Friday, July 24, 2009

Obamacare On Thin Ice

Great, great news:
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid acknowledged Thursday that his chamber is unable to pass health-care reform before its August recess, a move that highlighted internal Democratic divisions on the legislation and is likely to result in significant changes to the shape of the final bill.

The Aug. 7 deadline that President Obama set for House and Senate leaders to move their versions of reform served as a vital tool for congressional leaders in minimizing dissent as the $1 trillion package moved through five committees. But with their hopes of reaching that target date slipping in recent days, a torrent of complaints and concerns began to surface.

The comments by Reid (D-Nev.) confirmed the growing consensus on Capitol Hill that the White House's fast-track approach has failed, and that a more plodding and contentious process has taken hold. Not only would the Senate not meet Obama's timeline for passing a bill, but across the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was struggling to quell an uprising by conservative Democrats that had brought House action to a near halt.
That's appears this vote has been pushed off until at least September. That means Congress has suddenly become aware of the fact that most Americans don't want Obamacare. It's not that it's a dead issue, though; they'll just have to go back to the drawing board on how they can somehow sucker a takeover plan into law. Feel free to continue offering your opinion to your Senators and Rep - you're the reason this thing has stalled, and you're the reason it will eventually be killed. Well done!!!

But, since it's not a dead issue, we're going to continue hammering away at it. Here's another fact check from Obama's press conference earlier in the week, if you're interested. In another should-be-criminal act on the part of desperate Democrat leaders in Congress, GOP mailers were actually prevented from being sent out this week! That's right...the Dems are so desperate to prevent the other side from reaching the public that they resort to preventing communication between Reps and their constituents! It's shameful and inexcusable.

Of course, the rank-and-file Dems in Congress aren't exactly a whole lot to write home about, either. For example:

Show of hands for everyone who 'loves to wait in line' for health care...?


Yeah, me too. Now, I realize that she was trying to illustrate the point that it's better to wait in line than to be blocked from any care at all...but the reality is that her own argument blows away her position! Until she provides specific examples of people being 'yanked out of line' because they don't have insurance, I say she's full of crap. It's illegal for hospitals to withhold care because someone has no insurance. It doesn't happen. Why do you think hospitals on the southern border are closing because they fall into bankruptcy? It's because they're treating so many illegal immigrants who never pay, and don't have insurance to pay for them. However, if she wants to see people blocked from getting health care, she should look at literally every socialized medicine system around the world where health care rationing actually takes place on a daily basis.

What an idiot.

Okay, so let's be real. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've seen a ton of information blasting Obamacare over the past week. It's one thing to complain about someone else's plan, but it's another to present a better alternative. Well, here you go, courtesy of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:
Leaders of both parties can then come together behind health-care reform that stresses these seven principles:

•Consumer choice guided by transparency. We need a system where individuals choose an integrated plan that adopts the best disease-management practices, as opposed to fragmented care. Pricing and outcomes data for all tests, treatments and procedures should be posted on the Internet. Portable electronic health-care records can reduce paperwork, duplication and errors, while also empowering consumers to seek the provider that best meets their needs.

•Aligned consumer interests. Consumers should be financially invested in better health decisions through health-savings accounts, lower premiums and reduced cost sharing. If they seek care in cost-effective settings, comply with medical regimens, preventative care, and lifestyles that reduce the likelihood of chronic disease, they should share in the savings.

•Medical lawsuit reform. The practice of defensive medicine costs an estimated $100 billion-plus each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which used a study by economists Daniel P. Kessler and Mark B. McClellan. No health reform is serious about reducing costs unless it reduces the costs of frivolous lawsuits.

•Insurance reform. Congress should establish simple guidelines to make policies more portable, with more coverage for pre-existing conditions. Reinsurance, high-risk pools, and other mechanisms can reduce the dangers of adverse risk selection and the incentive to avoid covering the sick. Individuals should also be able to keep insurance as they change jobs or states.

•Pooling for small businesses, the self-employed, and others. All consumers should have equal opportunity to buy the lowest-cost, highest-quality insurance available. Individuals should benefit from the economies of scale currently available to those working for large employers. They should be free to purchase their health coverage without tax penalty through their employer, church, union, etc.

•Pay for performance, not activity. Roughly 75% of health-care spending is for the care of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes—and there is little coordination of this care. We can save money and improve outcomes by using integrated networks of care with rigorous, transparent outcome measures emphasizing prevention and disease management.

•Refundable tax credits. Low-income working Americans without health insurance should get help in buying private coverage through a refundable tax credit. This is preferable to building a separate, government-run health-care plan.
I heard an interview on the radio with Steve Forbes the other day, and he used some very interesting examples that I think are worth passing along. Forbes said that there are only two health care segments that have not seen major increases in cost over the past few years: plastic surgery and lasik eye surgery. Plastic surgery has grown by six times over the past 15 years, and lasik costs just 1/3 of what it did 10 years ago. Why? The answer is simple:
both are elective procedures and therefore paid directly by the consumer. There is incentive for the provider to do those things with the highest quality and lowest cost possible to attract more customers.

Translation: less government, more free market competition.

It's how America was built, and it's how America succeeds.

There's my two cents.

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