Responding to a commenter about taking profits out of healthcare

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 08-12-2010


In my post on why Bill Maher is an idiot, one commenter left the following comment. I figured I’d put my response in another post since it may get lengthy.

Keith G.

I still struggle with the for-profit model when it comes to insurance providers being owned by stockholders instead of policyholders. Is the point of insurance not to spread the risk as widely as possible (i.e. single-payer would be optimal)? Is it not a problem that insurance providers would profit more by paying out less in claims, leaving those that pay premiums fighting their insurance company at the time they need them most? Is it not a problem that my voting to provide insurance claims (dollars) to my fellow policyholder would lead to reduced profits, yet I want the same level of coverage (claims) when I get in the same jam? How do I balance these to seemingly counter scenarios? Having a pool of people with a vested interest in the profits, yet removed from the claims side of the insurance equation seems like a problem to me. What am I missing?

via Another REASON Bill Maher Is An Idiot, Profits | The Proud Profiteer.

Let’s take these comments one at a time.

1. “I still struggle with the for-profit model when it comes to insurance providers being owned by stockholders instead of policyholders.” Who cares who owns the insurance providers? It’s irrelevant. The only reason profits exist is because one person or company can deliver what someone is demanding at a lower cost than the person demanding it values the good or service at. This doesn’t change because it’s health care insurance. It’s profits that tell suppliers that consumers want more than what’s currently being supplied. Without profits, suppliers are blind to that fact and supply will suffer, which means consumer or in this case patients will suffer.

2. “Is the point of insurance not to spread the risk as widely as possible (i.e. single-payer would be optimal)?” The point of insurance is not to spread risk as widely as possible. The point of insurance is to insure yourself against unexpected risks, such as your house burning down. Everyone knows they will have to go to the doctor for the flu, cold, etc. These should not be insurable. Not everyone knows they’ll get cancer, so this is an unexpected risk, that should be insured. Part of the problem with health insurance is we are insuring daily maintenance of our bodies. How much would car insurance cost if you insured it to the point you could pay for oil changes and tires with your car insurance? Let’s not even get into all the government mandates that your insurance coverage cover all the garbage you don’t want or need.

To take this a step further and make the point more clear that insurance isn’t to spread the risk as widely as possible, the insurance companies could care less how big the pool is. They only care that they can cover the estimated claims and still make a profit. If the pool is only 10 people, they don’t care. The insurance company will calculate the likelihood of claims in any given year. Then they will figure out what the cost of those claims will average. Based on that, they will calculate what the insurance premium needs to be in order to pay for the claims. Insurance companies then collect premiums, and they invest them. This is one of the ways they make profits. Next they will figure out ways to reduce their cost of claims, say negotiating rates with service providers. This also increases their profits.  The larger the profit is the more likely another insurance company will pop up hoping to get in on the action. This will end up driving down profits as the new company does many of the same actions for less premium, which benefits the policy holders. Unfortunately, the government has closed the markets so we don’t get competition. You can’t even buy insurance across state lines let alone world wide, because of the government. That’s just another example of how government drives up the cost of insurance.

3. Single payer is a disaster and is the opposite of optimal. Who is this single payer? Why it’s the gov’t. Did you even read the post? It explains why the gov’t is so inefficient and always delivers horrible results given the resources they employ. This doesn’t change because the product delivered is insurance. Has it never occurred to you that since the government has intervened more and more into health insurance and health care that it has continually gotten more expensive and less efficient?

4. “Is it not a problem that insurance providers would profit more by paying out less in claims, leaving those that pay premiums fighting their insurance company at the time they need them most?” Yes, insurance companies will profit more by paying out less in claims (not less claims, but less in cost of claims), as I stated above. They typically do this in beneficial ways though as some of the examples I listed above show. Insurance companies cannot change your policy while it’s in effect. If you are fighting with them, then you are fighting over something that isn’t included in the policy or has certain requirements that weren’t met. I’m not saying that companies never lie or try to get away without paying rightful claims, but it isn’t good for business to do so. If they did this, it would end up driving customers away to a competitor who doesn’t deny rightful claims. Now, you have to look at it from the insurance company who is providing insurance based on expected risks, as I stated above, and they are constantly be forced to cover things that weren’t originally covered when our wise overlords tell them they have to. Because of this, health insurance is renewable every year. Does it have to be this way or is it a result of regulation and government interference? Is life insurance that way? No, I setup a term even to the point of covering my whole life without premiums ever changing. Couldn’t an insurance company offer a life long plan to policy holders that cover a long list of medical risks? Of course they could in a free market, but unfortunately this isn’t a free market. The government constantly changes the rules on them and forces them to cover things that weren’t initially in the policy.

Also, you can thank the government that the policies are so complicated that policy holders never read them nor could they understand them if they did. Then when they think something is covered, they find out it isn’t. If only they would have read the legalese on page 150 of their 200 page policy.

5. “How do I balance these to seemingly counter scenarios? Having a pool of people with a vested interest in the profits, yet removed from the claims side of the insurance equation seems like a problem to me. What am I missing?” What you are missing is there is nothing special about insurance that isn’t the same for any other good. How do you balance the counter scenarios of a pool of vested people interested in profits yet removed from the claims side of auto insurance, life insurance, or home insurance? Insurance operates all the same, except the government has heavily involved itself in health insurance and policy holders want maintenance covered for their bodies but not for their auto or home insurance. You may want to look at my post from last year on the root causes of the health care crisis. Also check out my proposed solutions, part 1 and part 2.

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Another Example Of The FDA Driving Up Drug Prices

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Health Care | Posted on 23-10-2010


While everyone complains about the rising cost of health care, most Americans look to the government for the solution. It’s sort of like asking your dealer to help you kick your drug habit. All one needs to do is look at the daily examples where the government steps in and distorts the free market. This intervention is what drives up prices, and here is one of the millions of examples of how the government does this.

ViroPharma Inc. said U.S. drug regulators declined to approve an expansion of the company’s manufacturing of the drug Cinryze, which treats a hereditary disease, as the agency asked for more information.

Cinryze was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008 to treat hereditary angioedema, or HAE, a rare genetic disease involving potentially deadly swelling of various parts of the body.

ViroPharma, of Exton, Pa., has sought to more than double the supply of Cinryze. Earlier this year, the company applied for FDA clearance to commercialize Cinryze manufactured using a certain industrial-scale process that’s different from the current process.

ViroPharma had expected to receive FDA approval of the industrial-scale product by the end of this year, helping sales beginning in 2011.

But the company disclosed Friday that the FDA sent a so-called complete response letter, requesting additional details about the technical process and ViroPharma responses to “quality observations” from an FDA inspection.

“The questions raised in this complete response letter are answerable in a timely manner,” ViroPharma Chief Executive Vincent Milano said on a conference call with analysts. ViroPharma plans to schedule a meeting with FDA officials as soon as possible, but Mr. Milano said it was too soon to provide a more specific timeline for next steps.

Mr. Milano said ViroPharma would proceed with plans to begin manufacturing industrial-scale lots “at risk” in the first quarter of 2011, with the hope inventory will be ready for shipment soon after FDA approval.

ViroPharma’s currently approved manufacturing process alone yields up to 60,000 doses of Cinryze annually. The industrial-scale process would add another 100,000 doses.

Cinryze generated sales of about $75 million for the first half of 2010, or about 38% of total company revenue.

via FDA Rejects Expansion Of ViroPharma Drug –

I would sure hate to be inflicted with this disease, because you just got screwed by the government. The company, in pursuit of more profits, wanted to more than double the supply. In case there are any bureaucrats on here, let’s revisit our trusty Supply and Demand curves again. What happens when supply is increased without the demand curve changing? Prices go down. So with this government action alone, prices will not be driven down, which is what would have been the result of the company’s actions.

No, instead our benevolent dictators decided those inflicted do not need the extra doses at a lower cost. I’m sure they think they have their reasons. After all, this red tape is there to protect us (or strangle us). So, now not only does this extra supply not make it to the market, but ViroPharma has had to have the extra cost of paying off the mafia in hopes of doing business. Sorry, I meant the government, not the mafia. Do you think they are going to just eat that extra cost? Of course not. It’s going to be passed on to the consumer.

This example doesn’t even take into account the original FDA process that drug manufacturers have to go through to bring their drugs to market. If we had no FDA, that supply curve would shift dramatically, lowering prices.

On top of that, who knows how many people are going to die now that the extra supply won’t make it to the market. Oh well. The government has to get its cut. If someone’s got to die, then someone’s got to die.

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Government Success! “half of the cameras do work”

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 01-04-2010


While this is no shocker to those of us who know government is a completely ineffective, you would think this would make the most ardent defenders of the state question how effective government is.

About half of the more than 4,000 security cameras installed along New York City’s subways are not working.

At the same time, the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority has cut the number of weekend police patrols on major bridges and tunnels.

Critics say the non-working cameras are a blind spot in the crime and terrorism safety net for the nation’s largest city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that the MTA needs more funding. But he says Albany lawmakers turned down a plan that would’ve eliminated most of the agency’s problems.

MTA officials say safety of riders is the top priority. They point out that about half of the cameras do work and about 900 more will work by June.

The problem of missing video came to light after two men were stabbed to death on the subway — and there was no camera installed in the station to catch an image of the killer. Darnell Morel and Ricardo Williams, both 24, were killed in a fight that started around 5 a.m. Sunday at the Christopher Street station, about four miles from the World Trade Center site.

via The Associated Press: Insecurity cams? About half in NYC don’t work.

Can you image a private security company pointing out, as if this is proof of their good work, that half of their cameras “do work”? Luckily for us, with private business, we abolish them by not using their services. With government, we are stuck with them. They have the guns.

Can’t wait till these morons run all of health care. It should be interesting being rushed into an emergency room. Your health care will be like playing a game. Do you get lucky and get put into the room with working equipment, or do you go to the room with the broken down equipment? Who knows! Maybe they can turn this into a reality show, so the government dependents can feel good about the disasterous system. I can hear it now. “I’m having a heart attack. I’m going to be on TV! “

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FDA Highlights It’s A Road Block To Drug Development

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care | Posted on 10-03-2010


If you’ve been following my blog, you already know I am no fan of the FDA. This bureaucracy costs drug developers so much time and money that many drugs that could save lives are never invested in and developed. I’ve talked about that here and here. This morning, the Wall Street Journal has an article about FDA staffers “helping” companies move their orphaned drugs through the process by holding workshops. The underlying story, if you read between the lines, is many drugs never make it to the market because the FDA is a road barrier that is not worth overcoming for rare diseases. The end result is people with rare diseases die or have to live with their disease with a lot less hope that a drug will be developed, all thanks to your all caring government.

Staff members at the Food and Drug Administration are doing something unusual. They are leaving Washington to help drug makers take a crucial step in developing drugs for rare diseases.

Only a statist would consider it a crucial step in the development of a drug to fill out government paperwork.

The staffers help administer the Orphan Drug Act, which provides incentives to create therapies for so-called orphan diseases—those that affect fewer than 200,000 Americans. There are about 7,000 such maladies, most of them serious, that have few or no drugs to treat them, from adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare head and neck cancer, to Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which is associated with a tumor that causes the production of high levels of stomach acid.

As a result, doctors may end up prescribing drugs developed for other diseases off-label, but not all insurers will cover this kind of use.

Getting an orphan-drug designation opens the door to incentives once the FDA approves a medicine for sale in the U.S., including seven years’ marketing exclusivity and tax breaks. Last year, just 250 requests for orphan-drug designation were filed, and 160 received it.

“We’re barely scratching the surface,” says Timothy Coté, director of the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development, the workshop’s sponsor. He says there are roughly 350 orphan drugs approved, covering about 150 rare diseases.

Tim Cunniff, vice president of global regulatory affairs at Lundbeck Inc., which has a number of approved orphan drugs, says most companies developing orphan drugs are small.

As I’ve stated previously, the big companies love the FDA. It’s a barrier to small companies from developing drugs to bring to market, which means less competition for Big Pharma. Small companies would develop drugs for rare diseases, because they see the whole in the market. The problem for them though is trying to find $1 billion dollars and up to 15 years time to move the drug through the FDA. This is a huge barrier to entry, and it leaves people with these rare diseases to suffer.

Big companies are starting to get more interested in rare diseases, but the key issue is the high cost of developing a drug and the typically long time it takes to move it from a lab into a clinic as a treatment that gets prescribed. Before starting down this arduous path, a company needs to feel there is a reasonable chance of making a profit.

Bing-O. Here is the proof that the FDA is a hindrance to progress. Companies have to make predictions about an extremely expensive and time consuming process, that can be swayed by politics. As we all know, everything has opportunity costs. If they decide to move forward on one drug, the money and time spent moving it through the FDA process is money and time that are not spent developing the next drug. Because of this alone, we are losing out on more drugs, but we are also making it much harder for companies to decide in favor of moving forward with a drug. It’s probably almost never going to happen for drugs for rare diseases, because the market is so small.

To help get more applications, Dr. Coté’s office put out the word: Help is available, in two workshops with on-the-spot regulatory advice. The first workshop, held last month at the Keck Graduate Institute here, drew 29 potential sponsors, from major drug companies to academic centers, small biotechs and even some patient advocates. In a follow-up survey, 74% said they had never before filed an application for orphan drug designation.

Dr. Coté said he wanted participants to understand that the workshop wasn’t providing an alternative pathway to orphan-drug designation, just regulatory advice. He said it was very important that the FDA avoid the “perception of favoritism” and even stressed that in the cover letter to an application, the sponsors shouldn’t say they had been at the workshop.

Sure wouldn’t want the “perception of favoritism”. Don’t make it easier for companies to develop drugs for rare diseases, that otherwise won’t be developed. That would be just horrible.

Barbara Fant, president and chief executive of Clinical Research Consultants Inc., attended the workshop to prepare an application for a drug-company client, and said this was her first time filing for an orphan drug designation.

An FDA staffer pointed out issues in her application that “would have come back to me as questions and delayed the designation process” if she had filed before the workshop. “I learned some nuances that I didn’t know,” said Dr. Fant, who declined to provide details about her client or the drug.

Who says you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to fill out government papers correctly. I guess being a doctor just isn’t enough. If this lady was not at this workshop, should would have probably just lost months of time before this paper went into the FDA bureaucracy and got turned down and returned, because it was missing some “nuance”.

An orphan-drug designation is no guarantee a medicine will ultimately be approved for marketing. A different FDA division reviews safety and efficacy data for approval. Upon further testing, a drug may turn out to be too dangerous or not effective. Companies may decide a product is too expensive to make, change direction, or go out of business. But Dr. Phillips and Dr. Coté hope that by increasing the pool of applicants for designation, they will increase the chances of getting more approvals.

via FDA Pushes for Cures for Rare Diseases –

Did you get the underlying message of this article? Do you need more proof that the government, in this case the FDA, is a road barrier to progress? There really is no need for the FDA. There could easily be a private mechanism for testing drugs. All it would take a is change to patent laws, which have to give Big Pharma complete control of the market for a long time in order for them to make enough profit to make it worth bringing a drug to market. Because of the huge expense of the FDA, that control of the market has to be longer than it otherwise would need to be.

Also, as John pointed out in the comments section on this post, why couldn’t the FDA be optional? Why can’t we as consumers have a choice between an expensive FDA approved drug and a cheaper non-FDA approved drug? Surely, the non-FDA approved drug will go through the rigors of private testing via competitors, doctors and universities. We know the answer to that though. Government can never have something that challenges it’s claim to be our protector. If we allowed non-FDA options, the FDA would shortly be proven useless.

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Michelle Obama Is Going To Fix Your Fat Kid

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 09-02-2010


The media is all a buzz about the First Lady. Everything she does seems to have the glamour of a Hollywood premier. What is she up to now? Well, she’s going to tell everyone how to feed their kids.

First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday plans to unveil a campaign to fight childhood obesity, a cause that is becoming her top policy priority.

The last thing you want to be is someone in the government’s top policy priority.

Her campaign is part of a government effort to reframe the debate about the nation’s expanding waistlines. Top health officials, including Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, say they want to shift the conversation away from achieving a particular weight or dress size and instead emphasize the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity.

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad right. They just want to switch the conversation. Maybe she’ll have her own workout video. Wait, nevermind. If she does, we’d probably all be forced to buy it somehow. Any way, they just want to have a conversation. What’s so bad about that?

The U.S. obesity rate grew rapidly through the 1980s and 1990s, but figures released last month show the increase has slowed. About two-thirds of Americans are counted as either overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Hmmm, wonder why there was such a rapid increase through the 80s and 90s. Could it be this idiotic food pyramid that was crammed down out throats by who? Oh yeah, that’s right the government wanted to tell all us ignorant peasants how to eat back then, so they created first the four food groups and then the food pyramid. They also said do not eat a lot of fat. So what happened? Everyone thought the FDA had to know what it was talking about. Surely, they just wanted what was best for us. Well, it just so happens everyone got fatter after this advice. People in pursuit of being slim avoided fat, but what replaced fat? Sugar. If you look at this idiotic chart, it tells you to eat breads out the wazzoo. Could this have anything to do with our corn production? Hmm, just so happens we make so much damn corn that we now are forced to use it for fuel (despite lack of benefits), and it just so happens we are told to eat 6 to 11 servings of wheat products. Nah, not our government. They would never. It just so happens, the breads category is the one that makes you fat, but hey what do I know. Government obviously knows best. I mean, they wouldn’t want everyone’s health to get so bad that we’d all come begging for health care reform….would they?

Ms. Obama’s plan has four planks, according to people briefed on it. She wants to improve nutrition and physical education in schools; promote activity such as walking and biking in community planning; make healthy food more available, particularly in poor areas; and make nutrition information on food packages clearer.

Aahhh, there it is. I was wondering when the gun was coming out. The article calls the gun planks. Isn’t that nice?

She wants to improve nutrition and physical education in schools. Lovely. Like our kids aren’t getting a lack of education in the first place. Now we are going to increase physical education, which will help us better compete with China how? Also, does Mrs. Obama realize that government schools are always excluded from these so called food bans like transfat?  I guess the fact that kids spend most of their days at government schools has nothing to do with there health.

Ok, but what’s so bad about promoting walking and biking in community planning? Nothing if it’s just talk. I’m sure we’ll have our money stolen though to fulfill her vision. I’m sure this will be a handout to ACORN and the like to make communities more healthy and socialist.

Lastly, how is she going to make healthy food more available and nutrition information on packages clearer? The only way government knows how. She’s going to use government force.

While I’m sure she feels good about herself taking on obesity for “the children” and the media will make it sound like she’s parting the red sea, surely she should realize that government policy had a lot to do with creating the obesity epidemic. As with all societal ills, she could just repeal government policies. How about the FDA removes their food pyramid and says find your own health information on the internet. How about the FDA gets out of the food production and subsidy business. Maybe we could afford other foods than corn based wheats and high fructose corn syrup based foods. Maybe we could import cheaper vegetables from other nations. We don’t need another nanny. Some please find the first lady a different hobby. How about raising your own kids and teaching them about liberty.

via Michelle Obama Launches Plan to Fight Childhood Obesity –

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Take Profits Out Of Health Care? Profits Save Lives!

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Health Care | Posted on 18-12-2009


Last night I’m watching John Stossel’s new show on Fox Business. His topic was health care. As usual, Stossel was right on blaming health insurance (third party payer) for the rising prices. Of course, the socialists in the audience and in some of the on the street interviews were having none of it. What was to blame? PROFITS! These idiots think that profits drive up the costs. I even debated a socialist on Facebook who said under socialism goods and services would be the cheapest they can be, because there would be no profit. By definition, he thinks removing profit lowers price. His exact words were, “Profit wouldn’t even be considered in a socialist state, so drugs would automatically be at their lowest possible price.”

It’s silly to think that removing profit makes things cheaper. Price is a function of supply and demand, not profit. Socialism always generates more demand while dwindling supply, so there is no reason to think that not having profits would lower price. That is a simple economic fact. The other hazard of removing profit though is lack of innovation. This is where removing profit is deadly.

The biggest profits are generated with the introduction of a new innovation. The innovator has first dibs on the market. They can charge the most to recoup their investment costs. After investment costs are recouped, they generate tons of profit. I know that sounds horrible in the eyes of many socialists, but what happens next is competitors see the huge profits. They then rush in to capture some of the profits for themselves. By jumping on the profit bandwagon, they bring the goods and services to more people. How do they differentiate themselves in order to get a piece of the profits? They either innovate, making the product or service even better, they seek efficiencies, which lowers costs, or they undercut their competitors, seeking less profits in hopes of taking some of the market. This whole process drives down the cost through innovation, efficiencies, and out right price wars.

This competition always drives profit margins down. Anyone who gets in on the early stage of a new technology can tell you “enjoy it while it lasts.” Once the profit margins are driven down so far, you end up with the companies who can deliver the products or services with the best quality and efficiency.

Meanwhile, the innovators are back at it seeking the massive profits that come from new products and services. This is what leads to our ever improving livelihood.

So what does this mean for health care? If we remove the boot of the government, we can have this same process in health care. It does happen inspite of the government now, but there is no doubt that it is hampered and slowed. For instance, moving a drug through the FDA is estimated to cost close to $1 billion dollars and takes 15 years. How many drugs are there that are needed, but can’t produce the profits necessary to overcome the costs imposed by the FDA? How many people die without those drugs?

If you remove profits, you remove innovation. If you remove innovation, people die. New drugs, treatments and cures are not developed.  If you remove profit, you remove competition. It’s competition that brings products and services at ever cheaper prices to the masses. If people can’t get the products and services, people die. While all these socialists scream, “No profits in health care!”, they should be screaming “Let people die, let people die!”

Watch Stossel’s Health Care show here:

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Who is this peasant to question his master?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Video | Posted on 11-12-2009


Another great find thanks to The Daily Paul

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Reason TV on why Canadians come to US for surgery

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 09-12-2009


Another find thanks to Hot Air

Once again, insurance is the problem. I read an article (don’t remember where) about a primary care physician who will not take clients with insurance, and he is able to charge only $35/visit. He’s able to do this because there is so much extra cost involved when accepting insurance. It sounds like this surgery center works the same way.

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William McGurn: My Big Fat Government Takeover –

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 08-12-2009


The Vice President of News Corp, has a pretty good op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the Obama administrations belief that they are so smart that they can make big government work. I’m not sure why everyone says they are so smart. Would you consider someone smart who despite all historical examples still believes that socialism or big government works? That seems pretty stupid to me. I would not consider someone smart because they can explain the dynamics of jumping off a cliff and some how despite all the previous deaths from jumping, they think they have figured out how to jump and survive. Even worse, they think they are so smart that they are going to make us all jump.

Some mistakes are so big that only smart people are tempted to make them. One is the faith in Big Government.

Many of the people in the Obama administration, the president included, enjoy all the credentials we associate with the best and the brightest: the right schools, the good grades, the successful careers. Alas, whether it be allocating health care or defining the kind of jobs the economy ought to create, the policies they favor suggest a strong belief that they know what’s best not just for themselves, but for everyone else too.

Of course, the kind of people who are apt to push for government-imposed solutions are those who are also apt to believe they will be the ones imposing decisions, not the ones who have to live with decisions imposed by others. Sometimes that’s because they enjoy the wealth that gives them escape hatches unavailable to the less affluent, such as their ability to ensure that their own children never have to set foot in a public school. Mostly, however, their trust in government reflects their confidence that they have all the answers and that it’s government’s job to enforce them.

Does this sound any different than any king, dictator or General Secretary of the Communist Party? They all believe they know what is best for all of us lower peasants, and they all preclude themselves and their children from the policies they impose.

Detroit is in decline because its automotive giants no longer build the kind of cars Americans want to buy? Let’s have the president sack the CEO of General Motors, and then use the bailout money as leverage to appoint a car czar and get GM and Chrysler to build the kind of cars that Washington wants.

Wall Street execs are getting sweet bonuses at a time when millions of other Americans are unemployed? Well, instead of encouraging these financial concerns to pay back the Troubled Asset Relief Program monies and get the taxpayers off the hook, send in Ken Feinberg to set their salaries.

Health-care spending is inefficient? The answer is obvious: Expand the Department of Health and Human Services and give its secretary more power. Under the bill now before the Senate, for example, Kathleen Sebelius would have the authority to decide what care insurance companies could offer, who could get an abortion under a government-run plan, what prices were fair, and so on.

Of course we shouldn’t draw any conclusions from an advisory task force that recently created a stir when it suggested women get fewer mammograms—and Ms. Sebelius’s disavowal in the face of public heat. She pointed out that the task force does not set government policy. But at some point some government task force will—and there will be fewer ways around it.

Is there any difference between Obama and the King of Dubai? The King thought he was visionary (so did the media), and he was doing what is best for his people. Instead of letting the free market develop his country, he issued dictates from his palace.

That’s government by the smart. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be selling. According to a recent poll, 57% of Americans believe government is doing things that should be left to business and individuals. Not only do most Americans object, Gallup says the opposition is the “highest such reading in more than a decade.”

via William McGurn: My Big Fat Government Takeover –

This may be true, but that won’t stop anyone. Health care is about to be jammed down our throats even though 85% of people like their current plans. It does not matter what the people want when the “king” decides he is a visionary, when he’s going to “fundamentally transform the country”, or when the media repeatedly tells him he’s the smartest President in history. Obama thinks he knows what is best for all of us, and he’s going to use government force to make us comply to his vision. There used to be a word for rulers like this that no one seems to use anymore. That word is TYRANT.

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Say Bye To US Dominance In Health Care

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 21-11-2009


The Wall Street Journal has a great article about a surgeon from India who is revolutionizing heart surgery through specialization and volume.

BANGALORE — Hair tucked into a surgical cap, eyes hidden behind thick-framed magnifying glasses, Devi Shetty leans over the sawed open chest of an 11-year-old boy, using bright blue thread to sew an artificial aorta onto his stopped heart.

As Dr. Shetty pulls the thread tight with scissors, an assistant reads aloud a proposed agreement for him to build a new hospital in the Cayman Islands that would primarily serve Americans in search of lower-cost medical care. The agreement is inked a few days later, pending approval of the Cayman parliament.

Dr. Shetty, who entered the limelight in the early 1990s as Mother Teresa’s cardiac surgeon, offers cutting-edge medical care in India at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere in the world. His flagship heart hospital charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery.

Then there are the Cayman Islands, where he plans to build and run a 2,000-bed general hospital an hour’s plane ride from Miami. Procedures, both elective and necessary, will be priced at least 50% lower than what they cost in the U.S., says Dr. Shetty, who hopes to draw Americans who are uninsured or need surgery their plans don’t cover.

via The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery –

What our politicians hate and don’t understand is you cannot control the free market and you can only harm yourself by attempting to do so. As you can see, Dr. Shetty will be opening a hospital in the Cayman Islands hoping to capture some of the US market. While our government continues to drive up our health care costs, foreign doctors see a profit opportunity. I’m guessing you will see a huge trend in this direction. If he can do surgery for a few thousand dollars, you will see people flocking. People spend more on insurance in a few months than it would cost for heart surgery at this hospital. Expand this model to other forms of medical care, and you will see global health care eat away at the US market.

The free market will create more an more services to help Americans get to these places. You will see medical transport services helping Americans to get to these places. You could see American doctors leaving to work in these places. How about American doctors being able to work from the US via some video stream? They’d be able to work outside the US restrictions from his US location. Thanks to our politicians,  you will see the economic power of the US moving away from the US. Say goodbye to our long term dominance.

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