Think it through…

Commonwealth Care, the grand experiment in Mandated Health Care administered by the  Commonwealth of  Massachusetts, isn’t doing so well. So the administrators of the plan are being forced to cut $115 million dollars from the plan. One of the ways they plan to “save money” is to slow enrollment. If you qualify for coverage but forget to choose a health plan, no longer will one be chosen for you. You’ll just be dropped. The Governor wanted to “help” by canceling dental coverage, but the legislature shoved that back in. They have a better plan: eliminate coverage for 28,000 legal Immigrants. Hey, why not, that’ll save $130 million dollars!

Limiting access and cutting benefits sounds a lot like healthcare rationing… rationing? Under the Massachusetts system, one of the nationalized healthcare plans that President Obama says could save us all by fixing our broken health care system? No way, the Ghost of Paul Revere would rise from his grave and ride again before that happened!

It happened… and there is a 25% sales tax increase, too. Welcome to Massachusetts!

Meanwhile, over at the local Veterans’ Administration (VA) hospital (another example of Universal Healthcare) no one seems to be really sure what is going on. Four hospitals seem to have forgotten how to sterilize their equipment, leading to 46 new cases of Hepatitis and six patients testing positive for HIV. Even after repeated alerts from the VA itself and numerous media reports, fewer than half of the VA’s facilities could produce evidence of proper sterilization procedures or training during the “surprise inspection” that a blind veteran could see coming.  Ninety-two veterans at a VA Cancer Clinic in Philadelphia also received incorrect Cancer treatments over a space of six years.

And as already mentioned on Funky Heart, The Indian Health Service is another example of a failed government run healthcare system. Back in 1787, the United States Government promised to provide healthcare to Native Indians on their reservations, and current statistics show how well we’ve respected neglected our obligation: The 2nd lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere is among men living on Indian Reservations in South Dakota.

So America, here are three examples of centrally administered healthcare, involving the Federal Government on a national scale (twice) and a state run mandated healthcare system. Are you sure this is what you want?

Make your decision carefully – because you can’t put this genie back in the bottle.


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4 Responses to “Think it through…”

  1. Paul, M.D. Says:

    This comment was left by my friend Paul, a doctor who lives on the West Coast, on my Facebook page. This was so well thought out that I asked his permission to copy it over to the Funky Heart comment section:

    “There are a couple of problems with this analysis. One is that, as my friend standing next to me ( a former Indian Health Service doctor) points out, IHS doesn’t run health care on the reservations, the tribal councils administer the care. As a consequence, there is a patchwork of care on Indian reservations. Some of the worst poverty in the Americas exists on reservations, and therefore some of the shortest life expectancies. Poor health outcomes always follow poverty, no matter the system of care. I myself have been a government-employed health care provider for most of my adult life. I like to think I’m pretty good at what I do. I can say for sure that the City and County of San Francisco did a much better job of providing ambulance service than the private ambulance companies serving Oakland. I worked for both. People died because the private ambulance services kept staffing low and skimped on supplies to make money.

    The Massachusetts system is failing as predicted, because it was layered over the for-profit system. It is underresourced because the system fails to realize the savings that could be gained by eliminating the massive inefficiencies in private insurance. Private health insurers in the U.S. systematically exclude coverage for the sick. Our employer-based system of coverage means that on the whole, the lowest-risk groups–those able to work–are covered, while higher-risk groups, including the elderly and disabled, are pushed to public systems, to say nothing of claims-based business premium rate-setting and individual policy rescission when individual policy holders file claims. Governments pay for 2/3 of health care costs in the U.S. It’s estimated that without any changes in care, we could provide the same health care product that we do now for 83% of the current cost.

    In a national health *insurance* model, everybody would be covered. If you don’t like the care you’re getting at the VA, or your county hospital, or the for-profit hospital down the street, you could go to another. When everybody is covered, it is less likely that politicians can get away with skimping on health expenditure. My concern about the Obama plan isn’t that it’s government-run, it’s that it still leaves the least insurable and consequently the highest risk patients in a politically vulnerable and economically unstable pool. We need a fully nationalized model of health *insurance* because that’s the only way that works. It’s the only way to make the numbers add up and still let people have free choice of doctors and hospitals.”

  2. Pat Smith Says:

    “It’s estimated that without any changes in care, we could provide the same health care product that we do now for 83% of the current cost.” – Presently this health care reform cost is in the trillions. What this above is saying is that the %17 percent savings (on cost & profit) would save trillions of dollars a year. These numbers do not add up.

    “We need a fully nationalized model of health *insurance* because that’s the only way that works. It’s the only way to make the numbers add up and still let people have free choice of doctors and hospitals.” These numbers do not add up, but these do….

    Government healthcare for
    47 million uninsured Americans
    24 million undocumented aliens (9 million new voters?)
    8 million Veterans presently using VA government healthcare
    2010 proposed VA budget
    + $97 billion (which is not enough after thirty some
    Year’s of being grossly underfunded)
    + $20 billion 21st century investment in VA healthcare
    $??.? Trillion in additional tax money needed

    Can anyone see how and why it will be said health care can not properly be reformed without amnesty AGAIN? Do you realize that the majority of people whom are employed and have health coverage; are the people who will be paying more? And they are the same people who now believe they will have big savings on their present health care costs with this healthcare reform.

  3. Laurel Nelson Says:

    I like the comments by your Doctor friend and I think he is bang on. The reason Massachusetts is failing is because it is mandated insurance, not health care for all, which is a big difference.

    And I’m sorry, but there’s got to be a better way. Other countries can do it for less than we do and have a higher quality of life. We have to figure out what they are doing right, see what isn’t working and don’t implement that part here. Since we are so late in the “national health care” bandwagon we can see what is working around the world and use that.

    There are huge inefficiencies in the private insurance system. I think the purposes of private for profit enterprise runs counter to the aims of keeping everybody healthy. They just can’t coexist anymore. You’re leaving the vulnerable segments out in the cold, and Steve I’m surprised that you, as a member of the vulnerable segment, are not on board with the health care reform. Do you really want the stress for the rest of your life of not knowing if you will be covered? Will Medicaid/disability be there? You want to navigate the patchwork that we currently have??
    I don’t, and I don’t want my daughter to either.

  4. Teri Martin Says:

    As a massachusetts resident my entire life. There is something to be said of a goverment trying to make healtcare for all. As a heart patient at a few of the Boston hospital I have to say I have private medical insurance through my job but because of the mandate of having to have healthcare in this state. I have been approved for test I never had before. I have had not to battle my insurance company for anything. I asked my isurance company why all of a sudden do I not need to argue with them so to speak they said ” You live in Massachusetts” The health care is not perfect but I can tell you that many here are able to get the treatment they need because of it. I am grateful to live in a state that is trying to take care of it sick and vunerable. I do agree the plan is very flawed but at least we are attempting.

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