Archive for Barack Hippocrates Obama

Who’s Up for a Little Single-Payer News?

You haven’t eaten yet, have you? Good.

Just some headlines:

Mum who lost baby hits out at NHS staff shortages after two more newborns die at same hospital

One in 16 patients in NHS hospitals picks up infection, warns watchdog

Labour considers raising national insurance to fix £30bn NHS ‘black hole’

NHS bosses shut walk-in centres as A&E crisis deepens while desperate hospitals want to turn away patients

NHS faces strike threat as 500,000 healthcare staff to be balloted

‘I was accused of fraud, sexual impropriety and assault’: Whistleblower cardiologist details decade-long NHS bullying campaign after he exposed deadly hospital failings

All of which demands this be asked:

Who would now dare put their trust in the NHS?

Well, one person:

‘This time next year I won’t have a baby. I’ll be famous instead’: Four-months’ pregnant woman who had £4,800 boob job on NHS wants abortion so she can appear on Big Brother

These scandalous headlines come from the liberal and conservative press. They highlight some of the whopping lies Obama has spewed (bending the “cost curve”; universal coverage); they betray the folly of government-run health care being about health care rather than about government.

But the boob-job lady who wants to terminate her baby so that she can appear on Big Brother is the face of Socialized Medicine. She takes no responsibility for her actions—she’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the NHS. She takes silicon implants and returns an aborted fetus. And it’s all free, free, free! (If you call now, we’ll abort your twins for no extra cost!) She’s a monstrous extension of Sandra Fluke, who (as a 30-year-old, remember) wanted a Jesuit institution to cover birth control and abortifacients. It’s one thing to want that—it’s quite another to testify at a fake hearing to demand it.

All of these crushingly depressing headlines are as much a feature of socialized medicine as bed sores and MRSA epidemics.

In case you think I’m being unfair to Britain:

Sweden’s problem is access to care. According to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2013, Swedish patients suffer from inordinately long wait times to get an appointment with a doctor, specialist treatment or even emergency care. Wait times are Europe’s longest, and Swedes dependent on the public-health system have to wait months or even years for certain procedures, or are denied treatment.

For example, Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare reports that as of 2013, the average wait time (from referral to start of treatment) for “intermediary and high risk” prostate cancer is 220 days. In the case of lung cancer, the wait between an appointment with a specialist and a treatment decision is 37 days.

This waiting is what economists call rationing—the delay or even failure to provide care due to government budgetary decisions. So the number of people seeking care far outweighs the capabilities of providers, translating into insurance in name but not in practice. This is likely to be a result of ObamaCare as well.

Look at it this way, maybe we’ll all look as hot as Swedes.

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Eight Million

I forget who made this point first (I thought it was Jonah Goldberg, but I can’t find it now), but with Obama doing a victory lap over the eight-millionth enrollee under ObamaCare (without any supporting evidence), how many of those 8,000,000 do you think were happy doing so? How many will remember the experience fondly? How many will remember it that way in November?

The supermegavast majority of them will remember it like root canal, I’ll wager. Whether they’re among the liars whom Harry Reid says don’t even exist anyway, or just those who lost their “bad apple” plans and had to spend hours, days, and soon hundreds and thousands of dollars, to get a worse-apple plan, I don’t think many of those “folks” will be happy. No matter what Chris Matthews and Nancy Pelosi say.

Those aren’t bouquets of flowers they’re carrying, Barack. They’re pitchforks.

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Did He Say Open or Opaque?

For a regime so notoriously secretive (Benghazi, IRS, Fast & Furious, chilling prosecutions against reporters), they’re awfully public with this news:

Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million.

Those are among the findings of an Associated Press analysis of physician data released Wednesday by the Obama administration, part of a move to open the books on health care financing.

Topping Medicare’s list was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, whose relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., made headlines last year after news broke that the lawmaker used the doctor’s personal jet for trips to the Dominican Republic. Medicare paid Melgen $20.8 million.

AP’s analysis found that a small sliver of the more than 825,000 individual physicians in Medicare’s claims data base — just 344 physicians — took in top dollar, at least $3 million apiece for a total of nearly $1.5 billion.

Menendez, D-N.J., hasn’t been found guilty of anything. Why should the doctor?

I’m all for openness, but, again, I do not trust this occupting power farther than I can throw the White House.

The American Medical Association, which has long opposed release of the Medicare database, is warning it will do more harm than good.

The AMA says the files may contain inaccurate information. And even if the payment amounts are correct, the AMA says they do not provide meaningful insights into the quality of care.

“We believe that the broad data dump … has significant shortcomings regarding the accuracy and value of the medical services rendered by physicians,” AMA president Ardis Dee Hoven said. “Releasing the data without context will likely lead to inaccuracies, misinterpretations, false conclusions and other unintended consequences.”

I don’t know if Dr. Melgen is a crook or not, though I find his choice of company suspect. If he’s found guilty, I hope they soak him but good. But an ophthalmologist in South Florida would seem to be in position to make as much money as he wanted, it would seem to me. If he has a good Chinese buffet in his waiting room, so much the better.

Anyway, Obama has been slandering doctors from the beginning of ObamaCare. Rush is ranting about this as I type (transcript not yet up), but this Newsbusters post makes the point:

President Obama disgustingly said the following:

[L]et’s take the example of something like diabetes, one of — a disease that’s skyrocketing, partly because of obesity, partly because it’s not treated as effectively as it could be. Right now if we paid a family — if a family care physician works with his or her patient to help them lose weight, modify diet, monitors whether they’re taking their medications in a timely fashion, they might get reimbursed a pittance. But if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that’s $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 — immediately the surgeon is reimbursed.

The following day, the American College of Surgeons issued a statement harshly rebuking the President’s comments, but America’s media almost completely ignored it (h/t Jamie Colby):

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient.

These were some of the earliest lies of ObamaCare, contemporaneous with the you-can-keep-your-doctor porkies (pork pies rhymes with lies, hence porkies). But they still reverberate. Doctors make money off treating the sick. If that’s not parasitism (according to Obama), he don’t know what is.

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Surprise, Surprise!

I thought we’d have a temporary lull in stories about what a catastrophic, epic failure ObamaCare was. I mean, they got their seven million (with 0.1 to spare!), what’s left to fight about?

Then, just this morning, we learn that all this chaos and mayhem was for the benefit of 1.4 million people (actually, we learned that a week ago), and we learned that no one will be allowed into ObamaCare from now till the end of the year.

As they say of bad news, so is it true of good news: it comes in threes.

People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V. and were less likely to need contraceptives, according to a new study that provides a much-anticipated look at the population that signed up for coverage under the new health care law.

The health of those who enrolled in new coverage is being closely watched because many observers have questioned whether the new marketplaces would attract a large share of sick people, which could lead to higher premiums and ultimately doom the new law.

The study, to be released Wednesday by the major pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts, suggests that early enrollees face more serious health problems and are older than those covered by their employers. The study also showed a higher use of specialty drugs, which are often used to treat diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; the use of such drugs could hint at more costly medical problems.

The facts of life are conservative. Sick people were bound to sign up for ObamaCare (especially as they were thrown off their previous plans); healthy people didn’t see the point. No matter how Obama and his jackbooted thugs talked up the plan, everyone could see that that the pig was just wearing a fetching shade of Maybelline.

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Death is Not a Pre-Existing Condition

Too bad you’ve got a bad case of it:

There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.

“It’s all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) until next year on January 1,” says John DiVito, president of Flexbenefit which has 2,500 brokers.

John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas adds, “People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that’s part of ObamaCare. And what makes it so surprising is the whole point of ObamaCare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months.”

That means that with few exceptions, tens of millions of people will be locked out of the health insurance market for the rest of this year.

Eventually, this won’t be funny anymore. But eventually ain’t today. This is a scream. Aggie and I are just chortling, holding our heads in our hands, as we think of all our friends who defended this stinko president and his stinko signature health care law (of the land). Though “I [Heart] ObamaCare” bumper stickers are thin on local bumpers these days.

“In all likelihood,” says Laszewski, “we’ve only signed up somewhere between one in five and one in seven people who were uninsured prior to the start of ObamaCare.”

That means millions are left outside the health insurance market. There is short term insurance, but anyone with a pre-existing condition can be turned down.

DiVito puts it this way: “So can you imagine that on July 1, an indvidual’s walking down the street, they get hit by a car, the ambulance comes and picks them up and inside that ambulance is an insurance salesman selling them a policy. That is exactly what the insurance industry was trying to avoid.”

Stop! I can’t breathe! Aggie, hand me a tissue.

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Why is This Man Smiling?

Correction: That should read “Is This Man Smiling?”

Even if you take every signer-up under ObamaCare as a genuine enrollee (which we don’t), it turns out that the celebrated “law of the land”—which is enforced under financial penalty—is barely even the law of Massachusetts (7.1 million vs. 6.7 million). It’s not hard to gather seven million sign-ups when you cancel the plans of millions more.

Isn’t this rather Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment?

Where have I seen that expression on Biden’s face before?

Look, I’m sure the media anointed Obama the winner of the news cycle for April 1st. Let’s see how ironic that is on November 4th.

Which is why these people are not smiling:

[W]hile Obama administration officials popped champagne to celebrate the enrollment figure, Democrats on the ballot this year continue to tread cautiously.

Vulnerable incumbents who voted for the Affordable Care Act but have distanced themselves have no plans to suddenly embrace it. They plan to continue emphasizing the ways they want to “fix it” and “make it work.”

“If we had endless news cycles like we did in November and December, we were gonna get wiped out,” said a Democratic strategist actively involved in the effort to hold the Senate.

Added a prominent Democratic pollster, “It is helpful but it’s not going to fundamentally change the playing field. The less we’re talking about Obamacare, the better off we are. Since good things are now happening, we may be talking about it less and that’s a good thing.”

Good luck with that.

PS: Champagne? When so many have been hurt by this law? Surely a rhetorical flourish.

Surely not:

At 12:01 AM, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park acknowledged to QSSI, the Columbia, Maryland firm tasked with fixing Healthcare.gov that the ACA enrollments have surpassed the 7 million mark.

Park and QSSI employees celebrated with champagne after the early morning announcement in the lobby of the building as they are not allowed to drink alcohol in the offices at QSSI.

I understand Joseph Stalin and the missus celebrated with shots of Stoli when the seven-millionth Ukrainian died of starvation. Of course, those numbers were genuine, and merely a step along the way.

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Seven Million People Can’t Be Wrong

But they can be wronged:

On the last day to sign up for ObamaCare, the program apparently was on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for insurance coverage, though the number of enrollees who have paid for their insurance premiums is still unclear.

On Monday afternoon, a technical glitch was temporarily preventing people from filing new applications. A tech team, though, was brought in to resolve the issue. Earlier Monday, a series of error messages also came up as the large volume of users stressed the system.

“Glitches”! Ha! That’s so 2013. As forgotten as the “Harlem Shake”.

[T]he bigger question is perhaps whether the law has indeed helped insure at least some of the estimated 48 million Americans who previously did not have insurance or couldn’t get it because of a pre-existing condition.

The most recent finding by the often-cited McKinsey & Company shows 27 percent of enrollees were previously uninsured and that roughly 75 percent of those who signed up for private insurance under ObamaCare have paid their premiums.

Wanna do some math? 75% of 27% is roughly 20%. Okay so far? That means that 20% of the seven million enrollees were the intended beneficiaries of this accursed—but Constitutional, bitches!—law (of the land). Which means that of the “estimated 48 million” uninsured Americans, only 1.4 million—or 3%—have actually availed themselves of the “right” to health insurance.

Everybody else endured this Chinese fire drill (musical chairs, if you prefer) for nothing. No, wait, not nothing: significantly more—more in premiums, more in co-pay, less in choice. For 1.4 million Americans, tens of millions have been (or soon will be) thrown into the whirlwind of chaotic uncertainty and worry. A few even lost their life-saving care.

They’ll trumpet this seven million as a celebration, a triumph. But all it really means is that five million, six hundred thousand—so far—had to go through the wringer thanks to an ill-conceived, wretchedly-implemented government program that didn’t have to be. The Democrats would have been better off with a smaller number, a much smaller number.

See you (wouldn’t want to be you) in November, chumps.

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The UnDeadline [UPDATED]

No, this isn’t a post about zombies—or is it?

Monday marks the final day of Obamacare’s first open enrollment period — sort of — but the health care law’s hasn’t been implemented in its entirety or even close to on time.

Despite all the Obama administration’s talk about Republicans “obstructing” the health care law, federal officials and Obamacare administrators have done far more damage to the health care law by delaying some of its most central provisions. Here’s the Daily Caller News Foundation’s list of the ways the Obama administration has taken apart its own law, piece by piece.

It’s very long, but it’s encyclopedic (make that “but” an “and”). I would also note that Republicans in the House have tried to pass laws (of the land), Constitutional (bitches) laws, to legitimize what Kaiser Obama has rendered wholly illegitimate. Only for those laws to die in the Democrat Senate (under threat of veto by the Kaiser).

Today is a deadline—sort of—because all you have to do is say you tried to sign up but were thwarted by the universally reviled website. It’s an ironclad alibi.

MARCH 25, 2014: The Obama administration extends its enrollment deadline, letting consumers who already began the HealthCare.gov online initiation check a box stating that they were unable to enroll before the deadline. They’ll have until mid-April to sign up. (RELATED: White House extends Obamacare deadline yet again)

So, we are to believe that the Kaiser’s regime (“reich”?) will finally implement the law? I don’t—or rather, I don’t think he’ll implement the law as we think it is written. He will wield the law as he has all along, as a political tool.

To wit:

A couple in La Mesa, California received a voter registration card from California’s Obamacare exchange already pre-marked for the Democratic Party.

The couple did not want their identities revealed but told local station 10 News that they received an envelope addressed from Covered California, the state’s exchange, with a letter and registration card from the health care marketplace. They’ve always been registered to vote Republican.

Covered California is in the midst of sending out voter registration cards to all of its sign-ups, due to pressure from left-wing groups threatening legal action if they don’t comply.

Between private coverage and Medicaid sign ups, nearly four million Californians will receive voter registration cards.

With at least one couple’s Obamacare voter registration card illegally pre-marked as Democratic, worries over tying voter registration to the Democratic health care program could gain momentum.

To be fair to the Kaiser, KaiserCare has been a political Verdun: a long, slow bloodletting. So, if he tries to use it as a tool for community organizing, one should cut him a little slack. Just because four million Californians will be sent voter ID cards pre-marked “Democrat” doesn’t mean that’s how they’ll vote…does it?

UPDATE
[Bleep] you can’t make up:

People trying to apply and enroll for private health insurance through Obamacare before Monday’s midnight deadline discovered the website was “currently unavailable.”

Healthcare.gov, the online marketplace bedeviled by bugs since its launch last fall, went down for several hours Monday morning, a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services said. It was back online later in the morning after a short time when it put customers in a “queue,” meaning they’d be notified by email when they could proceed with enrollment.

“Consumers may also complete their application by calling the call center at 1-800-318-2596. The federal data services hub is working normally,” HHS said.

An administration spokesman said the website is usually offline for maintenance overnight, and was brought down for four extra hours by a technical glitch — not a rush of procrastinators or hackers.

Oh, a glitch! That’s better.

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Shocked—Shocked!!—to Learn of Mandate Delay

You know who was most appalled by the administration’s delay of the individual mandate (as we posted earlier today)?

The administration:

Dan Pfeiffer, a top White House advisor, told David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that the end of March is, in fact, the deadline for the open enrollment period, noting that those who haven’t yet secured a plan should do so as soon as possible.

“That will not happen,” Pfeiffer said, when asked if the individual mandate would be delayed.

On March 12, Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, testified on Capitol Hill before the House Ways and Means Committee that the open enrollment would not be extended…

Specifically:

Sebelius also said there would be no postponement of this month’s deadline for enrolling in coverage through new private health insurance marketplaces or the Medicaid program for the poor.

“No, sir,” was Sebelius’ categorical answer when asked about both prospects by Representative Kevin Brady of Texas at a hearing of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

Yeah, but…uh…that was two weeks ago. Two weeks is an eternity in politics. And Pfieffer’s comment from March 16th? Well, that’s 5/7ths of an eternity—no small fraction of forever.

How long can they keep the plates spinning? It’ll all come crashing down in November.

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Pardon My French

But what if cluster[bleep] is le mot juste?

“CGI will not abide by any assertion that our company bears exclusive, or even primary, responsibility for the issues to date on the project,” CGI President George Schindler wrote in a March 14 letter to state Obamacare Web czar Sarah Iselin just three days before the state dumped the firm from the project.

Yet CGI claims:

• The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Health Connector are still at odds with each other. During a March 11 meeting, HHS officials described the need to work with CGI as a “high priority,” while Connector staff called it “no longer a requirement.” With the two agencies infighting, “the decision process was slow, and at times circular,” CGI said.

• State officials still can’t decide what the site should feature, resulting in further delays — nearly a third of the system’s requirements haven’t been finalized. “It is not reasonable to expect CGI to build what the commonwealth has yet to define fully,” wrote Schindler.

• CGI has received more than 400 requests to add more features to the site or change completed ones.

• State officials often agreed on one plan during working sessions, only to be overridden later on by higher-ups who weren’t present at the meetings.

• The state even ignored pleas from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which recommended delaying certain website extras to focus on Obamacare-required components. Though both CGI and the state acknowledged in mid-May that the schedule going forward was “risky,” state officials forced even more add-ons in the four months before the Oct. 1 launch.

To recap, Mitt Romney left us with a functioning health connector site (much as we wish he hadn’t); only the dictates of ObamaCare made us scrap it and take up with CGI, the company that failed so spectacularly with the federal website.

What we’re left with is an orgy of suck:

Health Connector spokesman Jason Lefferts told the Herald last night: “CGI’s underperformance at the state and national level is well-documented, and most recently captured by the third-party, independent MITRE and Microsoft reports. Their attempt at deflecting blame is unproductive.”

CGI declined comment yesterday and referred to a March 17 statement in which it promised to work with the state to “ensure a smooth transition.”

Joshua Archambault of the Pioneer Institute said state officials deserve just as much blame as CGI. “I don’t think the state has been as transparent about its own flaws during this process, and I hope the future will present opportunities for them to have to explain themselves for what happened in the past and how they’ll prevent the same mistakes in the future,” he said.

Lord, if Mitt Romney can’t be our president, why can’t he at least be our governor?

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If You Like Your Premium Increase, You Can Keep Your Premium Increase

Period.

The worries from the industry come less than a week after HHS Secretary Sebelius downplayed the problem, telling Capitol Hill that increases would grow more slowly than in the past.

From the piece:

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

But, but, Sebelius said…


I swear…

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

(Insurers) point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.

Those aren’t “unintended” consequences—at least not to anyone with an abacus or a slide rule. Insurance companies can’t function if all they insure is sick people. That’s elementary school arithmetic. So, the consequences must be very much intentional.

I wouldn’t worry, though. Obama promised Americans would save an average of $2,500, so that windfall should help defray the costs.

Wait, what?

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The Big Dunce

Some call the NCAA basketball tournament March Madness (or just “The Tournament”). Others call it the Big Dance.

Me, I call it just another stupid, degrading attempt to sell this crap sandwich of a law to skeptical, apathetic public.

To coincide with the start of NCAA basketball tournament, a White House official says the administration is launching an all-encompassing push around the annual basketball bonanza that will feature athletes, coaches, and others, in hopes of spurring more Americans to sign up for health care before the March 31 deadline.

The White House is also set to release a “16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered Bracket,” detailing the administration’s top reasons to get insured. The administration believes it can parlay the popularity of the President’s bracket – a recent tradition that registered the most views of any blog on WhiteHouse.gov during 2013 – into tangible enrollments by updating the results of the ACA bracket based on the “winning” votes from online users.

How does the White House feel about its most popular blog post being the president’s picks in the Big Dance?

And did he spell Syracuse right this time?

As a watcher of sports on TV, I have this advice for the shillers of ObamaCare. Tell your audience it covers erectile disfunction meds. Even if it doesn’t—you guys have that trick down to a science. Add hair restorers too.

And adult diapers, too, for “leakage”.

Untitled

Heck, tell ‘em ObamaCare covers Bud Light and you’ll oversubscribed in no time. It’s not that hard, guys, especially if you know how to lie.

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