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Pretenses, Pretenses, Pretenses


Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

During the last few weeks I have discussed the problems with Medicare Part
B, D and F.

The problems are the result of abuse of the healthcare system by the various secondary stakeholders protecting their vested interests. The stakeholders use their resources to influence our elected politicians. The peoples’ votes should be their only influence.

Politicians take the money from these various lobbying groups because they need the money to campaign for re-election. Media advertising is not cheap.

“The media exercises its greatest influence during elections . Candidates who lack an effective media strategy are likely to be destined for failure.”

“Candidates routinely spend 80 percent of their “war chests” on television and radio advertising. In larger states such as California, Texas, and New York, television advertising is the only way for candidates to reach the tens of millions of voters. In 2000, political novice John Corzine spent a mind-numbing $60–80 million of his own money — most of it on television commercials — to win a Senate seat in New Jersey.”

These two outstanding sound bites summarize the issue:

“The media is the message. Marshell McCluen.”

‘If you tell a lie enough times, it becomes the truth. Carl Sandberg.”

I can imagine the number of jobs created in advertising and in the media during the election season. The media are not willing to relinquish jobs and revenue for unbiased reporting.

President Obama has already been funding his reelection campaign on the taxpayers’ dime. His goal is to raise $1 billion dollars. The goal of the $1 billion dollars contributed by donors implies the purchase by these donors of political influence to support their vested interests.

The traditional media has not been criticized this practice. Campaign advertising is a large part of the traditional media’s yearly revenue. The media is cautious about criticizing large donors for fear of losing the campaign advertising revenue.

The voices of American voters are being drowned out by special interest money. Millions of dollars are poured into campaigns each election, and the amount continues to climb. Instead of turning to their constituents, members of Congress look to wealthy individuals and businesses to fund their campaigns.

Public Citizen is working hard to change the current system of campaign finance so that members of Congress are responsible to their voters, not to their contributors.  

President Obama has been beholden to these special interests. He has used trick plays to fulfill his obligations to his donors. He has disguised his intentions by claiming he is doing everything for the interest of the little guy.

I have difficulty believing anything President Obama says anymore. I also have difficulty believing Democrats and most Republicans in congress.

The recent raising of the debt limit tied to deficit reduction is a case in point.

It is a total fake.

Let us assume a person makes $50,000 a year. He spends $150,000 a year. That means he spends $100,000 a year more than he makes. He must go to the bank to borrow the $100,000.

Will any bank lend him $100,000?  No! He would have to prove how he would pay the $100,000 back.

He promises the bank he will reduce his “deficit spending” of $100,000 by 10% a year over the next ten years. That means that next year he will spend $90,000 more than he earns. He will only have to borrow $90,000.  In ten years I would increase his deficit by 680,000 rather that the 1,000,000 if he did not promise to decrease his deficit spending by 10% a year for 10 years. The banker would still say no.

The United States is not decreasing its deficit or balancing the budget with this latest deal. It is increasing the deficit will decreasing the “deficit spending.” The net effect is creating more debt.

 Why the deal is a fake. President Obama and the congress are not interested is being serious about being fiscally responsible. President Obama has faked out the American public once again.

There are many things government can do for the American public.  Everyone would agree that corporate interests, if given a chance, would take advantage of the public’s interest and the government. The government must protect the public from corporate interests and itself.

It can be accomplished by aligning corporate interests with the public’s interests. The use of force and penalties (price controls) always fail.

An example is food inspection and the Cargill turkey scandal. How are the complex food safety regulations enforced? They were not enforced in the turkey scandal. The inefficiencies and possible corruption that exist in government bureaucracy made the regulations impossible to enforce.

Did the government correct the deficiency? I think not. Last year’s hamburger scandal should have created the incentive and opportunity to correct the deficiency.

Would the pharmaceuticals companies step out and not sell the antibiotics to Cargill? They have not.

How does this relate to the dysfunctional healthcare system?

Why is Medicare so expensive and healthcare costs rising so fast?

Growth of Medicarice. 8 4 2010png

 Physician fees are not rising. Why penalize physicians? Healthcare insurance fees are rising. Bureaucratic infrastructure is increasing, as it is becoming less efficient. As this is happening the waste, fraud and abuse is mounting.

The only way to get out of the healthcare mess is to let consumers own, control and be responsible for their healthcare dollars. Social networking will be the driver of consumers’ demand for independence from government control.

The government bureaucracy’s role must be to create appropriate rules to protect the consumers from abuse.

The conundrum is the government’s bureaucracy is the biggest part of the problem

Government must also create educational programs to help consumers make wise choices.

 Consumers should be given incentives to make wise healthcare decisions.  

Increased government control will only create a bigger government mess.

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


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