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Why Vermont’s Single Party Payer Healthcare Plan Failed

 Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

Vermont’s single party payer healthcare plan was doomed to fail from the onset for several reasons.

Healthcare policy consultants do not understand the medical care system. The healthcare policy consultants for the Vermont healthcare system were the same consulting architects President Obama used for Obamacare.

The consultants were Harvard’s William Hsiao and MIT’s Jonathan Gruber.

William Hsiao has spent most of his academic career helping governments install healthcare systems. William Hsiao is the K.T. Li Research Professor of Economics in Department of Health Policy and Management and Department of Global Health and Population, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992.[1]

He is also the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a research associate.

Jonathan Gruber has been heavily involved in crafting public health policy.

He has been described as a key architect[2] of both the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform, sometimes referred to as “Romneycare”, and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as the “ACA” and “Obamacare”.

There is little evidence that the systems he and Dr. Hsaio have built are overwhelming successful, cost effective or preserve consumer freedom of choice.

In fact, a study by NPR and Harvard’s T.Chan School of Public Health concluded that Obamacare is a complete failure.

Dr. Hsaio is on the faculty the Harvard T.Chan School of Public Health.

NPR AND HARVARD T.H. Chan School of public Health SAY: OBAMACARE IS A COMPLETE FAILURE

In a New York Times interview in 2009 Dr. Hsiao discussed the system of healthcare Reform he installed in Taiwan.

The question was:

What’s the most important lesson that Americans can learn from the Taiwanese example?

Dr. Hsiao.

You can have universal coverage and good quality health care while still managing to control costs. But you have to have a single-payer system to do it.

The Taiwan government managed to insure 98 percent of the population with a premium cost of 4.6 percent of wages.

Q.

Has your system of healthcare in Tiawan translated into better life expectancy or lower complication rates from major diseases?

Dr. Hsiao.

“There is evidence of positive health results for select diseases, like cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.”

There is no medical or financial data available to prove outcomes have improved.

“Overall, it’s really difficult to say that national health insurance has improved the aggregate health status, because mortality and life expectancy are crude measurements, not precise enough to pick up the impact of more health care.”

“That said, life expectancy is improving, and mortality is dropping. And everyone now has access to good health care”.

This is not good science. It is not even good social science. This is a biased opinion.

Q.

What are the system’s weaknesses?

Dr. Hsaio

“In the legislative process, compromises had to be made. First, the president yielded on payment reform, so Taiwan kept its fee-for-service payment system. Unfortunately, that encourages doctors and hospitals to give more treatment in order to boost their income.

“Second, the Taiwanese system doesn’t have a systematic way to monitor and improve quality of care.”

“Third, in the legislative process, they rejected a provision to adjust the premium automatically when the national health system depletes its reserves.”

“In every country, health care costs are increasing faster than wages. When that happens, the premium has to go up. But that provision wasn’t incorporated into the law. As a result, the system is running a deficit.”

“National health insurance tries to cut the fees for hospital and physician services. But eventually these fee reductions will adversely affect the quality of health care.”

President Obama was so anxious to change the healthcare system in the United States to fit his socialist ideology that he picked two professors, Dr. Hsaio of Harvard and Jonathan Gruber of MIT to be the architects of Obamacare.

Jonathan Gruber has been introduced as the ‘architect’ of the Massachusetts law and/or Obamacare”.[52]

Neither professor had scientific evidence that a single party payer system would work efficiently.

Obamacare was not working efficiently yet the progressives in Vermont hired Dr. Hsaio and Dr. Guber to be the architects for Vermont’s single party payer system.

Jonathon Gruber has turned out to be a honest about the Obama administration’s lies.

Many of the videos show him talking about ways in which he felt the ACA was misleadingly crafted or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or “stupid”.

In October 2013, Gruber we said: “the bill was deliberately written “in a tortured way” to disguise the fact that it creates a system by which “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”.

Some of Americans are waking up to the fact that they cannot trust President Obama and his administration to be our surrogate. This is true not only in healthcare but in his decision making in every area of the economy and our live.

Gruber said this obfuscation was needed due to “the stupidity of the American voter” in ensuring the bill’s passage. Gruber said the bill’s inherent “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in selling it .[31]

 In 2010, Jonathan Gruber expressed doubts that the ACA would significantly reduce health care costs. He thought lowering costs played a major part in the way the bill was promoted by the Obama administration.[36]

President Obama said he never met Jonathan Gruber and did not think he came to the White House. President Obama forgot he hired him and paid him a $400,000 consultation fee.

In 2014, the Obama administration claimed that Gruber did not have a major role in creating the PPACA.[50]

President Obama acted irresponsibly to the public by hiring healthcare policy wonks to change America’s healthcare system without evidence for the success because their thoughts fit his ideology.

I don’t think President Obama understands he has changed the way hospitals and physicians have changed their approach to healthcare and medical care.

In my opinion, healthcare and medical care has changed for the worse.

Rich Lowry said that the videos were emblematic of “the progressive mind, which values complexity over simplicity, favors indirect taxes and impositions on the American public so their costs can be hidden, and has a dim view of the average American”.[41]

The American public eventually figures it out.

Commentator Charles Krauthammer called the first Gruber video “the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies.”[42]

 The Vermont governor hired Dr. Hsaio and Dr. Gruber to create a single party payer system in Vermont figuring,the system would be easier in one small state than in the nation.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug on his four-year quest to impose single-payer, government-run health care on the residents of his state.

“In my judgment,” said Shumlin at a press conference, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.”

Watch out Colorado!

Why doesn’t a single party payer system work?

All of the healthcare policy wonks, especial Dr. Hsaio and Dr. Gruber, leave out the most important ingredients in a successful healthcare system.

Consumers cannot be treated as a commodity. Consumers cannot be forced to take what is given to them. The healthcare system must have a viable physician patient relationship provision.

The physician patient relationship is a big part of the therapeutic index. If treatment is to be successful patients must participate in their care.

Consumers of the healthcare system must drive the healthcare system. It must not be government or the healthcare insurance industry.

Consumers must be a the center of the healthcare system.

A system needs to be developed that puts patients in charge, not the government. Consumers must be responsible for their healthcare and their healthcare dollars.

This will motivate doctors and hospitals to compete for patients’ business.

My Ideal Medical Savings Account will provide incentives for the consumers to have a consumer driven healthcare system. This system will in turn drive hospital systems and physicians to compete for their care.

The end result will be to decrease the cost of the healthcare system and improve medical care and consumer satisfaction with the healthcare system.

 

 The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

 All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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We Never Learn: Watch Out Colorado

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

 Winston Churchill

There are many smart people in America.

Americans form opinions from the information presented to them. When the information presented in incorrect or incomplete it is easy to form the wrong opinion.

The art of presenting misinformation and disinformation has been perfected.

The people of Colorado are now being bombarded with the need to pass Amendment 69 or ColoradoCare.

Most Coloradans have not paid sufficient attention to the amendment. Their opinions are being influenced by misinformation or inadequate information concerning the unintended consequence that are inevitable.

Many might look at ColoradoCare’s official website. http://www.coloradocare.org/know-the-facts/increases-savings/ and read the following.

  • With Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, every Colorado resident can contribute their best, knowing ColoradoCare has everyone covered with universal health care.”   Sounds wonderful.
  • “ Imagine life with ColoradoCare. If you’re a resident and you need any kind of health care (including mental health), you just go to see your provider, and ColoradoCare pays the bill.”Free is great.
  • “Without the layers of hassles, businesses, providers, and everyone in the state can go about their important work of contributing to their families and communities knowing ColoradoCare has everyone covered.”   The problem is nothing is free.                                                                                                        
  •  In a statement to the Colorado Independent October 2016, Bernie Sanders lent his support to the single-payer measure.
  • “Colorado could lead the nation in moving toward a system to ensure better healthcare for more people at less cost. In the richest nation on earth, we should make healthcare a right for all citizens.”

Hillary Clinton has not yet supported ColoradoCare. I believe she is afraid it will steal her thunder by having large increases in government healthcare expenditures she has planned. She plans to increase taxes and get healthcare governance firmly in the hands of the federal government.

The ColoradoCare website goes an to say,

“An economic analysis of health care spending in Colorado has calculated that comprehensive health coverage for every resident could be paid for with pre-tax payroll premiums of 3.33% for employees and 6.67% for employers.”

There has been no effort to prove these numbers are correct.

In fact, all of the Republican establishment politicians in Colorado are against ColoradoCare as well as many high ranking members of the Democratic establishment.

The Democratic establishment includes Governor John Hickenlooper and former governor Bill Ritter. They are opposed to Amendment 69’s passage because they understand the financial burden ColoradoCare would put on the state’s budget and growth.

The size of the current state budget is $25 billion dollars. The tax increase for ColoradoCare would be an additional $25 billion dollars. Everyone can assume the state would need more to implement the program.

ColoradoCare would be far and away the largest tax increase in state history, and would give Colorado the highest tax rate in the nation.”

“ This would be implemented as a payroll tax that would be split into 3.33% for employees, and 6.67% by employers.

An additional $18billion dollars would be asked of the federal government, as well as a waiver to let the state opt out of the Affordable Care Act in order to fund Colorado care.

If voters approve ColoradoCare, it would be written into the state constitution, making it very difficult to dismantle and impossible to amend.

The president of the Denver chamber of commerce is opposed to ColoradoCare because the chamber knows this will drive businesses out of the state and inhibit businesses from coming into the state. The Denver chamber of commerce has worked very hard and very successfully to bring business into the state.

Most of all these politicians know that Obamacare has failed. Oregon’s attempt at the state being the single party payer has failed.

Most recently, Vermont’s attempt at a single party payer system has failed.

Both Oregon’s and Vermont’s governance realized the great fiscal burden to the state budget as well as its businesses and residents.

These states quit before the taxpayers realized the extraordinary tax burden the single party payer system would have on their state.

However, most progressive thinking people cling to the ideology that a single party payer system is the way to universal coverage.

Why did Vermont fail to institute a single party payer system after the state legislature passed the bill?

I will describe the reasons for failure in my next blog.

Walker Stapleton, the Colorado state treasurer said, “a major part of his responsibilities is attention to the fiscal and economic condition of the state.”

He goes on to say,

“If passed by the voters, the provisions of Amendment 69 will have a great negative impact on the state’s fiscal and economic health, as well as impacting individual residents fiscally.”

“If passed, Amendment 69 — creating a governmental entity called ColoradoCare to administer the health care payment system — would amend the Colorado Constitution. It would not be a legislative issue to which the Colorado Legislature could make amendments as needed.”

Walker Stapleton said the state health exchange was supposed be self-sustaining. However, the state health exchange has blown through federal dollars provided.

The State has no way to fix the state exchange or has a way to pay back the federal loan. Walker Stapleton acknowledged the problems with Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, saying, “The exchange was intended to be self-sustaining, and it is anything but, and we have blown through federal dollars.”

United Health and others are leaving the exchange. The exchange has one-fifth of the enrollment anticipated because of cost, network size and service.

“The exchange is in a hole and we have not yet come up with a way to fix it,” he said.

He added that Amendment 69 would assume the state health exchange burden in addition to its debt.

This burden is not good for the single party payer financial burden.

ColoradoCare (Amendment 69) was proposed by a Boulder State Senator, a progressive M.D., with support of the other progressive M.D.s in the Boulder, Colorado community.

Most of the M.D. practices in the Boulder community are owned by Boulder Community Hospital.

I wonder if the M.Ds understand the unintended consequences to the state’s fiscal health, the unintended consequence to the business environment as a result of the increase in tax rate and the unintended consequence to residents experiencing increases in taxes.

I wonder if these physicians are aware of the unintended consequences to their ability to practice medicine.

I suspect the author of the amendment and her followers have not thought about the unintended consequences.

Consequences.

1. Amendment 69 authorizes state taxes be increased $25 billion annually in the first full fiscal year and by such amounts that are raised thereafter.

2. ColoradoCare would be exempt from Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

3. “A 10 percent payroll tax for every employer in Colorado,” Stapleton said.

The employer would pay 6.7 percent and the employee 3.3 percent. If a taxpayer were self-employed, he/she would pay both, for a total 10 percent.

4. Investment income is subject to this tax.                                                                                                                                                                         5. If the employer is outside the state, the tax does not apply for the employer’s 6.7 percent so the employee pays the full 10 percent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Walker Stapelton said, “It is possible retirement income would be taxed,”

Also of great concern to Stapleton are these additional provisions in Amendment 69:

Transferring administration of the Medicaid and children’s basic health programs and all other state and federal health care funds for Colorado to ColaradoCare;

• Transferring responsibility to ColoradoCare for medical care that would otherwise be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance;

• Requiring ColoradoCare to apply for a waiver from the Affordable Care Act to establish a Colorado health care system;

• And suspending the operation of the Colorado health benefit exchange and transferring its resources to Colorado Care.

I hope the people of Colorado understand what this dangerous amendment represents to the fiscal health of the state.

The population will only understand its negative connotations if it starts paying attention to the consequences.

If it only believes that free medical care is good they do not understand that nothing is free.

A system in which the state offers free medical care will fail at the expense of all the taxpayers.

It has already been proven in Oregon and Vermont.

There is a more effective and less expensive way!

If you are interested please read the following links.

My ideal medical savings account is democratic and provides universal coverage with the consumers being responsible for their choice of medical care while being in control of their healthcare dollars.

Consumers’ responsibility for their health is always left out of models of healthcare reform.

If the federal government or a state government wants a business model to be successful, it should adapt my future state business model.

It is a consumer driven model with consumer responsibility built in so that consumers control their healthcare dollars.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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More On The Public Option

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Hillary Clinton is a tax and spend Democrat. She will be an extension of the Obama administration.

Her list of promises and expenditures will continue in healthcare without success in providing better cost effective care to Americans.

Her plans for healthcare will result in increased government control of Americans’ lives and freedoms while escalating the federal deficit.

The expansion of President Obama’s failed programs will simply accelerate the path toward total collapse of our healthcare system.

Slide7

Dr. Robert Kocher was special assistant to President Obama for health care and economic policy from 2009 to 2010. He was instrumental in promoting the consolidation of healthcare systems. He also encourage these healthcare systems to buy physicians practices in order to consolidate networks.

The rational was the government would then deal with one provider (the hospital system). The communications within the network would improve the quality of care and decrease the cost of care.

Theoretically, this should be true. However, the differences between the culture of hospital administrator and physicians made Dr. Kocher’s goals impossible to achieve.

I believed then that the consolidation of doctors into larger physician groups was inevitable and desirable under the ACA.”

This last week he admitted that he was wrong and individual practicing physician groups are more efficient and less expensive than “hospital controlled networks of physicians.”

“I, along with Ezekiel Emanuel and Nancy-Ann DeParle, argued that “these reforms will unleash forces that favor integration across the continuum of care.”

“We thought only hospitals or health plans can afford to make the necessary investments” needed to provide the care we will need in a post-ACA world.”

“Now I think we were wrong to favor it.”

“What I know now, though, is that having every provider in health care “owned” by a single organization is more likely to be a barrier to better care.”

In 2010, I predicted hospital systems owning physicians would not work. Anyone with an understanding of hospital politics and hospital administrators thinking knew it could not work.

The only reason physicians let hospital systems buy their practices was because the physicians were disgusted with the intrusive government rules and regulations and they were afraid they would be left out of the growing future trend.

It was clear to me the trend was misguided political manipulation.

The best of the clinicians tried to make it work but failed. ACO’s controlled by hospital systems were destined to fail and not save money.

ACO’s that are owned by private group practices are barely saving money and profiting by that savings.

President Obama and his administration fell for the concept because they visualized it as a path to control physicians and the healthcare system.

The Obama administration and its experts never considered what the consumers might want or need.

The healthcare insurance industry is now suing the government because the government is reneging on its reinsurance commitment totaling billions of dollars.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton are calling for a public option. This is a diversionary tactic The public option is certain to fail.

The government will continue to remain totally dependent on the healthcare insurance companies for administrative services.

The reintroduction of the public option will accelerate the collapse of the healthcare system. It appears that Ms. Clinton has no idea of the unintended consequences.

The unspoken reality of the “public option” is to destroy private healthcare insurance. It is not a good idea. It will accelerate the  collapse of the healthcare system.

Slide7

I have written extensively about the consequences of the public option.

The government would squeeze private insurance out of the marketplace through regulatory control over access to care, premium control over consumers, and financial control over providers. The government would undercut the marketplace.

The government will remain dependent on the healthcare insurance industry to administer the services provided for all of the existing government healthcare services including Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

The healthcare insurance industry would be in better shape because all the insurance risk would be transferred to the government.

The government programs are unsustainable at the moment. This unsustainability will escalate.

“While private plans must negotiate market rates with doctors and hospitals, a Medicare-like “public option” would fix payment rates by fiat, well below the rates that would otherwise prevail in a real market.

President Obama said just the opposite in his Journal of the American Medical Association article.

Adding a public plan in such areas would strengthen the Marketplace approach, giving consumers more affordable options while also creating savings for the federal government.”

President Obama’s statement is a total lie. However, the mainstream media is repeating the lie as a fact.

I hope President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s public option is no more convincing today to the public than it was in 2009.

It should be less convincing in the face of all the Obamacare failures to date.

Taxpayers are realizing that the public option will put them at more real financial risk. Taxpayer financial risk was clearly stated in the first version of the public option with no congressional questions asked.

The public option does not create a competitive marketplace and level the playing field. The competition will disappear at the taxpayers’ expense.

“Using a market mechanism, like a “health insurance exchange,” then adding a “public option” to undercut private plans and destroy a competitive private market was a political strategy.”

“All the public relations rhetoric about expanded “consumer choice,” promoting “market competition,” and keeping private plans “honest” was, of course, classic boob bait.”

It is clear that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton think the American public is stupid.

President Obama has been playing the American public for 71/2 years. He was correct when he told Senator Kerry and Representative Barney Frank that we don’t need a public opinion.

Obamacare was enough to get central government control of the healthcare system.

Let us think about it a little.

The federal government mandated coverage. The problem is the mandates didn’t work.

Then, Obamacare defined what healthcare plans are permissible.

These Obamacare regulations escalated the premiums and the deductibles to unaffordable heights.

The federal government determined what health benefits consumers could receive.

It didn’t work. If a benefit was not included, consumers bought that benefit outside the system or did not buy healthcare insurance if the benefits where too many.

Physicians started to not participate in the Obamacare system. This non-participation has caused a shortage of providers.

Some medical procedures or treatments were not covered. The government decided what should be covered, what level of coverage should exist and what copayments and deductibles were to be allowed.

Consumers have been protesting. The government has not been listening.

Obamacare has all the tools and power of the law to control the healthcare system without a public option.

However, the Obama administration and another future Clinton administration feel they must destroy the healthcare insurance industry in order to give the public no choice and compel them to comply.

The public option will also fail. It will lead to restrictions on freedoms and liberty. When this is clear the public will get very angry.

The cost of healthcare will rise, not fall, because of greater inefficiency and bureaucratic control.

There will be reams of red tape and unenforceable provisions as a result of government control.

There will be special deals to certain providers in order to avoid uncontrollable protest.

Who will lose? The poor and the middle class!

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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President Obama Continues to Deceive i.e. The Public Option

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

President Obama continues to deceive the American people about Obamacare’s success as his term in office is winding down.

He is trying to use his charming personality to erase the fact tat Obamacare is failing.

The public must keep their eyes and ears open.

Obamacare is falling apart as the months continue. President Obama and the liberals are queuing up to pour more money into a failing healthcare reform model by reintroducing the need for a public option.

On June 30, 2016“CMS division of the HHS Dept. released the HHS Dept. released the actual Q1 effectuation report,

Each year the Obama administration has lied to Americans about enrollment in the health insurance exchange program.

As of June 30,2016, only 11.1 million people have signed up and continued to pay their premiums for Obamacare coverage in the 38 federal health exchanges as opposed to over 13 million that were published. State exchanges are closing monthly.

The latest prediction is that only 10.2 million will have insurance through Obamacare for the entire year. Eighty-seven percent of those insured through the federal health insurance exchanges have government subsidies in the government’s attempt to make health insurance purchased through the exchanges affordable.

If President Obama is correct about Obamacare providing insurance for 20 million people who did not have healthcare insurance previously then 9 million new people have signed up for Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid coverage is completely free to the recipients and is a single party payer system. The federal government presently pays for Medicaid coverage. The increased enrollment is also increasing the federal deficit.

Soon the federal government is going to dump some of the financial responsibility on participating states that are already running budget deficits.

It is only a matter of time before all the 23 state Co-Ops will go out of business and the federal health insurance exchange will take over.

Illinois is the 16th state to close its Co-Op doors. It followed one week after Oregon Health Co-Op closed its doors.

Land of Lincoln Health received $160.1 million in loans from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. More than 54,000 enrolled in coverage from the co-op through March 31.

 Where are these 54,000 people going to go for healthcare insurance?

 “It’s a bad day for the marketplace in Illinois and our consumers,” Jason Montrie, Land of Lincoln Health’s CEO said. “This is the end.”

Who is going to pay CMS back for these federal loans? The state of Illinois cannot afford to pay CMS back. The American taxpayers will re-pay the loan.

So far the total number of federal loans given to the failed nonprofit insurers is more that $1.5 billion for an experiment that was destined to fail from the start.

When are the liberals and progressives going to learn? You cannot keep spending other peoples’ money. You will eventually run out.

These last two weeks have been a big distraction because of party conventions.

Hillary Clinton announced her healthcare proposals. She has proposed an increase of $40 billion dollars in mandatory federal spending insulated from annual budget fights over the next 10 years to develop community health centers.

Hillary Clinton also wants to expand Medicare by letting people age 55 years old or older to opt into Medicare.

In addition she wants a public option.

“Bernie Sanders tweeted. “Together these steps will get us closer to the day when everyone in America has access to quality, affordable health care.”

Who is paying? The middle class taxpayer will pay the burden of the increase in taxes. It will not be paid by the 50% of the entitled citizens who do not pay taxes.

This is an attempt by Hillary Clinton to expand coverage for middle-aged adults. It also gives us a glimpse at how she wants to make Obamacare her own.

President Obama was not taking this lying down. He published an article in the Journal Of the American Medical Association, a “scientific journal.” This article is complete progressive propaganda. Why the AMA permitted this publication is beyond my understanding?

In his “special communication” President Obama once more presents another Trojan Horse (A destructive program that masquerades as a benign application.) to the physicians of America and the consumers of healthcare.

Some parts of the country have struggled with limited insurance market competition for many years, which is one reason that, in the original debate over health reform, Congress considered and I supported including a Medicare-like public plan.

Public programs like Medicare often deliver care more cost-effectively by curtailing administrative overhead and securing better prices from providers.59,60

The public plan did not make it into the final legislation. Now, based on experience with the ACA, I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited.

Adding a public plan in such areas would strengthen the Marketplace approach, giving consumers more affordable options while also creating savings for the federal government.61

In 2009 Barney Frank and John Kerry insisted that a public option was essential for Obamacare to evolve into a single party payer system.

President Obama told them they would get to a single party payer system without a public option.

He has now changed his mind.

https://youtu.be/f3BS4C9el98

 

I have written extensively about the defects in a public option. http://stanfeld.com/?s=public+option

The New York Times writers did not describe the meaning or consequences of the public option in articles about both Hillary Clinton’s and President Obama’s call for a public option.

The American people should be told the real reason for the public option.

The combination of a “public option” within a health insurance exchange system was originally developed by liberal health policy analysts as a dual action mechanism to secure a “single payer” system. It presents the facade of a free market system but the end game is a full-scale government monopoly.

“If a public option became part of government-run health, the Health and Human Services secretary would establish such a plan, set its benefits, and fix its payment rates.

While private plans must negotiate market rates with doctors and hospitals, a Medicare-like “public option” would fix payment rates by fiat, well below the rates that would otherwise prevail in a real market.”

The “public option” would be a better deal for consumers rather than private healthcare coverage. The government would artificially force premiums down with subsidies. It could indiscriminately lower non-negotiated reimbursement to physicians and hospitals and force insurance companies out of the healthcare market.

It would result in an increase in federal taxes.

Additionally, the result will be a defacto single party payer system with less choice and access to care.

President Obama continues to ignore the fact that the government is dependent on the healthcare insurance industry to perform the administrative services for this government program. He ignores the fact that he needs doctors and hospitals to treat and care for sick patients.

He is only interested in financing the healthcare system and controlling the consumer’s ability to choose.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

  • Stepehen

    Really very best to know about your blog really this site has been updating about life on the line, thank you for sharing with us. All knowing you are the professional whose job it is to advise keep it up.

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The Folly of Obamacare

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America Is Being Set Up By Progressives

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

During the past six months the Obama administration and its surrogates have being setting up Americans to believe that Obamacare is increasing in popularity in America. The surrogates being used are the New York Times, the Washington Post and progressive organizations such as the Kaiser Foundation and various think tanks that issue surveys geared to make that point.

Donald Trump is correct. The system is rigged.

The widely quoted Kaiser Health Tracking Poll published monthly spins its information in the direction the administration wants it to be. The conclusions of the February 2016 survey were;

  1. Americans (36 percent) say policymakers should build on the existing law to improve affordability and access to care than any other option presented.
  2. Sixteen percent say they would like to see the health care law repealed and not replaced.
  3. 13 percent say it should be repealed and replaced with a Republican-sponsored alternative.
  4. 24 percent say the U.S. should establish guaranteed universal coverage through a single government plan.

There are several things wrong with these findings.

  1. The Republicans did not have an understandable alternative at the time of the survey and they still do not have an understandable alternative.
  2. In February 2016 the Real Clear Poll survey of all state polls resulted in 51.9 % opposing Obamacare while 43% of all those surveyed approved of Obamacare.

Here is the rub in the February 2016 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Opinions of those surveyed were swayed after hearing counterarguments about Obamacare.

Before those surveyed heard the counterarguments the survey found that 50% were in favor of a single party payer system with the government running the system. 43 percent were opposed.

After the counterarguments were explained, the survey results were completely different. When it was understood that taxes would go up many changed their vote. Now, 43% of those surveyed plus an additional 20% opposed a single party payer system. Only 30% of those surveyed were in favor of a single party payer.

When the question was asked after the counterarguments were understood about how many would want the current healthcare law (Obamacare) eliminated or replaced, 14% switched their vote to favor eliminating Obamacare for a total vote of 14% plus 43% (57% total).

This is a very different view of the popularity of Obamacare.

These numbers appear in the weeds of the survey and were never advertised. One has to look carefully but they are there. The percentages opposed in these survey numbers are higher than the percentages in the Real Politics Poll.

Since the media is the message the conclusion of a casual reading would be that more than 50% want a single party payer system.

The disinformation creates a false impression of Obamacare’s popularity for the public. The hope is that the public would believe that more people like Obamacare and the prospect of a government controlled single party payer system.

In June 2016 the Kaiser Tracking Poll followed up with another survey that contained more disinformation.

The conclusions were:

  • Current attitudes about the ACA are divided, with 44 percent expressing an unfavorable opinion and 42 percent reporting a favorable opinion; 16 percent of Democrats report an unfavorable opinion, down from 25 percent in April.

It is not at all divided as reported by the Real Politics Polls or Kaiser’s previous corrected survey.

In May 2016 a Real Clear Politics survey of all state polls showed that 48.8% percent of all polled opposed Obamacare and wanted it repealed. Only 39.2% were in favor of Obamacare. The media had set the administration’s false message.

  • Increases in the amount people pay for their health insurance premiums tops health care costs concerns; premiums and deductibles are the biggest financial burdens.

This is true but the increases noticed it is because of the 10 hidden taxes for Obamacare and the healthcare insurance companies projected premium increases as of result of Obamacare.

  • A majority of Americans are following the news about rising health insurance premiums, but the public doesn’t differentiate reports about ACA marketplace premiums from private insurance premiums overall.

In the individual private insurance market premiums were always high and not tax deductible to the individual. Now that everyone is guaranteed healthcare insurance coverage in the individual private market the projected premiums have increased. This is the result of Obamacare regulations. I have described the exact details previously.

However, it is convincing enough to say Obamacare is falling short of providing universal care. The administration’s conclusion is that Obamacare must be expanded to a single party payer system with the government in control to achieve universal care at an affordable cost.

All I can say is everyone should remember the cost of VA Healthcare System is astronomical as well as universal. In this government controlled single party payer system our veterans are treated very poorly despite several scandals and the infusion of more government money.

Three weeks later, on July 10, along comes Hillary Clinton declaring that Obamacare must be expanded and more money must be spent. What will follow is higher taxes and more government bureaucracy.

Can anyone deny that something fishy is going on?

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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Deals With The Devil, How To Destroy The Healthcare System

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

President Obama’s goal is to destroy the healthcare system. His deals and regulations lead the healthcare system on the path of destruction.

The strategy is creating so much pain to all the stakeholders that the healthcare system will implode.

At that time public opinion will demand the government take over the healthcare system.

What makes the government a better manager than the free market? The key is to have a system that aligns all the stakeholders’ incentives.

The government is not doing a good job keeping Medicare and Medicaid solvent and providing access to care. It is providing horrible healthcare services to our veterans in the VA system.

The government has conditioned progressive Democrats to continuously declare; “ I don’t mind paying a little more to make the system better.”

The destruction of the healthcare system is a slow process. The Obama administration is proceeding step by step in a very organized fashion.

When it is replaced by a single party payer system controlled by non-elected bureaucrats, consumers will have no control over their free choices.

Hopefully, the U.S. and its citizens are too diverse and too accustomed to freedom of choice and freedom of expression to let this happen.

Hopefully, consumers realize that central government control and socialized medicine doesn’t work. The concept of central control and socialism has failed too many times to count.

Our founding fathers certainly understood this concept.

Hopefully, consumer will realize that Adam Smith was right. The free market is self-correcting. It is only self-correcting with everyone plays by the rules and the government enforces the rules.

A government run by the political establishment that is controlled by vested interests does not work. It will eventually generate mistrust among all parties.

The mistrust of government is building to a tipping point.

Two recent examples of approaching the tipping point are the new ACO rules and the deception involved in the Obamacare reinsurance scandal.

Most of the 242 ACOs out of 3000 potential ACOs have three-year contracts. Many ACOs are not about to reach their Shared Savings goals for the reason I have mentioned.

I don’t know if these ACOs realized in their quest to become more efficient they would eventually lose money. Next year’s sharing goal will be this year’s modified to be the new profit sharing benchmark.

It might be impossible to deliver care more efficiently by the new benchmark.

When the ACO automatically progress to track 2 and fall short of the most recent efficient cost sharing savings benchmark these ACOs will have to repay the government for the losses.

The second important point that is propelling the healthcare system to the tipping point is that the new ACO rules do not take into consideration the healthcare systems that signed up to become ACOs initially.

Any savings the new rules offer in order to attract more healthcare systems to sign up for the ACO program have not been offered to the original signees until 2019. The original 242 have to wait until 2019 to be eligible for the extra bonuses given to new signees.

This might get the original hospital systems to quit their ACO participation completely. If the old ACOs quit the program, it would create more dysfunction in the healthcare system.

It would be just the thing the Obama administration wants to happen. The more dysfunction, the closer America is to a single party payer system.

An equally frustrating example was the money promised to the healthcare insurance industry to guarantee it a profit if it participates in the federal and state health insurance exchange program.

I have described President Obama’s reinsurance program in detail previously.

I was opposed to the reinsurance program. The Obama administration is totally dependent on the healthcare insurance industry to perform healthcare administrative services.

I am not sure either house of congress was aware of or appreciated the implications of the reinsurance program until it because obvious three years after Obamacare was passed.

The healthcare insurance industry knowing full well that they couldn’t make legitimate profits selling coverage through Obamacare’s exchanges, relied on Democrat guarantees that their losses would be covered by the taxpayers.

But a funny thing happened on the way to easy profits. Congress refused to appropriate the funds.”

When congress realized what was going on it capped the funds appropriated to the reinsurance program. President Obama is still trying to find the fund to pay the healthcare insurance industry.

President Obama paid only 12.6% of the 2.87 billion dollars the industry claimed the government owed it.

Now the healthcare insurance companies that have not been paid are starting to sue the Obama administration.

The companies included are Health Republic Insurance Company. It has filed a class action lawsuit against the government for $5 billion, Highmark Health has sued for $223 million, Moda Healthfiled filed a $180 million suit. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina has sued for $129 million. Land of Lincoln Health has filed a $70 million suit.

It isn’t clear that these lawsuits aren’t going anywhere. “

“The defendant in the class action suit, for example, is “The United States of America” and the plaintiffs ask the court to strike down provisions of two congressional budget resolutions that require the risk corridor program to be budget neutral.”

Congress is the only branch of government that has the power of the purse. It is not the administration or the court.

As U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer put it in a ruling against the Obama administration in a similar case involving unauthorized HHS spending, “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation … See U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 9, cl. 7”

“(‘No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.…’).” And a budget resolution becomes law once it has been signed by the President. That’s why the 2015 spending bill is titled, “Public Law 113–235.” Yet the Health Republic class action suit holds that losses somehow render the law invalid:”

Qualified Health Plans have incurred even greater compensable losses in 2015 that CMS and HHS cannot pay as a result of the 2016 Spending Bill.

“Neither the Obama administration nor the congressional Democrats with whom they made their cynical deal can save them. In the end, the Devil will have his due.”

Another way to look at the entire debacle of Obamacare is this is exactly the way President Obama and his administration wanted it to turn out. It will lead the way to a single party payer system. The single party payer system will be another disaster.

Was Obamacare designed and implemented with such incredible ineptitude that Co-Ops like Health Republic and Lincoln Health were doomed from the onset?

Were Texas and the thirty other states that did not join smart enough to know the Co-Ops and state exchanges were destined to fail and go bankrupt?

Was it done purposefully by the Obama administration in order to create chaos in the healthcare system?

Why would anyone believe that a central government that runs and controls the healthcare system be any different than the VA system and the insolvent Medicare and Medicaid System?

Who is responsible for the debacle? The traditional mainstream media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post will blame it on a Republican congress that is refusing to change the law to pay President Obama’s illegal debts.

Who do you think will pay for the upcoming debacle?

You guessed it.

The taxpayers will pay for President Obama and his administration’s obvious fiscal irresponsibility.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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Final ACO Rules

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

In the hope of getting more hospital systems and practices to participate in Accountable Care Organizations CMS has again changed the rules.

Below is a summary of the new rules.

  1. Regional benchmarks will replace national benchmarks.Cost benchmarks will now be based on regional spending data, as opposed to national spending data, when an ACO signs up for a second or subsequent contract period. ACO efficiency will be measured against other regional providers instead of against past performance.
  2. Track 1 ACOs will have the option of renewing under a two-sided model.If the application for renewal is approved, the ACO can defer exposure to downside risk for one year before transitioning to Track 2 or Track 3.
  3. Timeframes have been established for appealing calculations for shared savings or losses.ACOs will have four years to file an appeal.
  4. The new methodology will be implemented in phases.It will begin with ACOs entering contract periods on or after January 1, 2017.”

 

The goal of CMS is to use the ACO model to move reimbursement from a fee for service model to a value-based model.

Health policy wonks got the idea that if you attach reimbursement to quality care you will get less expensive care.

The problem is it is not known how to measure the value of medical care in automated computerized terms. The government needs medical care to be measured in computerized terms so that value can be automatically determined and related to reimbursement. Reimbursement should be congruent to both medical and financial outcomes.

Many false assumptions are made in evaluating quality medical care. Many important elements of quality medical care are ignored.

Three of the most important elements of quality medical care are the patient-physician relationship, the patients owning the responsibility for their health, their adherence to the care recommended by their physician, and making sure they are responsible for their follow-up care.

The new rules also ignore a consideration of physicians’ medical judgment in evaluating quality medical care. Medical judgment is very important in the delivery quality medical care.

These three elements of quality medical care are difficult to measure on a computer in an ACO model. ACOs focus on best practices using evidence based medicine and documentation of appropriate testing and treatment. The goal is to reduce the cost of healthcare.

ACOs shift financial risk to physicians and hospitals. ACOs ignore the financial responsibility of patients and their performance in their self-care.

In the new rules the healthcare policy wonks got one thing right. They are trying to increase the financial incentives for physicians and hospitals to do a better job. However, the methods the measurements are wrong.

So far there are only 433 Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs. There are 3000 hospital systems that should be participating in Obamacare’s ACO program.

Only 14% of the hospital systems are participating after 3 years.

There are many large physician practices that should be participating in the ACO program. The number of physician groups that would qualify for an ACO program is unknown.

Only 22 of the 433 ACOs are in the track 2 group. Track 2 shares in both the profit and the loss of the group at the end of a year. There are 411 in the track 1 group. These 97% only share in the profit and not in the loss.

In the new rules the government is attempting to move from a fee for service system to a value-based care system with physicians and not the government or insurance companies being at risk.

What are the problems with the new rules?

The government is trying to increase the incentives for everyone to accept financial risk for increased quality care using inaccurate and unproven quality measurements.

The government is trying to soften the blow by giving ACOs an optional 4th year of staying on track 1 before being forced into tract 2. It doesn’t encourage the non participants to participate in the ACO program.

The changed rule does not encourage non-participating hospital systems and physician groups. The non-participants might not have the resources to participate.

The government believes benchmarking savings is the problem. In 2017 the government is changing to regional benchmarking in an attempt to encourage greater physician and hospital buy in and participation.

The elephant in the room is not the benchmarking rule,” said Clif Gaus, CEO of the National Association of ACOs, a trade group run by hospitals and physician groups.

 

“It is: What is CMS going to do to improve the business model for the one-sided ACOs and provide a lower-risk track for the two-sided programs?”

 

The determination of bonuses and penalties has been difficult for CMS. There is a deep mistrust of government and new rules in the medical community. The government is now saying trust me it will work out.

Many have raised concerns that the CMS still is not doing enough to increase provider trust and ease providers fear into riskier ACO models.

The government has basically gone all-in with the ACO as the vehicle to try and control fee-for-service, and they will continue to tinker with the regulations and the rules until they find something that works,” healthcare consultant Nathan Kaufman said.

 There was an inherent unfairness to the initial benchmarks the government set. It was based on the historical Medicare spending of a hospital system or practice.

Periodically the benchmarks were reset. Healthcare systems with higher costs and waste in the ACO system were more likely to share in the savings with the government than a more efficient system that had less potential for eliminating waste.

It also meant that at the next reset of the benchmark the newly improved healthcare system would have less chance of improving efficiency and therefore less chance of sharing savings with the government. In the track 2 of the ACO system, the hospital system would have more chance of having a penalty.

In other words the sharing system become a disincentive to improve because physician and hospital payment would decrease against a continuingly improving delivery of care.

The new rule sets regional benchmarks. In the long run it would have the same negative effect if everyone improved.

“ Some health systems have pulled out of the ACO programs in the past few years due to the lack of regional factors associated with bonuses.”

“The problem is so few ACOs have been able to generate the incentives to encourage physician participation,” Kaufman said.

Experts say the benchmarking changes will not fix an underlying problem. Most physicians and hospital systems are wary of the program’s more aggressive tracks. They are afraid of facing sizable penalties if they don’t contain costs as directed by the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

These providers are still are risk to keep patients healthy. It might be a risk that physicians understand are not under their control.

The risk of keeping patients healthy is under patients’ control! They must follow the advise of their physicians.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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