Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Health Care Lies Spread By Republicans Running For Office…


…are not few and far between. Of course, you already knew that if you have been watching the latest barrage of commercials on television over the past week. We have some downright ridicules ones down here in the state of Florida, but let’s go elsewhere, shall we?

  The 2 gentlemen running for the Senate ( Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin,GOP businessman  John Raese)   in West Virginia had a debate on October 18 and of course, they sparred over “Obamacare” as was expected.   Mr.Raese was certainly spitting out the half-truths and outright lies about the Obama health care bill, but THIS  answer to a questioner took the cake.

A questioner asked Raese: "You have said you want to repeal the health care legislation Congress passed earlier this year. What is it about this new law specifically that you do not like?"
Raese jumped right in. "Well, I don't like socialism, to tell you the truth, and when you have a doctor-patient relationship -- that's the way it's supposed to be, and that's the way we have the greatest health care system in the world, and that's the way it is right now," Raese said. "That's all going to change because from here on out under Obamacare, something Gov. Manchin has always supported, you're going to have a patient-bureaucrat relationship, because the first person that patient has to go to is a bureaucrat. That is called a panel. I disagree with it. ... I'd like to repeal every part of it, because it is pure, unadulterated socialism. It is the worst bill ever to come out of the U.S. Senate and House."

    So is there any truth to this jackoff’s claim?


Here's how the Kaiser Family Foundation -- an independent health-care research group -- summarized the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board.
The board would "submit legislative proposals containing recommendations to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending if spending exceeds a target growth rate." If Medicare spending is found to exceed certain inflation benchmarks, the board, beginning in January 2014, "will submit recommendations to achieve reductions in Medicare spending." Then, beginning January 2018, if the appropriate inflation targets are not met, the board will submit proposals to the president and Congress for immediate consideration."
However, Kaiser Family Foundation adds that the board "is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase revenues or change benefits, eligibility or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including Parts A and B premiums), or would result in a change in the beneficiary premium percentage or low-income subsidies under Part D. Hospitals and hospices (through 2019) and clinical labs (for one year) will not be subject to cost reductions proposed by the board. The board must also submit recommendations every other year to slow the growth in national health expenditures while preserving quality of care by January 1, 2015."
So the board is real. And Cornyn and his allies may have a case to make that the IPAB is a bad idea or poorly designed. Still, we don't see how its existence justifies Raese's statement.
-- The board's purview is limited to Medicare. Patients who have employer-provided health care, Medicaid or insurance through the health care exchange would not be affected at all by the board.
-- The board's powers are advisory. The board can only make recommendations, and it is expressly prohibited from anything that would "ration care, increase revenues or change benefits, eligibility or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing ... or (change) the beneficiary premium percentage or low-income subsidies" in the Medicare drug benefit.
-- The board doesn't interact with patients. The board is supposed to do big thinking about cost-containment, not judge individual patients to determine whether they qualify for care. The changes that it suggests to the president and Congress could eventually, many years hence, shape how care is provided. But it's a major stretch to say that under the new law "the first person (a) patient has to go to is a bureaucrat."
-- Patients didn't live in a bureacracy-fee paradise before the health care law passed. Today, patients may need to check with an insurance company before undergoing a procedure or making a visit to the specialist. If an employer's HR department decides to change health care plans, a worker may have to drop a doctor or give up benefits. And employers can eliminate health insurance entirely, or drive up the cost of premiums, either of which could intefere with a patient's health care.
Though the Raese camp didn't mention it, we'll also pre-emptively dismiss any notion that the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute -- another entity created by the bill -- could wedge "bureaucrats" between a doctor and a patient. This institute, which would conduct research that compares the clinical effectiveness of medical treatments, is at least as controversial, if not more so, since it fed critics' fears that the bill could result in the rationing of health care services. However, the law prevents the institute's findings from being considered mandates.
When we sent Raese's comment around to health care experts, they universally said he overreached.
"This is purely ridiculous," said Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Urban Institute. "Nothing changes in that respect relative to today’s system."
"Choices, if anything, will be enhanced through the exchanges, with a much clearer description of what plans cover and their cost-sharing requirements," said Sara Collins, vice president of the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund's Program on Affordable Health Insurance. "In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services has to certify that qualified plans offered through the exchanges have adequate provider networks."
Henry Aaron, a senior fellow with the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution, called the statement a "rant, appalling if based on ignorance, and mendacious if uttered knowingly."
Even a major critic of the health care bill said he thought Raese went too far. "As bad as I think this bill is, I don’t see that anywhere in it," said Michael Tanner, a health care specialist at the libertarian Cato Institute.
We usually accept a bit of overstatement if it's in the vein of artistic license. But Raese's statement is a gross distortion, along the lines of his subsequent claim that the law is "pure, unadulterated socialism." (The law preserves the private-sector health care insurance for most Americans who already have it, and lawmakers rejected a single-payer model early on.) We see Raese's claim as yet another attempt to demonize the health care law by twisting the facts beyond recognition. We rate it Pants on Fire.