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“Oops-care” by George C. Leef

Obamacare victimizes Americans, but politics means never having to say you’re sorry.

Remember the glowing, utopian talk about the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” back in 2009–10? We heard constantly that it was the solution to a national crisis, carefully contrived to guarantee high-quality insurance for virtually everyone without making anyone worse off.

And so the great mountain of a bill was quickly passed while the Democrats held unchallengeable control. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi breezily said, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” Now we know that she actually meant, “We have to pass this before people find out what it will do to them.”

Day by day, we discover what is in Obamacare—pain and angst for many ordinary Americans as the law’s numerous edicts kick in. The February 24 Wall Street Journal featured an article right on point, “Obamacare and My Mother’s Cancer Medicine” by Stephen Blackwood. (Disclosure: I know Mr. Blackwood, but this piece would be exactly the same if we had never met.)

The article shows how damaging the law has been to his mother, who is stricken with carcinoid cancer. She had been covered by a Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy for 20 years and it served her needs well. “It was expensive,” Blackwood writes, “but given that it covered her very expensive treatments, it was a terrific plan. It gave her access to any specialist or surgeon, and to the Sandostatin and other medicines that were keeping her alive.”

But then Obamacare came crashing down, requiring BC/BS to cancel Mrs. Blackwood’s plan last fall. Since that time, she has been through a nightmare trying to find new coverage. The plan she eventually had to go with seemed satisfactory, but just before she had surgery on February 12, she was informed that the insurer would not, in fact, cover her medications. Mrs. Blackwood is living on the precipice, and turmoil over insurance is the last thing she needs.

Why would the Congress and President Obama put a sick person through such difficulty? Why did they inflict what Blackwood aptly calls “a Procrustean disaster” on the many Americans who have had stable and satisfactory medical care arrangements shredded by government meddling?

Of course, none of the backers of the hilariously misnamed PPACA meant to harm people like Mrs. Blackwood. They meant well—or so they all say. They wanted to solve the problem of people who had to get by without health insurance. The bill simply had to be passed immediately.

Consequently, there couldn’t be any of the customary hearings on legislation that would have allowed experts to carefully examine the bill’s workings and think through the likely results—not just the nice-sounding intended ones. Slow, deliberate debate over the bill’s provisions would no doubt have revealed that it would have lots of harmful side effects, like the cancellation of plans that cancer patients were relying on.

Rushing Obamacare into law was the governmental equivalent of a doctor giving a patient a completely untested drug.

Any Democrat in Congress could have said, “I don’t care if my party’s leadership insists on this, I won’t vote for it until the bill has been carefully examined, and since it’s over 2,500 pages, that can’t be done quickly.” Too bad that there were no “profiles in courage” who stood up for caution and common sense.

Once the severe side effects began to manifest themselves, President Obama gave an interview in which he offered a wishy-washy pseudo-apology to the people victimized by his Great Leap Forward. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurance they got from me,” he said. I’m sure that the Blackwood family and many others found those words to be soothing.

Let’s think about this situation from a different angle. Suppose that you had a problem at your house—a shaky shelf in your garage. Your neighbor noticed it one day while the two of you were talking in the driveway. The next day, unbidden, he came over, entered your garage, and tried to fix the shelf. But in doing so, he caused it to collapse on your car. Tools and cans of paint fell on it, doing considerable damage.

What would you expect him to do?

You would expect him to apologize sincerely for the intrusion, make amends for the damage he caused, then meekly promise not to bother you again. Most Americans, acting as regular people, would behave just that way.

Obamacare is like the busybody neighbor’s unwanted “help.” Unbidden, a group of arrogant politicians, supremely confident that they knew how to improve society through a maze of taxes and mandates and prohibitions, has harmed many of the people they supposedly represent. But don’t expect any apologies, much less a making of amends, and much, much less a promise to leave you alone in the future.

Politicians almost never act like, as Obama might say, “regular folks.” They don’t apologize and make amends. The President isn’t really sorry about messing up the lives of people like Mrs. Blackwood; all he is sorry about is that some Americans now realize they’re the eggs to be broken so he can make his omelet.

Other politicians responsible for giving us Obamacare are just trying to change the subject. Here in North Carolina where I live, Senator Hagan avoided Obama when he visited the state recently and is running smiley face ads telling voters that she’s in favor of “investing in education.”

I cannot remember any instance when a politician owned up to a mistake and said to his constituents, “I supported that bill (or that war, or that appointment), but now I can see what a blunder it was. I’m sorry and will try to undo the damage I have caused.”

Politicians almost never admit their mistakes and correct them, which is an excellent reason why we should keep politics out of as much of life as possible.

ABOUT GEORGE C. LEEF

George Leef is the former book review editor of The Freeman. He is director of research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is from Shutterstock on the Foundation for Economic Education website and is reposted with permission.

Cruz: Obama Should Apologize to Nation in State of the Union

By Andrew Johnson.

With the bungled launch of HealthCare.gov and the Affordable Care Act causing millions to lose their health-care coverage, Ted Cruz urged the president to use Tuesday’s State of the Union address to apologize to the American people.

“For the State of the Union, one of the things President Obama really ought to do is look in the TV camera and say to the over 5 million Americans all across this country who’ve had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare, to look in the camera and say, ‘I’m sorry — I told you if you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep it…’”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/oD7oDpFh5WY[/youtube]

 

The 6 Things You Need to Know About The Human Care Complex

This is the first in a series of columns on America’s human care system. With the Affordable Healthcare Act now the law of the land, it is time to understand six things: the who, what, where, when, why and how we got here.

In 1976, the great critic of 20th-century society, Ivan Illich, wrote: “Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn’t organized to serve human health, but only itself, an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.”

In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned America about a growing government-industrial complex.

During his farewell speech Eisenhower warned, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [Emphasis mine]

Since 1961 the military-industrial complex has been surpassed by the political power of the government/human care complex.

Eisenhower said, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.” [Emphasis mine]

The human care “scientific technological elite” is now in the hands of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The NIH human care system, in some cases, is not about improving health. The NIH human care system may ultimately result in increased cases of pain, suffering and death.

Since passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, there has been a battle raging over the control of human care. The battle is between the producers and consumers of human care — or as Illich and others have described it: sickness or  illness care. There are a growing number of consumers being cared for by the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems. Estimates are that ten thousand Americans daily are entering the federal human care system.

A growing number of doctors and think tanks are recognizing that the human care system is not designed to make people healthy; rather, it is designed to grow and be sustained by ever more illness care. This is accomplished via human care standards called “protocols.”  The illness care providers are ultimately responsible for human care medical guidelines becoming protocols.

The human care system has become a government/industrial complex controlling over 17% of America’s GDP. In comparison, the military is less than 4% of GDP.

Patients believe human care providers are acting in their best interests.

However, like any other producer of products or services, the human care system is focused on keeping competition down, increasing scarcity of services with the objective of keeping costs and thereby profits high. The human care system is by definition a cartel. A cartel is defined as, “A combination of independent business organizations formed to regulate production, pricing, and marketing of goods by the members.”

Add to the “human care cartel” government at every level and you have a powerful force, which few are willing to confront.

Dr. Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, looked at the human care system in her landmark study, “Is US health really the best in the world?”, published in the July 2000 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Starfield came to the following conclusions:

Every year in the US there are:

  • 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
  • 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
  • 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
  • 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
  • 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
  • The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.

According to Dr. Starfield, “This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.”

In 2010 Dr. G.R. Greenwell, MD, FACSM, began examining the US human care system. According to Dr. Greenwell, “Chronic noncontagious illnesses such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis  and hypertension have been continually increasing since the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) was established in 1976.”

“From 1976 to 1987 the number of diabetics in the United States increased by 25%. In 1995 the methodology for decreasing the incidence and severity of diabetes by more than 58% was demonstrated. Since that time the ODPHP has failed to require demonstrations and research projects to utilize that methodology in order to receive grants or funding. Consequently the percentage of people living in the USA suffering with diabetes has increased over 107% since 1995. The number of people in the United States with diabetes has increased 138% since 1995,” notes Dr. Greenwell.

Dr. Greenwell reports, “In 2006, approximately 65,700 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on people with diabetes. During the first 10 years of the War on Terror the total number of lower limb amputations of active-duty armed forces personnel was only 1,621.”

Dr. Greenwell points out, “The number of lower limb amputations due to diabetes and vascular disease during 2006 was 109,500. It’s been proven that if an optimum aerobic exercise program had been included in the treatment of these patients, approximately 80% of these amputations would have been precluded from becoming necessary (see page 8 of the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet).”

The human care cartel is more dangerous than any other cartel because taken to its ultimate end it can contribute to the pain, suffering and deaths of those to whom it purports to serve.

Part II will look at the who and what is behind America’s human care system.

RELATED LINK: The National Council for Aging Care’s information regarding Health and Well Being