Obamacare means premature death for Americans, as Nancy P. and Debbie W-S will learn soon enough.
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Ryan’s careful, well thought-out reforms are well designed to avoid any harm to the vulnerable, while avoiding bankruptcy for America, and allowing prosperity to return. It is childish, immature, and unworthy of public service for the Democrats to criticize the Ryan plan falsely and harshly with absolutely no reform plan of their own. There is no reasonable way to characterize the Ryan plan as changing Medicare into “little more than a discount card,” as Schultz does unreasonably.
Do Not Ask for Whom the Bell Tolls
But it is not only the health care of seniors that will be savaged by Obamacare. What is emerging from the broad, vague language of the 2,700 plus pages of the Obamacare law is the termination of the ability of America’s health care system to provide the best, most advanced, cutting edge health care in the world, up until now a major component of the highest standard of living in the world previously enjoyed by the American people.
That first clearly arose in December, when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued regulations claiming and providing authority for federal regulation of health insurance premiums, a power that Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration denied was in the law when they passed it. Based on what we see emerging from the more advanced Obamacare experiment in Massachusetts, what the New Left Democrats who have seized control of America’s health care have in mind can now be more clearly recognized.
Obamacare mandates many new benefits to be provided by insurers, such as “free” preventive care, unlimited lifetime benefits, coverage on parents’ plans until age 26, guaranteed issue, community rating, and the many benefits required in the mandated benefits package, exacerbated by the special interest political swarm that will be created by Obamacare. But what Sebelius and her associated health care rationers are indicating is that they will not allow the health insurers more money to pay for the extra costs of these required benefits.
What they are thinking is that this will force insurers to squeeze down on the payments to doctors and hospitals, just as the Obama Democrats have done for Medicare. They are thinking that doctors and hospitals will then be left with no choice but to squeeze down on their patients, rationing and denying them costly care.
And if the insurance companies cannot pull this off, recovering their increased costs by cutting down on the doctors and hospitals, then the Obamacare leftists will be perfectly happy with the insurers just going out of business, as some have already begun to do, ultimately leading to their beloved, Cuban-style, single-payer, government health care monopoly.
Romneycare, adopted in Massachusetts in 2006 (under former Governor Mitt Romney), was a perfect forerunner of Obamacare, with individual and employer mandates, expanded Medicaid, expensive new entitlement subsidies well beyond that, and costly new regulations increasing insurance costs. And the above scenario is exactly what has been playing out in Massachusetts, at least four years farther along than Obamacare. As Sally Pipes explained in an excellent March 24 Washington Post commentary, “Massachusetts is the blueprint for Obamacare, and [Governor Deval] Patrick is among those who want his state’s plan to serve as a national model.” Yet, “almost five years into his state’s Romneycare plan, it turns out that spending is out of control, threatening public-sector budgets and private-sector wealth generation.”
So what Governor Patrick is now pursuing is giving more power to insurers to ration and restrict care, under even more restricted premium payments. First Patrick is proposing to restrict Massachusetts residents to the choice of only Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), repackaged under the name of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which we also see referenced in the Obamacare statute.
Secondly, to make sure the government can enforce the scheme, Patrick is also seeking power for the government to regulate the prices insurers can pay to doctors and hospitals for health care. The ultimate vision is to impose on doctors and hospitals what is called a “global payment system,” under which health care providers are given a fixed budget on what they can spend for their patients’ health care for the year. If their patients need more, it is up to the doctors and hospitals to determine who gets the health care and who does not, who gets the best care and who gets the cheaper, second or third rate care, who lives and who dies.
As Pipes explains, “There is talk across the nation of a failed health-care payment system, under which providers… make more money the more care they provide. There is less frank talk of the alternative: a managed care system in which providers make less money — or even lose money — the more care they provide.” Under this system, doctors and hospitals actually “get paid more for doing less” in providing you and your loved ones health care. Under today’s health care system, “a sick patient is a revenue center for a physician, clinic or hospital and is therefore sought after, catered to and welcomed,” Pipes adds. But under the brave, new world of Romneycare/Obamacare, “a patient is a cost center and, over time, the opposite must be true.”
As a result, Pipes concludes, “single payer is the logical, indeed, likely extension of Romney-Obamacare.”
The Bell Actually Tolls for Thee Democrat Party
With Pelosi, Schultz, and Obama in control, today’s Democrat party is transforming itself into an outright socialist party. The die is now being cast to go into next year’s elections with the issues framed around the Republicans calling for taxes and spending to be limited to their historical, postwar levels, as Ryan proposes, and the Democrats calling for higher taxes to finance higher spending.
But there is no way the American people are going to vote for the loss of traditional American freedom and prosperity, and the decline of America that would represent. Even core, base constituencies that the Democrats are relying on for bushels of votes are not for that. Recent immigrants, for example, came to America precisely for that traditional American freedom and prosperity, not to vote for decline into the socialist states they just escaped.
That is why 2012 is shaping up into an even bigger political earthquake than 2010, bigger perhaps even than 1932, leaving the Democrat party restricted to control in a few urban political machines across the country, as America votes overwhelmingly to restore the American Dream.
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