The ruinous cost of free health care 1

“Free” government benefits are the most expensive goods in the world.

The Democratic Socialist Party – formerly the Democratic Party – is trying to win votes by promising free health care for all.

Supposing a national health service were to be introduced into the USA, what would it cost?

Investor’s Business Daily reports and comments:

Democrats have been falling over themselves to endorse Bernie Sanders’s government takeover of health care. Maybe they should have taken a closer look at his “Medicare for all” plan before signing up. The gargantuan price tag is just one of its many terrible flaws.

Last year, 16 Senators, including three presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill. And earlier this month, more than 70 Democrats signed on to form a “Medicare for all” caucus. Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.

Do they have any idea what they’re endorsing?

A new study out Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that the Sanders plan would add $32.6 trillion to federal spending in its first 10 years, with costs steadily rising from there. That closely matches other studies — including one by the liberal Urban Institute — that looked at the Sanders plan.

To put this in perspective, “Medicare for all” would nearly double the size of the already bloated federal government.

Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.

Even this [estimate of $32.6 trillion over 10 years] is wildly optimistic. To get to this number, author Charles Blahous had to make several completely unrealistic assumptions about savings under Sanders’ hugely disruptive plan.

The first is a massive cut in payments to providers. Sanders wants to apply Medicare’s below-market rates across the board, which would amount to a roughly 40% cut in payments to doctors and hospitals. Blahous figures this will save hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Democrats are also apparently unaware that “Medicare for all” would be a more expensive than anything that exists anywhere else in the world … 

Sanders’ plan would eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses for medical, dental and vision care. The only exception would be a small copay for brand-name drugs. …

There is no industrialized country in the world that does this.

Even in the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders directs us to admire (rather than Stalinist Russia which is actually his ideal), “people pay as much as 30% of their nations’ health costs out-of-pocket”. 

And – perhaps surprisingly to American communists –

In Communist China, almost a third of health spending is out-of-pocket.

In Bernie’s USA, the illusion of all medical treatment being “free” would need to be maintained. But how? After all, doctors cannot work for nothing. Hospitals have running costs.

Because Sanders would eliminate prices entirely from health care, the only way to control health spending would be to slap stiff price controls on doctors, hospitals and drugs, or ration care.

Rationing is inevitable in any government-run health service. Administrators have to decide how to allocate resources. When you are in control of your own medical decisions, you decide what treatment, what drugs you are able or prepared to pay for. When the state decides for you, it will not consult your preferences. It will make kill-or-cure, life-or-death decisions for you. The “death panels” that Sarah Palin warned against will determine how long you live; and, for as long as you live, in what state of health.   

Here’s what health care in the U.S. would look like as a result:

There would be chronic shortages of doctors nationwide. Hospital overcrowding would be epidemic. Waits for everything from hip replacements to cataract surgery to cancer treatments would be extensive. Drug innovation would come to a virtual standstill. And there would be endless fights over the size of the government’s health budget, along with massive amounts of waste, fraud and abuse.

How do we know this? Because this is precisely what’s happened in countries that have already gone down the “Medicare for all” road.

In Canada, the average wait time for a hip replacement is nearly two years in some provinces. Patients with cataracts can end up waiting a year for surgery. The UK has fewer doctors, nurses and hospital beds per capita than any other industrialized nation, and is in a state of almost constant crisis.

Almost constant crisis”? There is no break, no pause, no relief for the briefest of moments from the crisis that is the National Health Service of Great Britain.

Here at home, the Veterans Health Administration — once touted by the left as a model of socialized medicine — has seen deadly delays and massive corruption, even as its budget ballooned in size.

Almost 10% of Medicare spending today is for what the government euphemistically calls “improper payments”, but anyone else would label it waste. Extend this across the entire health care system and Sanders’s “Medicare for all” would result in some $400 billion a year in “improper payments”.

But the biggest problem with “Medicare for all” — and any plan to socialize medicine — is its underlying assumption. Namely, that a handful of government central planners can manage trillions of dollars’ worth of resources better than hundreds of millions of people making trillions of decisions every day in the free market. They can’t.

We already know central planning never works, since it has miserably failed where it’s been tried. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union. It doesn’t work in North Korea or Cuba, and it’s causing untold misery in Venezuela.

A socialist government – which is what the government would be that saves or executes its subjects by controlling their health care – is always, necessarily, inescapably, one big Death Panel.

Palin’s Prophecy comes true … 1

… death panels are here:

Meddlecare 3

Anyone for death?

A website named Compassion and Choices – deceptively, since it should accurately be named Pitilessness and Compulsion –  says this:

New Medicare regulations to take effect January 1 will include a provision physicians, social workers and families pushed for. The New York Times reports:

“Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”

In truth, the consultation is not about forgoing treatment, as advance directives are equally suited to requesting life-sustaining treatment. Thus, this Medicare enhancement simply encourages communication, promotes choice, compensates doctors for important care and empowers patients.

Let’s examine this. Compassion and Choices is a leading pro-euthanasia organization. It is only sweet-talking about “life-sustaining” treatments. The NYT – which obviously agrees with Compassion and Choices – sneaks the word “aggressive” in front of the phrase, to warn you against opting for treatment if you’re old and in the way.

There are good arguments for euthanasia, provided it is always the choice of the euthanased (to coin a word). All sane adults can make that choice like any other – in advance if they want to, though doing so commits them to suffer action by others that they might not really want when the critical moment comes and communication may be difficult or impossible. One visualizes the possibility of desperation and panic in a struggle to cancel instructions given when death was not staring one in the face. Yeeow!

Why is it necessary for doctors to inform people that they can forgo treatment if they want to? And to be paid a special fee for doing so? This is statist thinking. The view from the left. Anti-free  as always.

Compassion and Choices goes on: “this Medicare enhancement [ah, an enhancement!] simply [“openly”, “innocently”] encourages communication, promotes choice, compensates doctors for important care and empowers patients.

So much good! Who can possibly object?

But why do people need to be encouraged to communicate? Are most Americans tongue-tied?

Does choice need to be promoted? The choice, remember, is between life and death. Who is unaware that as long as you live the choice of death is yours?

Why should doctors need “compensation” for telling people what they already know? Without being exceptionally sensitive, one can feel a creepy implication here!  Maybe because what doctor’s are really being urged to do is advise sick people to choose death? And maybe doctors are not usually willing to do that, so they need a little extra inducement, aka a bribe?

Finally, this program of nudging to death is said to “empower patients”. Watch that word empower – it stands out in bold capitals in the lexicon of the left. But no patient gains any more power by being told he or she can choose death than he or she has always had, so nothing changes … unless ….

Unless all this talk by Compassion and Choices is preparing a way to legal murder; a seeking for wording that could be interpreted as allowing something far worse than a death panel – a Law of Life-Limitation; the state claiming the right to raise a sign saying “Come In Number X, Your Time Is Up “.

What is sickening about these ever-so-compassionate choosers is their unresisted desire to meddle in the lives of the rest of us. Through a meddlesome state. All for our own good, of course, as always. They know best how we should live, and how and when we should die.

Like it or not, the old are to be routinely badgered to grant permission for their lives to be cut short as “this improvement to Medicare” is implemented pronto this month. Compassion and Choice are cock-a-hoop about it. It’s “a long-awaited response to those families who didn’t know their loved ones’ preferences when confronted with difficult decisions in an emergency”. Families have been begging, you see, for the state to make grannies and grandpas tell them to switch that thing off, and at last a reluctant state has acceded to the popular clamor.

With the coming of the New Year, Medicare will begin empowering seniors to consider the care that is right for them when they face the end of life, and better ensure their wishes control the care they receive.

Sure, they’ve only to lie there wishing and they’ll stay in control.

For all their openness and innocence, behind all the smiles, the Apostles of Death scratch at a little itchy spot of guilt.

So we learn from LifeNews, which brings us this information:

The Democrat who started the latest national debate over the inclusion of so-called “death panels” by the Obama administration into federal regulations now regrets doing so.

The office of Representative Earl Blumenauer, an assisted suicide advocate from Oregon who works closely with pro-euthanasia groups like Compassion and Choices, alerted supporters of the change the Obama administration implemented and worked to ask them to keep the news quiet.

“We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists e-mails can too easily be forwarded,” his staff wrote. “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this [regulation] goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.

The memo talked of a “quiet” victory and had the congressman worrying about how Republican leaders would “use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”

But reported on the new regulations and, weeks later, the New York Times got a copy of the memo Blumenauer wrote and the national dustup began.

Now, Blumenauer told The Hill that he regrets [not the program of murder, but] the secretive language used in the email, which he says he did not see beforehand. …

Still, he defended the controversial new regulation. …

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council commented on the memo and said pro-life people need to understand the importance of Blumenauer’s role in the debate.

“Blumenauer is very important to this tale for it is with him that the legislative origins of the assisted suicide language begin,” he said. “The origins of the language are extremely important when you think about the motivation of the people behind it.”

“The original bill language would provide Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to doctors who direct people to take their own lives instead of seek treatment and was written by a group called Compassion & Choices, an offshoot of a group from the 1980′s that called itself the Hemlock Society, the nation’s leading advocate for assisted suicide,” McClusky explained. “Ultimately the language was not in the final passed bill, though many other factors leading to rationing were included.”

Although the advanced directives apparently can’t be used to facilitate an assisted suicide, there is concern physicians will pressure or persuade patients to make decisions that would ration care or withdraw lifesaving medical treatment.

So the language finally adopted does not [yet] allow actual “assisted suicide”; but it allows treatment to be “rationed” – ie withheld – which may amount to the same thing. Or worse – cold-blooded murder.

A congress of whores 1

Bribery has secured enough votes to pass the Senate’s unpopular health care legislation. In plain truth, the Senators who have shamelessly sold their votes to their own party are political prostitutes.

It does not matter to them that it is a bad bill. They got their price.

Among the many bad provisions there is one that may even be unconstitutional.

From Erick Erickson at REDSTATE:

[Sen. Harry] Reid has slipped a provision into the health care legislation prohibiting future Congresses from changing any regulations imposed on Americans by the Independent Medicare [note: originally referred to as “medical”] Advisory Boards, which are commonly called the “Death Panels.”

On December 21, 2009, … Harry Reid sold out the Republic in toto. … Senators discovered section 3403 [of the health care bill]. That section changes the rules of the United States Senate.

To change the rules of the United States Senate, there must be sixty-seven votes.

Section 3403 of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment requires that “it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” The good news is that this only applies to one section of the Obamacare legislation. The bad news is that it applies to regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards a/k/a the Death Panels. …

Senator Jim DeMint confronted the Democrats over Reid’s language. In the past, the Senate Parliamentarian has repeatedly determined that any legislation that also changes the internal standing rules of the Senate must have a two-thirds vote to pass because to change Senate rules, a two-thirds vote is required. Today, the Senate President, acting on the advice of the Senate Parliamentarian, ruled that these rules changes are actually just procedural changes and, despite what the actual words of the legislation say, are not rules changes. Therefore, a two-thirds vote is not needed in contravention to longstanding Senate precedent.

How is that constitutional?

The Senate Democrats are ignoring the constitution, the law, and their own rules to pass Obamacare….

Erickson goes on to consider the case for secession – or is he suggesting a dissolution of the union?

To quote the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is one of those causes. When the men and women who run this nation, which is supposedly a nation of laws not men, choose to ignore the laws and bribe the men, the people cannot be blamed for wanting to dissolve political bands connecting them to that government.