Archive for February, 2012

  • The Rounds: Obamacare back in the Spotlight

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    As the GOP race for the nomination continues to slog along with no clear front-runner, people are now seriously looking at ways the decision might be rendered in Tampa. Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner states that:

    Is it too late for a new candidate to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination? Absolutely not. Is it probable? No. But it is much more likely than many Washington insiders let on.

    Obamacare and its progenitor, Romneycare, continue to play a huge role in the race. Mitt Romney’s health reform law in Massachusetts remains a drag on his campaign. Dr. Milton R. Wolf, writing in The Washington Times, feels it’s time for Romney to stop defending it and issue a mea culpa:

    “Despite Mr. Romney’s current lead in the primaries, he just cannot seem to close the sale… If the former governor would like to reach out to the conservative Republican base, I suggest he start by finally acknowledging the obvious: Government has no business interposing itself between you and your doctor. He should begin his Romneycare mea culpa with these three words: I was wrong.”

    Speaking of Obamacare, Americans in increasing numbers simply don’t like it and more than 50% want it repealed. As the question of its constitutionality moves to the Supreme Court, the op-ed wars are heating up again.

    While President Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, may have undercut the legal defense of Obamacare by stating that the fine for violating the insurance mandate would not be considered a “tax”, it was the fight over contraception coverage mandates that dominated the news.

    Obama’s decision to force the Catholic Church to provide contraception coverage, including the morning-after pill, sparked widespread outrage.

    From Charles Kadlec in Forbes:

    “Before our very eyes, President Obama is on the verge of establishing the principle that the right to religious freedom comes not from our Creator, but from those who rule us. A government endowed right granted to women now trumps our unalienable right to act in accordance with our religious beliefs and conscience. Not only does this overturn the First Amendment, it also tramples the nation’s founding principles as announced in the Declaration of Independence. Such an achievement would be the true audacity of power.”

    In The Wall Street Journal, Rivkin and Whelan state that:

    “In an effort to rally its base in the upcoming November election, the Obama administration seems more interested in punishing religiously based opposition to contraception and abortion than in marginally increasing access to contraception services. It is the combination of the political motive, together with the exclusion of so many employers from the mandate, that has profound constitutional implications. It transforms the mandate into a non-neutral and not generally applicable law that violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.”

    Also in The Wall Street Journal is a nice snapshot of various left-wing defenses of Obama’s mandate on the Catholic Church and other religious entities.

    Charles Krauthammer, writing in The Washington Post, chides the GOP for not mounting a strong opposition to Obamacare beyond pledging to repeal it.

    “In 2010, when all this lay hazily in the future, the sheer arrogance of Obamacare energized a popular resistance powerful enough to deliver an electoral shellacking to Obama. Yet two years later, as the consequences of that overreach materialize before our eyes, the issue is fading. This constitutes a huge failing of the opposition party whose responsibility it is to make the opposition argument. Every presidential challenger says that he will repeal Obamacare on Day One. Well, yes. But is any of them making the case for why?”

  • The GOP Beat Goes On

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    Rick Santorum’s recent sweep of Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado left many pundits scratching their heads. Once again, the polls and momentum were pointing to Romney after his wins in Florida and Nevada, and many were speculating that once again the path to the nomination was clear. With Santorum’s surprise surge, this sense of inevitability around Romney has been shattered while exposing the weaknesses many in the GOP base find with him. Santorum has even replaced Gingrich as the leading “non-Romney”.

    Santorum is riding a wave of momentum

    I have to yield to the “architect”, Karl Rove, who has, in my opinion, the best breakdown on the race so far. Rove believes that Gingrich and Paul will not drop out and will drag their baggage to the convention in Tampa. With some wind at his back, Santorum still has a huge hill to climb but is in the best position to mount a formidable challenge to Romney. Santorum is jumping ahead to Texas and will employ the same strategy that worked in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota where he made 22 campaign stops. Compare this to the three stops Romney made.

    I believe that with Santorum getting an early start in Texas he will succeed in earning significant exposure towards winning the state’s rich delegate count. A lack of deep organization and funds compared to Romney’s war chest still represents Santorum’s major disadvantages. But Santorum is finding ways to succeed without.

    The GOP base and the public are still not sure about any GOP candidate. It’s still only February, and a brokered convention, the first in All in all, the public is not sure about any GOP candidate–and we are only in February. A brokered convention – something that hasn’t happened in modern times – remains unlikely but cannot be counted out.

    The sad reality now is that Obama has no one opposing him while he builds a monster organization. He has more than a billion dollars in his coffers and has a convention headquarters of more than 50,000 square feet. His campaign’s use of technology and social media will certainly eclipse their impressive efforts of 2008.

    While his poll numbers, the unemployment rate and the economy are still dismal, Obama overshadows them by thumbing his nose at Catholics over the abortion and contraception controversy. Obama is turning a deaf ear on his Democratic party, but his machine is getting in place while the GOP waffles. Don’t doubt for a second that Obama will resort to any tactics to be re-elected this year!

  • Where Have All of the Doctors Gone?

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    Now well into 2012, we are starting to see the vast changes in Medicare takingshape and it’s not pretty.  Expect the doctor shortage crisis that’s been picking up steam in America to come to a boil in a couple of years.

    Beginning in 2013, doctors and hospitals treating individual patients will be held accountable for “rehospitalizations” within 30 days and face penalties if they have high 30-day readmission rates. The reason behind this move is that readmissions are costly to Medicare and the public. Watch for even more doctors and health care facilities to turn away older patients out of fear their readmission rates will spike.

    Beginning this year, Medicare reimbursement rates will be cut yet again, further slashing into the income MDs make along with the incentive to take on older patients. Couple that with rising liability insurance premiums, office space rental fees and salaries for qualified office personnel. Note too that Medicare does not cover for state of the art medical equipment. Private insurance reimbursements aren’t enough to bridge the gab while more and moreof our population is aging.

    The Great MD Squeeze is fully underway.

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