Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Time For Lunch


Nobel's are cheap these days.

U.S. Health Care Versus England and Canada


Very interesting. Just so everyone can comprehend what President Obama means when he say's we will go broke without health care reform. This is the rationing he has in mind and what Harry Reid has placed under your Christmas Tree

A recent "Investor's Business Daily" article provided very interesting statistics from a
survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.

Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
U.S. 65%
England 46%
Canada 42%
Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:
U.S. 93%
England 15%
Canada 43%
Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
U.S. 90%
England 15%
Canada 43%
Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
U.S. 77%
England 40%
Canada 43%
Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:

U.S. 71%
England 14

Canada 18%
Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":
U.S. 12%
England 2%
Canada 6%
I don't know about you, but I don't want "Universal Healthcare" comparable to England or Canada .

Moreover, it was Sen. Harry Reid who said, "Elderly Americans must learn to accept the inconveniences of old age."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mitch McConnell and Olympia Snowe on Obamacare


Some truth from your minority America.

“This isn’t an energy bill. This is an attempt by a majority to take over one sixth of the U.S. economy — to vastly expand the reach and the role of government into the health care decisions of every single American — and they want to be done after one substantive amendment. This is absolutely inexcusable.
“I think Senator Snowe put it best on Tuesday:
‘Given the enormity and complexity,’ she said, ‘I don’t see anything magical about the Christmas deadline if this bill is going to become law in 2014.’
“And I think Senator Snowe’s comments on a lack of bipartisanship at the outset of this debate are also right on point.
“Here’s what she said in late November:
‘I am truly disappointed we are commencing our historic debate on one of the most significant and pressing domestic issues of our time with a process that has forestalled our ability to arrive at broader agreement on some of the most crucial elements of health care reform. The bottom line is, the most consequential health care legislation in the history of our country and the reordering of $33 trillion in health care spending over the coming decade shouldn’t be determined by one vote-margin strategies – surely we can and must do better.’
“The only conceivable justification for rushing this bill is the overwhelming opposition of the American people. Democrats know that the longer Americans see this bill the less they like it. Here’s the latest from Pew. It came out just yesterday.

“A majority (58 percent) of those who have heard a lot about the bills oppose them while only 32 percent favor them.”
“There is no justification for this blind rush — except a political one, and that’s not good enough for the American people.
“And there’s no justification for forcing the Senate to vote on a bill none of us has seen.
“Americans already oppose this bill. The process is just as bad.

“It’s completely reckless, completely irresponsible.”




Friday, December 11, 2009

Michelle Bachmann For The Win


Noticed this point by Michelle Bachmann yesterday and she is correct about the nationalization of American Industry. And all this is happening peacefully without a whimper.

“The number one thing is to fight right now the government takeover of our economy.”




To illustrate the scope of that takeover, she cited “an economist from Arizona State University” who calculated that by January 2009, government had already taken ownership or control of 30 percent of our economy. “Now if President Obama gets his way with health care, that’s an additional 18 percent of the economy” — for a total of 48 percent. Cap and trade would add another 8 percent, for 56 percent total. Rep. Barney Frank’s bill that the Financial Services Committee votes on tomorrow would raise that another 15 percent for a grand total of 69 percent, she calculated.



“It isn’t within our lifetime that we’ve gone to socialism,” Bachmann said. “It’s within 18 months!”


Spreading New Yorks Bad Medicine

The NY Post has an excellent op-ed column providing insight into what you can expect if the current Health Care Reform proposals are enacted into law.

Spreading New York's bad medicine


By STEPHEN T. PARENTE & TARREN BRAGDON

Last Updated: 9:05 PM, December 9, 2009
Posted: 1:42 AM, December 9, 2009
New York's individual health-insurance market is not often held up as a national model, and for good rea son. It's the most regulated, most expensive and, as a result, one of the smallest in the country, with only a few costly health plans available.




Since New York policymakers inflicted costly regulations on insurers in 1994, enrollment in the individual insurance market has plummeted by 96 percent.



Current prices are staggering. In New York City, the cheapest individual plan costs $9,036 a year for a single person and $26,460 for a family. In contrast, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the average national family premium at $12,000 to $15,000 a year.



Yet both the House and the Senate health-reform bills would make the rest of America look more like New York's dysfunctional market -- and then force New Yorkers to foot a larger share of the trillion-dollar cost.



Only five states now have New York-style insurance regulations, but both bills force those rules on all 50 states and then force people to buy coverage or face tax penalties. Think about it: If 45 states don't regulate insurance like New York does, there is probably a very good reason. And there is: These regulations drive up costs and limit choices.


Adding insult to expensive injury, Congress also plans to expand Medicaid coverage. Here, too, New York is an example of what not to do. The Empire State has the most expensive Medicaid program in the country -- spending as much as Texas, Florida and Illinois combined.

New York's Medicaid program is the fourth largest among all the states as a percentage of the population enrolled, yet the state's rate of uninsured ranks 24th highest in the country. Of the 26 states with a lower rate of uninsured than New York, only two have a larger share of residents on Medicaid.

Clearly, doubling down on Medicaid is not the right path to universal coverage -- yet Congress wants to push millions of Americans into Medicaid and thrust new costs onto the states.







Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/spreading_new_york_bad_medicine_5f6AoI9hr8WKAjwlzuSj7H#ixzz0ZO8RazRX




Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/spreading_new_york_bad_medicine_5f6AoI9hr8WKAjwlzuSj7H#ixzz0ZO85KC2p


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics II


Secretary of  Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has issued a fact sheet outlining the benefits of Health Reform for Business quoting CBO as the source for the claims below.

Premiums for small business will go down. Small businesses are likely to see premiums drop by 1 to 4 percent under the proposal due to lower prices. These lower prices come from:


 
Lower administrative overhead. Right now, each small business has to consult with a broker or hire someone to collate plan information, assist employees with decisions, and handle issues as they arise. Under reform, in the exchange, there will be people whose job it is to provide plan information and facilitate enrollment. The exchange centralizes what is otherwise a process that is extremely duplicative, streamlining administrative costs and lowering premiums.

 
Greater competition. CBO attributes savings to “providing a centralized marketplace in which consumers could compare the premiums of relatively standardized insurance products.” This includes competitive pressure from a public health insurance option.

 
Administrative simplification. Physicians spend on average about 140 hours and $68,000 a year just dealing with health insurance bureaucracy.[v] By simplifying and standardizing paperwork and computerizing medical records, doctors will be able to focus on caring for their patients instead of dealing with bureaucracy. CBO estimates nearly $20 billion in Federal savings over 10 years, with additional savings accruing to businesses and families.[vi]

 
Here we have the former Kansas State Insurance Commissioner, who ought to know better, telling some Orwellian whoppers such as;
 
  •  Small businesses are likely to see premiums drop by 1 to 4. Really? No underwriting, no pre-eexisting conditions and the price will drop?  Try dropping the crack pipe.
  • Right now, each small business has to consult with a broker or hire someone to collate plan information, assist employees with decisions, and handle issues as they arise. Under reform, in the exchange, there will be people whose job it is to provide plan information and facilitate enrollment. You can keep the plan you have but you won't need your broker any longer as a government employee will now come out to your location, explain the coverage and collate all your enrollment data as part of facillitating enrollment. These new federal exchange employees will no doubt possess all the answers to your questions regarding HIPAA, ADA, FMLA, COBRA, ARRA.
  • CBO attributes savings to “providing a centralized marketplace in which consumers could compare the premiums of relatively standardized insurance products.” This includes competitive pressure from a public health insurance option. You mean like the brokers did before the state took on this role?

  • Physicians spend on average about 140 hours and $68,000 a year just dealing with health insurance bureaucracy.[v] By simplifying and standardizing paperwork and computerizing medical records, doctors will be able to focus on caring for their patients instead of dealing with bureaucracy. CBO estimates nearly $20 billion in Federal savings over 10 years, with additional savings accruing to businesses and families.[vi] This is great news. The government can just hand over that slick paperless system Medicare and Medicaid use today to eliminate waste. Medicare has been around since 1965 so they must have a bulletproof administrative process worked out by now right? I guess that's the $20B handed over to special interests as part of the spendulous package that has seized up investment in EHR's like the potion they poured into the cash for clunkers while HHS defined "meaningful use"?
So there you have it. Unemployment will be solved by all those new jobs in the exchange. But wait how does one reconcile the apparent 1-4% savings under reform with this statement?

  • Businesses can keep what they have.
  • CBO affirms that any proposed benefit mandates would not affect the small or large group markets: “The requirement would have relatively little effect on premiums in the small group market, however, because most policies sold in that market already cover those services and would continue to cover them under current law.”


 
Recently I spoke with the CEO of a large insurer with a significant presence in the U.S. individual health insurance marketplace. The CEO told me the average policyholder the firm covered would experience a 23% increase premiums due to the inclusion of mandates the government requires be in their plans. These are policies people purchased for catastrophic coverage the government has now decreed as inadequate. So ultimately its the healthy prudent Americans who secured their own catastrophic coverage who will pay dearly when some bureaucrat decides the appropriate premium ratio is 2-1 for those over 50 to those under 30 years of age. Theres your change suckers.
     

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wellness Revisited


I read an interesting article in the New York Times about a company targeting Health Care savings for employers through subsidized healthy meals at the workplace as well as discounts on health foods purchased at the grocery store. These paragraph caught my eye;

A study in the January-February 2009 issue of the journal Health Affairs concluded that 75 percent of the country’s $2.5 trillion in health care spending has to do with four increasingly prevalent chronic diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Most cases of these diseases, the report stated, are preventable because they are caused by behaviors like poor diets, inadequate exercise and smoking.



Obesity alone threatens to overwhelm the system. In a recent study, Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, found that if trends continued, annual health care costs related to obesity would total $344 billion by 2018, or more than 20 percent of total health care spending. (It now accounts for 9 percent.)

Dr. Thorpe also said that if the incidence of obesity fell to its 1987 level, it would free enough money to cover the nation’s uninsured population.

Of course the New York Times would never think of pointing out such an obvious fact during the health care debate on its editorial page.

For the record I made the same point about the cost of unhealthy behavior on this blog in April 2007.

Psst...Obamacare will cost $6B not $1B over 10 years


Don not miss this little gem