Do you like Sweet and Sour Shrimp?

December 22, 2009

According to the last Rasmussen poll, 55% of Americans oppose the healthcare bill that is being considered in the Senate and 41% support it. Yet, the Democrats are chugging along ignoring the will of the American people.

The current healthcare bill in the Senate is giving most Americans a “sour” taste in their mouths. But for a few number of Americans this healthcare bill is satisfying their sweet-tooth craving at the expense of the majority of Americans. The “sour” taste is coming from the increase taxes, lower healthcare quality, pay now get later scheme, long-term price tag, and the payoffs/bribes to get the votes of certain Democratic Senators.

Who are those few Americans who got a “sweet” deal out of this?

  • Sen. Ben Nelson – D and Nebraska, population 1.78 million, will get $100 million plus an exemption from paying for Medicaid cost forever and ever, amen.
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu – D and Louisiana, population 4.41 million, will get $300 million to offset the Medicaid cost
  • Massachusetts, population 6.5million, $1.5 billion in Medicaid money
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders – D and Vermont, population 0.62 million, will get $10 to $14 billion
  • Sen. Chris Dodd – D and Connecticut, population 3.5 million, will get $100 million
  • Big Pharma got a deal from Obama      
    • White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada — and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

 Holy cow! The second least populated state will get BILLIONS!!! That’s $16,129 to $22, 580 per Vermont resident. I am sure the millions of Americans who are unemployed would love to get that kind of money invested in creating jobs instead of paying off politicians for their votes. 

All in all 24 million Americans in those states mentioned above will get the “sweet” taste in their mouths while the remaining 280 million will get the “sour” part. 

What are the parts of this healthcare bill that gives the 280 million Americans a “sour” taste in their mouths?

  • Insurance mandates that will raise premiums by 30% (no wonder the insurance stocks skyrocketed)
  • Employers will have to pay 3x more to insure their employer (just like in California)
  • One levy would take $15 billion from sick patients with high out-of-pocket medical expenses, including elderly and low-income patients. (I wonder if that is where the $10-14 billion that Vermont will get come from??)
  • health savings account or flexible spending arrangement, there are taxes specific to those health plans, plus a third tax that would apply to all “consumer-directed” plans. (Kiss you HAS goodbye!)
  • Another levy would tax medical devices, and another would tax prescription drugs; those two taxes would increase health insurance premiums by about 1 percent, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • $149 billion tax on those with high health insurance premiums; yet many face high premiums simply because they have expensive medical needs, making this yet another tax on the sick.
  • $43 billion in cuts to nursing care and therapy for homebound Medicare beneficiaries
  • health care coverage will be limited to what the government bureaucrats decide
  • for low-income women will no longer screen women below age 50.
  • government’s budgetary concerns, not patient’s health, is the determining factor for quality and access to health care
  • overcharge young individuals’ rates to cost-subsidize older individuals’ rates and if you don’t pay it, there’d be a fine of about now is 2.5 percent of your income
  • trillions of dollars in hidden tax increases (Yup. HIDDEN TAXES that will hit you like a freight train from behind.) 

SO, after all Obama’s promises of hope and change, transparency in government, fiscal responsibility, and political remaking of how government operates, after one year of Obama, it is business as usual. Just like how they have been doing it. This time in grander scale of  screwing hard working Americans. 

The Most Transparent Administration Ever. 

The Most Ethical Congress Ever.

What a joke!!!

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If you only know… it will scare you, too!

December 18, 2009

If you just know…it will scare you!

Some details of the Health care bill:

  • The Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost.
  • An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill — composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members — will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program.
  • Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients’ access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production.
  • It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns.
  • And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.
  • Section 6301 of the Reid bill creates new comparative effectiveness research (CER) programs.
  • CER panels have been used as rationing commissions in other countries such as the United Kingdom, where 15,000 cancer patients die prematurely every year according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network.
  • CER panels here could effectively dictate coverage options and ration care for plans that participate in the state insurance exchanges created by the bill.
  • The Reid bill depends on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in no fewer than 14 places.
  • This task force was responsible for advising women under 50 to not undergo annual mammograms.
  • The administration claims the task force recommendations do not carry the force of law, but the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713.
  • The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans “shall provide coverage for” services approved by the task force.
  • This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients.
  • When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care.

Source: Dr. Tom Coburn, “The Health Bill Is Scary; Government guidelines would likely have forbidden the test I used to discover Sheila’s cancer,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514404574588842779569168.html

The mandates in the Health care bill:

Insurance coverage mandates refer to the restrictions each state sets on which type of policy can be sold legally within that market.  For example, fourteen states now require all insurance plans sold to cover infertility treatments, regardless of the patient’s need or desire for these services.  Other states ban the sale of insurance plans unless they include coverage for massage therapy, obesity surgery, pastoral care, and wigs.

Needle-phobic consumers cannot buy plans without acupuncture coverage, and teetotalers must pay for plans that include inpatient drug rehabilitation, says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

What effect do mandates have on the cost of health insurance?

  • According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, just 12 of the most common insurance mandates currently in place raise premium rates by as much as 30 percent.
  • The State of California forces over 50 such mandates on the employer-provided (group) insurance market, but not on individual plans; consequently, it costs three times more for California employers to offer insurance than if a plan is privately purchased.

In mandate-heavy states, consumers are denied the option of buying low-cost, basic health insurance plans to cover major illness or injury.  They cannot choose to save money by paying out of pocket for ten-dollar pneumococcus pneumonia vaccines and ninety-dollar mammograms, thereby reserving health insurance for significant expenses, explains Halderman.

In those states, insurance is not insurance at all — it is expensive, prepaid health care.  In other words, when Hummers and Ferraris are the only vehicles sold, people on Toyota budgets can’t afford transportation, says Halderman.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

The possibility of losing your health savings account:

For an individual government mandate to compel the purchase of health insurance, another government requirement for something called “guaranteed issue” must first be enacted.  “Guaranteed issue” forces every insurance company to sell health insurance to every applicant regardless of age, health history, lifestyle or risk factors. 

In theory, this appears sound.  If health insurance companies can’t “just say no” to high-risk applicants, no one will be left without access to coverage.  Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences trumps this logic.  Under guaranteed issue mandates, “access to coverage” becomes “access to higher premiums,” says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

For example:

  • In New Jersey and Massachusetts, unlike in California, laws were passed to force every insurance carrier to sell plans to every individual applicant; individual insurance premiums in New Jersey and Massachusetts are three times higher than those in California.
  • Washington State tried guaranteed issue, but with no way to mitigate risk, insurance carriers in the state suffered severe financial losses related to high-risk patients; they then exited the individual market; no individual health insurance plans were accessible to Washington residents at any price.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton was not a New Yorker in 1993, the year New York State forced guaranteed issue on the health insurance market; as a result, rates for a third of all those insured increased by 20 percent to 59 percent, causing 500,000 New Yorkers to cancel their health insurance plans.

The Heritage Foundation published a 1998 study evaluating the 16 states in which the most aggressive health insurance mandates and regulations were passed between 1990 and 1994.  The goal of these individual, employer and insurance industry mandates-including individual mandates, guaranteed issue and price fixing of premiums-was to increase access to coverage and decrease the uninsured population in a given state.  The effects were than compared with the 34 states that had not enacted such regulations:

  • The two groups of states shared nearly equivalent rates of uninsured residents before the reforms.
  • But by 1996, the sixteen states with the most aggressive reforms (including New Jersey, New York and Washington) experienced a growth rate in their uninsured population eight times higher than the 34 states without such mandates.
  • Additionally, the percentage of the population covered by private or individual insurance declined.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16


This is tax, tax, and tax bill and not healthcare reform.

December 13, 2009

The CATO Institute has analyzed the Senate’s health bill. And the institute’s conclusion, TAX, TAX, and more TAX but no reform.

SENATE HEALTH REFORM PLAN PRESCRIBES HEAVY TAX DOSE

Amid double-digit unemployment, a record $1.6 trillion federal deficit and a national debt projected to double in 10 years, the Senate voted to bring to the floor a health care overhaul that will kill jobs through its myriad tax increases, says Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.

For starters, consider the $500 billion in explicit tax increases:

  • One levy would take $15 billion from sick patients with high out-of-pocket medical expenses, including elderly and low-income patients.
  • If you have a health savings account or flexible spending arrangement, there are taxes specific to those health plans, plus a third tax that would apply to all “consumer-directed” plans.
  • Another levy would tax medical devices, and another would tax prescription drugs; those two taxes would increase health insurance premiums by about 1 percent, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Also:

  • There’s another $60 billion tax that would drive health premiums higher still; if your premiums climb high enough, you’ll become subject to a $149 billion tax on those with high health insurance premiums; yet many face high premiums simply because they have expensive medical needs, making this yet another tax on the sick.
  • The legislation would increase the Medicare tax on wages above $200,000, yet divert the revenue toward new entitlement spending.
  • And lest any corner of the health care sector go untaxed, the bill would even impose a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgeries.

Yet those are just the explicit tax increases, says Cannon.  There are trillions of dollars in hidden tax increases, too.

The Senate health care bill would impose massive tax increases on Day One and keep increasing your taxes well into the future.  Let’s hope the ensuing Senate debate exposes why job-killing tax increases are the wrong prescription for health care reform, says Cannon.

Source: Michael F. Cannon, “Senate health reform plan prescribes heavy tax dose,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2, 2009.

For text:

http://www.omaha.com/article/20091202/NEWS0802/712029999


Healthcare Update 10

December 9, 2009

If Democrats Win, Seniors Lose! As reported in the New York Times, included in the Democrats’ $460 billion of Medicare cuts is $43 billion in cuts to nursing care and therapy for homebound Medicare beneficiaries. This is critical help which is needed for the health and welfare of our parents and grandparents – to be taken away by the government!

California Model, Rationing of Care! One of the principle problems with government-run health care is that the government is the customer, not you. As a result, health care coverage will be limited to what the government bureaucrats decide, not what you as the patient needs.

This Los Angeles Times article reveals just how quickly health care bureaucrats can sacrifice patient care. In cash-strapped California, public health officials announced this week that the state’s government-provided mammogram program, “Every Woman Counts” for low-income women will no longer screen women below age 50. This is what we will be facing in health care, the government will tell us what is allowed.

Officials from the California Department of Public Health claim that the incidence of breast cancer is relatively low in women less than 50. This may be true, but what if you are in that “relatively low” number? We are talking about your life! In California, the government’s budgetary concerns, not patient’s health, is the determining factor for quality and access to health care. Under ObamaCare government-run health care, budgetary priorities rather than a patient’s health determine whether you get the health care you need.

Call Your Senator, Toll-Free! Communicate your displeasure with what they are doing? In less than five minutes, you can be on the phone with your Senator’s office, communicating your opposition to government-run health care.

Just follow this Action Army link, enter your information on the right-hand part of the screen and click TAKE ACTION!

You will see a TOLL-FREE NUMBER to reach YOUR elected representatives and a PASSWORD.

Dial the number on a touch-tone phone, enter the password and you’ll be connected as quickly as you can say Free Our Health Care NOW!

Your Senators Work for You! Believe it or not, Senators get job performance reviews: they’re called elections. For this one-third of the Senators and for every member of the House of Representatives, Election Day is less than eleven short months away.

You have an important part to play in the health care debate: letting your voice be heard. Through the Free Our Health Care Now! Action Army website, communicating with your Senators is easy and convenient. Whether through an email or a phone call, please use this website as a way of letting your elected representatives know that you oppose government-run health care and plan on expressing your dissatisfaction at the polls in the upcoming election.

Senator McCain to AARP Members: It’s Time to Cut the Card. Fighting against Medicare cuts, Senator John McCain recently proposed an amendment which would protect senior citizen benefits from the drastic cuts proposed by Congressional Democrats. McCain implored his fellow senators to “preserve the solemn obligations we have made to our seniors.” However, to McCain’s surprise, the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) opposed the McCain Amendment and, remaining true to its strange bedfellows, supported drastic cuts for seniors.

In a scathing assault on AARP’s infidelity, Senator McCain pointed to numerous AARP statements from the past renouncing Medicare cuts, including one as recently as just a few years ago. Clearly disappointed, McCain concluded by saying, “Take your AARP card, cut it in half and send it back. They’ve betrayed you.” Click here to see video of the speech.

The NCPA maintains a wealth of educational and resource material including better alternatives to government-run health care:

John Goodman’s Health Care Plan:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/health_plan112007.pdf

Health Care Solutions:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Health_Care_Solutions_072909.pdf

Five Steps to a Better Health Care System:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Five_Steps_to_a_Better_Health_Care_System_Web.pdf

Dr. John Goodman’s Blog – Current, up-to date information on the debate:
www.john-goodman-blog.com

Heartland Institute’s Health Care Solutions:
http://www.chcchoices.org


Healthcare Update 9 – Affect on student coverage

December 1, 2009

HOW WILL HEALTH CARE REFORM AFFECT STUDENT COVERAGE?

If the health care overhaul passes, it might affect college students’ access to parental plans, employment and individual rates or an uninsured tax if colleges choose to mandate insurance coverage, says the Commonwealth Times.

According to Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Proposals for the bill would attempt to overcharge young individuals’ rates to cost-subsidize older individuals’ rates.
  • In the individual market, where many students get coverage, rates for people with pre-existing conditions, who tend to be older, would get lower premiums.
  • Under the existing proposals, underrides for pre-existing conditions would not be permitted while limited adjustments for age would be allowed.

“A young person — maybe 20 or 22 — would be charged half of what someone 60 years old would be charged,” Herrick said.  “Of course if you don’t pay it, there’d be a fine … What (some Congress members) are talking about now is 2.5 percent of your income.”

Some members of Congress want to have tight banding for age, no underriding for (pre-existing conditions) and have some type of individual mandate where you would be required to have coverage, says Herrick.

How the individual mandate might affect students is uncertain.  The policy could be implemented through an employer mandate, says Herrick.

“Obviously (if) you’re a full-time student it may not affect you,” says Herrick.  “But it might make it harder to get that part-time job if an employer sees the chance that they might have to pay thousands of dollars more in health coverage or a fine for someone working part time.”

Source: Erica Terrini and Jillian Quattlebaum, “Health care reform affects student coverage, provides options,” Commonwealth Times, November 20, 2009.

For text:

http://media.www.commonwealthtimes.com/media/storage/paper634/news/2009/11/19/News/Health.Care.Reform.Affects.Student.Coverage.Provides.Options-3837559.shtml

For more on Health Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16