Friday, July 27, 2007

More Evidence Against Government Run Universal Health Care

From the Wall Street Journal is an article about how the Universal Health care system in Massachusetts is creating a shortage of doctors.

As it happens, primary-care doctors, including internists, family physicians, and pediatricians, are in short supply across the country. Their numbers dropped 6% relative to the general population from 2001 to 2005, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington. The proportion of third-year internal medicine residents choosing to practice primary care fell to 20% in 2005, from 54% in 1998.

A principal reason: too little money for too much work. Median income for primary-care doctors was $162,000 in 2004, the lowest of any physician type, according to a study by the Medical Group Management Association in Englewood, Colo. Specialists earned a median of $297,000, with cardiologists and radiologists exceeding $400,000.

At the same time, the workweek for primary-care doctors has lengthened, and they are seeing more patients. The advent of managed care in the mid-1990s added to the burden as insurance companies called on primary-care doctors to serve as gatekeepers for their patients' referrals to specialty medicine.

In addition to the lower pay and longer workweek,

Doctors are reimbursed by insurance providers -- at below-market rates comparable with Medicaid reimbursements.

And this is what the community health centers are having to do;

community health centers have placed a temporary freeze on primary-care enrollment because they don't have enough doctors. Dorchester House, a community health center in southeast Boston, had nearly 55,000 primary-care visits last year to its 21 doctors and nurse practitioners.

"We've barely got room to treat anyone else," says Patrick Egan, the center's medical director. "We're pushing it already."

So here's a real life case of how government run health care is actually working.

Now in Wisconsin they are trying to get Universal Health Care passed and are being very transparent about it all.

Democrats who run the Wisconsin Senate have dropped the Washington pretense of incremental health-care reform and moved directly to passing a plan to insure every resident under the age of 65 in the state. And, wow, is "free" health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes. It represents an average of $510 a month in higher taxes for every Wisconsin worker.

Who's going to pay for it?

Employees and businesses would pay for the plan by sharing the cost of a new 14.5% employment tax on wages. Wisconsin businesses would have to compete with out-of-state businesses and foreign rivals while shouldering a 29.8% combined federal-state payroll tax, nearly double the 15.3% payroll tax paid by non-Wisconsin firms for Social Security and Medicare combined.

The Democrats and supporters of this program say it will save money through gains in efficiency by eliminating administrative costs of private insurance.

But those costs won't vanish; they'll merely shift to all taxpayers and businesses. Small employers that can't afford to provide insurance would see their employment costs rise by thousands of dollars per worker, while those that now provide a basic health insurance plan would have to pay $400 to $500 a year more per employee.

So where will the savings come from?

Where they always do in any government plan: Rationing via price controls and, as costs rise, waiting periods and coverage restrictions. This is Michael Moore's medical dream state.

UPDATE: I keep trying to have the font and size of the quotes from the articles be the same but every time I try to fix it and then publish the post, they change to something else and are different throughout the post. I apologize for the sloppy format of this post.


  1. You need to watch the California budget blowout, too. They have no idea where they’re going to find the money for their nutty healthcare plan.

    On a related topic (healthcare and socialist states), check out the $58 BILLION the State of New Jersey doesn’t have that it promised in healthcare benefits to state employees. The idiots are thinking of selling the New Jersey Turnpike to cover the costs!

    What would Wulfgar say? “Well, ya see, it’s a question of the greater good an’ the collective will. Once upon a time the collective will was thinkin public highways waz the greater good, but now the collective will is thinkin healthcare for state retirees is the greater good. That’s somethin all us progressive folks agree on. Change is good.”

  2. More importantly--is there any evidence to suggest that mandated insurance, et cetera, will be anything other than a boondoggle? If there is any indication that it won't be like Medicare (costs exceed 10x the LBJ's advertised price)...I'd love to see it.