Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Once again, Reps. Jaques and Kowalko mislead the public about single-payer healthcare in Delaware

You'd think that somebody, somewhere, would actually call the Bobbsey Twins on this.  Every time that they sit down to talk about their flawed, recycled, Floyd-McDowell-authored single-payer bill (last years' HB 392) they use the same demonstrably inaccurate talking points as always.

Today's editorial in the WNJ is no exception.

Here are the tendentious statements from the article, and the simple truth about them:

It is not socialized medicine. It is guaranteed access to health care. You get a health care card and you can go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S.
Truth:  In point of fact, the Jaques/Kowalko bill does NOT guarantee access to health care outside the State of Delaware.  The state board that they create will set allowable prices for all health care services, even those you receive out of state.  Written into their bill, however, is the proviso that the out-of-state service provider MUST accept Delaware's fee as 100% payment (you are not allowed to make supplementary payments).

This is not only de facto rationing, it is forced selection of doctors.  There are a number of medical services/procedures that you CANNOT have done in Delaware (organ transplants are a good example), and for which a politically appointed board will set the prices.  Nothing compels doctors or hospitals in other parts of the US to accept these state-mandated prices, and if you want to use Delaware single-payer for any of these, you are completely limited to choosing those who do, regardless of their expertise or qualifications.

Moreover, despite the claim that Delaware single-payer "is not socialized medicine" the bill introduced by Jaques and Kowalko OUTLAWS even supplemental health insurance, something that virtually none of our European neighbors with single-payer plans do.

I guess they tell the truth, however, in the sense that  you can "go" to any doctor or hospital in the nation--you just may not be able to afford their services.

In fact, currently, private health insurance companies ration care is based on cost and if you don’t have health insurance, you don’t get care. 

Currently, even without health insurance you are guaranteed to receive treatment at any emergency room.  I don't like that system any more than they do, but you can't ignore the fact that their statement is simply, factually wrong.

Drugs will be cheaper under single payer because of the advantage of bulk purchasing. The system will provide a buying power advantage similar to the health care provided veterans which includes a 40 percent discount on pharmaceuticals. 
Truth:  Only as long as you stick to the formulary created by the politically appointed state board.  If the state board decides that some new cancer drug is too expensive, they simply omit it from the formulary and you cannot get it unless you pay full price on your own.  And since they would make supplementary insurance illegal . . . .

Single payer will mean a vast improvement in access to health care for a majority of Delawareans. All medically necessary care would be funded including all doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, mental health services, nursing home care, rehab, home care, eye care and dental with no more bills, deductibles or co-pays.
Truth:  This is an open admission that single-payer health care would reduce the standard of care available to some Delawareans.  "All medically necessary care" is a euphemism for "all types of care approved by our politically appointed state board."  There is no oversight to this state board; it has far more power than Medicare, because it can virtually eliminate coverage of ALL "elective" care just through the act of defining what is "medically necessary."

Under our proposed single-payer funding mechanism, we believe a majority of individuals and companies will save money. We have checked the numbers that are contained in our previous HB 392 and had those figures verified by the Secretary of Finance office. 
Truth:  Their funding mechanism is crap.  Despite repeated requests for them to show the numbers provided in the supposed Secretary of Finance report, Reps. Jaques and Kowalko have refused to do so.  Moreover, in response to my FOIA request earlier this year the Secretary of Finance office never located such a study.  The reality is that their funding mechanism raises taxes on almost everybody in the state and is incapable of funding their single-payer system.  State income taxes alone will go up 4.5-7%.  But once it is passed, they know that the state will have no option but to find tax dollars from your wallet to support this ridiculous white elephant.

This bill is so bad that the endorsed Democratic candidate for Insurance Commissioner, Mitch Crane, not only dropped his support for it, but scrubbed his website of any evidence that he had ever supported it.  Incumbent Karin Weldin Stewart campaigned on it in 2008 (primarily to win Kowalko's support) and then dropped it like a hot potato when she came into office.

Want substantiation of all these criticisms?

Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


delacrat said...

"Currently, even without health insurance you are guaranteed to receive treatment at any emergency room."

No, you are NOT guaranteed to receive treatment at any emergency room.

Emergency rooms will only provide emergency treatment. They will not provide well visits, mental health counseling or prenatal care, for example; all of which would help keep you out of the(more costly) ER.

Steven H. Newton said...

Thank you for proving my point. Emergency treatment is treatment (and they provide "urgent" types of treatment as well). I did not say they provided all treatment, but Reps. Kowalko and Jaques said you could not get ANY treatment without health insurance. Untrue. Again, thanks for verifying that.

Delaware Watch said...

Wow, Steve, you distorted the clear intent of what these men said in ways that are so obvious that I am surprised you were not embarrassed to print it. In spite of your obsessive focus on the word "all," you know perfectly well that they didn’t mean emergency room visits. The preponderance of ALL healthcare occurs outside of the emergency room. That is what they were talking about.

Also, you actually shocked that the single payer system will set the prices they will pay for out of state providers. Oh, my. But you know that health insurance companies do the same thing. But that's OK, isn't it Steve? It vaguely has something to do with liberty.

Steven H. Newton said...


Unlike you, with respect to the ER visits I assume that our Reps are qualified to say what they mean. I quoted what they said.

Yep, insurance companies do quote the max they will pay but you egregiously ignore the big difference. I can choose to pay the extra above what the insurance company pays and get the procedure anyway. This single-payer plan makes that illegal. You're damn right it has something to do with liberty.

Kowalko and Jaques would make even supplementary insurance or supplementary payments illegal.

That's simply reprehensible and I am surprised to find you stooging for it.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what you would expect when you focus on insurance instead if care. Crazy John is math challenged, but he is not alone.

Delaware Watch said...

Actually, Steve, you quoted what the News Journal printed of what they said. I have had the NJ significantly edit my op eds and letters to the editor. But you never bothered to find out what happened here or what these men meant. You were just too anxious to smear them as liars because they are committing the unpardonable sin of advocating single payer universal health care.

Also, I have had an insurance company refuse to pay a dime for medical care I received out of state. So you are wrong. Your liberty for insurance companies is debt slavery for real human beings.

Steven H. Newton said...


I have also been edited by the WNJ, but that is an incredibly weak defense. You know what's going to happen when you submit a piece to the WNJ, and I have yet to see anything that says they were misquoted. This is called grasping at straws.

Of course insurance companies do unethical things; I have never denied it. My point--and you make it for me--is that what they propose will do either the same thing or worse. Thanks for making that point.

If I am engaged in smearing by quoting their written record, then you are suggesting that everything written in the News Journal by people you agree with is somehow off limits to criticism because it might not be what they said. Utterly ridiculous.

I note that you have never touched the fact that I sent a FOIA for the supposed Secretary of Finance report months ago, and the Finance office has so far failed to produce any such document. Nor have either Reps. Jaques or Kowalko produced it, even though they have been asked many times. So what's up with their unwillingness to show the numbers of their funding scheme?

I will agree with you that there possibly IS a case to be made for trying single-payer in Delaware. I don't think I'd like it, but there is a case to be made. Unfortunately, this rehashed, recycled bill speaks to nothing more than the absolute laziness of two legislators who did not take the time to develop their own legislation. Hell, Dana, they didn't even proofread it.

And it is so sloppily written that it can actually be used to infringe on abortion rights, something that I don't think either of these men stands for, but that they left in the bill.

How you can stooge for this is beyond me.