This column in the NY Post by an Obama supporter misses the point but does show he is in trouble.
When asked to choose the best reason to support health-care reform, 34 percent chose “it will provide stable health coverage that can’t be taken away.” Only 12 percent chose “pay less in premiums,” and 7 percent chose “it will grow the economy.” Eighteen percent said that “health care is a moral right.”
The survey found that “42 percent of people who are currently covered changed coverage at least once in the last five years. For 57 percent of them, this change was involuntary. Among those who are currently covered, 38 percent said they are worried that they will lose coverage over the next five years.”
But that’s not what he is doing. He is telling people he will cut costs by rationing.
Obama’s central message so far has focused on the promise of lower costs for health coverage and more accessibility. But the poll (conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group) suggests that these aren’t the most potent issues.
In fact, a mere 29 percent of respondents agreed with the promise that their premiums would go down as a consequence of reform. And regarding “accessibility,” only 9 percent said that in the last five years they were without coverage all or most of the time.
Moreover, when asked, “Who do you think will benefit most from reform?” a whopping 60 percent chose “other people, but not [me].”
The majority of the country may have been dumb enough to elect him but they’re not this dumb. Mickey Kaus says It’s Obama’s own fault for raising the issue of cost and then getting into the whole issue of “effectiveness research.”
WaPo’s Alec MacGillis notes that Obama’s health care reformers
are clearly spooked by the notion that they could be accused of denying, for example, hip surgery to an 80-year-old.
If so, they largely have themselves to blame. They brought it up! It wasn’t the Republicans who billed health care reform as a cost saving, budget-balancing measure that would start to deny payments for treatments deemed “ineffective,” or (as one acolyte put it) when “a person’s life, or health, is not worth the price.” And to think when they heard that people started to worry about rationing! Fancy that.
Total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, fell from 17.9 weeks in 2004 back to the 17.7 weeks last seen in 2003.
So, you want to wait 17 weeks to see a GP. What do you suppose the wait will be for a hip replacement ? Well, the average for all orthopedic surgery is 38 weeks and that includes minor procedures like wrist ganglion that I treat with a heavy book or aspiration.
The median wait for a CT scan across Canada was 4.8 weeks. British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia had the shortest wait for CT scans (4 weeks), while the longest wait occurred in Manitoba (8 weeks). The median wait for an MRI across Canada was 10.1 weeks. Patients in Ontario experienced the shortest wait for an MRI (7.8 weeks), while Newfoundland residents waited longest (20 weeks). The median wait for ultrasound was 3.9 weeks across Canada. Alberta and Ontario displayed the shortest wait for ultrasound (2 weeks), while Prince Edward Island and Manitoba exhibited the longest ultrasound waiting time (10 weeks).
The other subject that is not being mentioned is the fact that no one is going into general surgery anymore. That’s an exaggeration but the number of people completing general surgery residencies has not increased in 20 years and many of them go into subspecialties with better lifestyles. There were fewer surgeons being certified by the American Board of Surgery in 2008 than in 1981. The type of “reform” that Obama has in mind, with steep reductions in compensation for specialists, will cause a crash in the number of surgeons, just as has happened in Canada.
If you don’t believe that, ask Natasha Richardson.