Category archives: Health Care

Demography Is Economic Destiny

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 28, 2011

The cost for businesses to buy health coverage for workers rose the most this year since 2005 and may reach $32,175 for a family in 2021, according to a survey of private and public employers. So reports Bloomberg News.

This is not news any family wants to read. The last thing our recession-bound country needs are rising health care costs, particularly when we know these costs will be augmented dramatically should the Obama health care plan go into effect.

Buried within the Bloomberg article is a story that is underreported but finally seeping-out into the mainstream press: Contributing to the rise in premiums are … fewer young and healthy people in the insurance pool. This assertion is being made by the respected insurance association president Karen Ignagni, but it is verified by cold data. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the following:

… by the end of the 2004 to 2014 period, most of the baby boomers will have turned fifty-five. Consequently, the age fifty-five and older segment of the labor force is expected to grow most rapidly, increasing by 11.3 million, or 49.1 percent. Because of the aging of the American population, this segment of the labor force will increase at almost five times the rate of the overall labor force (10 percent). The numbers of those twenty-five to fifty-four years of age in the labor force will grow by only 3.4 percent, a significantly lower growth than in the previous decade (8.8 percent). The growth rate of the youth labor force, workers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, will actually decrease between 2004 and 2014 by 0.5 percent.

What does this blizzard of mathematical factoids mean? Simply that we have a shrinking number of people entering the laborforce, one that cannot sustain our so-called entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and that is too small to infuse the insurance pool with enough youth and health to keep it fiscally viable.

My colleagues Pat Fagan, Henry Potrykus and I have explained this in detail in Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage. We argue that our current economic slowdown, coupled with the increased numbers of dependent citizens, makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained. It cannot be. This reality arises from two facts: 1) We have proportionately fewer children … (and) up to 20 percent of these children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family.

Whats the bottom line? Husbands and wives need to have more children and truly parent those children if our economy is going to thrive. However substantial our technology-driven productivity gains, they will not compensate for a steadily declining supply of capable, teachable young men and women.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of population growth, referred to as the average annual percent change, is projected to decrease during the next six decades by about 50 percent, from 1.10 between 1990 and 1995 to 0.54 between 2040 and 2050. The decrease in the rate of growth is predominantly due to the aging of the population and, consequently, a dramatic increase in the number of deaths. In other words, we will have a larger population, but the rate of growth will slow to the point that existing citizens will live longer, not because of the size of our families.

For more on the crisis of Americas population and how it is grounded in the erosion of the family unit, visit the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at http://www.marri.frc.org/. Families are more critical to our nations economy, more than education or technology. As families fail, so fails our country.

The President’s Unconstitutional Two-for-One

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 25, 2011

President Obama’s decision this week not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court demonstrates both contempt for the law itself and a disturbing arrogance concerning his own authority.

This action is not unique. As today’s Wall Street Journal notes, “The White House has apparently decided that it won’t enforce the unpopular parts of its health-care plan until after the 2012 election. The latest evidence is its decision not to slash Medicare Advantage, the program that Democrats hate because it lets seniors choose private insurance options.”

And this week’s decision regarding DOMA is not a new departure from allegiance to the law. As George Will wrote in 2009, “The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness.”

The President of the United States takes an oath when he assumes office, assuring us that he will “defend the Constitution of the United States.” That Constitution makes Congress the legislative body, not the Executive branch. Thus, when Congress passes legislation that is signed into law by the President, it becomes incumbent upon the President — as the chief constitutional law enforcement office in the nation — to defend it.

When this or any President refuses to defend any given law, he is placing himself above it. How, in principle, this distinguishes the United States from any tin-pot autocracy, where law is made by the fiat choices of an unaccountable dictator, escapes me. For that matter, why bother with having legislative (Congress) or judicial (the Supreme and other federal courts) branches if the President can simply choose to ignore defending laws he dislikes?

Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow Chris Gacek (JD, Virginia) notes that DOMA “affirms the power of each state to make its own decision as to whether it will accept or reject same-sex marriages created in other jurisdictions … The Defense of Marriage Act preserves the right of the states to govern themselves with respect to family law and domestic relations. DOMA impedes judicial activism regarding marriage and provides needed uniformity in federal law. It is an essential part of preserving traditional marriage in America.” In other words, as Quinn Hillyer writes in The American Spectator, “Without DOMA, state and local decision-making would be nil. In fact, the decisions of 49 states could be superseded by the decision of one state to allow such ‘marriages’.”

The rule of law is essential to the future of representative self-government in the United States. The future of marriage hinges, in large measure, on DOMA. President Obama has succeeded in undermining both this week.

Disabled Babies in the Womb Event Supporting Prenatal Disability Diagnosis - October 5th, 2010

by Family Research Council

October 4, 2010

On Tuesday, October 5, Christians here in D.C. and across the country will be focusing on the issue of helping support pregnant women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of a disability. As Christians we believe that every person is willed and loved by God, and has inherent gifts and dignity. However, with new technologies in prenatal testing, this dignity is being called into question. Upon receiving an unexpected prenatal diagnosis and in the absence of comprehensive information and resources that promote the option of carrying to term, up to 90 % of women decide to terminate their pregnancies. We uphold that all human beings have infinite value regardless of any medical conditions or disabilities, and seek to support families during this time.

From 1:00-2:30 p.m., the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) will host a national training for ministers, medical personnel and others in the Washington, D.C. area who are interested. This will be followed by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Affirming Life Symposium starting at 2:45 p.m., also for ministers, pastoral workers and medical staff. Register at www.ncpd.org. For more information, contact Peg Kolm, Department of Special Needs Ministries at 301-853-4560.

Federal Court Allows Challenge to Obamacare

by Jared Bridges

August 2, 2010

My (relatively) new FRC colleague Ken Klukowski has the lowdown over at Townhall.com:

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied the Obama administrations motion to dismiss Virginias lawsuit against Obamacare. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed one of the three major lawsuits against President Obamas healthcare law, focusing on the issue that the individual mandate, requiring every American to purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional.

For the reason my coauthor and I explained in the Wall Street Journal in January and last month, the Obamacare individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. In researching this issue for our book, The Blueprint: Obamas Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, Ken Blackwell and I found that commanding Americans to buy insurance is not authorized by even the most liberal precedents of the Supreme Court interpreting the Commerce Clause, the Taxing and Spending Clause, or the General Welfare Clause.

Read the whole thing…

Rationed Healthcare and Assisted Suicide

by Family Research Council

July 15, 2010

Last week we learned that President Obama made a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Berwick, a man who has been called a one-man death panel, repeatedly has stated his support for rationed healthcare.

What will this appointment mean to those of us who believe that every life has dignity, regardless of its stage or health status? One clear concern, in addition to rationed healthcare, is assisted suicide.

A recent letter to the editor written by an Oregon doctor drove home this critical connection between assisted suicide and rationed healthcare.

…remember the names Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Wagner was an Oregon resident who died in 2008. The Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) refused to pay for a cancer drug to possibly prolong her life and offered to pay for her suicide instead. This position saved the plan money. Stroup had a similar experience. The plan would not pay for a drug to prolong his life and ease his pain, but would pay for his suicide. He said: ‘This is my life they’re playing with.’ In both cases, the Oregon Health Plan’s position was only possible because assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. With assisted suicide now at issue in Idaho, will you and your families be the next Randy Stroups? Will you be the next Barbara Wagners?

The decision regarding the legality of assisted suicide in the U.S. currently resides with the states. A number of states have chosen to make it legal, among them Oregon, Washington and Montana. Idaho currently is considering similar legislation.

Advocacy groups have waged strong campaigns in areas that potentially could legalize assisted suicide. In Pennsylvania, a group recently has been posting controversial billboards advocating for the legalization of assisted suicide. Another such advocacy group is Compassion and Choices,” which has been lobbying in Idaho.

Every person, regardless of race, age, health, etc., has an inherent right to life. Sadly, it is becoming more and more obvious as we begin to see the new healthcare law rolled out that the Presidents health care regime is not about respecting a person’s dignity or inherent rights, especially that most basic right to life from conception to natural death.

Hospital Visit Horrors? Heres the Rest of the Story

by Peter Sprigg

April 21, 2010

On April 15, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services instructing her to prepare regulations that will protect the right of homosexual partners (and other non-family members) to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

In a series of interviews the next day, I emphasized that the Family Research Council does not have any objection to such visitation in principle, as long as it is premised on the patients personal choice rather than on a redefinition of family or marriage. However, I also pointed out that the main reason this is even a topic of discussion is because it is used as a political talking point by the advocates of same-sex marriage, who see it as a golden opportunity to tug at peoples heartstrings and generate emotional sympathy for their cause.

I further asserted my belief that the frequency with which homosexuals are barred from visiting their partners in the hospital is grossly exaggerated. As I pointed out in an online chat on the Washington Post website,

The idea that homosexuals are regularly denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital is one that has only one source—homosexual activists who want to change the definition of marriage. Where are the media surveys of hospital administrators to determine how many hospitals actually have such restrictive policies?

In the reporting on the Obama memorandum, however, many media outlets cited the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian who sued a Florida hospital claiming that she was denied the right to visit her partner Lisa Pond when Pond was dying from an aneurysm. Langbehns story is apparently a familiar one in the homosexual activist community, thanks in large part to a sympathetic New York Times article last year.

In fact, Langbehns story was instrumental in moving Obama to act. According to the Washington Post:

Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.

The New York Times story last year did report that the hospital disputes some of Langbehns charges, but media reports on the Obama memo last week, like that in the Post, did not even bother mentioning that. They were content to repeat the storyline of the homosexual activists verbatim, without even stopping to ask if there was another side.

There is, however, another side. On the website of the Miami Herald, I discovered that the hospital which Langbehn accused of mistreating her has sent its own letter to President Obama. Here is part of what the hospital said:

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jacksons Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehns lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehns allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area. With that said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest and most renowned in the nation.

The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care and the person who made all visitation access decisions that evening is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated differently because of her sexual orientation.

When homosexuals complain that they are denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, they may give some people the impression (I suspect deliberately) that in some hospitals they are never able to visit their partners, simply because they are not legally recognized as family members. I pointed out that for ordinary patients in ordinary hospital rooms (the vast majority of hospital patients), there are few if any restrictions on visitation. You dont go through security, no one checks your IDyou just walk up to the room and visit. Some hospitals have even done away with the tradition of visiting hours, and instead allow visitors to come in at any hour of the day or night.

I did acknowledge that there might be exceptions to these liberal visitation policies, such as when a patient is in intensive care. But there was one point so obvious that I did not bother making it (until now)and that is that in situations of emergency, trauma, or intensive care, hospitals may sometimes keep away all visitors from a patient for medical reasonsnot for reasons of discrimination. If the hospitals account is accurate, that is what happened to Janice Langbehn.

Is the thought of a person dying without their loved ones at their bedside an agonizing one? Of course. But it is an agony that is probably experienced by many people, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, every day, for one simple reasontheir beds are surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives.

Listen to Bridget

by Robert Morrison

March 30, 2010

She called in to Sean Hannitys radio show yesterday. Sean gave her extra time. Good thing.

The lady identified herself as Bridget, and what a story she told. She is a medical speech pathologist, one who works with stroke victims and those who, for one reason or another, have speech impairment. She is also a military wife, familiar with TriCare, the militarys health care system (which, of course, is government-run).

Most interestingly, she described her two years working in the British National Health System. There, the doctors and nurses education is completely underwritten by the taxpayers. With free medical education, young people with a desire to serve others pursue their studies just as any other college students elect their majors. For them, free education and job security afterwards are not a bad deal.

Bridget said that she did not think you could graft the British NHS onto American free enterprise. Thats because the young people who go into medicine here are taking out loans, seeking to become respected professionals. In a way, our doctors are mostly small business entrepreneurs. And they are innovators.

Thats why we have the best medical care in the world. Thats why New York City alone has more MRIs than all of Canada, whose government-run system is modeled on Britains.

Its also why Premiers of Canadian Provinces (equivalent to our state governors) like Robert Bourassa (Quebec) and, more recently, Newfoundlands Danny Williams choose American hospitals when they can.

The decision by Premier Williams to seek treatment in the U.S. prompted a controversy in Canada. I was warned by my staff that this could be an issue, Williams said. The Premier said that the heart surgery he needed was highly specialized and not available in Newfoundland.

The heart procedure he chose to get in Florida was less invasive and involved just two small incisions near the breast area. The traditional method of dealing with heart murmurs like that experienced by Mr. Williamsthe one Canadian docs assure us is available north of the 49th parallel, if not in Newfoundland—requires surgeons to crack open the sternum.

Cr-aa-a-ck! Cant you just hear the sound now? Who wouldnt prefer those two small incisions?

And what about recovery time? Danny Williams is, after all, a public servant. Does he want to face a prolonged recuperation that could put him out of action as the provinces chief executive? What might that do to his political recovery?

Bridgets call to Sean Hannity was one of the most intelligent and informed discussions of health care I have ever heard. What she wanted us to understand is that the long-term consequences of ObamaCare may not appear immediately. The short-term will be bad enough.

The longer term result will be that the U.S. will lose its competitive edge. We wont even develop those advanced medical techniques that have made us the medical Mecca of the world. And we wont even attract the same entrepreneurs and innovators into our health care system.

Im deeply concerned. I agree with Bridget. And I am worried, not just for my own family. Im worried about all those dear Canadians. Where will their ailing Premiers go for world class treatment under ObamaCare? As Danny Williams said, hes a strong supporter of Canadas nationalized health care: But this is my heart. Its my health and my choice.

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