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Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Rudy Hates Health Care

There is something about allowing every single man woman and child access to health care that simply drives the Greedy Old Party insane. It seems that if their "base" of "haves and have mores", as President Bush called them himself, can't profit off the misery of others, there just isn't enough misery.

Those like former New York City Mayor, and current GOP front-runner, Rudy Giuliani is no exception. The man who once seemed moderate by comparison to other Republicans is now attempting to court those on the Right who deem health care evil. I guess Big Health Care money, and keeping the American worker in jobs they hate mean more to Rudy and the other GOP candidates than the health of our nation.

The following are the twelve health Care points straight from Rudy's website, with my comments.

JOINRUDY.COM: Expand Choice Through Tax Code Reform: Rudy proposes an income exclusion of up to $15,000 for those without employer coverage to make insurance more affordable.
MADMAN: An income of $48,000 per year for a family of four would have that family pay tax on about $24,500. Even if that family only paid the combined Social Security and Medicare combo ($3,672 for the year), their adjusted income would be $44,328. If this family pays as much as $5,000 per year in taxes, just how is Rudy's tax give back going to buy them health care insurance?

JOINRUDY.COM: Help Low-Income Individuals and Families Secure Health Insurance: Rudy proposes a Health Insurance Credit to low-income Americans that can be coupled with other revenue sources such as Medicaid and employer contributions to make coverage more affordable to millions of the uninsured.
MADMAN: Sounds a lot like the Expand Choice Through Tax Code Reform idea above, doesn't it? (1) How much will a "credit" help these poor families if they haven't paid into the government to begin with. a family which pays little or no taxes won't get anything back. (2) Medicaid as a supplement to the poor is a fine idea, but in the GOP world of "every man, woman and child for themselves", just how will Rudy expand Medicaid to include even more people than it already does? Remember that it is Rudy, and the rest of the PNAC Republicans who say they want "smaller government", so it's highly unlikely that any expansion idea would get by Rudy's Republican underlings, if he were elected President. What would he do? Perhaps he'd say, "Well, I tried," and simply be satisfied with that. (3) And finally we have the "status quo" argument, yet again. The "employer contribution" idea is, indeed, what we have today. Employers are dropping health care coverage for their employees, or forcing them to pay more and ore for their share in a futile effort to compete with overseas rivals who have government paid and publicly financed health care programs. Somehow, Rudy thinks that there is more money stuck in the small businessman's pocket just waiting to be given to the health care insurance companies. In the name of the "Free market", stop the madness!

JOINRUDY.COM: Drive Quality and Price Transparency: Rudy believes creating visibility of price, provider qualifications, and risk-adjusted procedure outcomes will expand competition and open up new motivation for improving quality and reducing cost.
MADMAN: We have dozens of health insurance providers in business today. Isn't that "competition" Mayor Giuliani? Prices have risen higher and higher, so what makes Rudy think that this already present competition will all of a sudden change and make prices lower? Me thinks that America's mayor is confusing "competition" with "collusion".

JOINRUDY.COM": Reform the Medical Liability Legal System: Rudy’s commitment to end frivolous lawsuits without limiting compensation for real economic loss is key to comprehensive health care reform.
MADMAN: I guess Rudy doesn't know that a mere two percent of all doctors are the cause of the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits. But the idea above wreaks of saying something and doing nothing. Just what is Giuliani's idea here anyway?

JOINRUDY.COM: Reward States For Innovative Solutions: Rudy will encourage states to improve health care quality and make health insurance more affordable by offering block grants to encourage innovation, reduce health costs, enroll eligible uninsured, and solve adverse selection issues.
MADMAN: In other words, Governors... You're on your own. Much in the same way the No Child Left Behind System is leaving poor children behind in every state, and forcing those states to foot the bill to enact the measures, a plan to "award" states who find "innovative solutions" is just Rove-speak for putting the onus on a failed health care system squarely on the shoulders of the US states. And if Rudy plans on giving "blocks of cash" to those "innovative states", just where is that money going to come from and who is going to administer it? Sounds like someone's going to expand the size of government, a la George W. Bush, doesn't it?

JOINRUDY.COM: Require Availability of Low-Cost Insurance Options: Regulation must not deny access to affordable coverage... If a state’s mandates prevent affordable health care coverage, citizens should be allowed to purchase coverage through interstate markets.
MADMAN: Who sets the bar at what is "affordable" anyway? And if it's the health insurance lobby, just what will that mean to the average American? And what about these "interstate markets"? Can I buy health care coverage in California and see a doctor in New Jersey? Again, a Rudy idea with no substance.

JOINRUDY.COM: Save Lives and Reduce Costs by Streamlining the FDA Process: Rudy will bring greater accountability and efficiency to the evaluation process for new drugs by ensuring that government regulation does not delay new cures or needlessly cost lives. The current process is so regulated that a new drug takes 12-15 years to get to the market.
MADMAN: Finally an idea I can live with!

JOINRUDY.COM: Invest In Health IT to Reduce Medical Errors, Improve Efficiency, and Detect Health Threats: Each year, thousands of hospital deaths are attributed to preventable medical errors. Public-private partnerships to improve and set standards for health IT without overbearing regulations can play a major role in improving care and reducing costs.
MADMAN: Ah, the medical records argument again. If we trust our leaders to not abuse computerized health care records then a process like this might work at helping to reduce some costs. But regulations are needed (overbearing is in the eye of the beholder) otherwise we can count on abuse of the system. If HIPAA regulations applied to computerized health care records, and stiff punishments in the form or large monetary fines and prison terms (for the worst offenders) were included in a computerized national database for health care, accessible by the patient at all times, I might be in favor of it. But as far as this being a great financial break towards health care costs, don't buy it.

JOINRUDY.COM: Improve and Expand Health Savings Accounts
MADMAN: The bad idea that keeps on giving. With more and more Americans unable to save money to the point of having to use their savings just to live, how are they supposed to save money to purchase health care? Again, it's the GOP idea that everyone needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps philosophy. Some are just not able to do s.
And what of the children? If their parents can't save for them, who will? Perhaps Bracewell & Giuliani, a law firm, Giuliani Partners or Giuliani Capital Advisors can cough up the dough for those who can't save for themselves.

JOINRUDY.COM: Infuse Incentives in Insurance Markets That Promote Wellness and Better Outcomes for Chronic Diseases: Health insurance must be redefined to cover wellness as well as sickness. In conjunction with recommendations from doctors and nurses, Rudy will propose new initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles and wellness programs, and tie Medicaid payments to a state’s success in promoting preventative care and tracking obesity for children.
MADMAN: It's all the fat kid's fault! I knew it!

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg