Charlie Gard

Anyone in the United States who currently supports single payer healthcare should pay close attention to what is currently playing out in the United Kingdom.

A 11-month old child is on a ventilator, terminally ill with a genetic disease called mitochondrial disease (or MDDS – mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome). He is unable to move his arms or legs or breathe unaided.

His parents want to move him to the United States or Italy for treatment, where doctors say an experimental treatment will give him a ten percent chance at survival.

U.K. doctors insist this treatment will not help and will cause more suffering. British and European courts have sided with the hospital and refuse to allow it.

This is the problem with a single payer healthcare system. Those who control the money control the decision making process. By going single payer, parents and patients are giving up their right to control their own destiny.

The United States was built on freedom. In choosing a single payer healthcare system, we would be giving up a big piece of those freedoms.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Single Payer Healthcare

Senator Warren said this week that Democrats should campaign on the promotion of single payer healthcare.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, she said, “President Obama tried to move us forward with healthcare coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts. Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”

This appears to be an effort to tie the Affordable Care Act’s shortcomings to the Right. It shouldn’t work. The final version of Obamacare was pushed through by the Left without a single Republican vote.

Nevertheless, we should welcome the opportunity to have a public discussion on the merits and drawbacks of a single payer healthcare system.

Ronald Reagan spoke in the early 1960s about what was then termed “socialized medicine”. He quoted Norman Thomas who once said, “The American People will never vote for socialism, but under the name of liberalism, the American People will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”

That is what we are seeing here. It was predicted that the Affordable Care Act was designed to be a stepping stone to socialized medicine. Now, the Left is pursuing that next step.

To have a politician come out in favor of single payer healthcare is an opportunity to have a public discussion about whether or not this is a good thing for the country, especially with a large percentage of the millennial generation opposed to capitalism.

According to Wikipedia, “Single-payer healthcare is a healthcare system in which the state, financed by taxes, covers basic healthcare costs for all residents regardless of income, occupation, or health status.”

Ronald Reagan, in that same talk, pointed out that healthcare in the United States has historically been something to be envied – doctor/patient privacy, the right to choose a doctor, the right to switch doctors. He then asked that we look at it from the doctors perspective.

Under single payer healthcare, if the government is paying our medical bills, it’s a very short step to our doctors being considered government employees. From there, it’s a downward spiral. Our doctors lose freedoms. If the government pays the bills, do they gain the ability to control where a particular doctor chooses to practice, or what specialty a medical student is allowed to study? Does the government then gain the ability to determine a doctor’s pay?

The medical profession is roughly one-sixth of the American economy. If these types of things are allowed to happen to our medical professionals, it’s only a matter of time before Socialism creeps into other, or all, aspects of our economy.

These are the types of questions we need to be discussing publicly if we are seriously considering a single payer healthcare system. Let me encourage you to go to youtube and search “Reagan socialized medicine”. It’s ten minutes well worth your time.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Abortion and the Healthcare Bill

Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a video during which she referred to the Republican healthcare proposal as “blood money.”

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted: “…Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.”

Chad Kubis (@ChadKubisNC) made an astute observation on Twitter yesterday: “Democrats believe that a GOP healthcare (bill) will kill them yet don’t seem to bat an eye when supporting inhumane abortions…”

It’s true. Both Senators and virtually the entire Democratic Party these days are strong supporters of abortion rights.

When comparing abortion to healthcare comments about Americans dying because of specific policy decisions, one must consider when life actually begins.

Let’s turn to the Bible. In Psalm 139, David says of God, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

If the Bible is true, God clearly knows us before we are born. Considering this brings the abortion question in line with Biblical truth. One cannot logically be pro-choice, believing abortion is not the taking of human life, and believe the Bible is the true Word of God.

Americans must decide. One cannot live in both worlds.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

Senate Healthcare Bill

The Senate released its version of the proposed Obamacare replacement healthcare bill today, and the reaction has been as anticipated. The Left hates it, and for the opposite of reasons, several in the Right are reserving support in hopes of changes. Just like the House bill.

What is frustrating to the Right is that the bill does not appear to be the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act on which they campaigned. Too much of the Obamacare structure is left in place. What is frustrating to the Left is that the bill is not the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare was not a popular law, and it has not functioned as intended. We know this by looking at the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of projected coverage numbers versus the actuals. The CBO score missed the mark by roughly 12 million people. We also know this because of the number of private insurers dropping out of the markets over the years due to financial losses related to this lack of participation.

It was predicted back in 2009 by many on the Right that the Affordable Care Act was never intended to be a solution to our healthcare struggles. It was forecasted back then that the ACA would eventually fail because it was designed to do so. It was said at the time, perhaps cynically, that Obamacare was only intended to be a stepping stone to a single payer healthcare system.

Lo and behold, if that’s not what is occurring today. This is the argument of the Left: We don’t need to repeal and replace Obamacare. We need to reform it. Many in the country are already calling for any Obamacare “fix” to come in the form of a single payer system.

I’m here to tell you a single payer system is not the answer for one simple reason: Incentives matter. A single payer system assumes the best in people. It assumes everyone operates efficiently. It assumes everyone is at the highest level of competence. Anything less and the wait times are long and the service suffers, or at least there is no built in protection against such.

A private, free market healthcare system, on the other hand, assumes the worst in people. It assumes that without built in incentives to drive service and quality, performance will suffer because people are fallible.

Such incentives should come in the form of competition. Detach health insurance from employers and let individuals purchase coverage in variable amounts as we currently do with other forms of insurance. The competition of doing so encourages providers to sell high quality coverage at a low cost.

Another incentive legislators can build in to free market healthcare is tort reform aimed at protecting healthcare providers from frivolous lawsuits. The easier it is to sue a doctor, the higher everyone will pay for healthcare. Logically, this is done to cover the cost of malpractice insurance and legal bills.

Changes such as these will do more to bring down the cost of healthcare than a modified version of the Affordable Care Act. Of course, that’s not to say what the Senate proposed today isn’t better than Obamacare. It is, but it doesn’t fulfill the potential of what healthcare in the United States could become.

-John Anchor
@JohnAnchorBLOG

More on the AHCA Vote

A few tweets from yesterday:

Representative Nancy Pelosi:

“#Trumpcare has never been about health care. It serves only as an excuse for a massive tax cut for the rich.”

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeals the taxes that were associated with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  It does this for everyone, not just the rich.

(Remember who pays most of the taxes in this country? The rich. Review the percentages.)

Senator Bernie Sanders:

“Donald Trump and Republicans just celebrated voting to let thousands of Americans die so that billionaires get tax breaks. Think about that.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren:

“The @HouseGOP just voted to strip health care away from millions….” and later, “This isn’t football. It’s not about scoring points. #AHCA will devastate Americans’ healthcare. Families will go bankrupt. People will die.”

People will die! Based on these tweets, the Democrats expect you to believe the GOP prepared a fraudulent bill for two purposes: to kill people and make themselves rich.

Sounds extreme, does it not?

The “24 million will lose health coverage” comment is a scare tactic that originated with the CBO score of the first AHCA bill that was pulled from consideration weeks ago. Even that CBO score admitted that the number calculated as “lost coverage” included many who would voluntarily give up their Obamacare coverage because of the repeal of the Obamacare penalties for being uninsured.  

The CBO report states: “Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties…”

So, the number itself is inaccurate, and it is certainly not true that the GOP voted to “strip away” healthcare coverage. As I shared yesterday, the Republican health care plan is a three phase process with the goal of lowering costs and increasing coverage. The AHCA is only step one.  Even if the plan is not the best, as critics on both sides have alleged, let’s evaluate it on its merits instead of spewing misleading rhetoric.

Representative Nancy Pelosi again:

“Dems will speak in a few short minutes on the GOP’s vote to kick 24 million off health coverage.”

Hillary Clinton:

“A shameful failure of policy & morality by GOP today.”

Yes, the immoral Republicans hate people and desire to “kick” them off their health insurance coverage. As explained above, the number isn’t real.

Senator Schumer:

“#Trumpcare is a fraud & an insult to the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

And again, Speaker Pelosi:

“House Republicans claim #Trumpcare protects people with pre-existing conditions. It. Does. Not.”

I explained about pre-existing conditions and the AHCA here.

This is childish behavior. Are we not at a level where we can have mature conversations based on fact?

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG

AHCA

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House today and is on its way to the Senate. A few observations:

The scare tactics employed by the Left are enormous and inaccurate.  The common themes are “People Will Die” due to an Obamacare repeal and “24 Million Will Lose Healthcare Coverage”.

The 24 million number comes from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the first AHCA bill draft that was pulled from consideration weeks ago. 

This number was not an accurate reflection of the three phase Republican healthcare plan when the score was released back then because the CBO can only evaluate the language of a bill under consideration – not future related legislation or regulatory reform.

The second phase of regulatory rollbacks by the Secretary of Health and Human Services was not considered but will potentially have a large impact on coverage and rates. 1,442 times, the text of Obamacare read, “The Secretary shall…” or “The Secretary may…” giving a wide latitude of the executive branch to shape the law.  Same deal still exists, only in reverse.  Additionally, phase three will involve additional legislation that will open up the marketplace but which, for obvious reasons, cannot be scored by the CBO. 

The bottom line is this: Will 24 million people automatically lose there health insurance because of the evil Republicans? No.

Furthermore, today’s vote, should it become law, offers an incentive to businesses to grow the economy: the repeal of the employer mandate. 

Trish Regan reported on Fox News this evening that many business owners have intentionally avoided growing their business so as to avoid the 50 person requirement to provide health insurance. And we wonder why the economy has only grown at 2% over the last few years.

Finally, the chanting today. “Hey, Hey, Hey! Goodbye!”  Totally unbecoming of the United States Congress, particularly because their scare tactics were based on such faulty premises. 

We need to get over our partisan selves and have intelligent discussions based on factual information. 

What say you?  Let me know in the comment section below.

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG

Pre-Existing Conditions

A lot of discussion today about pre-existing conditions as they relate to healthcare reform. 

(See our earlier post Is Healthcare a Right?)

Despite the rhetoric that’s being pushed, the issue is not whether those with defined pre-existing conditions will be covered by the American Health Care Act (AHCA) but rather how such coverage will be paid.

(See our post High Level Healthcare Solution for key points needed for a free market solution.)

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) placed such individuals in the same pool as everyone else, and the group shared the costs, driving up premiums for everyone. 

Obamacare also had a requirement placed upon insurance companies that they cannot deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

Incentives matter.

Why pay for insurance, the penalty notwithstanding, if you won’t be denied coverage after you get sick?

Mark Steyn made a remarkable point this afternoon on The Fox News Specialists.  Pre-existing coverage for insurance is not insurance by definition. That is not what insurance is.

Mr. Steyn said that if you can fall off the roof and swing by the insurance office on the way to the hospital to pick up a policy, that doesn’t meet the definition of insurance.

Insurance is “the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one’s person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.” (Dictionary.com)

The key words there are “specified contingencies” and “proportionate to the risk involved”.  A higher risk will require a higher payment.  That’s business, but it doesn’t mean we, as a society, should not help the sick.

The AHCA, on the other hand, separates those with pre-existing conditions into a separate pool where the costs are supplemented by tax payers. This keeps premiums lower for those without pre-existing conditions. 

A good solution?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

-John Anchor

@JohnAnchorBLOG

High Level Healthcare Analysis

Free Market Solution

Free market capitalism is the most successful economic system in the history of the world. It has raised millions out of poverty and made the United States an economic and political superpower. Any solution to the healthcare “crisis” must be grounded in free market principles. 

Car Insurance 

Many analysts have made the point that the government requiring an individual to purchase health insurance is no different than requiring a driver to purchase auto insurance. This argument is commonly made in favor of the Affordable Care Act, and not entirely without holes, but let’s take a closer look at the comparison. I think you will find there are many aspects of the car insurance industry that could be applied to a reasonable healthcare solution. 

As noted by John Hayward, with car insurance: “…the buyer pays a modest amount, on a steady basis, to purchase financial protection against unanticipated, catastrophic expense. This protection is very affordable for safe drivers, because the insurance companies are permitted to measure risk against reward, and charge lower premiums for those deemed less likely to make expensive claims.”

Sounds reasonable, right?  Free market. 

Mr. Hayward goes on: “A wide range of options is offered to the buyer of an auto insurance policy, who is invited to shop around between many different providers to get the best deal.  The buyer can accept higher levels of financial risk – larger deductibles, lower maximum payouts, and less comprehensive coverage – in exchange for lower premiums.”

To carry the car insurance analogy forward, a healthcare solution should be based on these free market principles. 

To this end, we should detach health insurance from employers and allow individuals to purchase policies across state lines. In the current employer based system, the employee’s premium is not paid out of pocket, resulting in most employees being unaware of the actual costs of their medical treatments. For the same reason, medical providers have little incentive to avoid prescribing costly services, knowing the patient isn’t the one bearing the brunt of the expense. 

In addition, some level of tort reform should be considered. In the current system, it is easy for patients to sue for malpractice, thereby giving doctors incentive to prescribe an over abundance of medical tests purely for precautionary reasons and resulting in increased medical bills to their patients who, remember, don’t see the actual costs anyway. 

So much simply comes down to incentives: for patients to seek cost efficient care and for doctors to provide the same.  And remember, this is America. Freedom is always the best solution. 

-John Anchor

Follow us on Twitter @JohnAnchorBLOG

References:

Car Insurance Comparison 

http://humanevents.com/2012/07/06/car-insurance-vs-health-insurance/

Medical Costs

http://www.heritage.org/social-security/report/assuring-affordable-health-care-all-americans

Is Healthcare a Right?

President Obama once said, “No one should go broke just because they get sick. In the United States, healthcare is not a privilege for the fortunate few, it is a right.”

Is it?

The Declaration of Independence acknowledges that rights are endowed by God: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights further guarantees American citizens certain legal rights – protections from government interference in their lives. 

But America’s development into an economic and political superpower, a protector of freedom for the entire world, is due to exactly that, freedom — a free market economy and the ability of its citizens to pursue their own destiny. 

The insurance industry is a business, and like any business, is based on risks and rewards. Health insurance providers take on risk by issuing policies, and their profit margin on this risk is calculated. 

The former president said, “No one should go broke just because they get sick.” 

Should business owners go broke because they are forced to issue a policy that carries more risk than they can bear?  

Health insurance is a good, bought and sold on the free market based on businesses’ willingness to take on risk and provide a service. 

So what does a healthcare solution look like?  More on this later, but the solution must be based on a simple premise: Trust the system. It’s what made this country great. 

Listen to the following from future President Reagan in 1961 for excellent context on the subject:

https://youtu.be/1sUYZQOrFtc

-John Anchor

Follow us on Twitter @JohnAnchorBLOG

References:

Merrill Goozner

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20161231/MAGAZINE/312319985

Andrew Napolitano

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/30/is-health-care-right-or-good.html