Monday, July 27, 2009

Health Care And Charlatans

One charlatan, you already know, is Dr. Groothuis, the incorrigible and insufferable professor from Denver Seminary who does his best, day in day out, to earn a place on Dickipedia. More about him at the end of the post, below the fold.

Another charlatan is Larry Schweikart, of an organization called Family Security Matters, who wrote a laundry list titled Look Here to See What’s in the Health Care Bill: CHILLING!, so full of patently incorrectly assumptions and lies, masked as excerpts from HR 3200 (requires pdf reader), to make one's head spin. I got through debunking only a handful of items in Larry Schweikart's deceptive list before I decided that debunking the rest of them is not worth my time, or yours. I will give you a few examples below the fold, and, if you have the stomach for it you are a better person than me, you can go through the complete, long list yourselves. (If you do, please send me a link to your post and I will cross-post or link to it.)

Schweikart begins on page 22 of the bill, which--says he--"mandates the Government will audit books of all employers that self insure." As it happens, page 22 does not any such thing. It simply says that the Commissioner for Health Choices (a new position to be created under the bill) will be responsible to produce a "study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health care markets". A study is quite different than an audit, of course, except if you want to mislead your readers and scare them into opposing reform.

The next inaccurate statement (lie?) is about page 30, which--according to Schweikart--says: "a Government committee (good luck with that!) will decide what treatments/benefits a person may receive." Again, we have the benefit of having the real page 30, so we can take a look to see what it really says: "There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans." With typically dishonest sleight of hand, Schweikart transforms "a private-public advisory committee" into "a Government committee" to support his false allegation that reform equates the end of private medicine. (See the bottom of his article for more on that.)

(And by the way: I would like a conservative to explain why I should buy the rationale that a committee of private health insurance experts would do a better job for me, the patient, than a private-public advisory committee, given the health insurance sector's history of sky-rocketing premiums, denied coverage, and uninsured corpses abandoned on the playing field. Two strikes already, by page 30 of a document numbering 1007 pages total.)

Next, Schweikart goes back in time, to page 29, telling you to look at "lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE WILL BE RATIONED! (We all knew this, because health care is rationed in Canada and Britain, but Obama kept saying it would not be)." As it is, we all know this because Schweikart says so, not because of lines 4-16 on page 29, which say nothing of the kind. Rather, they explain--and quite unequivocally at that--that the financial responsibility of an individual for the "essential benefit package" cannot exceed $5,000 a year ($10,000 for a family). Three strikes, but I shall continue for the sake of debunking.

Schweikart continues in his quest to slaughter facts when he says that on page 42 of the bill "The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you. You will have no choice!" Page 42 outlines the Commissioner's duties and begins by stating that the Commissioner is responsible for "The establishment of qualified health benefits plan standards under this title, including the enforcement of such standards in coordination with State insurance regulators and the Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury." Nothing that follows comes remotely close to the accusation that Schweikart levels.

A couple more examples should suffice, before you abandon Schweikart's silly, shitty post, like I did.

"Pg 58 HC Bill – Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances
and a National ID Healthcard will be issued!"

The real quote? [The system shall]

(D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an
individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to
the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the
individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at
a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health
plan beneficiary identification card;

(E) enable, where feasible, near real-time adjudication of

That does not mean, as Schweikart would have you believe, that "the Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances"; it simply means that the system should be able to check benefit a patient's eligibility for benefits and financial responsibility on the fly, as it should, in a country that prides itself on being number one in every fucking thing, except that in the case of health care it does not have the slightest clue what it's talking about.

Finally, by which time I was ready to vomit, Schweikart says: "Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Government will have direct access to your bank accts for election [sic] funds transfer."

Never mind the "election funds transfer" typo. What the bill says is that the system should "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice." This is standard terminology of the banking industry, which simply means that the system should be able to handle EFTs (electronic fund transfers) to match payments with remittance advices. It just does not mean that the government can tap into your bank account and subtract funds from it, nor that Big Brother is in; no more, anyway, than when you go to Old Navy and your paper check instantly becomes an EFT transaction.

And Schweikart goes on, and on, and on, like the blathering, deceitful, uninformed, and misinforming idiot he is.

And now on to the other charlatan who is the subject of this post.

What do you do with Schweikart's post if you are Dr. Groothuis, of Denver Seminary? Do you a) take the time to read it critically, recognize its falsehoods, and see it for the venomous piece of ass-wipe it is (which a professor of philosophy should be able to do blindfolded, hands tied behind his back); or, b) post a link on your blog for the drooling anti-liberals like you, who are eager to spread lies and bullshit around if only they serve your partisan purposes?

Well, you guessed it, b) is the answer. Groothuis links to Schweikart's unspeakably base, ill-informed, and misleading post with the following fanfare: "Here are some of the deeply dangerous and liberty-destroying details of Obama's socialist, statist, authoritarian plan to take over American medicine." Funny how a professor of philosophy would take what is manifestly a mountain of bullshit as an example to be taught to others.

In closing, one clarification: I would have been more than happy to write a more civil rebuttal for Dr. Groothuis and his readers on his blog, but he has long ago chosen to censor and discard my civil rebuttals, so no obligation of reciprocal civility exists where none has been granted in the first place.


BRANDI said...

I had just finished my own rebuttal of this douche-bag when I stumbled upon your blog.

Schweikart's piece was talked about on Roger Hedgecock's radio show on KOGO (San Diego) and re-printed on his website. It was also printed in the Beverly Hills Courier.

I bet this gets picked up (and slaughtered) in the mainstream press soon. Nice work!

BRANDI said...

I had just finished my own rebuttal of this douche-bag when I stumbled upon your blog.

Schweikart's piece was talked about on Roger Hedgecock's radio show on KOGO (San Diego) and re-printed on his website. It was also printed in the Beverly Hills Courier.

I bet this gets picked up (and slaughtered) in the mainstream press soon. Nice work!

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