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Survival Prospects for ObamaCare in 2015

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new-logo25By Jane M. Orient, M.D.,

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“It may be years before a new beneficiary develops a serious illness and finds out that his policy is worthless.
• Come April, Americans will be having to tell the IRS about their insurance status, and pay an additional “tax” if it doesn’t meet requirements. Employers face onerous new reporting requirements come New Year’s Day, and the delayed employer mandate kicks in.”

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Now that Republicans have control of Congress, they could possibly keepObamacareHurt their promise to repeal ObamaCare—except for two immediate obstacles. One of course is the threat of the Presidential veto. Another is the already apparent willingness of craven politicians to surrender pre-emptively.

Once a government benefit is given, it becomes politically suicidal to take it back—at least in a way that people can see. There are likely a million or more Americans who are reveling in “having healthcare for the first time in their lives.” Or so the Administration’s messaging would have us believe. People are not yet onto the difference between having an insurance card and getting prompt medical attention. More

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New Obamacare Endgame: the VA for All

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new-logo25Richard Amerling, M.D.

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Scandal at the Phoenix Veterans Administration lifted the curtain of secrecy on the VA’s secret waiting lists. The VA lies while patients die.

35462_1thmThis is by no means a new phenomenon. The nation’s single-payer system for veterans has long been greatly overloaded. Congress tried to fix it in 1996 by passing a law requiring that any veteran needing care had to be seen within 30 days.

The VA is supposed to have a wonderful electronic medical records system, and the EMR is supposed to be the magic formula for efficiency and quality. The VA gamed the electronic system to hide the waiting lists.

Readers of the British press will be struck by the similarities between fudging waiting lists at VA hospitalsand stacking patients in ambulances outside UK hospitals. Finding it impossible to comply with a National Health Service mandate that all patients admitted to an emergency room be seen within four hours, hospitals kept patients waiting in ambulances outside the ER! More

Obamacare: Repeal (What?) and Replace (with What?)

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new-logo25Contributor & authorJane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

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Government can’t fix the “health care system” any more than Obama can take out your tonsils. But it can refrain from tying up or tripping those who are trying to take care of patients.  We should start by repealing the mandates—on individuals, employers, medical facilities and professionals, and insurers. No American should be forced to buy a product he does not want or need or feels he cannot afford. No individual or company should be forced to provide services or products to government specifications. The American way is the voluntary way.

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The High Cost of Free Care

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new-logo25By Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD.,

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When I signed in for my yearly mammogram the receptionist announced with a wry smile, “No co-pay this time, it’s free!” We both knew that it really wasn’t free.

To understand whether free means free, let’s look at Medicare as an example. Medicare has four parts. Part A (“hospital”) covers hospital admissions, post-hospitalization short-term skilled nursing, and hospice. Part B (“medical”) covers outpatient medical services such as physician ObamacareHurtvisits, lab tests, and outpatient surgery. Parts A and B are called traditional Medicare. Part C (“Medicare Advantage”) is private HMOs. Part D is prescription drug coverage. Technically, all parts are optional.

Medicare is costly before and after we enroll. We pay for Part A through a 2.9 percent tax on earnings, half of which is paid by employers. Thus, an average worker earning $43,500 per year generates $105 every month for the promise of hospital insurance benefits beginning up to 45 years in the future.

Importantly, Part A is mandatory for those eligible for Medicare who receive Social Security payments. If beneficiaries want to opt out of Part A, they must forfeit all of their Social Security payments. More

Patients: For Protection and Affordable Care, Opt Out!

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new-logo25Richard Amerling, M.D.

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I remember the days of black-and-white television.  When color television sets became available, they were expensive and few could afford them.  And few networks broadcast in color, since the audience was limited.  At a certain point of supply and demand, sets became less expensive, and networks went all-in for color.  The same phenomena occurred more recently with the move to high ObamacareHurtdefinition TV.  And so it will go with private, high quality medical care.

Years ago I penned the Physicians’ Declaration of Independence, urging physicians laboring under increasingly abusive third party contracts to opt out, to allow them to return to the unfettered practice of medicine.   Increasing numbers of physicians are opting out of Medicare, and few participate in Medicaid (full disclosure: as a nephrologist taking care of dialysis patients, I have not opted out of Medicare).  Declining reimbursements and ever-greater paperwork and reporting requirements are driving this trend.   To a certain extent, this is also happening in the private insurance sphere, and for the same reasons.  But what really limits physician opt out is the relatively small numbers of patients who are “self-pay.”   With the implementation of Obamacare, these numbers are set to explode. More

The Emperor Has No Clue

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new-logo25By Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D., J.D.,

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When President Obama hawks the wonders of the misnamed  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I’m reminded of those “As Seen on  TV” products.

True believers ridiculed critics of the Independent  Payment Advisory Board and its unchecked power to ration health care. They were  impressed by the $575 billion cut to Medicare, although lower payments lead  physicians to accept fewer Medicare patients. They cheered because 11 million  Americans will be added to the Medicaid rolls over the next ten years. While  Medicaid looks like is a good deal with its low co-pays, provider payments are  so low that only one-third of physicians accept new Medicaid  patients.

True believers scoffed at claims of loss of privacy.  After the NSA snooping revelations, a Pew survey revealed that 70 percent of  Americans believe the government is using data for purposes other than fighting  terrorism. Not only could unethical employees misuse health and financial  information, the health “Data Hub” can be shared among seven federal agencies  for ill-defined “routine uses.” According to a former HHS general counsel, the  federal government’s computer program for insurance exchanges lacks privacy  safeguards and could expose applicants to identity theft.

President Obama has repeatedly promised that “if you  like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Even his Praetorian Guard has now  defected. The National Treasury Employees Union—which represents the IRS folks  who are ultimately in charge of ObamaCare—does not want its members to be  “pushed out” of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the  insurance exchanges. More

What Will the [Un]Affordable Care Act Look Like in a Year?

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new-logo25Author/Contributor: G. Keith Smith, M.D.

 

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Many are speculating about  the outcome of what I call UCA for the [Un]Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. I think there are two basic scenarios.

 

 

First is that UCA will do  precisely what it was intended to do: inject economic chaos into the medical  marketplace, driving prices for insurance and healthcare through the roof, so  that people will beg for the sequel—single payer. That means everybody is forced  into one big government plan. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the  intention of the authors of this bill, several of whom were the corporate  players who would benefit from this. While it is worthwhile to understand  various provisions of UCA, detailing its shortcomings without assigning  malevolent intent to its authors is naive, I think. This legislation was meant  to “crash” the system. That is its purpose. Unaffordable care and insurance are  its goals. This is a medical economic false flag from which only Uncle Sam can  rescue us. More

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