Tuesday, June 30, 2009

AIP Socialized Health Care Horror Stories: Cancer

With Obamacare increasingly becoming the focus in Washington, it is important to highlight the horrors of government-run universal health care in other countries so it can be stopped here.

Here's are two recent stories on how government health care affects cancer treatment:


The cancer divide: Men are most at risk because the NHS prefers saving women, says cancer expert
It revealed that among cancers which affect both sexes, men are 60 per cent more likely to develop the disease and 70 per cent more likely to die from it. ...

As a cancer specialist for the past 30 years, I found the study depressingly predictable. It has long been clear to me that we men are unfairly discriminated against by an NHS which has unfairly favoured female health matters ahead of the needs of male patients. ...

For the fact is that politicians, eager to court the female vote, have long presided over a huge disparity in funding and treatment of female cancer patients at the expense of their male counterparts. ...

The truth is that by treating the NHS as a political football to be kicked in whichever direction they judge will win them the most votes, politicians have added hugely to the disparity between male and female cancer survival rates. ...

I believe we need to look at financial incentives as a possible answer. Recently, private health insurers have started offering reduced premiums for subscribers who agree to join gyms, and even ‘no claims discounts’ for those who remain healthy. Why shouldn’t the NHS adopt a similar approach?...

From this example we can see that when the government controls health care, politicians will use it to get votes from favored constituencies - at the expense of the health of others. Notice also how the author approvingly cites the practices of private health care to encourage better health outcomes.


OHIP cost cutting complicates cancer treatment

Interleukin-2 is a protein in the human body that stimulates the immune system and helps infection-fighting cells multiply and grow. It is used to treat certain types of cancers such as advanced melanoma and renal cancer. IL-2 was approved by Health Canada several years ago, but its use is not as widespread in Canada as it is in the United States.

OHIP covers pre-approved IL-2 treatments in the U.S. for Ontario residents who need it, but Hunt has been waiting to get the life-saving drug for two months....

He sought treatment in Detroit and had a consultation with an oncologist there but didn't get OHIP's approval to proceed because of a simple mistake in the paperwork, Meghan said.

Frustrated, the couple spent hours on the phone, calling doctors, the Ministry of Health and local politicians, hoping that someone could help them.

But while they were scrambling to secure Hunt's treatment in Detroit, there was a change in OHIP rules.

OHIP will now only cover Hunt's cancer treatment in Buffalo, N.Y., where the Roswell Park Cancer Institute is the ministry's only "preferred provider" of IL-2 treatment for metastatic malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. The Ministry of Health has a number of funding agreements with out-of-country health care facilities, which are chosen based on specific criteria.

After much bureaucratic wrangling, Hunt will finally meet with specialists in Buffalo today and find out when he can begin treatment there. But he still doesn't understand why he and his family have to make the four-hour trip instead of simply crossing the border to get the same medical care in Detroit.

First of all, the fact that Canada is sending its patients to the U.S. for proper care should be enough of an indication of the failures of their system - where will Canadians go if the U.S. gets socialized health care? Second, this story demonstrates the red tape and government control of where people can seek treatment, which is based on cost, not necessarily on better care or patient comfort.

These are just two examples of many of how poorly run universal health care is for cancer patients. Next week, we'll take a look at other aspects of the system.

Originally posted at American Issues Project Blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Idiot Professor: REPUBLICANS should Apologize for Slavery?!

I was reading this WaPo article about the Senate voting to apologize for slavery - (I hope they only apologized on their own behalf, I have nothing to do with slavery, I have never owned a slave. My family came over in the last 100 years and was previously abused by the Turks, no apology forthcoming.)

Anyway, take a look at this RIDICULOUS quote from a college professor:

Even among proponents of a congressional apology, reaction to yesterday's vote was mixed. Carol M. Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University who had pushed for the Bush administration to issue an apology, called the Democratic-controlled Senate's resolution "meaningless" since the party and federal government are led by a black president and black voters are closely aligned with the Democratic party.

"The Republican Party needed to do it," Swain said. "It would have shed that racist scab on the party."

Excuse me, lady, but it is actually quite fitting that the Democrat-controlled government made the apology - it was after all the REPUBLICAN party that freed the slaves! Remember that guy, Abe Lincoln? He was our first REPUBLICAN president.

Or perhaps she is thinking more of the Civil Rights area. Oh, but wait, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a REPUBLICAN! REPUBLICANS voted overwhelmingly for the Civil Rights Act - higher as a percentage than the Democrats and it was powerful Democrats in Congress who opposed it. Later, it was REPUBLICAN President Richard Nixon who started affirmative action.

But enough with the history lesson for this ignorant professor. Apparently, she thinks only HER present perception of the Republican party matters. Never mind that the resolution was about SLAVERY, ended by REPUBLICANS in the 1860s.

What have Democrats actually done for the black community? Are Democratically-controlled cities thriving? Like Detroit? Don't forget Katrina happened under the leadership of a Democrat mayor, city council AND governor. Republican-controlled Mississippi fared much better. Are students improving? Democrats are also the ones blocking black families from choosing better schools for their children. Are families flourishing? To Democrats, the answer to the problem of single motherhood is more abortion facilities in poor inner cities.

What is this "racist scab" she speaks of and do we really believe that apologizing would end the issue? What is so racist about Republicans? It is black Republicans who receive some of the worst open racial insults by black and white Democrats alike. Just ask REPUBLICAN National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

I guess what makes us racist is that we don't think of minorities as different or special - people are people. Republicans strive for a color-blind society, not a bean-counting one that strives for the "right" combination of the "right" color faces. We believe people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Wouldn't it be nice if Democrats did, too? But, alas, I guess then both parties would be called racist.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Say No to Bailing Out Beach Houses

Looks like Congress is again cooking up a bill that would send over taxpayer money to cover the poor financial decisions of others.

It's officially called the "Homeowners' Defense Act" but Competitive Enterprise Institue (CEI) has dubbed it the "Beach House Bailout:

So how did we get here?

Higher premiums serve to discourage investment and development in disaster-prone areas, such as Florida with it's hurricane season, however the higher prices are not politically popular and may appear unfair when the seas are calm and the weather clear. That may cause the government to attempt to drive prices down artificially, which serves as a market signal for more investment and development on the high-risk lands.

In Florida, politicians created a state-run insurance company with artificially low property insurance premiums backed by an implicit guarantee which encouraged people to build, like the celebrities building elaborate mansions on beaches in hurricane paths. This distortion in the marketplace drove many private insurance companies out of the state, leaving the state of Florida as the largest insurance provider.

When natural disasters hit, like a hurricane, the damage costs are higher, and thus insurance claims greater, than they would have been if the original premium signals had been obeyed and the beach houses not been built. Instead of spreading the risk throughout the private insurance sector, taxpayers are left footing the bill for massive claim payouts.

To cover their behinds so their constituents don't hold them accountable on this self-inflicted mess, many politicians like those in Florida want to spread the risk throughout the rest of the country through the "Homeowners' Defense Act," i.e. pass the buck on and seek a federal bailout. Of course, this would merely recreate the Florida model on a massive scale: the federal government will provide a guarantee and national taxpayers will be on the hook for payouts.

This idea is attractive to other states and localities that face increased natural disaster risks, but is unfair to low-risk states and taxpayers who choose to live and build in stable, safe areas who will end up having to bailout their irresponsible and risky neighbors.

To join CEI in saying "No Beach House Bailouts," sign their citizens petition here.

Originally posted at the American Issues Project Blog

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More Birth Control = More Pregnancy and Abortion in UK

Pro-"choicers" like to say that if only there was more access to contraceptives there wouldn't be so many pregnancies and abortions. However, a peek at Great Britain where they do provide access more freely shows they have seen an increase in pregnancy and abortion.

In the UK Daily Mail article entitled Most teenage pregnancies now end with an abortion, we see this phenomenon:

Out of around 40,000 pregnancies more than 20,000 were terminated - the first time more had chosen this option than become mothers.

The figure is higher than 2007, when it just hit 50 per cent, and consistent with a steady upwards trend since the Government started its controversial Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1999.

Figures out on May 21 will also show that for the first time the number of abortions performed on women living in England and Wales topped 200,000.

The teenage pregnancy strategy, which has cost taxpayers more than £300million, was meant to halve the number of conceptions among girls under 18 in England between 1998 and 2010.

Ministers have tried to slash teenage pregnancies by freely handing out contraceptives and expanding sex education.

But the fall in pregnancy rates has not met Government targets, and in 2007 the rate actually rose.

Teenage pregnancy rates are now higher than they were in 1995. Pregnancies among girls under 16 - below the age of consent - are also at the highest level since 1998.

So the numbers went up at precisely the time they were working to reduce them. What was the government doing all this time to prevent teen pregnancy as the rates rose?
A Department of Health spokesman said: 'One of the key aims of this Government, as set out in the Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Strategies, is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and consequently abortions, through better access to contraception.

'Prescribed contraception is available free of charge under NHS arrangements, and the Department of Health has recently invested additional funds to allow for improvements in contraception services.'

Did you read that? "Prescribed contraception is available free of charge!" Contraception is literally freely available and yet pregnancy and abortion rates have gone through the roof! Perhaps it is more of a cultural problem.

Abortion proponents are pleased with this result:

Ann Furedi, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, has claimed: 'The fact that teenagers felt able to end their pregnancy in abortion is actually a positive sign.

'If they have other plans for their teenage years aside from motherhood, they felt more able to make that choice.'

Great, so throwing money and birth control at the problem not only is useless and counterproductive, it also leads to a greater acceptance and celebration of choosing abortion, which I guess is what the pro-"choicers" wanted all along. Funny how that works.