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Obamacare: do as I say, not as I do

Remember last September when the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), at the urging of Senator Baucus (D. Mont.), issued “cease and desist” orders against Medicare Advantage insurers from doing the unthinkable…actually communicating with their insureds about the provisions of Obamacare?  According to the administration, these communications were “false and misleading”.

Why?  Because they actually pointed out the drastic cuts Obamacare would bring to those enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs, and that was something the administration didn’t want us to “see” until the bill was passed.

Between then and now, Richard Foster, the chief actuary for Medicare and Medicaid,

estimated that the $206 billion hole in [Medicare] Advantage will reduce benefits, cause insurers to withdraw from the program and reduce overall enrollment by half.

And, the Congressional Budget Office agrees with Mr. Foster.

This past week, however, the CMS sent a nifty 4 page flyer to seniors extolling the virtues of Obamacare.  The flyer includes heartwarming statements like,

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this year will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality health care…[and] if you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still receive guaranteed Medicare benefits.

I’m wondering, where is Senator Baucus when the seniors really do need protection from false and misleading statements?

Can you force a physician to lose money?

Although this story is about the situation in Texas, it is happening in other states as well. As it turns out, it costs more money to take care of the needs of senior citizens then what the government plan is willing to pay.

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Krugman: You can call em death panels but they’ll save us money

As Ed at HotAir would say, “Nuance”. Fabulously lefty liberal Nobel prize economist Paul Krugman tells the lefty leaning panel on This Week that those “Death Panels” have been mischaracterized to scare people … but in fact in the long run will save us money on ineffective care. Read more

Obamacare’s smoke and mirrors

The “reconciliation” bill has finally seen the light of day. If you are on Medicare, or, have insurance either through your employer, or, on your own, fasten your seat belts.

Remember the $500 billion cut to Medicare?  It’s now $535 billion.  Unless Obama can turn back the hands of time for those who may be approaching 65, the plan is to cut that much money from Medicare, while, at the same time  adding hundreds of thousands of “baby boomers” to the Medicare rolls.  How will that work, you ask?  There are only two options that I can think of.  Either the cuts to Medicare will not happen, thus dramatically increasing the cost of Obamacare, or, those on Medicare will have to do without medical care to stay within budget.

And, how about those of you who have insurance either through your employer, or on your own?  Well, you are not much better off than the “baby boomers”.  The original plan under the Senate bill, regardless of what Obama said, was to have your premiums increase by enough to offset the $6.7 billon per year tax on insurance companies.   Under the reconciliation plan, your premium increase will almost double to cover the $11.2 billion per year tax on insurance companies in the “reconciliation” bill.  Gulp.

So, now you know how those in favor of Obamacare can proclaim that it  is deficit nuetral neutral.  It steals from the seniors, most of whom have paid Medicare taxes all of their lives, and, it steals from anyone who currently has insurance. 

And for what?  An ideology that has failed miserably everywhere it has been tried?

Congress asks CBO if $500 billion in health care savings could equal $1 trillion – fuzzy math

Of course you all remember the 640,329 jobs “created or saved” by the Stimulus Bill passed by Congress last February. I sincerely hope you are still not bogged down with trying to figure out how many of those jobs were created or saved in non-existent congressional districts. Read more

Mayo says no to Medicare at Arizona facility

My guess is Medicare patients overwhelm this operation simply because it is Arizona, home to retirees. It’s also my guess we will see more of this in areas where the over 65 crowd decided to congregate, whether that’s a region that retirees love to move to (Florida) or where young people have just picked up and left for lower tax states, leaving that state with an aging population (Connecticut). Mayo says not now … but …

More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Remember, your Democrat Congress wants to solve America’s Health Care problem by putting middle class America on Medicare and Medicaid. But just because you are covered doesn’t mean you will get care … unless you also have cash … like Senators …. who are like Revolutionary war heroes.

“Many physicians have said, ‘I simply cannot afford to keep taking care of Medicare patients,’” said Heim, a family doctor who practices in Laurinburg, North Carolina. “If you truly know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it.”

And I thought I would include this just for chuckles.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64mZxKnj4GU

A letter from Congress and the President to Medicare health care recipients

Let me begin by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas on behalf of President Obama, and your Congress. As you know, through my tireless efforts, we were able to bribe enough senators, enabling the Senate to pass its version of health care reform on Christmas Eve.

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Lieberman says no “flip” on Medicare buy in … now supports Senate Bill

Judge for yourself. The Democrats are making a big deal out of Joe Lieberman’s interview with the Connecticut Post last September (video included) where he purportedly supports a medicare buy in. Lieberman says he was referring to his support of a similar proposal made during the 2004 Presidential campaign. Now he says his position has changed because times have changed, the deficit has grown and the current health care bill makes a “buy in” unnecessary.

Spin? You decide. What’s more enlightening is the story Lieberman tells toward the end of the interview about 1:50 in. Lieberman called the Medicare buy-in unaffordable and was rebuffed by a pro buy-in colleague. Like I have said many times. It’s not about us, it’s about power.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqqcJUhNuF8

Here’s the original Connecticut Post clip that seems to back up what Joe is saying. You decide.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIb13mYoy0Q

Bottom line: Joe says he will now support this crummy bill because it no longer contains a public option. But make no mistake, it is still a crummy bill that will:

  • add to the deficit
  • higher costs for business and high premiums for individuals because of mandates
  • and will cut medicare for seniors.
  • and this doesn’t even include the likely prospect of rationing of care as promised Doctor reimbursements decline along with the number of Doctors.

These are not scare tactics. These statements all are based on a careful reading of the bill by the people who write this blog. All of these statements, unlike those of the President, are cited and linked. We’ve done the research. All you have to do my lefty friends is read. Feel free to browse.

Where were the rest of the doctors?

The “meeting” on the White House lawn this Monday with President Obama and 150 doctors, (who, at the time, looked much like potted plants, if I do say so myself), would lead one to believe that doctors support Obamacare. Perhaps those 150 doctors do, but many of the rest were elsewhere.

They were lobbying against a key provision of the Baucus Unaffordable Health Care Bill that will “save money”, but cost many seniors needed health care in the process.  Yes, AARP should have been lobbying against this provision, but, apparently, they don’t care.

To reduce the costs of Medicare, Senator Baucus (D. Mt.) has come up with this nifty idea.

Medicare would rank doctors against their peers based on how much they cost the program—and then automatically cut all payments by 5% to [any doctor] who falls into the 90th percentile or above.

Here is how this insanity would work.

Let’s say Doctor “A” has many patients who are very sick, and Doctor” B”, and eight of his colleagues have many patients who are healthy.  In order for Doctor “A” to treat his sick patients, he or she will have to order a great deal of medical care to treat them, thus costing Medicare money.  Dr. “B”, and his eight colleagues, on the other hand will not cost Medicare very much money because their patients just happen to be healthy.

At the end of the year, Dr. “A” will see his Medicare payments reduced by 5%, but Dr. “B” and his eight collegues will see no reduction in their Medicare payments.

What happens the following year?

Dr. “A” decides to “downsize” his practice giving his sickest patients a “pink slip”.  I wonder where those patients will go?  I guess Sen. Baucus doesn’t care.

Dr. “B” and his eight colleagues, after seeing what happened to Dr. “A”, begin to cut back on the treatment they give to their patients, lest they become the doctor whose reimbursements are cut for that year.  And, this cycle continues.  As the Wall Street Journal points out, this is like a game of musical chairs.  There will always only be nine chairs and, there will always be ten doctors.  Someone always must lose.

Here, the loser is any senior on Medicare.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the Democrats are so concerned about the bogus “45,000 deaths per year ” because of the lack of insurance, and, they don’t give a wit about the real folks who have insurance…with Medicare?

The Baucus gag order:Update below video

Recently Humana, a Kentucky insurance company that offers  Medicare Advantage plans, sent a letter to all of the seniors enrolled in its plans.  Although some say the form of the letter may have been an issue, it is the substance of the letter that drew outrage from Senator Baucus (D-Mont.), the author of the Baucus Unaffordable Health Care Bill.

The letter advised seniors that because of spending cuts to Medicare contained within the bill,

millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.

As a result of the Senator’s ire, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent Humana a cease and desist order claiming that the mailing was “misleading and confusing”.

Just in case the cease and desist order against Humana doesn’t do the trick, the CMS (no doubt at Senator Baucus’ urging) has also banned any provider of Medicare Advantage plans from providing similar information to their insureds.

Here is what Senator Baucus had to say,

It is wholly inappropriate for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject—particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health-care reform…[t]he health-care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits covered under the Medicare program—and seniors need to know that.

I can only assume that Senator Baucus hasn’t read his own bill as it clearly makes major cuts to Medicare Advantage Plans.  Or, he hasn’t listened to the Congressional Budget Office which places the cuts to Medicare Advantage at $100 billion over 10 years.  Or, he hasn’t listened to any of the well over 100 speeches given by the President, which also describe the cuts to Medicare Advantage.

And, here is what Senator McConnell (R. Ky.) had to say in response, but Hot Air has the full speech on video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DBizaOWnR8&feature=player_embedded

Update:  And who at CMS decided the Humana letter was false and misleading?  Jonathan Blum…a former senior aide to Senator Baucus, and a health advisor on the Obama transition team!

Although, the President has called for a civil discourse about Obamacare, it would seem to be difficult to have that discourse with a gag in your mouth.