Tag Archives: Health-care

Who is better on health care? Republicans (Ted Cruz) or Democrats (Bernie Sanders)?

I noticed that the Democrats are trying to focus on health care in the 2018 mid-terms, so I thought I would re-post a debate on health care between Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. I think debates are always a good idea, because you have to listen to both sides. If you can’t watch the full debate, there’s a good article summarizing the main points further down.

Here is the full video:

It’s 90 minutes long. No commercials. This was basically a debate of similar substance to the William Lane Craig debates, where actual economic evidence was continuously produced in order to show who was telling the truth, and who was just trying to be popular by saying what people who are uneducated at economics want to hear. In short: there was a clear winner and loser in this debate, and it was clear all the way through, and was reinforced over and over every time evidence was produced. The person producing the evidence would turn his back on the camera, and return to his podium to get the evidence. That person won the debate by being grounded in reality.

Also, the questions were excellent, especially from the small business owners who were impacted by Obamacare. The moderators were biased towards Sanders, but not excessively.

For those who cannot watch, there is an article at the Daily Signal.

Full text:

In a prime-time debate on CNN this week, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, discussed “The Future of Obamacare” in America. Cruz, a leading critic of the law, used the moment to outline the law’s failures.

Here are four things Cruz said about Obamacare:

1) “Now, nobody thinks we’re done once Obamacare is repealed. Once Obamacare is repealed, we need commonsense reform that increases competition, that empowers patients, that gives you more choices, that puts you in charge of your health care, rather than empowering government bureaucrats to get in the way. And these have been commonsense ideas.”

2) “Indeed, I don’t know if the cameras can see this, but in 70 percent of the counties in America, on Obamacare exchanges, you have a choice of one or two health insurance plans, that’s it … It’s interesting. You look at this map, this also very much looks like the electoral map that elected Donald Trump. It’s really quite striking that the communities that have been hammered by this disaster of a law said enough already.”

During one of the more powerful moments in the debate, Cruz held up aHeritage Foundation chart showing viewers how many counties in the U.S. have access to only one or two insurers under Obamacare. Additionally, only 11 percent of counties have access to four or more insurance providers.

3) “Whenever you put government in charge of health care, what it means is they ration. They decide you get care and you don’t. I don’t think the government has any business telling you you’re not entitled to receive health care.”

The U.S. should not envy other health care systems, especially Canada and the United Kingdom, Cruz said. He referred to a governor from Canada who came to the U.S. specifically to have heart surgery.

4) “That’s why I think the answer is not more of Obamacare, more government control, more of what got us in this mess. Rather, the answer is empower you. Give you choices. Lower prices. Lower premiums. Lower deductibles. Empower you and put you back in charge of your health care.”

Obamacare is burdening Americans. The average deductible for a family on a bronze plan is $12,393, according to a HealthPocket analysis. According to aneHealth report, the average nationwide premium increase for individuals is 99 percent and 140 percent for families from 2013-2017.

I really recommend you watch this debate, because it these things were done on a weekly or monthly basis, then people would be able to think critically about what they are presented with from the mainstream media, Hollywood elites and liberal academics.

Abortion debate: a secular case against legalized abortion

Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old
Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old

Note: this post has a twin! Its companion post on a secular case against gay marriage is here.

Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.

To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:

  1. The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
  2. There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
  3. None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.

Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.

Defending point 1: Well, it is pretty obvious that the unborn child is not inanimate matter. It is definitely living and growing through all 9 months of pregnancy. (Click here for a video that shows what a baby looks like through all 9 months of pregnancy). Since it has human DNA, that makes it a human. And its DNA is different from either its mother or father, so it clearly not just a tissue growth of the father or the mother. More on this point at Christian Cadre, here. An unborn child cannot be the woman’s own body, because then the woman would have four arms, four legs, two heads, four eyes and two different DNA signatures. When you have two different human DNA signatures, you have two different humans.

Secondly, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the unborn that is not yet present or developed while it is still in the womb, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, it does not deserve the protection of the law.

Defending point 2: You need to show that the unborn are not different from the already-born in any meaningful way. The main differences between them are: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependence. Once these characteristics are identified, you can explain that none of these differences provide moral justification for terminating a life. For example, babies inside and outside the womb have the same value, because location does not change a human’s intrinsic value.

Additionally, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the already-born that is not yet present or developed in the unborn, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, that it does not deserve protection, (e.g. – sentience). Most of the these objections that you may encounter are refuted in this essay by Francis Beckwith. Usually these objections fall apart because they assume the thing they are trying to prove, namely, that the unborn deserves less protection than the already born.

Finally, the pro-abortion debater may conceded your points 1 and 2, and admit that the unborn is fully human. But they may then try to provide a moral justification for terminating the life of the unborn, regardless.

Defending point 3: I fully grant that it is sometimes justifiable to terminate an innocent human life, if there is a moral justification. Is there such a justification for abortion? One of the best known attempts to justify abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “violinist” argument. This argument is summarized by Paul Manata, one of the experts over at Triablogue:

Briefly, this argument goes like this: Say a world-famous violinist developed a fatal kidney ailment and the Society of Music Lovers found that only you had the right blood-type to help. So, they therefore have you kidnapped and then attach you to the violinist’s circulatory system so that your kidneys can be used to extract the poison from his. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be to kill him; therefore, pro-lifers would say a person has to stay attached against her will to the violinist for 9 months. Thompson says that it would be morally virtuous to stay plugged-in. But she asks, “Do you have to?” She appeals to our intuitions and answers, “No.”

Manata then goes on to defeat Thomson’s proposal here, with a short, memorable illustration, which I highly recommend that you check out. More info on how to respond to similar arguments is here.

Here is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view.

For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Canadian hospital denies man’s requests for assisted care, offers him euthanasia instead

Killing patients is an easy way to keep costs down
How much does “free” health care cost in Canada’s single-payer system?

On this blog, I’ve been consistently opposed to government intervention in health care. I arrived at this position by looking at how health care works in government-run systems like the UK’s NHS and Canada’s single-payer health care system. We’ve already discussed how NHS hospitals were paid bonuses if they got more patients to die. Now Canada is doing it.

This story is from the far-left CTV News, one of Canada’s national television news providers.

Excerpt:

An Ontario man suffering from an incurable neurological disease has provided CTV News with audio recordings that he says are proof that hospital staff offered him medically assisted death, despite his repeated requests to live at home.

Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.

Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs, and prevents him from independently performing daily tasks.

In his lawsuit, Foley claims that a government-selected home care provider had previously left him in ill health with injuries and food poisoning. He claims that he has been denied the right to self-directed care, which allows certain patients to take a central role in planning and receiving personal and medical services from the comfort of their own homes.

[…]He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre, where he has been stuck in a hospital bed for more than two years.

In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a “forced discharge,” with threats of a hefty hospital bill.

When Foley asks the man how much he’d have to pay to remain in hospital, the man replies, “I don’t know what the exact number is, but it is north of $1,500 a day.”

[…]“Roger, this is not my show,” the man replies. “I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying.”

In a separate audio recording from January 2018, another man is heard asking Foley how he’s doing and whether he feels like he wants to harm himself.

Foley tells the man that he’s “always thinking I want to end my life” because of the way he’s being treated at the hospital and because his requests for self-directed care have been denied.

The man is then heard telling Foley that he can “just apply to get an assisted, if you want to end your life, like you know what I mean?”

And how has the government responded to the audio recordings? The same way you would expect any government to respond – with silence:

“I have not received the care that I need to relieve my suffering and have only been offered assisted dying.  I have many severe disabilities and I am fully dependent. With the remaining time I have left, I want to live with dignity and live as independently as possible.”

Lawyers for the hospital were sent the audio excerpts on July 19.  Foley and his lawyer have not received a response.

CTV News also asked the hospital for a statement. The hospital has not responded.

This isn’t the customer service that you would get in a capitalist free market where private sector businesses have to compete on price and quality for your dollars. This is single-payer health care. They have your money already, and they know that you can’t go anywhere else, except to leave the country. The response of the government-run health care system to requests for better care is “go kill yourself, we already have your money”.

And a lot of patients in Canada are being killed.

Wesley J. Smith explains:

Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by Supreme Court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.

Nearly 2,000 were killed in 2017, not including a few territories that did not report figures and assuming all euthanasia deaths were reported. All but one of these deaths resulted from a lethal jab — homicide — at the patients’ request.

[…]Note that as is the usual case, the number of doctor-facilitated deaths has increased steadily since legalization. For example, there were more than 200 more such deaths in the last six months of last year than the first.

The recordings help to explain what the phrase “at the patients’ request” really means.

Previously, I blogged about how the lack of money for palliative care is behind Canada’s push to “suggest” euthanasia to patients who ask for better palliative care. Again, what leverage do you have if you already paid them your money in taxes? You have no leverage, and they know that.

This is what happens when government taxes people when they are well, and then decides later who to give health care to, based on the politicians deciding whose votes to buy. Naturally, the young people with less problems are given “health care”, e.g. – contraceptives. abortions, sex changes, IVF, breast enlargements – because they have lots of voting ahead of them. The older people get asked to kill themselves for the good of those running this vote-buying operation.

New study: “Medicare For All” would cost $32.6 trillion, but it’s actually more

A Christian friend of mine who is divorced with children surprised me by telling me that she favored single payer health-care. I asked her if she realized that people would have to be taxed to pay for all this free health care, and she seemed to be aware of it. But even I didn’t realize how much it would really cost.

Investor’s Business Daily reports on a couple of recent studies – one from the left, and one from the far-left – that both agreed on the price tag for universal health care.

Excerpt:

Last year, 16 Senators, including three presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored Sanders’ “Medicare for all” bill. And earlier this month, more than 70 Democrats signed on to form a “Medicare for all” caucus. Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.

Do they have any idea what they’re endorsing?

A new study out Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that Sanders plan would add to federal spending in its first 10 years, with costs steadily rising from there. That closely matches other studies — including one by the liberal Urban Institute — that looked at Sanders’ plan.

To put this in perspective, “Medicare for all” would the size of the already bloated federal government. Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.

Even this is wildly optimistic. To get to this number, author Charles Blahous had to make several completely unrealistic assumptions about savings under Sanders’ hugely disruptive plan.

The first is a massive cut in payments to providers. Sanders wants to apply Medicare’s below-market rates across the board, which would amount to a roughly 40% cut in payments to doctors and hospitals. Blahous figures this will save hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

But cuts of that magnitude would drive doctors out of medicine and hospitals out of business, since the only way providers can afford Medicare’s cut-rate reimbursements today is by charging private payers more.

The study also assumes that shoving everyone into a government health care plan would cut administrative costs by $1.6 trillion over the next decade and prescription drug costs by $846 billion. Neither of those are likely, and wouldn’t make much of a difference in overall spending anyway. Private insurance overhead accounts for about 6% of national health spending, and drugs less than 10%.

There’s also the fact that every other federal health program has seen costs explode “unexpectedly” after they were enacted. The per-enrollee cost of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, for example, is almost 49% higher than expected. Medicare itself cost nearly 10 times as much as projected in its first 25 years.

The author of the Mercatus study was nominated Barack Obama to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds. That might explain his questionable assumptions about costs. And the Urban Institute is even further to the left. There can be no doubt that the true cost of the Sanders health care plan would be much higher than what these two studies calculated it to be.

Now, you might think that we can just tax the people who earn the most money to pay for all this spending.

In 2012, John Stossel wrote this in Forbes:

If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion.

In 2011, the Tax Foundation explained that even if you taxed ALL THE DISPOSABLE INCOME from all the people who make $200,000 or more, you would only raise $1.53 trillion dollars:

There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand.

[…]After everyone making more than $200,000/year has paid taxes, the IRS would need to take every single penny of disposable income they have left. Such an act would raise approximately $1.53 trillion. It may be economically ruinous, but at least this proposal would actually solve the problem.

Taxing the rich isn’t enough to pay for single payer health care. $32.6 trillion over 10 years works out to $3.26 trillion per year. We’re not going to pay that off even with $1.53 trillion a year of additional revenue. And this is assuming that the wealthy would just allow themselves to be made into slaves, and keep working even if the government takes all their money.

Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues
Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues

Who is going to pay for all the spending we already have scheduled? As the graph above shows, things are going to get worse in the future as the big entitlement programs pay out more than current tax rates take in. I’m sure glad that I’m going to be retiring before 2032, and I’m not going to be stuck with the bill for this. It’s one thing for me to get out of bed every morning to be paid only 75% of what I earn. I certainly wouldn’t want to be working if the tax rates here were more like Europe, so that I’d be taking home less than half of what I earn. No thank you!

By the way, it might be a good idea to think about whether you want to have children or not before you vote. Children are expensive, and if we keep electing the big spenders like Obama, then there isn’t going to be any money left over to run a family and raise kids. Think about it before you vote with your feelings only.

Patient-killing replacing palliative care in Canada’s single payer health care system

Killing patients is an easy way to keep costs down
Killing patients is an easy way to keep costs down

Canada has a pure single-payer health care system. That means that Canadians are taxed (average family pays $12,057 per year), and then the government decides who will get health care. As you might expect, when health care is free, the demand for it goes up. In order to cut costs, Canada decided to stop treating the elderly.

Here’s an article from Canada’s far-left Maclean’s magazine.

Excerpt:

Canadians were asked in 2016 to accept what is now called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) as standard practice in the health-care system. But as the second anniversary of the federal law sanctioning assisted suicide passes this month, ambiguities embedded in the new regulatory regime are turning end-of-life care into a troubling leap of faith for doctors and patients alike.

Even the Collège des Médicins in Quebec, which sped ahead with its own statute in advance of Ottawa’s Bill C-14, has sounded a strong warning note about patients “choosing” medical assistance in dying purely because their preference for palliative care isn’t available.

That’s Quebec, but there’s more patient-killing going on at the other end of the country in British Columbia:

At the other end of the country in British Columbia, an active proponent of MAiD, acknowledges that she, too, struggled to adapt to the vagueness of the federal law. Dr. Ellen Wiebe says she ultimately concluded she would have to rely on her personal best judgment about whether or not to administer death.

Although there is a shortage of funding for palliative care in Canada, there’s lots of money available for abortions, sex changes, IVF, etc.

I was able to find out about Dr. Wiebe’s worldview from another earlier 2016 article in the far-left Maclean’s magazine:

Much of Wiebe’s 40-year career as a family physician she has spent doing abortions, including at Vancouver’s first abortion clinic, as well as patient advocacy and pioneering abortion drug research.

[…]She was raised in a Mennonite family in Abbotsford, B.C., and Wiebe says,“I know my Bible pretty well. I could quote it, no problem.” Her mother was a homemaker, and her father was a teacher who worked for the Canadian International Development Agency, which meant Wiebe and her three siblings spent parts of their childhood in Asia and Africa with them. They were “wonderful people who loved life,” says Wiebe of her parents, and their Christian beliefs were an “important part of their lives for everything and anything.” But as Wiebe moved through adolescence—precociously so, finishing high school at 15—she abandoned her faith. “I lost all my religiosity by the age of 17,” says Wiebe. “It was just part of being in university, questioning and wondering and learning who you are.”

Looks like her parents were more focused on doing good things for the poor in foreign countries, than on teaching their own child apologetics. Abbotsford is a very conservative and beautiful part of Canada. She must have had an ideal childhood.

The Heritage Foundation notes that in the Netherlands, voluntary euthanasia has already turned into involuntary euthanasia:

For example, euthana­sia is often promoted by its champions as a last resort to alleviate suffering, but the Netherlands already has moved “from assisted suicide to eutha­nasia, from euthanasia for the terminally ill to euthanasia for the chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress and from voluntary euthanasia to nonvol­untary and involuntary euthanasia.” Such “ter­mination without request or consent” has been applied to Dutch infants as well. The concern has been that public health system rationing may exert pressure not just to limit spending on certain indi­viduals, but also, either subtly or overtly, to coerce them to be euthanized.

And I’ve already blogged about how the UK’s government-run NHS system pays hospitals bounties for putting patient on an end-of-life track. The new guidelines are even worse, as the UK Telegraph reports:

New NHS guidelines on “end of life” care are worse than the Liverpool Care Pathway and could push more patients to an early grave, a leading doctor has warned.

Prof Patrick Pullicino, one of the first medics to raise concerns over the pathway, said the national proposals would encourage hospital staff to guess who was dying, in the absence of any clear evidence, and to take steps which could hasten patients’ death.

The Liverpool Care Pathway – which meant fluids and treatment could be withdrawn, and sedation given to the dying – was officially phased out last year, on the orders of ministers.
It followed concern that under the protocols, thirsty patients had been denied water and left desperately sucking at sponges.

There’s government run health care for you.

I’m writing about this patient-killing issue today because I think it’s interesting to think about what health care is like in a country that is basically run by atheists, like Canada is. I personally would not like to be forced to pay taxes to pay the salary of a someone like Wiebe, and let her be in charge of my life.