An American plan to help the uninsured, restore Medicare’s fiscal soundness, and preserve medical excellence.
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Whatever the cost of debit cards, it will be less in both dollar terms and risk than a health-care overhaul that forces individuals and businesses to buy coverage and puts European-style limits on health-care consumption.
On May 12, Medicare officials announced that the trust fund that pays for hospital care for seniors would run out of money by 2017. In unison, the administration’s key figures rushed to blame “skyrocketing healthcare costs” for the crisis.
“The only way to slow Medicare spending is to slow overall health system spending through comprehensive and carefully crafted legislation,” declared Secretary Sebelius. If rising health costs were to blame, Medicare would have been thrown into crisis in 1980, when annual health care spending increases topped 13 percent, instead of now, when the annual increase is less than half that. Demographics are to blame, and Congress has been warned every six months for decades that Medicare needs to be adjusted.
Telling all Americans they have to cut back on health care because Medicare is fiscally unsound is like ordering all Americans to go on diets and buy fewer groceries because the food stamp program is in trouble. Medicare can be fixed without subjecting the nation to a regimen of health-care scarcity. The safer alternative is to reduce the government’s share of the healthcare bill rather than depressing the nation’s largest industry and lowering medical standards for all of us.
The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress, has suggested alternatives, including asking wealthy seniors to pay more of their costs or inching the eligibility age upward, two months per year, until it reaches age 70 in 2043.
No Time to Spare
Members of Congress who oppose an overhaul of American healthcare don’t have much time to woo public support for low-risk alternatives. The president’s advisors have urged him to hurry his health agenda through. “Speed is essential,” Dr. Blumenthal wrote. “Bill Clinton waited nine months to introduce his Health Security Act in 1993, which allowed opposition to mobilize and defeat him.” (New England Journal of Medicine, November 2008.)
The president’s team is also playing hardball. On May 11, the American Medical Association, pharmaceutical industry, insurance lobbyists, and other interest groups jointly announced that they would support the Administration’s efforts to rein in health spending. Why would these groups go along? One answer is political arm-twisting, Chicago style. In a November 16, 2008 Health Care Watch column, Dr. Emanuel explained how business would be conducted to guarantee support for the President’s health agenda: “every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health care reform agenda. If the automakers want a bail out, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration’s health reform effort.”
Families dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses need to pay attention to the changes being proposed in Washington, D.C. Proposals to rein in health-care spending will mean longer waits for a nurse, pressures on your doctor to restrict your care, and little hope that the medical breakthrough you need is around the corner.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online