Archive for Obamacare

Obamacare dead for 2009?

Posted in Economics of Health Care, Health Care Policy, Medicolegal with tags , , on November 3, 2009 by drbobbs

Is Obamacare, for the present at least, dead on arrival?  According to ABC News, it is:

Senior Congressional Democrats told ABC News today it is highly unlikely that a health care reform bill will be completed this year, just a week after President Barack Obama declared he was “absolutely confident” he’ll be able to sign one by then.

“Getting this done by the by the end of the year is a no-go,” a senior Democratic leadership aide told ABC News. Two other key Congressional Democrats also told ABC News the same thing.

This administration seems to have been totally unprepared for the resistance to their proposed health care reforms.  The town halls of this past summer will go down in American political history as the model of how not to sell an idea to the American people.  And the series of health care reform bills, culminating most recently in a 1,990 page behemoth that “runs more pages than War and Peace [and] has nearly five times as many words as the Torah,” are bloated and bureaucratic.  The $1.2 trillion price tag does little to inspire confidence that health care costs will in any way be lowered by it.

Of course, we don’t really seem to inclined to lower health care costs in the United States anyway.  Are fast food restaurants going out of business due to a lack of customers?  Is there a public outcry for loser pays medical malpractice reform?  Is there bipartisan support to allow individuals and groups to purchase health insurance across states lines to create a truly national health insurance market with competition and lower prices?  Are there any substantive steps to increase the number of primary care physicians in the country?

So far, the answer across the board appears to be “No.”

Obama health care plan on the ropes

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags , , , , on September 15, 2009 by drbobbs

From The Hill: Senate Democrats are going to have to move forward on healthcare without a single Republican supporter after Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she could not back the Finance Committee’s bill.

From the Associated Press: Health bill harder after Obama speech, says Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel of New York.

President Obama doesn’t get it

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags , on September 10, 2009 by drbobbs

“Now is the time to act,” President Obama said in regard to health care reform. “We have talked this issue to death. … The time for talk is winding down. The time for bickering is past.”

Mr. President, a majority of Americans do not agree with your proposed health care reforms and you heard the voice of that majority during the town hall meetings held this past summer.  The American people are not required to shut up and go along with your proposals if they think they are not good for the country.  As your predecessor learned, sometimes a President can feel very strongly about this or that health care reform or initiative and still be told “No!” by the American public and their representatives.

Public option ping pong

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags , on September 9, 2009 by drbobbs

ConfusionAs of this writing, the public option is a no go again: Ahead of Obama Speech, Baucus Says ‘Public Option’ Cannot Pass Senate

Administration NOT throwing in the towel?

Posted in Economics of Health Care, Health Care Policy with tags , , on September 8, 2009 by drbobbs

Last month it looked like the Obama administration was giving up on a public health option.  But according to this, the Obama team may not have given up on the public option after all.  Incidentally, this plan also calls for, well, read it for yourself:

The plan includes some of the stiffest penalties Congress has proposed for Americans who don’t carry health insurance coverage.

Sen. Baucus emerged from a meeting with the six-member bipartisan group saying he had given his colleagues until 10 a.m. Wednesday to provide feedback on his draft. The group will meet again Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to come up with an agreement before Mr. Obama’s address.

Under the plan, people who earn between 100% and 300% of the poverty level (or between about $22,000 a year and $66,000 a year for a family of four) would face fees ranging from $750 to $1,500 a year.

For taxpayers with incomes above 300% of poverty, the penalty starts at $950 a year and reaches as high as $3,800 for families. Nearly 12 million people fit in this category, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management.

The idea behind the penalty is that those who can afford insurance but don’t buy it are imposing costs on the entire health system. Under the proposal, nearly 12 million people who currently have no insurance could be subject to such fines, according to figures compiled by the National Institute for Health Care Management.

Starting next year, the plan also calls for annual fees of $6 billion on health-insurance providers, $4 billion for medical-device makers, $2.3 billion on drug makers and $750 million on clinical laboratories. The fees would be levied on individual companies based on market share. Insurers also face an excise tax of 35% for any health plan worth more than $8,000 a year for individuals and $21,000 a year for families.

Karen Ignagni, chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry lobbying group, said the new fees would make it more difficult for health insurers to contain rising costs. “Our members are talking about that being at odds with the goal of cost containment,” she said.

Either the administration has compromising photos of hundreds of Congressmen and Senators in a desk drawer somewhere, or they are seriously misreading the political tea leaves.  This sounds like the kind of thing that would give all those irate town hall meeting people from this past summer hemorrhagic strokes.

ObamaCare Supporter bites off finger of ObamaCare Critic

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags on September 3, 2009 by drbobbs

William Rice, 65, of Newbury Park was with a small group of counter-protesters at a vigil Wednesday night organized by Moveon.org when a man bit off part of his left pinky finger during a scuffle, authorities said. Doctors were unable to reattach Rice’s finger.

I wonder if digit reattachment would be covered under ObamaCare?

Administration throwing in the towel?

Posted in Economics of Health Care, Health Care Policy with tags , , on August 16, 2009 by drbobbs

towelAccording to the Associated Press, the White House appears “ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.”  Everybody and his brother, including yours truly, has pointed out that the President’s healthcare reform plans were never economically feasible.  And it didn’t help that the summer has seen some of the worst political salesmanship in American history.  Running for office and being in office are two very different things.