Tag Archives: Single-Payer

Accountability: VA officials who were suspended with pay return to work

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

This is from the Washington Free Beacon.

Excerpt:

Veterans’ Affairs health system in Phoenix, Arizona, who were suspended following revelations of fake waitlists and delayed patient care will return to agency jobs Monday.

The Arizona Republic reported:

Lance Robinson, associate director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, will be assigned as a planner at the VA’s southwest regional office in Gilbert, known as VISN 18, according to spokeswoman Jean Schaefer. Brad Curry, the system’s chief of Health Administration Services, will serve as a data analyst. The two men have been focal points in a controversy over the VA’s perceived failure to hold leaders accountable for mismanagement and misconduct that caused a breakdown in care for veterans in Arizona and nationwide.

Robinson and Curry were placed on paid leave and given termination notices in May 2014. During their suspensions, they have been given hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and benefits.

[…]Thousands of veterans were placed on fake waitlists at VA hospitals in recent years. Dozens of veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix hospital.

Let’s review what the problem is, using this article from Breitbart News.

Excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs office Inspector General has released a report revealing that about 307,000 sick veterans have died while waiting for care on the VA’s eligibility waiting list. In fact, the report finds that many have been dead for more than four years.

Now, what does Hillary Clinton think of the VA scandal? Is it a serious issue?

Not so much:

She says: “It’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be”.

Donald Trump would expand Obamacare into single-payer health care system

Let’s take a look at how well a policy he supports – single payer health care – is working in Canada, where it’s been the law of the land for decades.

First, let’s see Trump explain his view on single payer health care in his own words:

When government pays for all the health care provisioning, we call that a single-payer system. And Trump is for it – that clip is from September 27, 2015. In the Fox News debate in August, he said that single payer health care “works in Canada“.

So, let’s go and see what the Canadians are saying about their single payer system, by looking a wide variety of stories from last month from a wide variety of Canadian news sources, covering a wide variety of Canadian provinces.

First, let’s start on the west coast, and then work our way east.

The Vancouver Sun reports on British Columbia wait times:

Median waiting times from referral by family doctor to treatment are 22.4 weeks, or almost six months in B.C., longer than all provinces except those in Atlantic Canada, according to the 25th annual survey of 2,382 medical specialists.

And waits between the first appointment with a specialist and getting treatment are 14 weeks in B.C., the highest since the survey began. The doctors who take the survey are asked to give their best estimates of waits for care.

The government-run CBC, reporting on Manitoba health care:

Manitoba has been given a failing and a near-failing grade for prostate and breast cancer treatment wait times by Canada’s Wait Times Alliance.

The group released their annual wait time report card on Tuesday, giving Manitoba an F for wait times for radiation and curative care treatment for prostate cancer and a D for the same treatments for breast cancer.

Manitoba has received an F for prostate cancer treatment wait times for more than five years, and a D in breast cancer treatment wait times for the past four years.

The Globe and Mail reports on the city of Winnipeg:

New data shows Winnipeg hospitals still have the longest emergency room wait times in Canada.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says Winnipeg’s six emergency rooms all came in below average on the time it takes 90 per cent of patients to see a doctor after they check into an emergency room.

The average for the Winnipeg Health Region as a whole is 5.7 hours compared to the Canadian average of 3.1 hours.

And the Montreal Gazette reports on the province of Quebec:

Quebec reported the steepest increase this year of any province in wait times for medical imaging scans in Canada — a finding that suggests the public system is being stretched to the limit, a national survey reveals.

The 25th annual survey by the Fraser Institute found that the median wait time in hospital for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in Quebec jumped to 12 weeks this year from eight in 2014. By comparison, the median wait time for an MRI is five weeks in Ontario, unchanged from last year.

Wait times increased slightly for other medical imaging in Quebec, going up from four to five weeks for both ultrasounds and CT (computerized tomography) scans.

Investors Business Daily also wrote about this and had a helpful chart breaking down how long people are waiting for treatment:

Single-payer health care wait times in Canada
Single-payer health care wait times in Canada

Canada also has a well-known doctor shortage. Their way of controlling costs is to limit the number of people who can practice medicine, so less care can be billed to the government. Get in line, and if you die waiting for treatment, that’s great for them – less money to pay. After all, they get to keep all the taxes they took from you during your life, and now they don’t have to give you anything back since YOU’RE DEAD.

Trump says that single-payer “works in Canada”. Does this look like it is working to you? Would you be willing to have 45% of your income go to federal, provincial, municipal income and sales taxes so that you could get in line in a system like this? This is Trump’s ideal, is it your ideal?

If you want to see what Canadian health care is really like on the ground, check out this video of Steven Crowder trying to get health care in the province of Quebec:

That’s what Donald Trump thinks is working. His past statements about being “very pro-choice”, and about same-sex marriage being “the law of the land” and about single payer and amnesty make him out to be a Democrat. He has never put effort into any conservative initiative on any conservative issue since the day he was born. He has been a Democrat, has donated to Democrats, including many, many donations to the Clintons. Only a complete idiot could support a Democrat in the Republican primary, especially when there were so many conservatives who fought and suffered for conservative issues in the past, e.g. – Perry, Jindal, Walker and Cruz.

As for his experience with making money, he inherited all his money, and he is worth $10 billion less today than he would have been if he had just invested his silver spoon inheritance in index funds. He knows less about politics than you do. He has gone bankrupt more times than you have. He is less good at making money than you are. He was born wealthy. He has no idea what conservatives believe. He is not conservative now, never has been conservative, and never will be conservative. You cannot choose a candidate by listening to mere words, you have to look at evidence, you have to look at accomplishments.

Hillary Clinton downplays VA scandal: 307,000 veterans died on VA waiting lists

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

Before we find out what Hillary Clinton thinks of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal, let’s find out what the problem is, using this article from Breitbart News.

Excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs office Inspector General has released a report revealing that about 307,000 sick veterans have died while waiting for care on the VA’s eligibility waiting list. In fact, the report finds that many have been dead for more than four years.
The report confirms the worst-case scenarios about the long VA wait times that have made news reports and sparked questions in Congress since last year.

On Wednesday, the OIG revealed that of the 800,000-some records stalled in the VA’s health care enrollment system, 307,000 veterans have already died anywhere from months ago to more than four years ago.

“As of September 2014, more than 307,000 pending [enrollment system] records, or about 35 percent of all pending records, were for individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration,” the report discovered.

But even that number was disputable because the VA’s databases are in such disarray.

“[D]ue to data limitations, we could not determine specifically how many pending [enrollment system] records represent veterans who applied for health care benefits,” the report continued. “These conditions occurred because the enrollment program did not effectively define, collect, and manage enrollment data.”

The study resulted after whistleblowers warned of the utter mismanagement at the Veteran Affairs offices that included incorrectly making unprocessed applications and the deletion of thousands of records over at least the last five years.

The OIG found one veteran who had been on a waiting list for 14 years and another veteran who died in 1988 but still had unprocessed applications in the VA system.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center, told CNN that millions of veterans are still at risk because of these failures.

“People who fought, and who earned the right to VA health care were never given VA health care,” Davis said. “They literally died while waiting for VA to process their health care application.”

Now let’s see what Hillary Clinton said about the VA scandal.

Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help
Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help

Here she is, in her own words, before a friendly audience:

She says this about the VA problems: “It’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be”.

Single-payer health care

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily, about the VA single-payer health care system.

She writes:

A 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.

[…]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.”

[..]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.

The VA health care system is the purest single-payer health care system in the United States. Every claim billed and processed by the government. Customers have ZERO CHOICES if they want to go to a competitor for better service, or less cost. They pay their money to the government in mandatory taxes, and then take their places in line to wait for bureaucrats to act. Bureaucrats face no pressure from competitors to perform for their customers. They have already been paid, and their customers cannot go anywhere else.

In single-payer system, health care is doled out to those customers whose votes are desired by the government. And if you get to the point where you need more health care than you are paying for in your mandatory in taxes… well, that’s what euthanasia is for. It’s very popular in countries that have single-payer, as a way of cutting costs. Canada has a single-payer system, and they just legalized euthanasia.

Donald Trump should be running as a Democrat, he has no conservative views

Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants
Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants

I’ve been trying not to pay attention to the fact that a leftist is leading the Republican primary. You see, I’m actually familiar with Trump’s previous positions on things like taxes (he’s for raising them), partial-birth abortion, i.e. – infanticide (he supports it), amnesty (he’s for that), government-run health care (he’s for it)… and so on. In fact, Donald Trump’s record is not conservative on a single issue. He has never advocated for conservative policies. Not one. He’s a leftist, through and through.

What this 90-second video, showing Trump in his own words:

Leftist clowns like him do not change their positions short of some serious study, and there is no evidence that he has studied a thing.

Here’s Jonah Goldberg writing in National Review to express how frustrating it is to people like me who prefer conservative candidates who have actual records of achievement on conservative issues.

Jonah says:

Yes, I know Trump has declared himself pro-life. Good for him — and congratulations to the pro-life movement for making that the price of admission. But I’m at a total loss to understand why serious pro-lifers take him at his word. He’s been all over the place on Planned Parenthood, and when asked who he’d like to put on the Supreme Court, he named his pro-choice-extremist sister.

Is that real? Yes, you can read about it here. Trump has no pro-life record. You cannot believe anything that a person running for office says during his campaign speeches. We already had that happen when Obama promised so many things in speeches that he never delivered on. And yet here we are in a GOP primary and a bunch of lazy Republican voters are just believing everything that a candidate says, and not looking at his actual record.

More from Jonah:

In his embarrassing interview with Hugh Hewitt last night, Trump revealed he knows less than most halfway-decent D.C. interns about foreign policy. Twitter lit up with responses about how it doesn’t matter and how it was a gotcha interview. They think that Trump’s claim that he’ll just go find a Douglas MacArthur to fix the problem is brilliant. Well, I’m all in favor of finding a Douglas MacArthur, but if you don’t know anything about foreign policy, the interview process will be a complete disaster. Yes, Reagan delegated. But he knew enough to know to whom to delegate.

Yeah, guess what? A clown like Donald Trump knows nothing about foreign policy. He could not tell the difference between Iran’s Quds force and the Kurds in northern Iraq. I am only a software engineer, and even I have blogged about the Quds force, and their leader many, many times. I understand that lay people don’t need to know about the Quds force, or the threat they pose to us, but presidential candidates do need to know. Trump’s ignorance on national security and foreign policy ought to terrify us. We can’t afford to elect someone completely unqualified.

More from Jonah:

If you want a really good sense of the damage Donald Trump is doing to conservatism, consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare. Opposition to socialized medicine in general has been a core tenet of American conservatism from Day One. Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.

I blogged before about the horrors of government-run health care in Canada and the UK. And yet the TV-watching clowns who support Trump cannot be bothered to look at the research. If Trump praises single-payer health care (and he has), does that one sentence from a clown override the good, solid data from studies? Are Republican voters too busy watching TV to do any research? Or do we just accept whatever a “confident” clown tells us without looking at the evidence for ourselves? Can facts be established by a clown’s confident words?

You know, I really thought that we were electing the leader of the free world here. Someone who has a record of moving laws and policies that solve the actual problems we are facing: Iran nuclear weapons, loss of religious liberty, abortion, gay marriage, demographic crisis, $18.5 trillion dollar debt, record low labor force participation, aging ballistic missile submarine fleet, only 10 carrier strike groups, aggression from Iran, Russia and China, rising health care costs, rising tuition costs, poorly-educated young Americans who can’t find work, aging Minuteman ICBMs, declining entrepreneurship because of over-regulation, Obamacare, Social Security funding, Medicare funding, welfare reform, Keystone pipeline, and on and on and on. I didn’t realize that we were so pleased with the last incompetent comedian we elected that we want to elect another one. Is this a serious country? Or do we think that presidential elections are for our amusement?

I really recommend that you take a look at this article from the leftist Washington Post, which looks over some of Trump’s past words, past actions, and past affiliations. In it, you will find that Trump does not have any record of achievements as a Republican. He just hasn’t moved the conservative ball forward in any way, shape or form.

Look:

Abortion

Then: On “Meet The Press” in 1999, Trump said he was “very pro-choice.” “I hate the concept of abortion,” he said. “I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. … but I just believe in choice.”
Now: In an interview with Bloomberg Politics in January, Trump said, “I’m pro-life and I have been pro-life.” He said he believed there should be exceptions in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Healthcare

Then: In an interview with Larry King in 1999, Trump said he was “very liberal when it comes to health care” and that he believes in “universal healthcare.”
Now: During his announcement, he called Obamacare “a disaster called the big lie” and said the deductibles were so high they were “virtually useless.”

Hillary Clinton

Then: Either Trump or his son donated to Clinton in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, he invited her to his 2005 wedding in Florida, where she sat front row, and he’s donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. He also said in an appearance on the Howard Stern show in the mid-2000s that she was a fantastic senator.
Now: On NBC on Wednesday, he called Clinton “the worst secretary of state in the history of our nation” and said she would be “a terrible president.”

The Stream has an article talking about where candidates stand on de-funding of Planned Parenthood. All the Republican candidates who have addressed the issue are either clearly for de-funding Planned Parenthood (Cruz, Carson, Fiorina, etc.), or even better – they’ve actually done it as governor (e.g. – Jindal, Walker, Perry, Bush, etc.). Trump is the only one who has waffled on the issue, which is not surprising given his past statements on abortion. Republican voters – there is a huge difference between “I de-funded Planned Parenthood as governor” and clowning in front of cameras. When assessing candidates, we have to look at the past record of the candidates, not their words during a campaign.

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.