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War on Obesity: Pre Diabetes Part 20

 Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

This is a continuation of my War on Obesity.

The New York Times has criticized Donald Trump’s healthcare plan without even knowing what is in it.

I hope all the features of a healthcare plan missing from President Obama’s healthcare plan are included in President Trump’s healthcare plan. I believe Dr. Tom Price knows most of what needs to be included. He also knows that Obamacare is a disaster. It must be repealed.

I have written a series of articles outlining what should be included President Trump’s replacement healthcare plan after he repeals Obamacare.

I believe the critical element necessary for Repairing the Healthcare System is the development of a healthcare system in which consumers are responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

This is the main reason Obamacare needs to be repealed. Obamacare makes consumers of healthcare dependent on the government and less responsible for their own healthcare.

Joan Colgin R.N. was Endocrine Associates of Dallas P.A.’s first fulltime Diabetes Educator. I nominated her for Diabetes Educator of the year some years back. She came out second to a woman who was trying to provide diabetes education to an indigent population. Endocrine Associates of Dallas P.A. was providing effective Diabetes Education on a one on one basis to consumers of all socioeconomic groups.

Joan provided Diabetes education to all people who were interested in learning to be responsible for the self-management of their Diabetes Mellitus. Patients live with their disease 24 hours a day and must learn how to manage it.

Endocrine Associates of Dallas P.A. was extremely successful in motivating people to be responsible for their own care.

Joan is presently the nurse member of the Texas Diabetes Council. Recently she asked me to publicize the CDC’s new position statement on Pre-Diabetes.

The National Institute of Diabetes (niddk.nih} published Overweight and Obesity statistics:

  “More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese.”

 “ More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese.”

 “ More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity.”

 “ Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese.”

 

My personal observation has been that 80% of patients in the Cardiac ICU have Type 2 Diabetes. Almost all have Type 2 Diabetes that was just discovered on this admission to the hospital.

We know the complications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus take at least 8 years after the onset of the disease to occur.

The Cardiac ICU patients either had Pre Diabetes (asymptomatic) or undiscovered Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (also asymptomatic) for at least 8 years prior to their heart attacks.

The CDC position paper can be extremely helpful in reducing the cost of medical care to our healthcare system if it is rolled out effectively.

Eighty percent of our healthcare dollars are spent on the complications of all chronic diseases. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is the most prevalent.

The summary of the position paper is as follows:

“What Prediabetes is Trying to Tell You”

Did you know that people can have prediabetes for years without any clear symptoms?

It often goes unnoticed until serious health problems show up, like type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

But if you find out you have prediabetes early, you could make lifestyle changes proven to help safeguard your health.

Knowing your risk is the first step. If you have any of these risk factors for prediabetes, don’t wait—talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Being African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Pacific Islander, or Asian American 
  • Want to find out your risk right now? Take the 1-minute quiz at organd be sure to share the results with your doctor.

 The summary is all you have to know.  DoIHavePrediabetes.org is an excellent questionnaire that takes two minutes to complete to determine if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

The CDC division of Diabetes Prevention includes a detailed position statement entitled:

The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes

The first sentence says it all!

It’s real. It’s common.

And most importantly, it’s reversible.

You can prevent or delay prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes.

 The reason for the statement is simple to understand. We are all born with an inherited genetic make-up. About 33% of us have the genetic make-up that predisposes us to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Obesity will bring out the tendency to develop Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by causing us to be resistant to our own insulin.

Our body in response to exposure to sugar secretes our insulin. If we are resistant to our own insulin our sugar level will increase to the point of officially having Type 2 Diabetic Mellitus.

America has an Obesity Epidemic.

“More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese.”

Americans are constantly exposed to too many calories. The only way to gain weight is to eat more than you burn. The only way to lose weight is to eat less and burn more.

One third of those 68.8 percent of obese people will get Type 2 Diabetes unless they lose weight to prevent its onset.

Unless those people lose weight they will be destined to suffer the morbidity and mortality resulting from Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

The only one in control of a person’s weight is that person. This is the reason that individuals must be responsible for their own care.

The government cannot provide weight loss. The government can provide education and incentives for individuals to be responsible for their own care.

Preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes will precipitously decrease the cost of medical care.

This is the reason a consumer driven healthcare system with consumers being responsible for their care is vital to a successful healthcare system.

I hope President Trump and all of congress is listening.

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

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2017 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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Dear President–elect Trump Part 4

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

In 2008 I thought President Obama was the real deal.

I thought he cared about Americans and cared about repairing the healthcare system. I wrote six letters to him giving him suggestions on how to repair the healthcare system.

Then, I realized he was not interested in the improved delivery of healthcare to all Americans. He was interested in the central government controlling the healthcare system in order to control the people and limit their freedoms.

Obamacare was the answer to his goal. Most physicians did not agree with his plan. Many felt powerless to object. Many felt they should go along to get along.

Many in the healthcare industry figured that greater government involvement in healthcare financing would lead to its economic benefit.

Everyone has been deceived. Everyone is starting to believe that government managed healthcare leading to a better healthcare for all and a better healthcare system is a myth.

In my letters I tried to explain this to President-elect Obama. My explanation fell on deaf ears.

Dear President Obama Part 1

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/11/dear-president-elect-obama.html

Dear President Obama Part 2

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/11/dear-president-elect-obama-part-2.html

Dear President Obama Part 3

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/11/dear-president-elect-obama-part-3.html

Dear President Obama Part 4

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/12/dear-president-elect-obama-part-4.html

Dear President Obama Part 5

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/12/dear-president–elect-barack-obama-part-5.html

Dear President Obama Part 6

http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_the_healthcare_/2008/12/dear-president-elect-obama-part-6-why-dont-you-listen-to-practicing-physicians.html

Over the last seven and a half years I have developed a simple but effective consumer driven healthcare system that should replace Obamacare after it is repealed.

Obamacare is missing the major ingredient necessary to create creating a successful healthcare system.

The healthcare system must be market driven, with consumers being responsible for their healthcare and healthcare dollars. The tool that will accomplish this is my Ideal Medical Saving Account. Please include reading the article  My Ideal Medical Savings Account Is Democratic! among all the articles in the group explaining My Ideal Medical Savings Accounts.

The Republicans in the House got many things right in its legislation to replace Obamacare. However they have left out the three most important elements necessary to Repair the Healthcare System.

The first is the revival of the physician/patients relationship.

Consumers must control their health and their healthcare dollars. America must have a consumer driven healthcare system.

Consumers can be taught to drive the healthcare system though public service education.

Consumers must be taught through public service education to change their eating and exercising habits. The emphasis must be on the health dangers of obesity and its development.

Secondly, consumers must be given financial incentives as outlined by my Ideal Medical Savings Accounts to control their own health and have access to available care available in necessary.

Third, there must be significant tort reform included in the replacement of Obamacare.

If the Republicans simply send you the bill they have passed in the house and you sign it you will have an impending disaster as large as Obamacare.

If you include my suggestions in your bill, you would excite consumers and physicians. All the people who have been hurt by the failures of Obamacare will cheer you.

The repeal of Obamacare is vital. It should only be replaced with a consumer driven healthcare system that I have outlined. It will be economically sustainable. It would win over all conservatives and independents. It would even make progressives rethink their ideology.

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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Dear President-elect Trump Part 3

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

The following is Part 3 of my review of your healthcare reform platform. You have a viable alternative to Obamacare. Your alternative needs some vital additions.

In my last blog I omitted the link proving that only 1 million people signed up for Obamacare health insurance exchanges.

I apologize for the oversight. Today enrollment is only 2.3 million. I also noticed that the enrollment date was extended to January 30 from December 31 without fanfare. The site I omitted that follows daily enrollment is acasignups.net.

Obamacare is still a long way from the 20 million claimed and the actual 10 million enrolled for 12 months.

The Obama “experts” still believe that Obamacare is viable. They refuse to believe it has been a healthcare disaster as well as a disaster for America’s economy.

Your next proposal is;

  1. Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) should be changed to Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) to provide better financial incentives for people who choose this form of insurance. The Medical Savings Accounts can easily be customized so that consumers can choose the level of insurance they desire.

The cost of first dollar reinsurance for coverage after the deductible is met plus the MSA contribution is much cheaper than the first dollar coverage Medicaid coverage. The insurance vendor will still make a sizable profit by providing first dollar coverage reinsurance.

The contribution to the MSA should be flexible to provide an adequate amount of money to be put into the savings accounts to provide financial incentivizes to consumers to maintain their health.

Obesity is a huge problem to health maintenance of health. Obesity can be effectively cured behavioral change of consumers.

The incidence of chronic diseases in obese people is five times that of normal weight people. Financial incentives must be provided. The is also the area that social engineering might be helpful.

Obese children are becoming diabetic and hypertensive at a young age. This must be prevented because of the potential explosive cost effect of complications of both diabetes and hypertension on individuals. The overall costs to patients, Medicaid and society will be devastating.

Medicaid must be converted to a system where the recipients are responsible for their health with financial incentives. Only then Medicaid patients will not be treated as a commodity. Service will improve. .

  1. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals.

Price transparency is an essential provision for individuals, businesses and groups in order to produce smart consumers of healthcare.

It is also necessary to require insurance companies to provide verifiable price transparency for their administrative costs and their direct patient care costs.

Consumers must be empowered to be responsible and shop for the best healthcare service value. They must look for the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical related procedure.

The only way to decrease the cost of healthcare services is to produce smart and motivated consumers of healthcare.

The Healthcare System must be converted to a Consumer Driven Healthcare System.

Social networking should be used as the backbone for the establishment of consumer empowerment.

The success of Angie’s list, Trip Advisor and Open Table are a result of social networking.

All medical care is local. Local communities have their individual social networks that empower people in their neighborhood to know which vendors provide the best value in their community.

Healthcare consumers can use this simple procedure to decrease the cost of healthcare and medical care.

This could also be a place where government can lead the way in establishing accurate educational resources.

  1. Block-grant Medicaid to the states.

These block grants can be used by the states to fund MSAs without a threat of increasing state budget deficits or giving up states’ rights to the federal government.

Block grants for social networking should be used to provide incentives to help individual Medicaid patients seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse of some of its local providers.

It would eliminate expensive big data collections that often times are inaccurate for policy making by central federal control.

  1. Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products.

Federal and state governments should help their citizens choose safe, reliable and cheaper products for the treatment of their diseases.

This would help with compliance and adherence to recommended treatment and also decrease the cost of care.

It would provide consumers with information to take responsibility for their own health and healthcare dollars.

  1. Encourage Congress to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America.

One example is allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas. It will stimulate competition for consumer dollars in the U.S. and lower the cost of brand and generic drugs sold here. Drug prices are artificially high in the U.S.

This is only one example of many ways to decrease the cost of drugs in this country.

You have made many proposals to make a lot of important changes to the healthcare system.

Some are good proposals. Some are not very well thought out by your advisors.

You left out Tort Reform, which is one of the most important proposals. Effective Tort Reform will result in a precipitous decrease in the cost of medical care.

It is absurd to let Obamacare “experts” like Ezekiel Emanuel and Jonathan Gruber heckle your “non viable” healthcare reform plan.

However, you are missing the other important elements in reforming the healthcare system. Those elements are the elements of the use of consumer power, consumer initiatives, and consumer incentives.

 By utilizing these elements you will begin to “Drain the Healthcare Swamp.”

Your healthcare changes must include a consumer driven system with an ideal medical saving account. Otherwise, the healthcare system will remain an unmanageable, expensive and abused mess.

You have admitted these proposals are simply a start. You can easily fall into the trap of listening to academicians who have never practiced medicine in a private setting. You need people who understand patients’ needs.

Obamacare has been a disaster that is unsustainable. It is increasing the cost of care week by week, while rationing care and decreasing access to care.

You must repeal and replace Obamacare. No one wants it. You have outlined a viable proposal even if the progressives don’t like it.

It is a good start.

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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Let’s Get Smart

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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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If Something Works, Destroy It!

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

If a program is working well the Obama administration starts regulating the program out of existence. In a very quiet and deceptive way the Obama administration is destroying Health Savings Accounts.

The fastest growing health insurance plan in the private healthcare market is Health Saving Accounts (HSAs). HSAs are also available in Health Insurance Exchanges.

Consumers love HSA’s because the money not spent for their yearly deductible expenses go into a personal trust fund, which goes to pay future medical expenses. Consumers, employers or government can fund the deductible. Healthcare coverage starts after the deductible is reached. The trust fund can grow tax-free until funds are withdrawn.

HSAs are not ideal but they do act to provide a mild financial incentive to consumers to be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars. Consumers decrease their overuse of the healthcare system.

Health Savings Accounts are not as powerful as my ideal Medical Savings Accounts. Medical Savings Accounts provide greater financial incentive for consumers to be responsible for their healthcare and healthcare dollars.

Consumers seem to lack the desire to prevent obesity, which is responsible for many chronic diseases and their complications. These diseases are responsible for 80% of the healthcare dollars spent.

With my ideal Medical Savings Account consumers or the consumer’s sponsors (government or employers) pay a high deductible. The sponsor then buys first dollar reinsurance for healthcare coverage. The unspent deductible goes into a Medical Saving Account tax-free retirement fund. It does not stay in the healthcare system.

The Medical Saving Account provides greater financial incentive for consumers to become more responsible for their health care and healthcare dollars.

Why and how does Obamacare want to regulate Health Savings Accounts out of existence?

In case you missed it, final regulations published on March 8 will make it impossible to offer HSA-qualified plans in the future.

 The health insurance industry has been opposed to HSAs and MSAs because the premiums the healthcare insurance industry receives is lower than regular healthcare insurance premiums.

Once the premiums are put into a trust it does not belong to the healthcare insurance industry to invest.

The healthcare industry has tried to influence HHS to dissuade consumers from buying HSAs through Health Insurance Exchanges since the exchanges began.

However HSS has done nothing (a) to help consumers identify HSA-qualified plans on the exchanges or (b) provide information to individuals that choose HSA-qualified plans about where to get more information about opening and contributing to an HSA.”

Last year’s proposed standardization of healthcare plan design rule gave no hint that the proposal would eliminate the possibility of HSAs surviving.

This year’s rule change made it clear that this was President Obama’s goal.

1)” Plans must apply specific deductibles and out-of-pocket limits that are outside the requirements for HSA-qualified plans.”

2) “Plans must cover services below the deductible that are not considered “preventive care.”

“ Regarding the deductibles and out-of-pocket limits, no Bronze, Silver, or Gold plans adhering to the standardized benefit designs will likely be HSA-qualified for 2017.”

The first step was for HHS to change the definition of a qualified plan. The next step was to force the plan design to be incompatible with HSAs.

HHS and CMS have given the healthcare insurance industry another gift. Maybe it is a payback for CMS short changing the insurance industry on its reinsurance payback promise.

In any event HSAs look doomed. The Obama administration has succeeded in destroying the development of a viable healthcare system that the free market, not the central government controls.

John Dunn M.D.,J.D. wrote a wonderful summary of Obamacare’s failed attempts to control the healthcare system to his chat group followers.

He has summarized all the policies that have failed in the Obama administration’s goal to destroy the private healthcare market and eliminate the free market system.

 “ Subject: HSAs being eliminated?

Yep, Obamacare strikes again to accomplish the real goal, elimination of private capitalist free market healthcare.

 Now let’s tally up the failures of Obamacare in its attempt to destroy the healthcare system—

  1. more expensive, less accessible,
  2. restrictions on hospitals and care givers,
  3. promotion of mid level practitioners, extraordinary inefficiencies created by computer mandates,
  4. penalties for hospitals and physicians that are created by apparatchiks,
  5. no decline in the uninsured,
  6. in fact there might be an increase in the uninsured because of the cost of premiums and deductible,
  7. more movement of people to Medicaid where coverage is free,
  8. bankruptcies of COOP insurance programs,
  9. exchanges failing with insurers leaving the market for taking big economic hits from adverse selection,
  10. and most of all—the death spiral of private market insurance—with the goal being to destroy the private market ????  
  11. Why of course, Medicaid for all. 

 The goal of government bureaucrats is control and power, achieved in this case by the growth of single payer government controlled medicine—Medicaid on steroids—

The result will be mediocrity as far as the eye can see, and destruction of innovative and creative health care,

but also the loss of the ethics and patient consideration that comes from physician guided health care,

 instead a trade for mandarins with frowns and red pencils,

 Checking the data banks that aren’t secure from hacking.

 It leaves one almost breathless, but it started a long time ago.

Good intentions and unanticipated results—Bastiat von Mises, Fredrick Hayek warned us about the fatal conceit and the problem of government actions to protect certain interests or promote a cause—ignorant of the realities of markets and the benefits of free markets. 

Socialism and statism will produce mediocre, expensive healthcare run by bureaucrats and apparatchiks who aren’t interested in good patient care,

They are only interested in control.

Looks like I am not the only one who has figured it out.

I do not understand why the political establishment cannot understand why Americans are getting ready to cast a protest vote against them.
 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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Social Engineering

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$3 Trillion And Rising

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

The Obama administration is spending money on Obamacare like a drunken sailor. It has no respite for the budget deficit. Paul Krugman even said deficit spending is not a problem.

The deficit could almost be justified if there was a possibility that Obamacare could work.

If Obamacare could provide universal healthcare at an affordable price, increase the efficiency and quality of care, and align all the stakeholders’ interests the increasing deficit caused could almost be justified.

Obamacare can’t work. Its business model is just accelerating the path to the total collapse of the healthcare system.

The dysfunction and inefficiencies didn’t happen overnight. It started when the government set up its bureaucracy for Medicare in 1965 and has gotten worse as progressives tried to adjust to the unintended consequences and rising costs.

Obamacare has accelerated the path toward total collapse of the healthcare system. It has caused more rules and regulations. The increase in bureaucracy leads to more inefficiency and increasing adjustments by providers to make the defective business model work for their vested interests rather than the patients’ vested interests..

Little tweaks to fix the healthcare system have lead to unintended consequences, greater dysfunction and higher costs.

In 2010 with the passage of Obamacare, bureaucracy increased. Businesses have invested great deals of money to adjust to new regulations imposed by Obamacare.

David Brooks said on the PBS News Hour on January 8, 2016 that Obamacare cannot be repealed because it was embedded in the business model of too many healthcare businesses.

I thought healthcare reform was dedicated to the proposition of providing universal healthcare and improved healthcare at an affordable price to patients.

In the last two years there has not been an increase in the number of new patients insured in the Federal Health Exchanges.

There has been an increase in the number of Medicaid patients insured. However, Medicaid provides such poor insurance reimbursement that few physicians participate.

The few physicians who do participate have to see many patients a day using many physician assistants. “These Medicaid Physicians” are frequently accused of running “Medicaid Mills.”

The physicians are accused of corruption and gaming the system. Then they come under federal investigation. Some of these physicians are corrupt but most aren’t.

David Brooks is drinking the Kool Add of the progressives and President Obama. He stated that Obamacare is now embedded in the fabric of our culture.

None of the stakeholders are having any fun. I believe everyone would jump at being given a viable alternative. The viable alterative is not a single party payer system.

Countries which have a single party payer system are working hard to avoid bankruptcy.

All one has to do is read Canada’s Fraser Institute Report.

Obamacare is an entitlement. It does not promote consumer responsibility for their care or healthcare dollars.

There is a better way. The Republican political establishment just refuses to listen. The Democratic establishment continues to make fun of the Republican establishment for not having an alternative.

Meanwhile all of the stakeholders, including the government, are experiencing increased pain.

Last month government officials announce that healthcare spending in the United States was 3 trillion dollars or an average of $9,500 a person.

A soon as the figure was announced the Obama administration’s spin machine got started with disinformation about the 3 trillion dollars.

The New York Times continues to report that Obamacare is working. The logic used is America has had a lower growth in healthcare spending in the last five years.

The New York Times completely ignores the fact that healthcare taxes have increased yearly over the last five years while Obamacare healthcare coverage has only been in effect for two years since 2014.

The spending curve for every aspect of healthcare experienced a sharp upturn in 2014.

The Obama administration is trying to blame the upturn on drug prices. Drug prices are partly to blame increase in cost. If one digs deeper it will be seen as a small part of the cost increase.

The increase cost is due to the accelerated dysfunction caused by Obamacare.

“Health spending in the United States last year topped $3 trillion — an average of $9,500 a person — as five years of exceptionally slow growth gave way to the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and private insurance coverage, and as prescription drug prices resumed their sharp climbs, the government said Wednesday.”

Only a few of the major provisions in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took effect in 2014.

What is going to happen when all of the major provisions of Obamacare take effect?

“Total spending on health care increased 5.3 percent last year(2014), the biggest jump since 2007, and accounted for 17.5 percent of the nation’s economic output, up from 17.3 percent in 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services said in its annual report on spending trends.”

 “By contrast, health spending grew 2.9 percent in 2013, the lowest rate of increase since the federal government began tracking it in 1960.”

2013 was three years into increased Obamacare healthcare taxes that affect all taxpayers including those that make less than $250,000,000 per year.

The people making less than $250,000/year were promised they would not spend one dime more for Obamacare.

I believe many American are aware of the mind games the Obama administration has played on them and are ready for an alternative that is a consumer centered and consumer driven system with them being in control of their health and healthcare dollars.

Republicans should at least offer the public a choice of My Ideal Medical Saving Account.

 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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ACOs Are Failing

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

A major component of Obamacare is the development of functioning Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The theoretically the ACO concept is good. The practical execution of ACOs is very difficult.

The way the bureaucrats in the government wrote the rules and regulations for executing ACOs make them almost impossible to execute.

The inevitable failure of ACOs was further guaranteed by the complicated reimbursement rules created by Medicare’s bureaucrats.

The goal was to create integrated health care systems that would efficiently deliver quality medical care at a lower cost.

ACOs are one part of this Administration’s vision for improving the coordination and integration of care received by Medicare beneficiaries.

ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that work together to give Medicare beneficiaries in Original Medicare (fee-for-service) high quality, coordinated care.

ACOs can share in any savings they generate for Medicare, if they meet specified quality targets.”

Defining quality care is a problem. Another problem is designing systems to execute quality care. To date no one has defined quality medical care correctly.

I said from the onset of the development of ACO’s that the project would fail. Many experts criticized me. They called me  a dinosaur. They said I did not understand systems of medical care.

These people did not know that I was the guy that wrote the AACE guidelines for A System of Intensive Self-Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

The way the Obama administration has designed ACOs, they are in reality HMOs on steroids.

They shift the responsibility of the cost of medical care to physicians and not the government.

In reality the cost of quality medical care should be the patient’s responsibility. Patients should be responsible for their care and their health care dollars.

I cannot understand why physicians do not protest.

I am a big believer in systems thinking. However, it has to be a system that is well thought out and well constructed. ACOs are neither.

It is clear to me that the bureaucrats do not know anything about medical practices or hospital politics.

The Obama administration originally picked 30 healthcare systems to be ACO Pioneers. They were called Pioneer Project Goups. Nineteen of the original Pioneer Groups remain.

The Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic were included in the original group of healthcare systems. These clinics were considered the most integrated health care clinics in the country.

The Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic turned down the Obama administration’s offer. They said they were happy with their system of care. The Mayo Clinic said they would not participate because they knew they would lose money participating in the ACO project.

I have written extensively on the reasons the ACOs would fail. I invite you to read or re-read these articles so as not to be puzzled by the upcoming outcomes of failures.

“Three out of four Medicare accountable care organizations did not slow health spending enough to earn bonuses last year.”

 In 2014 there were 353 accountable care organizations approved by Obamacare.  There are potentially 2700 hospital systems eligible to develop ACOs. The 353 accountable care organizations represent only 13% facilities available to participation rate.

The hospital systems not participating either fully understood why they could not form an effective or efficient ACO with the physicians on their staff or they did not have the money to execute the system and make a profit.

President Obama’s administration has bragged that the 353 participants represent a large number. The traditional mainstream media has parroted his assertion.

The mainstream media publishes this deception to the public as if It represents facts.  It is just one more deception by the Obama administration.

Private health insurance companys’ subsidiaries are in the process of setting up ACOs. They are trying to recruit physicians to shift the financial liability to physicians from insurance companies the same way unsuccessful HMO companies tried to shift financial liabilities onto physicians in the late eighties and early nineties.

The 353 participants include hospitals, physicians’ groups and healthcare insurance company ACOS. These groups have agreed to meet Obama administration targets for quality care and decreased costs.
In 2014 only 97 ACOs earned bonuses. The money these 97 ACOs saved was a total of $833 million. The 97 hospitals shared  $422 million dollars of that total.

Let us assume it was equally distributed among the 97 systems. Let us assume each of the 97 hospital systems has 1500 beds or 97 times 1500 for a total of 145,000 beds. Four hundred twenty two million dollars divided by 145,000 beds equals $2,910 dollars a year per bed or $7.91 dollars per bed per day.

A $7.91bonus per bed per day is an awful return on investment for the work and money necessary to develop an ACO.

What is more bizarre is there are only a few quality targets measured. Some of those measurements are not an accurate measurement of quality medical care.

It also means that the remaining 258 ACOs of the 353 ACOs either lost money because they did not reach targets or they came out even.

In 2013 hospital systems that lost money on certain targets had to pay the government back. The rule was dropped by the Obama administration after the bureaucracy figured out that this was not the way to promote the development of additional ACO’s.

I think I did the math correctly.

“Bonuses are awarded under formulas that account for hospital system performance on quality targets after the first year in the program.”

The results suggest that ACOs might not be the answers to bending the cost curve just as fudging the books is not an answer to delivering the quality healthcare improvement the Obama administration is seeking to have us believe.

The delivery of high quality coordinated care is very difficult to achieve in a government-regulated system of ACOs.

I believe the Obama administration’s plan for Obamacare has failed and has been very costly.

The government should develop a consumer driven healthcare system using my Ideal Medical Savings Account.

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

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Consumers must drive the healthcare system. Consumers have to be provided with the financial incentives to drive the system.

 

If America continues to go in the direction Obamacare is going, the cost will bankrupt the country.

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