Health Care Reform – Coercion, dishonesty and the deal with the devil

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Health Care | Posted on 21-10-2009


How do you get health care reform, which will harm doctors, patients, health related companies and all tax payers? Simple. You lie, cheat, steal, and if need be, you bang some heads. That is exactly what the Obama administration and congressional democrats are doing. Today’s Wall Street Journal highlights just one such scam being employed to get the support of the American Medical Association.

President Obama has made serial promises that he will not sign a health-care bill that “adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future, period.” This was never plausible, but now we can begin to understand what he meant: Democrats plan to make ObamaCare “deficit-neutral” by moving nearly a quarter-trillion dollars off the books, in the fiscal deception of the century.

Later this week, or maybe next, Senate Democrats plan to vote on a stand-alone bill that strips a formula that automatically cuts Medicare physician payments out of “comprehensive” health reform. Rather than include the pricey $247 billion plan known on Capitol Hill as the “doc fix” as part of ObamaCare, they’ll instead make this a separate contribution to the deficit, without compensating tax increases or spending cuts. Majority Leader Harry Reid explained at a press conference last week that “All we’re doing is wiping the slate clean by adjusting the baseline to what is current policy. This is not new policy.”

Wiping the slate is right.

It’s true that Congress likes to pretend that the “sustainable growth rate,” or SGR, is real. Created in 1997, the SGR slashes Medicare reimbursements if costs rise too steeply, as they always do. In January, doctors fees are scheduled to fall by 21.5%, and 40% over the next five years. That would force many doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients, so Congress intervenes every year and temporarily overrides the cuts.

The American Medical Association’s asking price for supporting ObamaCare is scrapping the SGR. House Democrats did just that, but it pushed the total cost of their bill above $1 trillion, a political red line. The Senate Finance Committee chose the subterfuge of fixing the problem for only one year, which is how Chairman Max Baucus could claim he had done the miracle-work of designing an entitlement that reduces the deficit over 10 years. The AMA wasn’t pacified.

So now Democrats are simply going to “untether” this spending on doctors from ObamaCare, hiding even more of its true costs. At a meeting on the Hill last week, Mr. Reid and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made the quid pro quo explicit, telling the AMA and about a dozen specialty societies that in return for this dispensation they expect them to back ObamaCare, no questions asked.

via Democrats Plan to Strip Sustainable Growth Rate Formula from Health-Care Reform –

Already the Democrats are gathering support from horrible Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and now they are twisting arms to get Big Docs. We all know how evil these groups are, while the government is so virtuous and compassionate. Why would these groups that are going to be harmed by health care reform decide to back it? Is it because it’s what’s best for America? We are told that Big Pharma and Insurance are so evil and too many doctors would cut off  your left leg just to make a buck, but then when they back Obama all the sudden we are supposed to say, “Oh, well if they are backing it, it must be a fabulous idea.” Either they are evil, or they are not, Obama.

So to see who is evil, let’s just see who is pulling the fast one. In the article above, the government currently has a policy of slashing medicare payments to doctors if medicare costs rise too quickly. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, costs always rise “too quickly”, because government money floods the market driving up demand and third party payer hides price signals from the consumer. Also, “too quickly” is an arbitrary measure based on medicare budgeting. It has nothing to do with a what is really happening economically.

Anyways, in the end doctors are going to have their reimbursements cut yearly as costs exceed bureaucratic expectations. If you are a doctor, how many times are you going to let the government put the screws to you before you stop treating medicare patients? Then what happens when doctors begin dropping medicare patients? Well, we’ve already discussed that cost or price is effected by supply and demand. Even if demand stayed the same, which it won’t because this is a new expansion of medicare, supply is going to be cut. Doctors will be dropping out, leaving less doctors and choices for patients on the government’s dole. Oh, and guess what. With the decrease in supply, guess what happens. You guessed it, costs increase. Hmm, what did the government say they would do if costs increase above expectations? Oh yeah, they would cut reimbursement rates, leading to a circular decline of medical care.

“Hold up buddy. The article above says they are scrapping that.” Oh, that’s right. In a bargain with the devil, the AMA is going to support this if congress drops the SGR. Does dropping it fix the budgetary problems? No it doesn’t, and as soon as the budget ceiling explodes, you will hear how evil the doctors are again. Congress, like the decievers they are, will undoubtedly renege on their agreement with the AMA and re-instate the SGR.

There is nothing good about the government involvement in health care. It’s making a deal with the devil expecting him to uphold his end of the bargain. The problem is once the devil has gained control of your life, it takes an act of God to get him out.

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Comments (1)

It will take a lot more than an Act of God to repeal this horsesh*t bill when it passes. Congress doesn’t give a crap about the American people, they only care about having more power and control.

Unfortunately no one on either side of the aisle in Congress has the stones to speak up and really put forth a free market option. I can’t imagine what they’re scared of, at worst it only marginally improves the current situation, and at best we have reinvigorated healthcare system with lower costs and more innovation. I’d imagine that’s worth whatever the supposed risk is, but I suppose I’d be wrong.

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