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Health Savings Accounts vs Medical Savings Accounts

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How Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Diamond Can Disrupt The Healthcare System

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Diamond should try this disruptive approach in their venture into healthcare reform.

All the other approaches that have been tried have not worked or have become unsustainable. Most of the approaches have been unfair to consumers and the majority of taxpaying Americans.

The only way to empower all the consumers in a healthcare system is to encourage them to become responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

I believe it can only be accomplished by providing easily understandable financial incentives for consumers to save money for themselves.

Providing financial incentives to consumers to save money for themselves can be disruptive to the present models used to pay for medical services just as Amazon has been disruptive to retail sales.

The delivery of medical and surgical care has advanced tremendously in the last sixty years.

At the same time medical care has become unaffordable and the cost of healthcare has become unsustainable.

The incidence of obesity has risen every year. Over fifty percent of Americans are obese.

Obesity begets many chronic diseases and subsequently the complications of these diseases.

Physicians can treat these complications fairly well. However the treatment of chronic disease complications are costly.

How do you decrease the incidence of obesity in America?

Physicians must attack the core causes of obesity.

Among those causes are excess food intake, lack of daily exercise, mental depression, cultural milieu and/or a combination of all of the above.

The cure of obesity depends on the ability to eliminate these core drivers. Financial incentives can get patients involved in eliminating the core drivers of obesity.

The responsibility for obese patients’ healthcare depends on patients’ lifestyle, popular cultural milieu, and patient education.

In America, it is almost impossible to buy a meal in any level restaurant without excess calories.

How do you get people to be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars?

The one key element ignored by policy makers to decrease obesity is to give obese consumers of healthcare financial incentives to concentrate on trying to lose weight.

Obamacare went in the wrong direction. It limits personal liability for their obesity. It does not promote personal responsibility

The only incentive Obamacare provided was the incentive to overuse the healthcare system.

This was especially true for patients on Medicaid. They had zero premiums and deductibles. The only deterrent to accessing medical care was physician availability.

Physicians refused to participate in Medicaid because of low professional reimbursement. Low reimbursement by the government was necessary because of the decreases in funding and participant overuse of the system.

Obamacare planned to cure the shortage of “medical providers” by increasing the number of “valid medical providers” who could bill on their own, such as nurse practitioners and certified physician assistants.

However, the defect there is that patients were not under the supervision of physicians engaged in their care. It ignores the patient physician relationship that is so important to effective medical care.

If Jeff Bezo, Warren Buffet and Jamie Diamond (BBD group) are serious about Repairing the Healthcare System for their employees as a nonprofit organization, they should consider my Ideal Medical Savings Account.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=My+Ideal+Medical+Savings+Account

The Ideal Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) are tax-sheltered accounts used to pay for non-catastrophic medical expenses. These non catastrophic medical expenses account for the bulk of the cost of medical care.

Money left from the Medical Savings Account at the end of the year is put into a consumer’s retirement account.

The MSA provides the financial incentive to not overuse the healthcare system.

Warren Buffet understands the money making potential of re-insurance. He is heavily invested in re-insurance companies.

If one of the BBD Groups employee’s gets sick and spends of all of his MSA money, reinsurance provides first dollar coverage for the illness.

The BBD Group could teach employees how to shop for price and value. Insurance companies are supposed to shop for value. However the shopping is never to the patient’s advantage. It is to the advantage of the insurance company.

 Critics always claim this is unrealistic:

  1. The claim is that patients are not smart enough to shop for price and value. 2. Are you supposed to shop around from the back of the ambulance?

 The critics’ use the ambulance argument to eliminate the possibility of consumers using their own judgment to make price decisions.

Patients are smart enough to figure out which hospital they want to go to before they get into the ambulance.

Emergency care represents only 6% of health care expenditures.

But emergency care represents only 6% of health expenditures.”

“For privately insured adults under 65, almost 60% of spending is on elective outpatient care. “

ttps://www.wsj.com/articles/the-health-reform-that-hasnt-been-tried-1507071808

The critics argument is that consumers do not know how to shop prices. Consumers are smarter than the critics think. It would be easy to teach consumers to shop prices.”

ttp://stanfeld.com/the-failure-of-the-republican-establishment-to-repeal-and-replace-obamacare/

“My Ideal Medical Saving Account provides that financial incentive to not overuse the healthcare system. All the articles about my ideal medical saving accounts are attached to this link.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=My+ideal+Medical+Savings+Accounts

 Likewise, nearly 60% of Medicaid money goes to outpatient care.”

 Medicaid patients also overuse the healthcare system.

Most Medicaid patients can understand the MSA’s financial incentive.

“ For the top 1% of spenders—a group responsible for more than a quarter of all health expenditures—a full 45% is outpatient.”

These patients can be identified as outliers and educational vehicles can be created to decrease this overuse of the system. It would save the re-insurance company a great deal of money.

In my opinion Medical Savings Account are better than Health Savings Accounts. Medical Savings Accounts take the money out of the healthcare insurance company’s hands and deliver it to consumers retirement accounts.

Both HSA’s and MSAs have the unique advantage of providing the financial incentive to for consumers to save money for themselves.

When people have savings to protect in HSAs, the cost of care drops without harmful effects on health. 

 The financial incentives decrease the overuse of the healthcare system.

According to a 2012 study in Health Affairs if even half of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance enrolled in this kind of coverage, U.S. health expenditures would fall by an estimated $57 billion a year.”

 https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hpb20160204.950878/full/

 My ideal Medical Savings Accounts provide an even a greater financial incentive and should decrease costs even further.

“ MSAs should be available to all Americans, including seniors on Medicare. Given that seniors use the most health care, motivating them to seek value is crucial to driving prices lower.”

MSAs should also apply to Medicaid recipients. The details for Medicaid recipients can be found in my article “My Ideal Medical Savings Accounts Is Democratic. “

The maximum contribution to MSAs should be raised to $6000 or $7000 dollars. If a consumer gets sick and experiences a cost of more that $6000 he should receive 100% (first dollar) coverage through the BBD group’s provided reinsurance policy. A reinsurance policy would cost the BBD Group less than $6000 a year.

The total insurance package to BBG Group employees should cost the BBD Group $12,000 rather than the present cost of $18,000.

BBD is a self insured association. The association has elimated the multiple middlemen in the present healthcare system.

 When a person with an MSA dies, the funds should be allowed to roll over tax-free to surviving family members.

This financial incentive should be included in My Ideal Medical Savings Account.

“The information that patients require to assess value must be made more transparent. 

2014 study on magnetic resonance imaging showed that price-transparency programs reduced costs by 18.7%.”

A consumer driven system would force providers to compete for patients. Information on price could easily be provided to consumers by the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

At present healthcare prices are not transparent. Consumers are not motivated to shop prices. The BBD Groups leverage with its employees would force transparency.

“The most compelling motivation for doctors and hospitals to post rates would be knowing that they are competing for price-conscious patients empowered with control of their own money.”

 In this age of technology and rapid communication telemedicine should be promoted and paid for. One way to do it is to permit physicians to practice telemedicine across state lines. It would supply instant access to expertize at an affordable cost.

Everything possible should be done to encourage consumer responsibility and provider competition.

The present tax code does the opposite. Consumers in-group plans provided by large and small corporations receive their healthcare insurance from the corporation with tax-free dollars.

The larger the corporation the more leverage the corporation has for negotiating the premiums with the healthcare insurance companies.

The BBD Groups volume of consumers would have tremendous leverage with providers.

The younger and healthier the corporate employees are the lower the premiums.

The formation of associations with large memberships of all ages would lower the cost of healthcare. Large associations would have great leverage in negotiating price with providers. They would also spread the risk.

Self- insured associations such as the BBD Group would also spread the risk and lower the cost.

Tax deductibility must be given to these “individual” insurance policy holders and association policy holders so they are, in reality, paying for healthcare insurance with pre-tax dollars the same as the corporate group plan policy holders.

These simple changes in the law would result in an affordable healthcare system that was market driven by consumers. The changes would force providers and the healthcare insurance industry to become competitive.

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

 All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2018 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

 

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Consumers Need To Take Back Their Medical Care And Healthcare Dollars

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

A consumer driven healthcare system is the solution to the dysfunctional and unaffordable healthcare system that americans are presently experiencing.

President Trump wants to create the conditions for consumers to take responsibility for their medical care and their healthcare dollars.

The negative noise in the mainstream media should be ignored.

The Obamacare health insurance exchanges have failed. The Democrats and establishment Republicans should realize that the health insurance exchange plan was a defective system that it can not be repaired with patches and more money.

President Trump has signed an executive order to permit private associations to sell insurance. There are many associations that a person could belong too. Consumers could shop for the right association at the right price.

Democrats are behaving as if associations are a foreign enemy.

UnitedHealth has contracted with AARP (an association) to sell Medicare supplemental insurance. UnitedHealth sells this insurance across state lines.

USAA has contracted with Humana to sell Medicare supplemental insurance and Medicare Drug coverage.

There are many supplemental plans that consumers can choose from in these associations. These plans are sold across state lines and are competitive.

The government has to change the tax law to treat individual healthcare insurance plans bought through the associations to be paid for with pre-tax dollars just as the employer sponsored group plans do.

However, associations selling healthcare insurance are only the first step in empowering consumers.

A well-known retired physician (DEF M.D.) sent me his view on what consumers need to be aware of to survive any healthcare system. He calls it

“My Three Rules For Survival”

Remember my three rules for survival:

1) Stay the hell away from doctors.

They always either want to do something or prescribe something, and all too frequently do both.

A large part of this physician reflex is their need to practive defensive medicine. Physicians are afraid they might miss something and get sued.

Major tort reform is necessary in most states. Defensive medicine accounts for $250 billion to $700 billion dollars in unnecessary expenses each year.

I have outlined the steps necessary to remedy the malpractice (tort) crisis and its resulting overuse of testing and medication.

If anyone in President Trump’s administration wants to review the issue in full click on this link.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=Tort+reform

Nobody confronts the reality you mentioned , people are too fat, they drink too much and smoke, AND they don’t even think about the importance of, and benefits from, exercise.

 I started a war on obesity many years ago. Public officials and poly wonks have ignored my suggestions.

It would be worthwhile to read my post about obesity.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=war+on+obesity

The cost to all of us (including them) of all this denial of personal responsibility is huge!  We need to find ways to get people to focus on taking care of themselves, or to create cost incentives that will encourage them to do so.

While you are in this reading mood you should check out my pleas for the importance of patient responsibility.

ttp://stanfeld.com/?s=patient+responsibility

We simply cannot continue on the path we are on. I don’t recall ever seeing a patient on a “scooter”, and many in wheelchairs that are obese, and only getting fatter and fatter over time.

     2) Take as little medicine as you can.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are continuing to drive up the cost of their products and are making enormous profits as a result.  Data is available re: the necessity of people getting medicines that they don’t really need, especially if taken long term on an ongoing basis.

To that, one can add the cost of unnecessary procedures that often leave patients worse off than they were before.  Direct to the public advertising of prescription medications creates demand that is often unaccompanied by benefit.

More and more current information regarding side effects and late effects of medications need to be provided, and not just put into the “fine print” on the package stuffers.

     3) Stay out of hospitals.

 They are dangerous places, with a high prevalence of patient injuries and deaths due to various sorts of medical errors that occur all too frequently, despite a host of quality improvement projects that are well-intended, but would be better in terms of effectiveness if they were made public on a regular basis.

 Scott Atlas makes good arguments for encouraging patients to “price shop” for services they must have.  To that information should be appended information about outcomes of what is proposed, which could, over time, become both hospital-specific and physician-specific.

I have expanded on Scott Atlas’ Wall Street Journal article in my last blog.

http://stanfeld.com/the-plan-to-empower-consumers-of-healthcare/

Most doctors and most hospitals have not much of a clue as to the outcomes of the services they provide their patients.

And, that is probably plenty for today.  DEF”

Consumers need to be educated to become aware of the many pitfalls involved in their new responsibility.

The educational process can be accomplished with online information and chat sessions. The government could provide the education necessary.

Consumers also need financial incentives to be encouraged to be responsible for their care and their healthcare dollars

This can be accomplished with my ideal medical saving accounts.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=ideal+medical+savings+accounts

Then and only then can we have a consumer driven healthcare system that will lower the cost of healthcare.

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

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

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The Plan To Empower Consumers Of Healthcare

 Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

The only way to empower consumers of healthcare is to allow them be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

The delivery of medical and surgical care has progressed markedly in the last sixty years. Life expectancy has also increased.

At the same time medical care has become unaffordable and the cost of healthcare has become unsustainable.

The incidence of obesity has risen every year. Over fifty percent of Americans are obese. The percentage is rising yearly.

Obesity begets many chronic diseases and subsequently the complications of these diseases.

Physicians can treat these complications fairly well but the treatment of these complications comes at a high cost.

How do you decrease obesity in America?

How do you get people to be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars?

One of the key elements in decreasing obesity is to give consumers financial incentives to use the healthcare system efficiently.

ObamaCare went in the wrong direction. Its regulations—including required “essential benefits”—raised prices on these plans and limited their availability.”

The only incentive Obamacare provided was the incentive to overuse the system. This was especially true for patients on Medicaid. They had zero premiums and deductibles.

A second tool for motivating patients to consider price is large liberalized health savings accounts. These tax-sheltered accounts are generally used to pay for the noncatastrophic expenses that form the bulk of medical care.

First, equip consumers to consider prices.”

 Critics always claim this is unrealistic: Are you supposed to shop around from the back of the ambulance?

 The critics use the ambulance excuse argument to eliminate the possibility of consumers using their own judgment to make price decisions.

But emergency care represents only 6% of health expenditures.”

“For privately insured adults under 65, almost 60% of spending is on elective outpatient care. “

The critics argument is that consumers do not know how to shop prices. Consumers are smarter than the critics think. It would be easy to teach consumers to shop prices.”

http://stanfeld.com/the-failure-of-the-republican-establishment-to-repeal-and-replace-obamacare/

“My ideal medical saving account provides that financial incentive to not overuse the healthcare system. The many articles about my ideal medical saving accounts are attached to this link.

Likewise, nearly 60% of Medicaid money goes to outpatient care.”

 Medicaid patients also overuse the healthcare system.

“ For the top 1% of spenders—a group responsible for more than a quarter of all health expenditures—a full 45% is outpatient.”

These patients can be identified as outliers and educational vehicles can be created to decrease this overuse of the system.

In my opinion Medical Savings Account are better than Health Savings Accounts. Medical Savings Accounts take the money out of the healthcare insurance company’s hands and delivers it to consumers.

Both HSA’s and MSAs have the unique advantage of providing and financial incentive to save.

When people have savings to protect in HSAs, the cost of care drops without harmful effects on health. 

 The financial incentive decreases the overuse of the healthcare system.

“ According to a 2012 study in Health Affairs if even half of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance enrolled in this kind of coverage, U.S. health expenditures would fall by an estimated $57 billion a year.”

My ideal Medical Savings Accounts provide an even a greater financial incentive and should decrease costs even further.

“ HSAs should be available to all Americans, including seniors on Medicare. Given that seniors use the most health care, motivating them to seek value is crucial to driving prices lower.”

Scott Atlas has publicized the obvious. This would apply to Medicaid recipient also. The details for Medicaid recipients can be found in my article “My Ideal Medical Savings Accounts Is Democratic. “

The maximum contribution to a MSAs should be raised to $6000 or $7000 dollars. If a consumer get sick and experiences a cost of $6000 he should receive 100% (first dollar) coverage through a reinsurance policy that would cost less than $6000.

There can be many variations on this theme for the consumers benefit.

 When a person with an HSA dies, the funds should be allowed to roll over tax-free to surviving family members.  

This financial incentive should be added to My ideal Medical Savings Account.

“The information that patients require to assess value must be made radically more visible. A 2014 study on magnetic resonance imaging showed that price-transparency programs reduced costs by 18.7%.”

A consumer driven system would force providers to compete for patients. Information on price could easily be provided to consumers by the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

“The most compelling motivation for doctors and hospitals to post rates would be knowing that they are competing for price-conscious patients empowered with control of their own money.”

 In his age of technology and rapid communication telemedicine should be promoted and paid for. One way to do it is to permit physicians to practice telemedicine across state lines.

It would supply instant access to expertize at an affordable cost.

Everything possible should be done to encourage consumer responsibility and provider competition.

The present tax code does the opposite. Consumers’ in-group plans provided by large and small corporations receive their healthcare insurance from the corporation with tax-free dollars.

The larger the corporation the more leverage the corporation has for negotiating the premiums with the healthcare insurance companies.

The younger and healthier the corporate employees are the lower the premiums.

This is where the formation of associations with larger memberships of all ages fits in to lowering the price of healthcare. Large associations would have great leverage in negotiating price with insurance companies. They would also spread the risk.

If financial incentive with my ideal medical saving account was added to the price the association negotiated and the consumer paid for the premium, usage would fall and the cost of insurance would decrease.

Tax deductibility must be given to these “individual” insurance policy holders and association policy holders so they are, in reality, paying for healthcare insurance with pre-tax dollars as the corporate group plan policy holders.

These simple changes in the law would result in an affordable healthcare system that was market driven by consumers. The changes would force providers and the healthcare insurance industry to become competitive.

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

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

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How Can I Be So Misinterpreted?

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Senate Republicans Are Making Repeal and Replace Harder Than It Should Be

 Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

I think the Republican establishment in the senate is trying to undermine President Trump’s agenda.

It would be easy to repeal and replace Obamacare if the reasons for its failure where publicized. The main reason is that it does not align the initiatives of most of the stakeholders. The cost of administration is a close second.

Obamacare is about redistribution of wealth and control over the healthcare system. It ends up penalizing the middle class the most because of premium increases.

People like entitlements because they are free. Someone else is paying for them.

Politicians want to keep their jobs. They do not want to upset people who receive these entitlements.

“But the revisions may well alienate the Senate’s most conservative members, who are eager to rein in the growth of Medicaid and are unlikely to support a bill that does not roll back large components of the current law.

Even with more moderate Republicans on board, party leaders would have a very narrow margin for passage on the Senate floor.”

The healthcare insurance companies do not want to lose money selling healthcare insurance. They are getting out of the healthcare market because, by their calculations, they are losing money.

The Republicans establishment in the Senate want to continue to provide subsidies to the healthcare insurance industry.

Congress needs the healthcare insurance industry’s ability to provide administrative services whether it is for Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance exchange coverage (Obamacare) or private insurance.

The government’s goal is to provide enough financial incentives for the healthcare insurance industry to provide affordable healthcare insurance coverage while saving money.

President Obama subsidized the healthcare insurance industry for any perceived losses through the Obamacare reinsurance program. Then President Obama reneged on the agreement. He only paid 12% of what was owed according to the insurance industry’s calculations..

Democrats want a single party payer system. They want everyone on Medicare or Medicaid. It is simple. The result is the government provides healthcare insurance for everyone. Everyone receives first dollar coverage. This would be the mother of all entitlements.

The single party payer system would also provide the government with tremendous power over the people. It would control consumers’ freedom of choice.

Along with this simple single party system comes a complex bureaucracy with all the inefficiencies that I have described previously.

Consumers would be chained to the inefficient healthcare system. The inefficiencies in the system have been graphically demonstrated by the VA Healthcare System and its ever increasing costs.

It would be nice if a single party payer system were efficient and affordable. Canada has a universal healthcare system. Canadians who are not sick and do not need their healthcare system believe the Canadian system is great.

They ignore the fact that the Canadian provinces are paying 50% of their GNP to provide free healthcare to all Canadians.

Canada’s health-care wait times costing patients many millions in lost time, wages”

Ontarians wait longer for health care than citizens of other universal health-care countries”

The fact is single party payer systems do not work for all the stakeholders.Both Democrats and Republicans are missing the essential point about what would work to provide an affordable healthcare system that aligns the incentives of all stakeholders.An essential element is to develop a system that encourages consumers of healthcare to be responsible for their health and have control over their healthcare dollars.

The Senate’s present revision does not consider this. The Senate is considering the needs of the healthcare insurance industry and not the needs of consumers.

The Senate should be considering the following in order to repeal and replace Obamacare.

  1. My Ideal Medical Savings Account should be instituted immediately. It will provide financial incentives for consumers as well and incentives to maintain health.

Self-management of chronic disease is essential for a healthcare system to become affordable. My Ideal Medical Saving Account provides that financial incentive.

1. The Ideal Medical Saving Account will provide instant adjudication of medical care claims.

  1. The ideal Medical Savings Accounts will encourage patient responsibility for their health, the care of their disease and their healthcare dollars.
  2. The Republican Party should establish an organized system of disease management education for persons with chronic disease. The education system should be designed to be an extension of physicians’ care. It should not be a free-standing education system. Physicians should be provided with incentives to set up these educational systems.

http://stanfeld.com/chronic-disease-management-and-education-as-an-extension-of-physicians-care/

  1. A system of social networking with physicians and their patients should be developed. The government could provide the template for physicians and their team.

http://stanfeld.com/social-networks-patient-education-and-the-healthcare-system/

The networks could be physicians to patients networks, patients to patients networks, patients to their physicians’ healthcare team networks. These networks need to be an extension of the physician’s care. All encounters should be imported to the patient’s chart with certain restrictions.

  1. Social networking between physicians should also be developed.
  2. Integrated care systems with generalists to specialists must be developed for both treatment and cost transparency for the physicians and patients.
  1. There must be instant communication between physicians and patient via an effective electronic medical record. The EMR must be a teaching tool for physicians. It must not be a tool to judge physicians’ care and penalize them. The EMR should be cloud based. Maintenance and upgrades should be free and seamless. Physicians should be charged by the click.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=EMRs

  1. Tort Reform is an essential element in a healthcare system that would work and be affordable. It would decrease the cost of over testing. It would also decrease the cost of malpractice insurance and legal fees. These cost are built into the cost of care. The cost of care would be reduced significantly. http://stanfeld.com/?s=tort+reform

The goal of effective healthcare reform should be to align all the stakeholders’ incentives. Patient incentives should be at the center of this alignment.

Align patient 1

Align government

Obamacare did not bother to try to align any of the primary stakeholders’ (patients and physicians) incentives. In fact Obamacare destroyed the patient/physician relationship.

The house bill to repeal and replace Obamacare touches on some alignment.

The senate is fighting about issues that are not significant in aligning all stakeholders’ incentives.

The healthcare system will not be repaired until all the stakeholders’ incentives are aligned. Healthcare policies must be put in place to align those incentives.

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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Listen Up: It Is All About Personal Responsibility

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

In my last blog I continued my War on Obesity. I started this war in 2007.

There has been little progress in this war because of cultural conditioning and a lack of emphasis on personal responsibility.

Every New Year’s Day millions of Americans make New Year resolutions to lose weight. They are initially successful. They then regain the weight they have lost.

If America is going to solve the healthcare systems unsustainable cost, it is going to have to solve the increasing Obesity problem.

The National Institute of Diabetes (niddk.nih} recently 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.”

Each year the obesity problem gets worse. Companies have sprung up selling weight loss formulas. These companies advertise their great success.

However, most of the iconic personalities used in their advertising have regained their weight after experiencing mild or significant weight loss.

This study was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NHANES III was designed to provide nationally representative data to estimate the prevalence of major diseases, nutritional disorders, and potential risk factors.

  • Sixty-three percent of men and 55% of women had a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or greater.

 

  • A graded increase in the prevalence ratio (PR) was observed with increasing severity of overweight and obesity for all of the health outcomes except for coronary heart disease in men and high blood cholesterol level in both men and women.

 

  • With normal-weight individuals as the reference, for individuals with BMIs of at least 40 kg/m2 and who were younger than 55 years, PRs were highest for type 2 diabetes for men (PR, 18.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.7-46.8)

 

  • Women (PR, 12.9; 95% CI, 5.7-28.1]

 

  •  Gallbladder disease for men (PR, 21.1; 95% CI, 4.1-84.2) and women (PR, 5.2; 95% CI, 2.9-8.9).

 

  • Prevalence ratios generally were greater in younger than in older adults.

 

  • The prevalence of having 2 or more health conditions increased with weight status category across all racial and ethnic subgroups.

 

The Prevalence Ratio of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is 18.1 for men and 12.9 for women.

Therefore Type 2 Diabetes is very prevalent in both Obese and Overweight men and women.

 

  • Up to 75% of adults with diabetes also have hypertension, and patients with hypertension alone often show evidence of insulin resistance.
  • Hypertension and diabetes are common, intertwined conditions that share a significant overlap in underlying risk factors (including ethnicity, familial, dyslipidemia, and lifestyle determinants) and complications.
  • These complications include microvascular and macrovascular disorders. The macrovascular complications, which are well recognized in patients with longstanding diabetes or hypertension, include coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Although microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy) are conventionally linked to hyperglycemia, studies have shown that hypertension constitutes an important risk factor, especially for nephropathy.

Eighty percent of the treatment costs for diabetes and hypertension to the healthcare system is the result of the treatment of the complications of hypertension and diabetes.

In order for a healthcare system to be sustainable diabetes and hypertension must be cured. It is essential that each must be recognized early and treated aggressively.

Patients must be taught to be “the professor of their disease” so they can self-manage the control of their disease. Blood pressures and blood sugar are changing continuously. Patients live with their disease 24/7.

This takes a lot of personal responsibility and personal discipline.

Equally important is the morbidity resulting from the complications of diabetes and hypertension, two diseases that result from obesity.

Complications from the onset of both hypertension and diabetes take about eight years to develop. This is the reason to diagnose and discover Pre-Diabetes at the onset.

  • The shared lifestyle factors in the etiology of hypertension and diabetes provide ample opportunity for non-pharmacological intervention.
  • Thus, the initial approach to the management of both diabetes and hypertension must emphasize weight control, physical activity, and dietary modification.

Lifestyle intervention is remarkably effective in the primary prevention of diabetes and hypertension. These principles also are pertinent to the prevention of downstream macrovascular complications of the two disorders.

This is the where my story of the importance of personal responsibility comes in.

A restaurateur, in his early 50’s, who runs a large restaurant in Dallas, that I frequent, was slowly gaining weight. At 269 lbs. he had difficulty standing on his feet all day long. He was being treated for hypertension and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

His physician told him he must lose weight. He informed him of his risk factors for the complications of these diseases.

This was all he needed hear. The thought of having to quit the job he loved and the possibility of dying from the complications of his diseases was enough to make him decide to loss the weight.

He was told he would be fine if he lost the weight.

He has lost 70 lbs.so far without assistence. He has decided to be personally responsible for his weight loss.

He now gets up at 5 am each morning and exercises for one hour each day before work.

He has stopped eating his wonderful pasta dishes. He eats nothing that is white.

Every time I meet a friend at the restaurant, the restaurateur sits down at our table for a chat. We usually talk about how great he is doing in the weight loss department.

I had initiated an obesity program at Endocrine Associates of Dallas P.A. in the mid 1980s. A California clinical endocrinologist, with whom I did my endocrine fellowship with, had a very successful obesity program. He convinced me to start one at EAD.

Patients on large doses of insulin were totally off insulin after two weeks. It was successful until the patients graduated from the program.

Unfortunately the recidivism rate (regaining weight) was around 80%. This rate was not dissimilar to the national overage at the time.

EAD stopped the program.

In my view there were not enough patients who turned the corner and stuck to the program.

I believe the restaurateur has turned the corner. This fellow has turned the personal responsibility corner to control his food intake and exercise output. I do not believe he will regain his weight.

He has exhibited personal responsibility for his health and well-being.

If only physicians could solve the obesity problem so easily, the cost of healthcare would plummet to sustainable levels.

The development of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus would also plummet and the cost of the treatment of its complications would vanish.

Social change is necessary in restaurants and fast food chains.

People have to be taught to eat wisely in restaurants and at home.

People have to be provided with education about the perils of obesity.

People have to understand the natural history of obesity.

People have to be motivated to not only maintain their health. They have to be given financial incentives to control their health.

This can only be achieved with a consumer driven healthcare system in which people are provided with incentives to control their healthcare dollars.

My ideal medical savings account will provide all the appropriate incentives for all people of all economic levels.

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

  • Naina Katyal

    Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable.
    Desi chhokri kurtis

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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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Dear President-elect Trump Part 3

 

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