Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Vermont governor cancels single-payer health care because of costs

Reported by the Daily Signal:

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced this week he has called off his plans for single-payer health care in Vermont for 2015, saying “now is not the right time.”

At an unannounced news conference, Shumlin said he received the final modeling for financing single-payer health care on Tuesday and concluded the taxes required to fund a publicly financed system were simply unaffordable.

“As we completed the financing modeling in the last several days, it became clear that the risk of economic shock is too high at this time to offer a plan I can responsibly support for passage in the legislature,” Shumlin said.

“It was clear to me that the taxes required to replace health-care premiums with a publicly financed plan that would best serve Vermont are, in a word, enormous.”

The surprise announcement, which came nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, included details that Green Mountain Care’s new-revenues requirement had ballooned to $2.6 billion — up from prior high estimates of $2.2 billion. The overall cost for Green Mountain Care’s operations and coverage is estimated at $4.3 billion.

According to Shumlin’s financing plan, paying for Green Mountain Care would require a new 11.5 percent payroll tax on all Vermont businesses plus a new sliding-scale income tax of up to 9.5 percent, based on income level and family size.

Under Shumlin’s plan, a family of four with $100,000 of income or more would pay the full 9.5 percent tax. The maximum income tax for any single household would be capped at $27,500.

At the news conference, Shumlin called single-payer “the greatest disappointment of my political life so far,” and he explained why he abandoned his signature policy initiative of the past four years.

Recall that single-payer health care is the holy grail of the left. It is a massive opportunity for vote-buying because it involves mandatory taxation for “health care” which is then doled out to patients as the government sees fit. Money from people who don’t use or need health care (e.g. – young, single men) is taken by mandatory taxation and then used to buy votes of people by making things like contraceptives, breast enlargements, sex changes, IVF, etc. into “health care”.

Canada has a single-payer system. How much does this system cost the average Canadian taxpayer?

CTV News reports on a study published by the Fraser Institute.

It says:

A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year. The study also looked at how much the cost of public health insurance has increased over the last decade.

According to the study, Canadian families will pay on average between $3,592 to $11,786 for public health insurance in 2014, depending on the size of their family. For the purposes of their research, the study authors looked at six different family types.

The study found that over the last 10 years, the cost of public health care insurance for the average Canadian family has increased:

  • 1.5 times faster than average income
  • 1.3 times as fast as the cost of housing
  • 1.6 times as fast as clothing costs
  • More than three times as fast as the cost of food

Not only are the costs higher, but the quality is lower when measuring patient outcomes.

We should avoid this system at all costs. Free-market health care is better than government-run health care at keeping costs down. The more we reduce government control of health care, increase competition among health care providers and improve consumer choice, the lower the costs will be.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

NHS appeals decision allowing midwives to conscientiously object to performing abortions

What happens when you let a secular government take over health care provisioning?

Here is a story from the BBC about the state-run health care system in the UK.

Excerpt:

The UK’s highest court will hear legal arguments on whether midwives have a right to refuse to take any part in abortion procedures on moral grounds.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde appealed to the Supreme Court after judges in Scotland said Roman Catholic midwives had a right to conscientious objection.

[…]Five judges in London will hear the case. A ruling is expected next year.

Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, were employed as labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

[…]This landmark case tests the balance between those whose religious beliefs do not allow them to play any part whatsoever in abortion, and the health authorities’ duty under the law to enable women to have an abortion. Many Christian groups back the midwives’ position.

The midwives’ counsel, Gerry Moynihan QC, told the court in the women’s earlier successful appeal that the law was clear that the right to conscientious objection contained in the Abortion Act was intended to apply to the whole team whose involvement was necessary to achieve the procedure.

If the Supreme Court upholds the midwives’ earlier successful appeal, it could set a legal precedent, allowing other midwives who object to abortion to take the same stance.

The Royal College of Midwives and the women’s charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service have both warned that any such ruling could have severe implications for the care of women choosing to terminate their pregnancy.

The BPAS is the largest abortion provider in the UK. I blogged before about their leader, Ann Furedi, who supports sex-selection abortions. I thought then that sex-selection abortions was the worst thing about abortion, but now I see that she would actually force her moral views on other people, compelling them by the power of government to act against their beliefs. There is something deep inside me that just recoils from making a person do something that they think is morally wrong. But I guess pro-abortion people don’t share my concern.

When I blogged before about these two midwives when they won their appeal case, I wrote this:

If the health care system were private, then it would be easy for midwives to find another company to work for that did not violate their consciences. But when the government runs the whole health care system, where are you supposed to go? They are a monopoly and they make the rules. Yet another reasons for Christians to vote for smaller government. In a free market, if you don’t want to buy something from one store, you can go to another store. There is competition. But where are these nurses supposed to go? They are midwives, and the government and the courts make the rules in a government-run health care system.

This is why we need to keep the government OUT of health care. When you work for a government monopoly, and they want you to do something that you don’t want to do, you have two choices – do what they want or leave the country. If the only health care system is government-run, then if you want to practice health care, you have to leave. That seems unfair to me.

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In North Dakota, 35,000 lose their health care plan, but only 30 sign up for Obamacare

I know that Obama talked a lot about wanting to help people without insurance find insurance, but so far all he done is make a lot of people lost their insurance (and more to come in 2014!).

Here’s a story from ABC News.

Excerpt:

More than 35,000 customers in North Dakota face discontinued health coverage because their plans are being scrapped due to new requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

The three major health insurers in North Dakota were asked to report to state regulators their enrollment figures and cancellations resulting from the health reform act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, covers about 31,600 members – 17,000 in small groups and 14,600 individuals – whose insurance plans are being discontinued.

That combined figure represents 8 percent of the North Dakota Blues’ 400,000 membership total.

[…]The total number of North Dakota residents who must switch coverage is 35,585, according to the tally by the state Insurance Department.

“You have almost 36,000 North Dakotans who either are or will be losing their health insurance policies, and this is after they and all Americans have been told they will be able to keep their health insurance,” Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm said Friday.

The premiums are all going up because Obamacare mandates new coverages, which people did not have on their old plans. They didn’t have those coverages because they didn’t need them. For example, people who weren’t addicted to drugs didn’t request treatments for drug addiction. But now we all have to pay for it, whether we use it or not. That makes prices go up!

More:

Under the new requirements, deductibles for individuals or small groups are generally capped at $2,000, with an exception allowing caps of up to $5,000 for individuals and $3,000 for small groups.

Total out-of-pocket expenses now cannot exceed $6,350 for an individual or $12,700 for a family.

Nationally, estimates of the percentage of policies that will be discontinued under the new coverage requirements have ranged from 40 percent to 67 percent, Krystopolski said.

In most cases, plans failed to meet the new requirements because they did not cover maternity care or because the deductibles were too high, she said.

So how many of those 35,585 people that the Democrats kicked out of their insurance plans have found new ones on the Obamacare exchanges?

Almost none:

Besides collecting information on cancellations, Hamm’s office asked the three major health insurers to report the number of enrollments under the new health insurance marketplace provided by the Affordable Care Act.

As of Friday, the three insurers have logged 30 enrollments covering 37 people, a number Hamm called “concerning.”

Remember that these figures only represent the effects of the individual mandate. Things are going to get a lot worse when the employer mandate takes effect in 2014. For those of us with health care through our employers, our day is coming.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Democrats refuse another offer from Republicans to avoid government shutdown

As expected, the Senate Democrats rejected the compromise on Tuesday.

Last Night, Senate Democrats Voted Along Party Lines To Shut Down The Government Rather Than Agree To Delay Obamacare’s Individual Mandate And Surrender Their Special Insurance Subsidies. “In an extraordinary back-and-forth between the House and Senate that extended late into the night, Democrats beat back attempt after attempt to gut President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. After Senate Democrats rejected the House’s year-long delay of Obamacare and a repeal of the medical device tax on Monday afternoon, Democrats returned to the floor after 9 p.m. to kill another House GOP proposal. The second measure would have kept the government open in exchange for delaying the health care law’s individual mandate and eliminating federal health care contributions for lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides. (Burgess Everett and Manu Raju, “Government Shutdown Update: Senate Rejects House Plan – Again,” Politico, 9/30/13)

According To The Congressional Budget Office, Delaying The Individual Mandate By One Year Would Reduce The Federal Budget Deficit By $35 Billion. “CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 2668 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $36 billion over the 2014-2018 period and by roughly $35 billion over the 2014-2023 period.” (Cost Estimate Of H.R. 2668: An Act To Delay The Application Of The Individual Health Insurance Mandate, To Delay The Application Of The Employer Health Insurance Mandate, And For Other Purposes, Congressional Budget Office, 9/6/13)

A July Poll Found That 77 Percent Of Registered Voters Support Delaying The Individual Mandate Or Repealing It Entirely. (Morning Consult Poll, 2,076 RV, MOE 2%, 7/24-26/13)

Member of Congress And Their Staff Are Required To Enroll In ObamaCare’s Exchanges. “Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, then succeeded in adding a measure to Obama’s health care bill three years ago requiring members of Congress and employees in their offices to leave the Federal Employee Health Benefits program and start buying their insurance through the state exchanges that open Tuesday under the Obamacare law.” (Laurie Kellman, “GOP demanded lawmakers pay more for health care,” The Associated Press, 10/1/13)

But OPM Granted Congress The Ability To Provide Subsidies, Which Are Not Available For Other Americans, To Help Purchase Insurance Though The Exchanges. “But the statute means that about 11,000 Members and Congressional staff will lose the generous coverage they now have as part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Instead they will get the lower-quality, low-choice “Medicaid Plus” of the exchanges. The Members-annual salary: $174,000-and their better paid aides also wouldn’t qualify for ObamaCare subsidies. That means they could be exposed to thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket insurance costs…And now the White House is suspending the law to create a double standard. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that runs federal benefits will release regulatory details this week, but leaks to the press suggest that Congress will receive extra payments based on the FEHBP defined-contribution formula, which covers about 75% of the cost of the average insurance plan. For 2013, that’s about $4,900 for individuals and $10,000 for families.” (Editorial, “Congress’s ObamaCare Exemption,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/5/13)

I listened to a recent episode of the Weekly Standard podcast, and guest Bill Kristol was advising the GOP to make exactly this proposal, saying that it was a strong move by the Republicans. I agree. We now have vulnerable Democrats going on record in favor of special perks for themselves and their staff, as well as the hated individual mandate. As soon as people see the sticker shock of being forced to buy insurance, or pay a fine, we are going to have a valuable tool in the 2014 elections. The left-wing media isn’t going to be able to protect the Democrats from their own votes.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard approves of what the GOP is doing.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Ryan asks Biden: if you’re protecting Catholics, why are they suing you?

If you missed the debate last night, Life News can fill you in on the best question of the night.

Excerpt:

Paul Ryan had perhaps the question of the night when he challenged pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden on the issue of the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for abortion-causing drugs.

During the debate, Ryan brought up the controversial mandate that pro-life groups oppose.

“What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals,” he explained. “Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties.”

Biden try to explain away the Obama administration’s pro-abortion assault on Catholics, evangelicals and other religious groups and businesses.

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact,” Biden falsely claimed.

“Now, I’ve got to take issue with the Catholic church and religious liberty,” Ryan retorted.  “Why would they keep — why would they keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.”

The mandate compels religious employers to pay for and refer women for abortion-causing drugs, birth control, contraception and sterilizations.

The mandate has drawn significant opposition from Catholic, Protestant and evangelical groups, pro-life organizations and others concerned that it includes no conscience protections for employers that don’t want to be required to pay for or refer women for drugs that end life and violate their faith.

Americans United for Life called the mandate a “payout for the abortion industry.”

So how does a person who claims to be Catholic explain why he supports the murder of unborn children?

CNS News explains what Biden said:

“With regard to abortion,” he said, “I accept my church’s position on abortion as a, what we call de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devote Christian and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

“I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that, women, that they can’t control their body,” said Biden. “It is a decision between them and their doctor, in my view, and the Supreme Court. I am not going to interfere with that.”

The actual position of the Catholic Church is that any law legalizing the killing of an unborn child is an unjust law that violates the natural law and is, therefore, no law at all. Vice President Biden’s church teaches that it is not acceptable even to obey such laws let alone support them as part of a political campaign.

The abortion issue can best be understood by comparing it to slavery, although abortion is worse than slavery. Slavery involves the mistreatment of an individual for your own benefit. Abortion goes further – you actually murder an individual for your benefit. What Biden is really saying is “don’t like abortion, don’t have one”. He certainly won’t have one, but he doesn’t mind if you do. Now apply that to slavery. Biden might say that he personally would never own slaves, but he doesn’t mind if you own slaves. But is that a moral view? No – the moral view is not only to not own slaves yourself, but to help people escape slavery and to make the practice illegal. The moral thing to do is to save the victims of slavery as much as possible, and that goes the same for abortion.

Recall that Biden had previously defended China’s one-child policy, which is enforced through forced abortions and mass sterilizations. That’s his view. And he calls that Catholicism.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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