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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dennis Kucinich has it almost completely wrong

While Dennis Kucinich tries to contain any backlash on his no vote last night on the travesty known as H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act, he sites outright lies and uses misdirection to promote the false utopia of single-payer. On his web site he writes to explain his choice; vowing to continue the fight for a single-payer system.

We continue to see the left promoting the idea insurance companies are the bad guys. Describing insurance companies as "predatory" and making money by "not providing health care"; no matter that it has been shown this is a complete lie. Insurance companies make no where near the profits Americans are being lead to believe they make-just over 2.2% in this last year; barely around 6% most years.
We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system."

"Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick."
While there is no question we can fault legislation and the rising costs of administration for much of the current state of healthcare, the way in which Mr. Kucinich portrays those problems is completely false. Administrative costs have contributed greatly to the rising costs of healthcare because of unnecessary government legislation, government regulation and government bureaucracy-not a lack of it. This seething cesspool of government interference does little to actually protect consumers or keep healthcare costs from rising. I once heard President Obama falsely claim that insurance companies were the worst for rejecting claims based on crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s. This is patently false. As someone who clientele consists of more than 97% small doctors offices, I can unequivocally and without a doubt tell you more claims are rejected through Medicare and Medicaid for petty items and missed punctuation than any private insurance company. In addition, these two government run agencies have some of the most difficult, antiquated and stringent systems to deal with. If Administration has gone up 3000% it is due to government, not a lack of it.

Also directly attributable to skyrocketing costs? A lack of tort reform; this serves to drive costs up even more. With the rising fees for defending against unfounded attacks and awards that far out-weigh the true damage most people incur, insurance companies and doctors both have had to put in safe guards and double and triple processes to protect themselves. Combine that with the outrageous costs of malpractice insurance-which all doctors pay, regardless of whether or not they have ever been sued-and it's a perfect recipe for costs that will never see a ceiling or an end. To make the insurance companies the bad guys in that equation serves only as misdirection.

Mr. Kucinich goes on to somehow link the collapse of American manufacturing industry to a failing heathcare system.

"This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall Street at the expense of America's manufacturing and service economies which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing the cost of health care."

Blaming our lack of competitiveness on the countries unwillingness to subsidize the costs of healthcare? This is quite a stretch to make. It seems Kucinich has completely forgotten about NAFTA, our 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world, mounting trade-deficits and foreign interests taking a front seat in manufacturing in the American economy. I would say the costs of healthcare is way down on their list of worries when it comes to being less competitive. While I will agree that this bill does nothing to reign in the costs of healthcare and is no friend to business and manufacturing, to imply unsubsidized healthcare is the reason for our lack of competitiveness in the marketplace is disingenuous.

Dennis also enlightens us to the separation between the finance economy and the real economy-in which Wall Street, corporations, and banks are showing signs of recovery but people are not.
"Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between the finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy considers the health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and banks' hoarding of cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an economic recovery. However in the real economy-in which most Americans live - the recession is not over. Rising unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering Main Street."
Again, I don't disagree with his premise, but his insinuation that a single payer system would somehow relieve the "real economies" problems is far off base. For one thing, there is living proof in Britain and Canada. Those countries have government run healthcare; their people are, economically, no better off than Americans. So, not only are they suffering under systems that won't employ people or put food on the table, but the huge entitlement of government run healthcare has lead to rationing and a system that treats people based on dollar amounts and panels of statistical outcomes rather than on a personal relationship or the individual. Healthcare costs in those countries are no less-just the amount they spend on people is less....leading to higher death rates from things like kidney disease and breast cancer. So, it costs the same, they just stop paying sooner. This, Mr. Kucinich is not a better system.

Indeed, "unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering Main Street." How then does adding $3 trillion to the deficit over the long term, increasing entitlement programs and the size of government alleviate those issues? It doesn't. Neither does turning our system in to one of single-payer. This would only serve to increase government and government is never a creator of wealth. Government is a taker of wealth, leaving it's people enslaved and poorer for it.