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At no extra cost, 14 myths about health-care reform debunked in one convenient post

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 Town hall, schmown hall. Why run the risk of having to stand next to some gun-toting lunatic or losing your hearing when the banshees start yelling at the top of their lungs. (OK, OK. I know Don Manzullo’s get-togethers here in Rockford are relatively civilized affairs, but still.)

 Besides, you already know how your congressperson is going to vote. Nothing you say — or shout — is going to change his or her mind.

 We’ve got all you need to know right HERE, and you don’t have to drive across town to get it.

 And there’s no need to thank me. Really. I’m here to serve.

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18 Comments

  1. shawnnews

    I’m glad you are here.

  2. Neftali

    Rebuttals:

    Myth #1 – The Democrat bill will help the uninsured or under-insured and will not adversely affect those who already are enrolled in a employer-provided system.
    Reality – The bill will cause most people to leave their current plans to enroll in the government plan because its cheaper in the short term. However in the long term it will force continually higher taxes and skyrocketing deficits.

    Myth #2 – Government will do a better job at rationing than insurance companies.
    Reality – A small number of appointed bureaucrats will decide what’s the best health care plan for everyone. The liberal goal is to eliminate competition in the health care industry. Thus, rather than having a choice of health care providers, you will be pushed around by a big, ugly, bloated government entity.

    MYTH 3: Health care reform provides for euthanasia, “death panel”
    Reality – Well, I actually agree that this is a myth.

    MYTH 4: Health care reform legislation will cover undocumented immigrants
    Reality – No argument here. Again, this is a myth.

    MYTH 5: Health care reform will raise your taxes
    Reality – Damn F’n straight it will raise your taxes. It taxes the rich. Thus, the middle class suffers. Eventually the middle class will suffer too.

    MYTH 7: Health care reform would add $1 trillion-plus to deficit
    Reality – I don’t care what the CBO claims here. Anytime you do forecasting 10 years in advance, the numbers get highly volatile. Of course for some reason we’re supposed to believe that even the net $239B deficit is a “good” thing.

    MYTH 8: House bill would ban private individual insurance
    Reality – No it won’t ban it, but it will entice everyone to move away from it, which is the liberal goal.

    MYTH 9: Obama said he didn’t read House bill
    Reality – Of course he didn’t read it, even if he actually didn’t say that. Very few members in Congress actually have.

    MYTH 10: Co-ops are an adequate substitute for a public option
    Reality – No argument here, Co-ops suck, they are only slightly better than the public option.

    MYTH 11: Obama is pushing a system like the U.K. and Canada
    Reality – See response to Myth 12.

    MYTH 12: Obama, Dems pushing “socialized medicine”
    Reality – Hell yes, they are. Obama has said publicly on several occasions he supports a single payer system. Kennedy has been pushing this for over 30 years. Barney Frank has stated that the public option is a stepping stone to single payer.

    MYTH 13: Prominent opponents of health care reform are credible
    Reality – Oh, and Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, and Obama are health care experts? PLEASE.

    MYTH 14: Government can’t run a health care program
    Reality – Its true, they can’t. The reason why public insurance costs have risen faster than medicare is because government is cheating the system. They don’t reimburse physicians for anywhere near their actual costs for procedures. Thus, the costs get passed on to the public because the government is screwing everyone over.

    Media Matters sucks. It a no-good deceptive rag.

  3. Neftali

    Republicans are proposing a system to increase competition in the health care industry. The idea is to get everyone off of primarily acquiring health insurance through your employer, but to make all insurance plans portable. Think of buying health insurance the way you buy auto insurance. If you don’t like your current health care provider, it would be very easy to switch over to a different one. This increased competition would help drive down costs and make health care more accessible.

    Now, what’s so bad about this plan?

    Republicans are also in favor or legislation to eliminate being denied for health care coverage (or charged grotesquely) for pre-existing conditions. A bi-partisan law was recently passed to eliminate genetic screening.

    Republicans also tried to pass tort reform last year in order to relieve the high cost of malpractice insurance, but it was blocked by the loser Democrats in the Senate. This is because liberals, being the pacifists that they are, feel this would make it harder to file legitimate claims. No doubt ambulance chaser John Edwards was pushing to block tort reform.

  4. Pat,
    An excellent post with actual legitimate useful information, even if it is biased.

    Neftali,
    An excellent job. Saved me a lot of work. Here are two more excellent articles on this topic.

    http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell082009.php3

    http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell081909.php3

  5. Orlando Clay

    Neftali wrote: “Media Matters sucks. It a no-good deceptive rag.”

    The actual truth about the GOP fear-mongering lies hurts, eh, Neftali?

    Sorry, chum, that’s the one of the biggest myths of all. MM must be doing something right when it gets El Rushbo, Glenn Beck, and Bill-O the Clown all bent out of shape simply because it posts accurate transcripts of the nutty stuff they’ve said. “I’ve been taken out of context!” is all too familiar refrain from the right-wing noisemakers.

    Gosh, I can’t wait to see you guys go completely nuts when health care reform is signed into law by President Obama. There’s not going to be enough Prozac in the world to calm you down!

  6. Neftali

    Amendment to MYTH 8: House bill would ban private individual insurance

    Reality – Division I, Title I, Section 102 of the Democrat bill does NOT ALLOW plans to sell individual coverage to new enrollees.

    So in other words, it does not ban them directly, but existing plans cannot bring on new takers. So as people die off or retire, the ONLY CHOICE will be the government plan for young people or anyone transferring jobs.

  7. Neftali

    Orlando – If you actually bothered the read my entire post, you will see that I’ve thoroughly de-bunked media matters assertions.

    My posts have nothing to do with Conservative media commentators.

    YOU are the one ignoring the truth. But I guess you enjoy being blissfully blind to reality.

  8. Orlando,

    If the ramifications for the future of this country weren’t so huge I would actually enjoy watching the Dems pass this bill. They will only get it by ramming it through using any trick they can muster. This is political high stakes poker and they will have to go all in to get what they want. They can hardly resist grabbing for the false utopia that is so close after all these years. They will own it if they pass it. I think the political upheaval could be fascinating.

  9. As long as we are posting myths, here are some

    Obama Myth #1: You can keep your doctor; you can keep your health care plan.

    The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that nearly 6 million Americans currently covered by an employment-based plan would not have coverage under the current reform proposals.

    Obama Myth #2: The AARP supports ObamaCare.
    In response to the President’s claims, the AARP issued a statement which asserted that “indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.” However, 60,000 AARP members have discontinued their membership – so one might assume it is a business decision for them.

    Obama Myth #3: 46 million Americans are uninsured and uninsurable.
    According to the Census Bureau, of the 46 million Americans who are uninsured:
    10.1 million are individuals who have income of $66,000 for a family of four, but who elect to remain uninsured.
    9.3 million are non-citizens who generally do not pay tax.
    6.4 million who are enrolled in Medicaid or S-CHIP but reported to the Census taker that they were not. (This phenomenon is known among statisticians as the Medicaid undercount.)
    4.3 million are eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP but have not enrolled.
    5 million are childless adults, mainly healthy, young adults who simply do not wish to pay for insurance
    I personally know a dozen or more 20 somethings that are in the last category. They live with their parents, are not in school, work full time, but do not see it as a good value. One 20 year old recently had kidney stones. Ran up $5K in bills at one of the local hospitals. They ended up writing the whole thing off for him based on his finances. He has a cell phone, MP3 player, other non-essentials, but does not think his employer’s health plan is worth the $.

  10. Neftali

    Snuss – Good point. I stand corrected.

    and Art – excellent points, also.

  11. Dem sen, Kennedy who wanted the law changed in mass, now wants to go against the law he wanted to benefit his democratic seat.

    Fair I think not!!!

  12. Myth 15
    Tort reform is critical to bringing costs down

    In Texas, the State legislature enacted drastic tort reform which basically made it extraordinarily difficult and expensive to file a medical malpractice case. They did so on the typical theory that it would reduce the cost of lawsuits and, thus, reduce insurance premiums for doctors. Doctors enthusiastically signed on. While it certainly reduced costs for the insurance companies, the premiums for doctors continued to go up and up. The insurance companies pocketed the monies that would have otherwise gone to victims of medical malpractice (because there really was no problem with frivolous med-mal suits being filed in the first place). Doctors Lost. Patients Lost. Insurance Companies Won. Sound familiar?

  13. Tort reform isn’t about the insurance companies. In Wisconsin premiums stay low because we have a patient compensation fund that all doctors pay into annually and which covers any large settlement (over 1 million). Therefore, docs only buy insurance to cover the 1st 1 million and they are not in fear of losing their houses or livelihoods over 1 bad outcome. As example. I have never been sued. My last year in practice I paid 60,000 for insurance in Ilinois, in Wisconsin this year I pain 5000 plus 1500 to the compensation fund.

    Tort reform doesn’t cost money in the amount of the premium, it costs money in the extra utilization of services by doctors. Now, because of fear of a lawsuit, if you come to the ER with a complaint that an excellent physician knows is likely from a benign cause, but there is a once in a lifetime chance may be due to a rare condition they will order the expensive test to protect themselves from a lawsuit. This is because the juries in these cases have NO medical knowledge yet are asked to rule on complex medical cases.

    Because of my particular speciality I can tell you that this factor alone accounts for billions and billions of dollars of extra testing each year, most of which is unnecessary and some of which actually harms the patient.

  14. Neftali

    The quote unmanager is plagiarizing as his own can be found in this Atlantic article. (Which further justifies the points made by expdoc)

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/08/tort-reform-wont-fix-healthcare-ctd.html

    Of course, if plagiarism is good enough for the Vice-President, I guess the rest of the liberal think its okay, too.

  15. DingDong

    Thanks you Expdoc. Tort reform can be a valuable tool to bring down cost if done correctly. As far as Medicare claims of being a model, most people have to go to the private sector to get insurance to cover the basics. Also, it is a farce that Medicare administrative cost are that low. There are associated costs not calculated into their numbers. The government never calculates these correctly as a business does. Do you really think there are any charge backs to Medicare for services from other agencies in the government that support Medicare?

    Also, lets not kid ourselves, there is record of Obama and his advisors wanting single payer.

    If government is so good at this, why not just expand Medicare (a quasi government sponsored health care), all you have to do is change the rules. The real goal is buy-in from the American people which is not what they are getting. So that if this a disaster, the politicians can say “This is what you wanted.”

  16. I had no intent to pass the quote off as my own,the article it CAME from only said “a reader”…
    But it is an assessment of a state with dramatic tort reform and shows once again, the real winners are the insurance companies,not doctors or patients.
    Here’s properly documented statistical data…though dated 2005, it contains 15 years of collected data read it all here…
    http://www.citizen.org/documents/NPDB%20Report_Final.pdf
    but here’s highlights….
    “….claimed that medical malpractice lawsuits send physicians’
    malpractice insurance premiums “skyrocketing.”3 But recent news reports reveal that medical
    malpractice insurers are making huge profits.4 In Florida, one of the AMA’s “crisis” states, the
    Office of Insurance Regulation reported that the 15 largest medical malpractice insurers saw
    profits of $803 million in 2005.5…
    misdiagnosing the health care problem. The
    court-based compensation system is, on the whole, a rational one that provides money for valid
    claims and dismisses invalid ones. These findings are confirmed by other research, including a
    recent study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in which the
    authors found that “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are
    overblown,” going on to note that “the malpractice system performs reasonably well in its
    function of separating claims without merit from those with merit and compensating the latter.”6
    This report examines the issue of medical liability in two parts. The first part reviews
    NPDB data and shows that the claims of the business and medical lobbies are exaggerated and
    unsupported by the facts. The second part examines data related to physician error and
    discipline. This section notes some disturbing trends and reveals that the real medical crisis is
    the high incidence of preventable medical error, as well as the lack of accountability for a small
    set of doctors who commit a substantial number of avoidable errors that seriously injure patients.
    Fundamentally, an agenda that blames injured patients and seeks to close access to the
    courts – contravening a Constitutional right – is about protecting business profits over patient
    health. It is far past time for real health care reform, and for a health care system that puts
    patient safety first…..
    Medical Malpractice Payments Are Actually Declining. The number and the total value
    of malpractice payments to patients have been flat since 1991. Both show a significant decline
    since 2001, when the last so-called “crisis” began….
    Patient Safety Is the Real Crisis. The latest NPDB data underscore the fact that the real
    medical malpractice crisis continues to be inadequate patient safety, rather than the legal system.
    Instead of being distracted by business lobby myths about the court system, heath care providers
    should improve patient safety and better protect the health of patients….
    Million-Dollar Judgments Are Less Than 1 Percent of the Total Number of Payments
    The Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform claims that, “[s]ince 1994, the
    average medical malpractice verdict has increased to $3.5 million from $1.1 million.”14 This
    misleading statistic is meant to leave readers with the impression that plaintiffs regularly receive
    millions of dollars from lawsuits. The Chamber’s statistic is particularly misleading because
    most verdicts are reduced by judges, often pursuant to state law. What a jury awards is often not
    the actual amount paid to compensate the victim.
    In fact, according to NPDB data, the annual average payment for a medical malpractice
    verdict has not exceeded $1 million in real dollars since the beginning of the NPDB. The
    average payment for a medical malpractice verdict in 1991 was $284,896. In 2005, the average
    was $461,524. Adjusting for inflation, however, shows that the average is actually declining.
    The 2005 average adjusted for inflation is only $260,890 — a decline of 8 percent since 1991…..
    In 1999, a landmark study by the Institute of Medicine found that an estimated 44,000 to
    98,000 patient deaths occur each year as a result of preventable medical errors in hospitals.19 A
    new report by the Institute of Medicine, published in July of 2006, found that “medication errors
    are surprisingly common and costly to the nation.”20 This is the true health care crisis. Attention
    focused on the false claims of the business lobby diverts much-needed resources for work to save
    lives by reducing preventable errors.
    By enacting measures to improve patient safety, doctors and hospitals can lower their
    exposure to liability while at the same time improving the quality of health care they provide to
    their patients. The potential for patient safety initiatives to lower costs and save patients’ lives is
    well demonstrated by the success of reforms adopted by anesthesiologists in the 1980s – by
    adopting practice guidelines to protect patient safety, both the number of deaths and the value of
    malpractice premiums dropped for anesthesiologists…..

  17. Well you are certainly mixing your arguments here. It is clear that like many liberals you are irritated that anybody would make a profit but let’s set that aside as that is not an argument that I can win with you.

    The patient safety data you quote is actively being addressed by most hospitals worth their salt and has been for many years. In fact at the institution that I currently practice patient safety is the most talked about topic and is driving many of the leaps in hospital technology advancement. In fact if I want my hospital to spend money on an improvement I only need tie it to patient safety to make it happen.

    That still doesn’t make tort reform an unimportant part of overall reform. None of what you noted takes away the impetus for doctors to order expensive tests (sometimes with risk to the patient) because of fear of getting sued.
    So a patient comes to the ER with a headache and the ER doc does a good assessment and knows that the pain is most likely because the patient has tension or migraine HA because they are young and otherwise healthy. But their is a very small chance (once in a career) that they have something catastrophic, say a ruptured aneurysm. If they don’t do a $1000 CT scan on that patient and they go home and die they will get crushed in a lawsuit, particularly when judged by a jury of their nonprofessional peers.
    Lawyers always raise the point that doctors shouldn’t complain because most cases never go to trial, and most that do are found in favor of the doctor and malpractice settlements are going down anyway so who cares. Well, when unecessary lawsuits drag on for years, cost the insurance companies tens of thousands of dollars to defend (which is passed on to doctors and hospitals and therefore patients) and cause incredible stress in the doctors life why wouldn’t they just order the expensive test? This costs us all billions of dollars a year and makes lawyers billions of dollars a year.
    But you won’t see it addressed in any democratic reform because the dems are a fully owned subsidiary of the trial lawyers.

  18. Craig Schmidt

    MYTH 107.4: If only Democrats would work with their sensible GOP colleagues on this deal.

    FACTOID: The Party of Lincoln — I mean, Limbaugh — has accomplished the unthinkable: made Richard Nixon seem sane and reasonable by comparison.

    The Repub leadership has made it abundantly clear it rejects any measure arising from the Obama WH or congressional Democrats that even mildly inconveniences the massive medical-industrial-congressional complex its members idolize — plus some crumbs tossed to us too-ignorant-to-know better shlubs — whether the final markup includes all the concessions wrestles from from the Democratic tag team or not.

    It is the nature of the modern GOP, a party dominated by fiscal hawks and rabid ideologues who accept as an article of faith that problems in America can be solved through a Partnership with Business, voluntary compliance, tax cuts, tax deductions, tax credits, direct subsidies, 2-for-1 coupons and, oh yeah, military force.

    Since the Reagan Devoution, the GOP has championed end-of-life counseling for the “Death Tax,” lower capital gains taxes, increasingly regressive person incomes tax rates and the effective elimination of corporate income taxes. The trade-off, the trickle down, we are told, is middle class wealth creation through jobs at home.

    When economic reality punctures this fanciful premise, a bogeyman must be summoned to confuse and distract the superstitious villagers from the bankruptcy of a central tenet of American conservatism. That bogeyman is Liberalism and its servants — the profligacy and ineptitude of Big Government and the tyranny of regulation.

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