Archive

Posts Tagged ‘care’
June 10th, 2014 at 5:26 pm
Interim VA Chief Adopts Boehner’s Private Option Fix

Last week House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that “any veteran unable to obtain an appointment within 30 days [have] the option to receive non-VA care.”

This week it was revealed that 57,000 veterans have been waiting 90 days or longer for care from VA facilities.

But at a time when the White House is dithering, the acting VA chief is adopting Boehner’s approach.

“The interim VA secretary said he would spend $300 million to increase hours for VA medical staffers and contract with private clinics to see veterans who are unable to get care through VA medical centers,” reports the Washington Post.

Kudos to Sloan Gibson, the temporary VA secretary, for leveraging the private sector to care for those who’ve rendered the highest public service.

December 30th, 2013 at 7:44 pm
Up Next: ObamaCare Dictator?

Since President Barack Obama refuses to replace any of his political appointees responsible for the epic bureaucratic failure that is Healthcare.gov, liberal supporters of health care reform are trying to turn the crisis into a potential power grab.

“Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology,” says a Reuters report.

The move would consolidate responsibility in the hands of one person that reports directly to the White House.

In other words, it would create a “Healthcare.gov Czar,” or, to use the title preferred by FDR when naming such deputies, a dictator.

Since no such position exists in the text of Obamacare, its creation would amount to a unilateral executive action by the President. Unlike the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the proposed dictator would not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If created, the position would be immune from virtually any oversight from Congress.

Moreover, erecting a Healthcare.gov CEO within the confines of the White House would be a fundamental rejection of the intended operating structure of Obamacare by the very President who signed it into law.

These reasons, plus others, may explain why the White House is said not to be entertaining such a drastic break with the health law’s basic architecture. Even they fear the likely blowback from a move that further centralizes political control of the health insurance industry.

Still, the fact that Obama’s most liberal supporters are pushing this idea – including Ezekiel Emanuel and wonks at the Center for American Progress – shows that the tendency on the Left is to interpret any problem in implementation as stemming from a lack of power. The endpoint for them is a single-payer system run exclusively by the feds.

Even if this proposal goes nowhere, its currency among the liberal elite shows us where this train is heading. Better to dismantle it before it passes the point of no return.

September 17th, 2013 at 5:47 pm
ObamaCare in Your Bedroom?

The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Goldwater Institute are both warning of dire threats to privacy if ObamaCare’s financial incentives and penalties on doctors aren’t changed soon.

The health law’s ‘reforms’ “aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary, and to violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential,” writes Betsy McCaughey in the New York Post.

Topics include asking whether a patient is sexually active, and if so, with what number of partners. Whether a person has same-sex partners is also an area the feds want to know about.

And don’t forget to add in the required questions about a person’s drug history.

Combine this with all the routine yet highly sensitive health information people share with their doctor, and you’ve got the makings for a single-source document that could ruin someone’s life if made public.

To do this, ObamaCare uses financial pressure to compel doctors to participate. Answers go into federally mandated electronic health records. Highly portable, the records can be accessed and shared among regulators.

Resistance won’t be easy.

“Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic-health-records-requirements forgo incentive payments now; starting in 2015, they’ll face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid,” according to McCaughey. “The Department of Health and Human Services has already paid out over $12.7 billion for these incentives.”

And it’s just going to get worse.

Best advice: Try to convince your doctor to keep two sets of books. One that’s real; the other for the Feds.

ObamaCare: Bringing people together in opposition to their government.

February 8th, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Indiana’s Pence Wants Sensible Reform to Medicaid Expansion

Like Ohio’s John Kasich and four other Republican governors, Indiana’s Mike Pence seriously considered expanding Medicaid eligibility under ObamaCare.  But unlike Kasich & Company, Pence ultimately decided against it when HHS refused to grant him one sensible reform.

Established under Mitch Daniels, Pence’s predecessor, the Healthy Indiana program allows uninsured adults aged 19-64 to use a state-based health savings account to pay for medical expenses, such as doctor’s visits, hospital services, diagnostic tests, and prescription drugs.  Incentives apply to reward cost-effective spending, but it’s critical to point out that the spending decisions within the account are determined by the policyholder, not the state.

In order to go along with expansion under ObamaCare that increases the eligibility pool for Medicaid, Pence asked permission to use Healthy Indiana accounts to help keep costs down.  The request is imminently reasonable.  If the purpose of Medicaid expansion is to cover uninsured people, why not let Indiana migrate a state-based program with a 94% satisfaction rating?

Predictably, Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services said no, preferring to retain federal control over coverage and spending.  Without a program like Healthy Indiana in place, costs are likely to spiral upward since Medicaid beneficiaries are not tethered to the consequences of their spending decisions.

So, Pence said no to the Medicaid expansion.  But I think it’s crucial to understand that his response was not a kneejerk reaction against helping the uninsured get normal access to healthcare.  Instead, he proposed a sensible reform that would have accomplished the same goal as Medicaid expansion, but with more cost certainty for the state budget, and thus less tax receipts from taxpayers.

I’ve speculated before that Pence might be the GOP’s best bet in the 2016 presidential race.  A moment like this, even when it doesn’t result in a “win” politically speaking, helps confirm that suspicion because it’s based on sound principles.

January 25th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
“Affordable” ObamaCare Lowers Standard of Living

The Wall Street Journal shows us that the price of “affordable” health care is a reduced standard of living:

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education.

A handful of schools, including Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University in Ohio, have curbed the number of classes that adjuncts can teach in the current spring semester to limit the schools’ exposure to the health-insurance requirement.

The scaled back hours and pay for adjunct professors is part of a larger trend in a wide variety of industries.  Faced with lower thresholds that require new benefits, employers from universities to fast food restaurants face three options: pay-up, pay-out, or tap-out.  In other words, they can increase their health care spending, be fined for not increasing such spending, or cap the hours and pay of otherwise eligible workers to avoid the spending and the fines.

Unfortunately for workers, capping hours and pay reduces their standard of living.  But don’t worry.  In 2014, Obamacare mandates that every state will have a fully functioning health insurance exchange where newly impoverished workers can get “affordable” health care – some even with government (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies – so it’s a safe bet that all will be well when the feds are in charge of at least 25 separate state programs.  Right…