The Final Minority Report

Because Even Minorities Oppose Liberalism & Statism

What’s in it for Healthcare Companies?

So what’s in it for health care companies when it comes to socialized medicine? Ask Despina D. Karras.

“An unrivaled set of abstractions and posturing,” is how a Boston University Professor of Health Policy described the announcement that health companies (insurers, providers and drug companies) have promised to enact $2 trillion in cost-cutting measures over the next 10 years.

This ceremonial commitment came on the heels of Democrat’s revealing their willingness to use reconciliation to push universal healthcare legislation through soon. While the announcement was a nice gesture, it left many of us wondering, where’s the beef? First, with no enforcement mechanism, the government cannot force the companies to follow through on their promises. And secondly, if realized, these savings wouldn’t benefit the government alone, but would also accrue to the consumers of health services. In other words, the money saved won’t be put in a big pot that the government can reach into to fund their healthcare initiatives.

So what did this announcement really mean? For example, might the President be willing to explore reforming healthcare without instituting socialized healthcare? That seems unlikely. The more likely explanation is that up until now, the major road block to providing a public, government-run health insurance has been finding a way to pay the ever increasing bill for such a Medicare-style entitlement, and the President believes that “lowering the costs of health care will complement the overall reform of the health-care system” that Congress is getting ready to take up soon.

What about the insurance companies? Why would they be willing to get on board with an administration and Congress that is set to pass legislation that could devastate, if not eliminate, their industry? The New York News Blog provides a rundown of opinions on this issue that range from believing that this group has accepted what’s coming down the pipeline and is now ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with this administration to suspecting that the industry hopes that universal healthcare will “give them a huge revenue boost in the short term – and then every lobbyist … will fight those spending reductions over the long term”.

Some examples of the cost-cutting measures offered up include making payment systems more effective, reducing administrative costs and improving technology. However, similar efforts have failed in the past, and experts say it will be difficult to squeeze that kind of savings out of these kinds of proposals.

So, the question remains, did these health companies come to the table because they wanted to be players that would help reshape healthcare as we’ve known it? One person suggested they wanted a seat at the table so as to avoid being on the menu. Yesterday’s announcement may have been long on admirable goals and short on the details as to how we get there, but one thing is for sure: this administration and Congress is intent on passing healthcare reform and soon. Yesterday’s announcement may have been unclear and may not have seemed like the game changer we expected on the surface, but with even the health companies seeming to accept government-run healthcare as inevitable, it was the first symbolic step toward socializing healthcare in America.

05/13/2009 Posted by | Health Care, socialized medicine | | Leave a comment

Too Little, Too Late: Amends from a Recovering Liberal

Although a little too late for my tastes (in consideration of the current political structure), I find this a little too late but still worth the read:

Dear friends, family, loved ones, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, my brother in law, Sam, and my cousin Joe: I am sorry and you were right.

These are not easy words for anyone to utter, much less a leftist from Berkeley, or a recovering leftist, that is. Even though I’ve been in recovery for 14 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days, leftists are always right in your face, in an I-hate-you-if-you-disagree sort of way. Hence, this letter of amends to all the people I’ve lectured, scolded, ranted and raved at, and otherwise annoyed during my 30 plus years of “progressive” politics.

My recovery program urges a fierce moral inventory, a cleansing of heart and mind (kind of like a “forgiveness tour” but without the scary dictators), so here goes:

05/13/2009 Posted by | Former Obama Supporters, Useful Idiots | | Leave a comment

Liberal Compassion in Health Care

Why does socialized medicine in the UK look so similar to the proposals to socialized medicine in the US?

BRITISH VERSION

NICE Continues To Ration Access To Kidney Cancer Medicines, Preventing Doctors From Providing The Best Possible Treatment Option For Each Patient
Article Date: 30 Apr 2009 – 1:00 PDT

Today the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced the Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) for Nexavar® (sorafenib), Sutent® (sunitinib), Avastin® (bevacizumab) and Torisel® (temsirolimus) in advanced kidney cancer. NICE has not recommended sorafenib, bevacizumab and temsirolimus as first line treatment option for kidney cancer. Furthermore, it does not recommend sorafenib or sunitinib for second line treatment for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients.

More than 7,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year, of which 1,7001 will have the advanced form of the disease.

AMERICAN VERSION

Remember, our population is aging. And with the very, very elderly, the costs go down, so that percentage should be falling, and it’s not. Second, the cost of care is growing by so much, so at the same percentage, it’s worth a lot more. So let’s go back to the issue of comparative effectiveness, which we’re supporting. That’s where that can have a big impact. It’s not only there, but that’s where the waste is. That’s where people are using technologies that really either don’t work at all or keep people alive for for very limited [time] and [at] very high cost.

Hospice is one option, but we do need take account of the cost — you know, I hate to say it, the cost-benefit of some of the things we do. And either we can do it directly, or we can do it by bundling the payments and let the delivery system deal with it. So it’s a combination of the delivery system dealing with it, or, and/or providing more information for people to make the right decisions, both for themselves and for the care.

05/13/2009 Posted by | Health Care, socialized medicine | | Leave a comment