Medicare Cuts for Cardiac Care: Tip of the Iceberg

Sign of the times, an article named Medicare Cutbacks Threaten to Put Cardiac Care Out of Reach for Millions of Rural Americans:

Note this is not connected to the healthcare plans now being looked at in Congress. But two thoughts.

One, it likely falls under the rubric of cuts aimed at "waste, fraud, and abuse." Those HHS bureaucrats need to explain to affected patients how caring for them is a waste.

Two, this is a small symptom of the utter failure of Medicare to manage its mandate in a fiscally responsible way. If it did so responsibly, cuts like this would be unnecessary. Do you REALLY want everyone's healthcare managed with such alleged stewardship?

Take this as a harbinger of things to come. Last week's CBO "scoring" of the so-called Baucus bill was a real head scratcher. The bill will ONLY cost 829 BILLION dollars, and it cuts the deficit too! History tells us the cost will be far, far higher than predicted today. And the bulk of "savings" in the current proposal will come from service cuts like these. (I expect rural Americans will see more of these, given they are not well represented in SEIU and other self-interested groups that seem to be pulling the Administration's strings.)

Of course, the CBO estimate is worthless anyway. Once the Baucus proposals go through committees, full chamber mark-up, and conference committee — think of them as the meat grinder out of which sausage comes — the result will bear no resemblance to what the CBO scored.

The current proposals in both House and Senate are anathema to true quality health care in America, so they must be stopped before permanent and irreversible damage is done. There are alternatives in the Congress that make much more sense. I personally am tired of hearing and reading on state-run media (the alphabet networks, Newsweak, AP, etc.) that the opposition is the party of NO because they have no alternatives. They are parroting the claims of the Congressional majority without checking their facts.

Brief aside. Fact checks. One of this week's teapot tempests involves the Administration's decision to not make the President or any of his officials available for interviews on Fox News. One of their reasons was that Fox had the temerity to "fact check" statements made by the head of the VA in a Sunday morning interview. Meanwhile, on what must have been an awfully slow news day, CNN found the need to "fact check" a satirical comedy skit aired on Saturday Night Live. What a waste! Satire by its nature exaggerates the follies or shortcomings of its subject, so by definition it's likely to contain elements that aren't factual. By the way, it seems the agreed-upon arbiter of fact has come to be a web site called FactCheck.org which is deemed to be non-partisan. This is incorrect. Bipartisan is closer to the truth; its supporting Annenberg Foundation has supported both Republican and Democratic causes. And the site's actual writers often display clear bias in their own posts, again some left and some right. That said, taking a single pronouncement from this site ought not to be assumed to represent the truth.

Sorry. I guess that aside wasn't too brief.

Back to the issue in the linked article to close. Medicare as we know it is one more shining exemplar of government efficiency. (Pause for laugh track.) File that phrase away with jumbo shrimp and educational television. Are we really ready to consign almost twenty percent of our free market economy to the same grim paradigm? Think about it. Please.
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