DON’T GET BERNED

Rock legend Mick Jagger could have had his lifesaving heart surgery in the UK, but he chose to have it in the USA. Jagger’s decision speaks volumes about health care in the two countries. But beware: Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, want to bring UK-style care to our shores under the guise of “Medicare for all” or “single payer.”

First, let’s dispense with the cute focus-group-tested names and call Medicare for All what it really is: a hijacking of our healthcare system that would make Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez proud. When government commandeers an entire industry, it’s called nationalization. Instead of “I want you to have Medicare for all,” how about “I want to nationalize your healthcare.” At least it’s honest. Scary, but honest.

Before we turn over our health care and our lives to the government, Bernie and company need to answer some questions. Why is a massively inefficient government the best vehicle to administer health care? What’s proposed is a socialist model; every socialist takeover of any industry has resulted in shortages and long waits; why will it be different this time? Will they create an agency to deny care like the UK has done with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)? Politicians only know how to count votes and money; why are politicians the best choice to run health care for every American? Democrats had a chance to reform health care and instead gave us the mess that is Obamacare, fraught with high premiums, high co-pays and high deductibles. Why do Democrats deserve a second chance? Every Democrat who voted for Obamacare lied about it (including Sens. Sanders and Gillibrand– why should we believe anything they say about health care now?

All they have to do to cover every American is to just say “you’re covered.” It’s that easy, but getting people to a doctor is a much tougher trick. Currently, there are 940,000 physicians practicing in the US. Throw in 388,000 physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, and that brings the number to 1.3 million healthcare providers in the US to care for 325 million people. With these numbers, we can draw up the waiting list right now. Getting a medical degree takes smarts and loads of determination. It takes four years of undergraduate study, four years in medical school and 3-plus years in residency. That’s why doctors are rare. Doctors in Canada and the UK are paid less, so many go abroad to work, creating doctor shortages in their own countries. Where is Bernie going to get the doctors? Or does he plan to wave a magic wand and make them appear?

They say we will save oodles by having the government as the single payer. Not true. Every doctor’s office already submits claims on the same form and uses the same codes to bill for services. All a government takeover will accomplish is to change the mailing address of the bill. The government will have to hire legions of bureaucrats to administer health care to the masses (that’s us). How many? In the UK the National Health Service (NHS) employs 1.5 million to run health care for 66 million Britons, making the NHS the biggest employer in the UK and the 5th largest employer in the world. Extrapolating from the NHS number to 325 million Americans means we will need 7.4 million new bureaucrats. Medicare, the government program designed for seniors, already has unfunded liabilities of $37 trillion. Efficient? No. Money-saving? I don’t think so.

Bernie and his followers love the British system. They always cite the per-capita healthcare spending of the US ($10,224) versus the UK ($4,246) to scold us about how stupid and wasteful we are. The per-capita number is so cold. Let’s try it in human terms. Would you volunteer to have less spent on you or your loved ones when they are in need? Bernie, Kirsten, I don’t see your hands up.

The National Health Service is virtually all that remains of Britain’s brief and painful flirtation with socialism. Like any socialist system, the NHS is centrally planned. A fixed amount of money is allocated by Parliament and is then distributed to where the planners think it should go. When the money runs out, so does health care. The central planners are often wrong. Circumstances arise that the planners didn’t anticipate.

In 2015, an NPR report found that hospitals and ER’s in the UK were overcrowded. It was so bad that ambulances full of suffering patients were left outside hospitals for five hours. Paramedics were forced to treat these unfortunate patients. Hospitals locked doors to keep patients out. To quote the NPR story, “the horror stories just keep coming in.” A 2009 story in the Daily Telegraph found thousands of hospitalized patients were thirsty and hungry. Thousands more were suffering from repeatedly canceled operations. As recently as 2018 the NHS was having a “Winter Crisis” with the influx of patients overwhelming the NHS ability to care for them. That’s the tragedy of central planning: no anticipation, no flexibility equals human suffering. It’s not because of a lack of funding. Health care spending in the UK has increased 160% from 2000 to 2015. Guess what else has increased from 2000 to 2015? Britons’ spending on private health care. It has gone up 233%.

Mick Jagger chose us for two reasons: timeliness and quality. The socialist model always forces people to wait and diminishes quality. No amount of money will fix that. Put yourself in the shoes of a union member or a senior. Nationalization will take away your hard-won plan. Medicare will no longer be for seniors, and deluxe union plans will be outlawed. There will be no choice; it’s the government plan or no plan. There are many lessons to be learned here. Let’s make sure we all get it and tell everyone about it. Our lives depend on it.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

PUNDIT NIGHT REMARKS

These are my planned remarks for the last Political Pundit night, which was October 23rd. Most plans don’t survive first contact with real people, and neither did mine. I had to answer baseless charges from one panelist that millions were dying as a result of having no health care. Not true, as everyone is required to be treated at the ER. And besides, if millions were dying, wouldn’t we hear about it from our Democrat-loving media? I’m told the crowd was quiet while I spoke, a welcome change to be sure. I hope some of what I said got through.

Thanks again to Dr. Coleman for putting this event together. I was pleased to participate. It’s a fun event in an iconic setting, the Elmira Heights Theater. Please come to the next Political Pundit Night, scheduled for late January of 2019.

My remarks follow.

Dr. Coleman, fellow pundits, ladies and gentlemen:

Seniors, President Trump vowed to never touch Medicare. Keeping

Republicans in charge will preserve the program for us, the seniors it

was designed for.

Beware Democrats who will throw seniors under the bus to pass

single-payer (“Medicare for all.”)

Democrats lied to pass Obamacare.

Here are some whoppers they told with a straight face.

Premiums will decline by $2,500. (They skyrocketed.)

You can keep your insurance and your doctor, said Obama some 30

times.

Millions lost plans they liked and doctors they trusted.

Democrats promised to protect Medicare, but they robbed $500 billion

from it to fund Obamacare.

If they lied about health care then, why trust them now?

What do the single-payer advocates really think about seniors?

ABC news gave an infomercial disguised as a Town Hall to

promote Obamacare, hosted by the selfsame President Obama.

One participant, Jane Sturm, asked Obama if her 90-year-old mother

could have a life-saving heart operation. Would he consider her

spirit, her joyful approach to life? Obama’s chilling reply was that

maybe her mother should take the pain pill… (meaning: die.)

Obama wielded the power of life and death with a

disquieting ease that should have frightened all of us.

This was a totalitarian moment more in line with the likes of

Mussolini and Castro than the tradition of Washington.

The message: seniors are disposable.

Bernie Sanders, like most Democrats, wants single-payer health care.

Bernie loves the Canadian system, which is plagued by shortages. Quebec native George Zelotis was 73, suffering from heart problems and needed a hip replacement.

But he was on a wait list for surgery. That’s common in Canada.

Zelotis was stuck and in pain.

Private insurance is illegal and physicians in the Canadian System

can’t privately sell their services to patients.

So Zelotis and his doctor, Jacques Chaoulli, sued. The case wound

its way to their Supreme Court, which found that Zelotis’s rights were

violated by being forced to wait for the surgery that would ease his

pain.

Here’s what Justice Marie Deschamps said, writing for

the majority:

Some patients die as a result of long waits for treatment in the

Public system…”

Medicare for all means two things. One: seniors will no longer be

Medicare’s priority. And as you can see in the case Chaoulli

v. Quebec, the second meaning is—get in line.

Economist Milton Friedman said “if you put the government in

charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

A shortage of sand is an inconvenience. For seniors, a shortage of

health care means a shorter life.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

BEWARE BERNIE-CARE

Look out: Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan lies in wait for the day Democrats take over the government. With the debacle of Obamacare fresh in their minds, Democrats will make sure that this time, they take total control of your health care. This is a decades-old Democrat dream, and if they get the chance, they will say and do anything to achieve it.

The draconian BernieCare will outlaw all private insurance. The bill creates Regional Health Authorities to curb “over-utilization.” Translation: the Authority will decide if you get health care, and what kind you get. Every American will be automatically enrolled, and every child will be signed up at birth. If you are a union member with a hard-earned deluxe plan, you lose your plan. If you’re a senior, the Medicare you’ve grown to trust and paid for all your life will change forever. A program designed for seniors will now cover everyone, and seniors will be shunted to the back of the line.

Bernie wants Canadian-style healthcare, having declared that “..for decades, every man, women and child in Canada has been guaranteed health care through a single-payer publicly funded healthcare program.”

Canadian health care has been plagued by long waiting lists for years. The average wait between referral from a primary care physician to a specialist is five months. In 2007 the Canadian government enacted the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Trust to “introduce guarantees” of prompt service to all Canadians. But isn’t prompt health care the promise? This “guarantee” cost an additional $1 billion on top of their already steep taxes, all in a country of about 37 million. Imagine how this would work in a country of 325 million.

To enact single-payer, Democrats will say, “We’ve tried the private sector and it failed.” They will promise unlimited health care with no waiting. And that will be the most cynical of the many lies they will tell to sell the plan. We must remember the many Obamacare lies: your premium will decrease by $2500 (premiums skyrocketed,) we won’t raid Medicare to pay for Obamacare (Democrats robbed Medicare to the tune of $500 billion.) Obama looked the American people in the eye and said “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your plan you can keep your plan, period.” Millions lost doctors they liked and insurance they trusted.

Every government-run system eventually constricts access to care. In the UK they created the Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to “guide” doctors. The real purpose is to limit access to care.

The great con of all single-payer schemes is to say everyone is covered, but that doesn’t mean you actually get care. If Democrats gain control, your health care is in serious jeopardy.

 

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.