Tag Archives: Health-care

Is there a downside to celebrating homosexuality as normal?

Making sense of the meaning of atheism
When disagreements come up, it’s good to look at what the evidence is

This article from Touchstone magazine has the numbers. The “CDC” is the government-run Centers for Disease Control.

It says:

We don’t hear much about the HIV/AIDS epidemic anymore. When was the last time you read an article either online or in a newspaper of general circulation, or saw a report on a television news program about HIV/AIDS? And yet, with no media attention or public fanfare, Mr. Obama’s proposed 2016 federal budget requests almost $32 billion for HIV/AIDS treatment and research, an increase of 3.1% over the prior year. Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s recent decision finding a fundamental, constitutional “right” to homosexual and lesbian “marriage,” there is a deeply dark and dangerous side to today’s American homosexuality. Since the first cases of what would later become known as AIDS were reported in the United States in June of 1981, more than 1.8 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have been infected with HIV, of whom 658,507 have already died. Today, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) estimates that more than 1,218,400 people aged 13 years and older are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Of those, tragically, the CDC estimates that almost 1 in 8 (156,300 or 12.8%) are unaware of their infection. Homosexual and bisexual men who have sex with men, particularly young African-American men, continue to be the most seriously affected by HIV/AIDS. Over the past decade, approximately 50,000 people are newly infected annually. In 2013, the CDC estimated that 47,352 people were diagnosed with HIV infection, and an additional 26,688 people were diagnosed with full-blown AIDS in the United States. Again, according to the CDC, in 2012, notwithstanding medical advances, an estimated 13,712 people with AIDS died.

Although African-Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 44% of new HIV infections in 2012, and accounted for 41% of people living with HIV/AIDS. Hispanics/Latinos account for 20 percent of people living with HIV infection. Although homosexual and bisexual men who have exchanges of body fluids through anal intercourse and other sexual contact with other men represent a very small proportion of the male population in the United States, the CDC reports that they account for 78 percent of new HIV infections among males, and 63 percent of all new infections. Importantly, in a typical year, the greatest number of new HIV infections occur in younger African-American males aged 13-24. Younger black men accounted for 45% of all new HIV infections among African-Americans, and 55% of new HIV infections among all younger homosexual and bisexual men.

We can all think of behaviors that are not good for people. Suppose you notice your friend has started smoking, or maybe is eating too much and not exercising, or maybe’s she’s getting really thin and not eating enough – if you loved them, you would say something. What if they got defensive and they felt bad about being judged? I still think it’s good to gently but firmly tell the truth.

In my office, I have leftists who often tell me to recycle cans. If I don’t recycle cans, nothing bad will happen to me. But strangely enough, the leftists don’t have anything to say about behaviors that really would hurt me, like homosexuality. Secondhand smoke? They will condemn that. But engaging in risky sexual activity? They want to celebrate that. What sense does this double standard make? Tell people the truth about what behaviors might hurt them, but do it in a gentle way. Don’t just tell someone “it’s wrong”, either. Instead, show them the facts and the sources so they can check out the data for themselves.

Obamacare success: health insurance premiums to rise 20-40 percent in 2016

Obama doesn't have time for national security
Obama on the golf course having fun

This is from the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

They write:

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.
Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

[…]The rate requests are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards that require insurers to accept all applicants, without charging higher prices because of a person’s illness or disability.

Bye-bye private health insurance, hello government-run VA style health care:

In financial statements filed with the government in the last two months, some insurers said that their claims payments totaled not just 80 percent, but more than 100 percent of premiums. And that, they said, is unsustainable.

Here’s Minnesota and Tennessee:

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, for example, the ratio of claims paid to premium revenues was more than 115 percent, and the company said it lost more than $135 million on its individual insurance business in 2014. “Based on first-quarter results,” it said, “the year-end deficit for 2015 individual business is expected to be significantly higher.”

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the largest insurer in the state’s individual market, said its proposed increase of 36 percent could affect more than 209,000 consumers.

Missouri, North Carolina, Kansas:

Coventry Health Care, now owned by Aetna, is seeking rate increases that average 22 percent for 70,000 consumers in Missouri. “The claims experience for these plans has been worse than anticipated,” Coventry reported.

In its proposal to increase rates by an average of 25 percent for more than 397,000 consumers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina cited “inpatient costs, particularly in treatment of cancer and heart conditions, emergency room utilization, and cost for specialty drug medications” to treat hepatitis C, breast cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas sought increases averaging 37 percent for 2016 and said the increase could affect 28,600 consumers.

“Kansans who purchased these individual plans since 2014 were older, in general, than expected and required more medical services than anticipated,” the company told federal health officials.

Wow, so when Obama promised all kinds of new free things, that actually costs money? I can’t believe it. Why didn’t Obama tell us that it would cost more to do all these things he promised, and that we would be stuck with the bill – not him? I thought he was such a generous guy and was going to pay for all this himself. But it turns out that he was just telling you what he was going to buy with your money.

Supreme Court legislates from the bench to save Obamacare, again!

Obamacare premium increases by state
Obamacare premium increases by state (click for larger image)

Ben Shapiro who is a Harvard Law grad has a good summary of Thursday’s awful Supreme Court decision.

He writes:

On Thursday, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision on Obamacare’s IRS subsidies under federal health insurance exchanges. And, as expected, the Court rewrote the statute to help President Obama’s signature law.

[…]In King v. Burwell, four citizens sued over Obamacare, alleging that they had been forced to purchase health insurance; they said that the federal health exchange set up in Virginia in absence of a state-created health exchange under Obamacare did not count as a “state exchange” for purposes of the statute, making it illegal for them to receive federal subsidies for their health insurance. Without the subsidies, they would no longer be required to purchase health insurance, since it would be too expensive.

Now, Obamacare’s language is quite clear: it states that only those who buy insurance via state-run health exchanges may receive federal subsidies. This provision was purposefully designed to incentivize states to set up their own exchanges, in order that politicians could take credit for making health insurance more widely available with the help of the federal government. When states turned down the opportunity to set up such exchanges, the scheme collapsed. Or at least it would have, had not President Obama’s IRS casually rewritten the law, and provided federal health insurance subsidies via the federal health exchanges in violation of both the letter and spirit of the law.

Basically, the Supreme Court judges interpreted “an exchange established by the State” to mean “an exchange established by the State or the Federal Government“. If you think that’s a substantial mistake, you’re right. It’s a complete fabrication, and it amounts to writing legislation on-the-fly to save Obama’s law.

Shapiro again:

Roberts utilized the following logic, direct from the insane asylum:

[W]e must determine whether a Federal Ex- change is “established by the State” for purposes of Section 36B. At the outset, it might seem that a Federal Exchange cannot fulfill this requirement. After all, the Act defines “State” to mean “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia”—a definition that does not include the Federal Government. 42 U. S. C. §18024(d). But when read in context, “with a view to [its] place in the overall statutory scheme,” the meaning of the phrase “established by the State” is not so clear.

Then, for page after dreadful page, Roberts and the Court majority torture the statute, declaring that if it floats, state exchanges will be deemed federal exchanges, and if it sinks, federal exchanges will be declared state exchanges.

Apparently, the plain meaning of the text is not so clear to our nine black-robed oligarchs.

Ben quotes Justice Scalia’s dissent:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so…. Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.

Investors Business Daily says that Obamacare is running into financial struggles. So it’s not just that you can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your health plan, and you have to pay thousands more for health insurance. Now we find out that the rosy fiscal projections for the cost of the law were false.

Looks like we are going to be stuck with Obamacare until we get a Republican President. I think that as more people who get their health care through their employers start to feel the premium pain that self-employed people have already felt. That may be useful for the 2016 election, especially since Hillary has already thrown her support behind Obamacare. Maybe when people are paying double what they used to pay for half as much coverage, then they’ll understand why we do not want government involved in the health care industry.

We have single-payer health care already in the VA system – is it working?

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily.

She writes:

new report from the Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of those it’s supposed to serve.

The GAO has placed the VA’s health system on the “high risk” list of federal programs that are vulnerable to “fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.” The agency is still struggling to recover from an 8-month-old internal audit that revealed that returning soldiers had to wait more than 90 days for care. Some patients died while waiting.

The GAO’s findings apply far beyond the VA. The agency’s problems — which include long wait-times and out-of-control costs — demonstrate what happens in any government-run, single-payer health care system.

The VA’s failings ought to give pause to the liberal politicians and policy analysts who would love to introduce single-payer health care for all Americans. But they don’t seem to have heeded the GAO report. Within a week of its release, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., called for “Medicare for All.”

Champions of socialized medicine used to point to the VA as proof that single-payer worked. In 2011, economist Paul Krugman called it “a huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform.” In a 2009 debate with me, Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt said that there’s an example of a single-payer system in the U.S. that works — the VA.

The VA offers lessons about health reform — just not the ones single-payer’s proponents have in mind.

Defenders of government-run health care claim that it will control costs by cutting out middlemen such as insurance companies. The evidence shows otherwise. According to the GAO, the VA budget more than doubled between 2002 and 2013 even as enrollment increased by less than a third.

Single-payer’s “guarantee” of access to high-quality care is a myth, too.

“Despite these substantial budget increases,” the GAO report says, “for more than a decade there have been numerous reports … of VA facilities failing to provide timely health care.”

Over the last decade, more than 63,000 veterans have been unable to get a doctor’s appointment. At least 40 veterans have died because of long waits.

Things aren’t likely to get better anytime soon. The VA has yet to act on more than 100 GAO recommendations for improving care.

Last summer, lawmakers allocated $10 billion to a program intended to reduce wait times by permitting veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system. So far, the agency has only authorized 31,000 vets to seek private care — out of a possible 8.5 million.

That has to change — 88% of veterans say that they want the ability to choose where they receive their care.

However, there is one military person who is getting health care – convicted traitor Bradley Manning. He’s getting sex-change surgery while he is in jail for leaking national security secrets to our enemies. He won’t have to wait at all for his health care. This is what happens when you take money out of your wallet, give it to the government, and then hope that when you get sick, someone in the government will decide that you are worthy of treatment. Which you aren’t, unless they want your vote.

It’s not just the VA health care system – government-run health care doesn’t work in other places:

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, for instance, is notorious for denying patients everything from certain cancer medications to hip replacements.

The program is also financially unsustainable. According to its own medical director, Bruce Keogh, “if the NHS continues to function as it does now, it’s going to really struggle to cope because the model of delivery and service that we have at the moment is not fit for the future.”

In Canada’s single-payer system, the average wait time between referral from a general practitioner and the actual receipt of treatment by a specialist was more than four months in 2014. That’s nearly double the wait time of two decades ago.

The Canadian system is the one that Democrats want to emulate – but Canada’s rich left-wing politicians come here when they want care. They don’t want to wait in line. Why should we want to wait in line? We need to prefer consumer-driven health care over government-controlled health care.

Obama said Obamacare would not add to the deficit, CBO says it adds $1.35 trillion

In the video above, Obama promised the American people that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit. And the low-information voters who voted for him believed him. Just like they believed that they could keep their doctor, that they could keep their health care plan, that Obamacare would lower the costs of health care, that Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video, and so on.

So how much did Obamacare add to the deficit?

The UK Daily Mail has the latest numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

Truth:

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.

It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.

If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.

Did Obama know that he was lying when he said that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit?

Well, his buddy Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, certainly did:

But we should not be surprised, either by the low intelligence levels of Democrat voters or by the lies of Democrat politicians. After all, they want single payer health care – look what Harry Reid says:

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

And they know – from looking up North to Canada – that single-payer health care will necessarily involve massive increases in taxes.

CTV News describes a recent study on the costs of single-payer health care in Canada:

A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year.

What do you get for $11,786?

You get to be on a waiting list for a primary care physician, and you get to wait months for treatment. You can pay taxes your whole life, and then wait behind people who want sex changes – people who have never paid a dime into the system. And sometimes, you die while waiting for treatment. That’s “fairness” and “equality”. And that’s where the Democrats want to take us.

Remember when Obama said that we could keep our health care plans and our doctors?:

Democrats voters looked at this man, and they just knew – without any studies or any evidence – that he was telling the truth.

But the Congressional Budget Office says that TEN MILLION people will lose their employer health plans under Obama by 2021.

Look:

The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare will push 10 million off employer-based coverage, a tenfold increase from its initial projection. The “keep your plan” lie just gets bigger and bigger.

The latest CBO report is supposed to be a big win for the Obama administration because the projected costs are 20% below what the CBO first projected in 2010.

But the CBO report also shows that ObamaCare will be far more disruptive to the employer-based insurance market, while being far less effective at cutting the ranks of the uninsured, than promised.

Thanks to ObamaCare, the CBO now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021.

This is in addition to the FOUR MILLION who already lost their health care plans in 2013.