Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Obamacare Nightmare

Nat Hentoff, who was too radical for the stodgy, propaganda-sodden Village Voice, has written an excellent piece on the economic stupidity of Obamacare.

He explains how Obamacare’s tax on medical devices is driving the industry out of the US, and his regulatory stranglehold is keeping new devices that are currently available in Europe from coming onto the American market.

House Republicans have voted to repeal the tax, but…
The Democratically controlled Senate was not likely to agree with the House, and in any case, Obama pledged to veto it because he’d much rather those billions in tax revenues go to cutting health care costs. (Hentoff)
Who in their right mind would think that taxing something will make the price to the consumer go down? That’s nuts!

Obamacare will create scarcity and drive up costs, while stifling innovation by taxing it to death and removing the profit motive. Our state-run healthcare system will look like Nurse Ratchet’s ward in less than a generation.

Hentoff, who is now in his old age, ends his article with a request for Mitt Romney…
I beg Mitt Romney to tell us how he will end this trade in American lives for broad cuts in health care budgets. We do need to save money, but raising taxes on lifesaving medical devices while cutting potentially lifesaving tests strikes me as not the American way.
Will the outcome of the November elections tell us and our kids and grandkids whether we still are in what used to be called America, where individual doctors prescribed for the futures of their individual patients? (Hentoff)
There’s Hope…
SA Today/Gallup released a poll of adults which found that, by more than 2-1, 63%-29%, voters felt Romney's tenure at Bain would cause him to make good decisions about turning around the economy and creating jobs.
61% of adults felt that government was doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. The poll also found that Romney was viewed as better able to control government spending. (Bain Attacks may be helping Romney)
Romney may be a milquetoast moderate, but unlike our current president he understands business and the economy, and hopefully voters are seeing that. We don’t need more agenda-driven progressivism--we need free-market pragmatism.


Shaw Kenawe said...

From Forbes:

"Will medical device companies benefit too?

Medical device makers like Medtronic and Boston Scientific are down or trading sideways because they are going to pay a new 2.3% tax on their product. But Lawrence Biegelsen, the medical devices analyst at Wells Fargo, argued in a note to clients that maybe Wall Street is remembering the tax, but neglecting that the fact that the law benefits hospitals could result in higher volumes and less pricing pressure for the medical device industry."

And this:

"One of the biggest questions is what the law will mean for medical device companies such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Johnson & Johnson, all of which are down slightly. They are likely to sell more product as people enter onto the insurance rolls, but they will also pay a new tax as part of the law. In a fast note this morning, Joe Ruggieri, the trading analyst at International
Strategies & Investing, wrote that it might be possible that as we move forward, the fact that it’s not possible to build clear earnings estimates for these companies could actually mean that the stocks will do better. Ruggieri writes:

“The one overriding conclusion for healthcare service / device stocks is that a major degree of uncertainty has been removed and one’s ability to model earnings and value cash flows appropriately have been meaningfully improved. This had been a huge deterrent to healthcare investing at large institutions the last 2 years (valuation didn’t matter). While there are obviously far reaching implications for HMO’s (neg), Medicare / Medicaid HMO’s (pos), Hospitals (pos), Devices (mixed) and the Supply Chain (pos). In total this is a preferred outcome vs. a complicated decision whereby Wall St still can’t sort out how to model Healthcare Services."

Factcheck.org has more.

Silverfiddle said...

If these suppositions you proffer come to pass, it will be an historical anomaly that an industry is taxed and regulated more becomes cheaper to the consumer and offers more.

We'll see...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Not all medical devices will be taxed [2.3%]and more insureds have been added to those who are covered.

Investment analysts do not share Hentoff's Armageddon-like predictions.

Ducky's here said...

"Our state-run healthcare system ..."

There you go again, still can't figure out the difference between the delivery and insurance.

Of course in the country with the highest costs and mediocre outcomes both are "for profit".

Ducky's here said...

Obamacare will create scarcity and drive up costs ...

How? It's nothing more than a mechanism devised by the communist Heritage Foundation to funnel money to antitrust exempt insurers.
What could go wrong?

As for the jerks that think Bain gave him the experience to turn anything around ... well does that mean he was able to solve our health cost issues with Romneycare?

Always On Watch said...

If some medical devices are basically defunded, the population in long-term care facilities will soar! At least some of these devices enable ailing folks to stay out of such institutions, where most of them eventually become a burden to Medicaid, which seizes virtually assets of the household, including the assets of the well spouse, thus putting TWO people on welfare.

In my husband's case, if he didn't have an AFO brace, he couldn't walk at all! Then, I'd have to drop out of the work force, a step which would reduce revenue for the government.

I could say something similar about the scooter that my husband has. We bougt it on our own before Medicare came along. But Medicare does subsidize these scooters, and few of them are made in the USA.

Now, I realize that ObamaCare doesn't target the mobility devices that my husband has. I'm trying to make a point.

Intended or not, many of the consequences of ObamaCare are evidence of stupidity in the drafting of the legislation.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...many of the consequences of ObamaCare are evidence of stupidity in the drafting of the legislation."

Which, of course, was copied from Romneycare:

Obamacare & Romneycare are "The Same F**king Bill" said MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a former Romney advisor who helped create Romneycare.

Remember that "stupidity" when you go to vote for Mittens.

Z said...

For anybody thinking this is a good bill, please talk to your doctor about it. He'll set you straight.

We will also stifle innovation because FOR PROFIT has become a sin in this country and there won't be enough money for companies to stay afloat here let alone dedicate much money to R&R. The whole world will suffer for this.

Remember when Pharma was against Obamacare and then suddenly FOR IT? It spun your head around with the abrupt change of heart...here's why:


Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: Your state's medical device industry did not take a hit when Romneycare was put into place.

Contrast that with this quote from the article:

“The device industry is leaving. According to a summer 2011 survey by the National Venture Capital Association, in the next three years, 85 percent of venture-backed health-care companies expect to seek regulatory approval for their new products outside the U.S. first.”

So we can ping pong quotes back and forth all day, but basic economics, as well as historical data, tell us that taxing and regulating something results in less of it, and higher prices for it.

So you can drink the cool-aid about "bending cost curves," and other baloney emanating from this administration, but it all flies in the face of reality.

FreeThinke said...

Apparently, Steve Forbes has decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Too bad!

With his vast wealth, I imagine Forbes -- a man in whom I long had real faith -- has joined the ranks of the Crony Capitalists, who have developed a perverted Partnership between Big Government and Big Business designed not only to aggrandize the wealth and power of the crooked Cronies, but to bring the rest of us to our knees.

We are in the middle of experiencing the greatest, most monstrous Power Grab in history, and except for feeling the prevailing uneasiness, edginess and increasing lack of civility this has fostered, most are blissfully unaware that the rug is slowly-but-surely being pulled out from under them.

Welcome to Trireme America!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"Who in their right mind would think that taxing something will make the price to the consumer go down? That’s nuts!"

Of course they are nuts! The Obamanomic pof taking water out of one end of a swimming pool and putting it in the other end, expecting the pool to overflow, have never worked and can not work.

FreeThinke said...

Ha ha! I love your "swimming pool" analogy, COF.

Since the problems and their attendant stupidity remain adamantly the same, we are always in need of fresh figures of speech to define and describe what ails us.

After a while, the clich├ęs stop penetrating our consciousness, and cease to have any effect on our thinking.

~ FreeThinke

Bunkerville said...

It is simply a intent to retard innovation. Hint: there will be the board to decide who gets what technology. These are usually very expensive items, and one is fooling oneself if one thinks they will not be restricted. One good reason their stocks are going nowhere. Does anyone think they are getting a 10k prosthetic ?

Z said...

FT...what did I miss about Steve Forbes?

I really like your new avatar/picture..looks kind of like you! (a few years ago) (JUST KIDDING!) xx

FreeThinke said...

"neglecting that the fact that the law benefits ... "

Ms Shaw!

Did the article you cited really contain that syntactical abomination as quoted here?

If so, it's worse than I thought. Forbes is slipping badly and in more ways than one.

Pointing out errors of this sort may seem unduly captious -- even contumelious -- on my part, but since "Little drops of water, little grains of sand/ Make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land" slovenliness of this sort in a major publication is indicative of serious structural problems in the organization.

Such carelessness is like leaving bits of broken glass, dog dirt -- or live coals -- on the beach for unsuspecting innocents to step on.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Z, if you can find the time to travel upstate, go to the M.H. de Young Museum at Golden Gate Park, and there you will find the original portrait in all it's glory.

And therein hangs a tale, which I shall share with you via email very soon.

It's a very short story, and I think it will tickle your fancy. ;-)

I am fond of Walt Whitman, but when he was my age, he looked old enough to be my great-grandfather. Poor chap never reached his mid-seventies, but oh what a fine legacy he left!

Anyway, I'm glad you like the new icon. It really does suit me better, I think.

Have a lovely day!

~ FT

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: There you go again, still can't figure out the difference between the delivery and insurance.

There you go again Ducky... Can't recognize that your leftist birds of a feather have figured out they don't need to seize the means of production anymore. Why get your hands dirty when you can use the crushing power of the state to make the producers do you bidding?

Unknown said...

Obamacare will create scarcity and drive up costs, while stifling innovation by taxing it to death and removing the profit motive. Our state-run healthcare system will look like Nurse Ratchet’s ward in less than a generation.

It is already happening. In NJ, only 44% of physicians accept medicare. Do you think this number will increase under Obama Care, or decrease? And the Garden State isn’t the only one to bail out on the idea that they must work for free or “at cost.” Who in their right mind would want to practice medicine under such conditions?

KP said...

I have said it before; Obamacare is one of the most poorly written bills ever to be passed. Yes, there are some excellent parts of the bill; but they should have been progressed in a piecemeal fashion.

Let’s step away from medical devices for a moment and discuss the Nitti gritty: actual treatment.

Physicians who provide the care are ignored in this bill. Let me be clear, if you want excellent care from your doctor he should be happy with his career and pleased to see you.

The latest study by the government's own Center for Health Statistics shows that 31% of all physicians will not accept Medicaid. Even more scary, 50% of ALL primary care physicians will not accept Medicaid. These are portal entry doctors; the gatekeepers.

What does this mean? It means that even if you can find a primary doc that will accept Medicaid, the network is broken, he may not be able to find you an orthopedist or other specialty physician.

Yet Obamacare seeks to expand Medicaid by 16-17 million patients! Bottom line, you may have a card that says you are covered but you are not covered unless you can find a doctor. Obamacare is impossible to implement or pay for. It will lower the standard of care and has already increased cost by about 10%.

The government insists it will raise the number of primary care docs by 10%, but that doesn't even come close to answering the issues raised above.

As a portal entry doc I have taken Medicaid in the past. The time to do paperwork alone and the low reimbursement rates make it impossible to keep your doors open. The online forms are even more daunting.

Medicaid patients are typically the sickest patients and there are few medical specialist to refer them to. Reimbursement is planned to be cut back even further. You cannot add 16 million more patients. It is impossible. Doctors are leaving practice or will not participate. I have worked inside the system for thirty years. Obamacare is asking physicians to commit financial suicide.

skudrunner said...

With the three main taxes associated with Obamacare, tax implants, tax tanning and tax the middle class/small business, the one area that was not touched was tort reform. That wouldn't be because the incompetent incumbent is paying back the trial lawyers who gave so much to his coronation would it?

The only way to administer this Obamacare boondoggle is to pass medicaid patients into an HMO and not expect private practice to participate because they can't afford to. Fixed fee HMO's could provide adequate care if the per patient fee was enough to make it worth while. A per census fee eliminates a majority of the paperwork, speeds up payment process and can be worthwhile in high numbers.

Ducky's here said...

Hentoff was super when he was writing about and programing jazz.

Unlike health care he knew something bout it.

Always On Watch said...

I can't access that NYT article. Bummer.

Always On Watch said...

HMO's have both advantages and disadvantages.

Mr. AOW presently has a Medicare HMO. Those copays are reasonable, but really mount up quickly.

For example, Mr. AOW is resuming PT and OT. The copays are $40 each. Let's see 4 sessions a week (usually 2 sessions a day) = $160/week. Plus transportation with the paratransit van, required to get the scooter there or Mr. AOW himself if I am working = $20/day. Therefore, each week of therapy sessions = $200. We're not sure yet about what equipment he'll have to buy. One device -- a state-of-the-art gizmo -- costs $10,000.

If the therapy accomplishes something, we'll suck up the expense. If not, he will call a halt to the therapy.

Of course, all this is a damn sight better than what he had before for insurance. That was $900/month with no prescription coverage and a $5000 deductible. OUCH!

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Yeah, Hentoff is just a customer. He should just shut up and thank Deal Leader for whatever he gets.

Trekkie4Ever said...

Romney may not be the best candidate but he does know how to run a successful business unlike his counterpart who was given everything without having to work for it, hence, his infamous speech.

Many people that voted for Obama in the last election will be voting against him to stop the spending, the high taxes and Obamacare altogether.

People need to wake and realize that Obama is NOT the solution but the problem that we are facing today.

Liberalmann said...

Hey, I just got my refund check from my insurance company this week! GO OBAMACARE!

And please, will you guys stop lying?

Silverfiddle said...

Yes Leticia, Obama has never run anything, and it shows.

Keep smokin' that hopium, Liberalmann!

Z said...

AOW..bummer, I can't get into it this way, either! ??
Just tried.
You can Google Obama BIG PHARMA OBAMA CARE and you'll see plenty of articles on it...but it never REALLY got the exposure this Obama nastiness should have. IMagine what he did to US by assuring big Pharma wouldn't have the competition of Canada's drugs? damn

FT, it's a really good icon for you; much better than the really old guy!

Kid, thanks for that information, tho it makes me a little queasy. My own GP said he and all the docs he knows don't know what they're going to do now. Sadly, he's only 37 and his partners are largely ready for retirement, so they're set. Excellent doctors.
My own GP said that he knows young guys who are shaking in their shoes because they WANT to give good care but they'll be crashing under the weight of so many new patients...it won't work.

This should have been done in pieces..a part at a time; listening to BOTH sides of the aisle, not to this dictator who had this huge bill written before he went into the WH. Who could have written that in such a short time?

Then there's Pelosi assuring us that its being enacted would THEN allow us to know the details? Even DOCS don't know them YET.
Mr Z's lib doc and he fought over Obama all the time; until Obama was elected and Obamacare was announced...how Dr Kaplan's all "WHERE ARE THE REPUBLICANS? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?" Ya, we know how it happened, you idiot Obama voter. :-( At least he won't get his vote THIS time, that's for sure. Did you read that more Obama voters are changing parties than McCain voters are? VERY good news.

Teresa said...

Romneycare is a states' rights issue - 10th amendment. Massive federal governmental health care expansion us a whole other ballgame.

We don't have mediocre health care, Ducky. Among treatment of the major diseases we rank number one in the world. This means cancer patients have the best treatment, not the U.K. or Canada which has government-run health care.

Jersey McJones said...

You guys need to read this.

First of all, this tax you guys are fudging around with is an EXCISE TAX WITH EXPORTS EXEMPTED. Do you understand what that means? It is designed to be harmless to the interests of the same companies complaining about it. This is a purely political propaganda.

In the end, what this is really about is getting people to look at the re-importation we've had for years in that business, and many others. Free Trade really is stupid - societal suicide. I guess if you just don't care about America or being an American, Free Trade must seem benign. But you can't argue that the resulting re-importation, and the tax implications, and why these occur, are good for this country or it's people.


Silverfiddle said...

Go tell it to the business owners, Jersey.

Just because you were a box kicker in a freight yard you think you're some kind of international import/export wizard.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF: "Yes Leticia, Obama has never run anything, and it shows."

George W. Bush was a "CEO" president.

Google "Arbusto," "Spectrum 7 Energy Corp.," and "Harken Energy" and find out how those turned out.

Sam Huntington said...

Jersey, I’m not sure what you are talking about. Taxes have a two-fold purpose. The first is to raise revenues for government operations. The second is to punish what the government regards as despicable behavior, such as when private industries (gasp) attempt to show a profit. Most economists regard tariffs as a free market distortion; although import taxes tend to benefit domestic producers, export taxes punish domestic producers.

One wonders why any responsible government should want to punish its own producers of national wealth. At the same time, however, whenever we impose an import tax on goods made in other countries, they will impose a similar tax on goods exported from the United States. This makes American goods more expensive to foreign consumers; it decreases foreign demand for US made goods. With this in mind, is free trade really a stupid idea?

Excise taxes are “hidden” from consumers because once they are paid, producers and retailers pass these costs along to consumers. This is another clever way politicians seek to screw the American consumer, and by extension, every business owner and worker in America.

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: And it shows. The Bush admin actually knew what it was doing (I will admit he blew it at the end).

Obama is angrily lashing out and his administration thrashes about, causing one catastrophe after another. Worst. Recovery. Ever.

Obama has never lead anything larger than his Choom gang, and it shows.

FreeThinke said...

Ms. Shaw,

You are much too intelligent and well read to imagine that the past blunders and ineptitude of members of an opposition party provide an excuse -- or worse a justification -- of the egregious errors of a member of your own.

I defy you to find a single example that would support the notion that the asininity of "A" automatically provides "B" with virtue or credibility.

It's a stupid argument, and you are not a stupid person. I know you can do better.

Instead of trying to deflect attention towards the foolishness or possible wickedness of past administrations, why don't you come up with solid evidence that shows your man to have been a better choice?

I doubt if you can, frankly, but this exchange of insults and scurrilous "opinionation" we routinely indulge in is not only unworthy, it's a huge waste of time.


~ FreeThinke

Shaw Kenawe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silverfiddle said...

So what you're saying Shaw, is that Obama is about half as accomplished as Bush.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Sorry. I had to correct a grammatical error. Picky, I know, but it does matter to me.

"Obama has never lead anything larger than his Choom gang, and it shows."


Because getting elected to the presidency and working as the LEADER of the most powerful country in the world is not leading anything larger than a Choom gang.


Silverfiddle calls America a Choom gang!

You are one funny dude!

FT: "...why don't you come up with solid evidence that shows your man to have been a better choice?"

Right now, the American people being polled can answer that. If Mr. Obama were such a disaster [as Mr. SF keeps reminding himself], why isn't Mr. Romeny running away with the lead in the polls? [Not to mention the electoral college votes, which is where elections are won.]

Answer: Because we're still a divided nation and half of us think he's done as good a job as can be expected from working with law makers whose primary goal is keeping him a one-term president.

I also believe he is the better candidate for all the reasons you and Silverfiddle dislike him.

And no, SF @ 11;23 AM. I didn't say that at all, you did.

Always On Watch said...

I'm not sure that polls mean very much -- especially this far in advance of a looming election.

Ultimately, the one poll that matters will happen on November 6.

Shaw Kenawe said...

AOW, I agree. I just used the polls to illustrate that 1) the American people are still divided as we were during the Bush years, and 2) if Mr. Obama was the disaster Mr. Silverfiddle says he is, Mr. Romney would be at LEAST 10 ahead of him by now.

We'll wait to see who Willard chooses as his running mate, watch the bump in the polls, then go through the same thing with the Democratic convention, and on to November, where it really counts.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...if Mr. Obama was the disaster Mr. Silverfiddle says he is..."

Oy. Again. I guess I'm just not in a subjunctive mood today.


Unknown said...

Sam wrote, “One wonders why any responsible government should want to punish its own producers of national wealth.”

A third reason for taxes is to transfer income and profit from those who earned it, to the pockets of those who didn’t. I do note the qualifier “responsible” but does this really describe any American government over the past 24 years?

FreeThinke said...

When you correct grammatical errors, Ms Shaw, -- either yours or anyone else's -- is when I love you most. BRAVO! It matters to me too, as I never trouble to disguise.

As to solid evidence that Mr. Obama has been a satisfactory choice as president, the state of the economy -- and that of our national solvency -- seem to indicate otherwise.

You agree the nation is divided. I would add it is divided along blindly partisan lines, which means the potential voters are not thinking, but merely emoting or waxing obedient to the propagandists whom they vainly imagine best represent their interests -- as political "blocs" are wont to do.

I would add that Mr. Obama -- and indeed ANY Democratic candidate -- automatically have a tremendous advantage over any opposition from the conservative side. The media, which is staffed at least 85% by admitted liberal Democrats, does everything in its enormous power to aid and abet the Democratic Party agenda while it works with feverish intensity to denigrate, deride, deny, disrespect, lampoon and undermine anything presented by Republicans.

This deplorable phenomenon is tantamount to donating HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of DOLLARS worth of FREE PUBLICITY to the DNC.

~ FreeThinke

Shaw Kenawe said...


Every incumbent, Republican or Democrat, has an advantage.

But if what you say is true, how did George W. Bush manage to get re-elected in 2004?

Rational Nation USA said...

What we need is not free market pragmatism, that is essentially what we have. What we need is...

Laissez-faire Capitalism.

Always On Watch said...

if Mr. Obama was the disaster Mr. Silverfiddle says he is, Mr. Romney would be at LEAST 10 ahead of him by now.

Except that Romney really isn't all that personable AND the visual mainstream media shill for Obama. I hate to say it, but I believe that most voters decide on whom to support based on television reports and, yes, political ads.

Trekkie4Ever said...

Shaw, no one said that Pres. Bush was perfect, but he sure as hell did a better job than Obama. Wake up and smile the lies.