As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: health care

Video || DNC CEO on How We’ll Fund Medicare for All: “I Don’t Know”

Democratic National Committee CEO Seema Nanda indicated Tuesday that she had no idea how Democrats would pay for the brilliant plan Democrats ran on to essentially put everyone on Medicare, saying we need to have a “big conversation” about it.

Well, that’s certainly true, it will require a big conversation, though I’m not sure you can talk away trillions of taxpayer dollars.

Nanda spoke during an event in Washington. Now, I’d note that this video was produced by the RNC, and therefore qualifies as propaganda. Still, she said it.

Life and Death – But Especially Death – Under Socialism

As the call for socialism gleefully reverberates around the Democratic Party, let’s take a look at what happens – whether in the Soviet Union or Great Britain – when the government runs your life.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Britains national health care system killed hundreds of patients at a single hospital.

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. From the article:

NHS managers covered up the unlawful killing of up to 650 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital on the English south coast . . .

One nurse told the police that the regime at the Daedalus Ward—“Dead Loss,” the staff called it—was geared toward euthanasia. Upon admission, one elderly woman was immediately put on a syringe drive. Her family insisted she be allowed to die naturally. She recovered sufficiently to be taken home. Brian Livesley, a physician at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, was brought in by the police to review the evidence. He said he would support allegations of manslaughter, assault and actual bodily harm.

The most damning evidence was that nurses had raised concerns in 1991 about indiscriminate use of opioids and syringe drivers. Eleven years later, the meeting notes resurfaced. “When I read the minutes, I felt sick,” a senior nurse recalled.

In discussing whether to prosecute, one police officer noted the “perceived plight” of the NHS ahead of the 2001 general election. At a pivotal meeting of prosecutors closer to polling day, a government lawyer attacked Dr. Livesley and sabotaged the emerging prosecution case.

As the article points out, private health care providers, whatever their shortcomings, at least have a market incentive to keep you alive. I guess partly so that they can keep billing insurers but even more so,  I would think, so they have a reputation as a place people can come to and also walk out of.

The government’s sole concern is that your presence in the health care system is making their life more complicated – so many forms to fill out! – and raising costs.

British Prime Minister Theresa May of the Conservative Party wants to increase spending on the health system by 20 percent over the next five years, which makes wonder what it means to be a conservative in Britain.

This is what Sarah Palin meant a few years ago by death panels. Once everyone is guaranteed all the health care they want, you have to start rationing it. And the same kind of people who decide whether you can build an addition onto your home will choose whether you live or die.

Secret White House Health Care Meeting

Updated 9:11 pm ET

Oh boy. Imagine if Dick Cheney had done this.

From the pool report:

For those interested in the president’s meeting tonight with health care innovators, as described by Jay Carney at the top of the briefing, your POOL could not ascertain from aides the time of the session, location or expected attendees at the CLOSED PRESS meeting. A readout after the conclusion of the meeting is expected, according to Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

I assume the White House doesn’t want reporters messing with the innovators. Whatever those are. I gather “innovators” are very sensitive types. Or perhaps Obama is going to tell them what he was doing the night of Benghazi. Whatever.

UPDATE: The White House released some details. From a statement:

Following up on a Cabinet meeting focused on management and innovation, the President and senior members of the administration including Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, White House staff Valerie Jarrett, Mark Childress, Jeanne Lambrew and Todd Park met with selected leaders in the space of health and technology innovation to discuss the role of data and innovation in improving the cost and quality of health care for Americans. The meeting was a wide-ranging discussion focusing on innovation happening across the country, including progress made by individual doctors better using data in their practices, like Dr. Jennifer Brull with Prairie Star Family Practice in Kansas.  They also discussed how innovation can lead to new companies built on improving the use of technology to help Americans get better care . . . Other participants included: Chris Chen, CEO of ChenMed, Christine Cassel, CEO of the National Quality Forum and Peter Hudson, CEO of iTriage.

With Obamacare train wrecking all over the place, the administration is touting its success at getting doctors to put your records online, saying ti has “exceeded its goal for 50 percent of doctor offices and 80 percent of eligible hospitals to have electronic records by the end of 2013.”

Obama Eliminates Two White House Czars

President Obama Wednesday eliminated two White House Czars, one who was no longer needed and another whose main task is finished for the next two years.

According to a New York Times piece on the new Daley-Plouffe White House, Obama abolished both the White House health care office and the climate and energy post.

It’s nice to see the president trim back the number of unaccountable officials in his government. White House aides cannot be called to testify on Capitol Hill, and are answerable to no one but the president.

The former Health Czar, Nancy Ann Deparle, achieved her mission of passing health reform and has moved on to become deputy chief of staff.

The former Climate Change Czar, Carol Browner, recently left the administration, having failed to get Congress to move a cap and trade bill. With the 2012 election already looming, there is no way Obama is going to try to force through such controversial legislation unless he is reelected.

The deletion of the two posts can also be seen as a victory in the endless Washington wars for Medicare chief Donald Berwick and his nominal boss at HHS, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who together will now run the implementation of the health care law and lead the fight against Republican attempts to destroy it. Deparle will certainly be active on the issue, but she’ll have other things on her hands, and there won’t be a separate health care power center at the White House.

Likewise, Energy Secretary Steven Chu now reigns supreme on climate and energy policy.

Obama Suggests Medicare Benefits Will be Cut

Did Obama just say we’re going to have to start cutting Medicare benefits? And just as the campaign season is ramping up?

During an event at someone’s home in Columbus, Ohio today, the president was busy knocking softballs out of the park – “Hi President Obama . . .  thank you for doing such a wonderful job” – when suddenly someone who runs an ophthalmology practice asked him what exactly doctors are supposed to do as Medicare increasingly gives them the finger instead of payment for services.

Obama babbled through the usual patter about how we’re going to make everything more efficient and bend the cost curve to decrease health costs – even as expensive new technologies come to market and the new health reform law increases demand for services.

He kindly and gently lamented “that Social Security has to be tweaked because the population is getting older” and “we’ve got to refresh and renew Medicare to make sure that it’s going to be there for the next generation, as well.”

But then, incredibly, he got down to business. Here’s what he said.

So we’ve made Medicare stronger just with some of the changes that we’ve already made.  But you’re absolutely right that we’re going to have to keep on making these changes to continue to make it stronger.  And that will affect not just Medicare; it will affect the entire health care system.

Because there’s no doctor out there who doesn’t see Medicare as the $800 gorilla.  If Medicare is saying you’ve got to improve your quality and efficiency, then they will because they’ve got a lot of Medicare patients.  But they also have a lot of regular patients.  So hospitals, doctors, everybody starts getting more efficient as Medicare gets more efficient.  The key is making sure that we’re not just cutting benefits.

Not just cutting benefits? So WE WILL BE CUTTING BENEFITS?

With the federal budget dripping with red ink and mandatory spending like that for Medicare causing much of the spillage, is it possible that the president early next year is going to lay out an adult-style budget that takes a serious stab at slicing the deficit? And not by just raising taxes?

This is good news. Because a small matter like THE FATE OF THE WORLD ECONOMY depends on the United States producing credible evidence that it is going to reduce its deficit.

And the evidence ain’t going to come from the House or Senate appropriations committees, even if Republicans are running them.

It has to come from Obama. Let the tweaking and refreshing begin.

Health Reform Shatters Obama’s Tax Pledge

Workers are beginning to be informed of major health reform-mandated changes to their health care flexible spending accounts that will make the accounts far more difficult to use and that will limit the sum of health related products that can written off from taxes.

Barack Obama
I was actually against raising middle class taxes before I was for it.

The changes will result in higher taxes paid by workers making less than a quarter million dollars a year. President Obama promised that wasn’t going to happen.

The accounts allow employers to set aside an unlimited amount of salary for employees to use to purchase health related products, like prescription and non-prescription medicines.

Under the health reform law, workers will now need a doctor’s prescription to use FSA’s to buy even mundane over the counter items such as Advil, antacid, or cold medicines. In addition, the accounts will now be limited to $2,500.

Were you aware of this?

I wasn’t.

Look at this message I just received yesterday from my health care flexible savings account provider.

Eligible Over-the-Counter Medicines and Drugs Will Require a Prescription to be Reimbursed – Effective January 1, 2011

Beginning January 1, 2011, currently eligible over-the-counter (OTC) products that are medicines or drugs (e.g., acne treatments, allergy and cold medicines, antacids, etc.) will not be eligible for reimbursement from your Health Care FSA – unless – you have a prescription for that item written by your physician. The only exception is insulin – you will not need a prescription from January 1, 2011 forward. Other currently eligible OTC items that are not medicines or drugs, such as bandages and nasal strips, will not require a prescription.

THIS IS A TAX INCREASE. Who is going to go to their doctor to get a prescription for Maalox?

Well, a small percentage will, driving up paperwork for already besieged doctors. But most of us will take the hit and no longer be able to buy over the counter medicines tax free. And if your employer offers accounts larger than $2,500 and you use them, you’re out luck. THAT’S WHAT IS CALLED A TAX INCREASE.

Now who said this:

If you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase.

OBAMA SAID IT.

But I just got a note today saying my taxes are going up. And guess what? As my wife will tell you, I AM MAKING LESS THAN $250,000 A YEAR.

Do people making more than that bother with these accounts? My guess is if you are getting hit by this new law, you’re in the group whose taxes weren’t supposed to go up under the current regime.

Now, interestingly enough, the $2,500 limit does not take effect until 2013, which of course is after Obama’s first term ends. This is just way too cute. I want to wrap it up and give it to my niece.

Sorry, Mr. President, but even if the tax takes effect after your first term, you’ve still raised taxes.

Also, starting in 2018, FSA’s will be counted toward the determination of whether an employer’s health plan is so generous that it qualifies for an excise tax – another incentive not to offer them.

Workers do not seem to be aware of the change, and providers of the accounts aren’t quite sure what to tell them, according to Judy Dietel, chief compliance officer at WageWorks, the leading third party administrator of FSA’s.

“We’re waiting for guidance,” she says, noting that industry officials are not yet clear which type of medical professionals will be able to write prescriptions and which won’t.

Obama Gets Polite on AIDS

When First Lady Michelle Obama travels around the country touting her anti-obesity initiative, she carries with her a simple message that gets at the root of all fatness: Eat less and exercise.

Tonight, her husband Barack announced his National HIV/AIDS Strategy, but unlike Michelle he failed to specifically mention the root of the crisis: too much sex outside of monogamous relationships and marriage.

So,

To Stop Obesity: Stop eating, start exercising

To Stop AIDS: Stop having so much sex, and do it with way fewer people.

Instead of a frank message that people need to stop sleeping with anything that moves gracefully, the president spent most of his time in the East Room lamenting discrimination against AIDS sufferers, saying we need to increase treatment, and so forth.

Now, we can give Obama credit for not trying to pretend that AIDS is an equal opportunity disease.

We all know the statistics.  Gay and bisexual men make up a small percentage of the population, but over 50 percent of new infections.  For African Americans, it’s 13 percent of the population — nearly 50 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS.  HIV infection rates among black women are almost 20 times what they are for white women.

Pretending that this illness is a big danger to suburban housewives can only lead to a misallocation of resources.

But on the key question of how to really slow the spread of AIDS and its awful suffering, only these two fragments of sentences were heard – each euphemisms for something that could be anywhere from “Put on a condom” to “Stop Shtumping your neighbor, your friend’s husband, the cleaning lady, the pharmacist, and your waiter.

1. Our strategy promotes . . . education so people can curb risky behaviors.

2. It requires each of us to act responsibly in our own lives.

You mean, it requires each of us to keep our pants on unless the person with us in the room is our spouse or “significant other,” and it requires our supposed leaders to put away their politeness.

But if we’re going to be polite, it might have been a classy gesture for Obama to tip his hat to Bush on the issue. W made fighting AIDS internationally one of his top priorities, devoted heaps of money to it, and is praised grudgingly on both sides of the aisle. A tip of the hat would have been a refreshing break from Obama’s standard Blame Bush routine.