• Another Treatment Denied Under Medicare

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    I have previously eluded to the research and development dollars being decreased under Obamacare that would normally pay for the newer and more effective treatments. As reported by the Washington Examiner in late December, the Federal Drug Administration issued a decision revoking reimbursements for Avastin, a key medication for late-stage breast cancer that cuts off the blood supply to tumors. While Avastin has been shown to work, cost appears to be the reason for the decision.

    Patients now have the sole option of paying out-of-pocket. There is no question that I have witnessed many oncology patients be given this same option, particularly for expensive therapies such as chemotherapy and anti neoplastic drugs. It occurs primarily because Medicare will not reimburse for these therapies.

    Another example of cutting corners to spread the wealth under Obamacare.

  • New Republican Majority, Looking Ahead to 2012

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    I was at the historic swearing in of the 112th Congress today and was very relieved when Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi passed the Gavel to the new Speaker of the House John Boehner. Speaker Boehner summed it up by saying that the Republicans have a chance to get it together in the next two years, and if they don’t they should be thrown out of office. We need the Republicans to be the leaders that they promised us that they would be. I also had a brief but good encounter with Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the newly appointed Budget and Finance Chair.

    With the new Republican leadership in the House and gains in the Senate, we need to start focusing sharply on the Presidential campaign for 2012. The potential field looks strong and includes Governors Pawlenty, Barbour, Romney and Palin as well as legislators like Rep Mike Pence, to name a few. The real question is; “Who can win in 2012? Who can beat Obama and deliver the leadership we need? That’s the bottom line.

    After chatting with several people today , my convictions remain the same as I felt before the sweep of Republican Victories in November. Here are my picks: Read more

  • The Arizona Shooting and the Illogical Left

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    The senseless shootings in Tucson, AZ on Saturday that critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killed six innocent people and injured 13 others was the act of a lone gunman.  The killer, Jared Loughner, by all accounts planned the shooting for some time as demonstrated a letter and a scribbling on an envelope from 2007 that refers to a Giffords event he attended. Furthermore, interviews with a former college professor and classmates at a local college that Loughner attended adds to the evidence that Loughner acted as a lone-wolf. The professor reflected on incidents in his classroom where Jared was a student and described unruly, unusual and basically inappropriate behavior.

    The strange and out-of-place behaviors witnessed by the college professor and classmates have also been on display in Internet posts that were not necessarily solely political in nature but, disjointed , incongruous, delusional and paranoid.  All of the signs certainly point to the behavior of a psychopath. His psychoses appeared to have manifested itself in tragedy that occurred on Saturday in the Safeway parking lot.

    The liberal media outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times, NBC as well as politicians like Dick Durbin have fingered “Right Wing Zealots”, the popular Tea Party movement as well as Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, and many more. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik added to this hysteria by frequently injecting his opinions as to why this tragedy occurred instead of having sound facts to back up what he was saying.
    Read more

  • Cuccinelli on the Constitutionality of Obamacare

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    Here’s Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addressing the constitutionality of Obamacare last week at the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club meeting.

    View it at The Heritage Foundation.

  • New Concerns over Obamacare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance

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    Many large companies that provide insurance coverage for their employees as well as organizations such as AARP that offers Medicare Supplemental policies are concerned with provisions within the health care law they apparently previously missed.

    As I have stated before, there are many more people who have not read the bill than have read it.  Add to this the fact that some provisions in the health care bill are nebulous and subject to misinterpretation.

    This appears to be a new concern of outfits such as AARP that offer a Medicare supplemental insurance through United Healthcare. Note that AARP is not in the insurance business and they do not write the policies. Rather, they partner with insurance providers and act as a trusted marketing affiliate to reach their massive audience of members. Up to this point AARP has offered the policies through various insurance providers, without any concern that the provisions were trustworthy and good as gold.
    Read more

  • Happy New Year Rounds (1-3-2011)

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    The newly-minted GOP majority in the House prepares to push a full repeal of Obamacare, but concedes it faces major hurdles in the Senate. Read it in the Wall Street Journal.

    Byron York states that Obamacare is the legacy mess of Dems in power… and the reason their power didn’t last. Read it here.

    Dr. Marc Siegel explains why Obamacare’s annual “end of life planning” consultations aren’t such a great idea.

    Like many physicians, I talk to my patients about how aggressive they want me to be if and when they are dying. But I don’t see a role for the government incentivizing this kind of planning session on a regular basis except as a way of advancing their own agenda, which clearly is decreasing end-of-life care.

    Read it here in the NY Daily News.

    The Foundry (Heritage Foundation) looks at the effect Obamacare has on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The new law restricts how funds in HSAs can be spent, including banning their use for over-the-counter drugs. Read it here. The Washington Post has an article on the new limits on HSAs here.

    One of the big components of Obamacare is the provision that provides insurance access to people already suffering from health conditions. The Washington Post points out that this provision is not seeing the success it promised… or the cost savings.

    …claims for medical care covered by the “high-risk pools” are proving very costly, and it is an open question whether the $5 billion allotted by Congress to start up the plans will be sufficient.

    Read it here.

  • TX Gov Perry Leads the Charge on Liability Reform

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    If we are to reign in the skyrocketing costs of health care in America, medical liability reform is going to play a leading role. It’s not easy to do as there are powerful interests standing in the way. Texas Governor Rick Perry isn’t afraid of taking them on and he’s providing an example for medical liability reform nationwide with his loser pays proposal based on the British model.

    The Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA) is getting behind Gov. Perry’s efforts with information about his proposal and a petition for citizens to lend their voice to the effort.

    I encourage everyone concerned about the trajectory of health costs to sign the petition and get behind Gov. Perry to reform our out-of-control litigation environment.

  • The Rounds (12/20/10)

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    Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune dissects the Obama Administration’s case for the constitutionality of ObamaCare:

    When the individual mandate to buy coverage was challenged in court, the Obama administration argued, essentially, three things: 1) The Constitution gives the government the authority to regulate interstate commerce, 2) everything people do and don’t do affects interstate commerce, and therefore 3) the government may regulate everything and everyone.

    Read it here.

    In The Washington Post, Florida AG Bill McCollum lays out why 20 states are challenging ObamaCare both on the individual mandate and increased burdens placed on states for Medicaid. His point on the tough spot states are in with Medicaid:

    …under the new Medicaid program, childless adults with incomes at 138 percent above the poverty level are eligible for coverage. States could not have foreseen that Congress would impose this radically altered program when they originally agreed to a partnership role and a financial commitment.

    But states don’t have any real options:

    The Justice Department has argued that states could withdraw from Medicaid, but Congress passed this legislation counting on states staying in the program and knowing that withdrawal is costly and virtually impossible.

    Read it here.

    Rich Lowry in the New York Post outlines the logic pickle the Obama Administration has gotten themselves into over whether the individual mandate penalties are a penalty or a tax.

    In an ABC News interview in September 2009, Obama scoffed when George Stephanopoulos resorted to the dictionary to argue that the penalty must be a tax… No sooner had the law passed than Obama’s Justice Department began insisting in court that the penalty is a tax.

    Read it here.

  • Infection Control at TSA: Individual’s Responsibility?

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    I had an initial discussion today with a representative from The Travelers Department at the Centers for Disease Control. I introduced myself as a practicing RN who is very compliant with infection control procedures, but I’m very concerned about the lack of infection control precautions taken by TSA agents conducting physical “pat down” security searches.

    The representative, Lisa, advised that the individual going through security should request that the TSA agent change their gloves before performing the “pat down” search procedure if the gloves have not been changed.

    This is troubling to say the least.

    She did offer an email address to direct any questions or comments about TSA security search procedures. CDCinfo@CDC.gov

    I will be determining if physician organizations concerned with infectious disease control have or are planning on weighing in on this potentially serious public health threat and will update you here.

  • Victor Davis Hanson to Pepperdine this Spring

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    Author and historian Victor Davis Hanson is headed to Pepperdine University School of Public Policy this spring as their William E. Simon Distinguished Visiting Professor. I hold both Pepperdine and Victor Davis Hanson in high regard. This is a great match!

    The Pepperdine University School of Public Policy is built on the differentiated philosophy of nurturing leaders to use the tools of analysis and policy design to effect real change and based on the conviction of elevating culture and personal moral certainties.

    Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and Professor Emeritus of Classics at California State University, Fresno. He is also a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. Among Numerous awards, honors, and fellowships, Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008.

    Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from ancient Greek, agrarian, and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture.  He has written or 17 books and has written or edited for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal among others.

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