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Letters to the Editor

Getting real about Obamacare

D.W. Tiffee September 19th, 2012

Mike Brake (Commentary, “Point: Disaster is ahead for Obamacare, Aug. 8, Oklahoma Gazette) claims that the Congressional Budget Office “has now projected total Obamacare costs through 2022 at $1.76 trillion, about twice the initial 10-year estimate.”

The CBO actually reduced its estimated net cost to $1.1 trillion, “about $50 billion less than the agencies’ March 2011 estimate.” The initial estimate ($940 billion) covers 2010-2019, while the $1.76 trillion gross cost is for the 11-year period from 2012-2022, which includes three more years of full program costs (that start in 2014). For the overlapping period of 2012-2019, the CBO estimate is actually $5 billion lower; the CBO still asserts that Obamacare will reduce the deficit by $210 billion.

Brake claims that “all nations with federalized health care have extensive delays and waiting lists.” Like Medicare? A Commonwealth Fund survey ranked U.S. patients second (20.5 days) to federalized Germany in wait times to see a specialist (it’s four weeks in Canada, not the bogus 18.3 weeks that Mike claims) Only 47 percent of U.S. patients could get a same- or next-day appointment for a medical problem, second worst among the world’s eight wealthiest nations.

Brake’s statistics for five-year breast cancer survival rates are outdated; a 2012 Commonwealth Fund study puts the current rates at 89 percent in the U.S., 87 percent in Canada and Norway, and 81 percent in Britain (41 percent of U.S. patients are first diagnosed after age 64, so the survival rate is partly due to federalized Medicare).

For cervical cancer, the U.S. survival rate is 64 percent versus the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) median of 66 percent (Canada is at 69 percent).

Where we fail miserably compared to federalized systems is in preventive care, especially diseases related to modifiable risk factors such as diet, lifestyle, weight and blood pressure.

U.S. mortality rates for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and bacterial infection are the highest of 15 wealthy nations at 96 per 100,000 population (Britain is at 83; France is lowest at 55). We have the ninth highest mortality rate (of 192 nations) for lung cancer and Parkinson’s, third for Alzheimer’s, 12th for multiple sclerosis, 14th for hepatitis. 27th for leukemia and 58th for overall cancer.

One primary reason U.S. health costs per capita are $7,960 compared to the OECD median of $3,182 ($4,363 in Canada) is that private insurance costs substantially more than federalized Medicare.

The CBO’s analysis of Paul Ryan’s deranged Medicare scam concluded it would cost seniors $6,358.97 a year more than Medicare for the same benefits because Medicare (by 2022) will be 36 percent cheaper than private insurance.

Conservative dogma trumps common sense.

—D.W. Tiffee, Norman

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09.19.2012 at 08:27 Reply

The one thing most politically minded people hate about the goverment is that it is not intended to operate at a profit.  That's how it can beat private companies, but I would concede that private insurers are much more efficient and organized.  So there are pros and cons no matter which way you look at it.  If our government could prevent itself from squandering money the way a private company would, I think the savings could be even greater.

I like it when people do the research, but I also wish the Gazette would give letter authors the ability to provide their source information.  That could have lent more credibility to Brake's commentary, as well as this letter.  Though it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that Brake's comments were based upon political beliefs and less on care for his fellow American's.  

Of of the statistics you throw out there are actually pretty staggering when you consider the relative opulence of our nation.  I have to believe we can do better. 


09.19.2012 at 01:52 Reply


May 2012; Commonwealth Fund

Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality


 NEWS RELEASE; commonwealth fund

For Immediate Release

September 23, 2011


·         Fact-check: Obama’s Attack Ad on Romney-Ryan Medicare

Aug 15, 2012 · ... Congressional Budget Office’s long-term review of Paul Ryan ... Ryan will make medicare more ... ABC for finally running the CBO numbers on the deranged Ryan Medicare ...

· : Health Care Costs Didn’t Double

... new Congressional Budget Office ... Obamacare’s Gross Costs Double to $1.76 Trillion, CBO Projects.” ... have-doubled claim. But the law’s costs haven’t doubled, and CBO ...




2008 Self-Reported Wait Times for Specialist Physician Visits

Median wait times, both sexes (age-standardized), Canada,* 2003, 2005 and 2007

Number of weeks 4.0(2003)  4.0 (2005) 4.3 (2007)





09.19.2012 at 03:41

That's what I'm talking about.  Now I wonder is Mr. Brake will extend the same courtesy?

Also, isn't it annoying how this website doesn't strip formatting when you cut and paste into the comment field?  I know it's even more frustrating for the poster.  If the web master is listening, perhaps they could incorporate a "preview" option to help avoid such things.