Monday, July 27, 2009
Obama maintains—with the support of the AARP—that overall, his changes in health-care are helpful to seniors and will save them thousands of dollars. Not so. Seniors are the big losers under ObamaCare according to Betsy McCaughey, the expert who has studied all the congressional plans. To make the cost deficit-neutral, which Obama declares is the goal, $500-$550 billion must be taken away from Medicare spending: less to nursing homes, drugs, protocols, to minimize the handicaps of disability.
As a starter, the use of specialists should shift to primary-care doctors, on the misconception that the elderly overuse specialists. Betsy McCaughey reports that studies have shown that for heart patients, a shift to primary care results in a higher death rate. Primary-care physicians frequently misdiagnose heart patients, who are more often readmitted to the hospital. They die sooner.
Dr. Emanuel, the brother of Rahm Emanuel, has written extensively in favor of abandoning efforts to help the elderly stay alive. Those with dementia, he urges, are no longer contributing to society. Let them go.
One congressional bill provides that every five years, each elderly person shall meet with a government counselor to consider euthanasia. President Obama says the elderly may be denied surgery and given a pain-killer pill instead. The doctors on Obama’s council were chosen for their attitude toward treatment of the elderly.
Patients faced with expensive needs for surgery will be judged by the planners on whether such an investment is “efficient” in view of the patient’s short future life. Peter Orszak, a member of the Administration team, has actually gone to Congress to ask them to remove such decision-making from the politicians to an independent group.
If you like your health-care policy, you can keep it, repeats the President. Not so. Those with coverage will not be able to change it. Those who leave employer-provided coverage to work for themselves will not be able to buy individual coverage. This is to limit consumption and make sure everyone has the same health-care experience regardless of ability to pay. Equal Outcome.
Senator Dr. Coburn submitted an amendment asking committee colleagues, will you buythe public option in place of your present insurance? For appearance’s sake, Dodd, Mikulski, Kennedy by proxy, voted yes. Everyone else voted NO. Senator Gregg, a Republican, said “Nobody should have to live under the public option.” Their present insurance is FEHBP, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, choice among a grand assortment of 290 different private plans.
The objective of these Senate and House bills is not to ensure that everybody is covered, but to ensure that everybody will have the same health-care experience regardless of their ability to pay. It doesn’t matter how rich you are if the government determines you cannot spend your money for superior health-care. Wealth won’t help the rich man if he cannot use it to buy what he needs.
CBO’s head, Douglas Elmendorf, said last week government can’t “save” money on health-care by insuring everyone. The cost will be from $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion over ten years. This was bad news for the Administration, and he was “invited” to the White House for a meeting with President Obama and a phalanx of economic and health-care advisers. Perhaps intimidated, Elmendorf has since issued a supplementary statement saying that maybe $200 billion can be saved.
Observed a former CBO head, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, “They’re leaning on him. CBO was created to do independent analyses for Congress.”
A few facts: All cancer-survival rates, five years after diagnosis, are higher in the U.S. than in Europe, Great Britain, and Canada, for both men and women. Among women, the survival rate is 63% in the U.S., 56% in Europe, 53% in Great Britain and 58% in Canada; among men, 66% in the U.S., 47% in Europe, 45% in Great Britain and 53% in Canada. In Great Britain, which has had universal nationalized health-care for 50 years, the rates are below European average rates for both women (53%) and men (45%). The Canadian data for 2001-3 were compiled by economist June O’Neill, CBO head, and her economist husband. The other data were published by the National Center for Policy Analysis.
The often cited “47 million” uninsured is overstated. Approximately a third are illegal immigrants, a third qualify for inclusion in a health-care program but are not enrolled; one-third can afford to buy insurance.
There is a great deal that can be done to improve the present situation, but ObamaCare wants not reform, but revolution.
While the objective during the campaign was to expand coverage, and recently to lower and control costs, the fundamental objective is to equalize consumption of health-care among rich and poor. In ObamaCare, regardless of income, it’s Equal Outcomes: Everyone (not elderly) should have equal health-care opportunities. The rich are not to consume a super drug which they can afford, if it is not also available and affordable to the poor. Redistribution of income is a prime goal in ObamaLand, and one way to redistribute income is to control how it is spent.
Late news: Bills in both House (HR3200) and Senate transfer to President Obama from Congress all decisions over life and death of elderly and treatment of elderly.
By Natalie Sirkin