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All items for January, 2016


Premises Must Be Re-examined

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

A few weeks ago I had a terrific exchange with Steve Brachet M.D. who forwarded my blog to Steve Gregg.


I forwarded your recent blog featuring the five essential steps for HC reform to Stephen Gregg of Portland Oregon.

Steve Gregg is a former senior hospital executive, turned CEO of a managed care plan (successful in WA and OR), developer of alternative healthcare products, developer of patient care informatics, and thought leader in past 10 years on dimensions and confounding variables of health care in all its complexities.

He asked me to send the attached (very brief) piece recently published in the Oregon main media.

I don’t know if he expects a comment or two – but if you care to comment feel free to respond to Steve Gregg directly.

I take it that you are continuing to do your best to ‘right this HC ship’ that seems unlikely to improve on its own – nor with the help of the current Congress.

Steve Barchet M.D.”

I was fascinated with the article Steve Gregg wrote. I agree with many of the points he makes. I am publishing his article with Steve Gregg’s permission. I wrote back and said;

Dear Steve

I welcome your article.

My blog explains the elements needed to Repair the Healthcare System from a physician’s point of view.

As a result of the Internet and improved software, consumers have become king and are driving the consumer consumption market. Amazon and ebay have led the way. Opaque purchasing models have been replaced by price transparent purchasing.

Wal-Mart has been forced to close stores because of online purchasing to remain competitive.

A consumer driven transparent online purchasing model has replaced airline ticket purchasing through travel agencies.

Online banking is transforming banking services. Hardly anyone goes into banks anymore.

There is no reason that shopping for healthcare services cannot transform the healthcare industry with all its opacity.

Consumers must be put in a position to drive the healthcare system and be responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.

Our 2020 business model can transform the dysfunctional healthcare system that can align all the stakeholders’ vested interests by empowering consumers and letting them drive the system.

The result will be a decrease in cost. It will eliminate the entitlement mentality of healthcare consumers and create a competitive mentality for all stakeholders as it has done in the examples above.

All Obamacare is doing is trying to put a patch on a healthcare system whose demise has been accelerated since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Your articles describe many essential premises that must be reexamined.

However, consumers must be involved and be the responsible party in the healthcare system. They have to be given financial incentive to be involved and responsible.

Thank you for letting me reprint your article.


Health Reform…What Next?

Steve Gregg

With the expensive collapse of Oregon’s Health Exchange, a New Year, and approaching changes at the Federal level, it is time to reconsider the formative assumptions driving health care reform.

Ten Game Changing Assumptions Shaping Health Reform:


  1. The ideologies of the left and right will not sustain a reform solution grounded in compromise and “deal making”.   The endless search for consensus confuses the problem, and is a recipe for failure.


  1. The State’s public bureaucracy is too conflicted with its own self interest to impartially govern health reform.

 3.The plethora of proposed actions to reduce demand will not reduce costs. “Supply” being a more important driver of costs than ”Demand”.

  1. Sustainable reform cannot tolerate the variation in provider pricing to patients with differing sources of payment. Perhaps less than 15% of the typical hospital’s patients pay what the hospital bills.


  1. It is wrong headed to view reform as a matter of amending the existing system.


  1. Financial goals stabilizing health care costs cannot be achieved without prospectively stated and independently measured metrics.


  1. Equal access is not a realistic expectation. Universal coverage must be.


  1. Genuine Altruism is a deceptive and widely abused value of our non- profit institutions and trade associations.


  1. The United States spends twice as much per capita on health care because our health care workers of all stripes (including insurance companies,hospital sytems, government and pharmaceutical companies) s(take out twice as much from the system.


  1. The health care structures of other countries, while instructive, are not transferrable to the United States.



 The Oregon Healthcare Project rationing experiment was a colossal hoax that channeled billions of new dollars to Oregon’s health care interests. Never measured, never critically evaluated. It was a severe case of the “Emperor Wears No Clothes”.

Conclusion: Think in terms of 2-3 alternative systems reflecting differing ideologies: Liberal / Conservative / Libertarian.

What would this suggest for process?


  • Form 3 small task forces assembled around three ideologies: Liberal, Conservative, and Libertarian to articulate assumptions, problem definition, and a broad solution compatible with each ideology.
  • At the end of the process examine what consolidation can occur and if not presume the development of 3 systems available to the free will of people to chose.


Liberal: Socially and fiscally liberal

Conservative: Fiscally and socially conservative

Libertarian: Socially liberal / Fiscally conservative

 Note: The prospect of 3 systems capturing U.S. Healthcare, sounds daunting but in reality we have more than that now: Employer, Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, Municipal, Insured, Self funded etc.

 Alternative List of Assumptions:


  1. A sustainable health reform strategy cannot be achieved without the foundation of a well-conceived definition of the problem and formative assumptions.


  1. Subsidized or “free” health care is inflationary and will overwhelm administrative protocols for cost reduction.


  1. Genuine Altruism is rare and a widely abused cover for proprietary agendas.  Excessive profit is a measure of good management.


  1. The community’s health care pathology is infinite and those making a living and profits from health care will seek to capitalize on that.


  1. Our health care system in the main is a proprietary endeavor with millions of economic interests seeking to protect or increase revenues. Any initiative that threatens that cash flow will be vigorously resisted.


  1. Does the system tilt toward choice and self – determination or equalness, limited choice, and a central authority?


  1. “Nearly half of all care delivered produces no medical benefit” is in obvious conflict with a prevailing view of vast health manpower shortages.   Does increasing supply reduce prices and the costs of health care?


  1. If the national will demands universal coverage, the utility of competing traditional insurance companies should be called into question.


  1. The reformed system must promote individuals seeking care from the “best” provider of care as early as possible in the development of any adverse health care condition.   Forcing patients into an inferior food chain of care is unethical and probably more costly in the end.


  1. There is something wrong with a requirement to select a health plan, provider network, and insurance in advance of acquiring a dire condition, and then being locked out of access to the “best” provider.



I do not see consumers playing an active role in your assumptions to Repair the Healthcare System.

Obamacare is wasting money developing an entitlement system that cannot work. The only stakeholder that can develop a healthcare system that can work is a system driven by consumers.

Consumers can force the secondary stakeholders to be competitive and transparent, as they have done in other industries.

It would be cheaper for the government to invest in empowering all consumers using the revolution in information technology and providing financial incentives to all using My Ideal Medical Saving Accounts.

Everyone could be insured as I have described in my article The Ideal Medical Saving Account Is Democratic.

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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Obamacare Is Increasing Health Savings Account Participation

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Patients’ responsibility for their health and their healthcare dollars is one of the most important elements in a functioning and cost effective healthcare system.

Despite the fact that my ideal medical savings account (MSAs) would be more effective than health savings accounts (HSAs) in encouraging patient responsibility for their health and healthcare dollars, health savings accounts are flourishing because of Obamacare is costly and has taken freedom of choice away from individuals.

Devenir is a HSA Mutual Fund that accepts and invests HSA trust contributions and invests those contributions. Devenir just published a study that showed that:

1. As of June 30, 2015, the number of HSAs had climbed 23% from the previous year to 14.5 million.”

  “2. Account balances jumped 25% to approximately $28.4 billion over the same time period.”

In 2010 the year Obamacare was passed, there were 5.7 million HSAs with balances totaling $7.7 billion.

The Obamacare bronze plan is the least expensive federal health insurance exchange plan. Its coverage is poor and it has a high deductible that most people cannot afford.

The premium and deductible are only good for patients with pre-existing illnesses that have no other place to purchase insurance. That is the reason the demographic for enrollees from is so poor.

The government is loosening the noose on HSAs even though it is still restrictive.

“For the 2016 tax year, you can make a deductible HSA contribution of as much as $3,350 if you have qualifying high-deductible self-only coverage or as much as $6,750 if you have qualifying high-deductible family coverage. If you are age 55 or older as of the end of 2016, the maximum deductible contribution goes up by $1,000.

For 2015, the contribution caps are the same, except the maximum deductible contribution for family coverage is $6,650. These amounts are increased by $1,000 if you were 55 or older as of December 31, 2015. You have until April 18, 2016, to make an HSA contribution for the 2015 tax year.”

You must have a qualifying high-deductible health insurance policy — and no other general health coverage — to be eligible for this HSA contribution privilege. For 2015 and 2016, a high-deductible policy is defined as one with a deductible of at least $1,300 for self-only coverage or $2,600 for family coverage.

For 2016, qualifying high-deductible policies can have out-of-pocket maximums of as much as $6,550 for self-only coverage and $13,100 for family coverage. For 2015, these amounts are $6,450 and $12,900, respectively.

If you are eligible to make an HSA contribution for a tax year, the deadline is April 15 of the following year (adjusted for weekends and holidays) to open an account and make a contribution for the earlier year.”

The government has increased the maximum deductible in 2015 and continues to increase in 2016.

For the 2016 tax year, you can make a deductible HSA contribution of as much as $3,350 if you have qualifying high-deductible self-only coverage or as much as $6,750 if you have qualifying high-deductible family coverage.

“ If you are age 55 or older as of the end of 2016, the maximum deductible contribution goes up by $1,000.”

More large companies are Increasingly offering workers high deductible health saving account. However, the employee is responsible for the high deductible and most of the plans are 70/30 coverage after the deductible is reached up to a maximum of $10,000.

Most large and small employers can afford to pay all or some of the high deductible and buy reinsurance for first dollar coverage beyond the deductible.

Both large employers and small employers are offering their employees health savings accounts. The full insurance premiums have become so high that employers are shifting the burden to employees by having the employee pay the deductible and the employer paying the reinsurance.

UnitedHealth has about 40 individual high deductible plans with 70/30 copays over the limit of the deductible. The maximum out of pocket cost is $10,000. The premium for a young married couple without kids is from $125 to $350 per month depending oo the deductible chosen. The premium increases with the number of children.

A great advantage to these plans now is that UnitedHealth has already negotiated the physicians’ and hospitals’ fees for you. The uninsured would pay retail price for the same services.

The cost to small to large companies is relatively difficult to find in an online search.

Most companies are self-insured and would not fall under the rigid coverage rules of Obamacare. The company can decide on the amount of the deductible they would pay for the employee.

The point of all this is health saving accounts are not as good as my ideal medical saving account. HSA’s do not provide enough incentive for employees or individuals to manage their health or healthcare dollars wisely as an MSA would.

A large defect in Obamacare is patients do not have incentive to be wise shoppers of their healthcare. They have restricted choice. They have little incentive to stay healthy because they have an entitlement program available that will take care of their expenses. There is no financial incentive for them to try and reduce the cost of healthcare.

If the consumers managed their health and healthcare dollars well the cost of healthcare would drop because the complications of chronic diseases would decrease to at least 50%.

If Republicans are looking for an alternative plan to the liberals’ and progressives’ inevitable march to a singe party payer system most of the infrastructure is already in place.

Only small modifications to the HSAs have to be made by the congress and the President and America would be on its way to a free market healthcare system.

This alternative healthcare system would align all of the stakeholders incentives including the government’s incentives, if the Obama administration did not want to increase its power by having more control over its people and its people’s freedom of choice.

My ideal Medical Saving Accounts would be democratic and cover everyone.

 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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Accelerating The Destruction Of The Healthcare System

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Most of you are familiar with my slide of the demise of the healthcare system.


Obamacare is accelerating the total collapse of the healthcare system. Once total collapse has occurred Americans might beg for a complete government taken over of the healthcare system with a single party payer system.

I have pointed out most of Obamacare’s new rules causing the unintended consequences and accelerating the healthcare system’s demise.

An unintended consequence in the Accountable Care Organization leads to a new rule to correct the consequence. Unelected officials then create another rule. The new rule results in other unintended consequences. All of these consequences accelerate the healthcare system’s demise.

Obamacare’s first year in operation was 2014. The Obama administration started taxing everyone in 2010 to support the added expenses Obamacare would generate.

Only the individual insurance portion of Obamacare was initiated.

The following are examples of unintended consequences.

Fourteen million people lost their individual healthcare insurance coverage in 2012 because of Obamacare’s new rules. Insurance coverage premiums increased because of the ACA’s required coverage.

Many workers lost their full time jobs. They were put on part-time employment in order for employers to avoid Obamacare penalties.

CMS reported that 13 million signed up for Obamacare in 2014 despite the website disaster. The number of enrollees was revised a few of times down to 6.6 million because of counting errors.

The direct and indirect costs of Obamacare were never reported to the public.

Obamacare activated a reinsurance program that was built into the Affordable Care Act. The reinsurance program was a bailout to entice the healthcare insurance industry to participate in the Federal Health Insurance Exchanges without experiencing any loses.

The insurance industry has claims the Obama administration owed it 2.5 billion dollars in 2014. The Obama administration was able to pay only 12%. The law restricted the government’s reinsurance payment to a certain percentage of the premiums paid. The amount owed as promised to the healthcare insurance industry for their participation in Obamacare was $2.2 billion short.

I believe the healthcare insurance industry will be loath to participate in the Federal Health Insurance Exchanges in 2017. UnitedHealth has already threatened to quit participating.

This year (2016) during open enrollment only 8.1 million enrolled in the Federal Health Insurance Exchanges.

It has been difficult to trust CMS’s overall claims for the number of enrollees. It has nothing to do with how many people have paid first premium or the anticipated number who will continue to pay premiums throughout the year.

President Obama stated in his state of the union speech that 18 million previously uninsured have received insurance under Obamacare. This is not true.

For argument’s sake let say his number is correct.

More than half the enrollees received Medicaid. President Obama is urging states to expand Medicaid.

What is going to happen when Medicaid is expanded? More people will get free government supplied healthcare insurance but will not be able to find physicians. Medicaid reimbursement is so poor that few physicians participate.

The healthcare system’s demise is rapidly accelerating. Obamacare’s claiming to increase people being covered but these people cannot obtain healthcare services.

Obamacare does not incentivize these people to be responsible consumers. Obesity continues to increase and the dollars spent for healthcare continues to increase.

The truth is enrollment has been terrible for 2016. President Obama is expanding the enrollment period again this year to try to increase enrollment.

“Eager to maximize coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration has allowed large numbers of people to sign up for insurance after the deadlines in the last two years, destabilizing insurance markets and driving up premiums, health insurance companies say.”

“The administration has created more than 30 “special enrollment” categories and sent emails to millions of Americans last year urging them to see if they might be able to sign up after the annual open enrollment deadline.

The Obama administration has done nothing to verify whether these late arrivals are eligible for insurance. They just sign up and are insured.

People have figured out they can wait until they become ill or need medical services to sign up. They then sign up and pay their premiums a few months’ premiums. They stop paying their premiums after they have received their medical services. They figure they do not need insurance any more.

“Individuals enrolled through special enrollment periods are utilizing up to 55 percent more services than their open enrollment counterparts” who sign up in the regular period, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, whose local member companies operate in every state, told the administration.

The Obama administration has told the healthcare insurance industry that it has heard their concerns. The problem is that CMS has not done anything about the insurance industry’s concerns.

“Many individuals have no incentive to enroll in coverage during open enrollment, but can wait until they are sick or need services before enrolling and drop coverage immediately after receiving services, making the annual open enrollment period meaningless,” Steven B. Kelmar, an executive vice president of Aetna.

Twenty five percent of Aetna enrollees have signed up during the special extended enrollment periods. It has been reported that last year 950,000 people enrolled during the special enrollment period between February and July 2015.

“Kevin J. Moynihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, said it shows the marketplace is working to meet people’s needs. He said certain life changes like losing your coverage, having a child, turning 26, moving or getting married may qualify you for a special enrollment period.”

People who are qualified for insurance do not get verified for insurance. It is easy to understand that this leads to unstable insurance markets and subsequent increases in premium prices.

It is o.k. for progressives if healthcare insurance is considered a right under a single party payer system with the losses taken by the government even if the deficit increases.

It is not o.k. if the Obamacare healthcare system pretends to be developing an efficient free enterprise system with the healthcare insurance industry experiencing the loss under the weight of unidentified risks created by the federal government.

The number of people not continuing to pay their insurance premiums their entire year is enormous. The healthcare insurance industry had no way of anticipating this occurrence.

“On average,” Aetna said, “special enrollment period enrollees stay with us for less than four months, while enrollees who come to us during the annual open enrollment period maintain their coverage on average for eight to nine months.

The same turnover rate has happened to UnitedHealth. It is one of the many reasons UnitedHealth has threatened to quit participating in Obamacare in 2017.

The result will be even higher insurance premiums next year. Most of the Obamacare insurance rates are unaffordable this year.

Enroll America, a nonprofit group with close ties to the Obama administration, said the government “should not tighten eligibility or verification standards in ways that could place an undue burden on consumers.”

There is no verification for late enrollment. The last statement by “Enroll America” reflects President Obama’s progressive and irresponsible attitude toward fiscal responsibility.

It is no wonder the national debt has grown to $19.2 trillion dollars.

It is another way to accelerate the collapse of the healthcare system.

I believe President Obama knows exactly what he is doing. His problem is he does not understand or care about the significance of the effect the deficit increase will have on America’s financial stability.

Middle class Americans are getting slaughtered.

Additionally he does not understand that Americans will not accept a government controlled single party payer system.

The Republican Party must get on the stick right now. They must offer a viable alternative to President Obama’s goal of a single party payer system. They should not wait until after the election.

The alternative should work in an efficient way. It should put consumers in charge of their health and healthcare dollars.

It would be a good idea for Republicans to understand and offer as an alternative My Ideal Medical Saving Accounts.

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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$3 Trillion And Rising

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

The Obama administration is spending money on Obamacare like a drunken sailor. It has no respite for the budget deficit. Paul Krugman even said deficit spending is not a problem.

The deficit could almost be justified if there was a possibility that Obamacare could work.

If Obamacare could provide universal healthcare at an affordable price, increase the efficiency and quality of care, and align all the stakeholders’ interests the increasing deficit caused could almost be justified.

Obamacare can’t work. Its business model is just accelerating the path to the total collapse of the healthcare system.

The dysfunction and inefficiencies didn’t happen overnight. It started when the government set up its bureaucracy for Medicare in 1965 and has gotten worse as progressives tried to adjust to the unintended consequences and rising costs.

Obamacare has accelerated the path toward total collapse of the healthcare system. It has caused more rules and regulations. The increase in bureaucracy leads to more inefficiency and increasing adjustments by providers to make the defective business model work for their vested interests rather than the patients’ vested interests..

Little tweaks to fix the healthcare system have lead to unintended consequences, greater dysfunction and higher costs.

In 2010 with the passage of Obamacare, bureaucracy increased. Businesses have invested great deals of money to adjust to new regulations imposed by Obamacare.

David Brooks said on the PBS News Hour on January 8, 2016 that Obamacare cannot be repealed because it was embedded in the business model of too many healthcare businesses.

I thought healthcare reform was dedicated to the proposition of providing universal healthcare and improved healthcare at an affordable price to patients.

In the last two years there has not been an increase in the number of new patients insured in the Federal Health Exchanges.

There has been an increase in the number of Medicaid patients insured. However, Medicaid provides such poor insurance reimbursement that few physicians participate.

The few physicians who do participate have to see many patients a day using many physician assistants. “These Medicaid Physicians” are frequently accused of running “Medicaid Mills.”

The physicians are accused of corruption and gaming the system. Then they come under federal investigation. Some of these physicians are corrupt but most aren’t.

David Brooks is drinking the Kool Add of the progressives and President Obama. He stated that Obamacare is now embedded in the fabric of our culture.

None of the stakeholders are having any fun. I believe everyone would jump at being given a viable alternative. The viable alterative is not a single party payer system.

Countries which have a single party payer system are working hard to avoid bankruptcy.

All one has to do is read Canada’s Fraser Institute Report.

Obamacare is an entitlement. It does not promote consumer responsibility for their care or healthcare dollars.

There is a better way. The Republican political establishment just refuses to listen. The Democratic establishment continues to make fun of the Republican establishment for not having an alternative.

Meanwhile all of the stakeholders, including the government, are experiencing increased pain.

Last month government officials announce that healthcare spending in the United States was 3 trillion dollars or an average of $9,500 a person.

A soon as the figure was announced the Obama administration’s spin machine got started with disinformation about the 3 trillion dollars.

The New York Times continues to report that Obamacare is working. The logic used is America has had a lower growth in healthcare spending in the last five years.

The New York Times completely ignores the fact that healthcare taxes have increased yearly over the last five years while Obamacare healthcare coverage has only been in effect for two years since 2014.

The spending curve for every aspect of healthcare experienced a sharp upturn in 2014.

The Obama administration is trying to blame the upturn on drug prices. Drug prices are partly to blame increase in cost. If one digs deeper it will be seen as a small part of the cost increase.

The increase cost is due to the accelerated dysfunction caused by Obamacare.

“Health spending in the United States last year topped $3 trillion — an average of $9,500 a person — as five years of exceptionally slow growth gave way to the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and private insurance coverage, and as prescription drug prices resumed their sharp climbs, the government said Wednesday.”

Only a few of the major provisions in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took effect in 2014.

What is going to happen when all of the major provisions of Obamacare take effect?

“Total spending on health care increased 5.3 percent last year(2014), the biggest jump since 2007, and accounted for 17.5 percent of the nation’s economic output, up from 17.3 percent in 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services said in its annual report on spending trends.”

 “By contrast, health spending grew 2.9 percent in 2013, the lowest rate of increase since the federal government began tracking it in 1960.”

2013 was three years into increased Obamacare healthcare taxes that affect all taxpayers including those that make less than $250,000,000 per year.

The people making less than $250,000/year were promised they would not spend one dime more for Obamacare.

I believe many American are aware of the mind games the Obama administration has played on them and are ready for an alternative that is a consumer centered and consumer driven system with them being in control of their health and healthcare dollars.

Republicans should at least offer the public a choice of My Ideal Medical Saving Account.

 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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Destroying The Healthcare System

Stanley Feld M.D, FACP,MACE

I believe President Obama’s goal is to destroy the healthcare system. The people will then beg the Obama administration to institute a single party payer system with the government being in full control.

The fact is Obamacare is not working despite the Obama administration’s convincing the mainstream media to advertise that it is very successful.

I was shocked at a December 9th New York Times article stating:

A million new customers have signed up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s third open-enrollment season, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday, and call centers have been deluged.”

This statement is an optimistic statement and a distraction from the true. A readers impression would be Obamacare is doing great.

The Obama administration simply ignored last year’s enrollment numbers. Ten million people were supposed to have signed up for healthcare coverage through the Federal Health Insurance Exchanges. Only seven million of those who signed up paid their premiums for the entire year.

The premiums and deductibles were too high even for the poor who received federal subsidies.

Most of the people remaining in the Obamacare in the federal exchanges were people with a pre-existing illness. One diabetic told me her individual premium for Obamacare was $12,500 dollars with a $6,000 dollar deductible. Her bill for last year, being hospitalized one time, was almost $100,000. She felt Obamacare was a very good deal for her.

The insurance company covering these kinds of patients with a pre-existing illness cannot make money for the insurance coverage they are required to provide.

If all the patients have pre-existing illnesses, the only thing the insurance companies can do is raise the premiums or stop selling insurance in this Federal Health Exchange market.

The Obama administration promised it would limit the insurance industry’s loss with its reinsurance program. The Obama administration reneged on its word and only paid 12% of what was due for 2014. The administration did not have the money to pay for it.

In 2014, the first year of coverage, we were told 13 million signed up, but only 7 million had coverage at the end of the year.

The administration provided data to the CBO to predict the number of enrollees Obamacare will have in 2016. The CBO predicted 21 million would be signed up for 2016. The CBO used data provided by the Obama administration to make this calculation.

What happened to the remaining 7 million enrollees for 2015? We are not told how many enrollees automatically re-enrolled.

We only hear that, ‘ A million new customers have signed up for health insurance.”

We can now understand the concerns expressed by UnitedHealth Group and other insurers that say they are losing money in the Obamacare Federal Health Insurance Exchanges.

Open enrollment is due to end January 1, 2015. In mid December CMS announced,

‘We are now seeing a surge of interest as we get closer to the deadline,”   “Each day has been bigger than the day before.”

The last two weeks in December had less that 100,000 people sign up. Yet the government published these numbers. Many wonder how real these numbers are. If they are real there has been no increase in enrollment in the last year.

Confirmed 2016 Exchange QHPs: 9,584,850 as of 12/30/15
Projected Exchange QHPs: 11.32M by 01/02/15 (8.60M via HC.Gov)
In the last week in December only 80,000 people signed up compared to 96,000 the same week last year.

The coverage is poor and too expensive for most people.

Open enrollment has now been extended to January 31 for enrollment March 1st.

People who go without insurance next year may be subject to tax penalties of $695 a person or more, although some may be able to qualify for hardship exemptions.”

This is a joke. However, the joke is on the consumers and taxpayers.

So far, Obamacare has created a 10% increase in federal taxes middle-class taxpayers.

It has increased coverage for the Medicaid eligible poor. However, these people cannot find a doctor who will treat them.

The healthcare system is costing over three trillion dollars a year and increasing our deficit more than $1.5 trillion dollar a year. There are still 34 million people uninsured. How many people are under insured because their jobs have been changed to part time jobs? They cannot afford to buy Obamacare’s insurance?

2017 is the year the healthcare insurance markets are supposed to stabilize. These markets have not stabilized. Healthcare insurance companies, and business groups can not understand how the new CMS’ proposals will regulate and expand provider networks and standardize plan options let alone have insurance markets result in lower premiums.
We remain deeply concerned that this proposed rule will not stabilize the individual market,” Steven Kelmar, Aetna’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, wrote in a letter to the CMS. “Unless some fundamental flaws are corrected, we believe there is a grave risk that the federal exchange will not operate as a viable, competitive market in 2017.” 

One of the more significant and controversial provisions in the proposed rules involves the adequacy of provider networks. The CMS proposal demands that ACA-compliant health plans sold on the federal exchanges in 2017 would have to abide by new network standards.

All plan networks would have to include hospitals and doctors within certain travel times or distances from members. There would also be minimum provider-to-member ratios for some medical specialties.

CMS proposed that all health plans in each metal tier on the federal exchange have the same benefits. For example, all 2017 bronze options would have a $6,650 deductible, and all plans would have no more than one provider tier.

This proposal practically guarantees that the healthcare insurance industry selling insurance under Obamacare’s exchanges would lose money. Therefore, the industry would choose not to participate.

The big losers would be patients with preexisting illnesses. They would lose their insurance.

The traditional mainstream media is already cranking up the Obama administration spin machine to promote a single party payer system as the best and simplest option to provide insurance for all Americans.

Nobody is thinking about who will pay for a single party payer system after the administration emotionally conditions the public to beg for a single party payer system.

The hardest by increased costs in the system are consumers at every income level.

As the cost rises to unaffordable levels all consumers are starting to take think about taking responsibility for their health and healthcare dollars.

“The new research also finds that as a result of the increase in health care costs, focus group participants are changing how they operate within the health care system.

They are questioning their doctors recommendations more frequently, comparing cost and quality information for local providers, and even putting off seeking care altogether.”

Despite the low of enrollment in 2016 (that the Obama administration denies), CMS is about to publish new 2017 rules for the insurance industry. These rules are guaranteed to make the healthcare system more dysfunctional.

The fact is the structure of Obamacare is failing and about to collapse.

All of the Obama administration’s tinkering to stop the free fall is creating greater momentum for total collapse of the healthcare system.

The answer to fixing the healthcare system is not a single party payer system.

The answer is a consumer driven healthcare system with the aid of smart phones and the Internet and Medical Savings Accounts.

Progressives have a tendency to forget the math. They have more interest in satisfying an emotional response. The resulting entitlement policies lead to the unintended consequences and only make things worse.

Neil Cavuto demonstrated this logic recently in an interview with a student campaigning for free student loans.

Progressives’ logic is faulty. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of the affects of entitlements and their unintended consequences.
 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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Making Medicine Function: Five (5) Key Elements From Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE : Repairing the Healthcare System

Scott Becker of Becker’s Healthcare asked me to write an article on Element needed to Repair The Healthcare System. Becker’s Healthcare is the leading source of cutting-edge business and legal information for healthcare industry leaders.

His portfolio includes five industry-leading trade publications:

  • Becker’s ASC Review
  • Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality
  • Becker’s Spine Review
  • Becker’s Hospital Review
  • Becker’s Dental Review

My article appeared in the latest addition and with permission from Scott Becker. I am reprinting it on my site. Becker’s Healthcare is a valuable information site.

Making Medicine Function: Five (5) Key Elements From Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE : Repairing the Healthcare System

Patients, physicians, hospital executives, healthcare insurance executive and government all believe the healthcare system is dysfunctional and unsustainable in future years.

All the stakeholders are unhappy with Obamacare.

Clinical Endocrinologist, Stanley Feld, MD, FACP, MACE, is a physician who believes Obamacare’s business model is seriously flawed. He also believes that Obamacare has accelerated the dysfunction in the healthcare system.

Dr. Feld believes Obamacare has increased the healthcare system’s unsustainability by causing an increase in bureaucracy, a decrease in efficiency and encouraging the gaming of the healthcare system by all stakeholders.

The Obamacare business model must be changed to a consumer driven healthcare business model with the consumer in charge and in the center of the healthcare system, not the government or other secondary stakeholders.

Consumers must be taught and incentivized to use all the 21st century technology tools available including smart phones. The goal must be to improve medical care and treatment outcomes, not improve the measurement of medical process outcomes.

Dr. Feld became interested in the causes of the healthcare system’s dysfunction in 1991 while he was on the steering committee of a nascent medical organization, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE).

He became AACE’s third President and was chairman of the Type 2 Diabetes Guideline committee. He was the chief author of “A System of Intensive Self-Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.”

In 1991 there was little government and healthcare insurance industry support for the concept of teaching the Type 2 Diabetics how to be the “Professor of Their Disease” even though there was a Type 2 Diabetes epidemic.

The epidemic was the result of lack of understanding by consumers (patients) of how to prevent and treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes causes complications that are coronary heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and amputations. Quality of life of is decreased. The complications are costly to the patients and the healthcare system.

America was in the midst of an obesity epidemic. The epidemic continues today. Obesity predisposes consumers to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and its subsequent complications.

Dr. Feld said everyones goal for the healthcare system is to have a healthier population at an affordable price. The goal can be accomplished by putting consumers in control of their health and healthcare dollars. Consumers must also be given financial incentives to control their health. No one is focused on the consumer’s responsibility to lower cost in the Obamacare business model.

Dr. Feld believes Obamacare’s business model has too many faults to repair. Each time President Obama alters the business model to fix a fault, the healthcare system becomes more costly, dysfunctional and unsustainable.

Dr. Feld developed a business model that would accomplish the goal of providing a functional and efficient healthcare system at an affordable cost to consumers, employers, healthcare insurance companies and the government.

Dr. Feld’s business model would eliminate most of the government’s inefficiency that absorbs 40% of the healthcare dollars. The inefficiencies must be eliminated or at least significantly decreased.

Here are Dr. Feld’s five key elements necessary to Repair the Healthcare System.

All the key elements listed are explained in detail in Dr. Feld’s blog “Repairing the Healthcare System”. Each link will have a full list of my blog posts on the topic.

  1. The Ideal Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs).

Dr. Feld’s Ideal Medical Savings Account is the insurance model in his business plan.

Medical Saving Accounts are different than Health Savings Accounts. Health Saving Accounts are the fastest growing healthcare insurance plans. Medical Saving Accounts provide consumers with more financial incentive.

The Ideal Medical Saving Account transfers the premium dollars saved by consumers into a tax-free retirement trust that is not restricted to medical care. The financial incentive will cause consumers to be responsible for the control of their health and wisely spend their healthcare dollars.

The Ideal Medical Savings Accounts are democratic. The employer, the individual or the government could fund the Medical Savings Account. The deductible must be high enough to provide enough financial incentive for consumers to be motivated to become responsible for their health and their healthcare dollars. Once the deductible is reached the consumer receives with first dollar coverage for an illness.

If the deductible is not spent the consumer gets it tax-free in their retirement trust.

Ideal Medical Savings Accounts provide consumers the choice of physician. The environment is created where consumers decide on who will provide the best value for their healthcare dollars rather than the government, the healthcare insurance industry or the government.

MSAs would create a Consumer Driven Healthcare System with the benefit of consumers creating competition among the stakeholders in the healthcare system rather than stakeholders deciding for consumers. For greater details go to this link.

  1. The Importance of Tort Reform

Most politicians have ignored the importance of Tort Reform. They have been led to believe that Tort Reform is an insignificant cost to the healthcare system.

Dr. Feld points to study by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Every practicing physician believes the data of this study. The resulting data is an excellent and truthful indicator of the huge cost of over-testing to prevent malpractice claims.

The lack of Tort Reform costs the healthcare system $200 billion to $750 billion dollars a year as a result of over testing by physicians to avoid malpractice suits.

Physicians who order a test usually do not receive the profit built into the test he/she has ordered.

  1. The Importance of Self-Management of Chronic Disease

The unsuccessful management of chronic diseases results in 80% of the cost of care for those diseases. Most important is to prevent the chronic disease from occurring in the first place. Diseases with the highest costs are Diabetes Mellitus, Heart Disease, Hypertension and Cancer. Obesity and consumer’s genetic makeup are responsible for most of these chronic and costly diseases.

Consumers are in control of the development of obesity. They must be responsible for preventing it. However all of our cultural stimulation encourages obesity. Consumers must make a choice. Government can provide public education programs to help consumers make the correct choice. When consumers are educated and are at financial risk for developing obesity, they will become responsible and avoid becoming obese.

The reformed healthcare system could prevent the onset of complications of these chronic diseases. The cost of the complications of chronic disease is 80% of the cost of treating that disease.

These teams must be an extension of their physicians care and responsible to their physician.

  1. The Magic of the Patient/Physician Relationship.

Obamacare tries to quantify patient care. Twenty thousand rules and regulations have been produced so far to measure the care delivered by physicians to patients.

Maybe the measurement criteria for quality care are wrong? Maybe the government is measuring the wrong thing.

There is no quality measurements made about patients’ compliance or adherence. There are no rules to measure the patient/physician relationship.

These would be important measurements for bureaucrats to measure in order to quantitate the effectiveness of care.

If one wanted to commoditize the delivery of quality medical care, consumer responsibility for compliance with their treatment is an important measurement.

The patient/physician relationship is magical. It can result in improved patient compliance and self-management of both acute illness and avoidance of the complications of chronic diseases. The end result is that it can decrease the cost of healthcare by at least 50 percent. The healthcare system would then be affordable.

As the government and healthcare insurance companies try to decrease their cost they have decreased reimbursement and increased regulations and paperwork for physicians

A physicians work product is intelligence, skill and time. Physicians do not have enough time to develop a patient/physician relationship today.

The patient/physician relationship is difficult to measure. It cannot be commoditized into a universal report that a computer program can generate.

  1. The Rule of Information Technology

Physicians are not opposed to information technology. They are against information technology generating data that is being used as a tool to judge their clinical competence and reimbursement by bureaucrats. Many times the “big data” is inaccurate.

Information technology should be used as a tool to extend a physician’s ability to patients. It should be used as a tool to improve physicians’ care.

In order to reduce the cost of medical care and increase the patient’s ability to be a “Professor of Their Disease”, medical care must be delivered by a team approach.

Information technology must be a part the team with the consumer being in the center. Physicians must be the coach; the other members of the team must be physician extenders (assistant coaches).

There are many websites generating both good and bad information. As the manager of the team the physician and his assistant managers should pick the websites for his/her patients to use.

Physicians and his/her healthcare management teams should develop social networks so his/her patients can relate to each other and learn the subtleties of their chronic disease from each other. Physicians and his patient extenders would monitor and correct any false information generated through the social network.

These social networks would be very effective in motivating consumers to be responsible for their care and their healthcare dollars.

These are five elements that would decrease the cost of America’s healthcare system. They would avoid the trap and unintended consequences of a single party payer system.

The real cost curve has not been bent downward. It has been bent upward in the actual cost to taxpayers. The government is not measuring all the costs, including new taxes, as payment for Obamacare.


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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