The Parse

Parsing the stupidity

Posts Tagged ‘health care

Health care scarcity by design

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Buried in a NYT story on rising violence in hospitals and poor health care in China is this gem of an economics lesson:

Some experts fear that the newly opened spigot of government insurance money will inspire further excesses, rather than reduce the financial risk of illness for most Chinese.

Wait…health insurance (specifically, government-funded health insurance) leads to excesses?  In this case excesses refers to people utilizing health care resources far beyond what they actually need to get well.

Primary care is scarce, so public hospitals — notorious for excessive fees — are typically patients’ first stop in cities, even for minor ailments. One survey estimated that a fifth of hospital patients suffer from no more than a cold or flu. Chinese health experts estimate that a third to a half of patients are hospitalized for no good reason.

Primary care is becoming increasingly scarce in the U.S., and thanks to Obamacare, millions more people will be pushed into the system without a reciprocal increase in health care providers — doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc.  This is a simple increase in demand with no offsetting increase in supply.  For those of you with a basic understanding of economics, such scenarios, regardless of where they occur in the economy, result in higher costs and higher prices.

Part of the reason health care costs (and, thus, prices) have continued to increase in the U.S. is because of health insurance.  Insurance works to insulate individuals from the costs of risks.  In the case of health insurance, it also  insulates people against the cost of using a good or service.  We are all more likely to use a good or service if we don’t really feel like we’re paying for it.  When health insurance premiums come out of our paychecks, we’re less aware that we’re actually paying for something.  Then when we go to a doctor or buy prescription drugs, we only have to plop down a $10 or $20 copay, assuming any deductible has been met.  Our insurance picks up the rest.  This buffer between individuals and the cost of health care leads to more people using more and more goods and services, which pushes up the prices.  There are only two possible solutions to change this dynamic: make people feel more of the burden of having to pay for health care, thus forcing them to make wiser choices; or, have some other entity (say, government) make these choices for us.  Guess which way we’re headed?

My prediction: Obamacare will result in more people clamoring for fewer health care resources, which will push up prices and increase insurance premiums.  Democrats will then complain about the “excess profits” of health insurance companies and force them to lower their prices, even while their costs continue to increase.  (Actually Medicare already uses price controls and Obamacare makes them even more draconian.)  Soon enough being in the health insurance business won’t make sense to anyone who actually wants to put food on their table.  So who will step in?  Why, government, of course.  The “public option” will live to see another day.  And all of this is by design.


Written by The Parse

August 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

Reid def retreating

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Wow.  This from Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that there is no firm commitment for Democrats to rush a health care bill through Congress this year.

“First of all, we’re not going to rush into anything,” he said. “We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care.”

Still, this is huge.  The possible unfortunate downside is that ultimately a better, but still horrible, health care overhaul gets passed with some Republican support.

Written by The Parse

January 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Obama Retreat?

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Obama says the Senate shouldn’t take any more health care votes until Brown is seated.  He seems to be acknowledging that the American people don’t want this garbage in its current form…but I’m skeptical of his motives.

Ultimately Obama may be trying to appear bipartisan and conciliatory so that the bills are modified to the point that maybe a Collins or Snowe (or Brown?) can be picked off to support them.  Remember, Snowe voted to advance the bill out of committee, while voting against it in the full Senate.  Not sure how much modifying would need to be done to get her or another Repub to cross over, but whatever the final product is it would likely still be bad.

Obama seems to be re-positioning in order to salvage his prized initiative, even if it means giving up more than he (and Congressional leftists) would have had to give up before Brown’s win.  Not sure that any of this will work out in the end, but one thing’s for certain: the bills in their current form are dead.

UPDATE: If Obama is re-positioning, it isn’t by much.  This WP story on the same Obama/ABC interview seems to emphasize that it’s still full-steam ahead.  He still wants something to get jammed through, probably with some minor changes that he and other Dems can tout as big-time compromise and bipartisanship.

“We can cut and run, which I think will be devastating to the country,” O advisor David Plouffe said. “Or we can get this done, and instead of having a caricature of a health-care plan we can get it done and go out there and explain it.”  (Yes, he said “cut and run.”  And isn’t it interesting it needs to be explained afterward?  How about explaining it before it’s passed?)

They still are in denial that the Bay State Backlash was driven primarily by the health care issue.  It’s not that we want your health care “reform” but only in a slightly different configuration, morons.  We want the whole think obliterated and a do-over with narrow, targeted measures that actually focus on the main problem: rising costs.  A few modifications to the current plans won’t sufficiently stifle the anger that led to last night’s election result.

Written by The Parse

January 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Pelosi Wind-Up Doll

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Nancy Pelosi is like an outdated wind-up doll who, regardless of real-world circumstances, continues to robotically recite whatever pablum she’s been programmed to spout whenever you pull her chain.

“Whatever happens in Massachusetts, we will pass quality, affordable health care for all Americans and it will be soon,” Pelosibot said before Scott Brown won.  “Massachusetts has health care and so the rest of the country would like to have that too,” Pelosibot said after Scott Brown won.

Everyone else has woken up, including many Dems.  But Pelosi keeps going.  Funny, her political voice seems much smaller and almost comical now.

Written by The Parse

January 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

No More O(h)!

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Among many other things, Scott Brown’s stunning Senate victory in Massachusetts underscores The One’s fading glory.  Obama has made very public pushes for three Democrats in the past several months and lost all of them (Va. and NJ govs and now Mass. Senate).

Only a year ago, we were being told that conservatism was dead, that the country had moved permanently to the left and that the GOP was becoming an increasingly marginalized minority party with support only among white Southerners.  It certainly didn’t take long for this administration and the corrupt congressional leadership to blow whatever mandate they really had (which was much, much less than what they thought they had).

Part of the Dems’ education from losing Teddy’s seat ought to include distancing themselves from an increasingly unpopular president and his deeply unpopular agenda.  November is a long way away, but from where things stand today, I wouldn’t want Mr. O campaigning for me this fall if I were a Dem congressman.

At the same time, a word of caution to the Republican party.  Many people, particularly the tea party crowd, still don’t feel comfortable with you.  Being out of power in Congress for only 3 years and out of the White House for only 1 apparently hasn’t been long enough to convince people that you are truly shifting back to the conservative principles that a majority of Americans want and expect from you.  Right now, you are riding an anti-Obama, anti-Pelosi, anti-big-government-madcap-spending wave.  Don’t get cocky or comfortable, thinking that that alone will carry you for long.  If health deform (sic) dies, Dems will be less unpopular this fall than if they ram it through.  So while killing it would truly be a victory for the nation, don’t think that the anger will continue burning till November.

Written by The Parse

January 20, 2010 at 9:59 am

The Brown Miracle

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Miracle.  That’s the best word to describe the underdog win that Scott Brown pulled off tonight in Massachusetts.  As I write, he is giving his victory speech.

In December, as the thugs in the Senate rammed the healthcare deform bill through, it looked as though all was lost.  Now, there is hope that it will be stopped.  It isn’t assured, as Pelosi will no doubt work overtime to ram something through.  But if she can’t hold her caucus together, it’s going to be tough for the current bills to get passed.  If these horrible, dangerous proposals are truly killed because of Brown, that will erase any doubt that his election–for the seat held for decades by government healthcare takeover champion Ted Kennedy–was truly a miracle.

“Kill the bill”… it’s no longer a faded rallying cry from the heady days of Tea Parties.  Now it just might happen.

Written by The Parse

January 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Mass. Senate Race

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Obviously the big story right now is whether a previously unknown Republican can take Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Blue Mass.  I’ve tried to keep my hopes tamped down; I never underestimate the commonwealth’s ability to continually elect idiots (ref. Frank, Barney and Kerry, John).  It will be a miracle if Brown wins and even more of a miracle if he is able to play a role in killing the Dems’ health care debacle.

Look for the Dems to ram the bill through if Brown wins.  Pelosi will be whipping her herd hard, telling them this is the last chance and they had better just vote for the Senate version or be on the wrong (actually right) side of “history.”  Other changes can be made later; in fact, that was a central principle of the health care rdeform efforts.  Just get the infrastructure in place for government-administered medicine and we can add on to it later.

If Brown wins and kills it, he will instantly be a superstar among Republicans.  Unfortunately for him, he’d still be a Republican Senator from Massachusetts, which means despite his heroic status among conservatives, he might not get re-elected in two years if the Dems actually run a decent candidate.  Again, the ability of the commonwealth to repeatedly elect idiots is astounding (ref. Kennedy, Edward).