Archive for the ‘Medicare/Medicaid’ Category

OBAMA’S FISCAL LEGACY

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

 

This article was written the day before the election but contains very sobering and alarming information on the fiscal health of our country and what the next president  has to deal with.   As if there is not enough bad news in this article, the federal debt is approaching $20 trillion very quickly and increasing the debt ceiling will face Congress and the president by a March deadline.   Nancy
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Obama’s Fiscal Legacy

The President’s luck is about to run out—on his successor’s watch.

U.S. President Barack Obama ENLARGE
U.S. President Barack Obama PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Congratulations to the President-elect, whoever you are, because you’re going to need it. Our deadline arrived Tuesday before we knew the election outcome, but not before we can say with confidence that President Obama is leaving his successor a large and growing federal budget problem.

That’s the message in the Congressional Budget Office’s summary, released Monday, of the fiscal year that closed in September. Though the subject barely came up in the campaign—little policy substance did—the federal fisc is once again heading for trouble. There are some lessons in this for the next President, who will quickly realize that Mr. Obama’s fiscal luck has finally run out—on his successor’s watch.

(more…)

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HILLARY AND OBAMACARE’S FUTURE

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

 

Where Clinton Will Take ObamaCare

As with HillaryCare, a single payer, national health-care system has always been the goal.

By 

PHIL GRAMM
Mr. Gramm, a former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
October 18, 2016EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  For the ObamaCare of today to be transformed into the HillaryCare of 1993 and finally into a nationalized health-care system, a president is needed who has the willpower to impose the coercive details, nail down hard deadlines and unleash agencies to tighten controls and squeeze the life out of private insurers. In 1993 Hillary Clinton unapologetically proposed to do just that. If she is elected president she will have the unilateral power under ObamaCare to do it. The loss of what remains of Americans’ health-care freedom is an election away.

In claiming earlier this year that the current U.S. health-care system “was HillaryCare before it was called ObamaCare,” Hillary Clinton was telling the truth—but not the whole truth. In 1993, while first lady, Mrs. Clinton led a task force to deliver universal health care to the voters who elected her husband. She failed. After many revisions, the final bill stalled in the Senate for lack of Democratic votes.
HillaryCare was a comprehensive plan for the government to take over the health-care system, with program details and cost-control measures precisely defined. Having learned from that defeat, the Obama administration left as many details as possible to be written during implementation after ObamaCare became law. With few details to defend and the clear falsehood that “if you like your health-care plan you can keep it,” President Obama pushed through his “signature” legislation.
While Bill Clinton recently denounced the Affordable Care Act’s effect on the health-care market as “the craziest thing in the world,” ObamaCare was never anything more than a politically achievable steppingstone. As with HillaryCare, a single payer, national health-care system has always been the goal.
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A MEDICARE EXPERIMENT WITH A GRIM PROGNOSIS

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A Medicare Experiment With a Grim Prognosis

Congress should stop this venture in bad medicine and flawed economics.

Federal bureaucrats announced earlier this year that they plan to upend the way Medicare Part B pays for drugs. The goal? To save money by getting doctors to alter their treatment choices. That’s bad medicine, flawed economics and destructive public policy—and Congress should pass legislation to stop this ill-conceived experiment.

Medicare plays a crucial role in the lives of more than 55 million Americans. It is the only way some seniors can get access to the drugs that keep them alive. The new policy from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will jeopardize this access by inserting the government between doctors and patients in an unprecedented way.

ENLARGE
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The idea is to use financial incentives to push doctors to make “value-based care” decisions and prescribe cheaper treatments. Unfortunately, modern-day medicine isn’t as black and white as the administration seems to think. Take cancer care, my specialty. There are very few instances when the substitution of a less expensive cancer drug is appropriate or safe for patients. After all, there is a reason the newer, more advanced drugs—such as those that helped former President Jimmy Carter put his cancer into remission—are considered groundbreaking.

(more…)

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VIDEO – LAND OF THE FREEBIES

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

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MASS SHOOTINGS AND A MENTAL-HEALTH DISGRACE

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Mass Shootings and a Mental-Health Disgrace

The federal bureaucracy is anti-patient, anti-family and anti-medical care. Reform is essential

ByTim Murphy

Mr. Murphy, a Republican, is a U.S. representative from Pennsylvania and a psychologist in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps.
Oct .9, 2015
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: 

In 1955 there were 558,000 inpatient psychiatric beds in the U.S. Today there are fewer than 45,000. The severe shortage is due to the decades-long deinstitutionalization that began in the civil-rights era. But it has been exacerbated by a Medicaid reimbursement rule known as the “institutions for mental diseases exclusion,” which prohibits federal matching payments for inpatient care at psychiatric hospitals with more than 16 beds. My bill moves away from the arbitrary 16-bed cap and establishes a clinical standard for patients with serious mental illness.
These past few months have brimmed with tragedy. Americans are struggling to make sense of horrific acts of mass violence like the August shooting on live television in Roanoke, Va., and last week’s college campus shooting in Roseburg, Ore.
We all know how this plays out in Congress: a moment of silence on the House floor and a fraternal feeling of melancholy when the flag over the Capitol is lowered to half-staff. But that moment of silence will not heal the hearts of those who lost a loved one, and it will not stop the next tragedy. Here and now we need action; we need real change.
That’s why I’ve authored the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. The bill focuses resources and reform where they are most needed: to foster evidence-based care, fix the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, empower patients and caregivers under HIPAA privacy laws, and help patients get treatment well before their illness spirals into crisis.
As chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, I led a congressional investigation into our failed mental-health system after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. What we found was shocking and disgraceful: a wasteful federal bureaucracy that is anti-patient, anti-family and anti-medical care. The federal government has more than 112 programs that deal with mental health in one way or another, yet a person with serious mental illness is 10 times more likely to be in a prison cell than a psychiatric hospital bed.

(more…)

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VIDEO – PAUL RYAN – TRADE, RESULTS FROM THE WAR ON POVERTY, HEALTHCARE, ENTITLEMENTS, REFLECTIONS FROM THE 2012 ELECTION, DEFENSE BUDGET

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

July 2, 2015

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DOCTORING IN THE AGE OF OBAMACARE

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
DOCTORING IN THE AGE OF OBAMACARE
By

Mark Sklar  Dr. Sklar is an assistant professor of medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center and at the George Washington University Medical Center.
Sept. 12, 2014
It has been four years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so I thought it may be useful to provide the perspective of a physician providing daily medical care. I am an endocrinologist in Washington, D.C., and have been in solo private practice for 17 years after seven years at an academic institution. Since 1990, the practice of medicine has changed significantly, seldom for the better.

In the 1990s insurance companies developed managed-care plans that greatly increased their profits at the expense of the physician. With the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing new groups profiting from changes to the health-care system. Entrepreneurs and hospital executives are capitalizing on organizing physicians into groups called Accountable Care Organizations from which they will take a very substantial percentage of collected income. Now that physicians are being required to use electronic medical records, the companies that develop them are harvesting money from physicians’ practices and from hospitals.

The push to use electronic medical records has had more than financial costs. Although it is convenient to have patient records accessible on the Internet, the data processing involved has been extremely time consuming—a sentiment echoed by most of my colleagues. To save time, I was advised by a consultant to enter data into the electronic record during the office visit. When I tried this I found that typing in the data was disruptive to the patient visit. My eyes were focused on the keyboard and the lack of direct contact kept patients from opening up and discussing their medical and personal problems. I soon returned to my old method of dictating notes and pasting a print-out of the dictation into the electronic record.

Yet to avoid future financial penalties from Medicare, I must demonstrate “meaningful use” of the electronic record. This involves documenting that I covered a checklist of items during the office visit, so I spend 90 minutes each day entering mostly meaningless data. This is time better spent calling patients to answer questions or keeping updated with the medical literature.

If electronic records ever allow physicians to obtain data from previous laboratory and imaging testing, it will improve costs and patient care. So far, however, the data in electronic records—like paper charts—can’t be shared unless physicians work in the same health-care system.

My practice quickly adopted the new Medicare requirements for electronically prescribing medications. Yet patients often do not want their prescription sent electronically. They want a physical copy—either because they don’t trust the Internet or because they don’t need to fill the prescription immediately. If I don’t electronically prescribe for a certain number of Medicare patients, I am penalized with a decrease in reimbursement that can rise to a maximum of 5%. Patients should have a choice in how their prescriptions are delivered, and physicians shouldn’t be penalized for how the patients choose. (more…)

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REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE PLAN – THE CARE ACT

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
On March 31, 2014,  Senator Richard Burr, Republican, North Carolina, was the guest speaker at a John Locke Foundation luncheon.  The subject of his talk was The Patient CARE Act which was sponsored by Senator Burr,  Senator Tom Coburn, Republican, Oklahoma, and Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican, Utah.   This proposal is a comprehensive alternative to Obama’s Affordable Care Act  aka Obamacare.

 

Below  you will see photos from the luncheon and  links to a detailed explanation of the Republican  plan plus a video of Senator Burr’s talk.   Many thanks to Becki Gray, Vice President for Outreach of the John Locke Foundation, for providing these links.   

Republicans do have a replacement healthcare plan!   Nancy

 

Senator Richard Burr, Republican, North Carolina

Conservative Ladies – standing from the left: Mary McKinney, Kathy Arab, Meg Gresham, Dana Postiglioni seated from the left: Laura Cox, Janie Wagstaff, Laura Gutman and Nancy Clark (Lee Green in blue dress standing in background)

Here are two links to good summaries of the Burr-Coburn plan:

 

 


 

Here is the link to Sen. Burr’s talk:  VIDEO OF SENATOR’S TALK

 

 


 

 

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DIGITAL MEDICINE WILL SOON SAVE YOUR LIFE

Monday, February 24th, 2014

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
DIGITAL MEDICINE WILL SOON SAVE YOUR LIFE
Feb. 22, 2014

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  The benefits of the digital revolution are large. But we’ll also have to deal with problems and unanticipated consequences, mostly related to privacy, the possibility of misuse, and the concern that patients might be overwhelmed with so much information. The government via the FDA will need to play a role to ameliorate all three of these potential issues. Regardless, digital medicine is coming over the next few years with the force of a hurricane whether we doctors—and we patients—are ready or not.

A sweeping transformation of medicine has begun that will rival in importance the introduction of anesthesia or the discovery of the germ basis of infectious disease. It will change how patients and physicians interact. It will change medical research and therapy. “Sick care”—the current model of waiting for you to get sick and then trying to alleviate symptoms and make you well—will become true “health care,” where prevention is the mantra and driving force. Welcome to the world of digital medicine.

First and foremost, the digitalization of medicine will personalize health care: Treatment will be tailored to each person as a unique individual suffering a unique illness according to his or her genetic makeup. Currently, therapy is based on population statistics. Patients are separated into groups defined in various ways but usually by similar symptoms or by the results of basic lab tests (like cholesterol levels). These groups are then treated with drugs that may help many people, but not all of them, and often only a fraction of them. By incorporating information from an individual’s DNA, the data made available through digitalization will enable clinicians to match individuals with treatments. Only patients who will benefit will get a particular drug.

This is huge. Giving drugs to patients who are not helped has been enormously expensive and often perverse. Particularly with anticancer drugs, it often condemns such patients to horrendous side effects for no benefit.

Second, digitalization will democratize medicine: You will own or control the data about your own medical condition, and you will be able to analyze it instantly by your connectivity to the Web. In many ways, the profession of medicine today is where Christianity was when the Gutenberg Bible put scriptures into the hands of the laity. But the profession is going to change, subtly and not so subtly shifting power away from the medical-industrial complex: doctors, health insurers, hospitals, medical labs and Big Pharma. (more…)

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AN OBAMACARE REPORT CARD

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

 

An Obamacare Report Card

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