Thursday, October 12, 2017

October, 2017, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster Of Obama Care: Bernie Sanders' Hypocrisy and Lies and Obama Care's Contribution To The Opioid Addiction Plague

Every month for years now we have had to discuss how bad Obama Care is turning out to be under the continuing theme, “the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.” This month is no different. As the legislation continues to march through America, driving up health care and health insurance prices as it serves as dead weight on economic growth, it cements its rightful place as the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced.

It never had a chance to be successful since it really never addressed the underlying root causes of our ever increasing health costs in the country:
  • Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food, resulting in obscenely high obesity rates for the country.
  • Our food chain is infested with overdoses of high fructose corn syrup, salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives.
  • Americans smoke too much.
  • Americans do not exercise enough.
  • The country is in serious need of health care tort reform.
  • Barriers to insurance company competition across state lines need to come down.
  • Obama Care never “followed the money” to find out who is actually profiting from the ever escalating healthcare costs in this country and how to get those factors under control.
  • Obama Care never got the immense amount of fraud and abuse in current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, under control in order to save money to efficiently fund other government health care initiatives.
  • Obama Care never put serious research money towards curing the major diseases that drive high healthcare costs such as high frequency cancers and dementia type diseases.
You cannot resolve any problem unless you understand and address the underlying root causes. No difference here: Obama Care legislation never addressed these listed root causes and thus, has no chance of ever being successful.

But it is not just missing the root causes of our healthcare costs that makes Obama Care so horrible. It resulted in millions of Americans losing access to their favored doctors, hospitals, and insurance policies. It has caused insurance premiums, deductibles and copays to escalate substantially. It will likely add trillions of dollars to the national debt. It has exposed millions of Americans to higher than necessary identity theft chances. It has created government bureaucracies that are wastefully spending taxpayer wealth and being exploited by criminal elements. It has stifled economic growth and job creation.

These are just a sample of the types of idiocy that we have been reviewing for the past several years in this blog relative to Obama Care. To read those past posts, just enter the phrase, “the unfolding disaster,” in the search box above.

1) Although Congressional Democrats and Obama were solely for the unfolding disasters of Obama Care, some of these same Democrats have what they think is a better idea now that Obama Care is failing faster and faster everyday. People like Senator Bernie Sanders want the U.S. to adopt the so-called single payer plan for health insurance for this country, a plan where the government and the politicians that operate it are in total control of your entire health care needs.

Never mind that this idea has failed miserably around the world when put into place, never mind that some states have already tried to implement it but stopped because of the outrageous cost, and never mind that the Federal government and the Washington political class have failed miserably at any kind of health care program they are in charge of: Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Administration and Obama Care. Which makes one wonder why Bernie Sanders thinks that a single payer system administered by Washington is such a good idea.

Or does he think it is a good idea? Mike Vance, writing for the Think Americana website on September 14, 2017, actually found an old interview that Sanders gave a number of years ago when he asserted that a single payer system in this country is not possible since it would be too expensive. He explained why a single payer system, he called it “Medicaid For All,” would be so expensive that it would “bankrupt the country”: “One of the points that we understand and I think was reinforced when we went to Canada. Number one, you want to guarantee that all people have access to healthcare as you do in Canada. I think what we understand is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that. For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card – we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation.”

So a couple of years ago Sanders said a single payer system would bankrupt the country but today he thinks it is a great idea. Makes no sense. Preliminary estimates of his current single payer system is an astronomical $16 TRILLION over the first ten years. And you know that this number is far too low since everything Washington does costs far more in reality than when it is being proposed. Obama promised that Obama Care “would not add a single dime to the national debt” but the Congressional Budget Office estimate now says that it will add at least $1.2 TRILLION to the national debt. 

$16 TRILLION over a decade or $1.6 TRILLION a year would increase the annual Federal budget by 40% overnight. The tax hikes needed to pay for this would be economically devastating, as Vermont and California found out when they priced out a single payer system for their states. And yet the two faced Sanders is still pushing it although he himself had previously concluded that it was a fiscally stupid idea. Plus, such a system would still not attack the root causes of our high and rising health care costs. Doubly stupid.

To see Sanders being stupid in his own words go to the following link:

2) There is a very bad drug addiction problem going on in America today and that is the large and growing addiction that many Americans have to opioid painkillers. Most estimates put the annual death toll from the addiction to almost 40,000 a year. Trump has begun to address the problem and even the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, has stated that so many people are addicted that it is dampening the nation’s economic growth.

Keep that thought in mind while we remind you that many, many times that when Washington addresses a problem they actually make it worse. Which may be the case here relative to the intersection of the growing opioid addiction and Obama Care. Consider an article from Allysia Finley, writing for the Wall Street Journal on September 25, 2017:
  • Medicaid is one of the biggest suppliers of opioid painkillers in the entire country.
  • Obama Care resulted in an additional 11 million Americans being signed onto the Medicaid rolls in many states.
  • Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson recently pointed out a strong correlation between this Medicaid expansion and opioid overdoses.
  • His source of data: the Centers of Disease Control found that: “[opioid] overdose deaths per capita rose twice as much on average between 2013 and 2015 in states that expanded Medicaid than those that didn’t.”
  • As an example of two similar states, opioid deaths rose 205% in North Dakota which expanded Medicaid rolls vs. only an 18% rise in South Dakota which did not expand Medicaid.
  • Between 2013 and 2015, the opioid deaths in Ohio, which did expand Medicaid, went up 38% while the addiction in nearby Wisconsin, which did not expand Medicaid, went up only 2%.
  • According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medicaid funded hospital stays for opioid addiction went up 40% between 2012 and 2014, four times the growth rate of Medicaid enrollment, while opioid addiction hospital stays for those covered by private insurance went up a tenth of that rate, only 4%.
  • The article points out similar trends in hospital visits of Medicaid patients, with hospital visits going up dramatically in states where Medicaid was expanded.
Now, while these are strong correlations, they might be causations. However, the realities behind Medicaid patients and the treatment they get would seem to point to causation:
  • Since many doctors across the country to not accept Medicaid patients, many times Medicaid patients go to the emergency room for pain control since they cannot get access to a doctor.
  • The overwhelmed emergency rooms want to relieve the pain so prescribing an opioid pain killer satisfies the short term problem of pain relief because of non-doctor access but sets up a patient for a longer term problem, addiction, since getting into see a Medicaid-friendly doctor or specialist might take months, if ever, to correctly fix the root cause of the pain problem.
  • A study found by Express Scripts Holding found that Medicaid patients are twice as likely to get prescribed opioids than non-Medicaid patients.
  • In the meantime, the Medicaid patient is still in pain, still looking for relief, and thus, an addiction is born since the root cause of the pain is not being treated.
Great, another government program that does the exact opposite of what it set out to do, resulting in possibly thousands of Americans dying every year from opioid addiction as a result of Obama Care’s foolish expansion of Medicaid. Medicaid was not designed for what Obama Care wanted it to do so this is really no surprise. 

Add in Sanders’ about face on the single payer system, and it becomes clear that those in Washington still have no clue on how to fix our broken health care processes and costs. More disasters to follow in the coming days.

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