Tag Archives: Health-care

Trump takes action on unemployment, healthcare, environment, refugees, adoption

I have a Canadian friend named McKenzie who sometimes reviews my blog post drafts. She usually says the same two things: 1) this post should be one third as long as it is, and 2) don’t tell me any more about why Democrats are bad, tell me why Republicans are good. So, in this post, I will tell you 5 reasons why Republicans are good, all from news stories about events from the last week alone.

Let’s start with healthcare. I’ve been bashing Elizabeth Warren on healthcare for a couple of posts. What are the Republicans going to do about healthcare?

Here’s Daily Signal:

The White House is making a strong push against Democrats’ “Medicare for All” proposal, laying out a “Health Care for You” agenda to boost competition and transparency, lower prescription prices, and produce greater affordability in health-related costs.

[…]The White House also has touted $6 billion spent over two years to target opioid addiction. This has contributed to a decrease in opioid deaths for the first time in almost two decades, officials say.

[…]Prescription prices are declining to levels not seen since the 1960s, according to the White House.

The Trump administration reduced approval times for medicines regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Trump signed into law Right-to-Try legislation to allow critically ill patients to access potentially lifesaving medicines that haven’t yet been fully approved by the FDA.

Trump also signed a $1 billion increase in funding for researching Alzheimer’s disease and launched the End HIV/AIDS in America Initiative to stop transmission of the AIDS virus in the nation by 2030.

The president last year signed the VA MISSION Act, which reforms existing programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide more care for veterans in the communities where they live, with the aim of minimizing travel. The measure includes paying for veterans to get medical care outside VA facilities and also established walk-in community clinics for veterans.

Are Republicans doing anything to earn the votes of black Americans in 2020?

Breitbart reports:

The unemployment rate for African Americans fell to 5.4 percent in October, the lowest level on record.
This is the third consecutive month of record-low unemployment. September’s 5.5 percent matched the record set in August.

The unemployment rate for black men hit a record low of 5.1 percent, down three-tenths from the month prior. That was lower than the previous record low of 5.2 set in December 1973.

OK, I have white Democrat co-workers who think that this is proof of Trump’s racism. Not kidding. But I think it’s good.

But what about restrictions on energy production? We don’t want to end up with blackouts like those Democrats in California, do we?

The Daily Signal reports:

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose easing rules on disposal of coal ash, the residue from burning coal, to make it less likely the federal government would shutter a coal-fired utility plant, in an announcement set for Monday.

The move is part of what has been a larger deregulation push by the Trump administration to roll back strict Obama-era regulations that the industry viewed as the previous administration’s “war on coal,” that pushed to shut down many coal-fired power plants.

[…]Coal ash is frequently recycled, and used as material for wallboard and concrete. Thus, according to the EPA, the rule could provide more resources for building the nation’s highways and for agricultural purposes. Coal ash reuse also conserves natural resources and provides viable alternatives to disposal, the agency contends.

“This demonstrates our support for reuse of coal ash,” Wright said.

More than 500 units at approximately 260 coal-fired facilities may be impacted by Monday’s proposed rule, according to the EPA.

More coal means lower energy costs, and recycling coal by-products to build and repair highways sounds good.

But what about life issues? What is Trump doing about abortion?

The Daily Signal reports:

Under a proposed new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday, the federal government no longer will withhold federal grant money from faith-based adoption providers that won’t compromise their views on same-sex marriage.

[…]The proposed HHS rule clarifies that the federal government won’t discriminate against charitable organizations that don’t handle adoptions for same-sex couples when it comes to allocating federal grants. The proposed rule clarifies all federal nondiscrimination laws enacted by Congress will be enforced in awarding grants. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not currently covered under nondiscrimination laws enacted by Congress.

OK, it’s hard to deny that more adoption means less abortions. It certainly won’t hurt to make it easier for adoption agencies to place unwanted children in loving homes.

OK, fine, but what about the refugees? There is a crime epidemic going on in Europe, because they keep welcoming in low-skilled non-English-speakers into their country, without checking them properly for risk factors.

Daily Wire reports:

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the administration was restricting the intake of refugees into the United States to the lowest-level on record under the current refugee system.

In a memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump announced that he was setting the refugee cap at 18,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2020 — 12,000 lower than Trump’s cap for Fiscal Year 2019, and “the lowest number since the modern refugee system was created nearly 40 years ago,” The Washington Times reported.

The Trump administration reportedly considered going even lower when they first entertained the idea over the summer, cutting the number all the way down to nearly zero.

I remember when Obama wanted the cap set to 110,000 refugees. But he didn’t want them to live in his mansion or pay with him with his own money. He wanted them to live next to your children’s school, and pay for them with your money. So compassionate! Refugees are a problem for private voluntary charities, not for government, paid for by taxpayers who can barely make ends meet already.

Well, so I guess we do have reasons for wanting to elect Republicans in 2020! If you agree, then share the post! We can’t ALWAYS be relying on attacking Democrats to reach the people in the middle who decide elections. We have to tell them what Republicans will do that is different from what Democrats will do.

How will Elizabeth Warren pay for her $52 trillion government-run health care plan?

So, in yesterday’s post, we talked about our current budget of $4 trillion dollars, our $3 trillion of revenues, our $1 trillion annual budget deficit, and our $23 trillion in accumulated national debt. We also talked about how Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan would add $5.2 trillion to our annual budget, and how we only get about $2 trillion in revenue if we take almost everything the wealthiest taxpayers earn.

Warren likes to talk about how her plan will reduce health care costs. She thinks that government workers (think of the DMV and the post office) will be more efficient about increasing quality and reducing costs than the private sector (think of Apple and Amazon) is. Is she correct?

Let’s take a look at this article from Reason:

Warren and her defenders will likely try to shift the discussion back to total costs, but that’s just a way of repeating the dodge that has dogged her campaign for much of the year. Warren will no doubt claim that costs would go down under her plan, but there are reasons to doubt this, including an analysis from health care economist Kenneth Thorpe finding that under a Sanders-style plan, more than 70 percent of people who currently have private insurance would see costs increase, as well as an Urban Institute analysis projecting that single-payer plans would raise national health care spending by $7 trillion over a decade.

There isn’t any magic in Warren’s plan that would lover the costs to the point where the middle class would not have to pay for her spending:

Indeed, much of Warren’s plan is based on unlikely, and at times outright fantastical, assumptions about what sort of additional revenue could be raised, what health care costs could be contained, and what might be politically feasible. Among other things, she proposes raising $400 billion by passing comprehensive immigration reform, which, given the politics of immigration policy, is only a little more realistic than planning to pay off your mortgage by winning the lottery. The Washington Examiner‘s Philip Klein has published a useful roundup of Warren’s less plausible ideas; the takeaway is that even if Warren somehow managed to raise the enormous amounts of tax she proposes, it probably would still not be anywhere close to enough to finance her plan. (More on this in a future post.)

In some ways, Warren’s plan amounts to a list of technically sophisticated magic asterisks. It is as much an attempt to obscure the economic and political feasibility of passing and implementing a single-payer health care plan as a good-faith attempt to describe what it would practically require.

Yet in another way, it reveals something about both Warren and the economic reality of single-payer: Despite running a campaign based on wonky academic credentials and detail-oriented policy chops, Warren has, until now, repeatedly refused to directly answer questions about precisely how she would finance Medicare for All and whether she would foist new taxes on the middle class. Turns out she didn’t dodge the question because the answer was complex or hard to explain. She dodged it because the answer was so simple it could be expressed in a single word: yes.

So, let’s just state the obvious. We’re talking about a person who pretended to be an Indian in order to get into Harvard, and who lied about being fired from her teaching job for being pregnant. If we’re looking at her education, we don’t find any evidence that she understands health care policy, or even basic economics. If we’re looking at her work experience, there’s no evidence there that she was ever able to produce results in health care administration. There are people who have been able to reform health care in a way that reduces costs, reduces taxes, improves quality of care, and covers more people. But not Elizabeth Warren.

Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)

Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)

What about Canada?

I think it’s worth remembering how much government-run health care costs in countries that have adopted “Medicare for All” plans.

I found two interesting studies from Canada’s Angus Reid Institute describing single payer health care in Canada. I’m very interested in find out what things are like in countries that have true government-run health care. A typical Canadian family pays $13,000+ per year per household for healthcare, or about $585,000 over their working lives. What are they getting for all that money?

Here is the first Angus Reid article:

The study finds more than 2 million Canadians aged 55 and older face significant barriers when accessing the health care system in their province, such as being unable to find a family doctor or experiencing lengthy wait-times for surgery, diagnostic tests, or specialist visits.

Moreover, most Canadians in this age group have at least some difficulty getting the care they want or need in a timely manner.

The study focuses on the health care experiences of older Canadians, as well as their assessments of the quality of care they receive.

According to the article, 31% of respondents (aged 55 and older) rated access to the government’s healthcare system as “easy”. 48% had “moderate” problems with access, and 21% had “major” problems with access.

The second Angus Reid article explains:

This second part of the study finds one-in-six Canadians (17%) in the 55-plus age group – a figure that represents upwards of 1.8 million people – say that they or someone else in their household have taken prescription drugs in a way other than prescribed because of cost.

One-in-ten (10%) have decided to simply not fill a prescription because it was too expensive, and a similar number (9%) have decided not to renew one for the same reason. One-in-eight (12%) have taken steps to stretch their prescriptions, such as cutting pills or skipping doses.

Some 17 per cent of Canadians 55 and older have done at least one of these things, and that proportion rises among those who have greater difficulty accessing other aspects of the health care system.

In a previous blog post, I reported on how Canadians have to wait in order to see their GP doctor. If that doctor refers them to a specialist, then they have to wait to see the specialist. And if that specialist schedules surgery, then they have to wait for their surgery appointment. The delays can easily go from weeks to months and even years. The MEDIAN delay from GP referral to treatment is 19.5 weeks.

Wait times in weeks (Source: Maclean's magazine)
Wait times in weeks (Source: Maclean’s magazine)

Also, the Canadian system does NOT cover prescription drugs.

Please share this article and yesterday’s because we have an election coming up, and votes need to know the facts.

Should Christians who vote for socialism expect to keep their religious liberty?

Four white Canadian police officers arrest black pastor
Four white Canadian police officers arrest black pastor

I saw two interesting news stories about how Catholic hospitals were targeted by the secular left government and courts. The first story comes from progressive state of California, where the courts wanted to force the Catholics to perform sex-reassignment surgeries on transgender people. The second story comes from Canada, where the state wanted the hospital to perform euthanasia.

Here’s Evolution News reporting on the first story:

A Catholic hospital chain known as Dignity Health refused to perform a hysterectomy on a transgendered male, as against Catholic moral teaching. The patient sued for discrimination, but the case was dismissed on the basis that the hospital was legally following its faith principles. Alas, a Court of Appeals reversed the decision, reinstating the case to the active docket.

Here’s the court’s decision – they said it was illegal discrimination on the basis of “gender identity”:

The pleading alleges that Mercy allows doctors to perform hysterectomies as treatment for other conditions but refused to allow Dr. Dawson to perform the same procedure as treatment for Minton’s gender dysphoria, a condition that is unique to transgender individuals. Denying a procedure as treatment for a condition that affects only transgender persons supports an inference that Dignity Health discriminated against Minton based on his gender identity.

So, the secular courts, which are filled with government employees whose salaries are paid by Catholic taxpayers, decided that Catholics don’t have a right to act like Catholics. In California, Christians must be forced to act like atheists.  Or else be punished by the legal system.

Here’s the second story out of Canada, from Global News:

Under the threat of a possible court challenge, Nova Scotia has quietly changed its policy on medically assisted dying at a Catholic hospital in the province.

In a statement to Global News, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) says: “Assessments and provision of MAiD [medical assistance in dying] will be available in a section of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital complex at the Antigonish Health and Wellness Centre.”

St. Martha’s Regional Hospital was exempt from assisted dying services as the result of a 1996 agreement between the Nova Scotia government and the Sisters of St. Martha that gave control of the hospital to the Nova Scotia government.

The agreement made medical assistance in dying forbidden at the hospital in Antigonish, N.S. The Sisters of St. Martha say they believe in protecting life until the end.

Because Canada has a “Medicare for All”, single-payer health care system, all payment for medical services is performed by the secular left government. Christian nurses, doctors, hospitals, etc. thought that it was “compassionate” for government to take over the provision of health care, so they allowed the government to come in and take control of their hospitals. Today, Christians have a choice. They can either perform abortions, sex-changes, IVF (which usually involves discarding embryos), breast enlargements, etc. OR they can stop practicing medicine.

American Christians in non-SOGI-states should take note of how the secular left treats Christians in health care. This is how they want to treat Christians in every area – public, and private. It’s already happening in Canada. Teachers, police, lawyers, judges can come into your home, and tell you how to live, and how to raise your children according to secular leftist values. And Christians in Canada are paying the atheist progressives to rule.

Remember: the government that is big enough to give you everything you want – free schools, free health care, free education, etc. – is big enough to take everything you have.

It would be nice if Christian parents and Christian churches had taught young people about the critical importance for smaller government as a requirement for a society that allows religious liberty. I see a lot of concern from Christians about global warming, illegal immigrants, refugees, etc. But not much about which policies allow Christians act like Christians in public.

I know that Christian parents are so busy, and Christian churches are not really places where young people can develop a Christian worldview. If you learn anything from a Christian upbringing, you learn how to color pictures, memorize Bible verses, say “the Bible says so”, and sing praise hymns. Is all that good protection against the policies of the secular left? How many young people today who were raised in the church think that “medicare for all”, “green new deal”, etc. won’t affect their religious liberty? How many of them know what it’s like to be a Christian in atheist socialist states like North Korea – or even in less communist countries like Canada?

New study: Angus Reid Institute analyzes Canada’s single payer healthcare system

Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)
The cost of healthcare for average Canadian households

I found two interesting studies from Canada’s Angus Reid Institute describing single payer health care in Canada. I’m very interested in find out what things are like in countries that have true government-run health care. A typical Canadian family pays $13,000+ per year per household for healthcare, or about $585,000 over their working lives. What are they getting for all that money?

Here is the first Angus Reid article:

The study finds more than 2 million Canadians aged 55 and older face significant barriers when accessing the health care system in their province, such as being unable to find a family doctor or experiencing lengthy wait-times for surgery, diagnostic tests, or specialist visits.

Moreover, most Canadians in this age group have at least some difficulty getting the care they want or need in a timely manner.

The study focuses on the health care experiences of older Canadians, as well as their assessments of the quality of care they receive.

According to the article, 31% of respondents (aged 55 and older) rated access to the government’s healthcare system as “easy”. 48% had “moderate” problems with access, and 21% had “major” problems with access.

Remember: in the Canadian system, you pay your money up front in taxes, and then they decide how much healthcare you will get later – and how soon you will get it. If you worked from ages 20 to age 65, then your household will have paid 45 x $13,000 = $585,000 into the system, in order to get “moderate” problems with accessing healthcare after you’re aged 55.

And the Canadian system DOES NOT cover prescription drugs.

The second Angus Reid article explains:

This second part of the study finds one-in-six Canadians (17%) in the 55-plus age group – a figure that represents upwards of 1.8 million people – say that they or someone else in their household have taken prescription drugs in a way other than prescribed because of cost.

One-in-ten (10%) have decided to simply not fill a prescription because it was too expensive, and a similar number (9%) have decided not to renew one for the same reason. One-in-eight (12%) have taken steps to stretch their prescriptions, such as cutting pills or skipping doses.

Some 17 per cent of Canadians 55 and older have done at least one of these things, and that proportion rises among those who have greater difficulty accessing other aspects of the health care system.

In a previous blog post, I reported on how Canadians have to wait in order to see their GP doctor. If that doctor refers them to a specialist, then they have to wait to see the specialist. And if that specialist schedules surgery, then they have to wait for their surgery appointment. The delays can easily go from weeks to months and even years. The MEDIAN delay from GP referral to treatment is 19.5 weeks.

But remember – they paid into the system FIRST. The decisions about when and if they will be treated are made later, by experts in the government. This is what it means for a government monopoly to run health care. There are no free exchanges of money for service in a competitive free market. Costs are controlled by delaying and withholding treatment. And no one knows this better than elderly Canadians themselves. But by the time they realize how badly they’ve been swindled, it’s too late to get their money back out. You can’t pull your tax money out of government if you are disappointed with the service you receive. There are no refunds. There are no returns.

How well is Canada’s “Medicare for All” health care working for patients?

Wait times in weeks (Source: Maclean's magazine)
Wait times for health care treatment in Canada (Source: Fraser institute)

I get into conversations about politics with my co-workers about who they like in the 2020 election. And I also ask them which particular policies of the candidates they like best. The one they like most is Medicare for All, with “for All” including illegal immigrants. When I ask them which country has got Medicare for All working, they say “Canada”. Let’s take a look at Canada’s health care system.

Here’s a nice article from Mona Charen, posted in TownHall.

She writes:

It’s true that all Canadian citizens and legal residents (though not immigrants there illegally) get “free” health care, but only in the sense that you don’t get a bill after seeing a doctor or visiting a hospital. Medical care is subsidized by taxes, but the price comes in another form as well — rationing. A 2018 report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, found that wait times between seeing a general practitioner and a specialist average 19.8 weeks. That’s the average. There are variations among specialties. Those hoping to see an orthopedist wait an average of 39 weeks in Nova Scotia, while those seeking an oncologist wait about 3.8 weeks.

[…]Imagine the anxiety of learning that you need an MRI to find out whether the mass in your breast is anything to worry about and then being told that the next available appointment is in 10 weeks. In addition to the psychic price, Canadians who had to wait for treatment expended an average of $1,822 out of pocket last year, due to lost wages and other costs. The Fraser Institute also calculated the value of the lost productivity of those waiting for treatment — nearly $5,600 per patient, totaling $5.8 billion nationally.

[…]When there’s an artificial shortage of a good or service, a black market usually follows. I have heard from several Canadians that paying doctors bribes to jump the line is not uncommon. But Canada has another pressure reliever: Ninety percent of Canadians live within 90 miles of the U.S. border, and medical centers in Buffalo, Chicago, Rochester and elsewhere receive tens of thousands of Canadian patients every year.

Regarding that last point, I’ve written many times about socialist politicians in Canada electing to travel to the United States for care, and that’s because (as you might expect) health care outcomes for Canadians are vastly inferior to health care outcomes for Americans. And keep in mind that the delay from specialist to GP does not take into account the delay to see the GP, or the delay from seeing the specialist to actually getting treatment.

And how much are Canadians spending for the privilege of waiting 19.8 weeks to see a specialist? Well, the average cost of Canadian health care is about $13,000 per household per year, paid through taxes. What that means is that people who work pay for all the health care being provided, including the health care for people who don’t work. But when it’s time to get treatment, those who pay the bills get in line behind those who don’t pay anything.

So how good is American health care? Maybe Canadians are waiting in line because their health care is so much better than ours.

American health care

One of the best health care policy experts writing today is Avik Roy, who writes for Forbes magazine.

Here is a recent column, which I think is useful for helping us all get better at debating health care policy.

Excerpt:

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

The United States came out number one, and you can click here to see the larger graph of the complete results.

Some people like to point out that the United States has a low life expectancy, but there’s a problem with those numbers.

The article continues:

Another point worth making is that people die for other reasons than health. For example, people die because of car accidents and violent crime. A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.

It’s great that the Japanese eat more sushi than we do, and that they settle their arguments more peaceably. But these things don’t have anything to do with socialized medicine.

Finally, U.S. life-expectancy statistics are skewed by the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have one health-care system, but three: Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. (A fourth, the Obamacare exchanges, is supposed to go into effect in 2014.) As I have noted in the past, health outcomes for those on government-sponsored insurance are worse than for those on private insurance.

To my knowledge, no one has attempted to segregate U.S. life-expectancy figures by insurance status. But based on the data we have, it’s highly likely that those on private insurance have the best life expectancy, with Medicare patients in the middle, and the uninsured and Medicaid at the bottom.

If we’re going to discuss health care, then let’s discuss facts. We shouldn’t be picking a health care system from the campaign speeches of politicians who tell us that we can keep our doctor, and keep our health plan, and our premiums will go down. We tried electing a charismatic deceiver in 2008, and it didn’t work out. We lost our doctors, lost our health plans, and our premiums went up astronomically. We can do better than single-payer health care. We can do better than socialism.