points, because this really does touch on pretty much all of the right's talking points. And now you'll be able to refute them. Isn't that cool?
Now, let's continue with the article.
Here are just a few very good reasons to hate ObamaCare:
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
First of all, it starts on page 21, not 22, and it simply mandates a study of risk on the part of all companies that choose to provide self-insurance, to make sure they are capitalized properly. This is something that private insurance companies are required to do; it's to protect the consumer. Say you work at a company with their own health insurance system; how would you like to find out after you've received a $100,000 bill for a hospital stay, that the insurance pool can't pay the bill?
This is also important because when they can't pay the bills, then everyone else with insurance ends up picking up the slack. Got that? That's the reason health insurance premiums have more than doubled in the last ten years, and are scheduled to double again in the next ten, if nothing changes.
Anyway, why should companies acting as health insurance companies be allowed to operate under different rules than insurance companies? Isn't that unfair competition?
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
The section actually starts on page 26, and it's entitled:
SEC. 122. ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED.
There is absolutely NO section in there, from page 26 through page 30, that indicates rationing of any kind. Looking at Page 29 specifically, it contains a section called "Annual Limitation." A-HA! See? It's a LIMITATION! That's the same as rationing, right? Didn't they admit rationing?
Well, no. Because the limit is on the amount that people will have to pay out in cost-sharing, should the agency implementing the bill decide to use a version of cost-sharing. The limit is on how much a patient will have to pay, not a limit on the health care the patient receives.Watch how many times these tools bring up the "rationing" canard. It's almost as often as they mention ACORN. (I kid you not. Just wait.)
See what I mean when I say we have to watch these people, and check their "facts?"
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
The section on Page 30 establishes an advisory committee, and yes; they will decide which treatments and benefits you get. I'm unsure as to why this is a bad thing. I don't want my health insurance premiums going to Britney's boob job, even if I have private insurance. Which reminds me; does this bozo actually think private insurance companies don't have a list of acceptable treatments and benefits?
There is one difference here, though. The committee's recommendations will be published and the public will have access to them. Which means they will be able to offer input to the process.
Oh, and there is nothing here about "no appeals process." The Committee will simply recommend processes for implementation. Not only that, but varying appeals processes are laid out in detail throughout the bill. So, he lied about that...
• Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
See above. The Commissioner will simply oversee implementation of the rules that are decided upon by the Commission. He or she will be responsible for making sure that everyone is held accountable up and down the line. Nothing in the bill gives power to a "czar," who will make health benefits decisions. The commission and the Secretary will make decisions on benefits as changes become necessary. Again; I'm not sure why this is a bad thing, except that right wingers don't seem fond of accountability.Well, unless we're talking about unskilled poor people who get welfare money.
• Page 50: All non-U.S. citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
Now, when you read something like this, you half expect to see something mandating that non-US citizens be given "free health care."
The funny thing is, the word FREE only appears one time in the entire bill, and it is not coupled with the term "health care." People will be provided with a new health care choice, based on their income, to a certain extent. So we can toss that little red herring off the boat right away. NO ONE will receive free health care. I mean, unless they win some sort of sweepstakes or something.I guess that's possible.
No, the section the wingnut refers to is entitled:
SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.
What is says is:
"… [A]ll health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."
The word "free" isn't in there. It just means that no one can be denied insurance coverage or health care because of their looks, or because they're wearing robes or a burqa. But nothing in there says undocumented immigrants will be able to scam "free" health care. In other words, you can only call that a lie.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
No, it says everyone who opts into the public insurance system MAY be issued a health identification card, if the commission thinks that's a good idea. But the bill doesn't mandate it. It's quite possible the insurance commission will recommend that states implement the public health insurance option, and some states may put the information on your driver's license or state ID card. And again; the only people who will need a card are those with public insurance.
And what's wrong with this idea, anyway? I've never had health insurance from a private company from which I didn’t receive an identification card.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
‘‘The standards under this section shall be developed, adopted and enforced so as to… (C) enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice;"
It clearly refers to payment for the health care, not payment of the premium. Most health care companies love this, and will adopt it. But it is still their choice, just as it could be your choice to pay your health insurance premiums by direct transfer, check or payroll deduction. As is the case now.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
Once more, it doesn't say that. What it does say is:
SEC. 164. REINSURANCE PROGRAM FOR RETIREES.
13 (a) ESTABLISHMENT.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a temporary reinsurance program (in this section referred to as the ‘‘reinsurance program’’) to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees.
Okay, you'll note the word PARTICIPATING in the above. To anyone who would bother to slide down a couple of paragraphs, past the definitions, all of which define the terms in the above, and do not include the word "mandatory" anywhere, to Page 67, we find:
(b) PARTICIPATION.—To be eligible to participate in the reinsurance program, an eligible employment-based plan shall submit to the Secretary an application for participation in the program, at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary shall require.
So, it's all voluntary. Not only that, but it's REINSURANCE, which means the participating plan will be providing their capital to the federal government to fund the plan. I would also point out that members of unions such as SEIU and UAW are also taxpayers, and they currently purchase private insurance for retired members. And if ACORN isn't a red herring, I don't know what is. I'm not aware that ACORN provides health insurance to anyone. But hey; it's not true racist wingnuttery until you invoke ACORN, eh? This isn't the last time you'll see it.
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
This is a phenomenally stupid complaint from a right wing ideological perspective, and it lays bare the moral bankruptcy in their arguments against universal health care. These are the same people who are always touting competition and choice as the most important aspects of capitalism. The point of the insurance exchange is to give people an obvious and transparent choice of health insurance options. A private insurance company can participate and offer their wares alongside the public option, if they so choose. If they don't want to participate, they're free to conduct business as usual, and they won't have to conform to any government rules. Well, except for the ones they must already conform with, whenever the Bush Administration's not in office. They've always had to conform to government rules to participate in Medicare, and I don't see any of them dropping out of business for that.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
Again, this is a lie. There are requirements for those choosing to participating in the Health Exchange, but there is absolutely no mandate to join. And if there is going to be competition, it should be on a level playing field, which is what the Exchange creates. It creates an easy-to-read set of options, which insurance companies are free to enhance, and all companies who participate are instructed to offer several levels of plans. If you really think about it rationally, and not the right wing way, the Exchange actually enhances the private insurance companies' chances of survival. But these idiots want to kill it. If there's a public option available at a competitive price per month, insurance companies can offer two other tiers of service, with whatever enhancements they want to include, for a higher price. So, rather than offering "total government control," it actually allows insurance companies an opportunity to offer several tiers of "enhanced" service, to enhance their profitability.
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
There's that perpetual racist component again. My great-grandmother couldn't read English well enough to follow medical instructions when I was a kid in the 1960s, and she had been in this country since she fled the Nazis in the 1930s. I know this, because she used to have me read stuff to her when I was 6. By the way, she was from Poland, and she was very, very white. Hundreds of thousands of people come here legally from all over the world, without knowing English sufficiently, and they occasionally get sick. Hell, half the right wingers in this country legally can't speak English well enough to read a Congressional bill, let alone a doctor's instructions. Obviously.
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
Once more, they invoke ACORN. The above is too silly to even bother with, except to say that informing people of their options and helping them sign up seems remarkably similar to the teams of people the private insurance companies send out to workplaces during "open enrollment." Just saying...
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
Those eligible for Medicaid already have public health insurance. The reason they qualify for Medicaid is because they are poor and have no choices. What sense does it make to have two separate public health plans; Medicaid and this new plan. I mean, this is ridiculous, folks. Page 102 makes clear that Medicaid will be folded into this new plan when it passes. It's a no-brainer.
But I will say this; people on Medicaid will actually have just as much choice as they've always had; probably more.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
This is also extremely inaccurate, if not an outright lie. There is no "price-fixing." First of all, the bill refers to the same rate-setting statutes the government has always followed with Medicare and Medicaid. It has to do with the rates they pay for procedures, and the process includes medical providers and follows them very closely. The doctors and medical corporations still set the prices in that system, and private insurers will be free to negotiate higher or lower payment prices if they wish. They don't pay the same as Medicare and Medicaid for procedures now, and no one's complaining about "price fixing."
You know what? This isn't just inaccurate, it's dishonest.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
Once again, the bill doesn't say that. In fact, the language is almost exactly the same as the language in Medicare, and it says absolutely nothing about anyone's "wages." The entire section is about rates for procedures and treatment, and physicians are free to apply in any category they choose, just as they are now with Medicare.
The level of dishonesty in this one is astounding. Every single private health insurance company in the market negotiates rates for procedures with participating physicians, and physicians are not allowed to charge any more than that amount. In other words, they do the same thing Medicare does. The only difference is, Medicare pays every claim short of fraud, while insurance companies routinely deny claims, and try every trick they can think of to not pay at all. And they wonder why we're gunning for them...
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
This one is pure crap. There's no other way to put it. Here's what it actually says:
SEC. 312. EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS EMPLOYEE AND DEPENDENT COVERAGE.
21 (a) IN GENERAL.—An employer meets the requirements of this section with respect to an employee if the following requirements are met:
(1) OFFERING OF COVERAGE.—The employer offers the coverage described in section 311(1) either
through an Exchange-participating health benefits plan or other than through such a plan.
(2) EMPLOYER REQUIRED CONTRIBUTION.— The employer timely pays to the issuer of such coverage an amount not less than the employer required contribution specified in subsection (b) for such coverage.8 (3) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—The employer provides the Health Choices Commissioner, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of the Treasury, as applicable, with such information as the Commissioner may require to ascertain compliance with the requirements of this section.
(4) AUTOENROLLMENT OF EMPLOYEES.—The employer provides for autoenrollment of the employee in accordance with subsection (c).
In other words, IF the employer opts into the public insurance system, THEN he must provide for the autoenrollment of employees… again a choice. But here's the really dishonest part. Just a few paragraphs later, there is this little section (Page 148):
(2) OPT-OUT.—In no case may an employer automatically enroll an employee in a plan under paragraph (1) if such employee makes an affirmative election to opt out of such plan or to elect coverage under an employment-based health benefits plan offered by such employer. An employer shall provide an employee with a 30-day period to make such an affirmative election before the employer may automatically enroll the employee in such a plan.
Remember; this lying wingnut said "no alternatives." Strange, but I see an employer being able to choose not to participate in the public insurance system. And every employee has the choice to opt-out; it says so right in the bill. Those seem like alternatives. Even if you're not the best at math, you have to know that two is greater than zero, right?
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
Again, an absolute lie. The page number is 146, not 126, which is a quibble. But employers are not required to pay healthcare bills for anyone. IF they CHOOSE to participate in the public insurance system, they are required to autoenroll employees in the insurance, unless the employee chooses to opt out. But the INSURANCE pays the bills, not the employers. Employers will not be required to pay for the procedures themselves, unless they opt to self-insure. But that's hardly a mandate, is it?
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll.
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll.
More lies. The section ONLY refers to any employer who doesn't offer ANY insurance to his employees. If they offer either private insurance or the public insurance, they do not have to pay the 8%, regardless of the size of their payroll. The purpose of the public insurance system is to cover as many people as possible. An employee of such an employer who wants to buy the public insurance will have to pay an amount indexed to the probably meager pay the cheapskate employer is paying. (Think fast food franchise where everyone works for $8 an hour or less.) The fund created by this tax will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for these people.
An employer with a tiny payroll will pay considerably less, but again; ONLY if he doesn't participate in the public insurance system. Here's the table.
If the annual payroll of such employer for the preceding calendar year:
The applicable percentage is:
Does not exceed $250,000 ..................................... 0 percent
Exceeds $250,000, but does not exceed $300,000 2 percent
Exceeds $300,000, but does not exceed $350,000 4 percent
Exceeds $350,000, but does not exceed $400,000 6 percent
So, if they have a really small business, say 10 employees making $24,000 each, and don't offer insurance, they get off scot-free. In fact, if they have 20 employees making $15,000 per year, they only pay $6,000 into the fund.
If you ask me, there's a gap here. Really small cheapskate business owners are going to get off light, and all other taxpayers will have to foot more of the bill as a result.
• Page 167: Any individual who doesn't have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
Yay! Finally, they got one right. Well, partially right, anyway.
Anyone without health insurance -- specifically those who choose to run around without health insurance because they're too cheap and stupid -- will now have to pay something into a system that is required to take care of them when they contract a serious illness or get hit by a bus. Let's see… if the guy makes $100,000 per year, the total tax is $2,500, which is far less than he would pay for health insurance now. And for those who think this is especially unfair to rich people who choose not to carry insurance because of their immense wealth, don't worry; the amount is capped at the size of the average health insurance premium. In return, the rest of us won't have to pick up the tab when the uninsured numb nuts is wheeled into the emergency room for a trauma because he was riding his dirt bike and slammed into a tree while not wearing a helmet. .
In other words, this is something to applaud, not to hate. It should encourage people to opt into the insurance system, which saves everyone money.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
This wingnut sure does have an obsession with immigrants. By the way, NON-RESIDENT ALIEN means someone who doesn't LIVE here. In almost all other countries, there is a national health insurance system, and their government will pay for their health care. Why would we tax them for something they won’t use in most cases?
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
And we get back to the lies.
The agency will have extremely limited access to SOME information contained in IRS TAX records for those individuals choosing to participate in the public health insurance system, in order to determine eligibility for certain premium discounts. There are strict limits on the info they will have access to, and there is a strict prohibition on passing the information anywhere else.It is most certainly NOT "ALL American financial and personal records."
• Page 203: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it really says that.
No, actually, it doesn't. What is it about wingnuts that makes them think they can put a period anywhere they want, and change the meaning of something, and no one will notice? Here's what it REALLY says:
‘‘(4) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.—The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.’’'
I can't explain what this means. I'm simply pointing out that it doesn't "really say" what they say it says...
•Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected.”
This is also a lie. The entire section has to do with reducing the number of physician services used to compute health care growth rates from 2011 on. There is absolutely no provision to reduce services for Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid will be folded into the public insurance system, which makes the above assertion just insane.
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you’ll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
See above. Another lie. It's another part of the section dealing with predicting costs. Specifically, it deals with "conversion factors. There is nothing in there mandating what anyone gets paid for anything.
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
These are just insane. The first one doesn't set values for anything. It simply adjusts the method for coming up with values later on. Which makes sense, because covering everyone will drop the health care inflation rate tremendously, especially after the first few years. The second evaluates productivity and offer incentives to increase efficiency and productivity. As for the last one, why wouldn't the government regulate the rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs they intend to buy? You think private insurance companies just go to Wal-Mart? And read it carefully; all it does is extend Medicare regulations to the public insurance system. Why is it suddenly not good enough?
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
They love that word "rationing."
If only they knew what it meant.
Essentially, there is no rationing anywhere in
this bill. And anyone who doesn't think private insurance rations health care
has never encountered a denied claim. But not only does the section they point
to NOT impose anything close to "rationing," it promises to pay EXTRA
to hospitals that specialize in cancer treatment. EXTRA!
when does "rationing" constitute EXTRA anything? Bet our grandparents
are pissed to know that gas rationing during World War II meant they
could get extra.
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
Okay, the first one's not entirely a lie, although it doesn’t say "preventable readmissions;" it says "EXCESSIVE readmissions," and there is a significant difference. It merely extends a policy that's been standard under Medicare for years. It encourages doctors to make sure they aren't treating the hospital as an assembly line and making sure people are treated properly the first time. It also goes a long way to keeping hypochondriacs out of the hospital to a significant degree, and keeping costs down.
The second one, on the other hand, is completely made up. First of all, the page number is wrong. But it rewards efficiency. Think about it this way. Suppose you take your car in to have the air conditioning repaired, and the shop charges you $200. If you have to take it in two more times for the same problem, are you going to accept them charging you $200 more each time? Of course not. Well, why shouldn't doctors be encouraged to do everything possible to fix a problem the first time? Not only that, but imagine a medical office scamming the insurance company/government by purposely not treating everything the first time, so that they can get more money for more readmissions? This measure actually increases efficiency.
Imagine that; these wingnuts actually have a problem with the government encouraging efficiency and combating waste, and keeping the cost of health care down.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on “community” input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
Surprise; more lies The bill prohibits doctors from referring patients to hospitals in which they have a significant ownership interest in, without disclosing to the patient that he indeed has an ownership stake in the hospital. The government also prohibits "self-referral" under most circumstances. That's actually fair to all of the other hospitals. There is absolutely zero prohibition on doctors having ownership of hospitals. What this tool is citing has to do with rural areas. It's to prevent one physician from effectively controlling all aspects of health care in a region, where possible.
But once more; doctors are not prohibited from doing anything, except creating a monopoly and locking others out of a market. And the "community input" provision is just common sense. Note, another ACORN reference, and there is no way it applies here at all. I'm not aware of ACORN being involved in hospital expansion in rural areas.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
I don't even have to look this one up, but I did anyway. Another joke/lie.
Outcome-based healthcare is common sense. And it has nothing to do with "rationing." In fact, rationing is the exact OPPOSITE of "outcome-based" care. By emphasizing quality care, you reduce the number of ER and urgent care admissions, and you reduce the number of readmissions, as well. Again; it's the opposite of rationing. Rationing is what private insurance companies do. I'm reminded of that guy at the beginning of Michael Moore's film, "Sicko," in which some poor guy had a choice of which finger he would like to have reattached. "Outcome based" care would have repaired both fingers and made the guy a productive citizen again. Health care "rationing" forced him to choose the cheapest finger to reattach.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
They already have the ability to regulate and disqualify Medicare Advantage plans.. In other words, this maintains the status quo . Oh, and it says absolutely nothing about "HMOS, etc."
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
No. That's not what it says. What it says is, it will begin to phase such special needs individuals into the public health insurance system. IOW, those people who qualify for Medicaid and people under 65 who qualify for Medicare will be eligible for this system instead. Seriously, can wingnuts read at all?
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
More bureaucracy than the private insurer's tendency to automatically deny claims over $1500, and force you to call them in order to get the bill paid? Have you ever been to a hospital's administrative offices? There is no more bureaucracy than in the private health insurance industry.
That said, Telehealth has been around for years, and has saved Medicare countless dollars by directing seniors to services. This merely expands the concept to people covered under the public insurance system. Imagine; more service; what a concept, right?
The rest are pure paranoia. The Advance Care Planning Consultation system has also been around for years, and I'm unaware of a spate of senior suicides or euthanasia as a result. It simply encourages people to consult with their doctors, and get all of the options available for either planning for the end, or working to create a higher quality of life. I'm sure almost everyone knows someone with a debilitating disease, such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes; advance care planning reduces the likelihood that these people will constantly show up at urgent care or the ER for minor problems that they themselves can take care of.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
Two more gratuitous mentions of ACORN. And what's wrong with either of the above?
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
This one is silly, of course. Unless the government starts mandating marriage and family therapy, and then conducts the therapy themselves, the "intervention" isn't happening. I mean, many health insurance plans cover psychiatric services under some conditions, but no one is suggesting that Blue Cross or CIGNA is trying to control your mind.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.
Of course, it merely adds them to the Medicare mix. There is nothing to define, create or ration them in this bill.
I guess they became tired, because they got tired of lying about halfway through the bill. There are over 500 more pages to this thing.
A tip of my hat to my friend, Ben Cerruti, for providing this look at the Obamanation called ObamaCare.
Yes, thank him for lying his ass off, and giving me a chance to cut the crap, big time. I'd been working on a piece about right wing health care lies, and this gave me a chance to dispel most of them in one fell swoop. I mean, all of these lies in one piece. How do these people sleep at night?
If you tell them that, you're a fool. The CBO estimates that, with no changes to the health care system, premiums will increase by $1800 per year for the next ten years. That means an family will pay an average annual premium of more than $32,000 by then. And that's assuming that the 47 million people without insurance doesn't increase tremendously. This offers everyone a chance at affordable health insurance, and stops the health care inflation that has crippled our economy for decades. But more than that, it will make us a proud nation, that cares about its people once again.
Stop letting these wingnut idiots lie their asses off. Read what I wrote above, and compare it to what's actually in the bill. It's really not as long as it sounds, by the way; if the bill was written single spaced, with normal margins, it would probably be a couple of hundred pages at best. But look through it, and what you'll find is a plan that is very thoughtful and measured, and provides access to everyone.
Call your Congressperson and Senators, and ask them one simple question;
Do you REALLY want to be on record as having voted against health insurance for all this year?
This is going to happen. If not this year, then we throw out the assholes who vote against it, and put in someone who will. Our country is becoming second-rate right before our eyes, and one reason is the money we're flushing away on health care for no one, while thousands of people die and thousands of others are pushed to financial ruin.
The fact that the opposition can do nothing but lie to get their point across means that even they believe universal health insurance is necessary. Either that, or they like seeing their rates double every decade...
Thanks to a reader, I found another little right wing talking points from a little group called the "Liberty Counsel."
The Liberty Counsel is a lobbying group that describes itself as "a nationwide public interest religious civil liberties law firm," according to the memo, which is conveniently located on their web site. Because much of the memo mimics the previous article almost word for word, and lie for lie, I have mercifully left out the portions of the memo that I have already addressed.
The Liberty Counsel works out of three locations, including -- and don't tell me you didn't see this coming -- Lynchburg, Virginia. Those of you familiar with the history of far right wing politics will recognize the misuse of the term "Liberty" and the city of Lynchburg, VA quite well. Jerry Falwell, it seems, saw himself as something of a right wing messiah (note the lower case, folks) of sorts for those poor, downtrodden white southern Christians, who have never had a real voice in this country. (Right wingers, that was sarcasm.)
The Liberty Counsel's web site boasts of their mission, which is "Restoring the Culture One Case at a Time by Advancing Religious Freedom, the Sanctity of Human Life and the Traditional Family." But I wonder; why is a group charged with protecting the" Sanctity of Human Life" so intent on protecting a status quo in which tens of thousands of people die every year because they don't have access to the health care system, and wherein people are denied life saving treatments and procedures because they cut into a private insurance company's profits? It is simply not possible to call yourself "pro-life" with any sort of credibility when you defend such a status quo. And if they're so intent on protecting the traditional family, doesn't it seem odd that they are siding with private insurance companies, and against families who are being ruined by health care bills they can't afford to pay.
And what would Jesus think of these so-called "Judeo-Christians" turning to outright lies and misstatements to protect profits, at the expense of people?
And make no mistake, folks; the people writing this crap are liars, and I will prove it.Oops... they're lawyers; maybe they'll sue me... bummer...
Once more, read the bill along with me… please? Again, I have once again put my responses in red.
Obama Administration’s Health Care Plan
HR 3200 currently under consideration in the House of Representatives
Reviewed, revised and adapted on July 29, 2009, by Liberty Counsel from the original authored by Peter Fleckenstein and posted on FreeRepublic.com and his blog, http://blog.flecksoflife.com.
(What can you say about a "Christian" group that gets its marching orders from Freepers?)
• Sec. 203, Pg. 85, Line 7 - Specifications of benefit levels for plans means that the government will define your HC plan and has the ability to ration your health care!
This is actually the first slight difference between this memo, and the previous blog post, but it actually carries roughly the same theme.
What this section would do would be to create several different levels of service, so that people can buy the coverage that makes the most sense to them. Most private insurance companies do this now; they offer a basic plan, like an HMO, and a more feature-laden plan, such as a PPO. Some also offer a Catastrophic plan, which allows the policy holder to pay cash for most of his or her family's health care, and only covers serious illness or injury. I'm pretty sure that's three levels of coverage. But as the bill points out, the customer will choose the plan level that's right for them, the government won't.
Now, read the section very carefully, and you'll find that the three plan levels for the public insurance will compete with three levels from each private insurance company that chooses to participate in the system. Basically, when it's time to choose your plan each year, you will have three public option choices, and three choices each from three other private insurance companies. You could have a choice of a dozen different plans under this bill.
And there is no more rationing under this plan than there already exists. It's insurance; if by rationing they mean the government may decide not to pay for the oxy contin the maid purchases for you, perhaps they're correct.
• Sec. 223, Pg. 124, Lines 24-25 - No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “administrative of judicial review” against a government monopoly.
Okay, I dealt with this one somewhat in the last article, but keep in mind; this one is coming from lawyers, who really should know better. In fact, if they have JDs from reputable law schools, they do know better.
How is it possible to sue the government for "price-fixing," when private insurance companies are free to negotiate their own rates and prices, and they are given an equal playing field with the public insurance system? The answer, of course, is that no price fixing is possible under the plan proposed by this bill.
Put it another way; there's a reason they only want you to look at lines 24-25. If you look a few paragraphs before that, you will find the following:
(3) ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROVIDER NETWORK.—Health care providers participating under Medicare are participating providers in the public health insurance option unless they opt out in a process established by the Secretary.
(c) ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS FOR SETTING RATES.—Chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code shall
apply to the process for the initial establishment of payment rates under this section but not to the specific methodology for establishing such rates or the calculation of such rates.
(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority to correct for payments that are excessive or deficient, taking into account the provisions of section 221(a) and the amounts paid for similar health care providers and services under other Exchange-participating health benefits plans.
(e) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary to establish payment rates, including payments to provide for the more efficient delivery of services, such as the initiatives provided for under section 224.
(f) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.
What you see here is the establishment of rules that are pretty much identical to the rules providers have been held to under Medicare and Medicaid for years. But look at the above in bold. WHAT "other… health benefit plans"? I thought they were creating a "government monopoly." Can you see that they're lying, folks? Everything in this bill assumes rigorous competition, and it allows for the possibility that there will be competition for pricing for medical procedures. There cannot be any competition in a "government monopoly."
• Sec. 225, Pg. 127, Lines 1-16 - Doctors – the government will tell YOU what you can make. “The Secretary shall provide for the annual participation of physicians under the public health insurance option, for which payment may be made for services furnished during the year.”
Here's another one I dealt with previously, but feel the need to revisit, because these alleged lawyers actually attempt to include a quote from the bill, and completely misrepresent it in the process. Once again, these guys try to push you into a specific section of the bill, in an attempt to get you to ignore everything around it. As you can guess, the above quote is out of context.; there is no period after the word "year." These people should be ashamed. Here's what it actually says:
(1) PHYSICIANS.—The Secretary shall provide for the annual participation of physicians under the public health insurance option, for which payment may be made for services furnished during the year, in one of 2 classes:
(A) PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those physicians who agree to accept the payment rate established under section 223 (without regard to cost-sharing) as the payment in full.
(B) PARTICIPATING, NON-PREFERRED PHYSICIANS.—Those physicians who agree not to impose charges (in relation to the payment rate described in section 223 for such physicians) that exceed the ratio permitted under section 1848(g)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act.
(2) OTHER PROVIDERS.—The Secretary shall provide for the participation (on an annual or other basis specified by the Secretary) of health care providers (other than physicians) under the public health insurance option under which payment shall only be available if the provider agrees to accept the payment rate established under section 223 (without regard to cost-sharing) as the payment in full.
Once more, the site on which this appears is for a law firm. These are lawyers, folks. They know how to read this stuff. They knew damn well there was no period there, and they had to know that the section they were talking about had nothing to do with anyone's wages. I would also note the voluntary nature of the participation of physicians in any category. Know how I figured that out? In order to be included in any category, they have to be "physicians who agree." That would seem to indicate voluntary participation.
• Sec. 1122, Pg. 253, Lines 10-23 - The government “validates work relative value units” (sets value of doctor’s time), professional judgment, methods etc. (defining the value of humans).
Okay, I dealt with this one earlier, but the lawyers at Liberty Counsel put a unique spin on this one, to be sure.
I mean, "defining the value of humans?" Are they kidding with this crap?
What this is all about is applying a value to the service performed, not putting a price on the doctors themselves, so that they can be sold on eBay. Now, the folks at Liberty Counsel are lawyers. Are they saying that the lawyers who bill their time at $750 an hour are three times better humans than those who "only" bill $250 an hour? It is a fact that all professions have to set prices for what they do, and that is all that is happening here. If we're going to start talking about the relative value of human beings, based on what we're willing to pay them for their work, we should talk about CEO pay.
• Sec. 1233, Pg. 425, Lines 4-12 - Government mandates Advance (Death) Care Planning consultation. Think Senior Citizens and end of life. END-OF-LIFE COUNSELING. SOME IN THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE ALREADY DISCUSSED RATIONING HEALTH CARE FOR THE ELDERLY.
Ok, I dealt with this one a little previously, but this adds a little twist. When has anyone in the Administration discussed "rationing" care for the elderly? And where does it say that in this bill?
The easy answer is that it doesn't. And there is NOTHING MANDATORY about the participation in the advanced planning program. It's there if you want it. That's all. YOU decide if you need it.
Okay, while the people writing the lies contained in the previous article seemed to get tired after 500 pages or so, the fine liars at Liberty Counsel were just getting started.
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 502 - Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research Established. Big Brother is watching how your treatment works.
This one is beyond absurd. One would expect it from an uneducated wingnut, but from trained lawyers this is abhorrent. Here the bill's explanation of the Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research:
‘‘SEC. 1181. (a) CENTER FOR COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH ESTABLISHED.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (in this section referred to as the ‘Center’) to conduct, support, and synthesize research (including research conducted or supported under section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003) with respect to the outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically.
‘‘(2) DUTIES.—The Center shall—
‘‘(A) conduct, support, and synthesize research relevant to the comparative effectiveness of the full spectrum of health care items, services and systems, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical and surgical procedures, and other medical interventions;
‘‘(B) conduct and support systematic reviews of clinical research, including original research conducted subsequent to the date of the enactment of this section;
‘‘(C) continuously develop rigorous scientific methodologies for conducting comparative effectiveness studies, and use such methodologies appropriately;
‘‘(D) submit to the Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission, the Secretary, and Congress appropriate relevant reports described in subsection (d)(2); and
‘‘(E) encourage, as appropriate, the development and use of clinical registries and the development of clinical effectiveness research data networks from electronic health records, post marketing drug and medical device surveillance efforts, and other forms of electronic health data.
Big BROTHER? I read 1984, and I suspect the attorneys at Liberty Counsel have read it, or at least know something about it. What does a research center designed to make health care more efficient, and therefore less expensive have to do with Big Brother? Essentially, the research will make your doctor's work easier and your treatment more effective. Yet, these people see this as a bad thing; an example of the government taking too much power? When the government wastes money like crazy -- you know, like spending $1 trillion on an unnecessary war -- we don't hear a word from these ersatz "Christians." But when it comes to spending $1 trillion (or less) to insure people who are currently uninsured and give them a fighting chance to stay alive, and they lie to prevent it? Sorry, but to anyone who has ever read 1984 knows that the memo this post is based on has more in common with Big Brother than anything in the health care reform bill.
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 503, Lines 13-19 - The government will build registries and data networks from YOUR electronic medical records. “The Center may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this section.”
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 503, Lines 21-25 - The government may secure data directly from any department or agency of the US, including your data.
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 503, Lines 21-25 - The “Center” will collect data both “published and unpublished” (that means public & your private information).
Wow… in the course of a paragraph, they manage to come up with three whoppers. Here's what the section actually says:
‘‘(A) OBTAINING OFFICIAL DATA.—The Center may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this section. Upon request of the Center, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Center on an agreed upon
‘‘(B) DATA COLLECTION.—In order to carry out its functions, the Center shall— ‘‘(i) utilize existing information, both published and unpublished, where possible, collected and assessed either by its own
staff or under other arrangements made in accordance with this section,
‘‘(ii) carry out, or award grants or contracts for, original research and experimentation, where existing information is inadequate, and
‘‘(iii) adopt procedures allowing any interested party to submit information for the use by the Center and Commission under subsection (b) in making reports and recommendations.
Okay… so we learned above that the mission of the Center is to do treatment research. The goal is to make health care more efficient. So, let's approach this logically, shall we?
There are currently serious privacy restrictions on federal and state governments. Oh, I know the Bush Administration tried their damnedest to destroy the concept, but they largely failed. Therefore, no government agency is entitled to your personal information without a warrant, or at least probable cause. The LAWYERS at Liberty COUNSEL certainly know this. No government agency can get any personal information without demonstrating that you committed a crime, or may have committed a crime. That includes medical and financial records.
Now, combine that reality with the mission of the Center, which is to compile data regarding treatments, and share with doctors the information that makes them better doctors. What personal information would they need about you to do that job? Doctors send anonymized treatment information to various agencies all of the time. Hell; private insurance companies use this type of information all of the time, as well, in order to decide when to deny treatment. If you've ever been denied treatment because something has been deemed "experimental," then you know what I mean.
The government is not allowed to build registries of private data, private information about individual citizens is not allowed to be shared between agencies, and the government is forbidden by law from collecting personal data about you without a warrant or probable cause. And there is nothing in the above passage -- the passage THEY quoted, mind you, that indicates any need or intention to collect personal data about anyone.
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 506, Lines 19-21 - An “Appointed Clinical Perspective Advisory Panel” will advise The Center and recommend policies that would allow for public access of data.
Once more, there will be no private data. Public access of data regarding the best treatment regimens available for battling an ailment or disease is a good thing, isn't it? But hey: don't believe me; here's what it actually says (pay close attention to the section in bold):
‘‘(G) make recommendations for policies that would allow for public access of data produced under this section, in accordance with appropriate privacy and proprietary practices, while ensuring that the information produced through such data is timely and credible;
‘‘(H) appoint a clinical perspective advisory panel for each research priority determined under subparagraph (A), which shall consult with patients and advise the Center on research questions, methods, and evidence gaps in terms of clinical outcomes for the specific research inquiry to be examined with respect to such priority to ensure that the information produced from such research is clinically relevant to decisions made by clinicians and patients at the point of care;
Yes, the bill says all information will be private. PRIVATE!
• Sec. 1401, Pg. 518, Lines 21-25 - The Commission will have input from HC consumer representatives.
If this is a list of bad things about the health care plan, I guess I don't understand why this one's here.
‘‘(3) STAKEHOLDER INPUT.—
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall consult with patients, health care providers, health care consumer representatives, and other appropriate stakeholders with an interest in the research through a transparent process recommended by the Commission.
I'm at a loss. Imagine, input from actual health care consumers. How horrible.
But at least this one's not a lie...
• Sec. 1411, Pg. 524, Lines 18-22 - Establishes the “Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund.” More taxes for ALL.
This is a bald-faced lie.
(b) COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND; FINANCING FOR THE TRUST FUND.—For provision establishing a Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund and financing such Trust Fund, see section 1802.
And when you bother to go to Sec. 1802 (Page 823) you find out it's a trust fund… exactly as they said:
SEC. 1802. COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND; FINANCING FOR TRUST FUND.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF TRUST FUND.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Subchapter A of chapter 98 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to trust fund code) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 9511. HEALTH CARE COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND.
‘‘(a) CREATION OF TRUST FUND.—There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fundto be known as the ‘Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund’ (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ‘CERTF’), consisting of such amounts as may be appropriated or credited to such Trust Fund as provided in this section and section 9602(b).
‘‘(b) TRANSFERS TO FUND.—There are hereby appropriated to the Trust Fund the following:
‘‘(1) For fiscal year 2010, $90,000,000.
‘‘(2) For fiscal year 2011, $100,000,000.
‘‘(3) For fiscal year 2012, $110,000,000.
‘‘(4) For each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2013—
‘‘(A) an amount equivalent to the net revenues received in the Treasury from the fees imposed under subchapter B of chapter 34 (relating to fees on health insurance and self-insured plans) for such fiscal year; and
‘‘(B) subject to subsection (c)(2), amounts determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be equivalent to the fair share per capita amount computed under subsection (c)(1) for the fiscal year multiplied by the average number of individuals entitled to benefits under part A, or enrolled under part B, of title XVIII of the Social Security Act during such fiscal year.
You get the idea. It's a trust fund. They take a portion of the premiums, and use them for research on the best way to spend less money in the future.
Oh, and I know they read Sec. 1802, because they call it a bottomless tax pit later in this screed. You'll see. And when you get there, you'll already know that it's not. $300 million over 3 years? That's 33 cents per year per citizen. Hardly a money pit. Iraq is a money pit; we spend more than $300 million every single day over there, and these same people are all for that. So they have no credibility when it comes to critiques of government spending.
• Sec. 1441, Pg. 621, Lines 20-25 - The government will define “NEW Quality” measures in HC. Since when does government know about quality?
You know, it's a common whine among the right wing, to claim that government doesn't do anything right. But after the last couple of economic bubbles, and with the government bailing private industry out, and not the other way around, I think that argument is just petty.
Of course, what this section actually means is that there will be minimum quality standards that have to be met in the delivery of health care services. Think they'll complain when Aunt Jenny decides to go to a witch doctor for an arthritis cure and then demands her public insurance pay for it? Besides; they won't be doing it alone, as you'll find when you actually read the section:
‘‘SEC. 1192. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW QUALITY MEASURES.
‘‘(a) AGREEMENTS WITH QUALIFIED ENTITIES.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall enter into agreements with qualified entities to develop quality measures for the delivery of health care services in the United States.
• Sec. 1442, Pg. 622, Lines 2-9 - To pay for the Quality Standards, government will transfer money from “qualified entities” (government Trust Funds) to other government Trust Funds. More Taxes.
Once more… no new taxes. It's a Trust Fund, and it is paid through premiums.
• Sec. 1442, Pg. 624, Lines 19-23 - Qualified Entities: “The Secretary shall ensure that the entity is a public, nonprofit or academic institution with technical expertise in the area of health quality measurement.”
• Sec. 1442, Pg. 623, Lines 5-10 - “Quality” measures shall be designed to assess outcomes and functional status of patients.
• Sec. 1442, Pg. 623, Lines 15-17 - “Quality” measures shall be designed to profile you, including race, age, gender, place of residence, etc.
Keep in mind, this section still has to do with the study, which is designed to assist with the efficacy of treatment. Let's start with what the section actually says, in context.
‘‘(1) PATIENT-CENTERED AND POPULATIONBASED MEASURES.—Quality measures developed under agreements under subsection (a) shall be designed—
‘‘(A) to assess outcomes and functional status of patients;
‘‘(B) to assess the continuity and coordination of care and care transitions for patients across providers and health care settings, including end of life care;
‘‘(C) to assess patient experience and patient engagement;
‘‘(D) to assess the safety, effectiveness, and timeliness of care;
‘‘(E) to assess health disparities including those associated with individual race, ethnicity, age, gender, place of residence or language;
‘‘(F) to assess the efficiency and resource use in the provision of care;
‘‘(G) to the extent feasible, to be collected as part of health information technologies supporting better delivery of health care services;
‘‘(H) to be available free of charge to users for the use of such measures; and
‘‘(I) to assess delivery of health care services to individuals regardless of age.
Now, keep in mind, this is from a piece that purportedly cites the bad aspects of the health care bill. Which means they think all of the above is a bad thing.
Essentially, the bill would create a center for research into health care processes, as noted. And in order to participate, according to pages 623-624, you will have to be qualified to do so, and you must focus on outcomes and status of patients, in order to recommend improvements. This doesn't seem to be a controversial concept to me.
Now the last complaint listed is another outright misstatement, if not a lie. The quality measures are NOT deigned to profile "YOU". They are designed to note differences in treatment based on ethnicity and geography. You know, to identify areas where cancer clusters appear, or to identify and treat ethically-specific diseases, such as sickle cell anemia, and Tay Sach's disease. But note once more that the federal government is forbidden by law from providing identifiable data about you to anyone, because of privacy laws. So, no; the people doing this study will not know who you are. This is a right wing scare tactic, and nothing more.
• Sec. 1443, Pg. 628 - The government will give “Multi-Stake Holders” pre-rulemaking input into selection of “quality” measures.
• Sec. 1443, Pg. 630-31, Lines 9-24, 1-9 - Those Multi-Stake Holder groups include unions and groups like ACORN deciding what constitutes quality.
This is just a vicious lie. What is it about ACORN that has these folks' panties in a bunch, anyway? if I was a lawyer for ACORN, I might consider a defamation suit at some point, because most of the complaints are unfair. And what's wrong with unions having input to their own health care? Here's the complete list of who will have input into the system. Ask yourself why they single out ACORN and unions:
‘‘(6) MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUPS.—For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘multi-stakeholder groups’ means, with respect to a quality measure, a voluntary collaborative of organizations representing persons interested in or affected by the use of such quality measure, such as the following:
'‘(A) Hospitals and other institutional providers.
‘‘(C) Health care quality alliances.
‘‘(D) Nurses and other health care practitioners.
‘‘(E) Health plans.
‘‘(F) Patient advocates and consumer groups.
‘‘(H) Public and private purchasers of health care items and services.
‘‘(I) Labor organizations.
‘‘(J) Relevant departments or agencies of the United States.
‘‘(K) Biopharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices.
‘‘(L) Licensing, credentialing, and accrediting bodies.
Now, I count twelve different groups of "multi-stakeholder groups," including huge drug companies and major health delivery corporations. Assuming they all have equal input into the process, it would seem that "unions and groups like ACORN" won't be "deciding" anything at all. What; do these clowns imagine that the UAW and the Teamsters will just declare their will on something, and the other 10 groups will simply roll over? And if they can do that, what's to stop big pharma from doing the same? The whole concept is absurd. Christian lawyers will have just as much input into the system as "unions and groups like ACORN."
• Sec. 1444, Pg. 632, Lines 14-25 - The government may implement any “Quality measure” of HC services that bureaucrats see fit.
• Sec. 1444, Pg. 632-333, Lines 14-25, 1-9 - The Secretary may issue nonendorsed “Quality Measures” for physician and dialysis services.
Want to read what it really says? Of course you do.
‘‘The Secretary shall submit such a non-endorsed measure to the entity for consideration for endorsement. If the entity considers but does not endorse such a measure and if the Secretary does not phase-out use of such measure, the Secretary shall include the rationale for continued use of such a measure in rulemaking.’’
I don't see anything in there mandating anything. The entity can choose to consider and/or endorse the measure at will, and if the Secretary decides to implement the measure anyway, he or she has to give a rationale.
• Sec. 1251 (beginning), Pg. 634 to 652 - “Physician Payments Sunshine Provision” – government wants to shine sunlight on Doctors but not government. “Reports on financial relationships between manufacturers and distributors . . . and between physicians and other health care entities.”
This is another misrepresentation, to say the least.
Here's the entire title:
SEC. 1128H. FINANCIAL REPORTS ON PHYSICIANS’ FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS OF COVERED DRUGS, DEVICES, BIOLOGICALS, OR MEDICAL SUPPLIES UNDER MEDICARE, MEDICAID, OR CHIP AND WITH ENTITIES THAT BILL FOR SERVICES UNDER MEDICARE.
In other words, the people choosing to deal with the pubic insurance system as providers will be required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, so that patients can make an informed choice regarding their health care. Again; I'm not sure why this is a bad thing, except as a device to make another dig at government -- you know how incredibly incompetent they are. I mean, look at the banking system; look at how those banks had to bail out the -- no, wait; bad example.
See, the reason this is misleading (I'm being nice; it could be called an outright lie) is because the federal government is only planning to provide insurance, not deliver health care. Essentially, they will only pay the bills. It's also misleading, because the entire federal government is subject to sunshine laws already, except for those issues dealing with national security. Therefore, the government is already obligated to show everyone how it pays its bills and to whom; this bill would reveal any potential conflicts of interests health care delivery people may have. Again; why is this a bad thing?
• Sec. 1501 (beginning), Pg. 659-670 - Doctors in Residency – government will tell you where your residency will be, thus where you’ll live.
This isn't even a misstatement; it's an outright lie.
The section is entitled:
TITLE V—MEDICARE GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
SEC. 1501. DISTRIBUTION OF UNUSED RESIDENCY POSITIONS.
The section deals with the number of POSITIONS available in hospitals. Hospitals are limited with regard to how many residents they may take in, if they choose to participate in the Medicare program. There's an excellent reason for this; it increases the chances that you'll actually see a doctor when you're treated at the hospital. Left to their own designs, many hospitals would load up the residents and squeeze doctors out. This prevents that.
But there is NOTHING in that section that dictates where a resident will have to live, or even addresses that. It simply addresses resident allocations to where they're needed. That's all.
• Sec. 1503 (beginning), Pg. 675-685 - Government will regulate hospitals in EVERY aspect of residency programs, including teaching hospitals.
This is another falsehood. In fact, if you look closely at the section, you'll note that it merely extends current Medicare regulations to the public insurance system. So, I guess the relevant question is, if the government's not regulating hospitals in EVERY aspect of residency programs now, with Medicare covering 40 million seniors, then where's the problem?
• Sec. 1601 (beginning), Pg. 685-699 - Increased funding to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. (Like the government with an $18 million website?)
This is just another excuse to whine about government spending. Makes you wonder where they were the last eight years when, while they were claiming a booming economy, they added more than $5 trillion to the national debt. By the way, the link to the bill they use points to the government web site. Just saying...
I sure don't see a problem with this. Waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare is down quite a bit from its heyday, so the efforts must be working. And since they seem to be so concerned about government waste, it would seem prudent, if you're going to be adding more people to the government's insurance system, to add a little money to protect it from waste, fraud and abuse.
• Sec. 1619, Pg. 700-703 - If your part of HC plan isn’t in the government’s HC Exchange but you qualify for federal aid, you don’t have to pay.
Um… if you qualify for federal aid, presumably you don't have any money., and you're on Medicaid anyway. Of course, even if you don't have any money, if you get sick or injured, you're still entitled to a certain level of health care, and we all know you're never going to pay it. The new system that would be created by the bill, however, pays the bills, and doesn't pass them on to everyone else, as the current system does.
Of course, as usual, that's not what the section in question addresses, anyway. Here is the heart of the section:
‘‘(4)(A) For purposes of this Act, subject to subparagraph (C), the effect of exclusion is that no payment may be made by any Federal health care program (as defined in section 1128B(f)) with respect to any item or service furnished—
‘‘(i) by an excluded individual or entity; or
‘‘(ii) at the medical direction or on the prescription of a physician or other authorized individual when the person submitting a claim for such item or service knew or had reason to know of the exclusion of such individual.
It's not talking about YOU. It's talking about health care providers who have been excluded from the system for whatever reason. You can't, for example, go to a witch doctor or a psychic for healing, and expect the government to pick up the tab. You can't go to an unlicensed physician, or your nephew who's in pre-med for treatment, and then submit the bill to the public insurance system for payment.
• Sec. 1128G, Pg. 704-708 - If the Secretary determines there is a “significant risk of fraudulent activity,” on HC provider or supplier, the government can do a background check.
• Sec. 1632, Pg. 710, Lines 8-14 - The Secretary has broad powers to deny HC providers and suppliers admittance into HC Exchange. Your doctor could be thrown out of business.
This one is pretty remarkable, in that it's supposedly a complaint. Why is this a bad thing? If you ask me, every government contractor should be subject to such scrutiny. Here's part of the actual section:
‘‘SEC. 1128G. ENHANCED PROGRAM AND PROVIDER PROTECTIONS IN THE MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND
'‘(a) CERTAIN AUTHORIZED SCREENING, ENHANCED OVERSIGHT PERIODS, AND ENROLLMENT MORATORIA.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For periods beginning after January 1, 2011, in the case that the Secretary determines there is a significant risk of fraudulent activity (as determined by the Secretary based on relevant complaints, reports, referrals by law enforcement or other sources, data analysis, trending information, or claims submissions by providers of services and suppliers) with respect to a category of provider of services or supplier of items or services, including a category within a geographic area, under title XVIII, XIX, or XXI, the Secretary may impose any of the following requirements with respect to a provider of services or a supplier (whether such provider or supplier is initially enrolling in the program or is renewing such enrollment):
‘‘(3) AUTHORITY TO DENY PARTICIPATION.—If the Secretary determines that there has been at least one such affiliation and that such affiliation or affiliations, as applicable, of such provider or supplier poses a serious risk of fraud, waste, or abuse, the Secretary may deny the application of such provider or supplier.’’
Contrary to the indication by the "religious" Liberty Counsel, the Secretary can't unilaterally do anything. It needs evidence. And since it's the government, it can't deny anyone anything without due process. And the public insurance plan can't "throw (anyone) out of business." All if can do is to exempt them from the plan. If you want to go to a crooked doctor, you have every right to go to a crooked doctor. But you don't have the right to expect everyone else in your insurance plan to pay for your session with the crooked doctor.
• Sec. 1637, Pg. 718-719 - ANY Doctor who orders durable medical equipment or home medical services is REQUIRED to be enrolled in, or eligible for, Medicare.
Um, no. Wrong again.
Any doctor who orders such items and expects Medicare or the public insurance system to pay for it, must be enrolled in or eligible for Medicare.
I think you'll agree, there's a distinction to be made there...
• Sec. 1639, Pg. 721 - Government MANDATES that Doctors must have face-to-face with patient to certify patient for home health services.
• Sec. 1639, Pg. 723-24, Lines 23-25, 1-5 - The same government certifications will apply to Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s health plan: Your kids).
• Sec. 1640, Pg. 723, Lines 16-22 - The government reserves right to apply face-to-face certification for patient to ANY other HC service.
I know right wing senators have, in the past, demonstrated a remarkable ability to diagnose via video, but if we're going to be using taxpayer dollars to pay for home health care, shouldn't we make sure there's no fraud involved? I mean, how much will the bozos at the Liberty Counsel whine and cry, if they found out Medicare money was going to doctors who were secured via webcam, from a web site? What if they found out that a company was getting public insurance money for, say, providing "home health services" to an able-bodied person, where they essentially just sat around and watched football all day?
What is their problem with oversight? The way these guys whine about the government, one has to wonder why they seem to have such a problem with the government protecting their investment.
• Sec. 1651, Pg. 734, Lines 16-25 - Proposes, for law enforcement sake, that the Secretary of HHS will give Attorney General access to ALL medical data.
As usual, this is ridiculous. For one thing, this section of the bill actually extends regulations in the Social Security Act that have guided Medicare for years to the new public insurance system. Now, I'm unaware of the Department of Justice combine the files of elderly patients looking for reasons to arrest them.
The section in question is entitled:
Subtitle D—Access to Information Needed To Prevent Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
SEC. 1651. ACCESS TO INFORMATION NECESSARY TO IDENTIFY FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE.
The section they identify is as follows:
‘‘(d) ACCESS TO INFORMATION NECESSARY TO IDENTIFY FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE.—For purposes of law enforcement activity, and to the extent consistent with applicable disclosure, privacy, and security laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Privacy Act of 1974, and subject to any information systems security requirements enacted by law or otherwise required by the Secretary, the Attorney General shall have access, facilitation by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, to
claims and payment data relating to titles XVIII and XIX, in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or the owner of such data.’’.
Now, there are a few things to consider with the above misinformation. There is nothing in the above that gives anyone in the government access to ALL medical data. It very clearly says any delivery of any information is subject to privacy laws.
But it gets worse. You'll note that I left the page number in there. See that? Liberty Counsel only noted lines 16-25, because they don't want you to read further. But the section they point to doesn't end at line 25. Of course, if you don't stop at line 25, you'll see that the section only deals with claims and payment data. Ouch! You know what that means? It means it has to do with providers; why would you go to patients for claims and payment data, since patients aren't paying. And note that there is nothing in this section about medical data. Patient data will not be subject to this law, only claims and payment data, and only if law enforcement has evidence of fraud, waste and abuse.
Yep, another lie...
• Sec. 1701 (beginning), Pg. 739-756 - The government sets guidelines for subsidizing the uninsured (and you have to pay for them).
This one is asinine on many levels. For one thing, it's a lie. Here's the title of the section in question:
TITLE VII—MEDICAID AND CHIP
Subtitle A—Medicaid and Health Reform
SEC. 1701. ELIGIBILITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INCOME BELOW 133 1⁄3 PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL
Let's start with the fact that most of the people in this category are actually already covered under Medicaid and S-CHIP programs. So technically, most of them aren't currently uninsured, so that's kind of silly. And those who are included in those programs are already being subsidized. And of COURSE the government sets guidelines for those. These people supported Bush; they know the rules. Poor folks who get subsidies from government are always subject to guidelines. Rich folks who get them are given the money free and clear.
But this is also stupid for another reason…
One of the reasons why we need this reform is because those of us with insurance ALREADY SUBSIDIZE THE UNINSURED. That's why premiums have more than doubled in ten years; the uninsured end up in the ER, and they have no money and will never pay. So prices have to go up to compensate. Our insurance premiums and our tax money subsidizes the uninsured now. And if this passes, there will be many fewer uninsured, which means less subsidy.There's the disconnect in a nutshell folks.
• Sec. 1704, Pg. 756-761 - The government will shift burden of payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) to states (your taxes).
Ok… Want to know what this section is actually about? Here's the beginning of the section:
SEC. 1704. REDUCTION IN MEDICAID DSH.
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than January 1, 2016, the Secretary of Health and Human Services
(in this title referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) shall submit to Congress a report concerning the extent to which, based upon the impact of the health care reforms carried out under division A in reducing the number of uninsured individuals, there is a continued role for Medicaid DSH. In preparing the report, the Secretary shall consult with community-based health care networks serving low-income beneficiaries.
(b) MEDICAID DSH REDUCTIONS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall reduce Medicaid DSH so as to reduce total Federal payments to all States for such purpose by $1,500,000,000 in fiscal year 2017, $2,500,000,000 in fiscal year 2018, and $6,000,000,000 in fiscal year 2019.
Yes, that's right. The section is about folding Medicaid into the public health insurance system, which only makes sense. Right now, Medicaid works through the states. The states decide who qualifies, and cover people within the state, via payments from the federal government. As Medicaid is phased out, in favor of the public insurance system, the payments to states to cover payments to hospitals with high numbers of Medicaid patients will be reduced because there will be significantly fewer Medicaid patients, not because they're putting a larger burden on the states. Right now, the DSH money goes to hospitals with large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured payments; that will be less necessary, because nearly everyone who goes to these hospitals will be paid for, and health care inflation will slow down considerably as a result.
• Sec. 1711, Pg. 764 - The government will require preventative services - including vaccinations (no choice).
Here's another outright lie, folks. The section's title tells the tale:
SEC. 1711. REQUIRED COVERAGE OF PREVENTIVE SERVICES.
The term is required COVERAGE of preventive services. It means that preventive medicine will have to be covered under the public health insurance. There is nothing in that section that requires individuals to GET preventive care; the section requires that the insurance COVER such care.
• Sec. 1713, Pg. 768 - Government-determined Nurse Home Visitation Services (Hello union paybacks).
• Sec. 1713, Pg. 768, Lines 3-5 - Nurse Home Visit Services – Service #1: “Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.” Compulsory ABORTIONS?
• Sec. 1713, Pg. 768, Lines 11-14 - Nurse Home Visit Services include determinations of economic self-sufficiency, employment advancement and school-readiness.
Government-determined? Check out the title:
SEC. 1713. OPTIONAL COVERAGE OF NURSE HOME VISITATION SERVICES.
Has the word "optional" taken on a new meaning in recent years? Is it now a synonym for mandatory?
The one about abortion is absolutely fascinating. I challenge anyone who has ever gotten through elementary school reading to read "compulsory abortions" into the following section, which is the one they're quoting. (Okay, to be fair, they're urging you to only read the three lines that I will put in bold type for you):
‘‘(aa) The term ‘nurse home visitation services’ means home visits by trained nurses to families with a first-time pregnant woman, or a child (under 2 years of age), who is eligible for medical assistance under this title, but only, to the extent determined by the Secretary based upon evidence, that such services are effective in one or more of the following:
‘‘(1) Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.
‘‘(2) Reducing the incidence of child abuse, neglect, and injury, improving family stability (including reduction in the incidence of intimate partner violence), or reducing maternal and child involvement in the criminal justice system.
‘‘(3) Increasing economic self-sufficiency, employment advancement, school-readiness, and educational achievement, or reducing dependence on public assistance.’’
So, (1) is about the POSSIBILITY (note the word "optional" above) that the public insurance plan might cover (not make mandatory, but COVER) the use of home visits by trained nurses in BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND TO improve the health of the child and mother, to make sure the pregnancy goes well, and seem to encourage poor women to wait a little while between pregnancies. It's actually against the law for the government to use tax money to pay for abortions and, as these fine lawyers point out later on, all fees in this plan are to be treated as taxes. In order for them to cover abortions, they would have to repeal laws that have been on the books for more than 30 years. In other words, the whole abortion thing is -- you guessed it -- a lie.
As for the last one, all I can say is, either these lawyers have a serious reading deficiency, or they're lying about what the bill says. They refer to section (3) above. What Section (3) actually says is that the Committee will consider the POSSIBILITY of COVERING "nurse home visitation services" BECAUSE such visits increase economic self-sufficiency, etc.
• Sec. 1714, Pg. 769 - Federal government mandates eligibility for State Family Planning Services. Abortion and government control intertwined.
Seriously; what are these people reading? It sure as hell can't be the bill. The section's title:
SEC. 1714. STATE ELIGIBILITY OPTION FOR FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES.
What's covered? Everything that is currently covered under Medicaid, which does NOT include abortion. In fact, public financial assistance for abortion has been illegal for more than 30 years, and there is nothing in this bill that repeals that law. This is the coverage:
the medical assistance made available to an individual described in subsection (hh) shall be limited to family planning services and supplies described in section 1905(a)(4)(C) including medical diagnosis and treatment services that are provided pursuant to a family planning service in a family planning setting’’ after ‘‘cervical cancer’’.
Honestly, people who would actually like to see the number of abortions reduced should be all for this public option health insurance, because it takes the cost of having a healthy baby out of the decision-making for women who are considering abortion. Just saying. You allegedly "pro-life" people should be loving this bill, because it doesn't provide money for abortions, and it makes women less likely to have one, because they can be assured of having a healthy baby, and assured that their baby can go to the doctor when he or she gets sick.
• Sec. 1733, Pg. 788-798 - Government will set and mandate drug prices, therefore controlling which drugs are brought to market. (Goodbye innovation and private research.)
Here's probably one of the biggest non-abortion lies in this screed. The government would only mandate the prices they PAY, not the prices overall. And here is the formula:
‘‘(5) USE OF AMP IN UPPER PAYMENT LIMITS.—The Secretary shall calculate the Federal upper reimbursement limit established under paragraph (4) as 130 percent of the weighted average (determined on the basis of manufacturer utilization) of monthly average manufacturer prices.’’.
What does that mean? It means hospitals will not be allowed to overcharge the public insurance system. Got that? It means a pharmacy in Bugtussle won't be able to charge $200 for a 30-day supply of a drug that has an average price of $100 everywhere else. It has nothing to do with the government setting prices; it's about the government refusing to be overcharged for them.
As for the ridiculous concept that, somehow innovation and private research will be affected, there are two reasons why that's crap. First, drug companies are largely subsidized for their R&D by the federal government now; they don't use much of their own money. Also, because of patent considerations, companies have a limited amount of time to gouge the public for their drugs, before companies can come along and produce their own versions of the drug. Therefore, they have to create new drugs in order to make more money.
Not only that, but as I noted previously, in the first six months after Medicare added a prescription drug benefit, the profits of the top 10 drug companies INCREASED by $8 billion. Even WITH price controls, how DAFT would one have to be to think drug companies would LOSE money by GAINING 47 million potential customers?
In other words, any of you who believe drug companies would go broke if price controls were put in place are among the most gullible people in the known universe.
• Sec. 1744, Pg. 796-799 - Establishes PAYMENTS for graduate medical education. The government will now control your doctor’s education.
It doesn't establish anything. They already pay graduate students. If they would bother to READ the section in question, they would find that it merely extends the payments under the Medicare and Medicaid laws to this insurance plan.
In order for you to believe this puts government in control of a doctor's education, then you have to believe that anyone who receives a Pell Grant is being controlled, as well. Seriously, this is that silly.
• Sec.1751, Pg. 800 - The government will decide which Health Care conditions will be paid. Say “RATION!”
Can you say "LIE!"???
I'll give you a hint; here's the title of the section they reference:
SEC. 1751. HEALTH-CARE ACQUIRED CONDITIONS.
(a) MEDICAID NON-PAYMENT FOR CERTAIN HEALTH CARE-ACQUIRED CONDITIONS.
Once more, this simply extends conditions that have always been in place under Medicare and Medicaid to the new public insurance system. And it refers to doctors screwing up during treatment, and then billing to fix the screw-up. In other words, imagine someone like, say, Sean Hannity, undergoes brain surgery and the doctor leaves behind a sponge in there. That would certainly explain a lot, but should Hannity's insurance company be billed the full amount for the second surgery, to take the sponge out?
Apparently, the people who wrote this thing would consider that "rationing."
Beware that word "rationing," folks. It has no meaning with regard to health care, and private insurance does that all of the time.
• Sec. 1759, Pg. 809 - Billing Agents, clearinghouses, or other alternate payees are required to register. The government takes over private payment systems too.
Again, an absolute lie.
Once again, the entire section extends existing Medicaid regulations to the new system. But beyond that, here's the title:
SEC. 1759. BILLING AGENTS, CLEARINGHOUSES, OR OTHER ALTERNATE PAYEES REQUIRED TO REGISTER UNDER MEDICAID.
So far, so good. It's responsible to know who you're paying, to know they're responsible, and to know that money that is supposed to go to a payee will actually get there. It also reduces the possibility of fraud. I always thought taxpayers appreciated it when government was responsible with their money. Here is the section that's being added by this bill:
‘‘(78) provide that any agent, clearinghouse, or other alternate payee that submits claims on behalf of a health care provider must register with the State and the Secretary in a form and manner specified by the Secretary under section 1866(j)(1)(D).’’
I don't see government taking over payment systems. In fact, just the opposite. Providers can use agents and clearinghouses to collect payments if they'd like. The only requirement is that said third parties be registered. That seems to be the opposite of that the Liberty Counsel says. How odd.
• Sec. 1801, Pg. 819-823 - The Government will identify individuals “likely to be ineligible” for subsidies. Will access all personal financial information.
Funny. The section doesn't say that. The only interest is in those who might be eligible for a prescription drug subsidy. Here's the qualifier:
‘‘(C) RESTRICTION ON INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM DISCLOSURE MAY BE REQUESTED.—The Commissioner of Social Security shall request information under this paragraph only with respect to—
‘‘(i) individuals the Social Security Administration has identified, using all other reasonably available information, as likely to be eligible for a low-income prescription drug subsidy under section 1860D–14 of the Social Security Act and who have not applied for such subsidy, and
‘‘(ii) any individual the Social Security Administration has identified as a spouse of an individual described in clause (i).
I'm sorry, but nothing in that section includes "all personal financial information" by any stretch. And there are severe restrictions on the use of the information:
‘‘(D) RESTRICTION ON USE OF DISCLOSED INFORMATION.—Return information disclosed under this paragraph may be used only by officers and employees of the Social Security Administration solely for purposes of identifying individuals likely to be ineligible for a low-income prescription drug subsidy under section 1860D–14 of the Social Security Act for use in outreach efforts under section 1144 of the Social Security Act.’’
• Sec. 1802, Pg. 823-828 - Government sets up Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund. Another bottomless tax pit.
Discussed previously. $300 million over three years, and a few cents out of every premium in order to make health care is not bottomless, nor is it much of a pit.
• Sec. 4375, Pg. 828-832, Lines 12-16 - Government will impose a fee on ALL private health insurance plans, including self-insured, to pay for Trust Fund!
Ok, this one's true. But it's also liable to be relatively small. And since premiums have doubled in the last ten years, and are likely to double again without a public insurance plan, such a fee will likely be a major relief to everyone carrying a private insurance policy.
And frankly, since it's the private insurance companies' fault that we need this in the first place, why shouldn't they be charged a little bit, in order to pick up their slack. THEY chose to refuse insurance to many, if not most, of the uninsured. They could just choose to sell them all policies.
• Sec. 4377, Pg. 835, Lines 11-13 - Fees imposed by government for Trust Fund shall be treated as if they were taxes.
• Sec. 440, Pg. 837-839 - The government will design and implement Home Visitation Program for families with young kids and families that are expecting children.
• Sec. 1904, Pg. 843-844 - This Home Visitation Program includes the government coming into your house and teaching/telling you how to parent!
These are both lies. The government will implement a program to finance the creation of such programs. Here's a major part of that section:
‘‘Subpart 3—Support for Quality Home Visitation Programs
‘‘SEC. 440. HOME VISITATION PROGRAMS FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN AND FAMILIES EXPECTING CHILDREN.
‘‘(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to improve the well-being, health, and development of children by enabling the establishment and expansion of high quality programs providing voluntary home visitation for families with young children and families expecting children.
‘‘(b) GRANT APPLICATION.—A State that desires to receive a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary for approval, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, an application for the grant that includes the following:
‘‘(1) DESCRIPTION OF HOME VISITATION PROGRAMS.—A description of the high quality programs of home visitation for families with young children and families expecting children that will be supported by a grant made to the State under this section, the outcomes the programs are intended to achieve, and the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the programs.
"Enabling the establishment and expansion" of such programs is not the same as "design(ing) and implement(ing)" such programs. The fact that they provide STATES with the ability to apply for such grants if they "desire" to, would indicate something far less than a dictatorial process.
The second one above is incredibly stupid, especially from lawyers.
First of all, the government can never come into your house without your permission, a warrant or probable cause. And no one can tell you how to parent, unless you are considered a danger to your children. Let's get that out of the way first.
But here's a crucial portion of that section:
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In this section, the term ‘eligible expenditures’—
‘‘(A) means expenditures to provide voluntary home visitation for as many families with young children (under the age of school entry) and families expecting children as practicable, through the implementation or expansion of high quality home visitation programs…
Wow. There's that term "voluntary" again. No one storming into your house, wagging their fingers at you and telling you what a horrible parent you are here. Not in this bill.
• Sec. 2002, Pg. 858 - The government will establish a Public Health Fund at a cost of $88,800,000,000 (That’s Billions).
Okay, could we please enter the modern era? This country spent $2.7 TRILLION on health care last year. (That's TRILLIONS!) Anyone who gets that excited over $88.8 billion doesn't understand the scope of the problem. But it's worse. It's not $88.8 billion in one year. It's spread out over 10 years. The first year, the amount is $4.6 billion, or 0.0017% of $2.7 trillion. By the way, while $4.6 billion SOUNDS like a lot of money, it's roughly $15 per person. We spend more than $7700 per person for health care.
Now that we have some perspective, what is this fund? Well, as you can see, they mischaracterized the title. Here is the actual title:
SEC. 2002. PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTMENT FUND.
Strange that they would leave out the word "investment," isn't it? What's wrong with investing a little bit of money in public health? Nothing, of course, which is why they left it out. And its purpose is spelled out in the title of the section, just a few pages back:
DIVISION C—PUBLIC HEALTH AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Yes, that's right. The investment is in developing a public health workforce. And the appropriations are controlled by Congress.
• Sec. 2201, Pg. 864 - The government will MANDATE the establishment of a National Health Service Corps.
o Sec. 2201 - “Fulfillment of Obligated Service Requirement”
o Sec. 2201, Pg. 864-875 - The NHS Corps is a program where Doctors perform mandatory HC for 2 years for partial loan repayment.
These three are just ridiculous.
The National Health Service Corps has been in existence since 1972. It provides money to medical students and residents. In return for the money, they have to perform services under Medicare/Medicaid. This would extend to the new plan.
Therefore, there is no MANDATE, and nothing new will be ESTABLISHED.
Oh, and by the way, they misquoted the second line:
(a) FULFILLMENT OF OBLIGATED SERVICE REQUIREMENT THROUGH HALF-TIME SERVICE.
• Sec. 2212, Pg. 875-891 - The government takes over the education of Medical students and Doctors through education and loans.
Once again, are these lawyers addled enough to believe that the receipt of grants and loans from the government means the government has taken over your education?
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897 - The government will establish a Public Health Workforce Corps to ensure an adequate supply of public health professionals.
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897 - The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of civilian employees of the United States as Secretary deems necessary.
• Sec. 340L, Pg. 897 - The Public Health Workforce Corps shall consist of officers of Regular and Reserve Corps of Service.
• Sec. 340M, Pg. 899 - The Public Health Workforce Corps includes veterinarians. Will animals have heath care too?
• Sec. 2233, Pg. 909 - The government will develop, build and run Public Health Training Centers.
Again, these are just absurd. Why are they complaints? We already have a shortage of medical professionals in this country. With 47 million people previously uninsured people now able to get health care, that shortage is about to become more acute. Putting together a system to recruit and train medical professionals is common sense.
But at least they're not lies...
• Sec. 2241, Pg. 912-913 - Government starts a HC affirmative action program under the guise of diversity scholarships.
They just can't get away from the racism, can they? Here's the title of the section:
Subtitle D—Adapting Workforce to Evolving Health System Needs
PART 1—HEALTH PROFESSIONS TRAINING FOR DIVERSITY
SEC. 2241. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS, LOAN REPAYMENTS AND FELLOWSHIPS REGARDING FACULTY POSITIONS, AND EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS REGARDING INDIVIDUALS FROM DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS.
First of all, if these people would actually read this section of the bill, they would find that these programs are already in place. So, they're not "starting" anything. But when I see the above, I see "poor," not "minority." Of course, I don't see anything wrong with affirmative action programs, anyway.
• Sec. 2251, Pg. 915 - Government MANDATES cultural and linguistic competency training for HC professionals.
It doesn't mandate a damn thing. It OFFERS grants to people who want or need cultural and linguistic competency training. In fact, nothing they have claimed has been MANDATED by this bill has actually been mandated. There is nothing in this bill that isn't voluntary on the part of medical professionals or patients.
But this is all about scaring people who are worried that "illegal aliens" might get "free" health care.
Here's the section:
‘‘(a) PROGRAM.—The Secretary shall establish a cultural and linguistic competency training program for
health care professionals, including nurse professionals, consisting of awarding grants and contracts under subsection (b).
‘‘(b) CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC COMPETENCY TRAINING.—The Secretary shall award grants and contracts to eligible entities—
‘‘(1) to test, develop, and evaluate models of cultural and linguistic competency training (including continuing education) for health professionals; and
‘‘(2) to implement cultural and linguistic competency training programs for health professionals
developed under paragraph (1) or otherwise.
As usual, there is nothing in the above mandating anything. It's offering the programs to people who need them. There are large sections of the country who have seen huge immigration waves, and doctors who can communicate with their patients have an easier time with treatment. Once more, this is a common sense measure the right wingers use to scare their "base" into fearing the "brown people" moving into their neighborhoods.
• Sec. 3111, Pg. 931 - The government will establish a Preventative and Wellness Trust fund, with initial cost of $30,800,000,000 (Billions more).
Do I have to do this (Billions!) thing again? This is a pittance. It's also over 10 years. Oh! And it's also a portion of the PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTMENT FUND. (see Above)
• Sec. 3121, Pg. 934, Lines 21-22 - Government will identify specific goals and objectives for prevention and wellness activities. More control of your life.
• Sec. 3121, Pg. 935, Lines 1-2 - The government will develop “Healthy People & National Public Health Performance Standards.” They will tell us what to eat?
These are insane. It's like saying the President's Council on Physical Fitness forces people to exercise. Here's the section:
‘‘SEC. 3121. NATIONAL PREVENTION AND WELLNESS STRATEGY.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall submit to the Congress within one year after the date of the enactment of this section, and at least every 2 years thereafter, a national strategy that is designed to improve the Nation’s health through evidence-based clinical and community prevention and wellness activities (in this section referred to as ‘prevention and wellness activities’), including core public health infrastructure improvement activities.
‘‘(b) CONTENTS.—The strategy under subsection (a) shall include each of the following:
‘‘(1) Identification of specific national goals and objectives in prevention and wellness activities that take into account appropriate public health measures and standards, including departmental measures and standards (including Healthy People and National Public Health Performance Standards).
‘‘(2) Establishment of national priorities for prevention and wellness, taking into account unmet prevention and wellness needs.
'‘(3) Establishment of national priorities for research on prevention and wellness, taking into account unanswered research questions on prevention and wellness.
‘‘(4) Identification of health disparities in prevention and wellness.
‘‘(5) A plan for addressing and implementing paragraphs (1) through (4).
By preventing illness and promoting wellness, we reduce health care expenditures. Right now, we spend $2.7 trillion. (That's TRILLION) If we could cut 5% from that by promoting better preventive care, that's a hell of a lot more money than the $80 billion these same people have been going crazy over. But the bottom line is, it's a lie, because there is no government control here. I mean, unless you believe the government's food pyramid is somehow coercive.
• Sec. 3131, Pg. 942, Lines 22-25 - “Task Force on Community Preventive Services.” More government? Under the Offices of Surgeon General, Public Health Services, Minority Health and Women’s Health.
• Sec. 3141, Pg. 949-979 - BIG GOVERNMENT core public health infrastructure includes workforce capacity, lab systems, health information systems, etc.
• Sec. 2511, Pg. 992 - Government will establish school-based “health” clinics. Your children will be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!
• Sec. 399Z-1, Pg. 993 - School-Based Health Clinics will be integrated into the school environment. More government brainwashing in school.
These are simply government control paranoia run amok. The bill will create funds to expand prevention and wellness abilities, because they're adding 47 million people to the rolls who have never been able to go to the doctor before. The more they do to promote healthy lifestyles and educate people regarding what they eat and drink and how they take care of themselves, the more money we'll save. But to think they'll be enforcing draconian laws designed to force us to eat healthy foods with every meal and exercise is just crazy.
• Sec. 2521, Pg. 1000 - The government will establish a National Medical Device Registry. Will you be tracked?
Not unless you have a medical device implanted, I wouldn't think. That's not too many people. And as noted previously, they still have to follow applicable privacy laws.
Okay, that was a pretty gargantuan task, mainly because these people are gargantuan liars. But take heart; the reason they have to lie so much is because they have nothing else. There may actually be a few legitimate arguments against going with a public option national health care plan. The problem is, the potentially legitimate arguments are being drowned out by the absurd lies.
One piece of advice I have for everyone; don't use these to argue with the right wingers you run into. To do so is a waste of time and energy, to be sure. Instead, use them to rebut the lies and give people the truth. And by all means, get people to READ THE BILL!
The right wing fart machine is working overtime on the health care reform bill, lemme tell ya.
The following was sent by a reader. It's by Radio Gasbag Dennis Prager (whom I'm told is actually a really nice man, so it will hurt a little putting my rhetorical foot up his "nice" ass…), and this load of crap is absolutely chock full of misinformation and false assumptions. He even lies about the number of questions. There are a lot more than 10.
The original apparently came from the Jewish World Review. (Why are so many so-called religious people so dead set against letting everyone have access to health care?)
As always, the article I'm responding to is not edited, and my responses are in red...
10 Questions for Supporters of ‘ObamaCare’
By Dennis Prager
1. President Barack Obama repeatedly tells us that one reason national health care is needed is that we can no longer afford to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. But if Medicare and Medicaid are fiscally insolvent and gradually bankrupting our society, why is a government takeover of medical care for the rest of society a good idea? What large-scale government program has not eventually spiraled out of control, let alone stayed within its projected budget? Why should anyone believe that nationalizing health care would create the first major government program to "pay for itself," let alone get smaller rather than larger over time? Why not simply see how the Democrats can reform Medicare and Medicaid before nationalizing much of the rest of health care?
Okay, the first thing you'll notice that there are four questions in the above, not one. But they're all based on ridiculous assumptions.
The biggest misconception in the above is based on a simplistic idea that somehow, all aspects of our health care system are separate entities. Medicare and Medicaid are integral parts of the same health care system as private insurance, and they are going broke, in part, BECAUSE of private insurance.
See, even people without insurance are entitled to health care at some point. (He mentions this in a later question, but misrepresents that, too, by the way...) But if they don't have insurance, no one pays the bill. Only, hospitals and doctors have expenses, so to make up the shortfall, they raise prices. Got that? Every thirty seconds, someone in this country goes bankrupt due to health care bills. And when people can't pay their bills, someone else has to make up the difference. As more and more people are left without insurance, and as insurance companies refuse to cover more and more claims, health care delivery people have to raise their prices to compensate. Private insurance companies can raise premiums. Medicare and Medicaid are paid for with tax money; they can't just raise taxes to cover the shortfall. And once again; the shortfall is largely CAUSED by the private insurers, who refuse to cover people who need it, and who do their best to not pay claims for people they do insure.
What's causing Medicare and Medicaid solvency problems is health care inflation, which averages three to four times the inflation rate of the rest of the economy. But check this out; if every bill was paid, then health care inflation would drop by as much as 75%, even if no other factors adjusted. Just cover everyone, and Medicare and Medicaid are saved.
See, here's the silliness in the above. Medicare and Medicaid aren't bankrupting society; the private insurance system, which refuses to allow one fifth of the population from even paying into the system, and refuses to pay the bills for many of the people it doesn't reject, are bankrupting Medicare and Medicaid.
The next question, about public health insurance "paying for itself," also stems from the ignorance in thinking that, somehow each part of the insurance system works wholly independently of every other part of the insurance system.
Check out these statistics:
- In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.1 Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.
- Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.
- In 2008, the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2017.
- Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.
- Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
We already spend more on health care than anyone else. Fully 17% of our GDP goes to pay for health care. Obviously, the money is already there. Only right now, the expense is being paid by fewer people every year. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out that $2.4 trillion shared by 300 million people is a lot cheaper than the same amount shared by 200 million. Plus, there is no competition in the system right now. Competition will bring prices down, way down.
Look at the stats above. We spend more and get less than every other industrialized nation in the world for health care. Every other nation spends less and covers everyone. Wouldn't it make sense to find out what they do and maybe copy them?
2. President Obama reiterated this past week that "no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition." This is an oft-repeated goal of the president's and the Democrats' health care plan. But if any individual can buy health insurance at any time, why would anyone buy health insurance while healthy? Why would I not simply wait until I got sick or injured to buy the insurance? If auto insurance were purchasable once one got into an accident, why would anyone purchase auto insurance before an accident? Will the Democrats next demand that life insurance companies sell life insurance to the terminally ill? The whole point of insurance is that the healthy buy it and thereby provide the funds to pay for the sick. Demanding that insurance companies provide insurance to everyone at any time spells the end of the concept of insurance. And if the answer is that the government will now make it illegal not to buy insurance, how will that be enforced? How will the government check on 300 million people?
Seriously, this is a lot more than one question. Let's start with the ridiculous misrepresentation of what Obama actually said.
If Prager is pleading ignorance about this, I don't buy it. Insurance companies refusing to sell you a policy because of a pre-existing condition has nothing to do with any of the questions that he poses after. I mean, for Chrissakes, is it even possible for these people to be honest?
When an insurance company refuses to sell you a policy, EVERYONE ELSE in the system gets to pay your bills when you finally need care. Understand? That's what he's referring to. Tell you what, Dennis; fill out an application for insurance at your work and check off the box that says "Hepatitis B" and watch what happens. They'll turn you down, and there is nothing you can do to get coverage. Period. That means, if you get the flu and you don't have the cash to pay for treatment, everyone with insurance pays for it. It also means that, if you show up at the hospital for treatment, they have to treat you, and someone else pays the bill. Well, someone else pays the bill after you go into bankruptcy court and have the bill wiped out.
And Dennis? Everyone who buys health insurance IS healthy. Got that? If they're not healthy, they don't get insurance; no one will sell it to them. That's the problem with the system. The people most in need of health insurance don't get insured, because the private companies won't take "the risk."
Now, let's look at the ridiculous comparison with car insurance, shall we? Can anyone see the logical fallacies in the above? The first one is obvious. If I go to a shop with a car that's been in a serious accident I am not entitled to have it repaired or replaced, if I have not paid for insurance. On the other hand, if I have been turned down by every health insurance company available because I have a "pre-existing condition," and I end up in the ER with a heart attack, the hospital is required to treat me.
See the difference? We have a right to life-saving and pain-relieving health care, regardless of our ability to pay. We do not have the right to have our car repaired.
The life insurance question is a red herring for the same reason the car insurance question is insane; your next of kin has no inherent right to receive money upon your death.
Dennis also seems to misunderstand the purpose of insurance, which may explain the rest of this idiocy. Here it is again:
"The whole point of insurance is that the healthy buy it and thereby provide the funds to pay for the sick."
No. That's not the purpose of insurance. The purpose of any insurance is so that a large group of people can pool their resources, and not go broke if something bad happens at an inopportune time. In the case of health insurance, everyone is entitled to health care at some point in their life, should they need it. Only a large swath of the population is forbidden from paying into the insurance pool.
Now, the last question is actually not a horrible one. Eventually, it will be necessary to make everyone buy health insurance at some point, because everyone needs to be covered. But first things first; right now, let's just make sure everyone who wants insurance has it, because that will make insurance far cheaper for everyone.
3. Why do supporters of nationalized medicine so often substitute the word "care" for the word "insurance?" it is patently untrue that millions of Americans do not receive health care. Millions of Americans do not have health insurance but virtually every American (and non-American on American soil) receives health care.
The first question above is also a pet peeve of mine. This reform isn't about "health care;" it's about "health insurance," and getting everyone covered. So, that part of the first question is actually fine.
The disconnect comes, because he refers to people in favor of reform as "supporters of nationalized medicine." The current bill, and even the discussions of "single payer" health insurance, do not involve nationalizing medicine. The medical delivery system is not the problem. We have some of the best medical facilities and medical professionals in the world in this country. The problem is the tens of millions of people who are denied medical insurance in this country, and the hundreds of billions of dollars uninsured people cost the system every year, causing the entire system to spiral out of control.
Now the final statement made after the fallacious question, is outrageous. The millions of Americans who don't have insurance do NOT receive "health care." They may receive emergency care if their arm is falling off, or their condition becomes so bad they need a machine to live, but to call that "health care" is absolutely immoral. Health care is going to a doctor when you start feeling bad, or when you first notice a lump or a strange mole. And tens of millions of people don't have that option. In fact, millions of people are turned away from health care every year because they don't have insurance or the ability to pay.
Not only that, but tens of thousands of people who HAVE insurance, and discover that lump or mole, LOSE their health insurance as a result of daring to contract some sort of ailment that is on their "list." How many WITH insurance avoid reporting an ailment, because they're afraid the insurance company will
A whole lot of people don't get "health care," and for him to insinuate that they do is a level of ignorance that is unconscionable for a "nice guy" right wing talk show host.
4. No one denies that in order to come close to staying within its budget health care will be rationed. But what is the moral justification of having the state decide what medical care to ration?
This is may favorite technique used by right wingers to "prove" their point.
Hey Dennis; I deny that there will have to be rationing. And there are many like me out there, I assure you. Therefore, your arrogant claim that "no one denies…" is absolute crap.
Now, let's talk about this whole concept of "moral justification," shall we?
The state will decide what medical care it will COVER. That is not the same as rationing. Rationing is what the private health insurance companies do now, to maximize profits. Do you even know how an HMO works? Its entire premise fits the very definition of rationing. The insurance company pays a medical corporation a certain amount of money each year for each patient they take on, and the corporation gets to keep everything they don't spend. That is rationing. And if you have ever had to use your health insurance, you have undoubtedly heard them recommend a cheaper alternative procedure to a doctor. That's rationing.
There is nothing in the health care reform bill that would ration anything. If you mean they will only cover basic health care, and not pay for Uncle Joey's new nose, or Aunt Marlene's sex change, you're probably right. But that's not rationing. What insurance companies are doing right now is rationing.
As for this "moral justification" crap, just who the HELL do you think you are, asking for moral justification from anyone else, when you are advocating against making sure that 47 million people who are currently uncovered, are covered.
What's your "moral justification" for advocating in favor of a status quo in which one family per minute is thrown into bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills?
What's your "moral justification" for advocating for a system in which private insurance companies deny insurance coverage to people who need it, because they are likely to have to use it?
What's your "moral justification" for advocating for a system in which a person can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums for 30 years, and have nothing to show for it if he loses his job through no fault of his own.
What's your "moral justification" for advocating for a system in which fewer and fewer people are forced to pay higher and higher premiums every year, to cover costs incurred because the people the insurance companies refused to cover got sick?
I could go on. There is no "moral justification" for health care rationing. So why have you been so quiet about it when private companies have been doing it with impunity for many decades?
5. According to Dr. David Gratzer, health care specialist at the Manhattan Institute, "While 20 years ago pharmaceuticals were largely developed in Europe, European price controls made drug development an American enterprise. Fifteen of the 20 top-selling drugs worldwide this year were birthed in the United States." Given how many lives -- in America and throughout the world - American pharmaceutical companies save, and given how expensive it is to develop any new drug, will the price controls on drugs envisaged in the Democrats' bill improve or impair Americans' health?
The answer to this question is a resounding "no." There's no other answer. Private insurance companies control prices now; they don't pay full price for drugs. No one is interested in putting drug companies out of business. But can we get real about the profit situation at those "poor" drug companies? When Medicare introduced its prescription drug plan, big pharma's profits soared $8 billion in just the first six months alone. That's just the INCREASE folks. The top ten pharmaceutical firms made a profit of $80 billion in 2007. That's PROFITS, folks. That hardly indicates that they have an overwhelming burden to overcome with their research and development.
Now, if the big drug companies made that much money when the government added 40 million Medicare recipients to the market, why would adding 47 million other insured individuals, many of who are denied insurance because they're sick, reduce their profits? And if price controls cause their profits to stagnate somewhat, or even go down a bit, are we supposed to leave 47 million people uninsured, because it would mean Pfizer might "only" make $15 billion, instead of $20 billion? Are you honestly dumb enough to think these companies will go out of business if they can "only" make $40 billion instead of $80 billion?
Where's the "moral justification" of continuing to deny coverage to 47 million people, so that 10 drug companies can make an extra $40 billion in profits every single year?
Oh, and one more thing; the reason most of these companies are located here is because of the generosity of the US government when it comes to research money. They still SELL drugs in all of the countries that control prices. And they make a profit in those countries, as well.
6. Do you really believe that private insurance could survive a "public option"? Or is this really a cover for the ideal of single-payer medical care? How could a private insurance company survive a "public option" given that private companies have to show a profit and government agencies do not have to - and given that a private enterprise must raise its own money to be solvent and a government option has access to others' money -- i.e., taxes?
You know I don't really give a shit about the answer to the first question. Private insurance companies have had a veritable monopoly for many years, and they have abused it. The only concern advocates for health care reform have is to make sure that every single person in this country is covered by insurance, and to control costs.
But to answer that phenomenally stupid question anyway, the answer is of COURSE private insurance companies can survive and make plenty of money. Look at how they make money now; they make it by refusing to cover people who might actually need health care. They can still do that, if they want. The difference is, those people will now be able to sign up for a public option.
The funny thing is, if Dennis would read the bill, he would find that private insurance will be offered alongside the public insurance option, which gives insurance companies the chance to actually compete with the public option directly. Plus, insuring everyone will eliminate that pesky double-digit inflation that has plagued the health care industry for decades.
Not only that (and this is something I never hear mentioned by right wingers -- wonder how come?), but insurance companies pay for drugs and procedures. Um, won't their expenses drop, with the government getting into the act and working to keep prices low? I mean, if the government limits the price of a 30-day supply of a drug, doesn't that also potentially reduce the cost to the insurance companies, as well?
I would also point out to Dennis that the concept of private insurance as a profitable enterprise is relatively new. Up until about 25 years ago, almost all private health insurance was non-profit. And strangely, it worked better then; go figure.
But the bottom line is if private insurance companies can't make money and they go by the wayside as a natural course of things, then so be it. But this would be the first country to see that happen. Most countries with a national health insurance system still have a healthy private insurance system, as well. In fact, if the system was "rationing," as Dennis claims WILL happen couldn't private insurance make a boatload of money filling in those rationing gaps?
(Right wingers really don't do logic much…)
7. Why will hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies do nearly as superb a job as they now do if their reimbursement from the government will be severely cut? Haven't the laws of human behavior and common sense been repealed here in arguing that while doctors, hospitals and drug companies will make significantly less money they will continue to provide the same level of uniquely excellent care?
See how right wingers think? I actually had one of them tell me yesterday that the American Dream was to become rich. No shit. I bet you had no idea that all of those teachers, police officers, firefighters and soldiers were actually giving up on the American Dream to do what they love. I bet they didn't either.
But there's an even more insidious notion in effect here.
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of health care bills go unpaid every year, and most of them are incurred by people who are refused insurance, or who don't carry any because they think they're indestructible. But there are also a significant number of bills that go unpaid insurance companies refuse to pay the bill for their insured. In many hospitals, as much as 30% of their bills go unpaid in a given year. Plus, the administrative costs for getting paid by private insurance has gone through the roof, while Medicare and Medicaid have streamlined their processes.
Therefore, the assumption that the government will cut their reimbursement is a red herring. Will hospitals be able to increase prices by 20% a year, as they do now? No, but that's because they won't have to.
The problem with our system is, we have a health care delivery system in which outcomes are the most important thing. For the most part, medical professionals care about their patients and they go through the things they go through because they love medicine. Yes, they want to live comfortably, but their goal, for the most part, isn't to make a million dollars a year; it's to heal sick people.
On the other hand, private for-profit insurance companies make money by denying care. They don’t care one little bit about outcomes; in fact, if you die before you use up all of your premium, they make even more. They make money by NOT paying for things.
With 47 million people covered who aren't covered currently, health care providers will collect MORE money not less. With inflation back to normal, they can better anticipate and plan. They can eliminate much of their administrative overhead. And with increased competition, private insurance companies will be forced to at least consider outcomes in their business dealings.
In other words, Dennis. Doctors, nurses, and everyone else, will probably make MORE money with LESS hassle.
8. Given how many needless procedures are ordered to avoid medical lawsuits and how much money doctors spend on medical malpractice insurance, shouldn't any meaningful "reform" of health care provide some remedy for frivolous malpractice lawsuits?
Ok, finally… not a dumb question. Only, it really has nothing to do with health care reform. Yes, there should be malpractice insurance reform. Although having worked in the legal industry for quite some time, I can tell you the monetary effect of the lawsuits isn't as great as the right would like you to believe. If there's a problem, it's with insurance companies. Truly frivolous lawsuits never make it to trial. But insurance companies are very quick to settle pointless suits, because they can then cry about the terrible toll they take on their bottom line, at the same time they raise premium rates.
But I'll talk about this later. This is about insuring the uninsured; malpractice insurance reform is a separate issue.
9. Given how weak the U.S. economy is, given how weak the U.S. dollar is, and given how much in debt the U.S. is in, why would anyone seek to have the U.S. spend another trillion dollars? Even if all the other questions here had legitimate answers, wouldn't the state of the U.S. economy alone argue against national health care at this time?
Of all the questions they ask, this is perhaps the silliest one.
We're not spending ANOTHER trillion dollars. And the fact that these people think we will actually demonstrates the depth of their ignorance on this subject.
We already spend 17% of our GDP on health care. It's estimated that, if we do nothing, that will increase to 20% of GDP by 2016, even assuming a nominal growth rate of 2% per year. Last year, we spent $2.4 trillion on health care, which comes to $7900 per person. (Here are more dry stats, if you would like to read them.) The average family health insurance premium is now more than $15,000 per year. The CBO estimates that, unless we cover everyone, that amount will increase about $1,800 per year for the next 10 years, which means the average family premium will top $30,000 per year. And that's all assuming that the number of uninsured only increases a little.
What this plan will do is spend some money on the front end to save us a whole lot more in the long run. The trillion dollars Dennis is on about is over TEN YEARS. We spent 2.5 times that much in the last year alone. And since health care spending is expected to be close to $4 trillion per year by 2016, the $1 trillion we spend on this over the next ten years will probably save us at least twice that much. Here's a chart from the CBO on how much health care is projected to increase if nothing is done. That promises to be far worse for the economy than taking control of the out of control bus and slowing it down a little. Here is the CBO's preliminary analysis of HR 3200, the original House bill. Go to page 2; over the course of the entire 10 year period, the total effect on the deficit is $239 billion. Total. That's 10 years. And that's before the tweaking that is currently going on in the House.
But here's the bottom line. While we're spending $1 trillion as a country over 10 years, the average family who decides to keep their private insurance will save most of that $1,800 per year increase per year for at least seven of the ten years. Health care inflation will drop back to the normal range. And overall health care costs will drop a lot for several reasons. People will be covered, and will be able to be treated for a condition before it becomes expensive. Doctors will be able to treat patients properly the first time, and won't have a bureaucrat from a private insurance company overriding their judgment and demanding a "cheaper" method of treatment.
This is something the government is not used to dealing with these days, and something the right wing can't wrap their heads around; it's an attempt to secure the healthy care system for the future. It's an investment.
10. Contrary to the assertion of President Obama -- "we spend much more on health care than any other nation but aren't any healthier for it" -- we are healthier. We wait far less time for procedures and surgeries. Our life expectancy with virtually any major disease is longer. And if you do not count deaths from violent crime and automobile accidents, we also have the longest life expectancy. Do you think a government takeover of American medicine will enable this medical excellence to continue?
We are not healthier. That's an outright lie. We are 37th in the world in health care performance, and 72nd in overall health, of the 191 nations surveyed by the World Health Organization. If you don't want to believe the WHO, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the 19 most advanced countries in the world and placed us last. Our infant mortality rate is dead last in the industrialized world. Our life expectancy rate is not longer; we're actually the only industrialized nation in the world in which life expectancy has DROPPED in the last 20 years. There are actually pockets in this country, in inner cities and rural areas, in which life expectancy figures are comparable to those in sub-Saharan Africa.
Since no "government takeover of American medicine" is planned, by any stretch, this is your typical right wing straw man. But the government will be setting up a public health insurance system, and everyone will be covered if they have health problems. That means all of the people who are currently not able to go to a doctor because they can't afford it will now be able to go to the doctor. It means all of those people who can't get health care until such time as they are in dire need of emergency care, will be able to get treatment before they get to that point.
So the easy answer is, covering every American with health insurance will make us healthier.