Archive for Health Care

“You Can Keep Your Health Care Czar, Period”

Without crony capitalism, we wouldn’t have any capitalism at all:

The Bay State’s former Obamacare czar has landed a top job at the company that was awarded a no-bid contract to fix the beleaguered website — the latest Patrick administration official to find work at an organization that benefitted under the state’s taxpayer-funded leadership.

“There’s not a conflict here, and I’m really excited and looking forward to this new job,” Sarah Iselin told the Herald yesterday. “I will not be working on Massachusetts-related work.”

Iselin, who took a leave of absence from Blue Cross Blue Shield from February to May to try to rescue the Massachusetts Health Connector’s disastrous Obamacare portal, providing daily briefings to Gov. Deval Patrick, will become an executive-in-residence at Optum, which holds a lucrative state contract to re-launch the state’s health insurance portal on Nov. 15.

Iselin recommended the state award what amounted to no-bid contracts to both Optum and hCentive — an IT company in which Optum owns a 24 percent stake — during a presentation to the Health Connector board on May 8.

Iselin said talks for her new Optum job began well after she left state office.

Maybe so, Sally, but you gave them the no-bid contract well before you left office. At least they bought you dinner after you put out. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

As the article suggests, she isn’t the first hackette Patrick has pimped out:

The Herald reported on Oct. 16 that outgoing Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett had been angling for the top job at a Cape Cod Healthcare drug initiative this summer, even as she championed a landmark substance abuse treatment bill that addiction centers had spent thousands lobbying for, according to conflict of interest disclosures and state records.

The bill was signed into law on Aug. 6. Bartlett announced her new post on Oct. 14.

As long as somebody is doing well with ObamaCare.

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Tell a Lie Often Enough…and No One Believes It

Of the myriad and manifest lies Obama told over and over (and over again), we probably agree that the most brazen and most damaging one was that “you can keep your doctor”.

Your doctor won’t even keep you:

As of May 2014, over 214,000 doctors wouldn’t participate in Obamacare plans, and that number may be growing, according to AAF, a free-market think tank in Washington. While some Obamacare kinks have been worked out over the past year, exchange plans remain as unfriendly to doctors as ever.

Obamacare puts physicians — especially the dwindling number of those in private practice — in an especially difficult financial situation, expecting doctors to eat the costs of patients who discontinue coverage and to simply take on more patients to make up for bottom-level reimbursements.

It’s no wonder that in such an unfriendly climate for physicians, many are staying out of Obamacare plans. At the beginning of Obamacare’s first enrollment period last year, over 70 percent of California’s physicians weren’t participating in Covered California plans, according to AAF — a big problem for the state with the largest Obamacare enrollment in the nation.

Obama is squeezing doctors in order to keep rates low.

How’s that working out?

Untitled

[M]ore employers are offering consumer-directed health plans, which usually come with high deductibles. In 2015, 81% of large employers will offer at least one of these plans, up from 63% five years earlier.

Consumer-directed plans typically carry deductibles of $1,500 for individual coverage, more than three times higher than traditional policies, according to the National Business Group on Health.

And these plans will be the only choice for a growing number of workers. The share of larger employers offering only consumer-directed policies is jumping to 32% for 2015, up from 22% this year.

Deductibles are soaring for traditional insurance policies, too.

Deductibles for individual coverage at all firms have jumped to $1,217, on average, up 47% over the past five years, according to the 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust report. In high-deductible plans, they have hit $2,215.

Employers say they want more accountability, and higher deductibles force workers to take a larger role in their own care while shifting more of the costs to them.

Hey, that sounds good to me: health care costs what it costs in part because no one feels the cost. Low premiums and a high deductible make people responsible consumers yet still protected from catastrophic illnesses. But I don’t think it sounds so good to President Obama. Another of his bald-faced lies was “bending” the cost curve. Instead, deductibles have rocketed by more than a third since ObamaCare passed.

Hardly droll, but never dull, ObamaCare is bending us.

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Hmm, What Good Is Health Insurance If You Can’t Afford To See A Doc?

queries the NY Times

We. Told. You. So. (I know that’s ugly, but it feels so damn good).

Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.

But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.

“To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”

About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.

Insurers must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations, cholesterol checks and screening for breast and colon cancer, at no cost to the consumer if the provider is in their network. But for other services and items, like prescription drugs, marketplace customers often have to meet their deductible before insurance starts to help.

We solved nothing. We were assured that 30 million people would have health care insurance – real number 7.3 million. And it turns out that a good chunk of those can’t afford to use it at all. We made it worse. And what will the Left want to do next?

Single Payer. Bank on it.

– Aggie

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Good News, Bad News

More than 22,000 Coloradans have just lost their health coverage.

And that’s the good news:

Over 22,000 Coloradoans have had their health insurance canceled by Obamacare in the past month — and 200,000 are slated to be shut down in 2015, the state insurance department announced Friday.

The Colorado Division of Insurance wrote to state Senate Republicans Friday, notifying them that five more insurance carriers have ended plans for 18,783 more Coloradoans in just the last month. By far, the most canceled plans will come from Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan.

That brings the state’s Obamacare total to almost 340,000 canceled plans, according to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who’s in a tight race for Senate with incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Udall.

Udall, who voted for Obamacare and made the same debunked promises as President Obama that Americans could keep their health insurance plans, took heat earlier this year when emails suggested that his office tried to interfere with a state analysis of the number of plans cancelled by Obamacare.

One almost feels sorry for the coming Democrat slaughter in the midterm elections. Until one remembers that they have it coming. Good and hard.

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Whoopsie

Ebola patient flew day before reporting symptoms.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

The second health-care worker diagnosed with Ebola in Texas flew between Cleveland and Dallas hours before she reported symptoms to state health workers, U.S. health officials said today.

The caregiver caught the deadly virus while treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas this month. She flew to Dallas on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 the night of Oct. 13, according to a e-mailed statement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She then reported symptoms the next morning.

“Because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning, CDC is reaching out to passengers,” the agency said. The plane had 132 passengers, the CDC said.

Reaching out, eh? I feel sick just thinking about those poor people.

– Aggie

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White House BS

– Aggie

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Hang Down Your Head, Thomas Eric Duncan

Hang down your head and cry.
Another nurse ’bout to die:

A second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola.

The worker was among those who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from the deadly virus on U.S. soil.

The unnamed member of staff reported a fever yesterday and were immediately isolated at the hospital, the Texas department of state health services has revealed.

Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to identify any contacts or potential exposures and has said that those people will be monitored.

Mr Duncan arrived in Texas from Liberia on September 20. He began showing symptoms of Ebola three days after his arrival and was admitted to Texas Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday 28. He died on Wednesday October 8.

Three weeks ago, Tom Duncan was just an anonymous Liberian—who had happened to carry a dying, communicable Ebola patient—seeking a better life in America. Today, he is Patient Zero in an outbreak that threatens to collapse the entire American health care system. That’s not my hyperbole. That’s public health officials. I’ll leave it to the geekier of our readers to do the math of how many people could Duncan and the 70 health care workers have infected in the time he was here. Two so far, but two is infinitely more than we were told was possible. Who believes anything the CDC says?

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To Find Out What Your Health Care Will Cost, Wait Until After The Election

I am linking this, but it opens with noise.

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.

The American public is to stupid, I have to say that they deserve this.

– Aggie

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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Liberals just want to help people.

God help us:

Obamacare premiums aren’t rising everywhere. They just have a way of finding the states with the biggest Senate races. And that could be very bad timing for Democrats in two of the party’s key contests.

Double-digit rate hikes for individual health insurance plans have become an issue in the Louisiana and Iowa Senate races over the past week, where the Republican candidates are hammering their Democratic opponents for the steep premium increases on the way next year for some customers under the Affordable Care Act.

In Louisiana, Rep. Bill Cassidy called the double-digit increases for some insurers — including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana — “another hurdle for families and businesses already struggling under the demands of Obamacare” and blamed Democrats for “false promises” that premiums would go down. In Iowa, Senate candidate Joni Ernst used the sharp rate increases for two insurers to blast the Democratic candidate, Rep. Bruce Braley, for supporting the law, charging that “thousands of Iowans are paying for it.”

Poor Democrats. The bad news keeps on coming:

Having health insurance is no panacea for high medical costs. Overall, 1 in 4 privately insured U.S. adults say they don’t have much confidence in their ability to pay for a major, unexpected medical expense.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research may help explain why President Barack Obama faces such strong headwinds in trying to persuade the public that his health care law is working to hold costs down.

The poll found the biggest financial concerns were among people with so-called high-deductible plans that require patients to pay a significant share of their medical bills each year before insurance kicks in.

Such plans already represented a growing share of employer-sponsored coverage. And now, they’re also the mainstay of the new health insurance exchanges created by Obama’s law.

ObamaCare was supposed to “bend the cost curve” of health care. Instead, it’s us who get bent. I can’t wait for Election Night. It’ll be like ISIS snuff videos without the orange jumpsuits.

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Another ObamaCare Success Story!

They said the passage of ObamaCare would be good for the economy, and darned if they weren’t right:

California’s health insurance exchange has awarded $184 million in contracts without the competitive bidding and oversight that is standard practice across state government.

An Associated Press review of contracting records finds some of those deals sent millions of dollars to a firm whose employees have ties to the agency’s executive director.

Awarding no-bid contracts is unusual in state government, where rules promote competition to give taxpayers the best deal and avoid ethical conflicts.

The Legislature gave Covered California broad authority to award no-bid contracts to meet federal deadlines to get the agency running.

Several contracts worth a total of $4.2 million went to The Tori Group, a consulting firm whose founder has strong ties to agency Executive Director Peter Lee.

Lee says he picked the best people for the job.

Trust us, they said. You’ll love ObamaCare. We didn’t. Trust us with no-bid contracts; we won’t hose you. They did. Thank you, California, for making all of us in Massachusetts feel a little less stupid.

PS: This story ought to make those seeing their plans canceled or their costs spike feel a little better. Or not.

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November Surprise

This couldn’t be timed worse if they planned it this way.

Oh wait, they did!

More than a dozen states plan to cancel health care policies not in compliance with ObamaCare in the coming weeks, affecting thousands of people just before the midterm elections.

“It looks like several hundred thousand people across the country will receive notices in the coming days and weeks,” said Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The policies are being canceled because states that initially granted a reprieve at the request of President Obama are no longer willing to do so.

In coming weeks, 13 states and the District of Columbia plan to cancel such policies, which generally fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer the level of coverage the law requires.

Virginia will be hardest hit, with 250,000 policies expected to be canceled.

And because federal law requires a 60-day notice of any plan changes, voters will be notified no later than November 1, right before the Nov. 4 midterms.

Many of those forced out of their current plans and into ObamaCare may not be able to keep their doctors. They also could face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, making ObamaCare an election issue on the eve of voting.

They’ll feel better if they remember that the Law of the Land is Constitutional (bitches). And I’ll feel better if they remember that Democrats passed this steaming pile of dog crap over the limp body of the Republican Party.

I thought Democrats would lose over Democrats’ foreign policy. What a hoot that the Ghost of ObamaCare still haunts the political landscape.

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Deliverance

Don’t you feel better now?

The family of the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the deadly Ebola virus is getting some assistance from civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

Jackson said the family of the patient — Thomas Eric Duncan — asked him to come to Dallas to help them get answers from the doctors treating the man. With Duncan’s mother, Nowai Korkoyah, at his side, Jackson walked into the South Dallas Café on Tuesday for an early morning prayer session with the patient’s worried family and a news conference.

“I’m anxious,” Jackson said. “I’m concerned that they feel so alienated and so pushed away.”

Because who doesn’t want to embrace an Ebola patient?

Jackson explained that Duncan’s family — who traveled to Texas from North Carolina — also has concerns about the patient’s access to medicine. Doctors said the experimental drug, ZMapp, which was recently used to treat two American health care workers who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, is no longer available. Doctors have been treating Duncan, 42, with a different drug, brincidofovir, a broad-spectrum antiviral, since Saturday.

“They are saying no more doses (of ZMapp),” Jackson said. “That seems strange to only have only enough medicine for two patients in the whole country.”

Two white patients, you mean, Jesse. Mm-hmm, that’s right.

Say, Jesse, while you’re here:

Vickery Meadow neighborhood of Dallas are living near the epicenter of the Ebola scare in North Texas. Now, they say they’re facing a different challenge — discrimination.

Thomas Duncan stayed at an apartment in the community before being diagnosed with Ebola and admitted into Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.

Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates says that she met with over 30 community leaders on Monday, trying to assess the needs of the residents. Most are concerned about the possible stigma of living near the apartment building.

“Unfortunately, they are feeling discriminated against,” said Gates. “We still have some that have been turned away from jobs. Some that have been turned away at retail locations. We’re getting them in touch with legal aid and any resources necessary.”

If you have to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, it seems to me you have to hire a suspected Ebola patient. Put it on your resume. Dare them not to hire you.

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