Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scary health care nightmare
Tom Smith

A health care future only Congress could love.

It's also very ironic that just as we are on the verge of really stunning advances in biotechnology, we are fixing to destroy innovation in our health care industry.  And just as I (and a bunch of other boomers) are about to need it too.  Here's a proposal.  Let's wait until those with the mean age of Obama voters reach an age where they really need health care, to "reform" it.  

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Tom Smith
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Posted by: runescape gold | May 14, 2009 8:31:14 PM

I worry that there will be no incentive left in the world to develop new medical technologies that do not reduce treatment cost. Nobody will have the choice to pay more for higher-quality care. For example, there will be no incentive whatsoever to research technologies that could make premature babies survive from an earlier age. Essentially, almost all research will focus on cost savings, even at the expense of quality.

Make no mistake, it is the United States 'broken' health care system that is financing most of the world's medical innovation.

Posted by: David Schwartz | May 15, 2009 5:59:57 PM

I know, its a shame. I was really waiting for that breakthrough for the next generation of viagra, but now that the incentive is not there, I'm SOL.

Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2009 8:01:22 PM

Funny how in Obama's insistence on "cost" savings - and all I've heard are sill comparison's like 'why does the same proceedure at rural, cold, Rochester, Minn. Mayo Clinic cost half as much as at SoCal's UCLA (er, cost of living, maybe?-no reply) - thee cost of not saving lives in the future is never mentioned.

Having such a myopic and misleadin "leader" is worth having a proper revolution over, in my book!

Posted by: Orson | May 17, 2009 3:45:06 PM

Here's my proposal: whatever new system Obama comes up with, first test it for five years by using it for all members of Congress and Federal employees, replacing whatever health insurance system they have now.

Posted by: PapayaSF | May 17, 2009 3:49:55 PM

The timing on this is neither a mistake nor a happenstance. It is unspoken policy. Politicizing health care is meant to solve the looming Social Security and Medicare insolvency problem by effectively euthanizing the boomers and their parents through politically-inspired restrictions on medical treatment. Cruel indeed but it makes sense when one is accumulating power and money first, last and only. What are the intended criteria for granting medical attention? Think, political party, race, religion, education level (more education less care), criminal record, record of public and private speech ... the possibilities and their likelihoods are not difficult to imagine. And voting is not going to fix this scenario because that avenue has already been corrupted beyond repair with fraud that intensifies and expands by the hour. Boomers and their parents are in the cross-hairs, waiting to be home-fried. Neither laws nor morals impede this crowd with their hands on the mechanisms of government.

Posted by: David R. Graham | May 17, 2009 3:57:37 PM

There is another factor that will limit medical innovation and that is an increasingly difficult and costly regulatory approval process. So lowering reimbursement and raising development cost should just about shut down the innovation process.

Posted by: Cojacket | May 17, 2009 4:51:39 PM

Here's a counter proposal. How about we break the system before the boomers get to use it. I think this is preferable to what normally happens; boomers get all the benefits, use up the system, and screw everybody coming after them. One final object lesson for the selfish generation.

Posted by: ThatL Do Donkey | May 17, 2009 5:03:50 PM

Sad to think how much easier it would be to "fix" health care without granting the federal government total control over all our lives and bankrupting the country (uhm... further).

* Eliminate so-called “comprehensive” commodity health insurance plans entirely. Legislate them away over a period of 7 years. Keep only catastrophic plans for those who feel the need for them, and administer these as group plans through local municipalities (and no more broadly than that), NOT employers. [Yes, to some folks this sounds nuts at first. Here's why it's not: http://www.agoyandhisblog.com/?p=146]

* Revert 95% of all monies that were paid by employers to health insurance companies back to employees. Everyone enrolled in a health care plan at work gets an instant annual raise of from $4,000 to $16,000 per employee / family, or more, depending on the cost of the plan they’re in.

* Direct the remaining 5% into a state (not federal) level fund that’s distributed to health care providers to recoup costs of providing care to those unable to pay, based on the facility’s need and inversely proportional to the tax breaks they may already be getting in their municipality. This contribution has a permanent 5% cap. That's permanent as in... permanent.

* Legislate away direct-to-consumer marketing of prescription drugs, just like we did with cigarettes ads, and with the same justification (100,000 Rx drug deaths per annum and millions otherwise injured or hospitalized). This will save big pharmas billion$ per year in advertising fees, which will facilitate lower-cost drugs while at the same time helping to drain the Fifth Column media swamp that depends on these funds. The demand for these drugs will no longer be artificially inflated far beyond the actual medical need.

* Let the resulting free market economics of direct-to-consumer commodity goods and services force the cost of day-to-day health care, equipment and pharmaceuticals BACK to a more reasonable equilibrium through profit reduction, cost cutting, elimination of the insurance company middleman, elimination of entire departments devoted to dealing with insurance company reimbursement, salary reduction, firing slackers and efficiency improvements.

Posted by: AGoyAndHisBlog | May 17, 2009 9:32:47 PM

goy, yes, concur, but that is not what is going down.

Posted by: David R. Graham | May 18, 2009 12:38:02 AM

I agree with goy!

Posted by: KenWilson | May 18, 2009 11:29:43 AM

To David Schwartz: It's ironic that you mention premature babies. If we keep things the way they are, we will crowd out nearly ALL discretionary spending, including not only education, but many prenatal programs. Have you done the research on the absolutely massive funding shortfalls. "Make no mistake, it is the United States 'broken' health care system that is financing most of the world's medical innovation." You're right about that! Have you done the research on how much other developed countries (European nations, Canada) pay for medications that we can't even get because they're too expensive here - Here, they require pre-authorization from the insurance company that will do anything and everything to avoid paying. In many cases, we pay 3-4 times as much as they do. Why are we subsidizing drug costs in France and Germany? The scare tactics that pharma uses is nothing more than propaganda. They can pay more and we can pay less...and the drug company gets the same pot of $$ to play with. Why should the US bear the ENTIRE burden, making our grandmas do without while they get what they need at our expense.

GOY: Good luck with that one. You want to give us all a $4K - $16 raise so that we can spend it on health care. Based on recent events in the economy, I can tell you EXACTLY what's going to happen with that money - for what appears to be the majority of families, it will be spent on HDTV's and SUV's and they will beg for mercy when someone is dx'd with stage four cancer because they spent the $$ on the TV instead of routine screenings - and we'll be on the hook for the expensive cancer treatment.

ThatL Do Donkey: AGREED...wholeheartedly!!!

David R Grahm: If you want to take a market-driven health care approach, why worry about politically-inspired restrictions on medical treatment. If you want something, you can get it as long as you can pay for it. You only need worry about that type of issue when you're trying to get someone else to pay for something for you.

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To David Schwartz: It's ironic that you mention premature babies. If we keep things the way they are, we will crowd out nearly ALL discretionary spending, including not only education, but many prenatal programs. Have you done the research on the absolutely massive funding shortfalls. "Make no mistake, it is the United States 'broken' health care system that is financing most of the world's medical innovation." You're right about that! Have you done the research on how much other developed countries (European nations, Canada) pay for medications that we can't even get because they're too expensive here - Here, they require pre-authorization from the insurance company that will do anything and everything to avoid paying. In many cases, we pay 3-4 times as much as they do. Why are we subsidizing drug costs in France and Germany? The scare tactics that pharma uses is nothing more than propaganda. They can pay more and we can pay less...and the drug company gets the same pot of $$ to play with. Why should the US bear the ENTIRE burden, making our grandmas do without while they get what they need at our expense.

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