Free Markets, Free People

health care reform law


Unions on Obamacare: "This vision has come back to haunt us"

File this under "Cry Me A River". Union bigwigs James Hoffa, Joseph Hansen, and Donald "D" Taylor have written a strongly worded note to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi begging them to reform the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that the unions so strongly supported.

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

Yes. It will. Many of us said it would. Repeatedly. But the Unions were big-time supporters of it. Now they are whining about the very things we predicted before the law was passed.

We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Woo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! Ah, Whew! Huh. Oh. Ho. Ho ho. Ho ho ho ho. Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

(Rubbing my thumb against my fingertips.) You know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest string quartet playing "My heart cries for you", you dolts. You poltroons. You microcephalic dunces.

You guys are so stupid, I honestly don’t know why you don’t just fall down more.

On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.

We believe that there are common-sense corrections that can be made within the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their current health plans and benefits just as you and the President pledged.

Good luck with that, Stupids. You wanted Obamacare. You campaigned for it. So, you deserve to get it. Good and hard.

I hope your members thank you for selling them down the river with your support of Obamacare by dragging you naked and screaming out of your offices for a good tar and feathering. I’ve never wanted to see some union thuggery more in my life than I do right now, directed at you.

I now truly understand the German concept of schedenfreude. Indeed, I embrace it.

~
Dale Franks
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The market speaks: doctors increasingly turning down new Medicare patients

USA Today brings us a story that should surprise no one. Medicare, the supposed model of a government run health care system, is finding that fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take on new patients under that system. They cite the low payments Medicare offers (or perhaps forces) for patient treatment. Baby boomers just now entering the system are going to find their choice of a doctor restricted.

The numbers break down like this:

• The American Academy of Family Physicians says 13% of respondents didn’t participate in Medicare last year, up from 8% in 2008 and 6% in 2004.

• The American Osteopathic Association says 15% of its members don’t participate in Medicare and 19% don’t accept new Medicare patients. If the cut is not reversed, it says, the numbers will double.

• The American Medical Association says 17% of more than 9,000 doctors surveyed restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practice. Among primary care physicians, the rate is 31%.

Note especially that final group. Primary care physicians are the group of physicians that the newly passed health care reform law depends on to implement its “preventive care” regime.

The reason is rather simple and straight forward – Medicare offers 78% of what private insurance pays in compensation for a doctor’s services. Why doctors are leaving or restricting new Medicare patients is rather easy to understand as well:

“Physicians are saying, ‘I can’t afford to keep losing money,’ ” says Lori Heim, president of the family doctors’ group.

Consequently they cut or drastically restrict the source of the loss. While most doctors are not going to turn away existing Medicare patients, they may not accept new ones and finally, through attrition, close their practice to Medicare patients.

It isn’t rocket science – no good businessman is going to continue to do things in which the net result is a loss of money. And a doctor’s private practice is a business – one which employs a number of people. He or she, like any business person running a small business, cannot afford the losses. So they identify the problem and eliminate it.

As this continues it will put them in a direct confrontation with the federal government. It is anyone’s guess, given the current administration’s choices for wielding power, how that will turn out. But what this rejection of the compensation offered by government is doing is bringing to the fore is one of the underlying conflicts of the new health care law – the premise of the law is that government can control costs (and payments) and thereby make medical care less costly. The doctors are saying, go for it, but I’m not playing.

At some point, government is going to have too address those who make that declaration. We’ll then see how free of a country we really are, won’t we?

~McQ


Is the health care individual mandate a tax?

If so, that’s precisely the opposite of the claim from Obama and the purveyors of health care reform. But it appears that’s what the administration is arguing in court in order to keep the courts from killing the provison:

Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

The Act, according to a DOJ memo supporting the motion to dismiss, says that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” The memo goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the disputed payment it is called a “tax” or “penalty,” because either way, it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner” by the Internal Revenue Service.

You may remember the rather testy interview with George Stephanopoulos in which Obama used the dictionary to bolter his argument that the individual mandate wasn’t a tax? And he also said this:

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

Apparently his critics were right. And what should also be evident is this will be one of the largest tax increases the middle class has ever seen.

So much for the 95% no-tax-increase pledge (which went by the boards almost immediately, but this is another example of that broken pledge and another reason to distrust whatever Obama says).

~McQ


You can see this one coming a mile off

The other day in the comment section of one of the many posts on health care, Looker brought up the fact that the new HCR law counts obesity as a chronic illness and uses Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether or not one is obese.   BMI, of course, is not the greatest way to determine obesity.  In fact, given that BMI is used, I even question the underlying definition of “obese”.  But that’s an argument for another day.  Suffice it to say, obesity is now officially a “disease” or “illness”.  And, of course, that means all sorts of new things when talking about it or taking action to counter it, doesn’t it?

So it came as no surprise to me to see this article about the conclusion of a recent study (timing being everything):

The study, involving rats, found that overconsumption of high-calorie food can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain and that high-calorie food can turn rats into compulsive eaters in a laboratory setting, the article said.

[...]

“Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating. Other treatments in development for other forms of compulsion, for example drug addiction, may be very useful for the treatment of obesity,” researcher Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida said in a telephone interview.

Obesity-related diseases cost the United States an estimated $150 billion each year, according to U.S. federal agencies. An estimated two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.

Question – is there anyone out there that hasn’t understood that much of the obesity we see is caused by overeating and overindulging in the wrong  types of foods?   Anyone?  So that’s not news, is it?

So what is the key point to be gleaned from this study?

Well, what does “compulsive” mean?  Ah, yes, now you get it.  The first sentence leads us into the swamp.  Compulsion, as it is used here, is synonymous with addiction.  If obesity is a form of addiction that changes the whole game, doesn’t it?  It is suddenly something you can’t help.  It is something you need help beating, right?   And – follow me here – if the medical profession now finds itself with more and more “government insured” patients who are considered “obese”, per the law and obesity is a “chronic illness”, per the law, what’s likely?

For those who still aren’t following this,  don’t forget the first lady has declared “war” on childhood obesity, the last sentence above tells us that “obesity-related diseases cost the United States an estimated $150 billion each year”, and the government has promised to reduce health care costs via preventive medicine.  So where do you assume that leads us?

Or, here, let me ask this another way that may simplify it for you- which industry is the next to be demonized and which group is next to be draped in the mantle of victimhood and told “it isn’t your fault” while the rest of us pay for their “treatment” ?

~McQ