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Archive for the ‘Reform’ Category

Source: AmericanThinker.com

By Zane F Pollard, MD

I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.
First off, the government has involved very few of us physicians in the  healthcare debate. While the American Medical Associationhas come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.
 

I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list. 

LiberateMedicine.com

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Source: Yahoo! Finance

By Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric.

Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play.

A look at some of Obama’s claims in his prime-time news conference:

OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”

THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

Everyone supports “health reform” as an abstract goal, but that mile-wide consensus is an inch deep when it comes to substance. Increasingly, however, most of the major health industry lobbies seem prepared to concede the mile — as long they get their inch.

The latest example is the American Medical Association’s unqualified endorsement Thursday of the health bill patched together by House Democrats. In a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, the doctors group lays on its “appreciation and support” pretty thick, and pledges to “work with the House committees and leadership to build support.” The so-called tri-committee plan is also the most left-leaning out there, funding its new coverage for the uninsured in part by cutting payments to doctors and hospitals in Medicare and Medicaid.

But lobbyists don’t lobby for less revenue for their members, and Democrats seem to have procured the AMA’s bouquet with what the AMA letter says is the promise of “fundamental Medicare reforms, including repeal of the sustainable growth rate,” or SGR. The SGR is a formula that Congress created in 1997 as a form of fiscal triage, mandating automatic cuts in physician payments if entitlement spending rises too steeply. Next year, they’re scheduled to drop by 21.5%.

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Source: www.ibdeditorials.com

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Reform: Of the many objectionable provisions in the House’s latest medical insurance bill, none is as destructive or morally offensive as the one that declares health care to be a “right.”

A “right,” as we all know, has one key characteristic: It can’t be taken away. Ever. That’s exactly what the new Democrat-sponsored bill would ensure. As the Associated Press put it, the legislation would “for the first time make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans.”

That second word — “responsibility” — is also key. The government will force you to take part in its plan, whether you want to or not. As it turns out, “responsibility” is code for “tax hikes” and “compulsory participation.”

The House plan calls for a 5.4% surcharge on those earning $1 million or more. But the tax will also reach down to families with incomes of $280,000. “Small businesses” will be excluded, we hear, but only those with payrolls under $400,000. Those with more will have to cover their workers or face a “fee” — another tax — equal to 8% of workers’ wages.

“Why should I care?” you ask. “Those people are all rich.” And, of course, they’re the people “responsible” for your new “right.” But even those at lower or middle incomes will face higher taxes under both the House and Senate bills. Individuals who decline to take part will be hit with a penalty of up to 2.5% of what they earn.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

The White House made a big show last week about “turning the heat up” on Medicare fraud, as Jane Friday — er, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put it. The dragnet resulted in 53 indictments in Detroit for a $50 million scheme to submit bills for HIV drugs and physical therapy that were never provided, as well as busting up a Miami ring that used fake storefronts to steal some $100 million. As welcome as this is, the larger issue is what such plots say about President Obama’s plans for a new government-run insurance program.

One of the purported benefits of nationalized health care is that it will be more efficient than private insurers since it would lack the profit motive and have lower administrative expenses, like Medicare. But one reason entitlement programs are so easy to defraud is precisely because they don’t have those overhead costs — they automatically pay whatever bills roll in with valid claims numbers.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and LEE A. CASEY

Is a government-dominated health-care system unconstitutional? A strong case can be made for that proposition, based on the same “right to privacy” that underlies such landmark Supreme Court decisions as Roe v. Wade.

The details of this year’s health-care reform bill are still being hammered out. But the end result is sure to be byzantine in complexity. Washington will have immense say over how, when and through whom Americans are treated. Moreover, despite the administration’s public pronouncements about painless cuts in wasteful spending, only the most credulous believe that some form of government-directed health-care rationing can be avoided as a means of controlling costs.

The Supreme Court created the right to privacy in the 1960s and used it to strike down a series of state and federal regulations of personal (mostly sexual) conduct. This line of cases began with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 (involving marital birth control), and includes the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

The court’s underlying rationale was not abortion-specific. Rather, the justices posited a constitutionally mandated zone of personal privacy that must remain free of government regulation, except in the most exceptional circumstances. As the court explained in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), “these matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and the mystery of human life.”

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By: Dale Hurd

There had never been as much political momentum to fix America’s healthcare system.  I use “had” because the wheels have already begun to come off the healthcare reform express that rolled into Washington so confidently. The remedy put forward by the White House and top democrats– an expensive big government solution– scares even members of their own party.

So, after all the sound and fury from Obama about how we have no choice but to fix our healthcare system, I’m betting this effort ends as past efforts, with a whimper.

There’s no question that our healthcare system needs fixing, but how? We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, some 47 million do not have coverage, and quality of care is uneven. And most of us know of someone who has been financially ruined or taken to the brink by high healthcare costs.

Yet the United States still provides the highest-quality health care in the world. 18 of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. With no price controls, free-market U.S. medicine provides the incentives that lead to innovation breakthroughs in new drugs and other medical technologies.

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