An interesting article in Forbes Magazine online,
With the Affordable Care Act crumbling around them, Democrats will look to unveil their next healthcare plan at the National Convention in Philadelphia. President Barack Obama, his would-be successor, Hillary Clinton and the official party platform have a something specific in mind: The so-called “public option.”
Make no mistake, this would spell the end of healthcare as we know it and quickly usher in a European-style system that is essentially Medicaid for all. Democrats will deny this, but a quick look at the facts shows what’s at stake.
The Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” was designed to fail from the start. It was also designed to destroy the health insurance industry, and make the government via the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE the executive decision maker for everyone in the United States. Along the way, it has made a lot of money for Democratic Party cronies by steering contracts to favored vendors who had no incentive to actually delivery a useable service or product.
In short, the public option would eliminate competition, not increase it. A government-run health-insurance plan would be backstopped by the American taxpayer. This would give the government a gross benefit that no private health-insurance carrier has–it could rob the rest of us to pay for those who buy its plans, deceptively making them appear more affordable in the short run.
If you have private insurance, you will be paying for health insurance twice. Once for you health insurance (at a higher rate), and once for those who are on the public plan. Well, you’re doing that already because you pay taxes, but both your insurance rates and tax rates would raise substantially. The goal being to drive private insurance out of business. If you work and pay taxes, you’re still going to be paying twice, but you’ll be paying both times to government.
The so called “co ops” were supposed to be the state level public option, but since most of them have collapsed because they couldn’t pay for the services they were supposed to provide, it’s going to be back in the hands of the federal government to provide that. For people over 65, the government already provides the bulk of medical services, but most people have to buy supplemental plans to fill in any gaps in coverage. For people under 65 who can’t afford health care, there is Medicaid. Which is funded by the federal government, but administered by the various states under a variety of names.
Medicaid is America’s longest-running experiment with the public option–and it has been an unmitigated failure for its recipients. In order to control spiraling Medicaid costs, the federal government has taken a number of drastic steps. Most disturbingly, it has cut reimbursement rates for physicians and instituted draconian limits on the care that patients can receive.
Don’t take my word for it. Medicaid’s abysmally low payment rates mean that doctors can’t afford to participate in the program and keep their doors open; 31% of doctors don’t accept it, a number that grows with every passing year. Medicaid patients often wait months to receive specialized care today.
As much as some people in EMS, those who see the abuse of this system, complain about it, this is not free really good health care. It’s free, sometimes adequate health care.
Imagine what will happen if say, 100 million more people get added to the system. Medicaid patients–and by extension, the public-option patients–will have fewer and fewer doctors to choose from, inevitably harming their health.
That harm will be exacerbated by the similarly inevitable treatment controls. As we see with Medicaid, government-run healthcare routinely denies patients from getting specific treatments and prescriptions. The goal is to save costs; the reality is that it worsens patients’ health, often drastically.
We don’t have to imagine what will happen, we just need to look at Canada. Their free health care comes with a lot of conditions and compromises. For example, California has more CT scanners than does Canada. A friend of mine needed a PET scan for possible cancer. Since she’s a Canadian citizen that lives in the US she could either get it in the US or get it in Canada. The problem was that even with her insurance there was a substantial deductible in the US. So, she looked at getting it done in Canada because as a Canadian citizen she qualified for their “free” health care.
Here is a survey of how many PET scanners there are in Canada.
As at September 2015, there are 45 publicly funded PET scanners in Canada, operational in 34 centres (see Table 1). This includes 39 PET/CT, four PET, and two PET/MRI scanners. Two of these scanners are located in British Columbia, four in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan, one in Manitoba, 16 in Ontario, two in New Brunswick, and one in Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador anticipates a PET/CT scanner to be operational in 2016. Based on data from the 2011 report,8 there are 18 PET scanners in Quebec. Since the 2011 report,8 PET scanning and cyclotron capacity in Canada has generally increased (Table 1). In Canada, 62,668 PET scans were performed in 2011-2012, and more than 98% of these were conducted in hospital settings.9
How many PET Scanners are there in the United States?
1. Mol Imaging Biol. 2005 May-Jun;7(3):197-200. How available is positron emission tomography in the United States? Patterson JC 2nd, Mosley ML. PURPOSE: Positron emission tomography (PET) has become a major clinical diagnostic and prognostic tool for oncology and multiple other arenas. To some, however, the perception exists that PET is not available as a resource in their community. Our goal with this project was to determine how available clinical PET was in the United States. PROCEDURES: We used existing lists of PET centers, websites from PET scanner manufacturers, as well as a common Internet search engine to find clinical PET facilities. A mapping program was then used to determine area coverage with a 75-mile radius for each PET scanner found, and the United States Census website was utilized as a source of population data for covered and not covered areas. RESULTS: We found that 97% of the US population lives within 75 miles of a clinical PET facility. CONCLUSION: Thus, it appears that the idea of clinical PET being unavailable to many is a misconception, which may be limiting its use by some physicians who are unaware of how common it has become. DOI: 10.1007/s11307-005-4116-8 PMID: 15912422 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Don’t expect that to continue once the government controls every aspect of health care.
The data bear this out. Medicaid patients have significantly worse health outcomes than other patients, especially if they have more serious conditions. Medical expert Scott Gottlieb, reviewing the reams of evidence published in healthcare journals over the past few decades, recently concluded that “Medicaid is worse than no coverage at all.”
Why does the Democratic Party see ”Medicaid for all” as the future of healthcare? President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the party are now openly arguing for a healthcare system that will jeopardize Americans’ health. Surely that’s an option not worth choosing.
They government is already rationing health care for elders under Medicare. They aren’t call it that, but that’s what it is. Or to put it more vividly, as Sarah Palin did, “Death Panels”.