Tag Archives: socialized healthcare

As Healthcare Reform Takes Hold, 74% of Physicians Will Retire or Seek Other Alternatives

Healthcare reform, should it survive legal challenge, repeal, and/or non-funding, will usher in a new era of medicine in which physicians will, according to a report in Modern Medicine, “largely cease to operate as full-time, independent, private practitioners accepting third party payments. Instead, they will work as employees, as part-timers, as administrators, in cash-only ‘concierge’ practices, or they will walk away from medicine altogether.” Here are the details from Modern Medicine:

These are some of the findings of a new report commissioned by The Physicians Foundation entitled “Health Reform and the Decline of Physician Private Practice”.

The report outlines provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and examines economic, demographic, and other forces impacting the way doctors structure their practices and deliver care.

The report offers a road map for where medical practice is headed in the post-reform era, says Lou Goodman, PhD, president of The Physicians Foundation and chief executive officer of the Texas Medical Association.

Concern about patient care

“The private practice physician is rapidly disappearing,” Goodman notes. “Both market forces and the health care reform law are forcing physicians to find new ways of running a practice. We are extremely concerned about how this will affect patient care.”

Drawing on the perspective of a panel of healthcare experts and executives, the report projects physicians will follow one of four courses:

  • Work as employees of increasingly larger medical groups or hospital systems
  • Establish cash-only practices that eliminate third party payers
  • Reduce their clinical roles by working part-time
  • Opt out of medicine altogether by accepting non-clinical positions or by retiring.

Survey results in agreement

The projections are backed by results of a national physician survey included in the report.

Of some 2,400 physicians responding, only 26 percent said they would continue practicing the way they are in the next one to three years. The remaining 74 percent said they would:

  • retire,
  • work part-time,
  • close their practices to new patients,
  • become employed and/or
  • seek non-clinical jobs.

Based on the survey and other data, the white paper projects health reform will worsen the ongoing physician shortage and make it harder for many patients to access a physician.

In order to illustrate medical practice trends, the report includes case studies of medical practice models likely to proliferate post-reform, including studies of a medical home, an accountable care organization, a concierge practice, a community health center, and a small, hospital-aligned practice.

All-in-all, if this survey is accurate, the evolution of healthcare reform should be very interesting.

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.

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.

NOW the healthcare reform debate begins

Healthcare Reform that Most Americans Support
Christian Medical Association Labels House Healthcare Bill an “Overdose” That Threatens Patient-Physician Relationship
Yesterday, the United States Senate began debating Harry Reid’s 2,074-page healthcare “reform” bill. Declaring that the nation is facing a “real crisis,” Reid warned senators that they would be working Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the year in order to finish the debate as quickly as possible. Should Reid’s legislation become law, the “reforms” wouldn’t take effect until 2014. So much for the crisis. But you will start paying higher taxes next year.
The Democrats are determined to pass healthcare “reform,” but the American people are increasingly skeptical of their judgment. A Gallup poll released yesterday finds declining support for fake healthcare “reform.” Gallup found that since October, support has fallen five points, while opposition has risen six points. That represents an 11-point swing in public opinion against the legislation in just a few weeks. Today, only 35% support it. According to Gallup, support for the bill is down seven points since September among self-identified Democrats and down 11 points among Independents, 53% of whom now oppose the bill.
A new Rasmussen poll has even more disturbing news for congressional Democrats. The voters don’t believe them when they insist healthcare “reform” won’t raise their taxes or add to the deficit. According to Rasmussen, 60% of likely voters believe that healthcare “reform” legislation will add to our nation’s growing debt burden, and 75% believe that middle class taxes will go up as a result.
This is very significant because several Rasmussen polls clearly show that voters continue to put much greater emphasis on improving the economy and reducing the deficit than on healthcare “reform.” The more Democrats appear disconnected from reality, the greater their defeat is likely to be in next year’s elections. To illustrate the point, a new Rasmussen poll finds that voter identification with the Democrat Party has fallen five points since Obama took office.
Putting the political implications aside, I hope anyone remotely interested in the idea of government-run socialized medicine will take a moment to thoroughly research the issue. Yet another report from Great Britain demonstrates that quality suffers when the bureaucracy takes over. We have posted links to other relevant articles on our homepage at www.cwfpac.com.

This week, the United States Senate began debating Harry Reid’s 2,074-page healthcare “reform” bill. Declaring that the nation is facing a “real crisis,” Reid warned senators that they would be working Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the year in order to finish the debate as quickly as possible. Should Reid’s legislation become law, the “reforms” wouldn’t take effect until 2014. So much for the crisis. But you will start paying higher taxes next year.

My friend, Gary Bauer, the President of the Campaign for Working Families wrote this to me in an email:

The Democrats are determined to pass healthcare “reform,” but the American people are increasingly skeptical of their judgment.

A Gallup poll released yesterday finds declining support for fake healthcare “reform.” Gallup found that since October, support has fallen five points, while opposition has risen six points. That represents an 11-point swing in public opinion against the legislation in just a few weeks.

Today, only 35% support it. According to Gallup, support for the bill is down seven points since September among self-identified Democrats and down 11 points among Independents, 53% of whom now oppose the bill.

He goes on to write:

A new Rasmussen poll has even more disturbing news for congressional Democrats. The voters don’t believe them when they insist healthcare “reform” won’t raise their taxes or add to the deficit.

According to Rasmussen, 60% of likely voters believe that healthcare “reform” legislation will add to our nation’s growing debt burden, and 75% believe that middle class taxes will go up as a result.

This is very significant because several Rasmussen polls clearly show that voters continue to put much greater emphasis on improving the economy and reducing the deficit than on healthcare “reform.” The more Democrats appear disconnected from reality, the greater their defeat is likely to be in next year’s elections. To illustrate the point, a new Rasmussen poll finds that voter identification with the Democrat Party has fallen five points since Obama took office.

Putting the political implications aside, I hope anyone remotely interested in the idea of government-run socialized medicine will take a moment to thoroughly research the issue. Here are just a few of the implications:

In the past, I’ve blogged on the healthcare reform that I support:

Also, I’ve done a blog series on the pros and cons of nationalized healthcare systems. Here are the links to the entire series: The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World:

  1. Introduction
  2. Canada
  3. Great Britain
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Norway
  8. Spain
  9. Italy
  10. Switzerland

Here are some of my other blogs on healthcare reform:

Also, here’s a blog series on commonly believed healthcare myths:

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 10 – Switzerland

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, in this last blog of this 10-part series, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Swiss system.

Michael Tanner, the director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, is the coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It and the author of this series:

I have already written about Switzerland in previous posts (see Swiss Healthcare Sytem: Part I, and Part II). Still of all the countries with universal health care, Switzerland’s is the most market-oriented and merits discussion. Switzerland’s health care spending as a percentage of GDP is second only behind the U.S. (11.6% of GDP for Switzerland, 15.3% for the U.S. according to Frontline), yet the government pays for very little of this funding. The Swiss system is similar to the “managed competition” health care plan proposed by the Clintons in the early 1990s.

Percent Insured. 99.5%. Does this mean a mandated system system would lead to universal coverage in the U.S?  This is unlikely.  In Switzerland, a mandate for auto insurance has nearly 100% compliance, but in the U.S. the auto insurance mandate’s compliance rate is only around 83%.

Funding.  Insurance is purchased by individuals.  Individuals generally must pay the full cost of premiums, but the government helps to finance insurance purchases for the poor.  “These subsidies are designed to prevent any individual from having to pay more than 10 percent of income on insurance,” and one third of Swiss citizens receive this type of subsidy.    Thus, the Swiss government only pays for 24.9% of health care costs (compared with 44.7% in the U.S.).

Private Insurance.  All insurance is private insurance.  However, insurance companies are mandated to offer the same “basic benefits package.”  Some physicians operate outside the negotiated schedules and individuals are beginning to purchase supplemental insurance to cover the cost of these higher cost physicians.  Some estimates claim that 40% of Swiss citizens have purchased supplemental insurance.

Physician Compensation.  Physician compensation is negotiated between the insurance companies and doctors on a canton by canton basis.  Balance-billing is not allowed.  Switzerland has strong regulation with respect to nonphysician health care professionals (e.g., nurses, PAs, NPs,) and thus patients are often compelled to use expensive physicians even when this may not be medically necessary.

Physician Choice.  According to a WHO study, Switzerland ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of the ability of patients to choose their provider.

Copayment/Deductibles.  Premiums are community rated and only adjusted for sex and age.  Employers do not pay for workers insurance and thus many Swiss have opted for less expensive plans with higher deductibles.  This has lead to the Swiss paying for 31.5% through out of pocket expenses.

Waiting Times.  According to a WHO study, Switzerland ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of timely care.

Benefits Covered.  All insurers cover the “basic benefits package” so most competition between insurers is based on price and service.  A politically defined benefit package is susceptible to influence from special interest groups.  Thus, Uwe Reinhardt notes that “over time, the growth in compulsory benefits has absorbed an increasing fraction of the consumers’ payment, thus compromising the consumer-driven aspects of the Swiss system.”

I hope this series has been helpful to you.

Here are links to the entire series: The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World

  1. Introduction
  2. Canada
  3. Great Britain
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Norway
  8. Spain
  9. Italy
  10. Switzerland

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

An uninsured gorilla in Colorado Springs receives specialist service faster than a Canadian human might

There’s been big news at our local zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, here in Colorado Springs. Rafiki,  a 25-year-old silverback lowland gorilla, took ill. When he did, medical attention was available immediately. Some of the finest doctors in the world converged upon him, determined to quickly find and fix whatever was wrong. Fortunately, his waiting time for tests was far less than many people in countries with nationalized healthcare. 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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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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