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Archive for _health care

Healthcare and the Economy

Another illustration for Centennial Review. Two excellent articles written by both an economist and a doctor.

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/oct12/

First, this illustration hit close to home. Many of you know my long and extended medical history. I was born with an agressive auto-immune disease which still sends me to the hospital 2-3 times a year. The past month has been especially trying and there is some talk for additional surgery. So when it came time to needed some artistic “inspiration” for this illustration, I had plenty.

(Not to bore you with personal details, but I have made a cute little video that talks a bit about my story on YouTube. If you want more, go here:

http://youtu.be/9nnCIWCpQ-s)

So many times, Democrats are confounded as to why I would be opposed to Obamacare, or the poorly titled “Health Care Affordability Act.” Wouldn’t it benefit somebody like me the most? I haven’t read the bill, but any law that takes over 2700 pages to write scares the heck out of me. That’s too much legislation and bureaucracy for governmental abuse, not to mention trying to keep track of everything in order to remain compliant.

Yes, the old system was broken. The biggest issue was pre-existing conditions. When you have an entire industry denying a certain group of people their product because of how they were born (as it were in my case), you have a problem. I don’t know how to resolve the issue, honestly. I understand that in the long run, I’m a liability to the company and they have to pay for my care by taking premiums from somebody else’s. Perhaps there is some good with Obamacare in addressing this issue.

Which brings me to the next point. Prices were way too inflated with the old system. Having been in the system all my life, there are a few reasons why this could be.


A) Hospitals treat and then bill and you never know what you are going to get until three months down the road, when you are still recovering and they are demanding payment from some doctor who looked at your chart in another room and sends you a $200 review bill. It’s really aggrevating when you get 15 of them from the same hospital. It’s like free money. Look at the chart, bill the patient, pay for your golf trip. It has happened to me frequently, in some hospitals more than others. I’ve tried calling to contest the bill and this practice, and the receptionist promptly sent me to collections.

You want to reduce costs? Require an upfront cost to the patient or their family and have them sign off before being allowed to proceed with any procedure or treatment (emergencies excepted, of course). Let the patient decide whether they want the doctor from the third floor looking at their chart.

Disclose upfront all of your costs for standard procedures such as bone setting, colonoscopies, xrays, etc. Let the patient then go to the hospital with the best combination of rates and service. This will drive costs down. Competition always does.

B) Cut frivolous and false malpractice lawsuits.  Anybody can file a suit for whatever contrived reason. Often they are settled out of court, even if the doctor is sure of his innocense, just because it’s cheaper than taking it to court and winning! I have an idea. Let whomever brings forth a lawsuit do so knowing that if they lose, they have to pay the doctor’s and hospital’s court and lawyer costs. This will kill the incentive for fake lawsuits. This will lower malpractice insurance dramatically, which the doctor and hospital can then pass on to the patient.


The problem with Obamacare is that neither A nor B can really be found in those 2700 pages. Simple fixes we can implement right away that will start to lower overall costs. Why aren’t they there?

American has the shortest waiting time of any industrialized nation. Those countries that have national health care have wait times that are 5 times or greater. For a country that is as large as ours, imagine how long those wait times will end up being. This could be the difference between life and death for me. I might have to outsource my healthcare overseas, like everything else the government meddles in.

Obamacare also promises rationing. Obama himself even said Granny should take the pain pill once she hits a certain age. For somebody who is a perfect candidate as an individual who should allow natural selection to finally do me in, you can see why I’m not jumping up and down for joy.

Obamacare is now the law of the land. I’m hoping that because we are Americans, that somehow things will be different. Maybe we will still have the greatest healthcare in five years from now. In which case, I hope to still be around to entertain you with my latest cartoons.

Chief Executor

Any similarities to Nancy Pelosi is purely incidental.

Nationalized Healthcare

Nationalized HealthcareAs one who used to be on Medicaid, I know a little about the bureaucratic nightmare that it is. Obama says he’ll pay for his healthcare plan by eliminating waste in Medicaid and Medicare? One, looks like he’s admitting these government programs don’t work. Two, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out when government ever was successful in eliminating waste.

My opposition to the health care bill is not because I don’t want insurance companies to treat those with pre-existing conditions, as was aluded by a friend of mine. If you know my past health history, you know this isn’t the case. In my view, to deny pre-existing conditions (and I know this will break from some of my libertarian friends) is paramount to discrimination. Some changes are necessary in our healthcare system. However, the public option should not be among them.

According to a recent Washington Times editorial, here are 8 practical alternative ways to reform healthcare. Interesting that none of these seem to be on the table.

1)Various lawsuit reforms to keep down medical malpractice premiums, whose costs are passed on to consumers.
2) Allowing health insurance to be bought and sold across state lines.
3) Allowing the tax break for health insurance to be claimed by individuals as well as by businesses.
4) Increased use of health savings accounts.
5) Creation of “health stamps” for low-income people who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for tax credits.
6) Allowing doctors who provide pro bono care to treat the value of their time spent doing so as a charitable deduction from their income taxes.
7) Allowing states to band together in regional insurance-pooling arrangements.
8) Various measures to make it easier for patients to figure out the costs of various services and doctors’ fees so they can comparison-shop.

The entire article can be read here:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/09/better-ways-to-reform-health-care/

Health Care Promises

sworn enemies 05-01-08

“You lie!” were the shocking words uttered by South Carolina’s Joe Wilson. It reminded one a little of England’s parliamentary debates (and if you have never witnessed them, they are great entertainment.) What bothers me about the whole ordeal is not that Wilson had the gumption to speak out like that, but the response from the media and the left as a result. There is not a shortage of weblogs that are calling for Wilson’s immediate removal. Many are vocally feigning horror at the seemingly sudden so-called “loss of civility.”

All I keep thinking to myself is, really? Soooo… let me get this straight, it’s okay if Democrats vociferously boo George Bush during his State of the Union, but not okay for Republicans to voice opposition to one of Obama’s proposals? It’s okay for Harry Reid to call George Bush a liar, but not for Joe Wilson to call Obama a liar? It’s okay for Obama to use his bully pulpit to call those in opposition to his health care plan liars, and to threaten them by mentioning he will go after them, but somehow Republicans must remain silent? And when Obama says “Wee-weed up,” it’s passed off as rational speech, but when Wilson says, “you lie!” suddenly there’s no decorum? Am I the only one who sees this contradiction?

It’s politics as usual in Washington, which is something I think too many people are losing sight of. Republicans didn’t start this, nor will they finish it. My point is, let’s be rational in our response, and please, can we hold the same standards for both parties?

Wee-weed up

sworn enemies 05-01-08

The whole incident was funny.  Barry left it WIDE open.

Don’t Touch Charity

sworn enemies 05-01-08In a recent teleconference, Barack Obama said that he would greatly reduce the amount of charitable tax deductions individuals and businesses who make over $250K can make on their tax returns in order to help pay for his health care plan. What a horribly conceived idea. This move will cripple many nonprofits across the nation.

Let’s examine why. Yes, the Bible does say give so that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing, but the truth of the matter is, that’s not how most individuals or corporations choose to operate. When you remove the tax incentive from them, they simply will stop giving. This is unfortunate, because, as one who worked for a nonprofit for three years knows, most charities subsist on the large corporate donations. While the small $25 widow’s mites are genuinely appreciated and coveted, they do not add up enough to cover the overwhelming costs of BOTH running a small corporation as well as doling out resources like food, medicine and education, to those who need it. Most nonprofits work on skeleton budgets as it is already, with much of the staff accepting lower pay than their for-profit counterparts might receive. A lot of the fundraising efforts are spent to find the big donors who are looking for a nice tax write off. While this motivation may not be “ideal,” there is nothing government can or should do to change that.

Barack Obama must know this (or be grossly naive), so why would he propose such an idea? I have my theories.

First, charitable writeoffs take away tax dollars from what otherwise could be used by the government agencies that perform the same services. In essence, private charity is in competition with government for the same dollar, to be used, in theory, for the same purpose. If Obama removes the incentive to give to charity, that money gets funneled into the government instead, so that the government programs end up having a competitive edge over the charities. I find it interesting that when given a choice, most donors would prefer private charities to handle the problems of homelessness, sickness, feeding the hungry, providing after school programs for troubled youth. By removing the writeoffs, government puts restrictions on that choice, meaning if one wants to give to the private charity, they have to do so in addition to giving to the government programs.

The problem with government programs is the lack of competition. We all have heard of corruption occurring within various private charities through the years. The advantage, however, is that if you find an issue with one private charity, simply pull your funds and give to another that does the same job. There are countless of watchdog agencies that do their best to investigate all the various nonprofits, so that one can be an informed giver. Corruption exists because humans exist.

Government lacks that kind of oversight. When corruption occurs, one cannot choose to stop paying taxes. Even when corruption is exposed by various media groups, change is very slow to take place.

The other possible motivation for this (and I’m not saying this is Obama’s motivation, although I’m sure it certainly belongs to a few who support this legislation) is that the greatest source of nonprofits are Christian agencies. I know that there has been a concentrated effort to extinguish Christianity by lobbyists and some in congress. What is the best way to shut down any organization? Remove their source of revenue. This proposal will do just that, forcing many Christian agencies to close their doors.

Thus, I vehemently oppose this idea.

What’s good for the Country…


According to page 114 of the current Kennedy Health Care bill that Obama is pushing and is being debated right now, it exempts Congress from having to participate in it. Huh? Why would they write a provision like that if this thing is such a good idea? Oh, maybe the same reason why they don’t contribute or participate in Social Security, and why they send their kids to private schools (while denying vouchers to innercity kids.) What’s good enough for the country is not good enough for them, apparently.

Health Care Affordability Act


Colorado just passed the “Health Care Affordability Act.” (I love it
when politicians call a bill something that is the opposite of what it
is.) This bill is tax on hospitals designed to help “fund” the
uninsured by placing that burden on the hospitals. The hospital’s
only choice is to pass that cost down to their consumer, the paying
sick, thus raising health care costs. Analysts estimate that this
will raise individual hospital bills by 5%. For a $10,000 hospital
bill, that’s an additional $500! In essence, it is government kicking
you while you are already down.

This tax…oops… I’m sorry, I keep forgetting it’s a “fee.” If it
were a “tax” it would violate TABOR, but if we call it a “fee,” then
it is okay (even though 40 other states call it a tax). This “fee” is
made even more outrageous by the fact that the legislation does not
allow the hospitals from itemizing the tax on their billing
statements! So much for transparency. Why would the Assembly make such
a provision? For one reason: so that when your hospital bill goes up,
you blame the hospitals and not the government. Being as sick as I
frequently am, this bill irritates me.

To read more on this topic you can go here

Health Scare

Health Care

GI Joe