Thursday, March 25, 2010

Physicians abandoning Obamacare

It has already begun....

An M.D. in family practice passed along this letter she sent to her patients after Obamacare became law. She relates that, so far, "100% of those who have contacted me about it have supported me and accepted the new conditions."
March 23, 2010

My Dear Patient,

As you must know, Congress has just passed extensive legislation governing health care delivery and insurance systems. Whether you agree with what it does or not, we are all now subject to this law and its sweeping changes.

I have always conducted my medical practice with my patient’s best interests as my first priority. Although not legally obliged to do so, I have routinely provided you with a receipt that has all the codes necessary to bill your own health insurance company for any reimbursement to which you are entitled. Until now, that insurance company was a free enterprise despite the fact that it was heavily regulated by state and federal laws. Now the situation is quite different. Through the new law’s mandates, regulatory powers and reform, health insurance is and will be largely a government activity which will have an ever larger jurisdiction over how doctors practice, make clinical judgments and are paid.

The new law provides for about 150 new government agencies, many of which are designed to be ‘oversight’ bureaucracies which will have the right to decide what medical care is legal to provide through insurance. Among other things, they will have the right to review my medical care of you and read your medical record. Now, as soon as you submit our economic transaction to your insurance company for reimbursement, you have involved me in these regulations and put me in the jurisdiction of government for my activities, decisions and behavior as your doctor.

No one can have two masters. Either I can serve you as my patient or I can serve the government. Either I can continue to make your welfare and health my only concern, including the protection of your privacy and medical records, or I can abide by ever-increasing amounts of government regulations and dictates to my decisions. I can’t do both. I choose to continue to follow my conscience and practice medicine to serve you.

For this reason, I am responding to the situation created by this new law by exercising my right not to participate in any health insurance program. I will still provide you with the same medical services that I always have, but the interaction will be exclusively and privately between you and me. This means that I will provide you only with a receipt for the services you have paid for, but without the additional information that is required to submit your receipt for reimbursement to your health insurance company. That is the only way I can make sure there will be no conflict between following the law and serving you. Because the law is now in effect, so must these changes be to my practice.


Linda Johnston, MD

My kid's pediatrician dropped accepting PA Medical Assistance (a/k/a Medicaid) before the law took effect; now I have to worry they might follow what the physician above and many other doctors across the country have done.

And what happens if the next HCR law states doctors aren't allowed to operate without being part of the insurance system?

Think that's far fetched?  Really, did you think we'd ever have the kind of discussion we're having today??

This insanity must be overturned.   The greatest health care system in the world is at stake.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why Obamacare must be overturned

I have had a number of discussions with people on this very topic (no kidding?), so I thought I'd put them to a post:

The plan isn't a government takeover:  This much is true for now.  Right now, there isn't a specific takeover of insurance companies or the like.  But that is simply a matter of time.  Insurance companies are now directed, by matter of law, to provide coverage for all people.  They will be directed to cover minimum services, and the government will tell them what they can charge.  Just as doctors are directed by Medicare as to how much they can charge, the insurance companies will also be so directed (remember, as Vice President Biden has said You know we're going to control the insurance companies.)   No one can seriously believe that sort of heavy-handed regulation and direction by the government won't come with a steep price.

Insurance companies are businesses, and they answer to their shareholders.  Once profits begin to tank because of these regulations, the investors will turn elsewhere.  The companies will either become partially/wholly owned by the government (think how well FANNIE MAE did!), or will fold, leaving their policy holders in the hands of the few surviving companies that become part of the government.  

No, it's not a government takeover today.  But in time it will be.

Individual mandate: OK, let's assume that through some sort of myopic miracle of Liberalism, let's pretend the constitutionality of this absurd mandate - as if the government can force me to purchase something -- survives judicial scrutiny (hey, the Supreme Court has upheld other bone-headed laws in the past). 

The government plans to cap premiums based on income.  Right off the bat, they will arbitrarily tell the private companies what they can charge for their insurance products.  So going back to my first point, regardless of what it costs to deliver insurance, the government is going to tell the company how much it can charge the customer. Talk about a recipe for fiscal disaster!

And then in 4 years, when no one with pre-existing conditions can be denied, and the caps are still maintained by the government  do you really think investors in insurance companies will watch their portfolios continue to dwindle??

Medicare will still continue to (under)pay for services, but they will also begin cost controls.  Right, so just as my parents know of friends whose physicians have dropped Medicare, and just as the pediatrician of my own kids have announced they are dropping Medicaid, the number of doctors who accept these public plans will also dwindle.    Who the hell is going to treat all these patients??

I am old enough to have lived through Liberal's running America before, and history is full of other examples.   The trouble with their agendas is that they give away unprecedented amount of so-called entitlements, as if they are a birth right, and the masses suddenly believe the lies that they are entitled to them.    

Here's a simple test to determine what is or isn't a right:

Can you buy the right to free speech?  I'm not talking about being able to get airtime on TV or publish a book, but the right - the right - to speech can it be bought?

Can you buy the right to free press?

Can you buy the right to assemble?   To exercise your religious faith?

I can go on, but you get my idea.   You cannot 'purchase' any of those rights.

Can you purchase health insurance?  Don't give me Well Charlie, some people can't afford it.  Stick to the issue: can you buy health insurance? 

The answer is: yes.  You can buy insurance, you can buy health care... you can buy anything you want in a free market.    Insurance is not a right; you are not entitled to it because of your birth or citizenship.

Once the mandate is turned aside the primary source of funding for this legislation, and the law is defanged.   The only alternative is oppressive taxes  at least that's back in the hands of the legislative branch.   

My hope is that this law will be overturned before the numbers of doctors that are fleeing the present-day system doesn't reach such a high level that it endangers the people who need the care, or that insurance companies don't get out of the business because they're unable to compensate for the paltry caps put upon them by bureaucrats who wouldn't know profit if it bit them.

Should there be health insurance reforms?  Damn straight there should be, but this mess is far from what is needed to control costs.   When the government mandated that all hospitals must treat all people WITHOUT regard for who would pay for it, the hospitals did the only thing they could: they passed the costs on to the rest of us.  WE pay more for our services - whether out of own pocket or through insurance - and the costs go up and up.   When the abuse of torts means people can sue for millions even for a minor mistake, we end up paying for that doctor's mistake.  When a doctor is told by Medicare we'll reimburse you $60 for that procedure you normally charge $300 the rest of us pay for that difference.  Maybe the procedure costs $200, but the doctor charges us $300 to make up the loss.

Should people be forced to buy insurance? Hell no; if I were a single, odds are I'd have a catastrophic policy and pay for everything else out-of-pocket why should I pay for a policy that includes, for example, maternity care if I am a single guy? 

Why should I be limited to only those policies that are granted permission to operate in my state?  If I want to buy a car in Delaware, for example, because I happen to know the dealer there is in a better position to sell cars than the one in Pennsylvania, I'll go there (yes, yes, I would pay PA taxes on the sale,  of course).   Why can't I buy a policy in another state, perhaps one without so many additional mandated clauses, that would be cheaper for me?

Through private enterprise, through normal charity efforts of doctors and pharmaceuticals, there are plenty of non-governmental avenues in addition to Medicare/Medicaid for people to obtain the care they need.   Reform does not attack the engines that drive the medical economy, as this new law does, but instead helps make those engines and private initiatives thrive.

But no that's not the intent of this law.  This law's purpose is to make us more dependent on the government.   THAT is the end game.

And heaven help us all if this abusive law isn't overturned soon!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Betting on Health Care Reform becomming law

InTrade Prediction Market currently rates Will 'Obamacare' health care reform become law in the United States (by midnight 30-Jun-10)? at 79.8 (down .2).

However, while speaking on last night's John Batchelor Show John Fund of WSJ reminded us the InTrade had George Bush's re-election at 30%, so a lot of InTrade's bettors took a bath on that prediction.

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Effects of Health Care Reform already being felt

  • Item 1: Mayo Clinic in Arizona to stop treating Medicare patients
  • Item 2: Walgreen's Pharmacies in Washington state to stop accepting Medicare for new prescriptions
  • Item 3: My kid's pediatrician announced they are no longer accepting Medicaid 

The much-touted Health Care Reform Bill is nowhere near being signed into law, and yet acceptance of Medicare/Medicaid is already becoming scarce.

Tell me something: assuming the current HCR gets passed -- and while I am more optimistic that it won't pass, let's pretend it does -- what happens if my company decides Gee, it would be cheaper for our shareholders if we simply pay the penalty and drop our coverage for the employees?

Or what happens if I lose my job?

What do I do if my kid's doctors won't take Medicaid?

The short answer: I will do whatever I must to provide for my family, and that includes going to whatever lengths necessary to prevent my kids from suffering under the Medicare/Medicaid system.   And by whatever lengths necessary: I mean I know where I can sell blood/plasma for money. 

This bill, in it's current state, it's unconstitutional (the federal government cannot mandate people buy coverage).  It is appearing aconstitutional, in that there is a very good chance the House is trying to pass a bill not by votes but by deeming that the bill has been voted upon.

This entire initiative must be stopped.  Now.   Kill the bill!

Read posts by other dads at the premiere blog written by/for/about dads:
Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Runaway Toyotas == 2010 Balloon Boy

It didn't sound right to me last month, and the case against Toyota is getting harder to believe each day:


It got far more dramatic, though. The California Highway Patrol responded and "To get the runaway car to stop, they actually had to put their patrol car in front of the Prius and step on the brakes." During over 20 harrowing minutes, according to NBC's report, Sikes "did everything he could to try to slow down that Prius." Others said, "Radio traffic indicated the driver was unable to turn off the engine or shift the car into neutral."
In fact, almost none of this was true. Virtually every aspect of Sikes's story as told to reporters makes no sense. His claim that he'd tried to yank up the accelerator could be falsified, with his help, in half a minute. And now we even have an explanation for why he'd pull such a stunt, beyond the all-American desire to have 15 minutes of fame (recall the "Balloon Boy Hoax" from October) and the aching need to be perceived as a victim.
Read the entire piece and tell me you don't suspect Toyota is being framed.

  • Toyota has kicked US auto manufactures asses for years.
  • Toyota plants in the US are built in states which don't require the stringent union contracts like in Michigan
  • The US Government, with the enthusiastic consent of the auto-workers union, owns a huge piece of GM and Chrysler because of the bailout.
  • The media is still in love-fest mode for the Obama Administration; why else has investigative reporting all but absent from this story??

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASCAR wrecks

I happened to see the weekend wreck on Sunday; I am, at best, a casual fan of NASCAR I hold nothing particular against it, but I am far from a die-hard fan. As a kid I solely watched auto racing for the wrecks hey, I am a male. Watching the high-speed wrecks and then seeing - more often than not - the drivers walking away from the crashes is entertaining. In the old days, driving hard was part of the game

Yeah, Carl Edwards intentionally clipped Brad Keselowski's car; anyone who thinks otherwise either didn't see the wreck, or the replays, or heard Edwards' interview after the incident. For those who missed it, see it here:

The references to Talladega wreck, when Keselowski clipped Edwards, was a far more dangerous wreck for the fans than this weeks wreck:

Now I am not a mechanical engineer, but when the roof and trunk flaps deploy in the instances where cars are driving backwards, why can't the spoiler-like wing similarly fold back (towards the read windshield) to prevent the natural shape of the airfoil from providing lift?

Brad Keselowski's complaint that the fan could be injured made me laugh. I've only attended one race at Pocono Speedway, and I sat along the front stretch, about 10 rows back. I knew the risk of being so close - everyone does. The catch fences are there for a reason, but no one can be 100% protected anymore than a baseball fan in the mezzanine section of a ball park can be protected from a foul ball.

So the calls to NASCAR officials to punish Edwards were all wrong; the complaints that his 3 race probation is also wrong. Sure, Edwards turned Keselowski on purpose no question. But this is a race, and it's brutal. This is what fans want to see, and the pundits and media making a big deal over it are doing so out of bias. Bias against NASCAR, bias against middle America, or whatever, there's always been a dislike of NASCAR - possibly because of the real/implied endorsement of Republican causes.

Want proof my theory? Check out this story:
Chandler, Ariz. - A fan has died after being hit by a tire from a crashing dragster at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
The woman was watching a first-round run Sunday at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler when Antron Brown's Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster went out of control on the strip and its left rear tire and wheel came off.
Alia Maisonet, a spokeswoman for the Gila River Indian Community, says the woman was airlifted to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment and later died. Gila River emergency responders were among the first to respond to the scene.

If there was such an outcry over how Edwards may have harmed spectators by causing Keselowski's wreck, where are the complaints when a fan actually dies during a motor race?

Racing is inherently dangerous, and that's part of the attraction. Saftey has come a long way, but the risks will never be averted. Check out this clip of what's described as the worst wreck in NASCAR history:

Even 50 years ago, no one seriously hurt. That's the stuff that makes racing so much fun!

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Heath Care Reform - utter gall!

I watched in amazement at Madame Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius spin an artful tale about one of those who might be helped by the Senate's bill:

Let me get this straight... either Secretary Sebelius meant to say $30,000 a year in health insurance costs or she's very much ignorant about the topic at hand. Regardless, unless this man is doing very well in his consulting company, does the Medicaid in his state not help his family (as well it ought to!)?

The point is, I am not trying to suggest this lad should be left for dead, nor condemned to something less than he has already. Far from it; odds, are however, the boy is getting the required and necessary care (one can only assume he is, as he's a soccer player) -- without a comprehensive health care reform bill.

Do the Medicare/Medicaid programs need revising?  Probably; after all, each year more and more doctors elect not to take Medicare patients, so that is very telling, indeed. 

But is that cause to revamp everyone's health insurance?  Hardly.

Kill the bill. 

Kill it now.

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