Tag Archives: healthcare reform

ObamaCare Repealed in the House

The House of Representatives resumed debate this morning on H.R. 2, legislation to repeal ObamaCare. A final vote came this evening, and it, as expected, passed easily with the new GOP majority in control. Also, in the “breaking news” category is a headline from American Spectator saying CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion. Haven’t heard that from the liberal news media, have you?

Unfortunately, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid called today’s vote “partisan grandstanding,” and again said that he won’t allow a vote to take place in the Senate. Reid is using the same tactics that resulted in this lousy law being rammed down the throats of the American taxpayer to begin with.

Here are some interesting facts from my friend, Gary Bower, founder and President of the Campaign for Working Families:

Yesterday, 200 economists sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for ObamaCare’s repeal. In the letter they warned, “We believe [ObamaCare] is a threat to U.S. businesses and will place a crushing debt burden on future generations of Americans.” But it’s not just economists who are worried.

A Thomson Reuters survey released this week found that 65% of doctors fear ObamaCare will cause healthcare to deteriorate. Just 18% of doctors believe ObamaCare will improve healthcare in America. Who do you trust most when it comes to your healthcare — Harry Reid or your own doctor?

The concerns of so many doctors should not be dismissed. Consider some markers of the quality of healthcare in countries with socialized medicine. A 2008 study found that the United States “had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer, at 83.9% and prostate cancer, at 91.9%.” But in Great Britain’s National Health Service the figures were dismal: “69.7% survival for breast cancer … and 51.1% for prostate cancer.”

Writing in today’s New York Post, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute notes that ObamaCare is already having a negative impact on healthcare in America. Here are some of the emerging problems she cites:

  • Because of ObamaCare mandates, construction at 45 hospitals around the country has been halted.
  • 40% of doctors said they plan to “drop out of patient care in the next one to three years.”
  • 60% of doctors said they will close or significantly restrict their practices. (How are the 30 million folks supposedly insured under ObamaCare going to get healthcare if 40-60% of doctors quit or restrict their practices?)

On the House floor today, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said, “You know there is a lot of talk these days around here about where Members of Congress are going to sit during the State of the Union Address.  …I learned a long time ago it doesn’t really matter where you sit.  It matters where you stand.  And today House Republicans are going to stand with the American people and vote to repeal [the Democrats’] government takeover of health care lock, stock and barrel.”

Despite what happened today, it won’t be the end of this fight. If the Senate refuses to act on repeal legislation, House conservatives are determined to defund ObamaCare. Just as importantly, the House is scheduled to vote soon on a resolution instructing various House committees to start drafting free market alternatives to ObamaCare — alternatives that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama refused to consider last year.

No doubt this story will continue to evolve.

Bedside Economics and Healthcare Reform – A Christian Doctor’s Response

My dear friend, Al Weir, MD, is an oncologist in Memphis, TN. He has served in Africa as a missionary and served with the Christian Medical Association. He’s just written a wonderful devotional called, “Bedside Economics” It is based upon Psalm 106:3, “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Al’s writings alway provoke me to deep contemplation. None moreso than this one:

It has provoked me to deep contemplation.

He was an oncologist transplanted from the Caribbean to Canada where he worked in a small British Columbia city. We sat beside each other at a medical meeting and began to discuss the economics of healthcare in both his country and mine.

In discussing a given treatment regimen, both effective and approved for use, he made the statement, “Those drugs are too expensive for the 5% of people whom thy actually save, so I don’t use them.”

In the midst of our national healthcare reform discussion we are all aware of the cost of healthcare. Healthcare costs too much for many of our patients and for our country’s economic health. Sometimes in our discussions, and even in our practice decision making, we may confuse the macro economics of patient care with the economics of caring for the individual patient who is sitting in front of us.

The cost of care in each is extremely important, but the doctor’s considerations in each are quite different. As doctors, we do have a special level of understanding of the healthcare arena and thus have a responsibility to inform the national debate regarding the expenditure of healthcare dollars. We should enter this debate publically without the bias of personal gain and seek to maximize both good for patients in general and for our nation as a whole.

However, when we face our individual patients with diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, our concerns are modified.

We, as Christian doctors, understand that we have a covenant relationship with our patients in which they offer their trust and compliance, while we offer our full dedication to their benefit, unaffected by our desire for personal gain. Actually, we have a three way covenant relationship since our Lord is partnering with us in their care, increasing our concern for the good of the patient and adding the commitment that our care should point towards Him.

This covenant relationship should lead to at least three defining questions each time we present our patients with diagnostic or therapeutic options:

  • Which approach provides the greatest benefit for this patient, both toward his/her stated goals and toward my understanding of their best good?
  • Which approach harms my patient least economically?
  • Am I certain that my recommendations are not distorted by personal gain?

I have discovered in my own practice that when I fail to ask these questions, I will drift toward my natural desire for personal fulfillment, which may not be the best way to show God’s love for my patient.

Dr. Weir then offers this prayer, one that I prayed today:

Dear God, please let me always put the good of my patients first so that Your reflection from my life may not be distorted by the economics of their care. Amen.

Nearly One-Third of Doctors Could Leave Medicine if Health-Care Reform Bill Passes

What if nearly half of all physicians in America stopped practicing medicine? While a sudden loss of half of the nations physicians seems unlikely, a very dramatic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality as an unexpected side effect of health reform.

The Medicus Firm has announced some astounding data from a recent national survey of physicians. Simply put, if the data are accurate, the passage of health reform as outlined in the current legislations may lead to a significant reduction in the physician workforce.

Meanwhile, nearly one-third of physicians responding to the survey indicated that they will want to leave medical practice after health reform is implemented.

The Medicus Firm, a leading physician search and consulting firm based in Atlanta and Dallas, found that a majority of physicians said health-care reform would cause the quality of American medical care to “deteriorate” and it could be the “final straw” that sends a sizeable number of doctors out of medicine.

The results from the Medicus Firm survey, entitled “Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care,” were intriguing, particularly in light of the most recently published career projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS predicts a more than a 22 percent increase in physician jobs during the ten-year period ending in 2018. This places physician careers in the top 20 fastest-growing occupations from 2008 to 2018.

“What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer,” said Steve Marsh, managing partner at The Medicus Firm in Dallas. “The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients.” Here are more details from the report:

It’s probably not likely that nearly half of the nation’s physicians will suddenly quit practicing at once. However, even if a much smaller percentage such as ten, 15, or 20 percent are pushed out of practice over several years at a time when the field needs to expand by over 20 percent, this would be severely detrimental to the quality of the health care system. Based on the survey results, health reform could, over time, prove to be counterproductive, in that it could decrease patients’ access to medical care while the objective is to improve access.
Furthermore, even if physicians are unable to act upon a desire to quit medicine, there could be an impact in quality of care due to a lack of morale in physicians who do continue to treat patients despite feeling significantly stressed.
Skeptics may suspect that physicians exaggerate their intent to leave medicine due to health reform. Some experts point to the malpractice crisis of years ago, when many doctors also expressed a desire to leave medicine. Some did quit; many did not. However, health reform could be the proverbial “last straw” for physicians who are already demoralized, overloaded, and discouraged by multiple issues, combining to form the perfect storm of high malpractice insurance costs, decreasing reimbursements, increasing student loan debt, and more.
Do physicians feel that health reform is necessary? The survey indicates that doctors do want change. Only a very small portion of respondents — about four percent — feel that no reform is needed. However, only 28.7 percent of physicians responded in favor of a public option as part of health reform. Additionally, an overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform, as opposed to one sweeping overhaul. Primary care, which is already experiencing significant shortages by many accounts, could stand to be the most affected, based on the survey. About 25 percent of respondents were primary care physicians (defined as internal medicine and family medicine in this case), and of those, 46 percent indicated that they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform.
Why would physicians want to leave medicine in the wake of health reform? The survey results, as seen in Market Watch, indicate that many physicians worry that reform could result in a significant decline in the overall quality of medical care nationwide.
Additionally, many physicians feel that health reform will cause income to decrease, while workload will increase. Forty-one percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” as a result of health reform with a public option, and 31 percent feel that a public option will cause income and practice revenue to “decline or worsen somewhat” as a result. This makes for a total of 72 percent of respondents who feel there would be a negative impact on income. When asked the same question regarding health reform implemented without a public option, a total of 50 percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will be negatively impacted, including 14 percent of total respondents who feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically.” Additionally, 36 percent feel it would “decline or worsen somewhat.”
What do physicians propose for effective health reform? In the survey, physicians were prompted to provide ideas, and some common themes emerged among the hundreds of comments. Tort reform appeared repeatedly, as did patient responsibility and ownership in their health care and costs. Additionally, many physicians emphasized a need for addressing specific issues with separate legislation, as opposed to one sweeping, comprehensive bill.
What does this mean for physician recruiting? It’s difficult to predict with absolute certainty, but one consequence is inevitable. After health reform is passed and implemented, physicians will be more in demand than ever before. Shortages could be exacerbated further beyond the predictions of industry analysts. Therefore, the strongest physician recruiters and firms will be in demand. Additionally, hospitals and practices may be forced to rely on unprecedented recruitment methods to attract and retain physicians. “Health reform, even if it’s passed in a most diluted form, could be a game-changer for physician recruitment,” said Bob Collins, managing partner of The Medicus Firm in Texas. “As competitive as the market is now, we may not even be able to comprehend how challenging it will become after health reform takes effect.”
The survey sample was randomly selected from a physician database of thousands. The database has been built over the past eight years by The Medicus Firm (formerly Medicus Partners and The MD Firm) from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, public directories, purchased lists, practice inquiries, training programs, and direct mail responses. The survey was conducted via emails sent directly to physicians.

It’s probably not likely that nearly half of the nation’s physicians will suddenly quit practicing at once. However, even if a much smaller percentage such as ten, 15, or 20 percent are pushed out of practice over several years at a time when the field needs to expand by over 20 percent, this would be severely detrimental to the quality of the health care system.

Based on the survey results, health reform could, over time, prove to be counterproductive, in that it could decrease patients’ access to medical care while the objective is to improve access.

Furthermore, even if physicians are unable to act upon a desire to quit medicine, there could be an impact in quality of care due to a lack of morale in physicians who do continue to treat patients despite feeling significantly stressed.

Skeptics may suspect that physicians exaggerate their intent to leave medicine due to health reform.

Some experts point to the malpractice crisis of years ago, when many doctors also expressed a desire to leave medicine. Some did quit; many did not.

However, health reform could be the proverbial “last straw” for physicians who are already demoralized, overloaded, and discouraged by multiple issues, combining to form the perfect storm of high malpractice insurance costs, decreasing reimbursements, increasing student loan debt, and more.

Do physicians feel that health reform is necessary?

The survey indicates that doctors do want change. Only a very small portion of respondents — about four percent — feel that no reform is needed.

However, only 28.7 percent of physicians responded in favor of a public option as part of health reform.

Additionally, an overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform, as opposed to one sweeping overhaul.

Primary care, which is already experiencing significant shortages by many accounts, could stand to be the most affected, based on the survey. About 25 percent of respondents were primary care physicians (defined as internal medicine and family medicine in this case), and of those, 46 percent indicated that they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform.

What do physicians propose for effective health reform?

In the survey, physicians were prompted to provide ideas, and some common themes emerged among the hundreds of comments. Tort reform appeared repeatedly, as did patient responsibility and ownership in their health care and costs.

Additionally, many physicians emphasized a need for addressing specific issues with separate legislation, as opposed to one sweeping, comprehensive bill.

Why would physicians want to leave medicine in the wake of health reform?

The survey results, as seen in Market Watch, indicate that many physicians worry that reform could result in a significant decline in the overall quality of medical care nationwide.

Additionally, many physicians feel that health reform will cause income to decrease, while workload will increase.

Forty-one percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” as a result of health reform with a public option, and 31 percent feel that a public option will cause income and practice revenue to “decline or worsen somewhat” as a result.

This makes for a total of 72 percent of respondents who feel there would be a negative impact on income.

When asked the same question regarding health reform implemented without a public option, a total of 50 percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will be negatively impacted, including 14 percent of total respondents who feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically.”

Additionally, 36 percent feel it would “decline or worsen somewhat.”

So, the vote on Sunday is an even bigger deal than many of us realized. As for me, I’ll be praying for wisdom for our leaders in Congress.

BTW, here are some details about how the data were collected: The survey sample was randomly selected from a physician database of thousands. The database has been built over the past eight years by The Medicus Firm (formerly Medicus Partners and The MD Firm) from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, public directories, purchased lists, practice inquiries, training programs, and direct mail responses. The survey was conducted via emails sent directly to physicians.

Top 10 Pro-Life News Stories of 2009

President Barack Obama, abortion, the Supreme Court, and healthcare dominated pro-life news in 2009. As we look back on 2009, the first with a new pro-abortion president, it seems to me that the pro-life movement essentially is on the defensive.

Thanks to a pro-abortion president and Congress, pro-life advocates spent most of their time this last year attempting to hold back the opening of the floodgates ushering in an expansion of abortion and taxpayer financing of it.

With the health care debate continuing into the new year, those efforts will be forced to continue — although the potential for pro-life gains in the 2010 elections provides significant hope for the future.

So, with that in mind, the following are the top ten pro-life news stories of 2009, ranked according to impact byLifeNews.com:

1. Health Care:

The health care debate has become the central focus of the pro-life movement during the latter half of 2009 and for good reason. If the abortion language in the final bill is anything like what is currently in the Senate version of the legislation, the result would be the greatest expansion of taxpayer funding of abortions since the 1970s when the Hyde Amendment was adopted.

The Senate bill not only would allow the forcing of taxpayers to pay for abortions but would let the Obama administration force insurance plans to pay for them as well.

The end result? With Hyde getting credit for stopping more than 100,000 abortions annually, the health care bill could result in a 10% or greater increase in abortions — all financed with government money.

This doesn’t even touch on the rationing, promotion of assisted suicide, and lack of conscience protection for medical professionals found in the bill.

2. Barack Obama promoting abortion:

The influence of the president of the United States on abortion policy can never be underestimated, despite some who still think the president doesn’t have any impact.

LifeNews.com has the most comprehensive chronicle that I have seen of Obama’s pro-abortion actions, but the most consequential ones include his overturning of the Mexico City Policy and allowing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to flow to abortion businesses like Planned

Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International that not only do abortions by lobby pro-life nations to overturn or water down their laws.

Obama also reversed the prohibition on funding the UNFPA, which works hand-in-hand with the Chinese officials who implement the one-child policy and enforce it with forced abortions and other human rights abuses.

Obama has installed not only abortion advocates but former abortion advocacy group staffers in key places where abortion policy will be affected. He is working to overturn conscience protections, funded abortions in DC, zeroed out abstinence funding, and will continue promoting abortion at every turn.

3. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:

Amid the health care debate, Sotomayor has been quickly forgotten, but her impact on the high court and abortion and pro-life issues may be felt for decades to come.

Sotomayor http://www.lifenews.com/nat5086.html never gave the pro-life movement the smoking gun it needed to show how extreme of an abortion proponent she will be on the high court. But her own judicial activist comments, membership and participation in groups that endorse abortion, and with Obama, pro-abortion senators and groups saying she’s “one of us” — that gave pro-life groups enough anecdotal evidence to oppose her.

Obama will likely have another chance to appoint a pro-abortion zealot to go along with Sotomayor before the 2012 elections roll around. The appointments will have the effect of cementing legalized abortion for another generation.

4. Barack Obama promoting embryonic stem cell research:

It hasn’t received near as much attention as it should have because of his abortion actions and because of the health care debate, but Barack Obama is the first and only president to fund new embryonic stem cell research where tax money will directly go towards the active destruction of human life.

Pro-life advocates also have reason to be concerned that this is just the beginning. With other issues providing news cover, Obama can push the overturning of the Dicker-Wicker law that forbids funding the purposeful creation and destruction of human life for scientific research and could push human cloning for research purposes. The Obama administration may also be the first to allow, through the FDA, human trials with embryonic stem cells that still pose problems when used with animals.

5. Americans are Pro-Life:

2009 was marked by the release of several polls showing a majority of Americans are pro-life on abortion. A Gallup poll showing 51 percent of Americans call themselves pro-life received the most attention, but more than a dozen polls on abortion itself and abortion funding had pro-life majorities popping up every time.

One poll that should have received more attention but didn’t: a new CNN survey with 63% saying they oppose all or most abortions, one of the highest measurements in recent years.

6. Notre Dame:

The scandal of scandals in the Catholic community came when the mother of all Catholic colleges decided not only to allow Obama the opportunity to give its commencement address but bestowed on him an honorary degree. Even evangelical pro-life advocates joined their Catholic friends in condemning the action — which saw Father John Jenkins and the Notre Dame trustees thumb their nose at the Catholic bishops, who years earlier told Catholic schools to not give a platform to abortion advocates and who directly condemned the decision.

With pro-abortion “Catholic” groups claiming to be pro-life yet promoting Obama in 2008 and pro-abortion health care this year, the scandal is merely a predictor of more intense battles to come within the Catholic community.

7. George Tiller:

The shooting death of George Tiller, the late-term abortion practitioner from Kansas, rocked the abortion world. Sadly it gave pro-abortion groups and the mainstream media yet another chance to paint the pro-life community as violent even though every pro-life group under the sun condemned the killing. And it came at a time with the local groups working against Tiller were on the threshold of getting his medical license revoked for legitimate reasons.

8. James Pouillon:

In September, a local man who didn’t like the use of graphic pictures of abortions took it upon himself to shoot pro-life advocate Jim Pouillon. The shooting death was notable for the nearly complete lack of coverage from the mainstream media, a very delayed reaction from Obama, and zero condemnation from pro-abortion groups.

9. Abby Johnson:

Greeted with a collective yawn by the mainstream media but wild enthusiasm by the pro-life movement, Texas Planned Parenthood abortion business director Abby Johnson resigned in October. Johnson’s resignation came about when she saw an ultrasound of an abortion procedure — confirming what pro-life advocates already knew about their power and use. Johnson has since exposed what a lot of pro-life advocates already knew about Planned Parenthood’s abortion business and industry. Planned Parenthood tried to shut her up but eventually lost in court.

10. Planned Parenthood:

As appears to be the case every year the exposing of the Planned Parenthood abortion business again makes the list. This year saw our friends at Live Action exposed a center in Wisconsin lying about abortion and fetal development, another hiding statutory rape, and other pro-lifers a California center injuring a woman. it also used underage girls in clinical trials. Fortunately, the abortion business closed several centers during the year.

Other Notables

Attacking Pregnancy Centers:

It didn’t receive the national attention that it might in future years, but pro-abortion groups are upping their aggressive attacks on pregnancy centers. Their effort culminated in the passage of a new law in Baltimore that makes pregnancy centers post a sign saying they don’t do abortions in an attempt to cut down their number of clients and boost abortion customers. Look for more of these kinds of attacks and state legislatures and cities across the country in 2009 as NARAL and Planned Parenthood are emboldened by this year’s victory.

Pro-Life Democrats:

2009 will be known as the year pro-life Democrats took a big hit in their legitimacy and reputation. Bob Casey feuded with his bishop over abortion, kept up appearances until voting for the pro-abortion health care bill, and continued his spotty voting record. Then, Ben Nelson made Democrats 60 for 60 in the Senate in backing abortion funding. Bart Stupak, if he holds in the House, may find himself as the only national pro-life Democrat with any credibility. With just one Republican in either chamber of Congress backing the bill and a pro-life Democrat switching parties recently, the partisan divide on abortion is growing

40 Days for Life:

The peaceful, prayerful grassroots movement is replacing the more vitriolic and sometimes-illegal abortion protests of the 1980s and 1990s. And the results are even bigger as abortion centers are shutting down, staff converting, and women making pro-life decisions. The twice-annual event is becoming the new face of pro-life direct action for good reason and even getting pro-life friends in other nations to re-establish long-dormant pro-life activity.

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 9 – Italy

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Italian system. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 8 – Spain

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Spanish system. Continue reading

Christian Medical Association Labels House Healthcare Bill an “Overdose” That Threatens Patient-Physician Relationship

The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based associaation of physicians, today said that the 2,000-page healthcare overhaul bill (HR 3962) introduced in the House of Representatives last week far exceeds the need for targeted reforms, instead injecting massive government intervention that threatens the patient-physician relationship.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens, “This legislation is an overdose. With this massive legislation, we are getting much more than is actually needed to fix our healthcare system. What we need is a targeted reformation of areas needing reform, but this legislation is an attempt to totally transform our healthcare system into a government-run system that dictates what healthcare treatment each patient will receive.
“The legislation introduced last week is coming to a vote way too fast. We have one chance to get this right, and leaders in Congress are trying to push a bill through in a few days that will impact one-sixth of our economy. It is bitter medicine that most people don’t want, and taking it fast will not change that.
“The legislation is also ineffective and will increase costs rather than lower costs. It will hurt efficiency and increase bureaucracy. It will interfere with the physician-patient relationship and lead to the delay and denial of healthcare based solely on cost.
“The legislation also has serious side effects. In a radical shift in U.S. policy, under this legislation the government will suddenly be funding abortion on demand. And if abortion advocates prevail, the government ultimately will force health care professionals to participate in abortions.
“Physicians are so upset about this takeover of healthcare that hundreds of thousands have threatened to leave medicine if it passes. Forty-five percent of all physicians polled say they’re ready to leave medicine if healthcare overhaul passes. Ninety-five percent of faith-based healthcare professionals are ready to leave medicine if their conscience rights are weakened. The bottom line for patients under this legislation is that they are much more likely to lose their physician.”
The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based associaation of physicians, today said that the 2,000-page healthcare overhaul bill (HR 3962) introduced in the House of Representatives last week far exceeds the need for targeted reforms, instead injecting massive government intervention that threatens the patient-physician relationship. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 7 – Norway

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Norwegian system. Continue reading

Do You Want the Federal Government Paying for All Abortions?

Just moments ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed the federal healthcare “reform” bill that pro-abortion legislators have been working on behind closed doors.
In just a few days, the Speaker wants Congress to vote on the bill.
So our time to act and speak out to our legislators is very, very short. We must do so today.
No one in this short time can analyze the many details of this bill, but one thing is sure:
This legislation would radically change U.S. policy by having the government subsidize abortion on demand.
So our message to Congress is quite simple:
Keep our government from paying for abortions in any way.
When you tell your legislators this simple message, you may get excuses in response. Don’t buy the excuses:
The “Capps Amendment” is a phony scheme written by a pro-abortion legislator to set up accounting screens to mask federal subsidy of abortion. The bottom line after the smoke clears is that an abortionist would get a check from the U.S. Treasury to pay him for the abortion he performed.
The “Hyde Amendment” is a good law barring certain government funding (HHS appropriations) of certain abortions, but it does not apply to funding from this new healthcare legislation. It also has to be approved again and again each year, and pro-abortion legislators are aiming to vote it down. That would open the floodgates for government funding of abortion on demand.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich. 1) is leading about 40 pro-life colleagues from his party, along with Republican Representatives, in demanding an amendment to bar government funding of abortions.
The Stupak-Pitts amendment would—unlike the phony “compromises” by abortion proponents—clearly and explicitly bar government funding of abortions. The Stupak-Pitts amendment would parallel the good Hyde amendment.
So far, the Speaker and other pro-abortion leaders have refused to give this group a chance to vote. This battle is now coming to a head.
The pro-abortion Speaker doesn’t want that to happen. In a few days, the Speaker will try to get Representatives to vote to disallow any amendments to the healthcare legislation. That’s called a “closed rule” and it prohibits any amendments.
So when you tell your legislators to keep the government from funding abortions, tell them to vote  NO on the closed rule. Tell them the Stupak-Pitts amendment deserves a YES vote to keep the government from funding abortions.
What you can do:
Contact the offices of your U.S. Representative today:
http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/dbq/officials/
Tell your legislator to keep the government from funding abortions by:
Voting NO on the “closed rule” (the rule that abortion proponents want to prevent pro-life amendments).
Voting YES on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ban government funding of abortions.
Thank you for speaking out.
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Just moments ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed the federal healthcare “reform” bill that pro-abortion legislators have been working on behind closed doors. In just a few days, the Speaker wants Congress to vote on the bill. So our time to act and speak out to our legislators is very, very short. We must do so today. Continue reading

What Lessons Massachusetts Holds for U.S. Health Care Reform

Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor has an article, reprinted by ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8899142, that I found instructive as we here in the U.S. consider national health care reform.
A mandate on individuals to buy health insurance can work   just don’t expect it to reduce the cost of care.
That, in a nutshell, may be the lesson from Massachusetts as Americans consider healthcare reform ideas backed by President Obama.
The message is significant, because Democratic proposals in Congress have big similarities to reforms that Massachusetts adopted in 2006.
Common elements include:
A mandate on individuals to buy insurance.
Subsidies to help lower-income people pay for it.
Exemptions for people who don’t qualify for subsidies and can’t afford insurance.
An “exchange” where people shop for state-approved policies.
The goal is to slash the number of people who are uninsured.
In the heat of national debate, the Bay State’s experience has inspired Rorschach-like interpretations. Supporters see a model for the nation. Detractors say it’s a model of failure, not for imitation.
No Havoc Due to Individual Mandate
Amid the din, however, health policy experts generally agree on some basic lessons: First, a mandate for individuals to buy insurance can be imposed without causing havoc. Hospitals and individuals have adapted. Employers haven’t dropped the health plans they sponsor.
Second, the mandate, while expanding coverage to many uninsured, doesn’t solve the deeper problem of escalating healthcare costs.
“Cost control is clearly much more difficult to solve” than is expanding access to insurance, says Katherine Baicker, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
She notes that the 2006 reforms in Massachusetts focused squarely on access, not on medical-cost inflation. So it’s unfair to call the Bay State’s law a failure on that front.
But both the state and the nation are now forced to at least begin to grapple with that question.
Taming costs is tougher on two fronts than expanding access: There’s less certainty about how to do it, and it’s more difficult to build political support as legislators get caught between healthcare-industry lobbyists and wary voters.
Some 97 Percent Are Insured
On access to care, Massachusetts can claim big strides but not truly universal coverage. Some 97 percent of residents have insurance, according to the Connector, the state-run exchange for buying insurance. That’s well above any other state. Nationwide, 85 percent of Americans are insured.
The rise of a state-run insurance pool and subsidies for individuals haven’t caused employers to drop their own health plans, as skeptics had feared. One reason: The law requires businesses with more than 10 employees to either offer coverage or pay $295 a month per worker to the state. Another reason is that a business that drops coverage might have trouble holding onto skilled workers.
“Right away they’d be at a disadvantage relative to all of their competitors,” says Jim Klocke of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “People like the coverage they get from their employer.”
The Massachusetts law, passed by a Democratic legislature and signed by Republican then-Gov. Mitt Romney, has expanded the ranks of insured at all levels. Some 163,000 residents bought policies using new “Commonwealth Care” subsidies. Another 190,000 enrolled in employer plans or bought insurance privately, without subsidies. Even MassHealth, the Medicaid program for the poor, expanded its rolls by 76,000, as of the start of this year   in part by adding more children.
Bay State resident Carol Wideman, visiting the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston, says she’s glad that her great-nephew has access to care through MassHealth.
Such views are widely shared, judging by opinion polls last year showing solid public support for the program. Still, the system has cracks.
Subsidies Remain a Key Question
Health coverage is hard for many residents here to afford, just as in other states. Ms. Wideman is stretching to keep her own insurance intact, after losing a job, by making payments under the federal COBRA program for the unemployed.
A key question in Massachusetts and the nation is how much to subsidize people who don’t qualify for Medicaid. For a Bay State family of four, for example, assistance is available up to an income of $66,000. Above that, many families enter a zone where they get no help from the state, and buying insurance on their own may cost more than the state considers affordable. Those families can either struggle to pay premiums and copayments, or use a state exemption and go without insurance.
That’s where cost control comes in. Massachusetts sees that as the next phase of reform, or else voters will face tough choices between rising taxes and squeezed coverage.
Already, budget woes have prompted the state to scale back on access   paring coverage for legal immigrants and ending automatic enrollment for people who qualify for subsidized care.
Critics on the left say the answer is a stronger government role as a payer or perhaps as the single provider of care. On the right, critics say more consumer choice and industry competition will reduce costs and allow more people to afford coverage.
State Sets Basic Standards About What’s Covered
In Massachusetts, consumers choose from a range of plans, but the state sets basic standards about what care and procedures are covered. The Bay State’s reforms seek to occupy a middle ground.
“The big lesson is that the mandate works   we’ve dramatically increased our insurance coverage” without operational glitches or enforcement problems, says Jonathan Gruber, a healthcare economist who serves on the Connector’s board.
Another positive lesson, he says, is that setting up the exchange caused costs to fall for residents who buy insurance directly (rather than through an employer or government program).
Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor has an article, reprinted by ABC News, that I found instructive as we here in the U.S. consider national health care reform. His bottom line conclusion? “A mandate on individuals to buy health insurance can work just don’t expect it to reduce the cost of care.” Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 6 – Japan

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Japanese system. Continue reading

Christian Doctors Refuse Bribe from Senate Leader

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest association of faith-based physicians, today spoke out against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) reported offer to get physicians to drop their opposition to pending healthcare legislation in exchange for more money. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 5 – Germany

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the German system. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 4 – France

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the French system. Continue reading

Prevention may not cut healthcare costs

Bloomberg News is reporting that while both Democrats and Republicans are asserting in the healthcare debate that “prevention saves money.” However, “economists and policy analysts who study the issue have a different message: Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.” Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 3 – Great Britain

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the system in Great Britain. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 2 – Canada

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Canadian system.

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The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 1

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of each system.

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How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?

To my surprise, the most popular blogs I’ve ever written are on healthcare reform. So, now that we are on the eve of the Senate unveiling its healthcare proposal, I want to put you in the decision-maker’s seat. Which of the uninsured would you cover, if you could make the decision? I hope you’ll take the time to consider this blog and then post your vote in the comment section below. Continue reading

More Outrage about President Obama’s “Misrepresentations” in His Healthcare Reform Speech Last Night

Last night, after the President’s speech to Congress on healthcare reform, I asked, “Did He Lie?” Then, I shared with you a number of misrepresentations he made. Today, more of his inaccuracies are being exposed. Here are some more. Continue reading

President Obama’s Speech on Healthcare Reform – Did He Lie?

Earlier today, I gave you a report card you could use to grade the President’s speech tonight on healthcare reform. By my count, the president failed (with a grade of 30 out of 100). Early returns showed others agreed with me. He graded 0% by 28% of voters, 10-30% by 50% of voters, 40-50% by 13% of voters, and 60-70% by 3% of voters. In other words, only 7% of voters gave him a passing grade. However what was most shocking was when South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” during the President’s speech. Not the most polite thing to do. But, who was telling the truth? The President? Or, the Representative? Continue reading

Sarah Palin Bashes Rationing in Health Care Bills

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has penned an opinion column running in the Wall Street Journal that again bashes Obama and Congress. She expands on her previous comments about “death panels” by saying that the bills wrongly endorse health care rationing. Continue reading

Healthcare Reform that Most Americans Support

Readers have sent notes to this blog asking, in essence, “Dr. Walt, what healthcare reform do you support?” And, in his labor day speech about healthcare reform, President Obama had sharp words for those of us who have loudly opposed his proposals in public forums. He said, “What’s your answer? What’s your solution?” Then he said, “The fact is, they don’t have one. It’s do nothing.” He could not be more wrong. So, here’s not only what I support, but what most American’s support.

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Grade the President’s Healthcare Reform Speech Tonight

President Obama has had a month to listen to the American people on the topic of healthcare reform. For a month, thoughtful Americans have gone to town hall meetings in large numbers to oppose more spending, more government, and more Washington centered bureaucracy. For a month, the polls have gotten worse and worse for big spending, big deficit, high taxes, and big government. Tonight President Obama has an opportunity to show whether he’s listening to the majority of Americans or to his party’s radical leftwing. Here’s how you can grade the speech: Continue reading

Congressional Research Service says Obama Bearing False Witness

In this time of bitter partisanship, there are still a few issues that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can agree on. One of those issues is providing taxpayer-subsidized benefits to illegal aliens. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

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Christian Doctors Group Warns of New Pro-Suicide Bias in Law and Policy

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest faith-based organization of physicians, today warned of the potential for pro-suicide ideology to seep into law and government policy. The organization pointed to pro-suicide influence in a controversial Veterans Administration (VA) manual and a section of the main House healthcare overhaul bill.

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Don’t confuse Obamacare with Colorado’s healthcare reform

President Barack Obama’s plan is to push American health care down the path toward socialized medicine. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, a majority of Americans now disapprove of Obama’s health care plan, and around 75 percent of those polled flatly reject assurances from the White House that Obamacare will be “deficit neutral.” It is against this backdrop that the president arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado, yesterday, to pitch his socialized medical health plan. But, don’t be fooled by his rhetoric.

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