Saturday, July 31, 2010

Minimum Insurance laws and the Uninsured

Although not universally agreed upon, a strong theoretical and empirical connection exists between a legally mandated minimum wage and the rate of unemployment:

When the minimum wage that is legally-allowed increases, so does the number of unemployed.1, 2, 3

A similar cause-and-effect relationship exists between insurance mandates and the uninsured. Understanding the effect of "minimum insurance laws" is complicated by the fact that different mandates have different cost consequences, and each state has its unique mix of mandates. There are four main types of health insurance mandates: benefit mandates (which are not cost equivalent across benefit types), community rating,guaranteed issue7, and mandatory insurance. Each of these categories will increase the cost of insurance, but to different degrees. Insurance mandates all raise the price of obtaining insurance, which in turn increases the number of people unable or unwilling to pay the premiums:

When the minimum insurance that is legally-allowed increases, so does the number of uninsured.4,5,6

1. Mythology of the Minimum Wage
2. Minimum Wages and Employment
3. Minimum Wages
4. Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2008
5. Mandated Health Insurance Benefits: Tradeoffs Among Benefits, Coverage and Costs?
6. The effect of State regulations on Health Insurance Premiums: A Revised Analysis
7. Impact of Guaranteed Issue and Community Rating Reforms on Individual Insurance Markets, 2007

Previously posted on Wealth is Not the Problem 1/28/10 and on Sermo 4/25/10 (a physician-only online network.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Health Care Re-education

President Obama and the Democrats have started the Health Information Center which plans to spend $125 Million defending ObamaCare to the American public--a necessary effort because the majority of Americans still do not want this law. This campaign, plus the newly launched website, and the email campaigns of Kathleen Selbalius (Secretary of Health and Human Services) and Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, are all aimed at reassuring citizens that freedom is not being taken away, only the rich will have to pay more in taxes, in the long run all this spending will save us money and reduce the debt, and this law will "strengthen" Medicare.

As Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute points out below, even the National Council on Aging is in on the propaganda act. A recently published survey shows that Seniors have not been fooled into believing the political spin on ObamaCare and answered the questions correctly according to what the law will actually do, and not what the Democrats ridiculously claim it will do.

In order to keep the truth out in front, be sure to give your financial support to your favorite watchdog organization so they have the funds to challenge the audacious claims of the government. A list of suggested organizations is at the end of this post.

More Re-education

By Grace-Marie Turner

(Galen Institute email update. Subscribe here.)

The National Council on Aging got a lot of media attention this week for a survey that was astonishing in its misrepresentation of the facts.

The NCOA asked 636 seniors true or false questions about "the top twelve facts" they should know about ObamaCare. Only 17% knew the "right" answers to half of the questions and not a single person got a perfect score. The news release read: "Most Seniors Misinformed, Unaware of Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

The infuriating thing is that the pollsters and the NCOA got the answers wrong, and seniors were right! With a lawyerly parsing of words, the questions were designed to obscure and even deceive. Here are a few examples:

  • "The new law will result in future cuts to your basic Medicare benefits." True or false? By more than two to one, seniors said the statement was true. But the survey said that was wrong.

  • "The new law is projected to increase the federal budget deficit over the next ten years and beyond."By more than three to one, seniors said that was true. Wrong answer.

  • "The health care reform law will cut Medicare payments to doctors." Seniors said true by three to one. Wrong answer.

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

A few facts:

  • The health overhaul law cuts Medicare by $575 billion over the next 10 years.

  • The Medicare actuary says that at least one in six Medicare providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians, could be operating at a loss by 2019 and could end their participation in the program, and "possibly jeopardize access to care for beneficiaries."

  • More than 7 million seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage coverage, and millions more will find access to care restricted. The Congressional Budget Office found that seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage will lose an average of $800 a year in benefits.

  • As Rep. Paul Ryan explained at the Blair House summit in February, "when you strip out the double-counting and ... gimmicks, the full 10-year cost of the bill has a $460 billion deficit. The second 10-year cost of this bill has a $1.4 trillion deficit."

  • And the legislation keeps scheduled cuts in payments to doctors, which is why the Congress passed a separate "doc fix" bill in June to keep doctor payments from being cut by 21%.

Seniors know you can't take $575 billion out of Medicare and not have it affect their benefits. Many already are having difficulty finding providers that take Medicare.

NCOA also found that seniors are not satisfied the information they are getting about the new law is "accurate and reliable." Well the NCOA has certainly proved it is not the place to go for reliable information. This survey deserves to be tossed.

It almost seemed like push-polling where the pollsters try to "re-educate" people through the use of survey questions. Seniors get it, but this is unsettling at best.

Organizations to support:


Monday, July 19, 2010

Docs 4 Patient Care and Dr. Berwick

Docs 4 Patient Care is an active, reputable physician's group working hard to promote health care freedom. I have personally talked with a number of the board members. They are hard working, honest individuals dedicated to providing quality care to their patients and restoring independence and freedom to medical decision making. Please check them out and provide them support.

My son thinks the following YouTube clip is "scaremongering" similar to the tactics of the global warming alarmists. Perhaps he is right about the tone and the style of message--but the major difference I see is that Dr. Scherz is correct in stating that socialized medicine increases pain, suffering and death. That statement is not conjecture but fact.

Dr. Berwick openly advocates the redistribution of wealth as necessary to the provision of health care. This is the fundamental premise of socialism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. This is the premise which led to the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, and is causing the current economic stagnation of Europe, and increasingly in the United States. It's time that President Obama and Speaker Pelosi were honest about their socialist intentions so that the debate in America can center on the right issue.:

Do we still believe in individual rights, freedom and limited government, or do we submit to the directives and central planning of the political elite?

Freedom or Statism.
The choice is still ours.

Dr. Berwick:
"Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must, redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional."