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Stakeholder Abuse of the Healthcare System

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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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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/

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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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Here They Come Again

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Democrats have tried to pass a single party payer healthcare system since 1935. Slowly, but surely, the American population has been indoctrinated into believing that a single party payer system run by the government is the best healthcare system to have.

Americans have been filled with disinformation about the wild successes of single party payer systems in the rest of the world.

The economics of these single party payer systems are seldom discussed in a coherent way. The American public has no idea of its economic burden to its countries.

The fact that these governments continue to raise taxes to pay for their single party payer system while decreasing their citizens’ access to care is hardly ever discussed. Only the favorable statistics that fit the progressive narrative are published.

In Norway the income tax rate is 50%. This is mostly because of its universal single party payer healthcare system. Norwegians seem happy with the system. If they get sick they have nothing to worry about. Their health care is free.

The fact is nothing is free and only 20% of the population interacts with the healthcare system at any one time.

In Britain taxpayers are unhappy with the National Health Services. Consumers recognize the bureaucratic waste in their healthcare system. They also suffer from decreased access to care. Wait times for health care and surgery are ridiculously long.

The private healthcare system is flourishing in Britain for those who can afford it.

The British healthcare system is unsustainable. The British government cannot figure out how to make it more efficient.

America has a single party payer system for Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and the VA system.

Seniors love Medicare. They could not afford to get treatment if there was not a Medicare System. Policy wonks and Democrats refuse to recognize that in 1965 after Medicare was enacted, healthcare prices exploded. The price of healthcare has continued to explode yearly.

Congress has ignored the basic defects that have caused this explosion. A few congressmen are making feeble attempts to correct this continuing price explosion.

The political establishment largely ignores these congressmen.

As attempts are made to try to control costs through regulations the bureaucracy grows and the system becomes more inefficient. The reduction of reimbursement to physicians has resulted in the explosion of concierge medicine.

The result is an increase in costs and greater opportunity for abuse by the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and healthcare providers and government.

Medicaid has experienced the same increasing costs. It also created a shortage of physicians because of low reimbursement. Obamacare has expanded Medicaid. This has decreased the availability of medical care for Medicaid patients.

President Obama’s law increased the number of Medicaid recipients but did not cure the reasons for the lack of providers. Many clever Medicaid providers have figured out how to exploit Medicaid rules only to suffer from investigations and government penalties in the long run.

The VA system is the purest example of sheer failure. Not only are the patients unhappy but the providing administrative bureaucracy is riddled with inefficiency, corruption and waste.

The inefficiency, corruption and waste have not been able to be fixed but many notable private sector executives. They have all ultimately resigned or were fired.

The VA system’s single party payer system remains an incurable failure.

These examples have proven to me that a single party payer system is unsustainable and not economically feasible. The government continues to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Are these mistakes intentional?

The government’s goals are to gain power and have control over the population. If its goals were to have an efficient and effective healthcare system, it would provide the resources to permit all consumers to drive the healthcare system. It would create a system that would motivate consumers to be responsible for their healthcare.

What is happening now?

The healthcare policy ideologists are using the New York Times as their propaganda vehicle to promote a single party payer system.

The article, Back to the Health Policy Drawing Board” is intellectually simulating to readers of the Sunday Times. However, many of its details are untrue.

After one casually reads the article on a pleasant Sunday morning it would seem much simpler to have a single party healthcare system controlled by the government than the chaotic system that presently exists.

However, the cost of the Medicare system is out of control. America cannot continue to print money forever. America’s political class is ignoring this fact.

It is so out of control political wonks are starting to talk about having another Debt Jubilee.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_Debt_Coalition

The New York Times article starts by saying:

The Affordable Care Act needs help.

It sure does. The problem is there are too many defects in the structure of Obamacare that led to the increases in costs to the government and consumers. Obamacare is beyond repair.

After scores of failed repeal attempts, Congress enacted legislation late last year that eliminated one of the law’s central features, the mandate requiring people to buy insurance.

There was only one failed repeal attempt not scores of repeal attempts. The one repeal attempt failed by one vote. It seemed to me to be a vindictive vote. It was not on the bills lack of merit. It seemed to me to be on John McCain’s personal animosity toward President Donald Trump.

There has been a total lack of bipartisanship in trying to repair Obamacare. The have been no ideas offered by Democrats. Its goal was to stymie the Republican administration.

Many establishment Republicans’ goal was to also stymie the Republican administration.

Obamacare had three principal features:

  • Insurers could not charge higher prices to people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Those without coverage had to pay a penalty to the government (the “mandate”).

President Trump slipped the elimination of the mandate into the tax bill to bring a speedier death to Obamacare.

  • Low-income people would be eligible for subsidies.

Each feature represented a death bell from the onset

A June 2017 poll showed that 60 percent of Americans said the government should provide universal coverage, and support for single-payer insurance rose more than one-third since 2014.

Americans are frustrated with the dysfunction in the healthcare system. Premiums have increased tremendously since Obamacare. Its regulations and defective principles increased dysfunction.

Enormous deductibles have resulted in individual buying defective insurance policies. Consumers have ended up with essentially no insurance coverage except for catastrophic illness. Only people at risk for high cost treatment have bought these policies.

I cannot imagine what the 60% who want a single party payer were thinking. Can a government run system improve the inherent inefficiency, waste, abuse and unsustainability of Obamacare or a VA like healthcare system?

A government run single party payer system can only make things worse.

The healthcare system will not improve until congress acts to level the playing field and fix the defects inherent in our present healthcare system.

I believe a universal consumer driven healthcare system, available to all, can “Repair the Healthcare System” at a much lower cost to society and individual consumers than a single party payer system.

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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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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What Are The Republicans in the Senate Doing?

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the Republican establishment in both houses of congress are trying to torpedo Donald Trump’s agenda.

Republicans had seven years to coordinate a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The House of Representative’s bill has finally past. Senate committees are stalling progress of the bill.

Both houses should have had all the debates and consensus reached to during the last seven years.

Why would congressmen try to stall the passage of the bill? President Trump has stated that passage of the budget bill is dependent on passage of the healthcare bill.

The reason is obvious to me.

President Trump has pledge to those who voted for him that he is going to drain the swamp in Washington. He is going to eliminate corruption and streamline the bloated bureaucracy.

The Republican establishment is a big part of the swamp. They are thriving in the swamp they helped create.

President Trump represents a direct threat to their power. The Republican establishment does not realize that the only reason they have a majority in both houses is because of the rebellion within the party against the Republican establishment.

Tea partyers and independents voted for unknown candidates and defeated many establishment Republicans in the primaries.

The goal of the Republican establishment is to weaken President Trump’s agenda.

They don’t understand that they are destroying the Republican Party while they are trying to save their own swamp.

It is time the Republicans in the Senate passed the bill.

Regulations that should be eliminated are any regulations that increase bureaucratic control over the healthcare system and the practice of medicine.

The healthcare community knows how to control the costs of chronic diseases. It is by decreasing the onset of complications. Patients have to participate in controlling their chronic disease.

If a healthcare system was developed to control the costs of these chronic diseases, the United States would not only have the best healthcare system in the world we would have the most cost effective healthcare system in the world.

“In the case of diabetes, for example, the American Diabetes Association reports that the total cost of that debilitating disease amounted to $245 billion in 2012. This includes $176 billion in direct medical costs, and $69 billion in lost productivity.”

The key to diabetes control and the avoidance of diabetes complications is to control blood sugar to a close to normal as possible. This takes a lot of work on the patient’s part. Patients need the education and the motivation to become the professor of their disease and control their blood sugar.

  As Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a physician, recently noted, diabetic seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare still do not have access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), a medical technology today covered by 95 percent of private health plans. ’’

It is bizarre. Yet, Republican Senators who should have figured this out over the last seven years are debating small points that will have little effect on the clinical outcomes. The Republican Party has an opportunity of a lifetime to fix the healthcare system for the American people.

Republicans are going to waste this opportunity to serve the people in order to preserve their swamp that has gotten the people into this horrible position.

I am afraid we are going to see this behavior of perpetuating waste when it comes to education, the environment and energy.

The Democratic Party is worse. They are not acting in the peoples’ interest. They are trying to obstruct everything President Trump is trying to accomplish.

They criticize every initiative saying it is bad without providing reasons for why it is bad.

I believe it is time for the members of both parties to get off the stick. They must stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the welfare of Americans.

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

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

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

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” is, mine and mine alone.
All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2017 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
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Pre-Election Obama Administration Lies

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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

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

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

The illegal immigrants will receive Medicaid and other entitlements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary Burwell goes on to conclude;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

https://youtu.be/ziVfvWO8oUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Americans deserve a better healthcare system than Obamacare.

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

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

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

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Defective Thinking About Single Party Payer Systems

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

Sowell

 

In a government controlled single payer health care system the government provides the healthcare coverage for all. The government pays providers for various services at a cost determined by the government.

Advocates of a single party payer system in the United States have publicized that Canada, Britain and the European Countries have successful single party payer systems.

These declarations are untrue.

The definition of success is variable, problematical and questionable. It is successful in the fact that healthcare coverage is universal.

It is problematical in the sense that access to care is difficult. The rationing of medical care has inevitable because of the escalation of costs.

It is questionable as to whether these countries can afford to cover everyone. The National Healthcare System in Britain is falling apart rapidly. Hospitals are closing because of lack of funding. Patients’ waiting lines are increasing, access to care and rationing of care is increasing.

Britain has a robust private healthcare insurance industry for those who can afford to pay. The National Healthcare Systems costs are unsustainable.

In Britain the private healthcare insurance industry is thriving.

In Canada the healthcare system is absorbing 50% of Canada’s GDP.

Canada’s unsustainable healthcare system has resulted in government rationing of care as well as long waiting lines for patients to receive even rudimentary care much less hip or knee replacement.

The United States has three single party healthcare systems: the VA healthcare system, Medicaid and Medicare.

The VA Healthcare System is a treatment and financial disaster. It has evolved into a bureaucratic monster. Employees who do not perform cannot be fired according to government rules. Too many employees have been hired to try to get the job done. The infrastructure is administratively bloated.

The second reason for the VA Healthcare System’s problems is there is no intellectual or financial incentive to do a responsible and better job on the part of employees.

The culture of the VA System is that of a typical government bureaucracy. The federal government throwing more money at the VA System, to help our veterans receive better care, has not improved the system.

Patients are not satisfied with Medicaid because there is limited assess to care. Physicians do not accept Medicaid patients because reimbursement is too low. Medicaid provides an opportunity for the indigent to receive medical care. However the ability to get medical care is limited.

Seniors are satisfied with the care available through Medicare. However, as reimbursement is decreasing and the delivery of care is becoming more bureaucratic, physicians are leaving the Medicare system and demanding cash from seniors for medical care.

There is also an increase in concierge medicine for seniors.

Drugs are increasing in price. Seniors cannot afford their medication. Medicare Part D coverage (Drug Medicare) has become too expensive to afford.

The result is patients are becoming sicker because they cannot afford the prescribed medications. Then they end up in the hospital. The result is an increased cost to the Medicare System. Since deductibles and co-pay are increasing seniors are being bankrupt by the Medicare system.

The advocates of a single party system ignore basic inefficiencies inherent in government controlled bureaucratic systems.

These bureaucratic systems are inefficient and ineffective. They become unsustainable in all the single party payer systems in existence.

The deception sold to the public by progressive politicians is the advantage that medical care is free to all. The simple concept that nothing is free is ignored.

A system must replace these failed systems that provides incentives to consumers for consumers to drive the system.

Below are the claimed advantages to a single party payer system. I have noted the deception in each claim.

  1. Healthcare Coverage is Universal

Everyone has health care coverage to the full extent that his or her health needs require.

People with pre-existing illness cannot be refused medical treatment.”

This should be the goal of any healthcare system.

The problems with healthcare systems in which consumers are entitled almost always get abused. The healthcare system has to be developed where people are responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

  1. Decrease Amount of Necessary Paperwork

That a single party payer system will “decrease the amount of necessary paperwork” is a fictitious advantage. It will increase the amount of paperwork as has been proven over and over again.

The goal of any government run healthcare system is to measure what the healthcare system is doing so that the government can determine the quality of care delivered on the basis of the information provided. The fact that the information provided could be fudged is immaterial to the documentation.

The delivery of medical care is complex. It is almost impossible to commoditize. In an effort to measure quality of care there are increased regulations and documentation requirements.

The more complex an illness is the more paperwork will be needed to enable evaluation of the quality of care.

The result will be there will be less time, not more time, for the medical staff to spend providing care for the patient.

The belief of single party payer advocates is “providers will have more time to spend with patients.”

Additionally because medical care is free the entitled inevitably overuse the healthcare system making it even less efficient.
“Advocates believe the costs of single payer health care systems will be lower.”

  1. Lower Costs

Progressives think the reasons for “the lower costs is there isn’t any competition, a not for profit structure, and a reduced number of administrative staff.”

“ The high salaries for administrators and sales people are eliminated in a single payer system.”

The costs of government run systems are never lower. The costs to patients are lower because it is free. The costs to the healthcare system are higher because there is no incentive to be competitive.

The government will have to outsource the administrative services to the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry will make the money even as they do now.

Obamacare’s administrative costs were supposed to be lower. The administration is in panic mode because of its high costs and impending failure.

A small part of the failure is the result of healthcare insurance companies non-participation in the health insurance exchanges and the failure of government set up Co-Op Insurance funds.

President Obama paid only 12% of what the healthcare insurance companies claim they are owed to cover their loses through the crazy reinsurance program the government promised the healthcare insurance industry.

President Obama, through the Justice Department is going to raid the Treasury’s Judgment Fund” to pay the insurance industry what they were promised in the reinsurance program.

It is essential for the survival of Obamacare that the healthcare insurance industries participate in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. Justice and the Treasury are ignoring the appropriation power of the congress.

This happens to be against the law.

In a 1998 letter the Government Accountability office pointed out that the Judgment Fund “is not a tool to circumvent congressional restrictions on appropriations.”

This is precisely what President Obama is doing.

The Administration will do anything to rescue its flailing Affordable Care Act, and nothing so meager as the law will interfere. This damage to the separation of powers, not a health-care bill, will be President Obama’s abiding legacy.”

The problem is congress will letter President Obama get away with doing this.

  1. No Insurance Companies Needed

The notion that the healthcare insurance industry is not needed for administrative services is a deception that progressive politicians continue to state falsely.

  1. Only One Buyer Required

“Only one buyer (the government) is required” is partially true and false. In the military the cost of drugs are cheaper than either the cost of drugs for government employees with Medicare Part C or seniors with Medicare Part D. The government is restricted from negotiating prices for drugs. The middlemen infrastructure for purchasing drug will remain.

I believe Americans are becoming more and more cynical about big government’s intentions and efficiencies. They want a change for good reason.

The following the ideas of progressives is not working. It is destroying the healthcare system.

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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The Deception and Disinformation Continues

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

When Co-Op Health Insurers close, what happens to customers’ all ready paid in deductibles?

The new insurer will not credit the already paid deductibles in 2016. Consumers will have to start all over again with new deductibles. This is despite President Obama’s implied promise that consumers will get credit for the deductibles paid.  

President Obama’s goal was to make Obamacare as complicated as possible so no one could understand it.

I believe neither he nor his administration understand all the interwoven parts and the unintended consequences.

Obamacare was built to fail.

Obamacare was built so that whatever part of the component policy failed, that policy would ultimately default to a single party payer system. The original goal was to have complete government control of the healthcare system.

The federal government would control choice and restrict access to medical care.

Americans’ free choice would be disappear.

Obamacare’s healthcare exchanges have only been attractive to people who could not obtain healthcare insurance because they had pre-existing illnesses.

That was a good thing. However, premiums were too high for the healthy uninsured.

The healthy uninsured would pay for the consumers with preexisting illnesses and spread the risk. The thought was that it would lower the cost of insurance.

The Obama administration lent $2.5 billion dollars to only 22 states that opted to set up Co-Ops to compete with the healthcare care insurance companies offering insurance through the health insurance exchange in those states.

These Co-Ops were destined to fail. The Obama administration’s plan was to low ball the insurance premiums and force the healthcare insurance companies to compete and lower their premiums.

President Obama’s reinsurance program to subsidize and protect insurers from loss fell apart because of budget restraints that he signed into law.

High-risk people with pre-existing illnesses flocked to sign up for the Co-Op’s healthcare insurance. The Co-Op insurance plans were poorly advertised and constructed. Few healthy people bought the plans.

We are constantly told how many people lost their insurance and their deductible.

In reality the Co-Ops was the “public option” without the approval of congress.

So far, seventeen of the twenty-two have declared bankruptcy so far. The remaining five Co-Ops are on the way. The federal government will never get paid back for the $2.5 billion dollars in loans.

Illinois’ Co-Op “ Land of Lincoln” declared bankruptcy and closed out over 49,000 patrons. The have to get new insurance to cover them for October, November and December.

A large insurer (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois) on the Illinois’ Obamacare exchange has decided not to credit former Land of Lincoln members for money they’ve already paid toward their deductibles despite a request from the state to consider doing so.”

“They will likely have to start from zero again on their deductibles and out-of-pocket max payments — in some cases costing them thousands of additional dollars.”

The other large insurers have not commented yet. President Obama has not come through with his promise to cover these deductibles.

President Obama and his press secretary deny Obamacare is in trouble. The casual observer who reads are Paul Krugman’s articles in the New York Times and believes he personally has adequate healthcare insurance would also believe the lie.

Paul Krugman is President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s hatchet man. When something goes wrong in any area of the economy Mr. Krugman blames it on the Republicans without evidence or data.

The New York Times and his readers believe him without critically evaluating his statements.

Paul Krugman: “Most of the news about health reform has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers.”

 This is lie. He has no positive evidence for this statement except that Obamacare has added 10 million people to the Medicaid program.

This could have been accomplished without Obamacare by simply raising the definition of poverty from its obsolete 1955 level.

Paul Krugman :“But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established.”

 Others have pulled out in addition to Aetna.

UnitedHealth, Cigna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and other smaller insurance companies such as Baylor/ Scott and White have pulled out because they have lost huge amounts of money. Their losses are unsustainable for their business.

Seventeen of the 22 federally funded Co-Ops have gone bankrupt and closed down. They were supposed to create competition like the public option to keep premium prices and deductibles down.

Paul Krugman says: “This doesn’t mean that the reform is about to collapse.”

What does it mean? He does not say.

Then he goes on to attack the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

“They’re problems that would be relatively easy to fix in a normal political system, one in which parties can compromise to make government work.

Maybe the Republicans cannot compromise because Obamacare was so poorly conceived and constructed.

Obamacare has been a waste of government money and taxpayers’ money. It is destroying the delivery of medical care. I would call this a failure.

Maybe the Republicans are correct in opposing a law that is increasing the federal deficit while claiming is that it is budget neutral.

It is unbelievable that Hillary Clinton wants to expand Obamacare. Isn’t it because Obamacare is failing and unsustainable?

Then Mr. Krugman goes on to take an inappropriate swing at Donald Trump.

“But they (the problems) won’t get resolved if we elect a clueless president (although he’d turn to terrific people, the best people, for advice, believe me. Not.).”

Paul Krugman then goes on to tell lie after lie about the success of Obamacare and how unfairly Republicans view Obamacare.

“Paul Krugman says:” The economy of race prevents Medicare and Obamacare expansion.”

“White voters “don’t like the idea of helping neighbors who don’t look like them”

“New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued Monday that the opposition of red states like Texas to accepting federal money to fund Medicaid expansion isn’t based, as claimed, on a commitment to smaller government and the superiority of the free market so much as it is the politics of race, and who would receive those funds.

Medicaid expansion, Krugman noted, disproportionately benefits nonwhite Americas, and voters in red states — particular the white ones — “don’t like the idea of helping neighbors who don’t look like them.

Paul Krugman is an economics professor. Can’t he figure out that the system has failed economically? American needs a better system with responsible consumers driving the system.

Who is stimulating race wars without facts or evidence?

Paul Krugman is stimulating race wars with unfounded statement like this in order to defend Obamacare and President Obama’s legislation. Legislation that has failed.

Nearly a third of the nation’s counties look likely to have just a single insurer offering health plans on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges next year, according to a new analysis, an industry pullback that adds to the challenges facing the law.”

Higher than expected costs have led UnitedHealth, Aetna, Humana and many smaller companies such as Baylor/Scott and White to pull out of Obamacare’s federal health insurance plan.

With the demise of the state Co-Ops the competition is even slimmer.

“The Kaiser Family Foundation, in a study commissioned by the Wall Street Journal, estimates that 19% of Obamacare enrollees seeking coverage in 2017 will be in a market with just one insurer, up from just 2% in 2016. Another 19% will have access to just two carriers, up from 12%.

Forty percent of 10 million people is 4 million people who are going to be affected by a decrease in competition. The total enrollment in Obamacare has been stagnant the last 3 years.”

We must repeal this debacle called Obamacare and start a new system that could work. A consumer driven healthcare system for all as described in my article “My Ideal Medical Saving Account is Democratic.”

It includes everyone. It provides financial incentives to everyone to be responsible for their own health and healthcare dollars.

“What do we have to lose?”

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

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

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