Wednesday, October 21, 2009


On health care

How many times have you heard your president, and his congressional cronies, say that providing Choice and Competition is their ultimate goal vis-à-vis health care -- er, health insurance -- reform? If'n you ain't heard 'em say it, just know that radio talker Sean Hannity has compiled a 30-second bit featuring various Democrats uttering the words "choice and competition" ... and I'm sure the bit could go on for another minute or two (or longer).

Allowing citizens to purchase health insurance from out-of-state companies would increase both choice and competition, overnight. Yet, Obama is agin' it:

[If you can't see the video, click here.]

Right there you see that all the "choice 'n' competition" talk is so much lip service to the non-socialists of America, and it makes you wonder 'bout the Obama Administration's ulterior motives. (U.S. Rep. Bawny Fwank let that cat out of the bag not too long ago.)

That said, a primary reason why private health insurance premiums have been increasing since, well, forever, is the fact that the federal government stiffs doctors and hospitals through low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and folks who have private insurance have to make up the difference. This is THE story that nobody on the left wants to discuss. Let's do just that.

Back in July, a story surfaced 'bout a guy in Buffalo who'd made 600-plus trips to the hospital in gov'ment ambulances over a three year period. Seems the guy in question was on Medicaid, and every time he felt bad, well, he'd just call 911 and get himself transported to the hospital. (The guy does suffer from sickle-cell anemia, but 600 ambulance rides in three years? He didn't have a fried who could've given him a lift ... at least, oh, 100 times?!)

The actual bill of all those "free" trips was $360,000; but, 'cause Medicaid was picking up the tab, the hospitals and ambulance companies involved were reimbursed only $118,000. For the math deficient, that's a $242,000 difference. Somebody's got to make up the difference, and that somebody is hard-working Joes like me who pay out-of-pocket for health insurance, and then see premiums go up every year due to distortions in the private health market created almost entirely by the federal government.

Finally, I am sick and tired -- no, I'm sick and fucking tired -- of listening to the president and associated liberals say that Republicans have "no plan" for health care reform. A letter in today's Wall Street Journal sets the record straight:

... I did a quick Internet search and found three plans totaling 300 pages of "ideas" by Republicans concerning health care. I could probably have searched more and found others but here's the three I found in the first minute: "The Patient's Choice Act of 2009," "The Health Care Freedom Plan," and "The Empowering Patients First Act." The first would end the tax distortions that virtually all economists—I read it here as per economist Martin Feldstein—believe are the root of our health-care problems and which have forced us into rigid employer-based plans. That one idea alone is worth more than anything the Democrats have come up with. ...

Ronald S. Reich
Basking Ridge, N.J.

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