Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu

Permalink:

Slowly But Surely :Trump Is Quietly Reforming Healthcare


Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

Since congress did not want to help President Trump repeal Obamacare and fix the healthcare system, he decided to quietly repair the healthcare system by himself. He has no choice. Obamacare will self-implode and disappear.

President Trump has kept his steps toward healthcare reform under the radar. It is all published and there for everyone to see.   

President Trump is hoping that after the 2020 election he will have a friendlier congress. A congress that wants to do something to help him help American consumers of healthcare obtain affordable healthcare.

Consumers need relief from the Obamacare disaster. Obamacare has caused increased dysfunction on top of an already dysfunctional healthcare system.

Obamacare has caused a previously unaffordable healthcare system to become more unaffordable.

I hate to say it. I predicted Obamacare would fail in 2010. Basically Obamacare did not align stakeholders’ incentives.

I explained why Obamacare was failing in each subsequent year of its passage.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=Obamacare+will+fail

 I also offered my concept of repair of the healthcare system with my ideal medical savings accounts.

President Trump has taken important steps to repair the healthcare system. He has brought back the power of “Associations.”  Associations now have the ability to negotiate with healthcare insurance companies and sell healthcare insurance to its members.

In addition, Associations now have the ability to offer its members healthcare insurance at pre-tax dollars. This is a very big deal. Previously individuals seeking individual insurance had to pay for that healthcare insurance with post-tax dollars.

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181110/NEWS/181109905/early-association-health-plans-defy-fears-offer-comprehensive-benefits

Instantly, healthcare premiums are effectively reduced to consumers by 20-40% using pre-tax dollars. This make present premiums more affordable.

Associations are growing very rapidly as final rules are being created to make their healthcare insurance available. The significance of Associations has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. 

Associations will create competitiveness among healthcare insurers and help individuals, small business and even giant corporations eliminate the need to negotiate and provide healthcare insurance to their employees. It might even help the government’s unsustainable programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the VA rid itself of these unsustainable programs.

The traditional mainstream media has been busy publicizing the socialist concept of “Medicare for All.”

I have pointed out that “Medicare for All” doesn’t work. It has never worked in a financially sustainable way for many countries. In countries that have socialized medicine consumers are dissatisfied because there are long waiting times and a shortage of the access to medical and surgical care.

Our leftist politicians say socialist medicine has worked beautifully in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Canada, and England to name a few.

I have published the difficulties consumers have had in these socialized medicine countries.

Unfortunately, our leftist politicians are either ignoring the truth or do not know what they are talking about. The traditional mainstream media are simply acting as puppets for our leftist Democratic politicians who want to control the healthcare system.

Everyone knows the larger the bureaucracy the more inefficient the system. The VA healthcare system is a perfect example of this statement.     

“Last week, the executive order was initiated that will empower consumers in the individual healthcare insurance market and those consumers in the small corporations to purchase healthcare insurance through associations. It will allow the employers in small corporations to pay for their employees the healthcare insurance through the Associations with pre-tax dollars.”

“It will level the playing field to enable individuals in both groups to negotiate healthcare insurance premium prices through their associations with the same purchasing power that large corporations have.”

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181110/NEWS/181109905/early-association-health-plans-defy-fears-offer-comprehensive-benefits

It could also work for consumers working for large corporations. Those employees who are displeased with their corporate provided healthcare insurance coverage can change to association provided insurance.

The new rules can potentially get employers out of the healthcare insurance providing business.

These new regulation has had little coverage in the New York Times, network television or any other mainstream media.

The traditional main stream media have been pushing the Democratic Socialists’ idea of “Medicare for All.”  “Medicare for All” cannot work.

“On Thursday June 20th 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a final regulation that allows businesses to fund employees who buy health insurance on the individual market–something that until now has been illegal.”

 “The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage.”

Since this new policy is a President Trump initiative, the elites in the media must have concluded that is a silly policy and it cannot work.

“ The Departments issued a final regulation that will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of HRAs will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.”

A close study of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (Associations) will make it clear that these numbers are correct. In fact, these estimates might be a gross underestimation of increased number of consumers with healthcare coverage.“Under the rule, starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use what are referred to as individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions. … Individual coverage HRAs are designed to give working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance health insurance.”

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181110/NEWS/181109905/early-association-health-plans-defy-fears-offer-comprehensive-benefits

Associations allow everyone to be participants in the large corporation negotiating healthcare market. It allows consumers to avoid the trap of large, bureaucratic and by definition inefficient government control healthcare.

“The HRA rule also increases workers’ choice of coverage, increases the portability of coverage, and will generally improve worker economic well-being. This rule will also allow workers to shop for plans in the individual market and select coverage that best meets their needs. … [T]he final rule should spur a more competitive individual market that drives health insurers to deliver better coverage options to consumers.”

 The new policy empowers individual consumers to shop the market and select the healthcare coverage that best meets the needs of their family.

The insurance industry will not have to comply with the burdens of Obamacare’s regulations for healthcare coverage. They can create new products including medical savings accounts without restriction.

This will create an extremely competitive healthcare insurance environment.

“This is a good example of how the Trump administration is moving forward in practical ways on important issues, empowering consumers and freeing up markets. The Democrats don’t like it, of course. But the new HRA system will be popular with millions of Americans whose ability to access the individual market and exercise consumer choice will be enhanced.”

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181110/NEWS/181109905/early-association-health-plans-defy-fears-offer-comprehensive-benefits

The only big barrier is that it will make consumers become responsible for choosing their healthcare coverage and be responsible for their healthcare dollars.

I believe most Americans are up for the challenge.

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Mechanism Design and the Repairing the Healthcare System


Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE.      

On November 11, 2007, I published the following blog: “Incentives and Mechanism Design.” The authors Leoid Hurwicz, Roger Meyerson and Eric Maskin were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for the concept in 2007.

http://stanfeld.com/?s=mechanism+design

 I suspect few politicians know about Mechanism Design in 2019. I am certain Bernie Sanders and the “Medicare for All” crowd do not know anything about Mechanical Design.

In my last blog, I described how politicians and the mainstream media use Confirmation Bias to try to put the government in control of healthcare against the will and welfare of the public.  

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

I think Donald Trump either studied the use of Mechanism Design and its mechanics or he intuitively uses its principles in his thinking.

Mechanism Design is a concept that tries to put science into social science. It mathematically evaluates vested interests of stakeholders in order to eliminate confirmation bias and line up all the stakeholders’ vested interests for the greatest good. It assumes all the stakeholders have expressed their vested interests truthfully.

The Democrats want to hold onto (fix) Obamacare. However, the Democrats understand Obamacare is not viable in its present form. I believe “Medicare for All” with central government control of healthcare will be a disaster as it has been in most single party payer systems.

I do not believe Obamacare is fixable. I believe President Obama and the Democrats believed that Obamacare would fail. Then the nation would beg either his public option or Medicare for All.

I think President Obama believes “Medicare for All” and the total government control of healthcare is the ideological solution to the problems in our healthcare system.

His confirmation bias overrules all of the examples of “Medicare for All” failed examples at home (Vermont California and Colorado), as well as Denmark, Sweden, England, and France.  

In 2017, the Republicans with a slim majority in the Senate refused to repeal Obamacare. Whether the Republican failure to repeal Obamacare was because of intramural revenge or ideology is best to question is which system is best for the common good.

If our politicians understood the principles of Mechanism Design and were diligently working for the people who elected them benefit, America would be on the way to “Repairing the Healthcare System.”

Against this backdrop of a hostile Democratic Party, in control of the House of Representatives, Donald Trump and his administration is slowing working its way to “Repairing the Healthcare System” using the principals of Mechanism Design.

In November 2007, pre the Obama administration, I wrote:

Last month the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Leoid Hurwicz, Roger Meyerson and Eric Maskin. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for developing the economic theory of “Mechanism Design.” My first reaction was “what is that?”

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

After some research, I discovered the power of Mechanism Design. It is a brilliant economic theory that could solve many economic problems. Mechanism Design applied to our healthcare system could solve the healthcare systems problems.

What is it? “In economics, mechanism design is the art and science of designing rules of a game to achieve a specific outcome, even though each participant may be self-interested. This is done by setting up a structure in which each player has an incentive to behave as the designer intends. The game is then said to implement the desired outcome. The strength of such a result depends on the solution concept used in the game. It is related to metagame theory, which is the theory of games the play of which consists of developing the rules of another game.

Mechanism designers commonly try to achieve the following basic outcomes: truthfulness, individual rationality, budget balance, and social welfare. However, it is impossible to guarantee optimal results for all four outcomes simultaneously in many situations, particularly in markets where buyers can also be sellers [1], thus significant research in mechanism design involves making trade-offs between these qualities. Other desirable criteria that may be achieved include fairness (minimizing variance between participants’ utilities), maximizing the auction holder’s revenue, and Pareto efficiency. More advanced mechanisms sometimes attempt to resist harmful coalitions of players.”

Lodi Hurwitz contributed to the idea of incentive compatibility. His point is the way to get as close to the most efficient economic outcomes is to design a mechanism in which everyone does best for themselves. He says this can be achieved by sharing information truthfully (Price Transparency). It is easy to understand that some people can do better than others by not sharing information or lying.

If everyone’s incentives are aligned, you have a much more efficient economic system. An example is defense contracting. If you agree to pay on a cost-plus basis you have created an incentive for the contractor to be inefficient. If you agree to pay a fixed price you can come close to an efficient price if you have all the truthful information. If you do not you have incentives aligned and truthful information you create the incentive to be overcharged. Most people can do better by not sharing truthful information. If the rules of the game require truthful information you can get close to an efficient market-driven solution.

The concept of Pareto efficiency means no one can be made better off without someone becoming worse off. Therefore, the incentive is to maintain your dominance by not being truthful at the expense of others. Hurwicz observed as others had that the dispersion of information was at the heart of the failure of a planned economy. He observed that there was a lack of incentive for people to share their information with the government truthfullyThe free market mechanism was far less afflicted than central planning bureaucracy by such incentive problems. The free market economy was by no means immune to this defect. He observed that the free market economy can get us closer than central planning to incentive compatibility because the end consumer can drive the discovery of truthful information.

The customer creating rules of engagement in a market-driven economy can get you closer to the ideal of Mechanism Design. Since the customer determines success of an enterprise by creating demand in a transparent environment, they can get closer to incentive efficiency. They create the rules of the game for compatible incentive.

Roger Meyerson contributed the revelation principle, a mathematical model that simplifies the calculation to create the most efficient rules of the game. The mathematical model gets people to reveal their truthful private information leading to aligned incentives.

Eric Maskin’s breakthrough was in perfecting Mechanism Design with his “implementation theory.” His theory clarifies how to design mechanisms that heighten incentive alignment and efficiency.

How does Mechanism Design relate to the Repair of The Healthcare System? We have to set the rules of the games so that we align all the stakeholders’ incentives without one stakeholder takes advantage of another. The insurance industry is taking advantage of the patients, doctors and hospital systems. The hospital systems are taking advantage of the patients, doctors and insurance companies. Doctors are taking advantage of the insurance companies, hospital systems, patients and the government. The government is taking advantage of the hospital systems, the doctors and the patients. Employers who pay the insurance bills for their employees are taken advantage of by the insurance companies. The drug companies are taking advantage of patients and unduly influencing physicians.

In our healthcare system, everyone is pursuing his vested interest in a game that has rules that do not lead to “incentive compatibility.”

Some politicians think central planning will straighten out the rules. Historically, central planning has not worked. The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in economics have proven this fact.

I believe consumers can fix the rules of the game so that all the incentives are compatible. Consumers have to have incentives to force politicians to fix the rules of the healthcare game. Consumer-driven healthcare system will achieve the alignment (incentive compatibility) using the ideal medical saving account.

Twelve years have passed since 2007. America has not gotten closer to the solution to Repair the Healthcare System even though the solution is staring us in our eyes.

www. stanfeld.com

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Please Read Between the Lines

Please Read Between the Lines

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

Most of us have trained ourselves to speed read the daily newspaper. I have asked my readers to read between the lines of the New York Times’ healthcare articles. Most articles are not factual or half-truths. The articles are an opinion and express a confirmation bias. 

“Confirmation bias is the tendency to search forinterpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it.[32] The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias#Confirmation_bias

Often, the application of confirmation bias is subtle.  During speed reading, one’s opinion can be influenced by the presentation of confirmation bias. The bias is interpreted as fact because the “media is the message.”

The traditional media is losing its influence on our culture because peoples are realizing it is feeding us a confirmation bias that does not comport with reality.

The development of ideological manipulation is a science unto its own. The print media and television media are its masters. The traditional mainstream media leans towards the progressive left. 

Conclusions should be backed by facts and not by opinion. All sides of an opinion should be presented. A huge problem is social science is imperfect. It does not use scientific principles utilizing reproducible double-blind studies.

Much of the traditional media sound like an echo chamber. It repeats the same soundbites over and over again rather than studying all the facts and reaching a logical conclusion.

In Carl Sandberg’s book, “The Prairie Years’ he said, If you tell a lie it over and over again it eventually becomes the truth.” If the confirmation bias is wrong, the public pays the price to correct it down the line.

Charles Blahous, a former Social Security and Medicare public trustee, has estimated that under Bernie Sanders’ plan of “Medicare for All”, the government could pay about 40 percent less than what private insurers now pay for medical care.

There are large discrepancies in these payments among experts. It has been estimated that there will be a 32.2 trillion-dollar deficit in a “Medicare for All” program over a ten-year period.

I would not believe the saving predicted by Chares Blahous. He was involved in creating a large deficit in our seniors’ Medicare program with the implication that Medicare would be financially viable.

It is predicted by a pro “Medicare for All” advocates, if this version of “Medicare for All” worked as planned, everybody would be insured, health care usage would rise sharply because it would be free without even a co-payment, and America would spend less overall on health care.

The math does not prove this theory. It does appeal to the notion that free is good.

This is a Democratic party pipedream to get more votes. I hope Americans do not fall for this false promise. The Democratic party has done this to taxpaying citizens of all ethnic groups over and over again in the past.

The New York Times has become a propaganda machine for progressives. 

On March 3, 2019, David Brooks’ article headline washttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/opinion/medicare-for-all.html?searchResultPosition=1

David Brooks really didn’t mean it. He is just setting the reader up in order to express his confirmation bias.

“The Brits and Canadians I know certainly love their single-payer health care systems. If one of their politicians suggested they should switch to the American health care model, they’d throw him out the window.”

The reality is 80% of Brits and Canadian are not sick and do not interact with their healthcare system.

However, they have a false sense of security that they have good healthcare insurance. When they get sick or need emergency specialty care they realize the system is less than they thought it was. Both Canada and Britain have provider shortages, lack of access to care, long appointment waiting times and large financial deficits.

The defects in their healthcare systems can be followed in the local newspaper and not in the government’s press releases.

David Brooks goes on trying to convince us that “Medicare for All” is a good idea. Progressives have been telling us this since 1935 when Wilber Mills tried to ram a single party payer system down America’s throat in the midst of the great depression.

It didn’t work then, and I hope Americans do not fall for it now.

David Brooks says; “So single-payer health care, or in our case “Medicare for all,” is worth taking seriously.”

” I’ve just never understood how we get from here to there, how we transition from our current system to the one Bernie Sanders has proposed and Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and others have endorsed.”

He implies he doesn’t understand how it could work but says a lot of top-flight politicians have endorsed it. Therefore, they know more than he does.

“Despite differences between individual proposals, the broad outlines of Medicare for All are easy to grasp.”

“We’d take the money we’re spending on private health insurance and private health care, and we’d shift it over to the federal government through higher taxes in some form.”

I cannot think of a government-run agency that runs efficiently, without a large bureaucracy, red tape, or corruption. Inefficiency and corruption mean waste and higher cost.

“Since health care would be a public monopoly, the government could set prices and force health care providers to accept current Medicare payment rates.”

Price fixing has never worked. It leads to corruption

 Medicare reimburses hospitals at 87 percent of costs while private insurance reimburses at 145 percent of costs.

The important question should be, why would the insurance companies pay a 58% premium when the healthcare insurance industry knows exactly what Medicare pays? The healthcare insurance industry knows exactly what the government pays because it does the administrative services for the government.

The answer is the healthcare insurance companies are competing with each other for providers, hospitals and patients.

On April 21, 2019, a New York Times headline read: Hospitals Stand to Lose Billions Under ‘Medicare for All’

A reaction by a reader is who cares if hospitals lose billions. They have been ripping off consumers forever.

The headline immediately established the enemy. The first two paragraphs of the article confirm the enemy. It also sets up the liberal or independent reader to develop the same confirmation bias the New York Times has.

“For a patient’s knee replacement, Medicare will pay a hospital $17,000. The same hospital can get more than twice as much, or about $37,000, for the same surgery on a patient with private insurance.”

“Or take another example: One hospital would get about $4,200 from Medicare for removing someone’s gallbladder. The same hospital would get $7,400 from commercial insurers.

Yes, this pricing is too high in my opinion for both Medicare and private insurance. However, it is the result of insurance companies lobbying and financial reporting that permits the rise in premiums.

As hospital systems become less efficient, they hire more administrators and increase executive salaries.

Many hospitals say they spend their last penny on excessive overhead. If they cannot raise prices, they claim they would go out of business.

The progressives like Bernie Sanders then chime in with their talking points that the New York Times keeps repeating.

“If Medicare for all abolished private insurance and reduced rates to Medicare levels — at least 40 percent lower, by one estimate — there would most likely be significant changes throughout the health care industry, which makes up 18 percent of the nation’s economy and is one of the nation’s largest employers.”

The propaganda worked. The confirmation bias of “Medicare for All” is solid.

The only problem is, it will not reduce the cost of healthcare. This has been proven over and over again in many countries and in many of our government run agencies.

“The Sanders plan would increase federal spending by about $32.6 trillion over its first 10 years, according to a Mercatus Center study that Charles Blahous led.

This is the same Charles Blahous that said the cost would be 40% less. What does that study do to the confirmation bias the New York Times tried to promote? Which one is fake propaganda?

“Compare that with the Congressional Budget Office’s projection for the entire 2019 fiscal year budget, $4.4 trillion.”

The 32 trillion-dollar deficit over ten years is a fair estimate. The estimate could be correct if one simply examines the Medicare and Medicaid deficits.  All we have to recall is Obamacare’s website. It was riddled with inefficiency and was a financial disaster.

 Usually, as a result of cost overruns, there is a decrease in access to care. The glaring example is the VA Healthcare System.

 “That kind of sticker shock is why a plan for single-payer in Vermont collapsed in 2014 and why Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected one in 2016.”

“It’s why legislators in California killed a single party payer system In the California plan, the taxes are upfront, the purported savings are down the line.”

All it takes is a little reading between the lines to realize that we are subjected to ideological manipulation. “The media is the message.”

The New York Times is supposed to be “the nation’s newspaper of record with all the news that is fit to print.” With the advent of the internet and social media, Americans have more information to decide on what is the truth. People now have the ability to examine multiple sides of an issue.

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Swedes Are Frustrated Over Their Socialized Healthcare System

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Sweden has a universal healthcare system that has been touted, by Bernie Sanders, to be the premier socialized medical system model in the world. The Swedish socialized medical system has hardly lived up to the praise. The fact is Sweden’s healthcare system is falling apart.

All Bernie Sanders has to do is read the local Swedish newspapers. He would learn that socialized medicine is not working in Sweden. He might even stop pushing his lie to the American public about how great “Medicare for All” will be for America.

“That Sweden no longer keeps up with those countries is largely due to its inability to reduce its patient waiting times, which are some of the worst in Europe, as the latest edition of the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) revealed in Brussels on Monday.”

The 2014 EHCI also confirms other big problems within Swedish healthcare.

This is not primarily due to the fact Swedenhas become worse – rather it is the case that other countries have improved faster.” 

https://www.thelocal.se/20150127/swedens-health-care-is-a-shame-to-the-country

According to 2017 OECD figures, Sweden does have the fifth-highest life expectancy in Europe. Its cancer survival rates are among the continent’s highest. This could be because the rest of Europe’s socialized medicine systems are not as good as they could be.

One of the main pillars of the Swedish welfare stateis its universal healthcare system. The Swedish people are totally frustrated by the healthcare system’s inefficiency. The inefficiency is due in large part to the government bureaucracy.

Swedes have little confidence that politicians will solve this,” said Lisa Pelling, chief analyst at progressive think tank Arena Ide. 

“There is a risk their faith in the welfare state will be eroded,” she told AFP. 

As an example of the frustration of the Swedes:

Asia Nader didn’t know whether to worry more about being diagnosedwith a hole in her heart at the age of 23 or having to wait a year for Swedish doctors to fix it. 

“I completely fell apart when I found out,” she told AFP, remembering the long agonizing months until she finally had her operation in June this year, one month before her 23rd birthday. 

Credit: George Hodan/public domain

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-09-swedes-world-class-healthcarewhen.html

There are long waiting lines waiting for access to care due to a shortage of nurses and available doctors in some areas.

The average income tax rate paid by Swedes is 50%. Immigrants cannot pay 50% of their earnings and survive. Immigrants are entitled to social services including medical care. The voters are angered over the flood of immigrants putting a tremendous strain on the healthcare system and delaying regular citizens access to care.

 The rules set up by Swedish law about access to medical care are being ignored and unenforced.

Swedish law stipulates patients should wait no more than 90 days to undergo surgery or see a specialist. Yet every third patient waits longer, according to government figures.”

“Patients must also see a general practitioner within seven days, the second-longest deadline in Europe after Portugal (15 days).” 

 Dental appointments can take a wait of 6 months.

The median wait for prostate cancer surgerywas 120 days. It has taken up to 271 days.to get prostate cancer surgery.

Swedes complain that they can’t see their own GP. There is little chance to develop a physician/patient relationship. Patients are being seen by temporary hires provided by outsourced staffing companies.

Telemedicine has mushroomed. Physicians are complaining about the fragmentation of care. There is little chance for continuing follow-up and assessing the result of therapy.   

The number of hospital beds has declined in recent years. There is a hospital bed shortage in many communities.    

In Solleftea, the premier’s northern hometown with nearly 20,000 residents, the only maternity ward was shut down last year to save money.” 

“With the closest maternity ward now 200 kilometres (125 miles) away, midwives offer parents-to-be classes on how to deliver babies in cars—which some have since done.”

Despite the bed shortages and delays in access to care, Sweden is the third highest spender on healthcare in the European Union. Sweden spends 11% of its GDP on its healthcare system.

 Socialism and healthcare for all are not as great as Bernie Sanders is telling Americans. We should not believe him.

There is no question we have to improve our healthcare system to make it affordable and available to all.

However, we should not go down the path of Sweden and Finland with Bernie Sanders socialistic program of “Medicare for All.”

We will not only bankrupt America but also make access to care impossible.

Copywrite 2006-2019

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



Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Bernie Sanders’ Proposed Tax Hikes To Pay For “Medicare for All”


Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

Nothing is free despite Bernie Sanders and other socialists’ promises. “Medicare for All”is proposed to replace private insurance with government insurance as the single party payer.

The government controls of several parts of our healthcare system. All these parts, Medicare, Medicaid and the VA Healthcare System, are financially unsustainable. All, except Medicare for seniors, are unsatisfying for patients.

Each year the Medicare premiums and deductibles for seniors have been increased, services have decreased and reimbursement to providers have decreased. It is past the point of being unaffordable for many patients although it has been invaluable for sick patients who could not possibly afford the cost of care without Medicare.

In reality the government owns these healthcare services, but it does not run these healthcare services. The administrative services are outsourced to the healthcare insurance industry. The healthcare insurance industry, in turn, has figured out how to game the system and take advantage of the government and citizens involved in the system.

Additionally, the inefficiency of government bureaucracy intensifies waste and cost. The estimated cost of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” is thirty -trillion dollars of ten years. Many believe thirty-two trillion dollars over ten years is a low number. It is also over 90% of the United States’ total ten- year budget at present spending.  

 Bernie Sanders has released a set of tax hike options in order to get some of the money to pay for his fiasco.

These tax hikes would hit American families at every income level and businesses large and small. The proposal increases taxes by $16.2 trillion over the next decade, according to an estimate of Americans for Tax Reform.”

This proposal will cover only half of the thirty-two trillion-dollar estimate.

  1. A 4% increase in payroll tax to employees.

“According to Sen. Sanders’ estimates, this increases taxes on American families and individuals by $3.9 trillion over ten years.”

  1. A new 7% increase in payroll tax for employers.

This tax will hinder business growth. It will decrease employment because it will decrease business spending on employees. It will also increase government spending for entitlements. This tax increase will only provide an estimated 3.5 trillion dollars over 10 years. It will probably result in less than 3.5 trillion because there will be less payroll tax to collect.

Please note Bernie’s numbers between employee and employer payroll taxes do not add up. It is pure fiction.

  1. The proposal would ban employer-provided healthcare insurance and repeal the employer deductions for health care insurance. The net result will be increasing taxes on businesses by over $3 trillion over a decade.

     This adds up to an additional 3 trillion-dollar cost to business not necessarily a three trillion-dollar savings.

  1. Bernie Sanders’ proposal would also repeal Health Savings Accounts, which are utilized by an estimated 25 million American families. Health Savings Accounts are a good deal for middle class families earning between $60,000 to $200,000 a year. Health Savings Accounts would even be more attractive if they were changed to Medical Savings Accounts.  

At present roughly half of the Health Savings Accounts are owned by middle class families.

A key element in a successful reform of the healthcare system is to provide health and financial incentives to citizens. Citizens must become responsible for their health and healthcare dollar in order for healthcare reform to succeed.

Bernie’s plan helps people be less responsible for themselves and more dependent on the government.

Isn’t this exactly what the socialists want? Historically socialism always fails.

  1. The tax deduction for cafeteria plans and the medical expense deduction is also eliminated.
  2. Eliminating Health Tax “Expenditures”

n all, Sanders estimates this will increase taxes on families and businesses by $4.2 trillion.

  1. 70 percent Top Tax Bracket for Ordinary Income and Capital Gains Income


This would give America the highest income tax rate in the world.

“ According to the Tax Foundation, a top 70 percent rate for ordinary income and capital gains income above $10 million will raise $51.4 billion over a decade. After accounting for macroeconomic effects, the proposal would actually cost the government $63.5 billion because of the proposal suppresses investment and economic growth.” In reality the income and negative effect to the government are a small number and insignificant to paying for the cost of “Medicare for All.”

  1. 77 Percent Death Tax

“Sanders proposes raising the death tax rate to 77 percent for inheritances.  

     Currently, the death tax applies to estates over $11 million or 22 million per couple. Over 22 million dollars is taxed at a rate of 40%.

      The death tax is, in reality, a double tax. People have paid tax on the money they have saved already. At the time of death, the government taxes them again on post-tax dollars. The tax should really be called a confiscation tax.

      Bernie Sander’s death tax proposal will increase taxes by $2.2 trillion over ten years. This is an insignificant amount compared to what “Medicare for All” will cost.

  1. Wealth Tax
    “Bernie Sanders proposes an annual wealth tax of 1 percent kicking in above $21 million in assets. Sanders estimates the proposal will increase taxes by $1.3 trillion over ten years.”

      10. Bank Tax

         “ Sanders proposes a tax on financial institutions totaling $800 billion over ten years.”

      11.Broaden the Self Employment Tax
Sanders would require business owners to report more of their business income as salary, increasing the amount of self-employment tax owed. This would increase taxes by $247 billion over ten years.

The total increase in taxes would only result in a $16.5 trillion-dollar payment on a thirty-two trillion-dollar bill. Where will Bernie get the rest of the money? He probably figures the government could print the other $16 trillion dollars. If it does it will decrease the value of the tax increases and an overall cost will be higher than 32 trillion dollars.

There is something seriously wrong with socialistic thinking. I do not believe the majority of American will fall for this serious defect in thinking.

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Do Finland’s and Britain’s Healthcare System Work


Stanley Feld M.D.FACP,MACE

 The Finn’s have been frustrated with their highly praised and publicized socialistic healthcare system. Finland’s free healthcare system has received excellent press in Britain. Now citizens in the U.S. are being brainwashed about the success of this system by Bernie Sanders.

Why? Britain’s socialized medicine system is collapsing. The system lost 200,000 nurses since 2010.  

In 2017/18, more than 26,000 nurses left the health service.  Voluntary resignations from the NHS is up 55 per cent.

The number of NHS staff quitting over long hours has tripled in six years. Voluntary resignations citing chronic staff shortages resulting in long hours and poor work-life balance were the largest reason for such nurses quitting the NHS. Primary care physicians are quitting for the same reasons and low reimbursement.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) acting chief executive, Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “Health and care services are losing thousands of experienced, dedicated nursing staff who feel as if no-one is sufficiently listening to their concerns and patient care is routinely compromised by chronic staff shortages.

The National Health Service is about to lose more nurses and physicians because the National Health Service is about to have to reduce nurses’ pay once again while increasing weekly work hours.

“Finland’s health service has been in a parlous state for decades and it is getting worse.”

Bernie Sanders should not be telling us how great “Medicare for All” will be.

Last year former Social Security and Medicare Trustee Charles Blahous exposed the $32.6 trillion price tag.

“As massive as BernieCare’s estimated $32.6 trillion ten-year price tag is, it would be even more massive if it didn’t assume that U.S. doctors and nurses will simply accept the low pay and poor working conditions that Mr. Sanders has in mind.”

“The 32.6 trillion assumes doctors and nurses in the United States continue to willingly practice medicine if the job comes with lower pay and even more bureaucracy than the current highly regulated system?”

it will create a deficit of more than three trillion dollars a year and not save the 600 billion dollars over ten years promised. Bernie Sanders should know Britain’s and Finland’s free healthcare systems have failed. He should stop lying to the American public.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-12/finlands-government-collapsed-under-weight-socialized-healthcare

Back to Finland and the big Bernie lie. 

Finland has more doctors per capita than the UK but, at the level of primary care, a far higher proportion of these physicians are in private practice that is the case in Britain.

Seventeen percent (17%) of Finnish doctors work solely in the private sector. Most of these physicians are general practitioners. This is twice the percentage of physicians that were in the private sector twenty years ago.

An additional twenty percent of physicians work in the private sector as well and the public sector.  

The bizarre thing is most employers in Finland pay for their workers to have private primary healthcare. Employers do not pay for their employees’ families. The families remain in the public sector.

The public sector is far from free. A family practitioner visit cost 16.10 euros. However, patients only pay for the first three visits and then it is free.

According to Dr. Saarinen of Ula “the more experienced and “better” doctors end up in the private sector, leaving the “inexperienced” and “inefficient” doctors running the health centers.”

 Private practitioners are better paid and work under less pressure than public practitioners.

“A hospital consultation in the public sector costs about €38, and you pay for each night that you spend in the hospital, up to a maximum of €679.”

The free healthcare service in Finland is not national. Municipalities pay for the free service. The result is service in poorer areas of the country tend to have bad health service and limited access to medical care.

Private GPs usually set up practices in more affluent areas where they are more likely to get paid.

It looks like a grim socialized medicine system. No wonder Finns deny the finding they are the happiest people in the world.

In Helsinki there are reports of huge queues at health centres (GP surgeries), waits for appointments of many weeks, and greater and greater demands with less and less funding. In south-eastern Finland, it takes about a month to see a GP. Back in December 2013, it was reported that Finns were increasingly using private doctors in neighboring Estonia to save time and money.”

Dr. Saarinen explains that the system essentially forces people to go private or rely on friends who are doctors.

Finland’s healthcare system has been a mess for at least two decades.

The big question is why in the U.S. do we permit politicians such as Bernie Sanders, OA Cortez, and a complicit mass media get away with the lies about the glory of socialized medicine?

How do we permit our media and our politicians get away with this disinformation?

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

The Concept of “Medicare for All” is Misguided

The Concept of “Medicare for All” is Misguided

Stanley Feld M.D.FACP,MACE

Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has long been touting Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway as the shining examples of socialism and socialized medicine. 

 The New York Times reported on a UN study proving Finland is the happiest country in the world. The problem is the Finns do not think the study is accurate.

The New York Times has once again printed fake news to influence readers to believe in the wisdom of “Medicare for All.”

Carl Sandberg said in “The Prairie Years”, “If you tell a lie enough times it becomes the truth.”

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/finland-is-the-happiest-country-in-the-world-and-finns-arent-happy-about-it/

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been hanging his socialistic rhetoric on the success of Finland’s socialist society and especially Finland’s healthcare system which is free healthcare for all. 

Last week Finland’s government collapsed over universal healthcare costs.                                                                                                                                                  

 Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care. Finland’s crisis in particular comes as calls for universal health care have grown louder among Democrats in the United States.”

Americans have not heard from the mainstream media about the collapse of Finland’s government or the reasons for that collapse.

Norway is excused from this discussion because Norway has become a very rich country from its North Sea oil income and its restrictive immigration policies. It is the citizen’s sugar daddy along with a 50% tax rat

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58 percent of Americans oppose “Medicare for all” if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.

Reuters reported that soaring treatment costs and longer life spans have particularly affected the Nordic countries financial problems.

“Nordic countries, where comprehensive welfare is the cornerstone of the social model, have been among the most affected,” according to Reuters. “But reform has been controversial and, in Finland, plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years.”

..Just a few days before Finland’s government collapsed over its inability to foot the bill for its expansive socialist experiment, Sanders took to Twitter in an attempt to shame America.

Bernie SandersVerified account@BernieSanders

FollowFollow @BernieSanders

More

“In the United States it costs, on average, $12,000 to have a baby. In Finland it costs $60. We’ve got to end the disgrace of our profit-driven health care system and pass Medicare for all.”

With the collapse of Finland’s government over its inability to financially support its massive socialist agenda, Bernie will undoubtedly do the same thing he always does when socialism (or communism) fails: ignore, obfuscate, and deflect.”

 We only have to remember Vermont’s “Medicare for All” failure.

Bernie Sanders and AOC should read Finland and Sweden’s newspapers to understand that the people are unhappy with free but unavailable medical care. The unhappiness of the citizens historically happens in every socialist state.

If Democrats are successful in getting “Medicare for All” into law, we will face the same dilemma in America’s future.

Finland has been held up as a model welfare state. The distribution of the resulting high taxes is spent on the social issues the politicians think are most important and not what the citizens think are most important.  The majority of the high taxes are spent on education and childcare, not on health care.

The experience of a patient in Finland is very educational. This article appeared in Britain’s Guardian newspaper as Britain struggles with its National Health Services system.

“Why is Finland’s healthcare system failing my family?”

This reporter moved to Finland from the U.K. to experience this highly rated welfare state. Finland receives an extremely positive press in Britain. The British welfare state systems are failing.

“I have moved to from Britain to Finland because it is lauded as the shining example of a successful welfare state.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/23/finland-health-system-failing-welfare-state-high-taxes

“Imagine going to your nearest doctors’ surgery at 9am on a weekday with your sick six-year-old daughter because you cannot make an appointment over the phone. After your drive to another part of the city, you can’t simply book a time with the receptionist.”

 There is no receptionist. You have to swipe your daughter’s national insurance card through a machine, which gives you a number.

“Then you and your feverish child simply sit and wait. Or rather, you stand, because the room is so crowded that people are sitting on the floor, on steps, or leaning against walls. The numbers come up on a screen every 10 minutes or so, in no particular order so you’ve no idea how long your wait will be as your daughter complains of feeling cold then hot and then cold again.”

Patients get sicker and frustrated waiting for care.

“By 10.45, another patient’s dad exclaims he’s been there since 8.15, he’s had enough, and he’s going to go to a private GP. “You used to just be able to make an appointment with a doctor!” he says angrily.”

You are not waiting to see a physician you are waiting to see a nurse that will determine whether you see a physician assistant or General Practitioner.

At 11.30, you give up and take your daughter to see a private doctor as well, forking out £50 for the privilege.”

Finland’s schools always have the best ranked international student assessment results in the western world; there’s high social equality; all its teachers have master’s degrees.

But unknown to Bernie Sanders, Finland has one of the worst health services records in Europe.

According to an OECD report published in 2013, the Finnish health system is chronically underfunded. The Nordic nation of five million people spent only 7% of GDP on its public health system in 2012, compared with 8% in the UK. In 2012, the report found, 80% of the Finnish population had to wait more than two weeks to see a GP.

America’s healthcare system is becoming unaffordable. When politicians like Bernie Sanders, AOC, and all the announced Democrat candidates for president support “Medicare for All” it sounds easy and appealing. The fact is socialized medicine doesn’t work.

The only system that can work is a system that creates incentives for consumers to be financially and medically responsible for themselves and the creation of rules by the government forcing insurance companies and hospital systems to become competitive in favor of consumers.

Donald Trump knows this. If only our elected officials in Washington wanted to act for the benefit of the citizens who elected them.

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Politics of Electronic Medical Records

Politics of Electronic Medical Records

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The EMR project that President Obama forced on the medical profession in 2009 has not yet produced any evidence that EMR will save the country $350 billion in inpatient care and $150 billion dollars in outpatient care over a 15 year period of time.

The RAND analysts claim that more than $350 billion would be saved on inpatient care and nearly $150 billion on outpatient care over a 15-year period of time. 

The RAND EMR study was wrong. The study sounded good to President Obama because he thought EMRs would enable the federal government to control medical and surgical practices in America.

Unfortunately, data from three other studies, a cardiology group, a Harvard group and Canadian group showed there is no savings difference between paper records and electronic records.

The project has been a $38 billion dollar failure. I predicted the EMR project would fail in 2011. EMRs are a great idea. The EMR projects goals were wrong.

Wall Street Journal article in 2012 stated,  The electronic medical record (EMR) is touted as the key to containing costs, reducing errors, improving quality, and simplifying administration: an “elegant exercise in wishful thinking.

The RAND Corporation study was paid for by all the vested interests stakeholders involved in medical care except physicians and patients.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, the Cerner Corporation and Epic Systems of Verona, Wis. are the major EMR software companies who paid for the study.

In February 2009, after years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by Allscripts and others, legislation to promote the use of electronic records was signed into law as part of President Obama’s economic stimulus bill.

GE and the healthcare insurance industry were also major funders of the RAND Study. The Obama administration funded the implementation of the EMR project to the detriment of the healthcare system.

The healthcare system has not contained costs, reduced errors, improved quality or simplified administration. Each category has gotten worse.

I do not think the Obama administration’s primary interest was to fix the existing healthcare system.   If the EMR project hobbled the healthcare system, the population would beg the government to completely take over institute his “Public Option” and subsequently “Medicare for All.” There was no consideration of the fact that that Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable.

The complete control of the VA Healthcare System has not worked out very well for the government. One important reason for the VA Healthcare System’s failure is the bloated government bureaucracy. Effective medical care takes instantaneous judgement and rapid execution. Government regulations inhibit the process leading to long waiting times and ineffective and costly treatment.

Medicare and Medicaid costs have been unsustainable and are getting worse. Why would a politician think complete government control over 20% of the GDP, the healthcare system, would be any better than a free market system where patients would take responsibility for their healthcare and healthcare dollars?

The government could provide the dollars to the needy with financial incentives attached for all in the system.

Ideal EMR should be for the benefit of physicians and their patients. The EMR should not be only for the financial benefit of healthcare insurance companies, the government,  the pharmacy benefit managers and the software companies.

The EMR project places the secondary stakeholder in the position to judge physicians’ behavior and subsequently penalize them if they do not comply with government regulations and expected results.

The EMR should be a tool to continually educate physicians to help them become better. It should educate patients so they can become professors of their disease and help them avoid the complications of their chronic diseases.

The EMR should not be a tool used by secondary stakeholders to penalize physicians and patients. This will not decrease the ever-increasing cost of healthcare.

At the moment EMRs are relatively useless. A lot of money has been spent by all the stakeholders with very limited benefit. There have been hundreds of examples published by all stakeholders about the defects in the present EMRs that do not allow for an increase in the quality of care and a decrease in the cost of care.

 My ideal EMR along with my ideal medical saving accounts can go a long way toward repairing the healthcare system. http://stanfeld.com/is_an_ideal_ele/

 

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Why Vermont’s Single Party Payer Healthcare Plan Failed

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

Vermont’s single party payer healthcare plan was doomed to fail from the onset for several reasons.

Vermont had a Republican governor for eight years. He decided to retire.  Peter Shumlin (D.) won the Democratic nomination for governor after progressive activists demanded that each candidate for the Democratic Party nomination promise to enact single-payer health care if nominated.

Shumlin’s got the nod, won the election. He was anxious to pass the single party payer system.

Vermont’s consultants were Harvard’s William Hsiao and MIT’s Jonathan Gruber.

William Hsiao has spent most of his academic career helping governments install single-payer healthcare systems.

There is little evidence that the systems by developed in Taiwan and other countries by William Hsiao have been successful. They have not been cost effective or sustainable. They have not preserved freedom of choice.

Gruber and Hsiao made the same mistakes for Vermont that they made for America with Obamacare.

Hsiao and Gruber promised that single-payer health care in Vermont could save $1.6 billion over ten years. With that endorsement in hand, Shumlin and the legislature passed Act 48, a law instructing the state to figure out how to finance a single-payer system. They dubbed it Green Mountain Care.

Governor Shumlin said, “If Vermont gets single-payer health care right, which I believe we will, other states will follow,” pronounced Shumlin. “If we screw it up, it will set back this effort for a long time. So I know we have a tremendous amount of responsibility, not only to Vermonters.”

Unfortunately, Americans have a short memory, the short memory promoted by the conformational bias of the traditional mass media toward a progressive agenda.

Progressive Americans and their progressive politicians had better wake up fast. “Medicare for All” does not work.

Medicare does not work in a financially sustainable way for the government or seniors. It was not sustainable in the Bernie Sanders small state of Vermont. It is nice to believe you can provide healthcare benefits for nothing to all. However, nothing is free especially when it is run by central bureaucrats. It has been proven over and over again.

First, bureaucrats and healthcare policy consultants do not understand the medical care system. The history of Vermont’s single- payor story is interesting.

In December 2014 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug after four years on Vermont’s single-payer, government-run health care system.

“In my judgment,” Governor Shumlin said, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.”

Rather than saving $1.6 billion the Green Mountain Care would cost an additional 2.6 billion dollars in tax revenue for 2017 alone. The law would require a 151 percent increase in state taxes.

“Fiscally, that’s a train wreck. Even a skeptical report from Avalere health had previously assumed that the plan would “only” cost $1.9 to $2.2 billion extra in 2017.”

“In 2019, Costa estimated that Green Mountain Care would have required $2.9 billion in tax revenue vs. $1.8 billion under pre-existing law: a 160 percent increase in revenue.”

The result should explain why the dream of single-payer health care in the U.S. should be dead for the foreseeable future.

Daily, we read articles calling for “Medicare for All” from progressive politicians running for office.

How stupid do they think Americans are?

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



Copywrite 2006-2019

Please have a friend subscribe

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.