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Posts Tagged ‘nationalized healthcare’

Forced budget cuts at the NHS lead to rationing

February 28, 2011 1 comment

It can’t happen here, right?

NHS managers are blocking hospital appointments for patients to save cash, a survey of family doctors has revealed, and at least one health trust proposes to stop sending obese people and smokers for routine hip and knee surgery because their unhealthy lifestyles lower the chance of the operations’ “success”.

With the health service asked to find an unprecedented £20bn efficiency savings over the next few years, many are resorting to moving procedures out of the NHS. In Kent hospital managers say abortions will now be provided by the charity Marie Stopes with hospitals only dealing with complicated cases. Last winter local GPs were asked to “stop referrals” for many procedures.

[…]

Health trusts are having to pare back costs in new ways. NHS North Yorkshire and York, the area’s primary care trust, is planning to stop patients who smoke, and those with a body mass index of more than 35, from having routine hip and knee operations.

The rules of economics apply to the English as well as to Americans.  When the government needs to rein in costs in a regulated healthcare market, the inevitable result is rationing.  Plain and simple.

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House Republicans to begin 112th Congress by reading the Constitution

December 26, 2010 1 comment

Setting the tone:

“The goal, backers said, is to underscore the limited-government rules the Founders imposed on Congress – and to try to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating.

“It stems from the debate that we’ve had for the last two years about things like the exercise of authority in a whole host of different areas by the EPA, we’ve had this debate in relation to the health care bill, the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who proposed the reading. “This Congress has been very aggressive in expanding the power of the federal government, and there’s been a big backlash to that.”

Setting aside time at the beginning of the congressional session for the reading is just one of the changes to House rules that Republicans say are designed to open up the legislative process. They say the new rules also will try to bring some restraints to lawmaking after decades in which both Republican and Democratic leaders whittled away opportunities for real legislative give-and-take.

The biggest changes would make it easier to cut spending and harder to create entitlement programs, while imposing restrictions that could keep leaders from jamming massive bills onto the House floor before lawmakers have had a chance to digest them.

This is all well and good, but reading the Constitution is one thing.  Governing based on its principles is quite another. 

Voters need to keep an eye on what our representatives do in Congress, as well as what they say.   I’ve read that the Republican party is on probation in this Congress, and I agree with that. 

The Tea Party is the proverbial tail trying to wag the Republican Party dog, not the other way around.  And to paraphrase Bart Simpson, Washington D.C. is a hideous bitch goddess.  Tea Partiers in Congress are only human after all (with the exception of Congressman-elect Allen West) , and are susceptible to its free-spending and corrupt ways.  These things can happen in spite of the symbolism of reading the Constitution out loud. 

That being said, I am as cynical as they come, and I would love to be proven wrong.

[Hat Tip: Hot Air Headlines]

UPDATE.   When the House Republicans are done reading the Constitution, they may want to figure out how to fight and beat the Obama adminstration on political battles like this:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

More to the point of my original post, does the new House majority have the backbone to go to the mattresses on these issues? 

Ed Morrissey writes:

This is just the opening gambit of a strategy Obama will use throughout the coming year in order to achieve through regulation what a Democrat-run Congress could not deliver through legislation.  The new Republican House will have to use its power of the purse to stop this autocratic imposition of regulation, and remain vigilant in doing so on all fronts.  Let’s hope the GOP gets used to fighting this process over the next two years.

Yes, let’s hope.

Federal Judge rules individual mandate provision in Obamacare is unconstitutional

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Not a death-blow yet, but a massive kick in the groin:

The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy insurance, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the president’s plan.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, said today that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid that are unrelated to it. He didn’t order the government to stop work on putting the remainder of the law into effect.

This is huge, and I’m sure the Obama administration will try to appeal the decision.  The law’s other provisions remain in tact, but the premise of the legislation, that the pool of the insured needs to increase in order to lower costs, depended on the individual mandate.

German government raising taxes to fill its healthcare deficit

July 12, 2010 Leave a comment

A peek into our future:

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition backed higher health-insurance premiums, a move some critics from her own party said will fail to curb rising health-care costs and might undermine the German economic recovery.

Coalition leaders meeting in Berlin today agreed to raise health premiums to 15.5 percent of gross pay from 14.9 percent, Health Minister Philipp Roesler said. Employers will contribute 7.3 percent with 8.2 percent paid by employees.

“We’re including everybody, workers, employers and taxpayers,” Roesler said in a statement distributed to reporters in Berlin.

The measure is part of an overhaul of health care intended to plug an 11-billion euro ($13.8 billion) deficit in the public health-insurance system in 2011. It follows Cabinet agreement on June 29 to cuts in spending on drugs to reduce soaring costs to public health-insurance funds.

This is what happens when governments create massive entitlements designed to “benefit” the population–ineptitude, mismanagement and a complete waste of resources.

Eventually the bureaucracy becomes so big, it needs to be fed with the blood and sweat of the taxpayers, as politicians scramble to find more and more sources of revenue to plug the inevitable funding shortfalls, while praising the purported benefits to the people.

You can’t fight city hall. Or the NHS (Government is so virtuous edition)

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another disturbing government-run healthcare story from across the pond (my bold):

Jenny Whitehead, a breast cancer survivor, paid £250 for an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon after being told she would have to wait five months to see him on the NHS. He told her he would add her to his NHS waiting list for surgery.

She was barred from the list, however, and sent back to her GP. She must now find at least £10,000 for private surgery, or wait until the autumn for the NHS operation to remove a cyst on her spine.

“When I paid £250 to see the specialist privately I had no idea I would be sacrificing my right to surgery on the NHS. I feel victimised,” she said.

[…]

Whitehead’s case […] reveals that patients who go private in despair at long waiting lists still risk jeopardising their NHS treatment. Department of Health officials admit it remains official policy.

Whitehead, 64, a former museum assistant from Yorkshire who works as a volunteer at a hospice, went to her GP in December for back pain. Because of her breast cancer history, she was immediately offered an MRI scan to check the disease had not returned. It revealed a cyst on her spine, pressing against her sciatic nerve. Her GP referred her to a consultant at Airedale NHS hospital.

She was told the next available NHS appointment was in May, so she accepted the offer of a private slot to see him the following week.

[…]

The specialist promised to add her to his NHS waiting list for surgery. After two months, however, hospital managers told her she had been barred from the waiting list because she had seen the surgeon privately. Now her only alternative to paying £10,000 privately is to go back to her GP, seek another referral to the same specialist, this time on the NHS, and face another 18-week wait.

“We will scratch together the money if we absolutely have to, but I feel it’s incredibly unfair,” said Whitehead. “I’ve paid full National Insurance contributions all my working life and feel I should get this operation on the NHS.”

[…]

Bradford and Airedale NHS trust said it was looking into the case “as a matter of urgency” but added: “Anyone who chooses to pay for a private outpatient consultation cannot receive NHS treatment unless they are then referred on to an NHS pathway by their consultant.”

Isn’t government grand?  Specifically, isn’t government determining which procedures you can or cannot undergo, grand?

I’m not saying this is going to happen once the US officially completes its transformation into a  nationalized healthcare system in about 10-15 years.  If anything, I’d ask my liberal and progressive friends who think that government, and only government, is so virtuous and kind so as to look after the healthcare needs of it’s citizens, if this is the kind of government they’re constantly referring to?  Surely a government bureaucracy in the USA is far more superior to those in the UK?  Those in France?  Italy?

The bottom line is that the power of government is scary. 

[Via Memeorandum]