Labor Law Guy

Such a Deal: $1 Trillion to Insure Just 16 Million More

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 17, 2009

Liberalcrats are scrambling to spin away a troubling (but no doubt right on) estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that “reforming” health care will come at a price tag of $1 trillion over ten years and will result in covering  just 16 million additional Americans out of a reported 47 million currently without health insurance. (The CBO estimate actually foresees the loss of 23 million privately insured individuals, with 39 million from all sources gaining insurance for a net of 16 million added insureds, not all of them newly insured.)

Ezra Klein, as usual, has become the media’s front man for liberal hype and cover-ups in the health debate. Klein has never met a government program that isn’t better than anything ever invented in human history. I guess he doesn’t drive, so he’s never experienced the DMV, or ever tried to get his Asian bride a green card. Or how about dealing with the IRS?

Whatever Klein and the liberal fabricators are doing seems to be working in the polls, which show that the public still favors health care reform. However, if you look through the polling data in enough depth, you’ll realize that the public somehow believes that so-called reform is going to make their health care costs, if not free, at least cheaper, not higher and more onerous (which is the guaranteed result of all this governmentizing of health care).

For instance, the uninsured, when asked how much they’d be willing to pay for health insurance, chose “nothing” as the overwhelming first option, but two-thirds did say they’d go as high as $100 a month, and one-third were really generous in saying they might be able to come up with $200 a month.

Yeah, and I got a nice bridge you can buy in Brooklyn for $24.

I guess we live in a delusional world suddenly. With everyone’s retirement savings having been wiped out, people are looking for a compensatory payback in free health care, evidently.

What they’ll get instead are increasingly higher taxes followed by long lines and wait lists to get health care, which in no time flat will also be rationed and in many cases simply denied.

“You’re too old for that procedure. You don’t have enough useful years left in the job market to justify getting a new hip. Just suffer. When you retire, you can sit all the time, and the hip won’t bother you.”

That’s what you get when you expect something to be free.

Canada Health Care Going Private, While We Go Socialist

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 9, 2009

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how and why politicians see a different reality than those of us who live in it, but then I snap back to the cold logic of a politician’s raison d’etre–“How do I get the most votes?”

For Barack Obama and the Democrats, getting “the most votes” means putting everybody on a federal health care lifeline. The reasoning goes something like this: “If they can’t get their health care without us (no matter how awful, indifferent or unavailable it is), then they’ll have to vote for us. We’ll be in power forever!”

Other countries offer perfect examples of all the ills and evils of nationalized medicine, but that doesn’t deter the likes of Ted Kennedy or Barack Obama since, as noted above, the goal is not health care optimization, but vote optimization.

Canada’s system is so broken that, in emergency cases and for cases requiring specialized care, the country often sends patients to the U.S. for treatment. Either that, or they come on their own, knowing they face sure death in the Canadian system.

Here’s the story of how Canada is privatizing health care just as we are ruining, I mean, nationalizing our very vehicle of survival: “Canada’s Obamacare Precedent.”

Public Perceptions v. ‘The Experts’ in Health Care Matters

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 5, 2009

I’ve shamelessly stolen the graph below that shows the differences of opinion between the public and the so-called experts on how well, or poorly, our health care system is performing–and why.

I took it from the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site and the article by Drew Altman, Ph.D., entitled “Pulling It Together”:

health-care-comparison

Obama, Congress Steamroll Health Care Reform, Hoping No One Notices

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on May 27, 2009

Obama and his Congress (a cloture-proof Senate and a wild-eyed House) are busy steamrolling their plans to nationalize health care (in the guise of “reform”) while an idolatrous media fawn all over the process and the public buries its collective head in the sands of ignorance and resignation.

In any endeavor as large as the reform of America’s health insurance (forget the care part–that’s a charade, or cover-up–this is all about control), the devil is in the details, and details are the last thing the Obamacrats want anyone to see. Thus, they’re rushing the whole legislating process to a vote by July 1 before anyone can wise up to what they’re doing and expose them.

Of course, there are many people trying to pierce the veil of secrecy right now (I for one), but to crack through the liberal media’s chokehold on what the public gets to read and hear is not easy.

At any rate, we can all do our part. I’m herewith reprinting this useful guide about notifying your representatives to slow down and involve everyone in the process. It lists e-mails and phone numbers where you can express your concern, and hopefully someone will listen:

If you or others that you know are concerned about all or any of these proposals, we urge you to share your feedback TODAY as follows and staying involved as Congress moves to act: 

  • E-mail the Health Care Reform Leadership of the Senate Finance Committee at Health_reform@finance_dem.senate.gov
  • E-mail each member of the Senate Finance Committee at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm
  • Call (202) 224-4515 and share your views with Congressional Staffers Erin Shields (Baucus) and Jill Gerber (Grassley), Committee on Finance, 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510-6200
  • Tell your Senators and Representatives you oppose Congressional plans to fast track health care reform the way Congress enacted the Stimulus Bill
  • Tell your Senators and Representatives you will support members of Congress who vote responsibly on health care reform
  • Tell your Senators and Representatives in Congress and political party leaders you will work to defeat members and candidates that advocate these and other irresponsible health care reform legisltation
  • Carry through on your promises
  • Keep speaking out until you are heard and Congress gets the message.  

Thank you, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Read the whole article at Solutions Law Press.

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For All of You Who Think Health Care Reform=Free Care, Read On

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on March 6, 2009
interactive_map

Click on Image for Interactive Map

I just read a polling result that said three out of four Americans now favor health care reform. That’s all well and good, but I bet you that at least three of every four who said they favored reform also believed that it meant they would soon be getting health care for free, or that Obama would somehow find a way to soak the rich to pay for everyone else. You know, Obama waves his magic wand, and soon you can just walk into the doctor’s office and walk out with free treatment and free medicine, or you you can just check into the hospital, get all fixed up and never hear from their accounting department.

I’d say that the vast majority of those favorable respondents to the poll are going to be rudely awakened under “reformed” health care when they find they must buy the insurance themselves or, if they get it at work, pay taxes on it as income. Plus, they’ll be shocked when they’re told by some faceless bureaucrat in D.C. that the service or medicine they want isn’t cost effective and thus they can’t have it.

Anyway, without tackling doctors and hospitals and putting them on restricted, set budgets, there’s no way anyone in D.C. can make health care as we know it “affordable.” It’s all a big hoax (unless you’re on Medicaid because you’re dirt poor, then it’s both “affordable” and “free”).

 The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, a massive study of health care in every region of the country, tracked Medicare costs per patient per city and region over time. The researchers found that, in areas with more hospitals and more specialized testing facilities, physicians ordered more tests, jacking up the costs often needlessly. In contrast, in areas (rural, etc.) where there was no glut of test facilities, costs went down while residents often got better care.

Sure enough, by doing away with both duplicative and needless tests and office visits, you can begin to lower costs around the country, or at least even them all out, but this is where that faceless bureaucrat comes in: Someone has to dictate what can’t and can’t be done and what will and won’t be paid for, or doctors and patients will continue to avail themselves of everything at their disposal.

That’s the dirty little “R” word that no one dare utter in D.C.–rationing. It’s the lynchpin, obviously, of any nationalized health reform; everything sinks without it.

Anyway, the Dartmouth Project is interesting to study. There’s a link to the text explanation in the title above, and you can click on the map image to open up an interactive tool to compare health care costs region by region and city by city. A good way to while away some idle time at work anyway, so go for it.

Personnel Concepts Jumps on the White Paper Bandwagon

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on March 5, 2009

I’ve always liked the BLR (Business and Legal Reports) site because it features  informative, lengthy pieces that go by the prevailing title of “white papers.” However, when I did an on-site  search of BLR’s white papers the other day, I think the most current one I saw was from the summer of 2008, though I may have missed some in my search.

BLR also doesn’t always broach some of the regulatory topics affecting employers like the ADAAA (Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act, which took effect this Jan. 1) and the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act, which was restructured this Jan. 16).

That’s why I was happy to see that Personnel Concepts has added its own white paper section, and the section already contains lengthy, analytical pieces on both of those laws, as well as good stuff on other issues affecting employers. And if you wanted the lowdown on Lilly Ledbetter, that’s there too.

If you’re a labor law junkie like me, these kinds of resources are nice to have available.

Tom Daschle Lives On in the Stimulus Package

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings, State Labor Law by laborlawguy on February 10, 2009

Those who were fretting that the extinction of Tom Daschle as potential secretary of Health and Human Services might delay health care reform needn’t worry.

The inclusion of several stealth provisions in the stimulus package now sailing through Congress will implement, mostly unnoticed, provisions from Daschle’s government-heavy idea of reform in his book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.

His idea to prescribe which treatments and medications can and cannot be used by individual doctors lives on through the electronic health records (EHRs) initiative, which would be overseen by a National Coordinator of Health Care Technology. This latter person/office would monitor everything going on in the EHRs to make sure every doctor is following government guidelines and giving cost-effective care. And every doctor means your doctor.

Not only that, but the stimulus package includes the creation of a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to define and dictate cost-effective care: What physicians and hospitals can and cannot do.

In other words, this is the stealth implementation of Daschle’s plan to create a board similar to the one in Great Britain that dictates every medicine and every procedure for every known medical problem so that they are both efficient and cost-effective (but most of all cheap). Now, on the surface, this sounds reasonable until you face the actual results as a patient.

The British agency Daschle fell in love with (with the totally disingenuous acronym of NICE) has done things like, well, forbidding treatment of macular degeneration because the medicine was too expensive until the patient went blind in one eye. (This policy was reversed finally after three years of public outrage.)

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and now an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute,  calls this “Ruin Your Health With the Stimulus Plan.” She explains:

The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

There’s little wonder, then, that President Obama continually and frantically insists that the stimulus package be hurried through Congress–he doesn’t want anyone actually reading it. As his chief of staff quipped, this is “no time to waste a good crisis.”

As these pages have been predicting since the git-go, the only way anybody in government–using government solutions–can make health care both “accessible and affordable” is by restricting and rationing what’s available.

Hey, if you successfully lower health care expectations, maybe enough people will start kicking off before they reach 65, and the government won’t have to pay Social Security or Medicare.

Nice plan.