Thursday, August 27, 2009

Answering Sen. Chris Buttars Health Care Questions: 16-22

The final set of questions. For those not sure why were doing this, read this.

In questions 11-15 yesterday (also 1-5 here, 6-10 here), Buttars had some more reasonable inquiries. In these last 5 (plus two bonus questions), he's going straight back to the chain emails as source. Poor fella. The world must be a scary place for him.

Now without further delay, the answers:

Buttars: Does everyone have a right to government health care? Where and when was that right established?

Random philosophical question, but relevant, so okay. According to the Declaration of Independence everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Health care aides in all three of those much like food and drug safety, fire departments, transportation safety, police, and bank account guarantees. Should the federal government stop all of these protections to life because you can't find their direct designation as a right int he Constitution? We think that would be pretty stupid. We agreed on designating health care an "indirect right" which aides in protecting other rights. (Kind of hard to utilize that concealed weapons permit if you can't afford to get treatment for that pneumonia and die, eh?)

Buttars: Page 429, Lines 10-12, & Page 430, Lines 12-14: May seniors opt out of end-of-life consultations?

Nope. Mandatory based on age and last time you yelled at a kid to get off your lawn. The bodies of these "consulted" seniors will then be recycled into meal, which will be used in school cafeteria lunches and as mulch for the White House organic garden. All clothing and possessions of these "consulted" seniors will be sold, each Saturday, at the White House garage sale... No of course they can opt out, Doofus Senator. What part of "voluntary" had you thinking otherwise? We should also point out that using the very copy of the bill Buttars links to in his post @ The Senate Site, page 429, lines 10-12 reads "professional (as specified by the Secretary and who is acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law in signing such an order, in" 430, lines 12 - 14 "12 ‘‘(ii) the individual’s desire regarding transfer to a hospital or remaining at the current care setting;" Gotta be careful, Senator, when cutting and pasting your "thoughts" from the chain emails, that you check those page numbers. Luckily, we knew what you were getting at and found the relevant pages.

Buttars: Page 429, Lines 10-12: Empowers federal government to create physician payments for end-of-life plans under something called “advance care consultation.” Can decisions by the patient be overridden by the Secretary in an advance-care consultation plan?

Again with the cutting and pasting of "thoughts": 'advance care consultation' doesn't appear in the bill the Senator links to. Regardless, he is still to crafty, and we are found out. Sarah Palin's facebook page told you the truth, Senator. The Death Panels are real, and you with your razor sharp wit and observation skills you have discovered our evil plan (See detail of evil plan in answer to previous question). But seriously, no. We can't even find a part of the relevant section that could even be partial construed as such. In fact, the portion of the bill discussing "end of life" consultation deals with paying doctors for being more directly involved in the consultation should a patient request it. Voluntarily.

Buttars: Page 429, Lines 13-25: The health care bill is 1,018 pages. I would venture that the rules to implement these pages would, at least, double the size of the bill.

Page 429 only goes to line 23. Just saying. And sadly, no response from the White House yet to our request they get you a copy of all federal legislation being considered written in crayon, printed pop-up book style. We'll keep you posted. For a little perspective here, Senator, have you noticed in your "5 Readings" of the chain email bill, that it averages 150 words per page? And did you know, Senator, that Harry Potter book averages 255 words per page? Do the math (Hint: This bill is shorter than a Harry Potter book, but let the Senator work this one out for himself, it gives him something to do). Also, in 2007, President Bush's budget bill ran to 1,482 pages.

Buttars: One of the foundational reasons for the Affordable Health Choices Act is to reduce health care costs. Since the most conservative estimate to implement this program is $1 trillion (some say it will be multiples of that), how, then, can a dramatic rationing of health care services be avoided? How drastically will health care services be rationed?

Wow. We're swimming in straw at this point (which we like better than what Buttars had us swimming in for that last question, btw). Simply, Senator, if this were a single payer style solution being presented in this bill, then you would have a legitimate concern. But it's not, and there will be more money spent on health care outside of this bill, there will still be people in private insurance, and people will still be paying co-pays and deductibles. We would've thought that with the Utah Legislatures skill at back-filling the budget with "fees" that are most definitely not called "tax increases," you would understand the nature of generating revenue "on the side," if you will. Also your question neglects the fact that rationing of quality care does exist in our current system, where doctors are paid by quantity, not quality and your insurance company has every incentive to dump you or deny you coverage for a pre-existing condition or a specific operation they deem "unnecessary." This bill reverses that.

BONUS QUESTIONS: 21 and 22.

Buttars: Page 768, Lines 20-24, and Page 769, Lines 1-3: Is the language concerning increasing the birth intervals between pregnancies mandatory?

No. We gathered this from the following lines in the bill (emphasis ours) - "SEC. 1713. OPTIONAL COVERAGE OF NURSE HOME VISITATION SERVICES."; "such services are effective in one or more of the following"; "Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies." Key word there, Senator: Optional.

Buttars: Page 1018, Lines 6-19: In regards to “subtitle E, limitation on federal funds,” does this require compliance by the state to the entire bill or federal funds will be withheld?

States qualify for federal funds provided they follow the rules in division A, if you want to break the rules of division A, Senator, then you'll be denying Utah money. As a side note (we are surprised we even have to point this out) but this how all federal funding to states works. There are always strings attached. Dang those Feds! Right? We dare you, Senator. Just say it. C'mon... say it.

And that's it, folks. We'll be back tomorrow with a summary, and some final thoughts.

Please spread this around as much as possible. When you're combating willing misdirection from a state senator with a bigger megaphone (and in this case, two, both Buttars and Valentine) misleading voters on the pages of The Senate Site and meetings on the hill, getting the facts out is the most important thing we can all do. Take a minute to let them know how you feel about this on their respective posts.

Thanks to everyone who's contributed a little time and research this week in our efforts to better educate the latest chain email victim, Senator Chris Buttars.

Sources (outside of legal counsel):

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