Thursday, February 12, 2009

 

Health Care For Americans

Socalism is coming

Via Drudge, South Carolina may impose a $25 per month surcharge on obese public employees for health insurance:
The measure sponsored by GOP Sen. Greg Ryberg of Aiken is on the agenda Tuesday in a Senate subcommittee. It would tie the surcharge to employees’ body-mass index, a weight and height measurement. A BMI of 30 is considered obese. According to a spokesperson for Sen. Ryberg, state employees’ health insurance does not cover preventive measures such as gym memberships and nutrition plans.

The proposal follows a vote last August to increase health insurance premiums of public workers who smoke. The smoking surcharge is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2010. It was approved by a five-member board that oversees the state budget.

Smokers called it an unfair increase, since smoking isn’t the only bad habit that increases health care costs.
Indeed, it isn't. Which is why we'll see more of this.

Kevin Flemming summarizes 10 reasons why socialized medicine is inferior to the system we currently have. The most compelling argument:
Politicization and lost liberty. Patient auton­omy is curtailed in favor of the judgment of an elite few, who dictate what health care needs and desires ought to be while imposing social controls over activities deemed undesirable or at odds with an expanding definition of “public health.” Government officials would claim a compelling interest in many areas now consid­ered personal.
Yes, it would. But that's the point, isn't it? South Carolina is, of course, behaving as an employer, not the health care monopsonist the federal government may soon become:
The health provisions in the House stimulus bill would expand dependence on the already-unsound Medicaid entitlement program, distort health care choices for unemployed workers, and set up a federal infrastructure that could be used as a tool for government rationing of medical treatments, procedures, and services.

America is rushing toward the financial tipping point in health care—the point where the federal government controls more health care spending than will the private sector. Today, the government controls 46 percent of all health care spending, and its share is expected to reach 49 percent by 2017. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the sundry health provisions in the stimulus plan will draw an additional 8.2 million Americans dependent into the clutches of government-sponsored health care. In combination with the recent expansion of SCHIP, we likely have passed that tipping point.
Betsy McCaughey notices that Obama's new health rules will affect “every individual in the United States:”
Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”
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What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.
She concludes:
The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.
If Obama's plan is enacted, it will make Americans subservient to an unelected bureaucracy controlling 1/6 of the American economy that will exert direct behavioral influence in the lives of every individual American.

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