To read the Czar’s review of HR 3200, pages 301-400, please click here.
Welcome to the World of the Bizarre! We are now ending the first half of HR 3200, and if the previous sections made you angry or confused, this portion will merely make you confused and angry. You could summarize these hundred pages as “That’s definitely something I would spend my hard-earned money on.”
For example, §1221(a)(1) says your tax dollars will go to find out how many healthcare facilities across the country make non-English services available. The next paragraph, (2), already concludes that enough of them do to warrant paying interpreters to be available on-site. Oh, and just to throw this in, paragraph (5) says that the Clinton-Gore Paperwork Reduction Act shall not apply to this subsection. Hah! Remember when the two of them stood next to a pallet of paper, saying this is how much paper goes into selling one item to the government? Looks like we need another pallet. Why? Who knows! Free healthcare!
Read this next paragraph slowly to savor every word. §1222 calls for a demonstration program to award 24 three-year grants to various service providers so they can promote their services to people who do not speak English. That seems a little weird. “Makuti, I have driven a nail through my forehead. I was going to let it stay there, but thanks to that newspaper ad in our language, I might now consider seeing a doctor to see what they do.”
These studies (which includes scanning the 2010 Census to determine in which areas people speak English less than “very well” in order to staff bilingual personnel…why not let the eligible facilities tell you what languages they see most often?) will only cost you $16 million. A year.
§1221 (1): My God. They actually have to define “bilingual” for us?
The Czar would like to see a §1223(c) created, written by the Volgi that lists what alphabets and Latin diacriticals will be supported in documents. He would enjoy that.
Now that we are done acknowledging that non-English speakers will likely not speak English in a medical situation, we move into extensions of existing programs. Once again, this is a slew of cross-references to the Social Security Act with extensive word revisions and changes.
And according to this, various website and print publications will need to be updated to include all this new information. Certainly no one would ever have thought of that.
§1236(c) describes follow-up counseling visits. An eligible provider shall routinely schedule Medicare beneficiaries for a counseling visit to answer any questions the beneficiary may have about his or her condition. This section describes who will pay, and that services shall be color-coded (whatever that means), but does not describe who these visitors will be. Medicare staff? Doctors? Nurse Practitioners? This may be some obscure Medicare provision that has been copied and pasted in, but this is beyond vague. This kind of stuff is everywhere in this bill.
§1301 sets up a pilot program to take some physicians, run them through the process, and see whether the system will work and whether the physicians make any money off it. This is an interesting idea, and perhaps the entire concept of public healthcare could have been reduced to this. More people might support a very limited pilot program rather than a wholesale hit.
Another idea that does not sound too bad on paper is paying physicians and nurse practitioners a little more money if they agree to work in an under-served area. Actually, that’s a great idea if your intention is to provide better access to healthcare for all Americans: it compensates doctors, for example, to leave the fancy suburban hospital and maybe hit the rural facilities more often. But the fact is the government is deciding what’s an under-served area, so once again this invites abused but produces no means of preventing such abused from happening.
§1308 now creates full coverage of marriage and family therapist services. The Czar understands the need to have some mental health services covered by health insurance, but this is a bit of a stretch. The taxpayers should foot the bill because Mrs. ‘Puter got the shotgun out when ‘Puter took a brown liquor falldown in the foyer again? The section goes on to add this coverage into skilled nursing facilities, rural health clinics, and on and on, without explanation of how this relates to healthcare. The Czar expects email from people providing links to reduced health issues, et cetera, by using therapists, but that isn’t the point. The point is why this is in the bill without any substantiation.
At this point, we are clearly seeing patterns. Various, established programs are being ripped apart to include more services, but lack explanations as to how these services will reduce costs or reduce the number of Americans without healthcare. This just reeks of window dressing, with details grabbed from wherever they could find them.
Say, here’s a thought. Someone keeps saying there are 47 million Americans without healthcare coverage. How about this: find out who they are. The census folks should be getting this data in another few months anyway when they gather no-speak-English-very-well data.
Then simply do what the Mandarin suggests: buy them their own policy. The Mandarin computes that you can handle this for less than $25 billion a year! Do this each year. And be done with this. Everybody wins, even the President. If he’s honest about his motives.
To read the Czars review of pages 501-600, please click here.