A new Pennsylvania law endangers public health by forbidding health care professionals from sharing information they learn about certain chemicals and procedures used in high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. The procedure is commonly known as fracking.
The Internal Revenue Service says it will need an battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reforms. Among the new corps will be 81 workers assigned to make sure tanning salons pay a new 10 percent excise tax. Their cost: $11.5 million.
MIAMI (Reuters) – A federal judge in Florida struck down President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul as unconstitutional on Monday in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.
This week marked six months since Congress passed the healthcare reform bill in what has become all-too-typical legislative chicanery. Those in power crafted a mammoth piece of legislation and rammed it through Congress under a dire sense of emergency. Insisting on time enough to read the bill was dismissed as dangerous and crazy in a time of crisis. We were told that if we really wanted to see what was in the bill, we would have to pass it first. I cannot imagine the founding fathers intended for Congress to legislate in this manner. I would think if a Member is not absolutely certain the entire legislation meets Constitutional muster, the default vote should be “no” in accordance with our oath of office.
But now that Congress has had six months to read the new law, there is a significant amount of buyer’s remorse on Capitol Hill. The more constituents learn about the law, the more angry they become. 60% of Americans are now said to be in favor of repealing the entire thing. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to repeal a law than to pass a bill.
Most everything that was sold to the American people as a “health care overhaul” is nothing but a snow job. Estimates on the cost of this package are in the $1 trillion dollar range over the first 10 years. However, if government forecasting is as it always has been, completely useless and inaccurate, then it is not unreasonable to add a zero to that $1 trillion figure. After all, the government grossly underestimated the cost of both Medicare and Medicaid by the same relative factor. Economics 101 and the law of supply and demand tells us that anytime you increase the demand of a good or service you must increase the supply or face price increases and shortages. The new health care law does nothing to address the diminishing supply of people going into the medical profession, especially into general practitioning.
“CHICAGO – Emergency rooms, the only choice for patients who can’t find care elsewhere, may grow even more crowded with longer wait times under the nation’s new health law.
That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding. It would seem these patients would be able to get routine health care by visiting a doctor’s office, as most of the insured do.
But it’s not that simple. Consider:
There’s already a shortage of front-line family physicians in some places and experts think that will get worse.”
John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.
In order to protect the new national health care law from legal challenges, the Obama administration has been forced to argue that the individual mandate represents a tax — even though Obama himself argued the exact opposite while campaigning to pass the legislation.
Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
Yesterday, I inadvertently squandered $4000 plus worth of medical resources during a lunch break. That I could do this, gain no benefit, and not even see the bills, is what’s right and wrong with American medical care.
I’ll tell the story in moment but first consider that none of the politically active reform proposals being debated deal with the absence of market pricing for medical care, that system-wide problem that there is a disconnect between the supplier and the consumer, and this problem is absolutely pervasive. You rarely know the prices of what you are getting, and even when you do, the prices are an abstraction: something to know but not act on, since they don’t really affect your premiums as with other forms of insurance.
The result is hardly surprising. End-user costs soar higher and higher and resource use lacks that essential component of economizing by priority. The American system just assumes that there is no such thing as too much technology, too many drugs, too much service, too much care. The consumer, in the end, isn’t really a consumer but a passive conduit of an unchecked contractual relationship between producer and third-party payers who are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Hat tip: firedoglake
The Economic Policy Institute provides a much needed counter-weight to those cheerleading the use of Cadillac-as-Chevy taxes to pay for the Senate health care bill. It shows, generally, that the millionaire’s tax used to fund the House bill is far more progressive than the Cadillac-as-Chevy tax used to fund the Senate bill, which ends up taxing those at $20-30,000 more than it taxes those at $500,000 to 1 million a year.
In fact, it makes an even more striking point. Given the way the economy has worked in the last several decades, one of the few ways to fund health care in such a way that will keep up with rising health care costs is to tax the rich.
While a funding source that grows with health care costs is a desirable goal, it should be noted that for the last three decades one of the only things in the American economy that actually has grown as fast as overall health costs is the incomes of the richest 1% of households.
The paper points out two central reasons why the excise tax won’t be as progressive as its champions claim.
Most importantly, it shows that the cost of a plan does not reflect exclusively on how generous the benefits of that plan are. On the contrary, plan cost has more to do with group size and overall health than it does with the benefits granted.
by Ellen Brown
Author, “Web of Debt“
The story goes that Churchill offered a woman 5 million pounds to sleep with him. She hedged and said they would have to discuss terms. Then he offered her 5 pounds. “Sir!” she said. “What sort of woman do you think I am?” “Madam,” he replied, “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”
The same might be said of President Obama’s health care bill, which was sold out to corporate interests early on. The insurance lobby had its way with the bill; after that they were just haggling over the price. The “public option” was so watered down in congressional deal-making that it finally disappeared altogether.
However, the bill passed both Houses by razor-thin margins, and the stunning loss on January 19 of the late Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat to a Republican may force Obama to start over with his agenda. The good news is that this means there is still a chance of getting legislation that includes what Obama’s supporters thought they were getting when they elected him – a universal health care plan on the model of Medicare.
That still leaves the question of price, but all industrialized countries except the United States have managed to foot the bill for universal health care. How is it that they can afford it when we can’t? Do they have some secret funding source that we don’t have?
In the case of our nearest neighbor Canada, the answer is actually that they do. At least, they did for the first two decades of their national health service — long enough to get it up and running. Now the Canadian government, too, is struggling with a mounting debt to private banks at compound interest; and its national health service is suffering along with other public programs. But when Canada first launched its national health service, the funding came from money created by its own central bank. Canada’s innovative funding model is one that could still be followed by a President committed to deliver on his promises.