The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Plot to Kill Millions

Heros of #Resistance—Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders Al Franken and Congresswoman Nancy Pelocy—have been experimenting with the meme that claims that the Republican modifications to Obamacare will "kill" large numbers of Americans. The implication is that the GOP is so crass that it simply doesn't care about the health of its fellow citizens and has implemented a program that will kill them.

Warren used the phrase "blood money" to suggest that any savings associated with more responsible and less expensive healthcare legislation would lead to the death of Americans. On NBC's Meet the Press, a solemn Bernie Sanders stated:
I wish I didn’t have to say it. This is not me. This is study after study making this point. It is common sense. If you have cancer and your insurance is taken away from you, there is a likelihood you will die and certainly a likelihood that you will become much sicker than you are today. That’s the fact. Unpleasant, but it’s true.
A fact, huh? Study after study? Really?

Here's a study Bernie must have missed, as described by Max Bloom:
The only thing better than a natural experiment is a random experiment, where people are randomly distributed into groups that, in this case, either receive health insurance or don’t. Exactly this happened in Oregon in 2008, when the state randomly selected 30,000 from a waiting list of 90,000 low-income adults to participate in a limited expansion of Medicaid. In theory, this should have produced a perfect test of the effects of insurance on health-care outcomes — indeed, as Peter Suderman notes, a bevy of liberal writers touted an early analysis of the experiment as a conclusive vindication of the effects of health insurance. Until they saw the final data, that is. The Oregon study found that “Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first two years.”
Sanders and his fellow Democrats trot out the statistic that 20 million additional citizens are insured under Obamacare. For a moment, let's discount the fact that Obamacare taxpayer subsidized coverage for non-Medicaid policies has huge deductibles (e.g., $6,000 to $8,000) that would discourage many doctor visits. Or that 5 million young people were coerced into coverage they didn't need or didn't want. Or that millions more waited until they got sick and then applied for coverage.

James Freeman writes:
... all of America has been participating in an experiment since 2010 to see if a federal effort to extend government-mandated insurance coverage to millions more people can improve our lives. Last year the Obama Administration bragged that 20 million adults had gained health insurance as a result of Mr. Obama’s so-called Affordable Care Act.

Given the Sanders logic, one might have expected to see a corresponding improvement in public health. But so far evidence that ObamaCare made us healthier has proven elusive, to say the least. In December the New York Times was among the many news outlets that had to share the embarrassing news:
American life expectancy is in decline for the first time since 1993, when H.I.V.-related deaths were at their peak. But this time, researchers can’t identify a single problem driving the drop, and are instead pointing to a number of factors, from heart disease to suicides, that have caused a greater number of deaths.

A study on mortality rates released on Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that Americans could expect to live for 78.8 years in 2015, a decrease of 0.1 from the year before. The overall death rate increased 1.2 percent — that’s about 86,212 more deaths than those recorded in 2014.

Dr. Peter Muennig, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in an interview that the decline was a “uniquely American phenomenon” in comparison with other developed countries, like Japan or Sweden.

“A 0.1 decrease is huge,” Dr. Muennig said. “Life expectancy increases, and that’s very consistent and predictable, so to see it decrease, that’s very alarming.”
Freeman goes on to outline the work of Nobel Prize winning economist, Angus Deaton, noting that:
Much of Mr. Deaton’s research over the years has examined the way that people around the world get healthier as they get wealthier. Republicans should note that expanding employment is a great way to improve wellness. This is of course the opposite of the agenda embedded in ObamaCare, which discouraged employment. It’s hard to tell if Mr. Sanders will regret raising the question of whether government insurance programs are the key to health and longevity. But it’s an argument he is not going to win.
So ... a real solution for better outcomes isn't government controlled healthcare. It a growing economy, more private sector jobs, and therefore, more wealth in the hands of the past poor. That, more than Obamacare or any GOP program will lead to the improved health for many more Americans.

But Lizzy and Bernie, Al and Nancy think there's a GOP plot to kill millions. And their solution to foil the plot—a government controlled healthcare system that will result in less wealth for everyone. Hmmm. Maybe they should talk with Dr. Muennig or Professor Deaton.