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Volume 15, Number 14
August 22, 2009

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Land titles; and The insurance companies and their fake patriots
Sirias, The death of Alexis Arguello
Beluche, Elections and the Panamanian left
Bernal, Why implementation of the adversary system is urgent
Sarria, Small arms in Latin America
Fletcher, Three Barack Obamas to understand
Thurston, US health care changes
Carson, The manipulated US press
International Trade Union Confederation, Anti-labor repression in Honduras
Birns & Johnson, Where is Obama really at on Honduras?
Grandin, Fact checking Lanny Davis on Honduras
Weisbrot, Endangered myths about the US economic model
Reporters Without Borders, Proposed anti-press law in Peru
Committee to Protect Journalists, Nicaragua's government and the press
Griggs, Haiti and global family planning
Human Rights Watch, Israel's Gaza offensive
Human Rights Watch, Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel
Jackson, For a humanitarian truce in a lost war
Letters to the editor

National health care program
by Edward Thurston

The hottest national debate topic has quickly switched from the economy to the governments proposed national health care plan. It is amazing to me how quickly this new administration and congress are moving towards nationalizing just about every aspect of American life. From making the government a major stockholder in the biggest financial and automotive firms and bailing out Wall Street to attempting to control the sovereign tax codes of most foreign states to avoid tax competition --- this government now moves quickly to put their controls and stranglehold on the country's health care system.

The main debates seem to be what blend or form of controls the government should have in health care. Should the government go socialistic like they are doing in most other aspects of their governance policies and everyone just work for "the Government"? Should it be THE single pay source between the patients and the service system? Should it be there just as a safety net for the poor and indigent who cannot afford treatment or insurance? What role should insurance companies play in the system? Do we need them at all?

I have long believed that a prime reason for the higher costs in the USA than most anywhere else for health care are the tort laws and costs of frivolous lawsuits. Obviously there needs to be accountability of doctors and other professionals in the system to responsibly perform their duties and distribute the right drugs to the right people as needed. And yes, hideous, irresponsible dereliction of treatment should not go unpunished. Yet, every time something bad happens to someone's health, does that mean that some doctor or practitioner was responsible and should make that patient an instant millionaire? I don't think so. As a society we need to wake up and realize that any huge payout on lawsuits one way or another come directly out of the consumer's pocket...not the systems. The system just factors in those huge legal payouts.

But back to the core question --- what should the government's role be in this mind boggling challenge to our country? My core response is that centralized or socialized medicine DOESN'T seem to work that well in most places that have it. Government can never run something better or more productive than a private system can. The current effort from what I see is to socialize the costs of our populace's bad habits to the whole of society while having the government once again siphon off huge percentages for administrating huge sums of the national GNP that goes to health care. The current bill as I have read a few snippets of and more the commentary on it --- is far too pervasive and invasive of the industry. It obviously is a very divisive issue and creating the most heat when the populace feels the government is trying to control their every decision including the who, how and when of their health care decisions.

The other core philosophical difference I have with socialized medicine is that it does not encourage competition or reward free market motivations for developing new cures or giving the best treatment. If all doctors or practitioners are paid the same no matter how they perform, where is their motivation to differentiate themselves? Is it supposed to be just about serving the "common good"? I have seen enough of the insides of government bureaucracies to know how it can completely stifle innovation and actually drives costs UP rather than down when it comes to service and ingenuity. Are we really ready to stake our future health on a government run, imposed national health plan?

The role I think government SHOULD take in the national health care challenge is to provide gap coverage for those that truly qualify for care they can't pay for. I think federal government should gulp down a smaller piece of the industry than they are currently trying to take on. They really need to shore up the Medicare system they already have in place. Do we really need to rebuild from scratch, or can we just retool what we already have in place and make it more effective and better funded? I gotta believe that should be looked at instead of trying to nationalize the whole medical system. That dog just won't hunt.

The scariest thing to me is how quickly they have written a huge document that spells out many detailed plans of further rationing and regulating an already regulation heavy industry. Health care cannot be distributed or run like a "post office." Delivering personalized health care is a much bigger challenge than delivering the mail...and it is much more important in life. It is a matter of life and death.

I received this email with line by line "scare items" of what the current bill being entertained includes. I have not taken the time to cross check the items with the whole bill --- so, do not take this as gospel. But it would not surprise me that these things are all there clearly stated or with intent --- and of course if I discover otherwise, I will correct the content here. I include this more for conversation and getting some of you to help me examine and verify these points of contention.

A Peek Inside the ObamaCare Bill

Editor's note: these are Republican talking points

  • Pg 22 of the HC Bill mandates the Government will audit books of all employers that self insure.

  • Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill --- a Government committee (good luck with that!) will decide what treatments/benefits a person may receive.

  • Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill --- YOUR HEALTHCARE WILL BE RATIONED!

  • Pg 42 of HC Bill --- The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you.

  • Pg 50 Section 152 in HC bill --- HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

  • Pg 58 HC Bill --- Government will have real-time access to individual's finances and a National ID Healthcard will be issued!

  • Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Government will have direct access to your bank accounts for election funds transfer.

  • Pg 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community organizations (read: ACORN).

  • Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Government will create an HC Exchange to bring private HC plans under Government control.

  • Pg 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill --- Government mandates linguistic appropriate services. Example --- Translation for illegal aliens.

  • Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Government will use groups, i.e. ACORN & Americorps, to sign up individuals for Government HC plan.

  • Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill --- Specifics of Benefit Levels for Plans. AARP members --- your Health care WILL be rationed.

  • Pg 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill --- Medicaid Eligible Individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.

  • Pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue Government on price fixing. No "judicial review" against Government Monopoly.

  • Pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill --- Doctors/ AMA --- The Government will tell YOU what you can earn.

  • Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public option plan. NO CHOICE.

  • Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay for HC for part time employees AND their families.

  • Pg 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay.)

  • Pg 195 HC Bill -officers & employees of HC Admin (the GOVERNMENT) will have access to ALL Americans' finances and personal records.

  • Pg 203 Line 14-15 HC --- "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax" Yes, it says that.

  • Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Government will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected.

  • Pg 241=2 0Line 6-8 HC Bill --- Doctors --- doesn't matter what specialty --- will all be paid the same.

  • Pg 253 Line 10-18 Government sets value of Doctor's time, professional judgment, etc. Literally, value of humans.

  • Pg 265 Sec 1131 Government mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries.

  • Pg 317 L 13-20 OMG!! PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Government tells Doctors what/how much they can own.

  • Pg 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion --- Government will mandate hospitals cannot expand.

  • Pg 354 Sec 1177 --- Government will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people!

  • Pg 425 Lines 4-12 Government mandates Advance Care Planning Consultations.

  • Think Senior Citizens end of life prodding.

  • Pg 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Government provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in how to die.

  • Pg 427 Lines 15-24 Government mandates program for orders for end of life.

  • The Government has a say in how your life ends.

  • Pg 429 Lines 10-12 "advanced care consultation" may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from the Government to end a life!

  • Page 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION. 1 monthly payment to a community-based organization. (Like ACORN?)

I have a feeling that when Congress comes back from their summer recess after hearing and experiencing the obvious rage from many of their constituents, we will see quite a "watering down" of the plan. At least I hope so --- and that they will focus on covering the people in the gap while letting private industry get on with developing medical miracles. A socialized system will not improve on that effort.


Editor's note: It's a "moving target" with constant changes in the give and take of the legislative process, but this is the actual draft of HR 3200, the proposal characterized in the Republican talking points above.



Also in this section:
Editorials: Land titles; and The insurance companies and their fake patriots
Sirias, The death of Alexis Arguello
Beluche, Elections and the Panamanian left
Bernal, Why implementation of the adversary system is urgent
Sarria, Small arms in Latin America
Fletcher, Three Barack Obamas to understand
Thurston, US health care changes
Carson, The manipulated US press
International Trade Union Confederation, Anti-labor repression in Honduras
Birns & Johnson, Where is Obama really at on Honduras?
Grandin, Fact checking Lanny Davis on Honduras
Weisbrot, Endangered myths about the US economic model
Reporters Without Borders, Proposed anti-press law in Peru
Committee to Protect Journalists, Nicaragua's government and the press
Griggs, Haiti and global family planning
Human Rights Watch, Israel's Gaza offensive
Human Rights Watch, Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel
Jackson, For a humanitarian truce in a lost war
Letters to the editor

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