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Democrats Still Think Americans Are Stupid

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

The House Republicans finally got their act together and passed their version of the Obamacare repeal and replace act. It seems that many representatives do not trust Paul Ryan, Tom Price and President Donald Trump.

The Republican house version of the bill does not repeal and replace Obamacare completely.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) permitted Kathleen Sibelius, the Secretary of HHS, to issue regulations to administer the act at her discretion. Many of her regulations were destructive to the healthcare system.

Tom Price, the new Secretary of HSS can eliminate many of these destructive regulations. The goal of the Obama administration’s regulations was to cause the healthcare system to fail and be replaced not by free market principals but by a single party payer system.

Her regulations were designed to eliminate any modicum of free choice for patients and physicians.

Tom Price’s actions and regulation eliminations should complete the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

President Obama ignored the fact that a single party payer system would be destined to bankrupt the country. His plan was to get the health care insurance industry out of the healthcare picture.

The defect in his logic was that the government would have to continue to outsource the administrative services to the healthcare insurance industry. The government now outsources the administrative services for Medicare and Medicaid.

The government then lies to the public declaring that its overhead is only 2.5% while the healthcare insurance industry takes 30% for services that are charged as direct patient care.

The healthcare insurance industry would continue to rip off the healthcare system in a single party payer system for all.

The completion of the repeal and replace act will be done as promised by Ryan, Price and Trump in three stages.

As soon as the house bill is passed the House Democrats came out with their talking points criticizing the act. These talking points had little substance and no compelling evidence. They only declared that the legislation was terrible without any explanation of why it was terrible.

They just said 20 million people are going to lose their insurance coverage. The Republican health care act is going to kill people.

The talking points are mostly lies.

A recent study had reported that Obamacare has cost 80,000 people to die.

“Democrat’s immediately made the accusation that the GOP “repeal and replace” bill will kill Americans.  It seems that Obamacare has already done that.” 

In a previous blog I pointed out that more people have lost insurance in the individual market that have gained insurance from Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges.

Fourteen million lost insurance in the individual market in 2009 and at most 8 million gained insurance through Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges.

The 20 million new insured comes from the 12 million new people receiving healthcare insurance through Medicaid.

“Quoting Oren Cass over at National Review, it turns out that fewer people – not more people – had health insurance after Obamacare.  The only increase in “coverage” was Medicaid, but, sadly, it turns out that Medicaid kills people.  It’s better to have no medical insurance at all.” 

 Researchers have found that in 2015 Medicaid patients experienced worse outcomes than similar uninsured Medicaid eligible patients.

Public-health data from the Centers for Disease Control confirm… [that had mortality continued to decline during ACA implementation in 2014 and 2015 at the same rate as during the 2000-13 period, 80,000 fewer Americans would have died in 2015 alone.”

The Democrats are using the typical progressive tactic of creating a lie. Many people died because of Obamacare but the Democrats threaten that the Republican bill will cost many lives. It diverts attention from the Democrats’ failure with Obamacare.

This is fear mongering for the progressives’ political gain.

This is one of Sol Alinsky’s favorite tactics. One should do everything to marginalize opponents even if it needs to be done by lying.

“Democrats are hurting real people with their scary shrieking about death by Republican.”

The Democrats criticize without facts. The Democrats will lie about the effects of the bill without evidence. I would guess that many have not even read it.

One should expect nothing less from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

The Democrats have even rolled out Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor of economics and co-author of Obamacare, who infamously said, “the stupidity of the American voter” helped get the measure to become law.

This week Gruber blamed President Trump for Obamacare’s failure on one of the Sunday news programs.

“Whose fault is this (rising premium costs)?” Gruber asked on “Fox News Sunday.” “Since President Trump has been elected … premiums are going up and insurers are exiting.”

This is total nonsense.

Jonathan Gruber still thinks Americans are stupid. However he has no credibility with the American public. Therefore his opinion has no impact on the discussion about the new bill.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s lack of credibility with the American public does not seem to bother them.

Every lie they tell decreases their credibility even further.

Nancy Pelosi said, “the new Obamacare repeal bill is a ‘a very sad, deadly joke’

This is the same woman who said we will not know what is in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) until it is passed.

What is so deadly about it? She does not explain her statement. She figures the media is the message. The media will carry the message for her.

Chuck Schumer’s quote was even worse. He said, “Senate GOP should toss House healthcare bill ‘out the window’”

He called on Senate Republicans,

“To avoid following the lead of their colleagues in the House and to work on a bipartisan basis on healthcare reform rather than pushing for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”

He is trying to save President Obama’s legacy Obamacare. Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. It is beyond saving.

It was a poorly constructed healthcare bill aimed at giving big government total control of the healthcare system. President Obama totally ignores the fact that Americans did not want it, have not joined it. He felt he clearly know what is best for America.

He goal was to get it passed by the partisan vote. President Obama lied to Americans and lied to his party members.

Obamacare is unsustainable economically to America and is in the process of destroying the economy.

Chuck Schumer said, “Trumpcare is a giant, broken promise to working people, the hard-working people of this great country of ours.

It would be valid if Chuck Schumer could prove his statement.

President Obama broke his promise to the working people, the hard working people of this great country of ours, when he said, “ If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.”

Chuck Schumer did not see it then and he does not see Obamacare’s failure now.

I suggest that Chuck Schumer read the Republican bill carefully before he makes his false statements.

Clearly, he was dead wrong in his judgment about Obamacare

If he read the Obamacare law carefully and voted for doing the right thing, America’s healthcare system might not be in the mess it is in.

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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Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? Part 2 CPT Coding Is One Reason Health Care Costs So Much

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

After Ms. Wanda Wickizer was discharged from the University of Virginia Healthcare System (Part 1) the catastrophe caused by the healthcare system’s coding process began.

“The acronym HCPCS originally stood for HCFA Common Procedure Coding System, a medical billing process used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).”

“Prior to 2001, CMS was known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).”

HCPCS was established in 1978 to provide a standardized coding system for describing the specific items and services provided in the delivery of health care.

The cost of Medicare and Medicaid became so high that the government decided to start knowing what it was paying for and standardizing the payments.

Such coding is necessary for Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance programs to ensure that insurance claims are processed in an orderly and consistent manner.”

This coding system has been dysfunctional since the government developed it for Medicare and Medicaid in 1978.

The unspoken goal was to decrease reimbursement for services provided for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The government wanted to commoditize can reduce reimbursement by the evaluation of physician and hospital usage of procedure and services.

Initially, use of the codes was voluntary, but with the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) use of the HCPCS for transactions involving health care information became mandatory.[2]

Ms. Rosenthal’s story is about how this poor woman, Wanda Wickizer, got trapped in the dysfunction of the healthcare system’s coding system.

Wanda Wickizer should have been insured through Obamacare. However, through the inefficiencies of the government or Ms. Wickizer lack of understanding of Obamacare she did not have insurance.

The healthcare system makes no provisions for billing the uninsured.

There are multiple prices charged for treatments and procedures. Hospital systems and physician groups have their own individual retail prices for services and procedures.

These providers negotiate prices with the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

There are many different prices negotiated by many different providers with the healthcare insurance industry. A healthcare insurance company negotiates many of the government’s final prices. The healthcare insurance company acts as the surrogate for the government.

None of these prices are transparent.

There is no one that negotiates price for the uninsured. The uninsured are responsible for the retail price of the services rendered unless they can negotiate a better price.

“And so in early 2014, without an insurer or employer or government agency to run interference between her and the hospital, she began receiving bills:

  • $16,000 from Sentara Norfolk (not including the scan or the E.R. doctor), $50,000 for the air ambulance.
  • Her local hospital
  • By the end of January, there was also one for $24,000 from the University of Virginia Physicians’ Group: charges for some of the doctors at the medical center. “I thought, O.K., that’s not so bad,” Wickizer recalls.
  • A month later, a bill for $54,000 arrived from the same physicians’ group, which included further charges and late fees.
  • Then a separate bill came just for the hospital’s charges, containing a demand for $356,884.42 but little in the way of comprehensible explanation.”

The uninsured are the only people who are responsible for the original retail prices. All the rest of the payment providers, namely the government and various members of the healthcare insurance industry pay their negotiated fees.

Shouldn’t the government pass a law requiring hospitals and doctors to charge only Medicare prices to the uninsured? It would eliminate Ms. Wickizer bill, a bill that reflects retail prices for services rendered.

The big mistake the University of Virginia made was that it did not provide her with a line item bill identifying the price of each service and procedure.

The University of Virginia subsequently refused to provide a line item bill to the patient. It was as if the university was hiding something.

Any thoughtful hospital administrator would have solved the problem in a minute.

It must be remembered that each provider has a different retail price per procedure and service. The reasoning is that they are trying to collect the highest amount they can.

There is something called a “chargemaster price.” It could help the uninsured figure out the wholesale price for services and procedures if they knew what the line item services and procedures they were charged for were.

The patient could then figure out what Medicare pays for those services and procedures.

However none of these line item charges are in the patients (EOB) Explanation Of Benefits. The EOB is impossible to interpret.

A simple rule should be passed by congress or issued by CMS saying a clear explanation of charges is required for payment of the bill.

The Obama administration knew about this uninsured billing problem. It did nothing about it because it wanted to force patients into buying Obamacare insurance even if they couldn’t afford it or didn’t need it.

I believe Tom Price M.D. (President Trump’s head of CMS) is aware of the problem. He also understands this simple way of solving it.

The healthcare insurance industry and the government get a detailed EOB for services rendered through the CPT coding system first established in 1978.

The Obama administration added 74,000 new codes to the CPT coding system. The government and the insurance companies wanted to know what they were paying for in detail.

This led to the requirement for Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and then meaningful use EMRs. Physicians and hospital systems will not get paid if they do not have a meaningful use EMR this year.

This led to a very expensive EMR development industry. EMRs were expensive. They did not function as meaningful use EMRs. They had to undergo extensive upgrades.

An EMR function should really be a teaching tool, teaching physicians how to upgrade their services to the best evidence based medicine practices.

Instead it has become a tool for the government and the healthcare insurance industry to punish patients.

The EMRs are unaffordable to many physicians. It has force them to sign up to become hospital system employees.

The government should have built a universal EMR in the cloud and charged physicians by the click.

The increase in codes led to an expensive coding industry. People are trained to teach physicians and hospital systems how to use the new 88,00 codes correctly.

The industry essentially teaches those providers how to how to game the healthcare system so that they can collect the most money for their services from the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

The goal of the government is to reduce reimbursement to providers.

Where is the consideration for patients in all of these maneuvers?

Where is the consideration for the uninsured patients?

Ms. Rosenthal’s main point is that CPT gaming by the medical professions and hospital systems are driving up healthcare costs.

However, missing from her argument is who developed the dysfunction CPT system.

Why was it developed?

Why was coding made so complex that it drives users of the coding system to game the system?

Ms. Rosenthat gives a few examples of coding driving the costs up.

  1. The diagnosis code for “heart failure” (ICD-9-CM Code 428) instead of the one for “acute systolic heart failure” (Code 428.21), the difference could mean thousands of dollars.

“In order to code for the more lucrative code, you have to know how it is defined and make sure the care described in the chart meets the criterion, the definition, for that higher number.”

In order to code for “acute systolic heart failure,” the patient’s chart (EMR) ought to include supporting documentation, for example, that the heart was pumping out less than 25 percent of its blood with each beat and that he was given an echocardiogram and a diuretic to lower blood pressure. Submitting a bill using the higher code without meeting criteria could constitute fraud.”

“Each billing, then, can be seen as a battle of provider coder versus payor coder.

The coders who work for hospitals and doctors strive to bring in as much revenue as possible from each service, while coders employed by insurers try to deny claims as overreaching.”

Hospital based physicians are taught how to up-code to generate the most income. They have little say in the coding process. Patients have no way of knowing if a procedure or service is coded.

  1. In a doctor’s office, a Level 3 visit (paid, say, at $175) might be legally transformed into a Level 4 (say, $225) by performing one extra maneuver, like weighing the patient or listening to the lungs, whether the patient’s illness required that or not.
  2. E.R. doctors have been taught that insurers might accept a higher-reimbursed code for the examination and treatment of a patient with a finger fracture (usually 99282) if — in addition to needed interventions — a narcotic painkiller was also prescribed (a plausible bump up to 99283), indicating a more serious condition.

The actual cost and expertize that might go into these services are never discussed or considered by bureaucrats decision and policy makers.

Price transparency for the patients would make a world of difference to costs. It would drive the cost of care and healthcare premiums down.

It might even result in the development of competitive pricing and a free market system.

I am sure the Trump administration is aware of this defect in the dysfunctional healthcare system.

President Obama ignored the problem as he tried to control hospital systems and physicians. He simply down coded services.

He probably figured that a single payer system would make everything much easier.

All I can say is look at the government run Veteran Administration Healthcare System.

Why most politicians ignore the coding defect in coding is beyond me?

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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Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? CPT Coding Is One Reason Health Care Costs So Much: Part 1

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Elisabeth Rosenthal is editor in chief of Kaiser Health News and a former senior writer at The New York Times.

She wrote an extensive article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine Section on the abuse of a hospital system on a patient without healthcare insurance.

Ms. Rosenthal usually points out defects in the healthcare system in great detail. She usually ignores the primary causes of those defects which leads to stakeholders’ adjustments.

Those adjustments lead to abuses of both the healthcare system and consumers utilizing the healthcare system.

It is important for all consumers and politicians (designated surrogates of consumers) to understand these abuses in detail.

It is doubly important that consumers and politicians understand the primary causes for these abuses.

The ideal goal would be to fix the primary causes so that stakeholders cannot abuse the system. In Ms. Rosenthal’s case study the University of Virginia’s bureaucrats are the decision makers who are far removed from the primarily medical care of patients.

They are far removed from the development of a physician/patient relationship. The patient/physician relationship is so vital to the success of a healthcare system.

These bureaucrats are immune to the tragedy that had befallen Ms. Rosenthal’s example, Ms. Wanda Wickizer. They are stuck in the rules its organization made or their interpretation of these rules.

There does not seem to be any flexibility built into the University of Virginia’s Medical School billing system.

The patient in Ms. Rosenthal story is not entirely immune to the disaster that occurred subsequently.

Her husband died in 2006. He had great city of Norfolk Virginia health insurance. The city of Norfolk continued providing her and her kids with insurance for the next three years.

“Her husband, who died in 2006, worked for the city of Norfolk, which insured their family while he was alive and for three years beyond.”

“After his death, Wanda Wickizer worked in a series of low-wage jobs, but none provided health insurance. A minor pre-existing condition — she was taking Lexapro, a common medicine for depression — meant that her only insurance option was to obtain Obamacare insurance through a health insurance exchange in 2010.

In 2009 only ineffective and costly state administered “high-risk pools” were available. High risk pools disappeared in 2010 with the passage of Obamacare.

She said she could not afford her Obamacare option. However, she did not consider the Obamacare option in her economic condition. Obamacare would have subsidized her insurance coverage up to 100%.

“She thought she would need to pay more than $800 per month for a policy with a $5,000 deductible, and her medical procedures would then be reimbursed at 80 percent. She felt she couldn’t afford that.”

She made a decision that did not take into account a potential medical catastrophe.

“In 2011, she decided to temporarily stop working to tend to her children, which qualified them for Medicaid; with trepidation, she left herself uninsured.”

At this point she probably would, also, have qualified for Medicaid or gotten insurance through the health insurance exchanges that would have been subsidized up to 100% by Obamacare.

Additionally, after she was sick she could have applied for Obamacare insurance. She would have supposedly received full insurance coverage at no cost to her. The application for Obamacare after the onset of an illness is one of the major objections to Obamacare.

This is a defect in Ms. Rosenthal’s story. It could have easily been avoided if Ms. Wickizer applied for insurance available to her at minimal charge.

The casual reader of the Sunday NYT magazine section could easily overlook this defect.

The rest of the story is about the billing catastrophe. Ms. Rosenthal exposes all the defects in the healthcare billing system structure.

A catastrophic illness struck Wanda Wickizer on Christmas Day 2013. It was a subarachnoid hemorrhage that can strike at any time.

“The catastrophe struck Wanda Wickizer on Christmas Day 2013.”

It occurred four years after Obamacare was enacted. She had a debilitating headache. The ambulance paramedics missed the diagnosis. They thought she had food poisoning and did not take her to the hospital.

Later, she, at 3 a.m. became confused and groggy. Her boyfriend raced her to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. A CAT scan revealed a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital felt it could not handle the subarachnoid hemorrhage and air evacuated her by helicopter to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville 160 miles away.

At UVM the hemorrhage was stopped and the previous accumulation of blood evacuated. She was in the hospital for 3 weeks. When she was home the catastrophe of the healthcare system coding process began.

Ms. Wanda Wickzer’s story will be continued in Part 2 of Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? CPT Coding Is One Reason Health Care Costs So Much

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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Obamacare Coverage: The Big Lie

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

President Trump keeps telling us Obamacare is a disaster. Paul Krugman and Ezekiel Emanuel keep telling us it is a success.

The Obama administration told us that 20 million new people have obtained healthcare insurance because of Obamacare.

We know 14.5 million people lost their healthcare insurance in the individual market the year after Obamacare was passed.

Many assumed they got their insurance back through Obamacare. There is no evidence for that assumption.

I followed Obamacare enrollment carefully on acasignup.net.

This site was supposed to be publishing the exact numbers published by the government weekly. www.acasignups.net

It turns out that the numbers published were inaccurate. They were too high.

“Since the release of the HHS study, the government has published two additional surveys of health-insurance coverage – the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS). Both offer data through the end of 2015, allowing for comparison with the NHIS estimate.”

The government now claims these studies are only estimates of nonelderly adults, under the age of 65, who gained insurance coverage.

The estimate in increased adult coverage ranges from 13.5 million in the CPS study to 16.5 million in the NHIS study.

Where did the number 20 million new lives covered come from? Bill Clinton boosted the number to 25 million when campaigning for Hilary Clinton.

Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski of the Heritage foundation examined data from insurance company regulatory filings and from the government’s own headcount of Medicaid enrollment.

“Their study found that 14 million people (including children) gained public or private coverage in 2014 and 2015.”

This total is even lower because it includes S-Chip coverage for children.

Compounding the government lies of estimated enrollees was that 84% of the new enrollees was either Medicaid or S-Chip children.

This means only 2,240,000 people signed up in President Obama’s Health Insurance Exchanges.

It also means that there were 11,760,000 new Medicaid or S-Chip patients.

Edmund F. Haislmaier concluded in testimony to congress;

“While the final figures will be somewhat different once the more complete end of year data is available, at this point it is reasonable to expect that

for the three year period 2014 through 2016, the net increase in health insurance enrollment was 16.5 million individuals. Of that figure, 13.8 million were added to Medicaid and 2.7 million were the net increase in private sector coverage enrollment.”

http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/house_budget_testimony-haislmaier.pdf

Eighty-five percent of the 2.7 million have pre-existing conditions. Most are receiving government subsidies.

The 2.7 million covered under Obamacare have destabilized the healthcare insurance market so that healthcare costs for businesses have become unaffordable.

No one has even mentioned the cost of this Obamacare folly to the average hard working taxpayers with healthcare coverage from their employers.

Obamacare’s failure to has been devastating.

The authors also found that nearly half the new Medicaid enrollees met eligibility standards that were in place before the ACA.”

Maybe Jonathan Gruber is right when he said we, the public, are too stupid to know the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

 

“For all the hoopla about the ACA exchanges, it appears that Medicaid accounts for the lion’s share of coverage gains and that many new Medicaid enrollees would have been eligible for that program even if the ACA had never passed.”

Medicaid is a single party payer system (socialized medicine) that works very poorly. It is almost as bad as the VA Healthcare System.

Is this what the public wants? No

America needs a better healthcare system. Hopefully Dr. Tom Price knows what to do replace Obamacare with once he dismantles all of the Obama administrations regulation.

Maybe Jonathan Gruber is wrong.

The general taxpayer may be smarter than Dr. Gruber thinks. Maybe it is the reason the public elected Donald Trump.

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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Profoundly Disappointed

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

I am profoundly disappointed in Paul Ryan, the Republican caucus and the RINO establishment for introducing the Paul Ryan bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

It doesn’t completely repeal Obamacare or completely replace it.

In fact the supposed anti- entitlement party (Republicans) are adding another entitlement.

They are even leaving the healthcare insurance industry in charge of the money and the access to care.

It doesn’t even fulfill the five principles President Trump listed in his address to congress.

Those five principles alone would not Repair the Healthcare System.

The bill does nothing to encourage consumers to be responsible for their health and their healthcare dollars.

Consumers must be involved in driving the healthcare system in order for the healthcare system to be viable.

The bill continues to allow the government and the healthcare insurance companies to drive the cost and the healthcare system.

The Republican bill does not provide incentives for consumers to use their healthcare dollars wisely.

It does not include malpractice reform.

If President Trump buys the nonsense Republicans are calling a repeal and replacement for Obamacare, then the RINO’s have pulled the wool over his eyes.

It would be a gigantic mistake to push this bill in its present form. You would be producing political capital for the politically bankrupt Democrats.

This bill is a typical bait and switch. Rand Paul is correct. It is Obamacare lite.

It does not put consumers in charge. It keeps the healthcare insurance industry in full control of medicine, healthcare and the government.

Rather than discontinuing an entitlement it creates another one.

Refundable tax credit is another term for redistribution of wealth. You give money to everyone. You then take it back from some and let the others have it.

It does not repeal most of the Obamacare regulations.

It extends many of the programs past 2019.

President Trump, it does not help drain the swamp as you promised. It makes the swamp worse.

The insurance companies are not returned to a free market. It is a clever way to support the insurance companies by switching from a mandate and penalty to a tax credit (giving the money away to everyone).

This is another entitlement to further enrich the healthcare insurance industry.

Americans elected these Republican politicians to drain the swamp. This bill is no different than Obamacare.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons said:

Refundable” tax credits – for those who don’t owe taxes – are still a subsidy. It is still redistribution of wealth, with winners (those who get the subsidy) and losers (those who pay for it). And the chief winner is the “health plan.” It gets money; the supposed beneficiary may get nothing, or only rationed care from a narrow network.

“The problem is comprehensive third-party payment,” Orient adds. “The bill perpetuates this disastrous concept. A true free-market bill – “there shall be a free market in health insurance” – would remove all federal mandates, subsidies, barriers to competition, or protections or advantages for cartels.”

“Instead of returning the insurance market to the vigor of a free market, the government will be supporting it with tax credits – the flip side of the ACA insurance penalty.”

Americans are not stupid. The Republican bill will expose all the Republicans who are for the bill. They are not working for the good of the people

Democrats have already demonstrated they do not work for the people.

An group like the tea party can put up candidates against these guys and elect people who are for the people.

Where are the plans for consumer driven healthcare, patient centered healthcare, malpractice reform and the physician patient relationship?

Where are incentives for consumers to focus on their health, to help cure the obesity problem in order to decrease the incidence of diabetes and other chronic diseases?

Where is a free insurance market?

Paul Ryan’s plan is the road to failure.

The next step would be replacement of the Republican’s failure with a government controlled single party payer system.

It will fail as it is in so many countries.

President Trump. Wake up!!! Keep your promise to the American people.

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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The Republican Health Care Con By THE NYTimes EDITORIAL BOARD JAN. 21, 2017

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

The New York Times editorial “The Republican Healthcare Con” should really be entitled “The New York Times Con of The Republican Health Care Con”

In my opinion The New York Times has become a biased newspaper. Instead of publishing “all the news fit to print”, it is printing articles and editorials that are biased opinions with incomplete facts.

The Republicans have not introduced their replacement of Obamacare yet this editorial is critiquing the replacements effect on the healthcare system..

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. No one is entitled to his or her made up facts.

Republicans say the Affordable Care Act provides health insurance that manages to be both lousy and expensive.”

This is true. Most of the population seems to agree with this statement.

The only people buying insurance from the health insurance exchanges are people with pre-existing illnesses. These people have no other insurance available.

“Whatever the flaws of these policies (Obamacare), the new Trump administration is trying to pull off a con by offering Americans coverage that is likely to be so much worse that it would barely deserve the name insurance.

It would also leave many millions without the medical care they need.”

How does the New York Times editorial board know this when the Trump administration’s healthcare plan has not been introduced?

The liberal media keeps saying the Republicans have no plan. If Republicans do not have a plan how can the NYT criticize it?

How can a non-existent healthcare plan leave many millions without the medical care they need”?

There is no evidence for the statement above.

This reality became increasingly clear when President Trump’s choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, testified before a Senate committee last week.

He looked pained as he described the terrible predicament of people who earned around $30,000 to $50,000 a year and had to deny “themselves the kind of care that they need” because they had Obamacare policies with deductibles of $6,000 to $12,000.

Tom Price M.D. is correct in saying the Obamacare deductibles are $6,000-$12,000. The NYT left out that the Obamacare networks available are restrictive and the access to proper healthcare is difficult.

The NYT editorial board also left out the fact that 85% of people buying healthcare insurance from the health insurance exchanges are subsidized by the government and have a pre-existing illness.

“ Yet, earlier in the same hearing, Mr. Price extolled the virtues of policies that would be woefully inadequate — policies that cover medical treatment only in catastrophic cases.”

This is a misrepresentation of Dr. Price’s testimony.

Perhaps the NYT editorial Board does not understand Health Savings Accounts?

If you want to understand a potential Trump administration proposal read my blog “Medical Savings Accounts Are Democratic.”

Dr. Price was talking about the virtues of health saving accounts without being specific.

The goal of health savings accounts are to put consumers in control of their medical care and healthcare dollars while providing them with financial incentives to save retirement dollars and not waste medical care dollars.

Consumers could have control of what they spend for their own healthcare.

The employer or government would pay for the deductible and the reinsurance above the deductible.

The money would be put in a healthcare trust. The money in the trust would pay for medical care.

If consumers did not spend the money on medical care that year, it would go into a personal saving trust for those consumers retirement.

“ Such policies often have deductibles of around $14,000 for family coverage.”

FALSE! One can get excellent coverage with a $6,000 deductible and first dollar coverage after spending $6,000 at a reasonable price.

Health Savings Accounts are the fastest growing healthcare insurance vehicle.

The government has put so many restrictions on health savings account that employees are hesitant to offer it. The government must remove these restrictions. www.unitedheath.com

“ This is simple hypocrisy. Condemn the policy you don’t like, propose something far worse as a replacement and claim that it is much better”

This paragraph is written to condemn Dr. Price and rile up the anti-Trump forces with false information.

The editorial completely disregards the fact that a proposal has not yet been announced by the Trump administration.

There were 2000 plus pages published about President Obama’s Obamacare proposal. There were glaring defects in he proposal.

The NYT did not comment on these defects at the time. Others did. I turned out that the defects were the source of Obamacare’s failure.

In reality the NYT has no idea of what the Trump administration’s proposal will be.

The NYT editorial also ignores the fact that Obamacare is unsustainable, unaffordable and is restricting access to care while rationing care for the very citizens that need the care.

“Mr. Price and Mr. Trump have recently said that their goal is to offer health care to many more people than are covered by the current health care law, which has driven the uninsured rate to historic lows.”

I believe historic lows are a counting error just as the unemployment rate and the inflation rate are counting errors in order to provide the Obama administration acceptable numbers.

Average people know exactly what is happening.

Mr. Price’s testimony and the legislation he introduced in the House (a few years ago), where until recently he was the Budget Committee chairman, show that the new administration will make decent health care less affordable and less accessible for most people.

The underlined portion is a NYT editorial opinion. It is an opinion without facts or evidence. It could also be a lack of understanding of the bill Dr. Price’s introduced.

The Trump administration’s upcoming proposal might be completely different.

How would the NYT know the Trump administration’s healthcare plan would make decent health care less affordable and less accessible for most people?

This is an unsubstantiated bias that would qualify as fake news.

“Those Health Savings Accounts would not help families earning the median household income of $56,000 a year because these families would never be able to sock away enough money.”

The NYT editorial either missed the concept of Health Savings Account totally or is reporting the concept to fit its bias.

The best description of what Mr. Price stands for can be found in a bill he introduced in 2015, the Empowering Patients First Act. It would “empower” Americans by eliminating the health care law’s expansion of Medicaid that has helped more than 10.7 million newly eligible people enroll in that government-run insurance program.

Many of these Medicaid patients cannot find a physician or hospital that accepts Medicaid.

Therefore they have very limited access to care.

A potential proposal could expand Medicaid patients’ access to care using health savings accounts.

It would also drastically cut subsidies that have helped 11.5 million people purchase private insurance on federal and state health exchanges.

There is no evidence for this wild statement.

Under his bill, people buying insurance for themselves would get between $1,200 and $3,000 a year in subsidies, down from an average of $4,600 that people get now on HealthCare.gov.

The amount of tax benefits or tax credits for Health Savings Accounts have been restricted by Obamacare in order to discourage its use.

The Obama administration wanted to control medical care and eliminate consumer choice and power.

President Obama wanted healthcare decisions to be in the hands of the central government.

The Trump administration plans to modify these restrictions. President Trump has stated he wants to put healthcare decision making back into consumers’ hands and not the government’s hands.

The bill would even get rid of the requirement that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until age 26, a provision that is widely popular.

This is totally false and once again fake news.

And it would hurt people who get insurance through their employers by setting a cap on how much of that expense businesses can claim as a deduction on their taxes. Experts say that over time this would encourage companies to stop offering health benefits to workers.

The independent insurance market has not had tax deduction. It should be on a level playing field with group insurance. There is no evidence that the group market will lose its tax deduction.

“When it comes to health care, Mr. Price and other Republicans say their goal is to give people more choices. It is hard to argue against choice. But in the ideological world inhabited by Mr. Price, House Speaker Paul Ryan and many other Republicans, choice is often a euphemism for scrapping sensible regulations that protect people.”

This claim also has no basis in fact. It is pure opinion by the NYT editorial board.

“Some Americans might well be tempted by this far-right approach. They would have to pay less up front for these skeletal policies than they do now for comprehensive coverage.”

Has Obamacare provided comprehensive care? It is unaffordable and inaccessible to all.

But over time, when people need health care to recover from accidents, treat diabetes, have a baby or battle addiction, they will be hit by overwhelming bills.

Where did this come from? It came from a negative bias toward Donald Trump and his administration without facts or evidence.

The Trump administration seems perfectly willing to sell those people down the river with false promises.

People are not stupid. They do not need government to rule their life and make healthcare decisions for them.

People need incentive to control their health and healthcare dollars.

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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Come On Guys, Give Them A Chance!

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

It is clear that Donald Trump won the presidential election.

The U.S. economy is in bad shape despite what President Obama has been telling us. Economic growth has been stagnant with growth at less than 2%.

People are feeling the loss of jobs as factories are closing.

Corporations are moving factories overseas for cheaper labor.

The many unemployed gave up looking of jobs. Full time jobs have been switched to part-time jobs so corporations can avoid the Obamacare mandate. People need to have at least two jobs to make ends meet.

Price inflation continues but is not measured because food and fuel are left out of the inflation calculation.

Inner city unemployment is worse despite President Obama’s saying it is getting better. Neighborhood security has declined. National security is threatened. People do not feel safe.

Obamacare, which was supposed to provide universal healthcare that was affordable to all, was a outright failure both in terms of affordability for individuals and to the national economy.

Yet, the Obama administration, through the mainstream media, keeps telling the people everything is going as planned.

The people could easily see that the administration was tell them a lie. The unemployment rate was reported as being less than 5%.

Americans realized that much of the money for food stamps was being abused. It was discovered that many people were not using the money for food.

Hard working Americans found out that one could collect at least $49,000 non-taxed dollars from the government for not working.

Our foreign policy was in a shambles.

Americans were being told by President Obama that we winning the war. Yet we were losing territory to ISSI and experiencing terrorism both at home and abroad.

Ordinary hard working people were beginning to realize that the tax and spend Democratic Party were ripping them off even if the details of these rip offs were unclear.

Many state governorships and state legislatures were lost to Republicans. Many seats in the U.S. Senate and house were lost to Republicans.

It was clear that the people wanted a change even though they felt the Republican establishment had deceived them previously.

They understood that government was too large. The government bureaucracy consisted of people who could not be fired. These people can obstruct change.

As government grows it employs more people and it becomes more stagnant and less functional.

Along comes Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton was a non-charismatic presidential candidate who received millions of dollars from rich people to buy uninspiring advertising on television.

Her message was that she was going to continue President Obama’s legacy. She missed the point completely.

Donald J. Trump comes along and tells the people they are being ripped off by our own government and by other governments. Our trade deals stink. Other countries are living off our tax dollars because of our government’s stupidity. He promises to fix it.

He says America has to be run like a business. He will bring back jobs, decrease waste, increase the status of our military all around the world and uncover the great energy and potential of America, especially in the decaying inner cities.

It is a great message. Few know how he is going to do it. He is not telling anyone. He says he is going to hire great people to help him. He is going to hire successful people to help him.

He is going to create opportunities for everyone using a free market based economy.

America as been sliding toward a central government controlled economy for many years.

It should be clear to everyone that Keynesan based central controlled economy does not work.

Fredrick Hayek taught us that in 1937. However, few listened.

I think it is because the central government fears a loss of control over the economy and the people. It fears that very smart people can take advantage of an economy if they have the ability initiative and become innovative without government restraints. The government does not want to believe that the free market works.

Steve Jobs believed it. Jeff Bezos believed it. All the start-ups believe it.

At the Consumer Electronic Show I saw many companies tying to succeed without government interference.

Why? People want to have the freedom to be innovative and creative.

Maybe the American people believe that Donald Trump is going to give them that opportunity without as many government restraints.

The establishment’s fear is warranted.

My view is the government’s job is to legislate the rules that put everyone on a level playing field. The government should step aside and make sure everyone plays by the rules.

This brings me back to my title, “Come On Guys. Give Them A Chance!”

Donald Trump might just know how to navigate through the swamp of the dysfunctional government bureaucracy.

He doesn’t have to tell us how he is going to do it yet. He just has to do it. He might know how to navigate around America’s bad trade deals.

He might just know how to pick a Secretary of Health and Human Services in the name of Tom Price M.D.. Tom Price M.D. might be the person who can navigate across the failed Obamacare healthcare system.

Tom Price M.D. is a smart and decent man. The Democrats and the media might want to indulge in his character assassination out of fear that he might have a workable plan to repair the healthcare system.

The American people are wise to the Democrats’ tactics.

These tactics will hurt them and not Tom Price M.D..

Maybe he knows how to create a system where if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance. If you like your freedom to choose you can keep that also.

The Democrats, the main stream media and the government bureaucrats should not criticize Donald Trump when the Democrats have failed so miserably. They do not know what the Republicans will propose.

We know what doesn’t work. That is Obamacare!!

Give the new guys a chance!

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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Pre-Election Obama Administration Lies

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The Obama administration is out in force telling pre-election lies so that the Democrat’s base that loves entitlements stays calm.

New data from Joint Commission on Taxation led the TPC to cut the number of people paying federal income taxes by 3.9 million. In total, 77.5 million individuals and married couples — or tax units. as they are defined by the TPC — won’t pay income tax this year out of a total of 171.3 million. The previous estimate was for 66.2 million out of 163.8 million tax units not paying income tax in 2015.

In 2015, this represented 45.2% of the taxpayer units.  In 2013, 40.4% of taxpayer units paid no taxes. With the influx of illegal immigrants paying no taxes the percentage of non taxpaying units will increase.

The illegal immigrants will receive Medicaid and other entitlements.

Hillary Clinton has pledged to increase illegal immigration with open borders and increase Medicaid enrollment.

Taxes will have to be increased. The middle class will be crushed. Hillary Clinton will hide some of these taxes as President Obama has done for Obamacare..

President Obama is trying desperately to save Obamacare from self-destruction.

I have recently reviewed the phony enrollment figures for 2014, 2015 and 2016 published by the Obama administration. There has not been a significant increase in enrollment in the last three years.

The claim that there are 20 million enrollees as a result of Obamacare is not even a half-truth. There are only 10 million enrollees from the Health Insurance Exchanges.

The failed Medicaid entitlement program has an added 10 million enrollees and insufficient physician coverage.

The first pre-election day lie was HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell telling a group that the 2017 Open Enrollment period was going to sign up an additional 1 million enrollees. She said the Federal Health Insurance Exchange marketplace was strong.

The Marketplace is strong – and will continue to be strong – because it is offering a product people want and need.

This year, we know the Marketplace is strong, but we think it will grow even more.”

“As we look to this next open enrollment period, we project that the Marketplace will grow by another million people. By the end of open enrollment for 2017, we expect 13.8 million people to have selected a plan.”

Obamacare enrollment through the Health Insurance Exchanges was supposed to grow to 21 million last year according to the CBO estimate. At best, 11 million people are enrolled not 12.8 as claimed. Eighty-five percent of the enrollees receive subsidies.

President Obama’s goal is to have a single party payer in control, namely the government.

Secretary Burwell goes on to conclude;

“In closing, as the President said during the debate over the law, “we did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.”

It looks like President Obama is shaping the future in a way Americans did not anticipate or want.

The next big pre-election lie was President Obama’s lie admitting that Health Insurance Exchange premiums will go up 22% in 2017. He also said that the government would cover the premium increases for those receiving subsidies.

He did not discuss the government’s position on the increases in deductibles. Is President Obama also covering the deductible increases?

Where is President Obama getting the money? I think the money for the increased subsidies was built into the budget by telling the CBO that there were supposed to be 21 million enrollees in the Federal Health Insurance Exchanges. Only 10 million enrollees showed up.

The reason for these continuing lies is to calm the public. President Obama and Hillary Clinton want us to believe that Obamacare is good and is working well.

The obvious message of these lies is that the public should vote for Hillary Clinton to continue this good work.

 

https://youtu.be/ziVfvWO8oUE

This You Tube is an excellent summary of all the lies President Obama and the Obama administration have told the America public since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed.

It is worth ten minutes of your time to review this deception.

This week he tried to dodge the responsibility for the Health Insurance Exchanges demise and also claimed he should not be blamed for the rise in premiums in the private group insurance market.

Of these major cities, the places with the largest increases in the unsubsidized second-lowest silver plan were Phoenix, AZ (up 145% from $207 to $507 per month for a 40-year-old non-smoker),

Three hundred dollars a month or $3,600 dollars a year is a lot of money for a person making between $40,000 and $50,000 per year.

 The premium increases in Birmingham, AL (up 71% from $288 to $492) and Oklahoma City, OK (up 67% from $295 to $493).

 “ Meanwhile, unsubsidized premiums for the second-lowest silver premiums will decrease in Indianapolis, IN (down -4% from $298 to $286 for a 40-year-old non-smoker), Cleveland, OH (down -2% from $234 to $229), and Providence, RI (down -1% from $263 to $261) and increase just 1% in Little Rock, AR (from $310 to $314).”

 In many states there isn’t any competition in healthcare insurance for consumers business.

“Marketplace insurer participation in states using Healthcare.gov in 2017 ranges from 1 company in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming, to 15 companies in Wisconsin.”

Hillary Clinton bragged that healthcare reform was called Hillarycare long before it was called Obamacare.

I would not be very proud of that statement, if I were her.

I do not believe the American public is not going to be fooled again by progressive rhetoric and lies.

Obamacare is a disaster. I have described the disaster and its potential consequences for since its passage in 2010.

It has caused both the public and private healthcare markets to escalate insurance premiums to unaffordable levels for all Americans. The cost to the federal government is unsustainable.

The present awareness of the Obamacare disaster is the straw that is going to break the back of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

All Americans deserve a better healthcare system than Obamacare.

My ideal medical saving account is the solution to the healthcare problem.

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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Bill Clinton Is Crazy As A Fox

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

 Many Republicans and Democrats thought Bill Clinton had lost his mind when he made his Obamacare statement earlier this week.

Most of the conservative traditional and alternative media also thought he lost his mind. They repeated Bill Clinton’s statement over and over again. The media’s goal on both sides of the aisle simply wanted to make sure it sunk into the head of the American people.

Notable & Quotable: Bill Clinton on ObamaCare

Former President Bill Clinton speaking about ObamaCare at a rally Monday in Flint, Mich.:”

 “The people that are getting killed in this deal (Obamacare) are small business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these (Obamacare’s) subsidies.”

 “ Why? Because they’re not organized.”

 “ They don’t have any bargaining power with insurance companies. And they’re getting whacked.”

 “ So you’ve got this crazy (healthcare) system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.

 It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

Clinton

 


https://youtu.be/ETVcsPRTSHM

 

Trump

https://youtu.be/jziTLD0Gc7Y

Bill Clinton knew exactly what he was doing. Hillary Clinton’s position on Obamacare has been clearly stated. She is for Obamacare and for the public option. She has stated that she is going to expand Obamacare.

Bill Clinton’s position sounds totally opposite his wife’s position.

Hillary Clinton’s website explains her position on healthcare clearly.

She wants to : Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act, which covers 20 million people.

Hillary Clinton stating that 20 million people were covered by Obamacare is untrue. In 2016 the health insurance exchanges only cover 10 million people. Obamacare has expanded Medicaid coverage by 10 million people. Medicaid coverage is less than ideal.

The comments in the WSJ about Bill Clinton’s comments are more entertaining than Bill’s comments about Obamacare.

One comment suggested that Bill Clinton is jealous of his wife.

“This is called a “Bill bomb”, designed to passive aggressively tank Hillary’s campaign so he doesn’t have to go back on the leash.”

“She was lagging in the polls, Bill had nothing, but she is surging again and Bill can’t have that.”

Some of the comments applaud Bill Clinton for finally speaking the truth.

       1.” You gotta love it when Bill sounds like a Republican.”

  1. It is so refreshing to hear a Democrat politician speak the truth. And oh, so rare. Perhaps Bill forgot to take his medication.”
  1. “Give the Democrats credit whenever they do something intelligent, and non-ideological, even if they do it for a confounding reason.”

      4. “Leave it to Bill to hit the nail on the head.  Pure genius.”

      5.”Perhaps there is one Clinton who tells the truth.”

This commentator forgot all of the lies Bill Clinton’s told us (the public) when he was president such as his most famous lie, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

      6.” I don’t know what’s more shocking: Bill slamming Obama’s signature law or a Clinton telling the truth.”

      7.” He must have been off his meds at the time he made the comment, the next day he was back on track. I guess Hillary had to break another lamp over his head.”

I believe Bill Clinton did a brilliant thing for his wife. Obamacare is going to fail. He and Hillary do not want to have anything to do with Obamacare’s failure.

Consumers have discovered that their premiums and deductibles for 2017 are rising to unaffordable level. These increases are because of Obamacare. The private sector has also experienced tremendous increases in premiums and deductible because of Obamacare.

Open enrollment for the health insurance exchanges are supposed to start November 1, 2016, seven days before the Presidential election. If Hillary Clinton does not separate herself from Obamacare it will sink her chances to be elected.

I think the Obama administration will delay open enrollment until after the Presidential election.

President Obama might be able to pull Obamacare’s failure out of the dirt if he is able to illegally obtain theJudgement Fund” money to pay the healthcare insurance industry the money he owes them.

The Republican establishment in congress should make a stink about the release of this money. The Republican establishment should not sell out to President Obama.

President Obama is pulling another illegal fast play on congress and the American taxpayer by getting this money.

President Clinton’s statement is his effort to distance his wife from the Obamacare impending failure.

His statement demonstrates the Clintons’ character. After President Obama and Michelle Obama went all out to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, Bill Clinton stabs President Obama’s legacy legislation in the back.

“Now that the Obamas have given Hillary their full-throated endorsement, Bill can take policy positions more in line with suffering middle class voters. In Clintonworld expedience supersedes truth.” 

Hillary Clinton’s goal is to usurp credit for healthcare reform from President Obama.

She wants to be able to say that healthcare insurance plans do not work.

America needs a single party payer system and it needs it now.

Bill Clinton’s assessment is correct on the issue of Obamacare. All Obamacare is doing is merely shifting costs from those who cannot pay to those who can pay.

It is truly a healthcare system that redistributes wealth as Dr. Don Berwick said a long time ago.

The Clintons want a single party payer system real fast so that they look like they are coming to the rescue of the American people.

Democrats running for congress have rapidly gotten on the Clinton bandwagon.

Clinton’s proposal is simply bait and switch.

The problem is a single party payer system detrimentally affects the middle class taxpayer the most as I have explained.

They are trying to make Obamacare’s failure into an election issue asset for Hillary Clinton who will come to the rescue with her single party payer system.

A single party payer system is unsustainable and has huge defects.

I also know the majority of the middle class does not trust Hillary or Bill Clinton.

The Clintons will not fooled the majority of the middle class again.

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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