This week the President proclaimed when it comes to implementing the new health care law we can’t go back.
Yes we can.
Contrary to President Obama, turning back doesn’t mean denying people with cancer or Alzheimer’s or eating disorders access to reasonably affordable coverage or allowing children who graduate college to stay on their parents health plan until they find a job. And it doesn’t mean prohibiting people from choosing to purchase insurance without lifetime limits.
It does mean putting a stop to the cuts to hospice that are already taking place in Medicare. It means stopping Medicare from issuing guidelines that deny cancer patients radiation therapy because – and this captures the spirit of Obamacare – since advances in detection and staging prostate cancer permit individualized treatment, Medicare claims there is not enough evidence to know if radiation benefits the average Medicare patient. Got it? This is an example of what President Obama was referring to when he talked about eliminating waste and unnecessary treatments from Medicare.
It means putting a stop to the government forcing 120 million people out of the healthcare plans they have and doctors they use if premiums go up to add benefits or alternately an employer uses HSAs (which requires higher deductibles and co-payments) to lower premiums. The President said: “When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform. It means putting a stop to forcing companies to choose between increasing coverage and cutting jobs since providing limited insurance benefits for employees will be prohibited.
And it means putting a stop to not only to the biggest tax increase in history (which doesn’t include the higher premiums and out of pocket costs that 93 million Americas will be required to pay under Obamacare) but because we are still on the hook for $59 billion in additional state Medicaid spending, the $250 billion Medicare physician pay increases. $115 billion in operating expenses for Obamacare – 15 percent of total spending! – and a $50 billion shortfall in the temporary program for high-risk insurance policies is paid – the $118 billion in “savings” turns into $303 billion deficit. If we are lucky. That’s assuming the long term care fund doesn’t go bankrupt as the Medicare actuary is predicting.
We must stop where we are. The president says with a straight face that only government can impose the fiscal discipline required to reign in health care spending. This past week in chewing out insurance companies he seemed to imply that premium increases – and by extension health care costs — were tied to profits. Yet other health systems are seeing costs go up faster than we are and are going broke to boot. Britain’s National Health Service, Germany’s system of subsidized insurance plans, and the French health system have seen deficits double in less then two years. The same goes for Japan and Canada where cuts in healthcare spending have already taken place. And despite this government run spending spree, the international outcomes in treating heart failure, diabetes, mental illness, Alzheimer’s and cancer are nowhere close to ours. The British government is proposing cutting the NHS budget by 20 percent. Do we need to increase government spending in order to cut it? This appears to be the path the President is taking.
The President insults millions of decent and caring Americans by suggesting those who don’t agree with him we are abandoning the sick and something less than moral. There is in fact, a better way. We can preserve hospice care and cancer treatment for seniors, allow millions to keep the coverage they have, cut taxes and make coverage affordable for millions more, without saddling America with even more debt and deficit spending.
This is not about turning back. This is about taking stock and moving forward. In politics as in medicine, there is nothing wrong with a second opinion.