Archive for the ‘Health Care Policy’ Category

  • Zero Hour for Obamacare

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    Today marks perhaps one of the most historic and important dates in the history of our government.

    The long-awaited Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of the insurance mandate contained within Obamacare – the one that forces every American citizen to purchase health insurance –has finally arrived.

    A well-known and publicized fact is that Obamacare, with all its whacky and unrealistic provisions, will now cost roughly $17 billion. As this number keeps rising, it may cost many times that number by the time it is fully implemented. From my perspective as a health care professional and small business entrepreneur, I have written extensively about the damage Obamacare is doing.

    Jay Carney doesn't want to talk about Obamacare

    The facts and fears of Obamacare seem to have no end as more and more people – and Members of Congress – become more familiar with “what’s in the bill”. Successful efforts by Republicans in the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare, spurred on by Rep. Michele Bachmann, were DOA in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

    Since then, Obamacare has continued to attract more commentary and analysis from concerned professionals in the medical community. Medicare-aged citizens, young people tuning into their future and the general public have become concerned that Obamacare was a dreadful mistake. Public opinion polls now show a majority of Americans support the repeal of Obamacare.

    An overriding fear of many is that this monster of a bill represents the single largest power grab in the history of the U.S. It has implications for nearly every area of our lives – taxation, real estate ownership, small business, privacy, and our own health and well-being. As Obamacare continues to reveal its true nature, outrage grows over how this bill was forced upon all of us without Members of Congress even taking the time to read it.

    Politically speaking, even though the Supreme Court is evaluating only one aspect of Obamacare – the individual mandate – it is clear that the implications of this decision will have a greater impact on how our government operates in the future. A 5-4 decision striking down the mandate will give a green light to the GOP to again move to repeal the whole law. A GOP victory in November giving them control of both the House and Senate will pave the way.

    The men and women who will decide our fate

    On the other hand, other SCOTUS scenarios are being tossed around town. One has SCOTUS affirming the constitutionality of Obamacare by a 7-2 margin with conservatives on the bench finding some way to join with the liberals. I don’t believe this will happen, but if it does, it will mark the end of constitutional government. We will no longer enjoy a free society, as the government will have free reign to mandate upon the citizenry anything they felt was best for us. This would be a political, social and economic nightmare.

    What if Obamacare is affirmed by the Supreme Court, but by a narrower 5-4 margin? It would still lead to a dangerous outcome for the future of our country as a free society, but would raise the stakes even further for November’s presidential election.

    As Obama gets his reelection campaign in gear, its clear Obamacare isn’t an issue he’s anxious to run on. White House spokesman Jay Carney has gotten rather adept at dancing around the issue when pressed by reporters. Obama may be unsuccessful in handling Obamacare during this election season no matter how it turns out. If Obamacare is struck down, he loses. If it is affirmed, America loses.

    “This is the most important election of our lifetime” is a cliché we hear ad nauseam every four years. But with Obamacare and the unprecedented powers it confers upon our government at hand, this cliché has unfortunately become a sobering reality.

  • 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.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • American Doctors in Crisis, Many Going Broke

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    I have written often about crisis doctors are facing with the challenges government policies are presenting for them.

    Now CNN Money has a new article out about how doctors across America are going broke, and we need look no further than Obamacare and the related changes in Medicare to know why.

    The article quotes Dr. William Pentz, a cardiologist in Philadelphia:

    …recent steep 35% to 40% cuts in Medicare reimbursements for key cardiovascular services, such as stress tests and echocardiograms, have taken a substantial toll on revenue.

    These cuts have destabilized private cardiology practices,” he said. “A third of our patients are on Medicare. So these Medicare cuts are by far the biggest factor. Private insurers follow Medicare rates. So those reimbursements are going down as well.

    This crisis isn’t limited to cardiologists. We know that many doctors have quit seeing Medicare patients entirely, and more are sure to follow. Many health facilities, including hospitals and hospices will fail. Further Medicare cuts will total $575 billion over the next decade and 7.5 million people will lose their Medicare Advantage plans and be forced into paying higher premiums for fewer benefits.

    America’s once superb healthcare system is crumbling before our eyes. Reversing this trend must begin with a change in leadership at the top in 2012 and the repeal of Obamacare. President Obama and his allies in socializing our healthcare system cannot be allowed to continue pushing forward. We’re seeing the results of their handiwork already.

  • Why hire a Geriatric care manager?

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    The medical/healthcare system has been getting more complex for everyone. Adding to this complexity are all of the new mandates included in Obamacare, which serve to only make our healthcare system more confusing, convoluted, and legally questionable.

    One thing’s for certain: Obamacare does not benefit any one over the age of sixty.

    Every day more MD’s are refusing to accept Medicare, thus nearly eliminating access to MDs, let alone the regular visits needed by many.

    Long term insurance policies, Medicare supplemental insurance options and Medicare Part D are all getting more confusing for those trying to ascertain which benefits they really have.

    Finally, critical medication shortages are plaguing community pharmacies and hospitals, leading to unacceptable delays for many who need them.

    What does this mean for someone who is elderly, disabled or suffers from dementia? How do they begin to make sense of this mess and get the care and treatments they need?

    c/o Rep. Brady (R-TX) and Sen. Brownback (R-KS)

    Enter the Geriatric Care Manager (GCM). Typically an experienced Registered Nurse with home health experience, the GCM is the person to hire to alleviate the stress of navigating the healthcare system.

    A GCM is not an entirely new concept, but rather one that has developed over the past 12 years. As the healthcare system becomes more complex, the demand for GCM’s has increased accordingly.

    Imagine an 80+ year old client that faces the prospect of having no regular MD and cannot get themselves to the pharmacy or complete errands. Now imagine that this individual has hearing, vision, mobility and memory issues. These are the people our increasingly complex healthcare system is leaving behind.

    A GCM offers quality, individualized assessments, customized care plans, and care coordination to ensure appropriate care is administered that is unique to each individual.

    A GCM can offer the following services:

    • Assistance in getting to medical appointments
    • Support for shopping and socialization
    • Healthcare advocacy to ensure the right care and benefits are received
    • Relocation and alternate living assistance
    • Home modification and medical equipment assistance to ensure a safer living environment.

    When family members live a long distance from their loved one, the services of a GCM can bridge this gap by managing and observing the care received on a regular basis. The GCM can also review their benefits and conduct an Insurance Policy Review.

    The transient nature of our society means the days when family members are directly responsible for the care of their extended families are in the past. The Geriatric Care Manager’s role has expanded and covers more services, and serves individuals and families for acute and chronic conditions, produces referrals for elder law attorneys, physicians, Adult Protection Services Guardians, powers of attorney, discharge planners at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living communities and hospice care.

    One thing’s for certain, our healthcare system is not getting any simpler to navigate. The Geriatric Care Manager is stepping in to serve as a healthcare advocate when people need it the most.

  • Obamacare Contributing to Skyrocketing Healthcare Costs

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    Health care premiums are rising faster than they have since 2005, and Obamacare is a major driver. Touted as a way to get control over the rising costs of healthcare, Obamacare is having the opposite affect.

    Newsmax points to an employer survey conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation that showed that the cost of an average family health policy rose 9% in 2011 to more than $15,000, and a single policy rose 8%.

    Even more striking, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average American accounts for $7,538 in health care costs, compared to an average of $2,995 for industrial countries.

    Obamacare continues to squeeze what little economic energy America still has. It must be repealed before permanent damage is done.

  • SCOTUS Set to Review Obamacare

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    Obamcare, which has faced legal challenges and setbacks since it’s enactment, is now headed to the Supreme Court.

    The Obama administration declined to request that the full U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit review an August ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. This puts Obamacare on the fast track to the US Supreme Court and sets up an important ruling in the middle of the Presidential campaign season next year.

    While I remain optimistic that the US Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare, we cannot rely solely on them to undo this terrible law. We must continue the effort to repeal and defund it. Until it’s gone, it will continue to create employer uncertainty, damage the economy, and hit Americans with higher costs.

  • Obama targets big donors, weakens healthcare non-profits

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    President Obama is determined to establish the federal government as the sole provider for Americans in need.

    A central component of Obama’s recent spate of deficit reduction proposals is a new tax levy on charitable gifts from higher income donors. The rationale is to keep some taxpayers from enjoying more benefits from tax-deducted gifts than other taxpayers. The reality is this is a tax increase that will directly and adversely impact America’s non-profit community.

    Among the organizations directly threatened by this new tax on giving are the thousands of healthcare and hospital foundations that rely on generous donations from those with higher-incomes. These organizations are already struggling in the face of Obamacare’s onerous new regulations.

    What we know now about this new tax on giving:

    • It targets those with higher incomes who make significant donations
    • It doesn’t affect those with higher incomes who don’t give to charity
    • It increases the amount required by higher income individuals to achieve the same impact with charitable gifts.

    Combined with Obamacare, this new tax on giving will only serve to drive more people into the arms of government-run healthcare, which I’m sure suits our President just fine.

    The Daily Caller has this article on the backlash that’s brewing over this new tax on giving.

  • What a week in Washington

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    It has been a challenge this week sorting through all the news about the disgraceful behavior of another politician gone morally amok. This behavior is happening too often, creating unacceptable distractions from real issues. You know their names.

    Looking towards 2012, the GOP is getting down to business. Their leading man thus far, Mitt Romney, is holding his frontrunner position with 23% in the polls. He continues to stay on message, has the campaign organization, plenty of cash and a solid understanding of the current woes and dangers posed by our teetering economy.

    Leading, but with one big problem.

    The biggest thorn in Romney’s side is also the most difficult for him to extract: “Romneycare”, the prototype for President Obama’s national healthcare overhaul disaster. Romney simply can’t get around this since stating firmly that he has no regrets and he’d do it all over again, even with Massachusetts now grappling with its destructive consequences. Romneycare, and to a much larger extent Obamacare, are creating intractable problems for business and the health care industry while accelerating the downward spiral of this country.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Obamacare’s Chilling Provisions Begin Taking Effect

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    Starting last month, some patients I have treated have arrived with the diagnosis of “End of Life” on their hospital discharge forms. Knowing what I know about the provisions contained within Obamacare, seeing this diagnosis begin to appear on discharge forms sent me a chill.

    The fact is, we are now starting to see some of the more insidious components of Obamacare take effect. I have listed some of these below, courtesy of Judge David Kithil of Texas.

    Under Obamacare, doctors and surgeons with years of advanced training will be reimbursed at the same rates as all MDs. We all know where policies like this will lead. Medical School Enrollment is down — so much so in fact that soon we will face a physician shortage in excess of 100,000. In Massachusetts, where we can see the effects of Romneycare, the prototype for Obamacare, people now face wait times of seven to 48 months for MD visits.

    Doctors, specialized surgeons and medical specialists should be compensated according to their experience and advanced knowledge, education and training. Patients treated by these very specialized MD’s are certain to have more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is no joke. Obamacare was shoved down the throats of the American people who were vehemently opposed to it by a left-wing triumvirate composed of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama. We must repeal this law in its tracks or we risk our lives and freedoms and must defeat these out-of-control left-wing socialists in 2012 by defeating Obama and taking back the Senate. The House Republicans are doing a great job advancing important legislation, but these achievements will continue to stall without victory in 2012 and control of the Senate and the White House.

    And now, some of the more insidious components of Obamacare. Thanks to Judge David Kithil of Texas for compiling it. These Obamacare provisions affect us all (unless you’re a friend of Obama and you’ll get a waiver).

    • Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.
    • Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual’s bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts.
    • Page 65/section 164:  The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – ACORN).
    • Page 203/line 14-15:  The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax.
    • Page 241 and 253:  Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors’ fees.
    • Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospitals will ration care according to the patient’s age.
    • Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.
    • Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations.  Those on Social Security will be required to attend an “end-of-life planning” seminar every five years. (Death counseling…)
    • Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.

    Cartoon Credit: Eric Allie

  • The Home Health Care Trend

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    Home health care is trending in America as the most therapeutic and reasonable approach to stay in your home as long as you are able to while facing health challenges. I am an entrepreneur in the field of home health care. Seniors and people recovering from surgery can receive health care and companion services in their home. The payor is typically private coverage or private pay as Medicare does not pay for home health care services. When an individual chooses to stay in their home it is typically a decision they can make alone or with the help of a family member or attorney.

    There are many benefits to home health care. There is no place like home for comfort and privacy, and you do not run the risk of the spread of infections. You can receive transportation sevices and medication reminders and caregivers can run errands, shop for groceries, do light housekeeping  and prepare home-cooked meals. Home health care plans are customized to meet your needs. In a nursing home facility, the caregiver normally takes care of 15 patients. In your home you have a one-on-one caregiver.

    You have the choice of a caregiver that:

    • is a licensed Certified Nursing Assisitant
    • is bonded and insured
    • has undergone criminal background checks
    • has no active tuberculosis
    • is trained in aseptic techniques.

    You can also choose the number of hours that you wish to hire a caregiver. If the caregiver does not suit your needs-the caregiver can be replaced with another.

    In Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and many other states the laws regulating this industry are strictly enforced. Licensure is required and a Home Health Agency has policies and procedures that are followed by all employees to ensure compliance.

    If you or someone you love needs consistent health care attention and may have difficulty getting out and about, do consider home health care. I’m proud of the work I do to provide better health and quality of life for my clients.

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