Monday, May 10, 2010

Busting Health Care by the Rand Corporation and Michael Tanner

Obama's Health Care Promises Already Busted By Michael Tanner

The ink was barely dry on President Obama's signature before the RAND Corporation released a report concluding that not only would the hard-won health care package fail to curb premium increases, but the bill would drive premiums up as much as 17 percent for young people.

This should not have been a surprise: the Congressional Budget Office had already warned that the bill would do almost nothing to reduce future premium hikes. And when New York implemented the same time of insurance reforms in the 1980s, it led to a nearly $500-per-year increase in premiums for young people. But somehow, the media didn't pay much attention.

And of course, back during the health care debate, no presidential speech was complete without a promise that
"if you have health insurance today and you like it, you can keep it." But the Congressional Budget Office now says that as many as 10 million workers will lose their current insurance under the bill. Some of those will have to buy new insurance through the government-run exchanges. Millions more will be thrown onto Medicaid.

In addition, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies reports that half of seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program will lose their coverage under that program and be forced back into traditional Medicare.

And how many times did President Obama criticize the United States for having the highest health care spending in the world? Well, the government's chief actuary released his report on the bill recently, showing that the bill will actually increase health care spending by $311 billion over the next 10 years.

At the same time, the actuary warns that promised
future spending cuts, particularly those for Medicare, are unlikely to occur.

"The longer-term viability of the Medicare reductions is doubtful," wrote Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid systems.
What cuts do occur could have a severe impact on the quality of health care. As many as 15 percent of hospitals and other institutions could be forced out of business, according to the report, "possibly jeopardizing access to care" for millions of Americans.

With spending going up and future savings likely to fall short of promises, we can expect higher deficits and, of course,
higher taxes. The most recent estimates suggest that the taxes already in the bill will likely end up costing middle-class workers and small businesses an extra $1,000 per year.

Now the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office warns that nearly 4 million Americans, nearly three-quarters of them middle-class workers, will be hit with fines for failing to meet the government's mandate. Those penalties will average nearly $1,000 per person in 2016.

All this, and the health care "reform" law is merely a month old.
Perhaps this is why nearly 56 percent of American voters now favor repealing the bill.

This episode provides a lesson, not just for health care reform, but for the Obama administration's policies more generally.
When critics of the health care bill raised these concerns during the debate, they were accused of "fear mongering." It was said that they were "opposed to reform," or were in the pockets of the insurance industry.

Now, as the administration presses forward with its other initiatives, including financial regulation and energy taxes, the same modus operandi is in action.
Those who raise questions are derided as opposing "reform" and siding with the banks, energy companies, or whoever the enemy of the day is. The bills need to be rushed through. There is no time for real debate.

But maybe, just maybe, the first month of ObamaCare should serve as a lesson:
Legislate in haste; repent in leisure.
Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.


Law and Order Teacher said...

Too bad the great media watchdogs intentionally ignored the real truth in order to allow their agenda to be enacted. Now we will pay for many years to come.

Karen Howes said...

Mr. Tanner is right on. Zero and his merry band of thugs are just tax-and-spend socialists.

WomanHonorThyself said...

But maybe, just maybe, the first month of ObamaCare should serve as a lesson: Legislate in haste; repent in leisure.
..good find Z! hope we can stem the tide though!

Anonymous said...

Several top American companies warned Congress and the president that the communist health care law was a big mistake and one that would cause these same companies to opt for federal fines because they would cost less money.

As a result, Idiot Waxman threatened these companies with an investigation and compulsory testimoney. Of course, this never materialized because independent analysis confirmed what these companies were saying.

So we ought to wonder why Nobama continues to campaign for his communist health care plan even after it was signed into law.

Okay, seriously ... we need to dump all elected officials. Not likely, though ... when only 12 people in Indiana even showed up to vote in their recent primary. Sad, huh? I see dead people remaining inside the beltway.

Semper Fi

FairWitness said...

Just great Z. We already got hit with a 27% increase in our group health insurance premium in November. Health insurance companies were gouging every employer prior to the health care bill's passage BUT after they met behind closed doors at the White House.

Right now our health coverage costs us almost $7000 annually per employee. Now we can look forward to another 17% increase in November 2010, making it $8200 per year per employee. Isn't that special?

Truth be told, until the voters of this country vote out these radicals, we can expect our wallets to be ripped off on a regular basis by this frigging regime.

Z said...

I'm so glad you guys agree with me on this Tanner article; very important stuff.
Yes, the 'great media watchdogs' intentionally ignore a LOT of truth....
and then, when people find the truth and expose it, those people are TOO CRITICAL, HATE OBAMA, ARE RACISTS RIGHTWING NUTS...etc etc etc...

27%, FairWitness? Well, you know it's you BIG RICH COMPANIES with money to spare who DESERVE to pay for your people AND all the poor people who won't or can't buy insurance..don't you know that? :-) (sarcasm, yes, plenty of it)

FairWitness said...

Yes, Z. You truly do understand. It isn't enough that we pay 100% of our employees' health insurance premiums AND a portion of their spouses and children, too. Obama thinks we should do even more and pay for people who don't work for us, don't contribute, don't do diddly squat for our company OR American society. They're worthless parasites who don't deserve our hard-earned money. This government stinks, do you know that?

Z said...

I'm holding my NOSE :-), FairWitness...HARD and I can STILL smell it!

FairWitness said...


Elmers Brother said...

to back up what Mustang said I just heard there are several very large companies who have already said they will pay the fine because it'll be cheaper

my guess is that these companies will be villified as uncaring corporations

Opus #6 said...

That is why it was such an all-fired rush to pass something that doesn't take effect for 4 years. Do it quick before they catch on!

Anonymous said...

This is the desired result for the administration, and it's just the beginning. Of course they lied, and repentance for those who voted for and supported it, is not in the cards. They knew what they were doing.

I believe the cost of private insurance will become prohibitive for most Americans, forcing them to go on government insurance which was the plan all along.

You can't require of private insurance companies, acceptance of pre-existing conditions, charge them with higher taxes, and a huge number of regulations and mandates and expect it to be sustainable.

It was never possible to ultimately avoid government healthcare. The whole thing was set up for private insurance to fail. It was obvious.

The bill was 2500 pages filled with mandates, taxes, fines and regulations. How could anyone believe the government wasn't all over this thing?

The government's hand is all over this. Always was. How many times do we have to say, "don't listen to what they say, watch what they do"?

Companies will be encouraged, if not pressured, to relinquish providing healthcare insurance. They will be publicly excoriated for caring more about their profits. The same old song and dance from the thugocracy.

Now watch for Obama to blame insurance companies for raising their prices, even though it is his administration which is forcing up their costs.

Alan Greenspan has already said rationing will be necessary, in order to remain cost-effective. That's in the cards too. There are already medical practices which have closed their doors.

And the reality is, the Obama administration DOES NOT CARE. They care about control, and power, and can't be bothered with the concerns of the people.

They demonstrate every day the American people don't matter to them. They're radical leftists whose only purpose is to manage every aspect of our lives. They're political agenda trumps everything.


Anonymous said...

If all human beings are created equal, why don't we owe each a modicum of respect and give each other the benefit of the doubt?

Surely someone who is suffering from cancer -- who has had a stroke or a heart attack -- who is smashed up in an automobile accident, etc. deserves our loving care and attention, whether he or she has a job, is a high achiever, or is "well-placed" in society or not?

If you've ever run across a stray kitten or a little puppy who has no home and needs someone to love and care for him, you'd know what I mean.

Business may be business, but life is sacred and should be nurtured, cherished, and protected at all costs.

It IS wrong for people to face bankruptcy and possibly lose their homes just because they've had the misfortune to become seriously ill or to meet with grave injury through no fault of their own.

That said, I don't believe "Obamacare" is going to fill that need even as well as the current system. "Obamacare" was pushed on us NOT to help those in trouble, but to accrue greater and more tyrannical centralized power.

BUT, we need to show respect, concern and affection for each other -- no matter what is going on in Washington, DC. The idea that some people are undeserving of care and others not turns the Healing Arts into just another commodity to be bought and sold strictly for the money. And if THAT is not morally repugnant, I can't imagine what else would be.

We are commended to LOVE one another. Treating people like dirt because they are in no position to pay enormous, highly inflated fees for desperately needed medical care is about as unloving and un-Christian as one could get.

~ FreeThinke

FairWitness said...

FT said: "Surely someone who is suffering from cancer -- who has had a stroke or a heart attack -- who is smashed up in an automobile accident, etc. deserves our loving care and attention, whether he or she has a job, is a high achiever, or is "well-placed" in society or not?"

We aren't arguing the need to care for the sick, we're arguing about who should pay for it. We're also arguing about whether our government or the private sector would do a better job of running our healthcare system.

A small business like ours is ALREADY accepting the responsibility for our employees' and their families' healthcare. In addition, we are already paying confiscatory taxes to our city, county, state and federal governments. YET, according to President Obama, after all these contributions to all that, WE still don't deserve to keep the paltry 3% profits we share with our employees. We all pay enough taxes right now to pay medical expenses for those unable to do so. The problem is that our government is not budgeting or spending what they take from us wisely.

Finally, there's an enormous difference between those who cannot take of themselves and those who are financially irresponsible and think it's perfectly okay to stick their medical bills on their fellow citizens. That's not right, that's theft, laziness, dishonest, irresponsible.

And for those who have assets when they get sick, but don't have health insurance ... I'm sorry, but they should have used some of those assets to pay for health coverage. They gambled by NOT buying health insurance. They should have to liquidate their assets to pay for their own care. That's the chance they took, they freely chose. Why should others' wealth be taken to preserve the wealth of folks who acted recklessly?

Anonymous said...

Hi, FW,

I've been involved in running a small business, myself, so I know exactly what you are saying, and I agree. YOU are doing everything RIGHT, and STILL "they" want to take MORE away from you. The Obama policies are destructive to productive people like you who are doing their level best to play fairly and squarely.

In our business virtually all the money that came in went to pay for supplies, salaries, rent, utilities, various kinds of insurance, workers' comp. FICA, etc. There was rarely enough left over to make it worth our while to run the business -- and we worked 12 - 14 hours a day on average. I'm sure you know what that's like.

Just dealing with the paperwork generated by the government alone eats up time and energy that never generates income. It's outrageous.

There are many people, however, who work for a living at low level jobs, but for one reason or another just cannot AFFORD to buy health insurance. Some people work two or even three jobs and can still barely afford to keep a roof over their heads let alone buy health insurance.

The draconian policies of "Obamacare" which apparently will FINE them for not having insurance, are not going to help them the least bit.

I want to emphasize that I do not support Obamacare.

Some people have worked hard all their lives, and do have health insurance, yet when a catastrophic illness strikes, all the props are knocked out from under them. Insurance rarely pays the entire cost of a major illness. Those stricken often cannot go back to work -- sometimes for months or years -- meanwhile the bills keep coming in, but income shrinks dramatically, savings disappear, mortgages go into default, etc. It's the domino effect.

This happened to my father when I was still very young. The crippling effects of his illness cast a long shadow, believe me. We coped. Mother went to work. We learned to live on 25% of the income we had enjoyed when father was a vice president in a large corporation. We managed to keep our home, but life was never the same again. For a long time the "shine" was taken off of everything. Our home became stained and threadbare, and many problems with plumbing and other forms of maintenance went untended. There was no money.

We had a large very prosperous family, but NO ONE came to our aid. It never would have occurred to us to take public assistance of any kind, and this long-term tragic situation has never made ME feel that Socialized Medicine is The Answer, but it HAS made me very sensitive to the plight of helpless people trapped in tragic, deteriorating situations.

There are so many good people living paycheck to paycheck -- one serious illness could literally put them out on the street. That's not right.

I agree with you completely about those who could well afford to pay for health insurance, and just don't bother, because they'd rather spend the money on "wine, women and song," etc. Drug addicts, crackheads, out-of-control alcoholics fall into the subhuman category as far as I'm concerned. They are beneath contempt -- and YET they are still human beings.

I only say all this, because there is a crying need for GENUINE compassion on a person-to-person level in this country. We really SHOULD do all we CAN for one another.

Turning everything over to a vast, impersonal, heartless, unfeeling, unthinking bureaucracy is not the answer, but neither is letting even the lowest among us die in the street.

I understand exactly where you are coming from, FW, and sympathize with your views. But the specter of frightened people suffering with dread disease does haunt me. I wish I knew exactly what we should do.

Good day to you!

~ FreeThinke

FairWitness said...

With respect to the uninsured; MOST do not do drugs, gamble or drink excessively. What they do is spend foolishly, live beyond their means. By that I mean, their kids don't need cell phones, they don't need cable TV, they don't need flat screen TV's, they don't need homes they can't afford, etc. We are all hooked on credit cards, 2nd mortgages... everyone thinks they're "entitled" to the American way of life, whether they can afford it or not. THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Nobody saves anymore and waits until they can afford these things. They borrow the money from banks and credit card companies issued by banks. The banks are getting rich beyond your wildest imagination and when they've spent and loaned recklessly, too. And then they are deemed "too big to fail" and are bailed out by taxpayers. It's total BS!

WE ALL NEED TO STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE! If we did that, we could afford health care. We'd have money set aside for a rainy day. We need individual responsibility.

Go stand in line at the grocery store and watch the crap people waste money on. It's disgusting. These same irresponsible over-spenders expect our government, funded by us, to pay for things they could afford if they stopped wasting their own money on crap they don't need!

This problem is EVERYONE'S responsibility, not just "the rich" in this country. Everybody wants someone else to suffer and sacrifice, they don't want to give up anything. In fact they demand more. GIMME, GIMME, GIMME! Americans need to stop sticking their hands out and start getting their own houses and behavior in order.

Z said...

Funny, FairWitness...I just saw The Blind Side last night and couldn't help thinking about the teens in the ghettos doing crack $$$ and wearing solid gold crosses and chains with diamonds in their ears and the scummiest apartments you can imagine and, of course, no health care.
Our tax dollars at work, right?


FreeThinker, I sympathize with those who are needy, too, but we have to stop the expectation that somebody else will help. We need people doing those jobs "Americans won't do" and figure out how to get health care costs as reasonably priced as they are in Europe. A CAT scan is about $400.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Z.

Goodness! If a CATSCAN is THAT reasonable in Europe, may be there IS as good side to this socialized medicine thing?

I've never thought so, but if it WORKS for THEM, maybe it COULD work for us?

I believe you, of course, but the trouble is WE ARE NOT EUROPE. We have too much "Diversity" ever to able to get together equitably and make collectivism work. The gold-chained crack-smoking thugs you mentioned, who choose to live in filth and squalor, will ALWAYS be there to DEMAND MORE than their "fair share."

Some might say these types are "Life unworthy of living." It's a tempting thought. Personally, I think all such people should be taken our of circulation and INSTITUTIONALIZED, but then some "Civil Rights Lawyer" would have kittens all over the media, and we'd meekly bow our heads in response to cries of "RACISM!" "NAZIISM!" "HEARTLESSNESS" and all the rest of it from some stinking liberal Judge, who exercises suzerainty over all of us, whether we like it or not.

If it were up to me, I'd get the government OUT of the poverty business, and let the Salvation Army take over. They couldn't possibly do any worse than The Great Society has done for these revolting losers.

When it comes to people who are MILITANTLY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, I would favor a policy of ISOLATION and BENIGN NEGLECT. They are the moral equivalent of an OIL SPILL in the Ocean of Decency.

No matter WHAT we do GOD will judge these human septic tanks. They WILL be tried and found wanting.

It's the DECENT people who do their best and STILL can't really make it whom I'd like to help -- and their name is Legion.

And yes, I DO believe in DISCRIMINATION -- the right to recognize garbage for what it is, and treat it accordingly.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

I thought this was funny. I hope you do too:

Like most folks in this country, I have a job. I work; they pay me.

I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.

In order to get that paycheck in my case I am required to pass a random urine test (with which I have no problem).

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So, here is my question: Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. On the other hand, I DO have a problem with helping someone sitting on their BUTT doing DRUGS while I WORK.

Can you imagine how much money each state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

We could call the program "URINE, OR YOU'RE OUT."


~ FT

Z said...

FT, I wish Mr Z were around to help me explain this low costs in Europe hasn't anything to do with socialized medicine, that's what the scan COSTS, that's not what people are billed, nobody's picking up the difference, can you believe that? !!

I think they just don't have the HUGE overhead hospitals have...private hospitals have these low prices, too! And there ARE private hospitals.

Now, I'll admit that most of those of us who could afford it went to the American Hospital if we had anything ....I cut myself cooking a couple of times and went to the ER for stitches.
I REALLY cut my hand while drying a wine glass the morning after a badly that I was afraid to look at my hand when I saw how red my sink was so I just grabbed a towel, wrapped it around my finger and waited for Mr. Z who'd run out for a minute! You know how I play piano so it was no joking matter, the cut turned out to be almost fully around my index finger!......I went to a special clinic which specializes in hand surgery and I think the TOTAL was $800! THE insurance...anesthesia, the EXCELLENT doctor, etc etc..after care, etc!!
She did such an excellent job at surgery that I can only see about 1/2" of scar on the palm side of my finger. $800!! That would have EASILY cost $4500 at St John's nearby in Santa Monica..EASILY.

Anonymous said...

I wish Mr. Z were around to explain it too, Z. I know it would all make sense if he did. He had so much to teach us.

Something really is out of whack here in the USA. Don't really understand what it is. I don't think insurance companies are evil. If they were not in business to make money, why would they be in business at all? But PREMIUMS, as surely you know, are out of sight for people with low level jobs and no professional skills. It's cruel, and yet, somehow, I ALWAYS managed to pay for my own health insurance -- even when I was statistically poor. I just put first things FIRST, I guess. Also, I admit I never had the pleasure -- or the burden -- of raising children which probably triples the cost of everything.

I tend to believe that if we'd never instituted Medicare, costs would not have skyrocketed as they have.

I'm getting so old I actually remember when Blue Cross and Blue Shield were BRAND NEW concepts. Imagine that!

Before insurance came into the picture, people COULD pay for hospital care and surgeries themselves. It wasn't necessarily EASY, but it was POSSIBLE. Once the idea took hold that someone ELSE was there to share the burden, doctors and hospitals realized they could demand MORE for their services -- and they did.

When MEDICARE came in the thought that "the government has deep pockets" took over, and things have gotten steadily worse ever since.

When I was a little kid, doctors probably made 20-25K a year, and hospitals charged about $35.00 a day. Nurses probably earned 5-7K or something like that. Nobody was miserable about the medical system THEN. It was a pleasant world where people knew and cared for each other much more than they do today.

Ever since big organizations -- but PARTICULARLY the government --horned in and took over, things have gone BERSERK.

The way we're living now is "unsustainable," yet NOBODY is doing anything except driving full speed toward the cliff.

Whatever is working so well in Germany (and France too, I've heard from my old friend who's lived there over forty years and loves it) maybe WE ought to imitate? But this Obamacare is bound for DISASTER.

I have NO confidence in our government, and haven't had since the first Bush frankly. Sad!

~ FT

Anonymous said...

#22. Uneven numbers look untidy ;-).