The US has already slid too far down the socialized medicine slippery slope [UPDATED]

by 1389 on June 27, 2012

in "Obamacare", 1389 (blog admin), Barack Hussein Obama, government regulation, medical

☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠

Much of the damage was already done even before the disastrous Obamacare Supreme Court ruling.

The first casualty was the rule of law. The US Constitution (not to mention the Constitutions of the various States) have been flouted for many decades. Nowhere in the US Constitution is there any language empowering the federal government to involve itself in medical care. Our Founders might have made an exception for medical care and pensions for military personnel serving under the federal government, but that would have been the extent of it.

It isn’t just Obamacare, Romneycare, Hillarycare, or even Medicare/Medicaid. The rot started with third-party payers in general, including private insurance – and I know whereof I speak. I misspent too many of my long and painful years in the IT industry doing subcontract work for private health insurance companies. Some of those insurance carriers contracted with governmental bodies at various levels; all of them were horrific places to work for anyone with a conscience. From the inside, I can tell you that the amount of waste and corruption in the insurance industry is far beyond the power of anyone to estimate, let alone control. I blew a few whistles and suffered for it, big time, but those are stories for another day. From the outside, I have seen too many instances of employees who lost their jobs as soon as they became too expensive for their employers to maintain on their insurance rolls. Unemployment is the inevitable result of all efforts to force employers to provide universal insurance coverage.

Long ago, I reached the conclusion that the only health-care system that is truly affordable is direct fee-for-service, with no third-party payers. Without the staggering tax burden and bureaucratic waste that accompany our present system, and without the restrictions on faith-based charities imposed by the militantly secularist US government, private charities could easily take up the slack for those who genuinely cannot afford basic medical care.

In Our Sick State, Mark Steyn laments the endless, inevitable bureaucratic shuffle that US consumers already must endure in obtaining and paying for common prescription medications, especially when there has been a change in insurance coverage or any sort of a clerical error.

…It turned out my friend’s prescription was denied because someone at the pharmacy had transposed two numbers. Oh, well. Could happen to anyone. And, in fact, it does. Speaking as an unassimilated foreigner, I notice when you’re standing in line that the big difference between a trip to the pharmacy in the U.S. and one in the rest of the developed world is that in America the druggists spend virtually their entire time talking about not the medicine but the “customer”‘s degree of access to it.
[…]
I don’t quite know what you’d call these rituals, but the term “private health-care system” doesn’t seem the most obvious fit. Indeed, as in so many other areas of American life — the Fannie-Freddied mortgage market, the six-figure college education — the main purpose of these dysfunctional labyrinths ever more disconnected from any genuinely free market seems to be to discredit the very concept of a “private” system and thus soften up the electorate for statist fixes. I’ve argued for years in these pages that governmentalized health care fundamentally transforms the relationship between citizen and state in ways that make it all but impossible to have genuinely conservative government ever again.
[…]
Details here – worth a read!

How bad does it get at the bottom of the slippery slope?

☠ ☠ This bad: ☠ ☠

Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year

(h/t: citizen_q)

  • Professor says doctors use ‘death pathway’ to euthenasia of the elderly
  • Treatment on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours
  • Around 29 per cent of patients that die in hospital are on controversial ‘care pathway’
  • Pensioner admitted to hospital given treatment by doctor on weekend shift

Read it all here.

Have yourself a heaping helping of high-octane nightmare fuel:

Steven Ertelt: Sarah Palin doubles down on Obamacare death panels charge

Three years ago Sarah Palin made waves with charges that the Obamacare health care bill would lead to “death panels” that would rationing medical treatment and lifesaving medical care for patients.

In August 2009, Palin posted a well-received note on Facebook saying she worries the health care bill will be paid for on the backs of the elderly and disabled, who could be pushed into euthanasia and assisted suicide via rationing of medical treatment.

“And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course,” she said.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care,” Palin said then. “Such a system is downright evil.”
[…]
“The health care law instructs the IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] to make recommendations to limit what all Americans are legally allowed to spend for their health care to hold it below the rate of medical inflation.  The health care law then empowers the federal Department of Health and Human Services to implement these recommendations by imposing so-called “quality” and “efficiency” measures on health care providers,” Popik continued. “What happens to doctors who violate a “quality” standard by prescribing more lifesaving medical treatment than it permits? They will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under the Obama Health Care Law, will be mandated to purchase.  Few doctors would be able to remain in practice if subjected to that penalty.”

“This means that treatment a doctor and patient deem advisable to save that patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health–but which exceeds the standard imposed by the government–will be denied even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it. [emphasis added] Repeal of IPAB is critically important to prevent this rationing of life-saving medical treatment,” she added.
Read it all here.

This story is long, but it is an absolute must read!

Ion Mihai Pacepa: Romania’s 20-Year Nightmare: Unraveling Socialized Health Care

In my other life in Communist Romania, I managed a large intelligence organization that, among other tasks, was charged with keeping alive a nationalized health care system which in the end bankrupted the country and generated popular contempt. That system, very similar to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, was a bureaucratic nightmare. And it still is a nightmare in the former Soviet empire.

A European Union report on post-Communist Romania’s “Health Care System in Transition” stated that this system “devastated the country,” whose infant mortality rate (20.2 per 1,000) was among the highest in Europe and whose death rate was 70% higher that the EU average.[i] The world’s leading general medical journal, The Lancet, reported that even twenty years after the Soviet Union collapsed, “life expectancy at birth is 66 years for Russians; 16 years less than for people in Japan and 14 less than the European Union average.”[ii]

My past experience gave me reason to believe that the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the Affordable Health Care for America Act alive constituted a much needed wake-up call for our conservative movement. Since 2009, when the Democratic Party began surreptitiously nationalizing the U.S. health care system, our conservative movement has done nothing but weep and wail and wait for God in heaven and the Supreme Court on earth to save America from such a calamity.
[…]
A few years after Romania was blessed with a nationalized health care system managed by bureaucrats instead of doctors, the country’s hospitals became so badly degraded that there were frequent cases where two people had to be put in the same bed. Sauve qui peut became the catchword of the privileged Marxist nomenklatura, which took its own health care out of the hands of the hospitals destined to serve “the idiots,” as Romania’s president Nicolae Ceausescu called his people. The Communist Party seized the Helias, a hospital built by a Western foundation, and ordained that it exclusively serve the needs of the party nomenklatura. The Securitate, Romania’s version of the KGB, took over a private hospital (named for a Dr. Dimitrie Gerota) and transformed it into a medical center (renamed Dr. Victor Babes) exclusively destined to serve its personnel. So did the Ministry of Defense. In the 1970s, I myself even built a hospital for my foreign intelligence service, the DIE. The hospital had no name and it was hidden away in the Băneasa Forest near Bucharest, to be protected from the eyes of the “idiots.”

Our American political servants who mindlessly approved the 2,000-plus pages of the Affordable Health Care for America Act also scrambled for cover. All, from those working in Congress to those working in White House, granted themselves American versions of Helias and Gerota. None of them wanted to put his life in the hands of a nationalized health care system run by bureaucrats. Some 1,200 companies that had given grants to the Democratic Party and  labor unions representing 543,812 workers also received waivers from part of the health care reform law.

I have written elsewhere — but it is worth repeating — about another disastrous consequence of a health care system run by bureaucrats: baksheesh. People in the U.S. are not used to having to pay bribes to get things done. In Communist Romania, however, baksheesh was the only way to get an appointment with a reliable doctor or a clean bed in a hospital. In 2008 The Lancet reported that in Russia each doctor and nurse still had “his or her little tax,” and that “they all prefer cash in envelopes, of course.” Nurses took 50 rubles to empty a bedpan and 200 rubles to give an enema. Operations started at 300 rubles, but “the sky’s the limit.”[iv] In the U.S., baksheesh might not start out as such blatant bribes, but bribery is sure to soon become the rule in one way or another. In France, for instance, the government bureaucracy recently introduced a €1 franchise on every medical consultation, described as a contribution au remboursement de la dette sociale (contribution to the repayment of the social debt). That was followed by an €18 franchise on “costly” medical procedures. Now the French patients are learning that if they discreetly slip an envelope with cash into the pocket of the doctor’s white lab coat hanging in his office, they will get more “attention.” A little extra attention may be vital in such a government-run health care system, where doctors are obliged by law to see sixty to seventy patients a day.
[…]
Much more here. Please read it all!


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