ObamaCare will destroy American health care system

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Winningreen Health Care Recess Alert                       A073109

Obama's and Democrats' scheme would destroy America's health care — best in the world

Choice of services and availability would be denied

By Tom Randall

July 31,2009

Concern.  Concern for their hospitals' future.  Concern that they might not be able to keep their own doctor.  Concern of not being able to obtain the treatment they need. These are the primary concerns of voters when discussing matters that might affect their health care.  We have documented these in focus groups done for previous campaigns on health care related issues.

These outweigh all other concerns because they are personal and palpably real.  As for budget concerns, nobody knows how many zeros are in a trillion dollars, let alone what it means — except they are concerned that they will have to pay more taxes.  Therefore, we recommend that the above concerns be the focal point of discussions of ObamaCare, with some references to taxes as the only fiscal issue.  We offer the following typical questions that are likely to come up in town halls and other discussions with constituents, along with factual answers.

Choices and options evaporate

Question 1:  Will I be able to keep my current health care plan or choose one in the future?

Answer:  No.  Several parts of the scheme make that virtually impossible.

Answer:  According to the current House and Senate bills, which the administration is trying to rush through, should you lose your current coverage for whatever reason, you will automatically be swept up into the state-run "Public Plan." — analysis by Shawn Tully, editor-at-large, CNN Money.

Answer:  Even if you keep your current plan, it is likely to change dramatically because it will have to become a "qualified" plan with benefits and services proscribed by the federal government. — analysis by Shawn Tully, editor-at-large, CNN Money.  This means that if you are young and healthy and want a lower cost major medical plan, you can't have it; want a lower cost, higher deductible, higher co-pay, you can't have it; want special coverage that many states now offer, you can't have it; want to opt out of health insurance completely because you're young and healthy, too bad.

Answer:  And you will be giving up your current plan for a pig-in-a-poke.  The details of benefits and how they will be administrated, under both the House and Senate bills, will be determined at a later date by a Department of Health and Human Services "panel of experts."  And, we all know what a federal government panel of experts can do.

Question 2:  Will I be able to choose my doctor?

Answer:  Not likely. 

Answer:  Current legislative proposals call for the establishment of a "medical home."  This is much like an HMO, the type of health care plan most Americans like least.  Under the medical home proposal you would be assigned a primary care physician.  That physician would determine whether you should see a specialist and who that specialist would be.  That primary care physician would also determine what tests (MRI, CT scan, etc.) you could have.  If you currently see a specialist for a chronic condition, such visits would have to be approved by your assigned primary care physician.

Answer:  The bills do not specifically rule out fee-for-service plans but the payment structures would make them unprofitable for doctors who would be forced to abandon them.  Such plans would disappear altogether after a five-year grace period that is currently proposed.

Answer:  More importantly, the two payment plans that are proposed would not only limit doctor access but would likely drive some out of practice altogether.  One plan Obama has referred to in Orwellian Newspeak as "bundling."  In other words, no matter what it takes to treat a patient, the bills will be bundled…and then capped.  The other scheme is simply a pay-per-patient plan.  Doctors will be paid, not by services rendered to a patient, but will simply get a flat amount per patient, no matter what treatment they require.  This, of course, will drive a doctor to see as many patients as possible, spending less time with each one.

Answer:  Then again, you might not see a doctor at all.  Section 1304 of the House bill says that all practitioners will be paid the same.  That is, a board certified OB/GYN, with years of rigorous training and able to recognize and handle virtually any complication, would be paid the same to deliver a baby as a midwife.  And no, that does not mean that the midwife's pay would be going up.  So why would anyone want to become an OB/GYN, one of the most litigated-against specialties in medicine?

Costs will soar

Question 3:
  Won't Obama's nationalized health care lower the cost of medicine in America?

Answer:  No.  It will only result in rationed health care and higher taxes.

Answer:  Obama has proposed cutting Medicare for seniors as a way to pay for nationalized health care for all.  But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), run by a Democratic appointee, has determined that cutting $2 billion from Medicare would be a pittance compared to over $1 trillion needed to finance Obama's plan.  This would mean dramatically higher taxes.  Obama has already added more money to the federal debt than all previous presidents combined — enough to equal $2 million dollars a day for every day since Christ was born.  Even more debt will crush our children's and grandchildren's future and cause skyrocketing inflation in the near term.

Answer:  In response to the CBO's analysis, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said, "The point of the proposal…was never to generate savings over the next decade."  Not quite the savings Obama has been promising for over two years.

America's health care the best

Question 4:
  But aren't medical outcomes far better in countries with socialized medicine?

Answer:  Absolutely not.  This is one of the most popular urban myths of liberals pushing government-run health care.

Answer:  The facts show Americans get the best health care in the world.

Answer:  American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a caner diagnosis, according to a study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  The European average is only 56 percent with only Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland over 60 percent.  Great Britain, with its 50-year-old government-run system, is a dismal 53 percent survival rate.  Canada's rate is 58 percent.  See http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba596

Answer:  American men have a 66 percent five-year survival rate compared with 47 percent for European men and alarming 45 percent for Brits, the study also found.  Canada's rate is 53 percent.

Answer:  In America we have survival rates of over 90 percent for five specific cancers (skin melanoma, breast, prostate. thyroid and testicular) while Europe gets to a 90 percent survival rate only for testicular cancer.

Answer:  Early detection and treatment, of course, play a key role in the difference is U.S. and other survival rates.  Eighty-five percent of American women between the ages of 45 and 64 get regular PAP smears, according to the NCPA study, compared to only 58 percent in Great Britain.  In the U.S. 84 percent of women aged 50 to 64 get mammograms compared to just 63 percent in Great Britain.  Great Britain has a goal of reducing the waiting time to see a specialist to 18 weeks, what would be an absurd delay in this country.  Thirteen percent of patients needing radiation in Britain never get it at all.

The uninsured

Question 5:
  But, don't we still have a problem with people not being able to get health insurance in this country?

Answer:  Sure but it is a small problem not requiring nationalization of one-sixth of our economy.  A few simple insurance regulations would do.

Answer:  A bevy of federal agencies has determined the following:  only 21-31 million Americans are chronically uninsured — uninsured for more than 12 months.  Individuals making up that number constantly change as people get or lose insurance for some period of time.  Healthy young adults make up 40 percent of the total uninsured population, many by choice.  More than 90 percent of the increase in the number of uninsured since 1989 are immigrants, many illegal.

So, what's the hurry?

Question 6:
  So, if we only have a small insurance problem and still have the best health care in the world, why are Obama and liberal Democrats trying to stampede Congress into nationalizing the health care system?

Answer:  For the same reason they took over General Motors, Chrysler, banks and insurance companies: they believe in socialism.  Think of the fable about the scorpion and the frog, caught in a flood (The Democrats are the scorpion and we are the frog).  The scorpion says to the frog, " I can't swim, please let me ride on your back to dry land."  The frog replies, "No, you will sting me and kill me."  "No, I won't," begs the scorpion, "please save me."  So, the scorpion climbs on the frog's back and the frog swims them both to dry land…whereupon the scorpion stings the frog.  The frog asks, as he is dying, "Why did you sting me after you promised not to?"  The scorpion replied simply, "It's in my nature." 

We urge you to visit the National Center for Policy Analysis website for many excellent studies on health care and a variety of issues at: http://www.ncpa.org

Contact: Tom Randall
Winningreen LLC
Phone: 773-857-5086
e-mail: trandall@winningreen.com