November 15, 2012
This Is Your Life under ObamacareBy James Arlandson
Thanks, Obama voters. You just imposed on the rest of us degraded medical care and rising costs. This is no longer hypothetical or abstract. It's real. It's the law.
Here are some of the bad repercussions of your vote:
1. Decline in pay for doctors
Medicare pays doctors only a small fraction of the work they put in. So if she does $100.00 worth of work, Medicare sends him $20.00 or $25.00. Is it any wonder that doctors pad the bill? One of my students who works in a doctor's office said in class she's in charge of billing, and it's "totally true" that Medicare pays doctors only a fraction of what they did.
Another one of my students told us that the doctor she used to work for (she still keeps track of her friends who work in the office) was getting arrested for fraud. He said, "How am I supposed to pay my employees on such little money? How am I supposed to live?"
Have you sat in a doctor's office recently? Doctors take in patients per hour at an alarming rate, just to pay their own bills. I can hear their muffled voices in the mini-offices nearby. I don't imagine he spends more than five minutes -- and that's long -- with each patient.
Doctors run through patients like cattle at branding time.
If you don't believe this will happen under Obamacare, you're naïve. Costs will be rationed (see no. 3, below), and that rationing will include a doctor's lowered reimbursement for services rendered.
2. Government health care is inferior
What would happen to the NBA if you were to pass a law that pays every player $100K, no matter how good or bad he is? Answer: the best players would go overseas and play for more money. The mediocre players would become the starting five. The back benchers would be rotated in as if they're the sixth or seventh man. Maybe the "top mediocre" players (if there is such a thing) would take money under the table. Why would they play hard when they get the same as the worst players?
The quality of the NBA would decline. The TV contracts would expire and not be renewed. The fan base would shrink to WNBA levels and so would the caliber of play. Remember the NFL replacement refs recently? The NFL went downhill, and the fans booed.
Why the inevitable decline? What's going wrong?
The left misreads -- they always misread -- human nature. The law of human nature and economics says that if you don't pay people well, the best and the brightest won't go into the profession.
Why would future doctors sign up for four years of Medical school hell and come out saddled with huge student loans when Obamacare shall pay them so little, just because some leftist bureaucrats say doctors make too much anyway. "It's not fair!"
As a result, we will get doctors who just graduated from Hollywood Upstairs Medical School. They will be little better than an RN -- if you're lucky.
Consider Canada and Great Britain. Our friends up north and over the pond don't have the highest medical care under their health services, to put things mildly.
How long do Canadians wait for the specialist? About 9.5 weeks.
According to a new study by Canada's Fraser Institute, surgical waitlists are costing the nation about $1 billion each year in lost productivity. The average Canadian can now expect to wait 9.5 weeks for treatment with a medical specialist, this number up from 9.3 weeks last year. (Source)
The wait time adversely affects the patient.
Based on a 2011 Statistics Canada finding, the study makes the assumption that 11% of patients "were adversely affected by their wait for non-emergency surgery." Dividing the cost individually, health rationing for Canada's 941,321 patients seeking specialized surgery came out to $3,500 per patient in lost wage hours. (Source)
If you're in a lot of pain, 9.5 weeks can mean a lot of misery.
How much does healthcare spending cost Canadians per person annually?
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, healthcare spending annually totals about $200 billion, or $5,800 per person when spread across the country's 35 million residents. (Source)
In Great Britain, in a terrible irony: the former director of the National Health Service (NHS) died while waiting for her treatment, which had been canceled four times.
Margaret Hutchon, a former mayor, had been waiting since last June for a follow-up stomach operation at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.
But her appointments to go under the knife were cancelled four times and she barely regained consciousness after finally having surgery.
Her devastated husband, Jim, is now demanding answers from Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust -- the organisation where his wife had served as a non-executive member of the board of directors. (Source)
Patients can starve to death in the NHS or leave medical care with malnutrition:
Malnutrition killed more than 240 patients on NHS wards in 2007, the highest toll in a decade, figures show.
The appalling statistics reveal that the number of men and women starving to death in hospitals has risen by 16 per cent since Labour came to power.
Since 1997, 2,311 hospital patients have died from malnutrition and the effects of hunger.
Ten years later the toll was 242.
In one area the number of deaths from malnutrition rose by more than 50 per cent.
The figures also show that over the past decade 55 patients have starved to death in council-run care homes.
In 1997, 70,658 patients were admitted with malnutrition and 75,431 discharged from hospital with it.
By 2007, these figures had jumped to 130,594 admitted and 139,127 discharged. (Source)
Remember the opening ceremonies to the London Olympics and the praise festival to Socialism?
Maybe it should have been a funeral march.
We can now expect, broadly speaking, the same in the USA.
3. Yes, Virginia, there really is a death panel
Yes, supposedly to save costs, a panel of bureaucrats will decide, for example, that a 60-year-old cancer patient will not get chemotherapy. It's too costly, and younger patients need it. Elderly, go home and take a pill. If you believe the Independent Payment Advisory Board's cost-cutting measures won't ration medical care, which will involve life and death decisions at the end of the bureaucratic process, you still believe in the tooth fairy. Let's hope the bureaucratic fairy isn't mean and requires you to fill out paperwork just so you can be considered for the operation.
4. Incredibly Shrinking Doctors
The number of doctors will shrink, possibly by eighty-three percent, if doctors carry out their threat. But even if they don't, America will still face a shortage of doctors.
Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama's health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.
Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65.
By 2025 the shortage will balloon to over 130,000, Len Marquez, the director of government relations at the American Association of Medical Colleges, told the Daily Caller. (Source)
But wait. There's more.
5. Medicare is cut
To help pay for Obamacare cuts from Medicare will happen. ABC News Jake Tapper reports that in 2009 Obama admits that one-third of ObamaCare funding is taken from Medicare.
Eventually, millions will come under one program -- ObamaCare.
6. Taxes go up
There are over twenty ticking tax bombs waiting to explode in the American economy. Here's a partial list:
• A 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that's already devastating the medical supply industry and its workforce. The levy is a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs roughly 400,000.
• A 3.8% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends that applies to single filers earning more than $200,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $250,000.
• A $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance" and other rules set by the Health and Human Services Dept.
• A $24 billion tax on the paper industry to control a pollutant known as black liquor.
• A $2.3 billion-a-year tax on drug companies.
• An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed.
• A hike in the threshold for writing off medical expenses to 10% of adjusted gross income from 7.5%.
• A new cap on flexible spending accounts of $2,500 a year. (Source)
These taxes will hinder growth in certain sectors of the economy and cost jobs.
7. Millions will still be Uninsured
Remember the reason for ObamaCare? Millions were uninsured. How could that be justice, according to utopian leftists? It turns out, however, that millions will still be uninsured.
The CBO reports:
CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period (see Table 3, at the end of this report). Before the Supreme Court's decision, the latter number had been 27 million. (Source)
For more about the grim results, read Jeffrey H. Anderson's article "CBO: Obamacare to Cost $1.930 Trillion," Leave 30 Million Uninsured
8. You might not be able to keep your private insurance through work
Some companies will provide health insurance for their employees, but how long will this last if the company experiences profit loss or decline?
ObamaCare will lead to a dramatic decline in employer-provided health insurance-with as many as 78 million Americans forced to find other sources of coverage.
In a study last year, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimated that an additional 35 million workers would be moved out of employer plans and into subsidized coverage, and that this would add about $1 trillion to the total cost of the president's health law over the next decade. McKinsey's survey implies that the cost to taxpayers could be significantly more. (Source)
Even if those numbers are adjusted as time goes on and facts come in, why would companies keep their insurance plans if it's cheaper for the companies to offload their employees into Obamacare? Yes, maybe some will keep their private insurance out of the goodness of their hearts, but others will not be as kindhearted.
For firms which do not offer any insurance, have more than 50 employees, and have at least one employee receiving insurance subsidies, they must pay a tax of $2000 per subsidized employee. The tax is applied to all of a firm's employees (after excluding the first 30), not just those that are subsidized. For example a firm with 51 employees would pay $42,000 in new annual taxes, and an additional $2,000 tax for every new hire. (Source)
This is too complicated and costly for business. It's difficult to see how these taxes won't slow certain sectors of the economy down and pass on costs to the consumers.
9. States can Save Money by Offloading their Employees
Even states can save money in their budgets by offloading their employees into the federal government program called ObamaCare. Gov. Bredesen, a democrat, writes:
My state of Tennessee could reduce costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer coverage to the federal government. (Source)
So state employees, your gold-plated health insurance will look like the one Joe Factoryworker has. Incidentally, Joe was paying for your health care in your retirement by his taxes. Now we have true equality, which the left values.
10. Penalties for Noncompliance, Courtesy of the IRS
The CBO reports:
People who do not comply with the individual coverage requirement will be charged a penalty, assessed through the Internal Revenue Code, although exemptions from that requirement or its associated penalties are provided for several categories of people-including those with taxable income below the threshold for mandatory tax filing (projected by CBO and JCT to be about $10,000 for a single filer and about $19,000 for a married couple in 2016), unauthorized immigrants, members of certain religious groups, people who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income for health insurance, and those who obtain a hardship waiver. In 2016, the penalty for noncompliance with the requirement for obtaining insurance is set to be the greater of a flat dollar amount specified in statute ($695 per individual and up to three times that amount for a family) or a percentage of income in excess of the filing threshold (2.5 percent of income). (p. 3 footnote 5)
We couldn't afford Medicare or Medicaid. They're unfunded liabilities by trillions of dollars, when projected into the future. And the solution is -- what? To impose a third government insurance program that we can't afford -- ObamaCare?
That's like a working-class family not being able to afford their two cars, so their solution is to buy a third one.
The same parade of horrible things listed above shall -- shall -- happen under Obamacare, coming to its rotten fruition in the next two or three decades. No, this won't happen overnight. This is why the never-spike-the-ball president was wrong when, at the Obamacare signing, he said he didn't see the sky fall or the birds stop singing or Armageddon. Of course the decline won't happen by tomorrow. But the degradation shall happen.
Though it is hard to bear for leftist utopians, sometimes there are no ultimate solutions to social inequalities from big government. Maybe the solution was to keep the local family clinics so that when a homeless guy, reaching into a dumpster, cuts his hand on glass, he can go to the clinic and gets his stitches. Yes, we can have soup kitchens too.
However, ObamaCare doesn't fix the problem.
Utopian dreams and schemes can be worse than the problem, the cure worse than the disease.
Dr. Frankenstein cried, "It's alive! It's alive!" Then the monster was unleashed.
Thanks, Obama voters. You just unleashed the monster.
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