“It’s also time we had a President who stopped talking about the outrage of 47 million uninsured Americans and started doing something about it… And when I’m President, we’ll finally pass a universal health care plan that will make sure every single American can get the same kind of health care that members of Congress get for themselves… And we won’t pass it twenty years from now, not ten years from now – we’ll pass health care by the end of my first term in office. ” Barack Obama
There are not 47 million truly uninsured Americans (15-20% of the population). The actual number is more like 4-5 % of Americans(ABC 20/20) or less than 15 million people . However, here’s a localized example of why the numbers differ. In Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter put in place Comission 208, which was designed to find out how many Coloradans were actually uninsured. Overall, it was found that 17% of Coloradans were uninsured. Of those, 6% were eligible for government aid, but simply hadn’t applied. An additional 5% were the “invincible young” (aged 20-40) who could afford insurance but didn’t want to “waste” their money. Of the remaing 6%, up to 2% were simply uninsured for a month, between jobs. Say you leave your job in August, and your employer covers you through the end of August. Your new employer won’t cover you until October. To fill this gap, there is a program called COBRA which lets you pay your own premium for the missing month. Some people choose to go uninsured for the gap month, and are counted as uninsured for the whole year when numbers are collected. That leaves about 4% of the people truly uninsured. The numbers can be extrapolated for the entire US (since the numbers agree with those by ABC, anyway).
Scary. Scary scary scary. Obama’s health care plan is a universal health care plan, and as you might have guessed, I’m opposed to those in general.
The Idiocy of Socialized Medicine (in general, quick facts)
- It would lower the lifespan of the average American. (ABC 20/20)
- It places undue financial strain on our already strained budget.
- It would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by forcing the rich to pay for the medicine of the poor, essentially giving the poor a right the rich don’t have, that of free medication.
- It would force extreme care rationing, waiting lists for urgent care, and probably a near cut off of all medication after the age of 60.
- It would have a positive affect on a much smaller portion of the population than the current system does.
- Taking the money out of an industry, in the case the medical industry, also takes away the best minds (brain drain).
- Socialized medicine has been shown to be defective in every country that has implemented it.
- It incurs long waits.
Brain and Spine Clinic in Buffalo serves about 10 border-crossing Canadians a week.
The number of Canadians on waiting lists for referrals to specialists or for medical services — 875,000.
Average wait from time of referral to treatment by a specialist in Canada — 17.8 weeks
Longest average waiting times in Canada — orthopedic surgery, 40.3 weeks
Average wait to get an MRI — 10.3 weeks nationally in Canada but 28 weeks in Newfoundland.
The average US citizen, one you subtract murder rates and car crashes, lives longer than the average Canadian. (Abc 20/20, crash rates from 04/05 DSA annual road death percentages, FARS, CIA World Fact Book and murder rates come from correctional service of Canada, CIA World Fact Book)
The average cancer survival rate is HIGHEST IN THE US. (http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20080716/cancer-survival-rates-vary-by-country)
To be objective, this is a non-party summary of the Obama plan. Notice the bold print and stars.
• Cuts reimbursement for Medicare Advantage health plans.
• Allows the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate drug prices, instead of health plans doing so.
• Creates new options for the uninsured under a voluntary purchasing pool. Choices would include a national plan, similar to the one available to federal employees, as well as portable private plans that would accept anyone, at the same rate, regardless of their health.
• Provides refundable health insurance tax credit to small employers* for up to 50% of their premium contribution towards a “quality health plan”.
• Seeks to cover all children by creating an individual coverage requirement for them.
• Requires employers to “pay or play” – meaning businesses must contribute to employee health coverage or pay a percentage of payroll to the national plan.
• Protects employers from catastrophic claims by paying a portion of those costs through a reinsurance program if the savings are passed on to their employees.
• Provides premium assistance to low-income individuals.
• Extends coverage to dependent adult children through age 25.
• Prohibits use of pre-existing conditions restrictions**.
• Requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on medical care (i.e. requires minimum medical loss ratios).
• Imposes premium rate renewal restrictions.
• Gives states flexibility to experiment with additional reforms if national plan standards are met.
• Creates provider pay-for-performance incentives based only on quality standards.
• Expands programs, however includes no details***.
• Invests $10B annually for the next five years for broad adoption of electronic medical records and information systems.
Requires disclosure of:
• Provider price, performance data and medical errors;
• Provider and health plan performance data on disparities for minorities; and
• Health plan medical loss ratios.
• Requires preventive care under federal programs.
• Establishes community-based prevention programs.
• Rewards employers for worksite health promotion programs.
• Promotes chronic care management programs and “medical Home”-type models.
Projected annual cost: $56-71 billion
• Discontinues tax cuts for incomes over $250,000.
• Savings from increased generic drug use under federal programs****
• Savings from reduction in disproportionate share hospital payments
• Allows the import of prescription drugs from developed countries (i.e. “re-importation”).
• Increases the use of generic drugs under federal programs.
• Creates an independent institute to research treatment effectiveness.
• Requires plans to cover mental health care at the same level as other services.
• Reforms medical malpractice to address medical errors.
• Strengthens anti-trust laws.
• Expands autism research.
This summary is based on a Humana analysis of Presidential candidates’ healthcare proposals.
*Large employers, who will have to insure more people and therefore pay the most, get no tax credit.
**This a fatal flaw. This means that a person who has cancer and didn’t get and pay premiums to make sure that they would have coverage for their cancer, can apply and be accepted. This would mean that people can wait until something actually goes wrong to get insurance, bankrupting the industry.
***As no details are included on the expanded programs, they have not been factored into the cost. The cost per year could even double, when these non specified programs are added.
****This part is key. The system tries to save money by using generic brands, but where do generic brands come from? Well, most of them come from the US. The reason that countries using Universal health care aren’t even more broke than they are, is that the US subsidizes them. For example, say a company needs to charge 10 dollars per pill to break even and sell 100 pills. However, only some of those pills can be sold in the US, and Germany refuses to buy any pills unless they are only 5 dollars each. The company therefore sells the pills for 15 dollars each in the US, and 5 dollars each in Germany. The company manages to break even, but US citizens pick up the development cost. And what is that development cost? According to the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development, as of 2003, the average cost of developing a new prescription drug is 897M-1B dollars. Beyond that, only 21.5 per cent of drugs that starts the first three stages of human trials receive FDA approval. This means that every time a company sets out to develop a drug, they risk losing a billion dollars. As 4 out of 5 times that a company pays for all of the development it won’t get an approved drug to sell, these deficits from failed drugs are also added to the consumer’s cost of buying a drug. If the US tries to switch exclusively to generic brands, there will not be any more drug development, as there will be no more money int it. This is demonstrated by England, who develops hardly anything and is about 5 years behind the US in what its consumers can buy.
The Obama care plan is nearly as bad as the average care plan in Europe. The four flaws that I have highlighted ruin the entire system. The cost mentioned is high by itself, but likely to be even higher due to the other unamed progam expansions. The plan completey wipes out motivations for developing new drugs.
If Obama were to propose a bill that would kill you, you’d probablyreject it. If Obama were to propose a bill that would force you all to pay for my shiny new Porsche, you’d probably reject it. Socialized Medicine is a combination of both of those principles, and Obama wants to make it a law. This has to be stopped now. Socialized Medicine would shorten our lives, force us to pay for the wants of others, make life saving clinics illegal, and turn our system into the kind that has failed in Europe. Please, please, tell me the point of changing a system that 87% of the people are happy with and that gets 96% of the people the treatment they need, in favor of one that would harm us all.