Printed letters, November 14, 2013

In his most recent screed on the Affordable Care Act, local physician Michael Pramenko regales us with his usual pandering to some amorphous ideal while ignoring undeniable deception inherent in the law.

His Pollyanna view belies the outrageous quackery that is Obamacare.

The Sentinel’s opinion pages have again given us balanced opposition, this time from columnist Kathleen Parker, to help counter the doctor’s errant opinion. Parker deftly describes false promises and deliberate omissions propagated by Obama’s administration, necessary to peddle this monstrous ruse to the American people.

The good doctor tells us, “Look beyond the deceit and disinformation.” Ironically, he is commenting on those who oppose Obamacare, not the characters responsible for writing this monstrosity or those so disastrously implementing it.

The doctor’s written opinion is replete with the same optimistic ballyhoo we’ve been hearing from Washington, D.C., for three years. Our health care under the ACA, by covering such things as contraception, abortion, mental health and sex-change operations, claims to be the cure-all for an American health care system seriously broken.

His claim may be true that there is no other plan to answer all that he personally deems necessary, but the American Health Care Reform Act is a proposal that could be amended in some ways to partially ameliorate the doctor’s concerns. The finest quality of this realistic alternative is a prerequisite that demands the repeal of Obamacare.

Some horrific single-payer system run by tens of thousands of faceless bureaucrats, unnecessarily collecting immeasurable volumes of personal data and policed by a byzantine tax agency run rogue is not a reasonable answer to the current system, for all its flaws.

There is a better way than Pramenko’s dreamy vision of a leviathan state consuming and controlling one-sixth of an economy already on the ropes.





If Obamacare won’t fix rising 
health care costs, what will?

In the continued turmoil over the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, some conservatives say that the ever-increasing revelations about unintended consequences and ill effects of the act show that its hidden intent was to force the United States into a socialistic system of health care, and that it must be canceled before it ruins our economy.

I have news for them: Even though it turns out that many of the bad consequences not only were foreseen, but were intended, such revelations are not going to result in cancellation of the act any time soon.

At one time, socialized medicine would have been OK with me, but now that the incompetence of our government to create and administer a suitable plan has been demonstrated, I’m not so sure.

Of this I am certain, something has to be done about the ever-rising cost of health care, and if Obamacare is not it, what is? It’s not reasonable that health care should account for one-sixth of the nation’s economy, especially when we pay more for health care than any other developed nation, and still rank low in terms of quality, effectiveness and availability.


Grand Junction


GOP has indeed put forth 
many health care reforms

In Dr. Michael Pramenko’s recent column on health care reform, he implied that Republicans do not care about others. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do care about those uninsured folks, whether or not they have life-threatening medical problems. But we also care about all of those people who currently have insurance.

This is the reason for the grievance we have with Obamacare or any form of government-run health care. It is not necessary to destroy reasonable health insurance markets for millions in order to assist those in need, no matter how great their number.

Free markets work far better, for all goods and services, than centralized planning. During World War II, the federal government made an exemption to wage control by allowing employers to purchase tax-free health insurance for their employees in lieu of raising wages. This was a mistake.

No longer did people buy health insurance to protect themselves against catastrophic illnesses, but they grew to expect their employer’s insurance company to pay for minor medical expenses. Gone were the days when covered employees had an incentive to discuss treatment plans and costs with medical providers. The result has been ever more paperwork, increasing costs and a barrier between doctor and patient. Obamacare makes matters much worse by forcing covered employees out of coverage and into insurance they neither want nor can afford.

The GOP has called for many reforms, including changing tax law, tort law and federal law to allow freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines. It has also sought ways of addressing pre-existing conditions. It is dishonest to say that these are not “real” reforms. The government does not have the confidence of the people to make Obamacare work.


Grand Junction


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We have been duped. Just look at our once GREAT America. About 700 elitists destroying it. This is the precursor to single payer-ie wealth redistribution (only middle and lower class being redistributed) welfare medical plan offered up by our all seeing all knowing government. This is the single most obvious need for term limits, elimination of lobbyists and on and on and on.

Bruce Taylor’s letter – “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms” – suggests that he has been profoundly confused by Republican propaganda.

Yes, the “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms”.  Collectively, they are now called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 (“ACA”).

As Dr. Pramenko previously chronicled, virtually every element of the ACA – including the “individual mandate”—originated with Republicans.  The Heritage Foundation, Club 20, and Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission all endorsed the ACA’s “market-driven” approach, which was successfully tested in Massachusetts under Republican Governor Romney.  Only after President Obama reluctantly embraced their ideas did Republicans cynically abandon them.

Moreover, the ACA did not “destroy reasonable health insurance markets for millions in order to assist those in need”.  Indeed, the ACA “grandfathered” all then-existing policies – attempting to fulfill the promise that “if you like your current policy, you can keep it”. 

However, there is now increasing evidence that many health insurers deliberately “baited and switched” insureds out of their “grandfathered” policies into non-compliant policies – knowing (but not informing purchasers) those policies would have to be cancelled by January 1, 2014

While anti-ObamaCare Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) conceded in September that the GOP has no credible alternative to the ACA (other than reversion to the previous dysfunctional “system” that the ACA was intended to reform), Taylor cites the elements of H.R. 3400 (now H.R. 3121), recently touted by Scott (“Tea Party”) Tipton.

That “Republican alternative” remains in committee, has not yet been “scored” by the CBO, could cost $100 billion more annually than the ACA, taxes all employer-paid premiums as income, undercuts state regulation of health insurers, permits discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions”, and relies on discredited “high risk pools”.

Therefore, “it is dishonest to say that these are . . . real reforms”.

With daily headlines (“Health care rollout numbers intensify concern, criticism”) fueling grounds for pessimism – and with vulnerable Democrats scrambling for political cover – Alan Metcalfe’s letter (“Pramenko has rosy view of leviathan health law”) is entirely understandable.

However, as John Trammel’s companion letter (“If Obamacrae won’t fix rising health care costs, what will?”) suggests, Metcalfe—and Bruce Taylor’s “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms”—repeat the same error that he accuses Dr. Pramenko of committing:  their “Pollyanna view belies the outrageous quackery that is” inherent in “Republican alternatives” to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

Metcalfe (like Congressman Scott “Tea Party” Tipton) touts the American Health Care Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 3121) as a proposal “that could be amended in some ways to partially ameliorate” Dr. Pramenko’s concerns.  Metcalfe’s question-begging reference to unspecified amendments typifies Republicans’ reliance on “monstrous ruses” to mislead the gullible into believing that they are offering a credible “alternative”.

The primary objective of H.R. 3121 is to repeal “ObamaCare” – which would neither “ameliorate the doctor’s concerns”, nor those of millions who already benefit from it.

Meanwhile, H.R. 3121 remains in committees—apparently still in search of Metcalfe’s nebulous “amendments”—because it would cover far fewer currently uninsureds than the ACA, would cost some $100 billion more annually than the ACA, benefits higher income taxpayers more than lower, relies on “high risk pools” akin to those that failed in several states, and undercuts the authority of state insurance regulators.

The American Health Care “Reform” Act would perpetuate discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions” by protecting only those with “continuous coverage” and relegating others to “high risk pools” with doubly unaffordable premiums – thereby defeating the purpose of a nationwide “risk pool” and competitive insurance markets (the approach that has proven successful in Massachusetts).

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