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The march toward socialized medicine

Recently the Obama Administration floated two proposals that would have negatively impacted anyone with private health insurance. First, there was the Administration's willingness to consider taxing the cash value of employee health benefits as ordinary income; the second was the Administration's plan to charge veterans directly for the treatment of service-related injuries by shifting those costs to private insurance. (The Administration hastily withdrew this idea in the wake of strong objections from veterans groups.)

A few weeks ago, critics speculated whether or not those proposals were signals from the Obama Administration that they would shortly begin a concerted effort to undermine the effectiveness of private insurance in order to gin up popular support for a single, comprehensive, centrally planned and administered government health care system. Indeed, one has to wonder how many of the crises currently plaguing our nation will be used by the Administration in the coming months as a foothold for socialized medicine.

Yesterday's formally announced take-over of GM by the Obama Administration caused one blogger to raise the possibility of a "US Manufacturing Rescue Act of 2009" that could be introduced as part of the administration's proposed "restructuring" of the auto industry. Such a fictional bill could shift auto workers and other employees currently under government oversight out of private pensions and health insurance and into government-managed health insurance and retirement programs, ostensibly to ease the burden of high corporate legacy costs, thereby making those industries profitable again.

And yesterday, Drudge announced the launch of a new website from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Division, US Department of Health and Human Services: "A Guide To Getting Through Economic Tough Times." Even though it can be argued that the Federal government was largely responsible for the conditions that caused this recession in the first place, I suppose it's nice to know that Uncle Sam is looking out for our mental health in these days of crisis and uncertainty.

But this only makes me wonder how the Obama Administration will use the alleged fragile mental health of the nation to justify yet another Federal power grab. Perhaps it will be a new Federal program to provide free or subsidized mental health services to low income Americans who have been hardest hit by the recession -- and in the process, all mental health services will have to become Federalized. Perhaps the Administration will set aside another huge chunk of cash for "family planning," since the current economic downturn has made it impossible for poor Americans to afford more children. This or course would mean more Federal involvement in clinics and hospitals that provide birth control and abortion services. FOCA seems tailor-made for this, doesn't it?

This Administration has already made it clear that it will never allow a crisis to go to waste. Our healthcare system seems to be next in line for an Obama "restructuring." What will be next?


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Comments (19)

Pick one phrase out... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Pick one phrase out of the above post by Michael "centrally planned"-- you just distilled the agenda to it's intended conclusion.

And it's all done for the children.


Assholes.

Is their anything that is t... (Below threshold)
419:

Is their anything that is taboo for this jac ass to tax?

Mental Health care is mostl... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Mental Health care is mostly controlled by the state/federal government already. While there is still a large amount of private mental healthcare available, in distressed and rural areas it is normally provided by a clinic that is funded/controlled by the state and/or feds. In my smallish city there are only one or two mental health care providers that aren't associated with the provider controlled by the state.

The problem I see is that t... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

The problem I see is that this administration seems to fail with the simplest things (IE giving DVDs with the right country codes, botching the translations on a 'reset button') - so how are they supposed to be trusted with anything more complex?

They keep grabbing more and more responsibility over more and more aspects of our lives - and we're supposed to trust them to not screw it up?

"Such a fictional bill coul... (Below threshold)
retired milirary:

"Such a fictional bill could shift auto workers and other employees currently under government oversight out of private pensions and health insurance and into government-managed health insurance and retirement programs, ostensibly to ease the burden of high corporate legacy costs, thereby making those industries profitable again"

Yep. Bailout the unions for GM and Chrysler at taxpayer expense. Once the govt picks up the tab for union retirees and union health care it will never end.

Matt:I agree with ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Matt:

I agree with you, but would like to expand a bit. In our small county (population about 35,000), there are many MH providers, but there has been no consistent adult psychiatrist for a decade. The local MH clinic that receives funding and enhanced re-imbursement for Medicaid provides little access for anyone unwilling or unable to meet a structured payment plan. Their psychiatrists are available by video conference only. They are doing a decent job with the resources they have, but it is not fulling meeting the needs of the county. While there is a little pulse of extra funding available with the "stimulus plan" it will go away in a year or two. The outlook is grim. When a past Surgeon General tried to pimp up the country's MH system as a form of Homeland Security, he got muzzled by the Bush Administration (mainly because the costs were thought to bee "too much"). As the current administration seems to have no fiscal responsibility, this may get pushed again.

It's no surprise that Obama... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

It's no surprise that Obama is moving the U.S. toward government controlled or mandated health care as it was an important aspect of his campaign. If the goal is to provide healthcare to everyone (universal healthcare) then we are limited to just a few options. Option one is to spend unlimited money. Option two is to ration healthcare by some means. Option three is to change the way we pay for healthcare.

A combination of option one and two are closest to our current system. We spend unlimited money as indicated by ever rising insurance costs and we ration healthcare to those who have health insurance. Obama has said a few things that hint that he's thinking of option three. What if government says to healthcare providers that they can only charge for results rather than treatments? That would be more in line with how we pay for most other things and it seems it would deter providers from performing treatments that have little chance for success, or at least being more up front about what defines "success".

Option three forces us to face the fact that an inordinate percentage of healthcare dollars are spent trying to treat some condition for which there is not yet an effective treatment. Some conditions are chronic (back pain) and some are acute (advanced cancer). Given a limited pool of money, dollars spent on ineffective treatments means there are fewer dollars to be spent on effective treatments. Paying for results doesn't prevent any given treatment, but it forces providers to stand behind the effectiveness of their treatments. Anyway, it's another option for people to think about and debate.

"Option three forces us to ... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

"Option three forces us to face the fact that an inordinate percentage of healthcare dollars are spent trying to treat some condition for which there is not yet an effective treatment. Some conditions are chronic (back pain) and some are acute (advanced cancer).

7. Posted by Mac Lorry | March 31, 2009 4:07 PM"

So, by your definition, someone who is suffering from acute cancer should not recieve car ebecause they can not be cured. Does that include no painkillers to ease their suffering? Painkillers don't cure them, but the alternative is euthanizing them.

Nope, Note to Obama: Get off the socialized health care scam. Not everyone can receive all the treatments, those that can pay do, those that can't don't If you make health care universal, you KILL more people than you do now, because you drag it ALL down.

Mycroft -"If yo... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mycroft -

"If you make health care universal, you KILL more people than you do now, because you drag it ALL down."

You say that as if it's a drawback.

The idea is equality of service, Mycroft, not some hypothetical utopia where everyone receives really great care - because really great care is expensive, and barring something completely unforeseen, it will always be expensive. And the money, barring something completely unforeseen, (makes me wonder if Geithner's answering Nigerian scam emails looking to get some of those millions...) just isn't going to be there.

Crappy care, however, is cheap. And it can be charged back to the government inflated in SO many ways it's ridiculous.

Instead of pulling everyone... (Below threshold)
retired milirary:

Instead of pulling everyone up as they are professing they are actually pulling everyone down. (that is except themselves as they will still continue to receive the best of care that the US taxpayer dime can buy).

Mycroft,S... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mycroft,

So, by your definition, someone who is suffering from acute cancer should not recieve car ebecause they can not be cured. Does that include no painkillers to ease their suffering? Painkillers don't cure them, but the alternative is euthanizing them.

No, I'm not saying someone who is suffering from acute cancer should not receive care, but neither should they receive expensive treatments that can only extend suffering. Painkillers are successful in treating pain and therefore can be charged for.

Here's the rub, we either have to provide unlimited money for healthcare or we have to limit healthcare by some means. We do that now by limiting what healthcare those without insurance can afford. Do you think that's the best way?

"Here's the rub, we either ... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

"Here's the rub, we either have to provide unlimited money for healthcare or we have to limit healthcare by some means. We do that now by limiting what healthcare those without insurance can afford. Do you think that's the best way?

11. Posted by Mac Lorry | March 31, 2009 5:00 PM"

We already limit healthcare to those that can pay for it. They work hard to pay for the benefits for themselves and their family. Who should get it? Someone who didn't work to pay his own way?

The system works the way it is, and most of those without beneifts, either choose to not have benefits, are illegal aliens not entitled to it, or are not willing to improve themselves enough to get coverage. I am happy with it that way. For the alternatives are much much worse.

Mycroft,W... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mycroft,

We already limit healthcare to those that can pay for it. They work hard to pay for the benefits for themselves and their family. Who should get it? Someone who didn't work to pay his own way?

Most people with health insurance get it through their employer, but fewer and fewer employers can pay the ever rising costs. Then you have the millions of hard working folks who have lost their jobs. There are also people with preexisting condition who can't even get coverage. Whether or not you have health insurance has more to do with luck than hard work.

The system we have now is unsustainable for reasons that have nothing to do with 90% of the healthcare that's delivered each year. Under the current system there's great financial incentive to "invent" new treatment combinations that have little if any measurable success. Under a pay for results system there's great financial incentive to "invent" new treatment combinations that actually work.

>Most people with health in... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

>Most people with health insurance get it through their employer, but fewer and fewer employers can pay the ever rising costs.

Yup, so I do. Because I spent the time and effort to work up to a job where an employer HAS to pay to get employees who can do the job.

>Then you have the millions of hard working folks who have lost their jobs. There are also people with preexisting condition who can't even get coverage. Whether or not you have health insurance has more to do with luck than hard work.

Bullsh*t. I have been out of work and had an employer who did not offer coverage. This thing called Cobra covered me, out of my pocket. And don't give me this pre-existing crap. I live in a state where that is against the law. And I am a cancer survivor, yet go from employer to employer and am covered.

>The system we have now is unsustainable for reasons that have nothing to do with 90% of the healthcare that's delivered each year.

Perfectly sustainable if we enforce the existing laws. Send the illegals home and most of the overloading of the system goes away.

>Under the current system there's great financial incentive to "invent" new treatment combinations that have little if any measurable success.

Again, Bullsh*t. An informed patient doesn't let that happen.

>Under a pay for results system there's great financial incentive to "invent" new treatment combinations that actually work.

That's called fraud and should be treated as such (or maybe malpractice?)

>13. Posted by Mac Lorry | March 31, 2009 7:22 PM

Come back when you have experience with the real world.

Any fix of the medical syst... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Any fix of the medical system which doesn't include tort reform is treating the symptoms and not the disease. My father's malpractice insurance went through the roof back in '74. What we see in medicine today started a long time ago. Take the lawsuit industries obscene profits out of the equation and medical care will come down in price fast enough.

Yup, so I do. Beca... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Yup, so I do. Because I spent the time and effort to work up to a job where an employer HAS to pay to get employees who can do the job.

Just like millions of highly skilled workers who's jobs have gone overseas in the last few years. Maybe yours will too.

Bullsh*t. I have been out of work and had an employer who did not offer coverage. This thing called Cobra covered me, out of my pocket.

Cobra is government mandated coverage that allows you to stay in your former employer's group coverage for up to 18 months. It's coverage you couldn't get on your own.

And don't give me this pre-existing crap. I live in a state where that is against the law. And I am a cancer survivor, yet go from employer to employer and am covered.

I see you are happy with government mandated healthcare that benefits you. So much for your bullshit about working for it.

Perfectly sustainable if we enforce the existing laws. Send the illegals home and most of the overloading of the system goes away.

The cost of healthcare has little to do with illegals. Far more money is spent on heroic treatments of dieing patients in the last few weeks or months of their life. This is where doctors and hospitals make big money and as long as we pay for treatment rather than results, end of life healthcare costs will continue to raise.

Again, Bullsh*t. An informed patient doesn't let that happen.

Nonsense, people want to live and will take any chance doctors offer regardless of how unlikely a good outcome is. Doctors and hospitals are more than happy to try as long as they get paid.

That's called fraud and should be treated as such (or maybe malpractice?)

Now you have proven you don't have a clue. You got to be some kind of nut to think that offering treatments that actually work is fraud.

Come back when you have experience with the real world.

Been here a long time, likely longer than you. Come back when you get a brain.

MAclorry said, "The cost of... (Below threshold)
tyree:

MAclorry said, "The cost of healthcare has little to do with illegals."

That may be true in some areas, but in others, like mine, providing health care for illegal aliens is a crushing burden on the taxpayers and health providers.

That may be true i... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
That may be true in some areas, but in others, like mine, providing health care for illegal aliens is a crushing burden on the taxpayers and health providers.

Yes it's a burden on taxpayers, but the point I was making is that providing such healthcare doesn't raise the cost of health insurance, which is how 85% of Americans pay for healthcare. And it's not just illegal aliens who are a burden on taxpayers, but anyone who doesn't have health insurance or money to pay for their care. The cost of healthcare has been rising at nearly three times the rate of inflation over the last decade, and that's simply unsustainable.

Today health care, tomorrow... (Below threshold)
Gary:

Today health care, tomorrow the 2nd Amendment, the day after...the two-party system will be outlawed. Guess which party gets to survive?




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