The steal-and-spend Republicans are at it again

In another post hereabouts we were directed to this article:

This is yet another example of why we must not vote for steal-and-spend McCain in the coming general election.

“McCain’s plan, released last fall, would concentrate on reining in costs and expanding access and would include a tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families.”

Let me put this idiocy into perspective.

I am looking at my 2007 tax return. I’m retired, with a working spouse and two kids under 18. Our adjusted gross income was around $73,000. We paid around $4,500 in Federal taxes. If the steal-and-spend Republicans put this insanity into effect for next year I would pay zero Federal taxes. And I think you would find that many many many middle-class Americans would also pay zero in Federal taxes.

OK, answer me this: if no one pays taxes then who the hell is going to pay for our Government? If the steal-and-spend Republicans have their way on this, the only place to get the money to run the Government is by borrowing. As I’ve said before, we have stolen from our children and our grandchildren by saddling them with huge debts, but this would mean we’d have to start stealing from our great-grandchildren.

This way lies not only madness but the destruction of the Unite States of America.

People, we have to pay our own way in this world. That’s the bottom line!

Further along in the article we find this:

“‘We must move away from a system that is fragmented and pays for expensive procedures toward one where a family has a medical home, providers coordinate their efforts and take advantage of technology to do so cheaply, and where the focus is on affordable quality outcomes,’ McCain says in the excerpts.”

I’ve a friend who is a physician; he has taken a position with the Veterans Administration and is no longer in private practice. Why?

A couple of years ago a 90-year-old patient came in complaining of low-back pain. X-rays revealed no obvious problems, but five days later the patient died of a stomach abscess. The family filed a malpractice suit, claiming that the patient’s death occurred because Jeff did not order a CT scan of the uppper abdomen. Jeff pointed out that stomach abscess does not have as one of its symptoms low back pain, but Jeff’s malpractice insurance company settled the claim for $150,000. Cheaper than fighting it in court, they said.

Guess who is going to pay that $150,000.

So what do doctors do to protect themselves? They order all these tests that you do not need because they cannot afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in premiums. Not to mention the damage to their reputations when the word of the malpractice suit gets around the community.

I chuckled bitterly at the part of McCain’s statement where he said we would take advantage of technology to lower costs. NO! It’s the cost of the cutting-edge technology that is leading the increases in both medical costs. medical insurance premiums, and medical malpractice insurance premiums.

What we need to do in this arena is to find a new and better way to identify malpractice and deal with it. One way might be to refer malpractice claims to hired experts in medical jurisprudence, people with law AND medicine degrees who are trained to weed out the silly cases such as the one I spoke of above, and to look for those cases where the doctor has actually committed malpractice. Such cases would include failure to consider symptoms, as opposed to failure to read a patient’s mind, or cases where the doctor has operated drunk or been otherwise grossly negligent. The bottom line, though, is that doctors are just as human as the rest of us, and a mistake is not a free ticket to millions of dollars.