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The Reason Congress Does Not Work

Stanley Feld MD,FACP, MACE

I have wondered why either house of congress has not done anything about healthcare reform in the past 6 months.

The reason is that both the Democrat and Republican leadership in both houses of congress do not want to do anything about Repairing the Healthcare System.

On July 2, 2018 CMS released a report on the performance of the health insurance exchanges and the individual Obamacare health insurance markets.  

“Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Releases Reports on the Performance of the Exchanges and Individual Health Insurance Market.

Reports show individual market erosion and increasing taxpayer liability.”

The CMS conclusions for 2017 were obvious in 2016. Obamacare is on a downward spiral.

In 2017 87% of enrollees were subsidized as opposed to 83% in 2016.

There was an alarming 20% drop nationwide in enrollees in Obamacare’s individual healthcare market without federal premium subsidies.

223,000 subsidized enrollees dropped their subsidized insurance.

These Obamacare enrollees dropped their insurance because even with subsidies their premiums became too expensive. Their average monthly premiums of the subsided and unsubsidized groups spiked by 21%.

Unsubsidized Obamacare enrollment dropped an average of 33% nationally. It dropped an astonishing 73% in Arizona. It is a wonder that neither Arizona senator wants to do anything about Repairing the Healthcare System. It is also a wonder that Arizona citizens continue to support these senators.

Obamacare is dead!

The Democrats are naturally blaming its death on President Trump. President Trump does not want to pour more money into this failed concept while forcing a greater payment liability on taxpaying  Americans.  He wants congress to do something to repair the healthcare system.

President Obama’s plan all along was for Obamacare to fail and be replaced by a single party payer system.

I have written about 20 articles on why a single party payer system is unsustainable and will fail.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=single+party+payer

I am unable to insert links and videos properly. Please insert the links for both into your browser. It is important to understand how the rookie representative view how the government works.

The British National Health Services System is a failure. Single party payer systems close to home are a failure.

For example The VA Health System is a failure. Medicaid is an unsustainable failure. It is unsustainable while offering inefficient care.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=Medicaid+failure

Medicare is a failure because it is unsustainable by the government. Seniors like it because they can get care that they could not afford otherwise.

However, seniors are getting wise. Medicare is becoming unaffordable to seniors. The government construction of Medicare premiums for Part B, Part D and Part F are costing seniors somewhere north of $16,000 a year in post tax dollars.

Medicare used to pay 80% of its approved fee. The approved fee is about 50% of the physicians’ fees. In 2018 Medicare is only paying around 50% of its approved fee. Seniors have to pay the difference.

This will drive seniors out of the Medicare marketplace.

There is a better way. I have gone into excruciating detail describing the better way.

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

Newt Gingrich, when he was house leader, said my idea was a BIG IDEA. However nothing ever came of the big idea. The “big idea” empowers the people not the government.

Unlike many other politicians who have promised to take on the establishment and “drain the swamp,” Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) 2012 is actually trying to do just that, and is taking some serious flak for his exposure of the Deep State and its agents on Capitol Hill.”

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/29426-in-the-swamp-fearless-reps-expose-the-corruption-on-capitol-hill?src=ilaw

If you click on the newamerican link above you will have all the videos in one article.

In a video series entitled The Swamp, Massie, along with Representatives Dave Brat and Tom Garrett of Virginia, Ken Buck of Colorado, Rod Blum of Iowa, and Ted Yoho of Florida, are showing people “what happens behind the scenes in Congress.”

To date, there are four episodes, each running about 10 minutes.

Besides pulling back the curtain to reveal the names and tactics of those who really pull the legislative levers in Congress, The Swamp videos make it very obvious that, although there are 435 members of the House of Representatives, the key decisions are made by a handful of very powerful leaders bent on controlling the country and that the betrayal is bipartisan.

The first video introduces these non establishment representatives’ chief complaint.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSwamp/videos/1794302460864573/

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<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheSwamp%2Fvideos%2F1794302460864573%2F&show_text=1&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”427″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allow=”encrypted-media” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>

An average of 4,500,000 people have viewed these videos.

“Representative Blum responded, “Most all the decisions around here are made by a few people at the very top, without the input of any other congressional members or U.S. senators. That’s not good representative government, wouldn’t you say?”

 “I think both parties are engaged in a quiet deal that we will support our base, and if it leads to bankruptcy, okay, and you will support your base, and if it leads to bankruptcy, okay,” Representative Buck says in Episode 1.

In Episode 2, the perception of a two-party system where the two parties oppose each other and want to achieve different ends is shattered as leaders of Democrats work with their Republican counterparts to shove a bloated, unconstitutional omnibus spending bill through the House without giving members time to read the text of the measure.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSwamp/videos/1807501746211311/

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“One of the most shocking revelations comes in Episode 3, when Rep. Massie details how the party forces members to pay “rent” for their committee assignments and chairmanships. If a congressman wants to sit on a committee, he is expected to raise a certain amount of money for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the body that works to elect House Republicans. There is an identical system on the Democrat side. In an interview, Rep. Buck told me this system has been in place for Republicans since the days of Newt Gingrich, and even longer for Democrats.”

https://www.facebook.com/TheSwamp/videos/1816800768614742/

<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheSwamp%2Fvideos%2F1816800768614742%2F&show_text=0&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”315″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>

Episode 4 of The Swamp was released just a few days ago and covers the consequences faced by those lawmakers brave enough to buck the system and call out the conspirators.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSwamp/videos/1831877993773686/

<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheSwamp%2Fvideos%2F1831877993773686%2F&show_text=0&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”315″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>

There you have it. This is the complex definition of The Swamp.

The structure has been created whereby our representatives and senators do not represent the will of the people.

Congress represents the will of the vested interests. Anyone that understands this has to play ball or move out.

It will be very difficult for America to get a sensible healthcare reform bill for the benefit of the American people when this pyramid of power exists.

It looks like legislation is driven by money, not the will of the people. These four videos are essential to understanding the process. They must be watched.

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



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President Trump’s Drug Plan Is On Target

Stanley Feld MD,FACP,MACE

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trumps-medicare-rx-blueprint-has-a-tricky-wrinkle/    

President Trump’s proposal for lowering drug prices to an affordable range is on target.

I have received a several requests asking me to explain the administrations plan. The “media is the message.” The traditional media has once again missed President Trump’s message completely. I suspect the traditional media has missed President Trump’s message on purpose because of their bias against the president.

The traditional media jumped on Trump’s plan as a non-plan aimed to penalize the middle class for the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry.

Either the traditional media hates Trump and his administration so much that they are against everything he does or they have not read his plan with an open mind because it has too many words in it.

It is pretty clear that Nancy Pelosi did not read President Trump’s drug plan or if she did she did not understand it. She said:

“This weak plan abandons the millions of hard-working families struggling with the crisis of surging drug prices.”

Nancy Pelosi’s statement is otter nonsense.

Her statement is reminiscent of the statement she made about Obamacare;

“You have to pass the plan in order to see what is in it.”

Any thoughtful Democrat should be ashamed that Nancy Pelosi is their leader.

I picked the coverage of only a few of the traditional media, CBS news, The New York Times and the Washington Post’s. All the progressive leaning media are really echo chambers of each other.

Each media outlet missed the Trump administrations’ point. They all are looking through their progressive lens. They believe the only plan that would work is a single party payer system controlled by the government.

They also see a tired public looking forward for the government to take over the complicated issue of healthcare. They have not interest is looking at the unintended consequences of a government takeover of the healthcare system.

A single party payer system will not work because public dependence on bureaucrats and politicians has never worked.

Simple examples are the VA Healthcare System and Medicaid. Government controlled health plans such as the VA system became too inefficient, costly, corrupt and unsustainable. The quality of care decreased and consumer choice and input has been eliminated.

People would never know what President Trump’s drug plan is all about it if they just read about it in the traditional media. If they made it easier for themselves and just read the headlines, as some of my friends have, they would know nothing about Trump’s drug plan.

One must listen carefully and read the source material.

President Trumps YouTube

https://youtu.be/Cds8h9DbTdc

This is the official outline document of the steps that need to be taken to fix the broken drug plan system.

CBS new got it wrong right off the bat.

http://www.cbsnews.com/trumps-medicine-rx-bluprint-has-a-trickly-wrinkle/

“The Trump administration’s “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce patient costs made one thing clear: The government will not directly negotiate with drug companies to secure lower prescription prices. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t proposing changes that would dramatically alter the way Medicare pays for some of the most expensive drugs, and in the process, potentially raise out-of-pocket costs for some of the country’s sickest patients.”

CBS News then brings up an issue that part of President Trump’s solution. The news agency criticizes the administration before it knows the administration’s solution.

A cornerstone of the Trump plan calls for all Medicare drug payments to be consolidated under Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan for Medicare enrollees administered by private insurers. Under Part D, insurers and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate with drug companies for discounted prices in exchange for the drug companies’ products being included in the PBMs’ list of covered drugs.

But drugs intravenously administered in physicians’ offices, such as chemotherapy and vaccines, are usually covered as a medical treatment under Medicare Part B. Physicians buy these drugs directly from manufacturers, and Medicare reimburses doctors for the drugs’ average sales price plus 6 percent.

A perfect example is the yearly flu shot. Most flu shots are given at local pharmacies and supermarkets for Medicare patients’ convenience.

Medicare Part B pays $120 for a $15 injection dose. How is that for a colossal waste of Medicare dollars?

Pharmaceutical companies are against the idea, partly because they generally are paid more under Part B than Part D.

Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary and former president of the U.S. division of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (LLY), has been touting the move to consolidate Medicare drug payments.

“Bringing negotiation to Part B drugs is such a potent way to bring down prices that PhRMA is already protesting the idea,” Azar said in a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute in which he referred to the drug industry trade group called Pharmacuetical Research and Manufacturers.

Nonetheless, CBS points out a potential paper tiger to leave the message that the plan is no good. The “media is the message” even if it is a lie.

“But Azar and others have shed little light on exactly how this change would take place, leaving patients worried about the potential for astronomically higher out-of-pocket costs”.

The plan is there. CBS news has not read the plan.

“Medicare Part B presently creates incentives for doctors to purchase more expensive drugs to get a higher dollar profit”

This is a negative incentive that the President promised to eliminate. Physicians to not profit from higher drug prices. In the case of the flu shots pharmacies and supermarket pharmacies administering the flu shots profit.

“Azar said; it will create incentive for insurance companies and PBMs in Medicare Part D to negotiate discounts and lower prices and pass them on to patients.”

President Trump said he promises to eliminate the extreme profit the pharmacy benefit managers take from the system.

The New York Times took a different negative slant in order to criticize Present Trump.

“President Trump has the power to sink pharmaceutical stocks with a single jab about high drug prices.”

“But in a much-anticipated speech on the topic on Friday, Mr. Trump largely avoided the issues the industry fears the most, such as allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, or allowing Americans to import drugs.”

President Trump’s plan is to force pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate the best price for Medicare and patients with private insurance in a free market system and not in a government controlled system.

The government negotiates much lower drug prices for itself in the military and VA systems. The drug companies just cost shift and charge the rest of us a higher price

“Investors noticed: Stocks of major drug companies rose after his speech, as did those of pharmacy benefit managers, or the “middlemen” that Mr. Trump said were getting “very, very rich.”

Last weekend I asked a retired friend what he thought of the Trump plan. He said President Trump is going to make the drug companies and the pharmacy benefit managers very, very, rich.

This is regurgitation of the NY Times coverage from a well-educated man. The media is the message!

 

Time Magazine coverage was no better. It, too, was anti-Trump. Time Magazine did not bother to understand that the Trump drug program is a free market system without cronyism.

“ President Donald Trump’s long-promised plan to bring down drug prices would mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder.” Instead he focuses on private competition and more openness to reduce America’s prescription pain.”

Why can’t the media discuss the facts and let us decide what will work or not work? What is wrong with competition? It works. Government control doesn’t seem to work.

“The administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the notoriously complex drug pricing system.”

“But most of the measures could take months or years to implement, and none would stop drug makers from setting sky-high initial prices.”

I believe the public is starting to see how the traditional media does not want to understand President Trump’s proposal or how President Trump is going to execute on his promises.

“Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.”

“But it does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government’s Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors.”

Actually President Trump’s drug plan does use the massive buying power of the Medicare program to negotiate lower prices for seniors. He is doing it indirectly but through a free market system.

The traditional media’s prime focus is to criticize President Trump’s programs regardless of the facts.

In fact, with his drug plan, President Trump has published a blueprint that is going to change the metrics of how drugs are priced. His plan will make prices transparent to patients and physicians.

Patients will be given the choice to pick the best price. Physicians will be given the choice to decide if the price charged for new medication is worth the increase in price.

President Trump is going to eliminate the present failed system of pricing medication. It has not worked for consumers.

His blueprint cannot be evaluated in the context of the present pricing system.

I will describe the potential for improving the system with his blueprint in my next article.

All I can say at this point is let us see what is going to happen.

 

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



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The Healthcare System Needs Disruption

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The announcement that Amazon.com, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway are forming a non-profit company to try to improve the American healthcare system caused some ripples in the stock market.

The mere specter of its disruptive potential was enough to send some investors scurrying away from large payer providers like UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana.

The reason for the panic is obvious. These large insurance companies have been ripping off the healthcare system for decades. They have had their fortunes improved with Obamacare and its regulations. They are afraid they are going to lose their stronghold.

The three innovations, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Jamie Diamond are disruptors that might destroy UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Humana’s kingdom.

Mitch McConnell has supposedly taken Repeal of Obamacare off the agenda for 2018.

I believe Mitch McConnell doesn’t know what to do about Obamacare. He is hoping that it fails on its own. He has passed the budget that will force the government to cover the tremendous financial short falls the defectives in the structure of Obamacare is going to precipitate.

Only then will the public hear about Obamacare’s effect on America’s budget deficit.

The American taxpayer will be force to continue to fund this failed program.

Obamacare has failed because of its structure. It encourages over use of the healthcare system by sick people. It does not encourage consumers to be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

The Democrats and the Republican establishment have failed the American consumer again.

Bravo to three of America’s premier disruptors Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Jamie Diamond.

If they bother to understand the elements of medical care and the reasons for the healthcare systems dysfunction they have a chance for success.

If they follow the previous attempts to repair the healthcare system by the government, healthcare insurance industry and hospital systems they will fail miserably just as these other institutions have failed.

“The industry certainly offers plenty of opportunities for reinvention, of course. Healthcare in the United States is expensive, and its quality varies wildly.” says Christopher Rowe, managing director at Korn Ferry.

Jeff Bezos has the best shot at reducing drug price significantly. The government cannot negotiate prices. The private carriers through drug benefit plans do a little better.

The military and the VA system do 30 to 75% better than Medicare Part D and the private sector.

Jeff Bezos knows how to market via the Internet. With the large cadre of consumer employees of Jeff Bezos Warren Buffet and Jamie Diamond, Mr. Bezos can probably negotiate the drug prices down by at least 50%. I’ll bet he can negotiate drug prices almost as low as the VA system and also provide the pharmaceutical companies an increase in reimbursement for their drugs.

Mr. Bezos usually eliminates most of the middlemen. He will be able to offer the medication at a 40 or 50% lower price than Medicare Part D and the private benefit managers and still make a sizable profit while providing a better quality of service.

He knows the customer is the consumer.

When it comes to the delivery of medical care and the use of technology in the delivery of medical care, I am not sure Bezos, Buffet and Diamond know who the real customers are.

I am not sure they know how to get around the stronghold the healthcare insurance industry, the federal government and the hospital systems have over the control of healthcare.

Many other corporations have tried to break the stronghold and have failed.

I will try to tell Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Jamie Diamond what they have to do in my next blog.

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

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 Changing The Rules: It Is Just The Beginning

 Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

A proposal to cut Medicaid payments to some insurers with excessive reserves stirs concern from healthcare insurers.

Progressive politicians refuse to believe that entitlement programs like Medicaid are not viable. Politicians should be looking at creative ways to structure the Medicaid form of insurance for both physicians and patients.

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2018/01/22/proposal-to-cut-medicaid-payments-to-some-insurers-with-excessive-reserves-stirs-concern-206875

I have not written a blog lately because both the Democrats and the establishment Republicans in both the house and the senate disillusion me. Neither house or senate members are interested in being creative.

Neither body knows how medicine works.

These politicians have no interest in doing what is best for the people who elected them. They are only interested in maintaining power and extending their power over the people they govern.

The result will be to decrease to quality of care to patients forever.

In the meantime there have been news stories on how different corporate organization and big businesses are trying to take over medicine.

Many readers have noticed that emergency clinics are popping up in every city and town.

I believe these emergency clinics centers are in reality real estate plays waiting for so that big corporations, like Aetna; to buy them out in order to expand their plans to take over medical care.

It feels similar to the proliferation of small banks in the 1980’s. These new small banks’ plan was to grow and be bought out at a premium by larger banks in order to enlarge the sale premium.

When the defective program (Medicaid) is a failure one should learn from that failure. One should not continue to try fixes to the program (Medicaid) when each fix creates greater dysfunction.

One should institute another plan that might work. However, government officials continuously apply an additional patch that leads to more unintentional consequences.

This week New York State governor Andrew Cuomo put another patch on its failed Medicaid system. I predict this patch will lead to more unintended consequences. The result will be to make Medicaid coverage worse for its New York State’s Medicaid recipients.

Governor’s Cuomo’s initial mistake was expanding Medicaid at President Obama’s request. He then compounded the mistake by subsequently allowing illegal immigrants in the state to receive Medicaid coverage.

It is not wise to take a financially failed system and expand it. It is much better to change the system.

Now Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget is proposing to cut Medicaid payments to certain health insurance companies with excess reserves, a move that is alarming insurers because of its intent and its ambiguity.

“The proposal, part of the $168.2 billion executive budget released last week, says that any Medicaid managed care or long-term care Health Maintenance Organization that has excess reserves across all lines of business would be subject to a prospective cut in Medicaid rates.”

 Why would an insurance company want to participate in these programs?

The immediate unintended consequence is that the insurance company that found a defect in the payment schedule for HMO’s and managed care would leave the Medicaid market.

The second unintended consequence is it would discourage companies from having incentive to make a profit.

“Under current law, all Health Maintenance Organizations are subject to minimum reserve requirements,” said Erin Silk, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health. “This policy will provide the commissioner with the discretion to make rate adjustments to plans holding reserves in excess of the statutory requirements for reasons that cannot be explained or justified.”

The state did not project any savings from this proposal.”

The state cannot run Medicaid without insurance companies being the administrative service providers. It is the same old story. This comes on top of a proposed fourteen percent tax on for-profit insurers as well as the state receiving a cut of the proceeds when a nonprofit insurer converts to a for-profit insurer as a result of the new tax law.

Governor Coumo wants this additional money because he thinks the insurance industry is going to have a windfall from President Trump’s new tax law. He figures the state will collect $640 million dollars more as a result of this move.

“There were 3 million New Yorkers enrolled in these types of plans in 2014, according to a report from the United Hospital Fund.”

The insurance industry gave the usual illogical reason for opposing Cuomo’s proposals.

These insurance companies are there to make money. They are not going to let Coumo out of his commitment. I believe they will walk away from providing administrative services for the states Medicaid insurance coverage.

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

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What Was John McCain Thinking?

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

I remember when President Obama held a meeting in 2009 with congressional Republicans in the House and Senate to discuss Obamacare before its passage.

This was to get input from Republicans before the Democrats excluded Republican input and were ready to vote in their Democratic Party dominated house and senate.

John McCain offered a constructive comment to improve Obamacare. President Obama’s response was “John I won the election.”

 

Now that Obamacare is an unmitigated failure John McCain voted against a simple repeal of Obamacare.

John McCain ran for reelection in his Senate primary and again in the general election on the platform that he would repeal and replace Obamacare.

 Many forget that he almost lost his primary election to a Republican tea party challenger. He and the Republican Party outspent the tea party challenger.

 http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/john-mccain-arizona-primary-ward-22751

During his Senate race, he was also anti-Obamacare.

 http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/john-mccain-obamacare-arizona-224622

In fight of his political life, McCain hammers Obamacare

I think it’s a very strong issue,” McCain told POLITICO about his focus on Obamacare. “Eight of the counties in my state will now only have one [health insurer]. They’re looking at 65 percent increases in their premiums. They’re very upset.”

Why did he vote against the simple repeal? Is he a political hypocrite?

Does he hate President Trump so much that he will do anything to undermine his agenda?

Paul Ryan’s original bill allowed for an easy transition from Obamacare to a replacement bill.

Congressional leaders, especially John McCain, must listen to this lecture.

The traditional media critiques should listen to Paul Ryan’s lecture carefully and report on it fairly.

https://youtu.be/fQ2YIzqEnEY

 

His plan would eliminate many of the Obamacare punitive regulations and permit Health Savings Accounts to grow. It would stabilize the health insurance markets. Some Republicans in the House are still opposed to his bill. They wanted immediate repeal and replace. They could not comprehend Paul Ryan’s subtle strategy.

Speaker Ryan finally got a watered down version of his proposal passed and ready for a joint conference. The Democrats fought it all the way.

In the senate, the Democrats said no to any proposal President Trump supported.

Both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said it is the Democrats job to say no to everything in President Trump’s agenda. The job in their view is to destroy the Trump presidency.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pelosi-struggles-to-call-trump-president-whats-his-name/article/2624485

Their plan is to destroy the Trump presidency with the help of the traditional media and the deep state. The deep state consists of Obama administration holdovers and anti-Trumpers in administrative positions. Some are career administrators. It is becoming obvious that they are also the leakers.

Chuck Schumer has done everything in his power to slow down confirming President Trump’s nominees. He has openly admitted this.

The members of the deep state have been leaking classified information to the press about President Trump’s administration. These are federal crimes. Secretary Sessions is starting to do something about catching these leakers.

President Trump has pledged to clean up the swamp. The swamp consists of the deep state plus many Democrats and some Republicans are both houses.

President Trump has the ability to confirm his nominees when both houses in congress are in recess.

By a strange sounding rule, both houses of congress can be considered in session when all the congresspersons are in recess.

Lisa Murkowski (R Alaska) set it up so that while the senate is in recess it is still in session. This is denying President Trump the opportunity to make recess appointments.

Senator McConnell did not do anything to stop her. It looks like the Republican establishment is also trying to destroy President Trump’s presidency.

Why would I think that?

President Trump has not had any cooperation from the Republican establishment to date.

President Trump pledged to clean up the swamp. All of the parties mentioned are the swamp that has hampered the growth of our economy.

I guess John McCain did his job for both the Democratic and Republican political establishment by voting against the simple repeal of Obamacare.

“The Senate GOP’s healthcare bill failure is a political debacle that will compound for years, and the first predictable fallout is already here:

“Republicans in Congress are under pressure to bail out the Obama Care exchanges, even as Donald Trump threatens to let them collapse.

The GOP needs to get at least some reform in return if it’s going to save Democrats and insurers from their own failed policies.”

 “Mr. Schumer may figure he can bludgeon the GOP into surrender because his press-corps buddies will blame the GOP for rising premiums.”

Let’s see what happens as a result of the swamp’s victory.

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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Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

It looks like the Senate is making a mess out of its version (BCRA) of repeal and replace Obamacare.

My first reaction was that Better Care Reconciliation Act is a stupid name for a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

I have not heard a single specific criticism of BCRA by the Democratic leadership.

Nancy Pelosi said the bill will kill hundred of thousands of people. Hillary Clinton said it was a death bill. Chuck Schumer told the American people it is a terrible bill and leave millions uninsured. They all said it is going to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The evidence for these statements has not been presented.

Democrats have used these scare tactics so often that no one believes them anymore.

Americans are smarter than that.

Republicans have not explained the strategy behind BCRA in making the healthcare system better than Obamacare either.

All I have heard from President Trump is that it is a beautiful bill. It will make our healthcare system great.

If no one understands BCRA how can a media driven public poll with a 17% approval rate have any meaning?

The survey of public opinion is meaningless.

At present Obamacare has left 26 million uninsured and rising. It has only insured less than ten million people in the individual market.

Obamacare is also unaffordable. The deductibles are as high as $6500 before any insurance kicks in. People who buy the insurance have no insurance until they spend more than $6500.

I don’t understand the Senate Republicans who want a perfect conservative bill. They are not going to get it. They will yield the floor to the minority Democrats.

The turkey buzzards are circling the corpse already. The corpse being Obamacare and the Republican replacement

Elizabeth Warren said we must go to the next steps which is a single party payer system now.

I believe Obamacare is going to self-destruct in 2018 if nothing is passed immediately.

The choice for the Republicans who are oppose compromise and the passing of BCRA is clear to me.

Either the Republicans pass this bill and have a chance for a free market healthcare system or reject it and end up with a failed Obamacare healthcare system.

Everyone knows the replacement for a failed Obamacare system is a single party payer system just like the VA Healthcare System.

A single party payer system will be an unaffordable disaster.

I will not comment on the specifics of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) except to say it is not perfect.

Let us see if it passes and what form takes. I will make some comments at that time.

President Trump needs BCRA to pass in order to make significant inroads in reforming the tax code.

I would be a pity if his fellow Republicans tied his hand on significant tax reform to simplify the tax code.

My hope is that Tom Price knows how to fix the healthcare system once the house and senate agree on specifics of the bill in conference.

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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It Is All about How You Look At Things

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It Looks Like The Dice Are Loaded

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

Everyone is probably familiar with Leonard Cohen’s song “Everybody Knows.” If you are not you should read the words and /or listen to it.

https://www.google.com/#q=leonard+cohen+song+everybody+knows

The first paragraph says it all.

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows”

Leonard Cohen nailed it.

That is what is going on with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare in the congress.

“Everybody knows” the Republicans have shown little enthusiasm in repealing and replacing Obamacare. House Republicans barely got it passed. They had seven years to develop a replacement plan.

I think Republicans do not want replace Obamacare. They have used repeal and replace as a calling card to get a majority in both the house and the senate.

It looks like the American public has been used as a pawn for Republican to gain control of congress.

The Republicans talked a good game for the seven years that Obamacare has been the law of the land.

Obamacare has been a disaster. The majority of people have seen large increases in their healthcare insurance premiums and deductibles along with poor access to care.

Obamacare has cost our treasury trillions of dollars because of it poor business model design and mismanagement.

Obamacare claims it has provided healthcare coverage for twenty million Americans. It is not true. Thirteen million of those twenty million have been added to the enrollees in Medicaid.

Medicaid is a single party payer system that does not provide effective insurance coverage. It does not provide easy access to care in most parts of the country. There is also built in rationing of care.

“Everybody knows”

The healthcare insurance industry insurers are dropping out of Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. Almost all the state insurance exchanges have gone bankrupt and are out of business.

Americans heard over and over again from Republicans that Obamacare is going to die from it own weight. It is true.

There will continue to be insurance to coverage for the nine million insured with preexisting illness. The government mostly subsidizes these nine million patients. However they have unaffordable deductibles.

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.”

This week both Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators were publicly pessimistic about their prospects of repealing and replacing Obamacare this year.

Senate Republicans remain publicly pessimistic about their prospects of repealing and replacing Obamacare this year with several raising concerns this week about the party’s central campaign promise even as one of their leaders vowed to pass such a bill this summer.”  

The fix is in. The dice are loaded! Everybody knows.

Russ Limbaugh blew his top when he heard this.

“Rush Limbaugh said during his show that Republicans are road blocking the President’s agenda to a greater extent than Democrats are.

Limbaugh specifically pointed to remarks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), specifically about the Obamacare repeal bill.

Check it out:”

“I don’t understand how people don’t get that it’s not just the Democrats in Washington that are road blocking Trump. I mentioned it earlier.

 “Mitch McConnell says he can’t see a way to getting 50 votes for the House Obamacare repeal bill?

Now, stop and think here, folks. Back when the only element that we had was the House of Representatives and Republican voters were constantly saying, “Why aren’t you doing more to stop Obama? Why aren’t you trying to do something to stop Obamacare?”

The answer was always, “Well, all we’ve got is the House. W-w-we can’t get anything through the Senate because the Democrats own the Senate. Obama’s in the White House! He’ll veto anything if it did make it there.”

Limbaugh continued that prior to this year, Republicans always blamed failed policy attempts on a lack of majority in the Senate.

“Then, when we won the Senate, they blamed failed agendas on President Obama.”

So we’ve given Washington a Republican House, Republican Senate, and a Republican president in the White House, and it still feels as though nothing is getting done.”

How come?

“It’s the Republicans standing up and saying, “I just don’t see how we’re — there’s no room here.

“ I don’t know how we’re goanna lower rates when you have this exemption over here and you have this exemption there.”

 Mitch McConnell is giving hollow excuses. The Republican establishment’s motives and method are becoming very transparent.

Everybody knows the dice are loaded.

Rush Limbaugh continues,

“ And I just read this stuff and I shake my head. They don’t want to cut taxes.

  Either they don’t want to cut taxes institutionally, they don’t want to cut taxes economically, or they just don’t want to do the heavy lifting.”

The Republican and Democratic establishment has built a very successful swamp for themselves. It is both socially and economically rewarding. It is a strong powerbase that neither is willing to relinquish.

 “ I don’t know what it is. My guess is they don’t want to help Trump.”

President Trump has pledged to drain the swamp. He has pledged to put power back into the hands of the people. He represents a real threat to the power the establishment in both parties has over the people and their freedoms.

Neither party anticipated his victory and neither party understands his popularity. The Democrats are trying to hobble him directly with fake scandals. The mainstream media are trying to hobble him with fake news.

“They just don’t see how they can do it,” Limbaugh said, remarking how especially incredible it is:”

Because, of course, there’s a way.

 They just don’t want to do it.

I think it’s all establishment, all the time anti-Trump, throw the media in there as well.

 But even in the middle of this I can tell you almost assuredly that Trump is not off his game. He’s not despondent. He’s not sitting there worried about why all these people hate him.

 He’s not worried about all that. He’s just head down and moving ahead full speed as he can…

Rush Limbaugh should not be confused. Republicans are defending the swamp they built. These guys are not going to let President Trump disrupt the powerbase that is in the swamp.

While the Republican establishment is stonewalling President Trump, the Democratic establishment is rolling out a single party payer option again. The Democratic establishment is going to try to sneak it in.

The Democrats argue that it is obvious the Republican establishment does not have a plan. The Democrats proclaim they have a replacement for Obamacare. They claim that a single party payer is easy to understand. Their proclamation is, “Doesn’t Medicare work for seniors?”

“At rallies and in town hall meetings, and in a collection of blue-state legislatures, liberal Democrats have pressed lawmakers, with growing impatience, to support the creation of a single-payer system, in which the state or federal government would supplant private health insurance with a program of public coverage

Medicare does work for seniors. The problem is the premiums and co-payment is becoming higher each year. Supplemental insurance increases each year. Healthcare insurance coverage for seniors is unaffordable to many.

Medicare is also unsustainable for the federal government. The premiums do not cover the costs of coverage.

The Democrat-controlled California State Senate approved a preliminary plan for enacting single-payer system. 

This is a joke. California has a huge budget deficit presently. Where are they going to pay for its proposal?

When are Democrats going to realize the importance of fiscal responsibility?

They don’t now. The expansion of Obamacare to a Medicare model is unsustainable and will bankrupt the state.

This kind of thinking by liberals and Democrats is not going to repair the healthcare system. It will result in collapse of the healthcare system as politicians try to increase their power over the 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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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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