Socialized medicine?

Socialized medicine?

A little unfinished business from last episode about the troubles with veterans getting health care from the VA. In an opinion piece at the Huffington Post by H. A. Goodman, he argues that Republicans have been complaining about how bad the VA is, but hypocritically voted against a bill for various funding for the VA back in January. But there’s a problem with that, and it’s not something you’ll hear on most newscasts.

I’ll be discussing a human rights article written by the Hoover Institution, which asks the burning human rights question of our time.

One of the alternatives to ObamaCare that the Left suggested is that Medicare should just be expanded to cover everyone. It “worked”, so they said, and thus that would be a simpler way to get health care coverage expanded. But what do you mean by “worked”, actually? I’ll talk about what taking Medicare nationally might mean.

Mentioned links:

41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February, Today They Blame the VA

VA expects to have more medical-care funding than it can spend for the fifth year in a row

Poverty Rate was falling…Until the War on Poverty began

Do Chimps Have Human Rights?

CMS Won’t Review Billings Despite IG Report That It Overpays Doctors

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Show transcript

A little unfinished business from last episode about the troubles with veterans getting health care from the VA. In an opinion piece at the Huffington Post by H. A. Goodman, he argues that Republicans have been complaining about how bad the VA is, but hypocritically voted against a bill for various funding for the VA back in January.

Here’s a problem with that, and it’s not something you’ll hear on most newscasts. For the last 5 years, the VA has not spent its full health care budget; as much as $1.163 billion extra to as “little” as $450 million in medical-care funding from this past fiscal year. And still vets have been waiting too long for care, some paying with their lives. Clearly, clearly, throwing more money at the problem has done nothing whatsoever to fix it.

The Republicans, back in January, said that if the huge catch-all bill were split up into separate bills, there were plenty of items they would vote for. The issue was fiscal responsibility. Democrats, on the other hand, really do have the mindset that enough greenbacks will solve any problem, especially if the problem is one that makes liberalism look bad. And the single-payer VA medical system absolutely fits that particular bill. Creating a single source of a particular product or service (in this case, health care) inevitably leads to scarcity (in this case, waiting lines). If vets could choose any hospital they wanted, and if the government still picked up the tab, would we have this problem? No. But this would be an indictment of a system that Democrats want to see implemented all over, and so it cannot be seen to fail.

Remember this when Democrats like Mr. Goodman accuse Republicans of “hating the poor” or of being “racist” because they don’t want to throw more money at programs that are similarly flawed. Since the mid 60s, when the “War on Poverty” began, the poverty rate has been bouncing around between 10 and 15% of the population. Nothing has changed. There’s a link in the show notes to an article that shows that, prior to that, the poverty rate had been steadily decreasing, from 30% in 1950 to 15% when we went to war on it. We were gaining ground, but since “going to war”, it’s been nothing but a stalemate, even though the programs have been costlier every year. But just look askance at the programs, just try to reign in some of that continue rise in cost, and you get accused of all manner of hate and villainy. For nearly half a century we’ve been pouring more and more money into it, just like the VA. And, just like the VA, it is not doing what it is supposed to be doing, or doing it incredibly inefficiently.

But if you want to change the flat tire and try to get things done better, you’re accused of hating the car. The flat’s got us this far, it can go further, right?

An article at the Hoover Institution asks, do chimps have human rights?

No.

One of the alternatives to ObamaCare that the Left suggested is that Medicare should just be expanded to cover everyone. It “worked”, so they said, and thus that would be a simpler way to get health care coverage expanded.

But an investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said that the program spent $6.7 billion (with a “b”) too much for office visits and other services. And that’s just in 2010; just one year’s worth of fraud, abuse and/or incompetence.

We keep hearing about how this politician or another wants to save the government and the taxpayer money by eliminating this kind of waste, but it never happens. Here’s one reason why. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn’t plan to review the excess billing payments that account for this because it isn’t cost-effective to do so. Essentially what they’re saying is that it would cost more than $6.7 billion to save that $6.7 billion. Really? Is…is that job opening available? Because if it is, I think I could do it for half that cash. Or, at least I’d like to try.

See, this is a prime example of the problems of big government. It can waste billions – billions – and then claim that it’s not cost effective to deal with the waste. And then the recipients of that fraud have nothing to worry about. Their scam is safe within the walls of a massive bureaucracy. Oh sure, it’s helping the poor and elderly, but really, is there no way at all for that to happen without flushing away billions every year? Really?

This is also a prime example of what happens to centralized government programs. They become bigger and costlier, and, as Ronald Reagan observed, they wind up being the closest thing to eternal life we’ll see this side of heaven. They are a power unto themselves, and any attempt to rein them in has to deal with that inertia, not to mention that, as I said earlier, any attempt to curb such waste gets those attempting it the injustice of being considered hateful, racist, and whatever else the Left can come up with today.

There’s a trend here on the issue of big government programs, both in the money they cost, and the way they’re defended in spite of their results. And yet, we just keep adding to their numbers. If one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, it’s time to have the government committed.

Oh, by the way, that Hoover Institution article I referred to? It, along with everything else I talked about, has a link in the show notes. They note that someone really is trying to give chimps human rights, and they explain why this is a bad idea, legally. I know, I know, it shouldn’t have to be explained, but apparently there are folks who need this. It’s actually a serious article, and it’s worth a look. But like I said, No.

With regards to the VA and Medicare, it has been a tenet of the Left that government can be a force for good, and no one’s really denying that. It’s just that there are places for it, and places where it shouldn’t be, and if you overextend government’s reach, prepare for these very consequences. The Constitution was written to keep those kinds of folks in check. Unfortunately, there’s not been enough pushback, and now too many Americans expect this sort of overreach, but they want others to pay for it.

Filed under: Economics & TaxesEntitlementsGovernmentHealth CareHuman RightsSocialism