Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


Watch Out!! Obamacare 5.0 And The Healthcare Insurance Industry

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Ann Braly’s (CEO of WellPoint), article in the Wall Street Journal on February 7, 2007 and the announcement of a 37% increase in healthcare insurance premiums by California’s Anthem Blue Cross(a WellPoint affiliate) illustrates several points.

  1. The healthcare insurance industry wants Obamacare’s mandated insurance so it can service more enrollees.
  2. It is easier to hate the healthcare insurance industry more than Obamacare
  3. President Obama is able to ride in on his white horse and save Americans from the evil healthcare insurance industry.

Who wins?

  1. The healthcare insurance industry.
  2. The President and his goal to increase government. control over our lives and freedom.

Who losses? American citizens

1. Increasing government control over one-sixth of our economy

2. Increasing taxes in different ways.

3. Decreasing freedom to choose.

4. Restricting access to care.

5. Rationing medical care.

6. Infringement on our constitutional rights.

The healthcare insurance industry controls the healthcare system. It sets insurance premiums using defective accounting systems to determine an exaggerated overhead.

The States and their State Insurance Board control licenses to sell insurance. State Insurance Boards have not acted in the citizens’ interest in many states.

All the California State Insurance Board has to do is refuse Anthem Blue Cross a license to sell insurance in California. Anthem Blue Cross would lose 800,000 enrollees.

The healthcare insurance industry is the administrative service vendor for Medicare and Medicaid. The fees government pays to the healthcare industry are excessive.

The healthcare industry believes it adds value to medical care of patients.

The reason costs are rising so fast, Mrs. Braly says, is because the way the health-care market is structured doesn’t give providers reason to control costs. The solution is to "reintroduce the consumer to the health-care equation," and on that front, she believes, insurers "are actually the part of the health-care delivery system that is there to create the value."

This is an important statement. Medical care is the relationship between patients and physicians. All the other stakeholders are secondary stakeholders. In Repairing the Healthcare System the most important issue to be resolved is how do you provide incentives to patients and physicians to control costs?

The solution is that consumers have to drive the healthcare system not healthcare insurance industry.

Government control of the healthcare system will not control costs. Programs that penalize physicians and patients will not control costs.

Patients can control costs and quality with the appropriate educational infrastructure. At present most patients choose their physician by word of mouth.

Healthcare costs can be controlled by consumers controlling their healthcare dollars. .

“Mrs. Braly thinks patients will make more cost-conscious decisions if they have the incentives and the tools—namely, the information about cost and quality that is the basis of any ordinary market. "Data just sitting there is not helpful, and its got to be meaningful, provided to the doctor and the patient in a meaningful way," she says. Far from simply being a bill-paying outfit or a hedge against risk, she sees WellPoint’s fundamental role as making "the health dollar more valuable, less wasteful, more efficient."

Mrs. Braly knows her company owns the healthcare dollar. She wants patients and physicians to be directed by her company to be more efficient. If they are they will be more valuable to her company’s bottom line.

I do not think she will reduce premiums. . I think increased efficiency will result in greater profits for WellPoint. Consumers have to be incentivized to be responsible for their health and healthcare. This is the only way you will reduce costs and decrease premiums. The government trying to force cost reductions will fail.

I do not think President Obama realizes he is being set up by the healthcare insurance industry. He believes he is setting the healthcare insurance industry up.

He has refused the Republican offer for a bipartisan effort at healthcare reform. It is almost as if he and the healthcare insurance industry are playing bad cop, good cop at the expense of the American people.

President Obama published Obamacare 5.0 on Monday four days before his so called bipartisan healthcare summit. His proposal is almost a duplicate of the Senate bill.

Michael Connelly, a retired constitutional lawyer, wrote a dynamite review of President Obama’s proposal which he dubbed Obamacare 5.0.

“After much anticipation, at least by the so-called mainstream media, the White House has released the new and improved version of Obamacare.

Since I have already had to read two previous versions of these monstrosities in the House and two more in the Senate, I call this version Obamacare 5.0 and it is actually an easy read.

It is not hundreds or thousands of pages long and it doesn’t take long for people to realize that it really changes very little.”

The President’s proposal makes the bill more palatable to the American public because he camouflages the implications.

“Some members of Congress have grown increasingly more concerned about the implications that these proposals have for freedom in this country. In that regard the proposal fails miserably.

This is all an attempt to hide the fact that the bill is still blatantly unconstitutional.”

Michael Connelly points out that President Obama’s proposal exceeds the authority granted to Congress in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. It also violates the 9th and 10th amendments that protect the rights of people and the states.

His article is clear and precise. The critical details should be a wakeup call to all Americans. It is a must read.

I believe that President Obama’s proposal is in fact a ruse. It is designed to lure us into believing that the health care bill is actually about affordable health care when it is really about taking control of our lives and limiting our freedoms.

It is a cover for the fact that the Senate will try to pass this bill as a “budget reconciliation act” that will only require a simple majority in the Senate instead of the usual 60 votes.

We must act now to let our representatives in the House and Senate know that we are not buying
into these deceptions and that they will pay a price in November at the polls if this is forced on us.

During Nancy Pelosi’s call to action, she said if necessary they would parachute in and pass the bill.

President Obama’s proposal is a way to get a healthcare bill passed. If it passes it will cost Americans dearly. At this point he wants to pass any bill for the sake of saying he passed a healthcare reform bill.

His present proposal is the same as the terrible Senate bill. He will fail because he makes no attempt to be bipartisan.

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

  • Michael Kirsch, M.D.

    I don’t think that the President will prevail either. Right now, I am watching Lamar Alexander responding to the President’s intro remarks. Alexander wants to start over with HCR. The Dems want to continue where they left off. What will be different after a half day conference when the two sides couldn’t agree after a year? This is stagecrafted theater. If the Dems can unite on a plan – a challenge in itself – I don’t think they will jam it through with reconciliation with the echoes of Scott Brown’s Massachusetts victory still ringing in their ears.

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