Who are the National Health Care ‘Losers,’ according to Tom Daschle?

For those of you absolutely stoked about national healthcare – This from RealClearPolitics.com on “President-elect Obama’s apparent choice for health and human services secretary” Tom Daschle (emphasis mine):

He [Tom Daschle] proposes setting up a board to establish standards for health care delivery in the United States that would be modeled on how the Federal Reserve Board and Securities and Exchange Commission oversee banks and corporations. Technically, it only would oversee the public health systems (Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health Administration, etc.), which provide about 32 percent of health care nationwide.

On Page 179, he writes, “The Federal Health Board wouldn’t be a regulatory agency, but its recommendations would have teeth because all federal health programs would have to abide by them.” But here is the kicker: Although his board technically would have no say on the 68 percent of health care that is provided through the private sector, at the bottom of Page 179, Daschle modestly adds: “Congress could opt to go further with the Board’s recommendations. It could, for example, link the tax exclusion for health insurance to insurance that complies with the Board’s recommendation.”

Those last 19 words would spell the end of independent private-sector health care in America. Obviously, no health insurance would be sold if it were denied the tax deduction. Thus, every policy, every standard decided by this board would be the law of the land for every drug company, every hospital, every doctor and every health insurance company.

Indeed, 20 pages later, in the section in which he identifies “losers” under his plan, Daschle is admirably candid. Among the explicit “losers,” he includes: Doctors and patients might resent any encroachment on their ability to choose certain treatments, even if they are expensive or ineffectual compared to alternatives. Some insurers might object to new rules that restrict their coverage decisions. And the health-care industry would have to reconsider its business plan (emphasis added).” That is to say, they can stay in business and deliver their services, but only as the government bureaucrats say they may. They no longer would be genuinely independent.

In case you missed it:

“Doctors and patients might resent any encroachment on their ability to choose certain treatments…”

This is exactly what national healthcare will bring – the end of personal choice. When the government dolls out your heath care – government bureaucracy,  NOT YOU make the decision over what treatment you may receive. It’s no longer your health plan, rather it’s the government’s.

What evidence do you have that the government can make better decisions about your life , than you yourself (or your doctor) can?

Who are the 47 million Americans who ‘don’t have health care?”

In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 46.6 million are people without health insurance. You hear this number all the time today in discussions on what our public policy should be towards health care (particularly – socialized healthcare). But who are these 46.6 million people? Here are a couple things you probably won’t hear from politicians, whether Democratic or Republican:

  1. Of that 46.6 million, 9.5 million were not United States Citizens
  2. Another 17 million of those people live in households exceeding $50,000 and could purchase healthcare but choose to invest their money in other things.
  3. 18 million were between the age of 18-34, most in good health – and either not in need of coverage – or chose not to purchase it (that includes me for a while there). (Also, note that this stat likely overlaps with the one above as commentor Kottcamp reminded me.)
  4. 70% of the non-elderly population that become uninsured in a given year – are reinsured in less than one year.

Here are a couple other statistics about healthcare in Canada and Europe:

Canada:

  1. More than 825,000 Canadians are on waiting lists for surgery and other necessary treatments.
  2. 15 years ago the average wait for Canadians was 9 weeks – today it’s 15 weeks.
  3. Over the past 10 years, 11% of physicians trained in Canada have moved to the United States.

Britain:

  1. More than 1 million citizens are waiting for hospital admission.
  2. Another 200,000 are waiting to get on the waiting list.
  3. Each year – the national health service cancels around 100,000 operations.
  4. Britain has a government agency that’s sole purpose is to limit citizens access (rationing) to prescription drugs.

Some other important items:

  1. 85 new drugs hit the U.S. market from 1998-2002.
  2. During that same period – only 44 of those drugs became available in Europe.
  3. More than half of the 175 billion dollars in health care technology products purchased throughout the world are produced in the United States.
  4. Between 1999-2005 the United States was responsible for the sale of 71% of new pharmaceutical drugs (the next two largest – Japan and Germany accounted for only 4% each).

[ht: DC Examiner, Levin]

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