Tag Archives: nationalized health insurance

As Healthcare Reform Takes Hold, 74% of Physicians Will Retire or Seek Other Alternatives

Healthcare reform, should it survive legal challenge, repeal, and/or non-funding, will usher in a new era of medicine in which physicians will, according to a report in Modern Medicine, “largely cease to operate as full-time, independent, private practitioners accepting third party payments. Instead, they will work as employees, as part-timers, as administrators, in cash-only ‘concierge’ practices, or they will walk away from medicine altogether.” Here are the details from Modern Medicine:

These are some of the findings of a new report commissioned by The Physicians Foundation entitled “Health Reform and the Decline of Physician Private Practice”.

The report outlines provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and examines economic, demographic, and other forces impacting the way doctors structure their practices and deliver care.

The report offers a road map for where medical practice is headed in the post-reform era, says Lou Goodman, PhD, president of The Physicians Foundation and chief executive officer of the Texas Medical Association.

Concern about patient care

“The private practice physician is rapidly disappearing,” Goodman notes. “Both market forces and the health care reform law are forcing physicians to find new ways of running a practice. We are extremely concerned about how this will affect patient care.”

Drawing on the perspective of a panel of healthcare experts and executives, the report projects physicians will follow one of four courses:

  • Work as employees of increasingly larger medical groups or hospital systems
  • Establish cash-only practices that eliminate third party payers
  • Reduce their clinical roles by working part-time
  • Opt out of medicine altogether by accepting non-clinical positions or by retiring.

Survey results in agreement

The projections are backed by results of a national physician survey included in the report.

Of some 2,400 physicians responding, only 26 percent said they would continue practicing the way they are in the next one to three years. The remaining 74 percent said they would:

  • retire,
  • work part-time,
  • close their practices to new patients,
  • become employed and/or
  • seek non-clinical jobs.

Based on the survey and other data, the white paper projects health reform will worsen the ongoing physician shortage and make it harder for many patients to access a physician.

In order to illustrate medical practice trends, the report includes case studies of medical practice models likely to proliferate post-reform, including studies of a medical home, an accountable care organization, a concierge practice, a community health center, and a small, hospital-aligned practice.

All-in-all, if this survey is accurate, the evolution of healthcare reform should be very interesting.

Bedside Economics and Healthcare Reform – A Christian Doctor’s Response

My dear friend, Al Weir, MD, is an oncologist in Memphis, TN. He has served in Africa as a missionary and served with the Christian Medical Association. He’s just written a wonderful devotional called, “Bedside Economics” It is based upon Psalm 106:3, “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Al’s writings alway provoke me to deep contemplation. None moreso than this one:

It has provoked me to deep contemplation.

He was an oncologist transplanted from the Caribbean to Canada where he worked in a small British Columbia city. We sat beside each other at a medical meeting and began to discuss the economics of healthcare in both his country and mine.

In discussing a given treatment regimen, both effective and approved for use, he made the statement, “Those drugs are too expensive for the 5% of people whom thy actually save, so I don’t use them.”

In the midst of our national healthcare reform discussion we are all aware of the cost of healthcare. Healthcare costs too much for many of our patients and for our country’s economic health. Sometimes in our discussions, and even in our practice decision making, we may confuse the macro economics of patient care with the economics of caring for the individual patient who is sitting in front of us.

The cost of care in each is extremely important, but the doctor’s considerations in each are quite different. As doctors, we do have a special level of understanding of the healthcare arena and thus have a responsibility to inform the national debate regarding the expenditure of healthcare dollars. We should enter this debate publically without the bias of personal gain and seek to maximize both good for patients in general and for our nation as a whole.

However, when we face our individual patients with diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, our concerns are modified.

We, as Christian doctors, understand that we have a covenant relationship with our patients in which they offer their trust and compliance, while we offer our full dedication to their benefit, unaffected by our desire for personal gain. Actually, we have a three way covenant relationship since our Lord is partnering with us in their care, increasing our concern for the good of the patient and adding the commitment that our care should point towards Him.

This covenant relationship should lead to at least three defining questions each time we present our patients with diagnostic or therapeutic options:

  • Which approach provides the greatest benefit for this patient, both toward his/her stated goals and toward my understanding of their best good?
  • Which approach harms my patient least economically?
  • Am I certain that my recommendations are not distorted by personal gain?

I have discovered in my own practice that when I fail to ask these questions, I will drift toward my natural desire for personal fulfillment, which may not be the best way to show God’s love for my patient.

Dr. Weir then offers this prayer, one that I prayed today:

Dear God, please let me always put the good of my patients first so that Your reflection from my life may not be distorted by the economics of their care. Amen.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag on the True Costs of the Healthcare Reform Bill

My friend, Congressman Doug Lamborn, sent me a just published report from the nonpartisan, independent actuaries at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their analysis of the newly enacted Democrat health care overhaul has shocked people on both sides of the aisle. Among its many troubling findings, the report concludes that national health care costs will increase significantly over the next decade under the new law.

Here’s a short summary of the report’s key findings produced by the Minority staff of the House Ways and Means Committee:

  • Health Care Costs Increase:  “National health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion (0.9 percent) during calendar years 2010-2019.” [Page 4]  The actuaries found the law bends the cost curve up by a greater degree than either the House or Senate-passed legislation, despite the Administration’s claim that slowing national health spending was the “single most important” reason to overhaul the health system.
  • Over One-Half Trillion in Medicare Cuts: The Medicare actuaries found that the new health law cuts “$575 billion” [Page 4] from Medicare.
  • Seniors’ Access to Care Jeopardized: As a result of the cuts to Medicare, the actuaries found, “absent legislative intervention, [providers] might end their participation in the program [possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries].” [Page 10]
  • Workers & Seniors Can’t Keep the Health Plan They Have and Like: “We estimate that such actions would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 14 million.” [Page 7]  Furthermore, 2 million Americans who currently have employer-provided health coverage will be dumped into Medicaid.  [Page 3]  Additionally, the actuaries predict millions of seniors will lose their Medicare plan because massive cuts to the program will result in “about 50 percent” of seniors no longer being in a plan. [Page 11].
  • Long Wait Lines Resulting From A Shortage of Doctors and Hospitals: “For now, we believe that consideration should be given to the potential consequences of a significant increase in demand for health care meeting a relatively fixed supply of health care providers and services.” In other words, Americans should be prepared for doctor and hospital shortages under the new law.  [Page 20]
  • False Promise to Those With Pre-Existing Conditions: “By 2011 and 2012 the initial $5 billion in Federal funding for [high risk pools] would be exhausted, resulting in substantial premium increases to sustain the program.” [Page 16]
  • Massive & Unworkable Entitlement Expansion: “First, an estimated 18 million would gain primary Medicaid coverage as a result of the expansion.” [Page 3]  In addition to burdening both federal and state budgets, the actuaries caution this expansion will fail to provide meaningful access to health care.  “Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that a significant portion of the increased demand for Medicaid would be difficult to meet, particularly over the first few years.” [Page 20]
  • Millions Will See Their Health Benefits Taxed for the First Time: “It should be noted, however, that an estimated 12 percent of insured workers in 2019 would be in employer plans with benefit values in excess of the thresholds [before changes to reduce benefits] and that this percentage would increase rapidly thereafter.” [Page 13]
  • Budget Gimmicks Revealed: President Obama’s actuaries found that the new government-run long-term care program that Democrats had touted as saving $72 billion dollars over the next ten years, will “face a significant risk of failure.” [Page 15]
  • New “Medicare Tax” Doesn’t Go To Medicare: “The Reconciliation Act amendments introduced a new 3.8-percent “unearned income Medicare contribution” on income from interest, dividends, annuities, and other non-earnings sources for individual taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 and couples filing joint returns with incomes above $250,000.  Despite the title of this tax, this provision is unrelated to Medicare; in particular, the revenues generated by the tax on unearned income are not allocated to the Medicare trust funds.” [Page 9]

Hopefully we will be able to replace those who voted for this monstrosity with those who are willing and committed to repealing this legislation and replacing it with reform that gives the American people more choices, more care, more caring, and not more government.

Nearly One-Third of Doctors Could Leave Medicine if Health-Care Reform Bill Passes

What if nearly half of all physicians in America stopped practicing medicine? While a sudden loss of half of the nations physicians seems unlikely, a very dramatic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality as an unexpected side effect of health reform.

The Medicus Firm has announced some astounding data from a recent national survey of physicians. Simply put, if the data are accurate, the passage of health reform as outlined in the current legislations may lead to a significant reduction in the physician workforce.

Meanwhile, nearly one-third of physicians responding to the survey indicated that they will want to leave medical practice after health reform is implemented.

The Medicus Firm, a leading physician search and consulting firm based in Atlanta and Dallas, found that a majority of physicians said health-care reform would cause the quality of American medical care to “deteriorate” and it could be the “final straw” that sends a sizeable number of doctors out of medicine.

The results from the Medicus Firm survey, entitled “Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care,” were intriguing, particularly in light of the most recently published career projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS predicts a more than a 22 percent increase in physician jobs during the ten-year period ending in 2018. This places physician careers in the top 20 fastest-growing occupations from 2008 to 2018.

“What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer,” said Steve Marsh, managing partner at The Medicus Firm in Dallas. “The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients.” Here are more details from the report:

It’s probably not likely that nearly half of the nation’s physicians will suddenly quit practicing at once. However, even if a much smaller percentage such as ten, 15, or 20 percent are pushed out of practice over several years at a time when the field needs to expand by over 20 percent, this would be severely detrimental to the quality of the health care system. Based on the survey results, health reform could, over time, prove to be counterproductive, in that it could decrease patients’ access to medical care while the objective is to improve access.
Furthermore, even if physicians are unable to act upon a desire to quit medicine, there could be an impact in quality of care due to a lack of morale in physicians who do continue to treat patients despite feeling significantly stressed.
Skeptics may suspect that physicians exaggerate their intent to leave medicine due to health reform. Some experts point to the malpractice crisis of years ago, when many doctors also expressed a desire to leave medicine. Some did quit; many did not. However, health reform could be the proverbial “last straw” for physicians who are already demoralized, overloaded, and discouraged by multiple issues, combining to form the perfect storm of high malpractice insurance costs, decreasing reimbursements, increasing student loan debt, and more.
Do physicians feel that health reform is necessary? The survey indicates that doctors do want change. Only a very small portion of respondents — about four percent — feel that no reform is needed. However, only 28.7 percent of physicians responded in favor of a public option as part of health reform. Additionally, an overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform, as opposed to one sweeping overhaul. Primary care, which is already experiencing significant shortages by many accounts, could stand to be the most affected, based on the survey. About 25 percent of respondents were primary care physicians (defined as internal medicine and family medicine in this case), and of those, 46 percent indicated that they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform.
Why would physicians want to leave medicine in the wake of health reform? The survey results, as seen in Market Watch, indicate that many physicians worry that reform could result in a significant decline in the overall quality of medical care nationwide.
Additionally, many physicians feel that health reform will cause income to decrease, while workload will increase. Forty-one percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” as a result of health reform with a public option, and 31 percent feel that a public option will cause income and practice revenue to “decline or worsen somewhat” as a result. This makes for a total of 72 percent of respondents who feel there would be a negative impact on income. When asked the same question regarding health reform implemented without a public option, a total of 50 percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will be negatively impacted, including 14 percent of total respondents who feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically.” Additionally, 36 percent feel it would “decline or worsen somewhat.”
What do physicians propose for effective health reform? In the survey, physicians were prompted to provide ideas, and some common themes emerged among the hundreds of comments. Tort reform appeared repeatedly, as did patient responsibility and ownership in their health care and costs. Additionally, many physicians emphasized a need for addressing specific issues with separate legislation, as opposed to one sweeping, comprehensive bill.
What does this mean for physician recruiting? It’s difficult to predict with absolute certainty, but one consequence is inevitable. After health reform is passed and implemented, physicians will be more in demand than ever before. Shortages could be exacerbated further beyond the predictions of industry analysts. Therefore, the strongest physician recruiters and firms will be in demand. Additionally, hospitals and practices may be forced to rely on unprecedented recruitment methods to attract and retain physicians. “Health reform, even if it’s passed in a most diluted form, could be a game-changer for physician recruitment,” said Bob Collins, managing partner of The Medicus Firm in Texas. “As competitive as the market is now, we may not even be able to comprehend how challenging it will become after health reform takes effect.”
The survey sample was randomly selected from a physician database of thousands. The database has been built over the past eight years by The Medicus Firm (formerly Medicus Partners and The MD Firm) from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, public directories, purchased lists, practice inquiries, training programs, and direct mail responses. The survey was conducted via emails sent directly to physicians.

It’s probably not likely that nearly half of the nation’s physicians will suddenly quit practicing at once. However, even if a much smaller percentage such as ten, 15, or 20 percent are pushed out of practice over several years at a time when the field needs to expand by over 20 percent, this would be severely detrimental to the quality of the health care system.

Based on the survey results, health reform could, over time, prove to be counterproductive, in that it could decrease patients’ access to medical care while the objective is to improve access.

Furthermore, even if physicians are unable to act upon a desire to quit medicine, there could be an impact in quality of care due to a lack of morale in physicians who do continue to treat patients despite feeling significantly stressed.

Skeptics may suspect that physicians exaggerate their intent to leave medicine due to health reform.

Some experts point to the malpractice crisis of years ago, when many doctors also expressed a desire to leave medicine. Some did quit; many did not.

However, health reform could be the proverbial “last straw” for physicians who are already demoralized, overloaded, and discouraged by multiple issues, combining to form the perfect storm of high malpractice insurance costs, decreasing reimbursements, increasing student loan debt, and more.

Do physicians feel that health reform is necessary?

The survey indicates that doctors do want change. Only a very small portion of respondents — about four percent — feel that no reform is needed.

However, only 28.7 percent of physicians responded in favor of a public option as part of health reform.

Additionally, an overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform, as opposed to one sweeping overhaul.

Primary care, which is already experiencing significant shortages by many accounts, could stand to be the most affected, based on the survey. About 25 percent of respondents were primary care physicians (defined as internal medicine and family medicine in this case), and of those, 46 percent indicated that they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform.

What do physicians propose for effective health reform?

In the survey, physicians were prompted to provide ideas, and some common themes emerged among the hundreds of comments. Tort reform appeared repeatedly, as did patient responsibility and ownership in their health care and costs.

Additionally, many physicians emphasized a need for addressing specific issues with separate legislation, as opposed to one sweeping, comprehensive bill.

Why would physicians want to leave medicine in the wake of health reform?

The survey results, as seen in Market Watch, indicate that many physicians worry that reform could result in a significant decline in the overall quality of medical care nationwide.

Additionally, many physicians feel that health reform will cause income to decrease, while workload will increase.

Forty-one percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” as a result of health reform with a public option, and 31 percent feel that a public option will cause income and practice revenue to “decline or worsen somewhat” as a result.

This makes for a total of 72 percent of respondents who feel there would be a negative impact on income.

When asked the same question regarding health reform implemented without a public option, a total of 50 percent of respondents feel that income and practice revenue will be negatively impacted, including 14 percent of total respondents who feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically.”

Additionally, 36 percent feel it would “decline or worsen somewhat.”

So, the vote on Sunday is an even bigger deal than many of us realized. As for me, I’ll be praying for wisdom for our leaders in Congress.

BTW, here are some details about how the data were collected: The survey sample was randomly selected from a physician database of thousands. The database has been built over the past eight years by The Medicus Firm (formerly Medicus Partners and The MD Firm) from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, public directories, purchased lists, practice inquiries, training programs, and direct mail responses. The survey was conducted via emails sent directly to physicians.

NOW the healthcare reform debate begins

Healthcare Reform that Most Americans Support
Christian Medical Association Labels House Healthcare Bill an “Overdose” That Threatens Patient-Physician Relationship
Yesterday, the United States Senate began debating Harry Reid’s 2,074-page healthcare “reform” bill. Declaring that the nation is facing a “real crisis,” Reid warned senators that they would be working Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the year in order to finish the debate as quickly as possible. Should Reid’s legislation become law, the “reforms” wouldn’t take effect until 2014. So much for the crisis. But you will start paying higher taxes next year.
The Democrats are determined to pass healthcare “reform,” but the American people are increasingly skeptical of their judgment. A Gallup poll released yesterday finds declining support for fake healthcare “reform.” Gallup found that since October, support has fallen five points, while opposition has risen six points. That represents an 11-point swing in public opinion against the legislation in just a few weeks. Today, only 35% support it. According to Gallup, support for the bill is down seven points since September among self-identified Democrats and down 11 points among Independents, 53% of whom now oppose the bill.
A new Rasmussen poll has even more disturbing news for congressional Democrats. The voters don’t believe them when they insist healthcare “reform” won’t raise their taxes or add to the deficit. According to Rasmussen, 60% of likely voters believe that healthcare “reform” legislation will add to our nation’s growing debt burden, and 75% believe that middle class taxes will go up as a result.
This is very significant because several Rasmussen polls clearly show that voters continue to put much greater emphasis on improving the economy and reducing the deficit than on healthcare “reform.” The more Democrats appear disconnected from reality, the greater their defeat is likely to be in next year’s elections. To illustrate the point, a new Rasmussen poll finds that voter identification with the Democrat Party has fallen five points since Obama took office.
Putting the political implications aside, I hope anyone remotely interested in the idea of government-run socialized medicine will take a moment to thoroughly research the issue. Yet another report from Great Britain demonstrates that quality suffers when the bureaucracy takes over. We have posted links to other relevant articles on our homepage at www.cwfpac.com.

This week, the United States Senate began debating Harry Reid’s 2,074-page healthcare “reform” bill. Declaring that the nation is facing a “real crisis,” Reid warned senators that they would be working Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the year in order to finish the debate as quickly as possible. Should Reid’s legislation become law, the “reforms” wouldn’t take effect until 2014. So much for the crisis. But you will start paying higher taxes next year.

My friend, Gary Bauer, the President of the Campaign for Working Families wrote this to me in an email:

The Democrats are determined to pass healthcare “reform,” but the American people are increasingly skeptical of their judgment.

A Gallup poll released yesterday finds declining support for fake healthcare “reform.” Gallup found that since October, support has fallen five points, while opposition has risen six points. That represents an 11-point swing in public opinion against the legislation in just a few weeks.

Today, only 35% support it. According to Gallup, support for the bill is down seven points since September among self-identified Democrats and down 11 points among Independents, 53% of whom now oppose the bill.

He goes on to write:

A new Rasmussen poll has even more disturbing news for congressional Democrats. The voters don’t believe them when they insist healthcare “reform” won’t raise their taxes or add to the deficit.

According to Rasmussen, 60% of likely voters believe that healthcare “reform” legislation will add to our nation’s growing debt burden, and 75% believe that middle class taxes will go up as a result.

This is very significant because several Rasmussen polls clearly show that voters continue to put much greater emphasis on improving the economy and reducing the deficit than on healthcare “reform.” The more Democrats appear disconnected from reality, the greater their defeat is likely to be in next year’s elections. To illustrate the point, a new Rasmussen poll finds that voter identification with the Democrat Party has fallen five points since Obama took office.

Putting the political implications aside, I hope anyone remotely interested in the idea of government-run socialized medicine will take a moment to thoroughly research the issue. Here are just a few of the implications:

In the past, I’ve blogged on the healthcare reform that I support:

Also, I’ve done a blog series on the pros and cons of nationalized healthcare systems. Here are the links to the entire series: The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World:

  1. Introduction
  2. Canada
  3. Great Britain
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Norway
  8. Spain
  9. Italy
  10. Switzerland

Here are some of my other blogs on healthcare reform:

Also, here’s a blog series on commonly believed healthcare myths:

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 10 – Switzerland

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, in this last blog of this 10-part series, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Swiss system.

Michael Tanner, the director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, is the coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It and the author of this series:

I have already written about Switzerland in previous posts (see Swiss Healthcare Sytem: Part I, and Part II). Still of all the countries with universal health care, Switzerland’s is the most market-oriented and merits discussion. Switzerland’s health care spending as a percentage of GDP is second only behind the U.S. (11.6% of GDP for Switzerland, 15.3% for the U.S. according to Frontline), yet the government pays for very little of this funding. The Swiss system is similar to the “managed competition” health care plan proposed by the Clintons in the early 1990s.

Percent Insured. 99.5%. Does this mean a mandated system system would lead to universal coverage in the U.S?  This is unlikely.  In Switzerland, a mandate for auto insurance has nearly 100% compliance, but in the U.S. the auto insurance mandate’s compliance rate is only around 83%.

Funding.  Insurance is purchased by individuals.  Individuals generally must pay the full cost of premiums, but the government helps to finance insurance purchases for the poor.  “These subsidies are designed to prevent any individual from having to pay more than 10 percent of income on insurance,” and one third of Swiss citizens receive this type of subsidy.    Thus, the Swiss government only pays for 24.9% of health care costs (compared with 44.7% in the U.S.).

Private Insurance.  All insurance is private insurance.  However, insurance companies are mandated to offer the same “basic benefits package.”  Some physicians operate outside the negotiated schedules and individuals are beginning to purchase supplemental insurance to cover the cost of these higher cost physicians.  Some estimates claim that 40% of Swiss citizens have purchased supplemental insurance.

Physician Compensation.  Physician compensation is negotiated between the insurance companies and doctors on a canton by canton basis.  Balance-billing is not allowed.  Switzerland has strong regulation with respect to nonphysician health care professionals (e.g., nurses, PAs, NPs,) and thus patients are often compelled to use expensive physicians even when this may not be medically necessary.

Physician Choice.  According to a WHO study, Switzerland ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of the ability of patients to choose their provider.

Copayment/Deductibles.  Premiums are community rated and only adjusted for sex and age.  Employers do not pay for workers insurance and thus many Swiss have opted for less expensive plans with higher deductibles.  This has lead to the Swiss paying for 31.5% through out of pocket expenses.

Waiting Times.  According to a WHO study, Switzerland ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of timely care.

Benefits Covered.  All insurers cover the “basic benefits package” so most competition between insurers is based on price and service.  A politically defined benefit package is susceptible to influence from special interest groups.  Thus, Uwe Reinhardt notes that “over time, the growth in compulsory benefits has absorbed an increasing fraction of the consumers’ payment, thus compromising the consumer-driven aspects of the Swiss system.”

I hope this series has been helpful to you.

Here are links to the entire series: The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World

  1. Introduction
  2. Canada
  3. Great Britain
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Norway
  8. Spain
  9. Italy
  10. Switzerland

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 9 – Italy

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Italian system. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 8 – Spain

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Spanish system. Continue reading

Christian Medical Association Labels House Healthcare Bill an “Overdose” That Threatens Patient-Physician Relationship

The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based associaation of physicians, today said that the 2,000-page healthcare overhaul bill (HR 3962) introduced in the House of Representatives last week far exceeds the need for targeted reforms, instead injecting massive government intervention that threatens the patient-physician relationship.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens, “This legislation is an overdose. With this massive legislation, we are getting much more than is actually needed to fix our healthcare system. What we need is a targeted reformation of areas needing reform, but this legislation is an attempt to totally transform our healthcare system into a government-run system that dictates what healthcare treatment each patient will receive.
“The legislation introduced last week is coming to a vote way too fast. We have one chance to get this right, and leaders in Congress are trying to push a bill through in a few days that will impact one-sixth of our economy. It is bitter medicine that most people don’t want, and taking it fast will not change that.
“The legislation is also ineffective and will increase costs rather than lower costs. It will hurt efficiency and increase bureaucracy. It will interfere with the physician-patient relationship and lead to the delay and denial of healthcare based solely on cost.
“The legislation also has serious side effects. In a radical shift in U.S. policy, under this legislation the government will suddenly be funding abortion on demand. And if abortion advocates prevail, the government ultimately will force health care professionals to participate in abortions.
“Physicians are so upset about this takeover of healthcare that hundreds of thousands have threatened to leave medicine if it passes. Forty-five percent of all physicians polled say they’re ready to leave medicine if healthcare overhaul passes. Ninety-five percent of faith-based healthcare professionals are ready to leave medicine if their conscience rights are weakened. The bottom line for patients under this legislation is that they are much more likely to lose their physician.”
The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based associaation of physicians, today said that the 2,000-page healthcare overhaul bill (HR 3962) introduced in the House of Representatives last week far exceeds the need for targeted reforms, instead injecting massive government intervention that threatens the patient-physician relationship. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 7 – Norway

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Norwegian system. Continue reading

Do You Want the Federal Government Paying for All Abortions?

Just moments ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed the federal healthcare “reform” bill that pro-abortion legislators have been working on behind closed doors.
In just a few days, the Speaker wants Congress to vote on the bill.
So our time to act and speak out to our legislators is very, very short. We must do so today.
No one in this short time can analyze the many details of this bill, but one thing is sure:
This legislation would radically change U.S. policy by having the government subsidize abortion on demand.
So our message to Congress is quite simple:
Keep our government from paying for abortions in any way.
When you tell your legislators this simple message, you may get excuses in response. Don’t buy the excuses:
The “Capps Amendment” is a phony scheme written by a pro-abortion legislator to set up accounting screens to mask federal subsidy of abortion. The bottom line after the smoke clears is that an abortionist would get a check from the U.S. Treasury to pay him for the abortion he performed.
The “Hyde Amendment” is a good law barring certain government funding (HHS appropriations) of certain abortions, but it does not apply to funding from this new healthcare legislation. It also has to be approved again and again each year, and pro-abortion legislators are aiming to vote it down. That would open the floodgates for government funding of abortion on demand.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich. 1) is leading about 40 pro-life colleagues from his party, along with Republican Representatives, in demanding an amendment to bar government funding of abortions.
The Stupak-Pitts amendment would—unlike the phony “compromises” by abortion proponents—clearly and explicitly bar government funding of abortions. The Stupak-Pitts amendment would parallel the good Hyde amendment.
So far, the Speaker and other pro-abortion leaders have refused to give this group a chance to vote. This battle is now coming to a head.
The pro-abortion Speaker doesn’t want that to happen. In a few days, the Speaker will try to get Representatives to vote to disallow any amendments to the healthcare legislation. That’s called a “closed rule” and it prohibits any amendments.
So when you tell your legislators to keep the government from funding abortions, tell them to vote  NO on the closed rule. Tell them the Stupak-Pitts amendment deserves a YES vote to keep the government from funding abortions.
What you can do:
Contact the offices of your U.S. Representative today:
http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/dbq/officials/
Tell your legislator to keep the government from funding abortions by:
Voting NO on the “closed rule” (the rule that abortion proponents want to prevent pro-life amendments).
Voting YES on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ban government funding of abortions.
Thank you for speaking out.
Freedom2Care is an ad-hoc coalition of conscience-affirming organizations, coordinated by the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (www.joincmda.org).
Follow and share Freedom2Care on:
Blog: http://freedom2care.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Freedom2Care
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freedom2Care/157292405467?sid=d11b3ba02f4143cc43886483f0dcb2fe&ref=search
Please note: The large number of participants in Freedom2Care prevents us from personally responding to each individual comment or question.
You have been included in this mailing as a result of your participation in the www.Freedom2Care.org web site. Freedom2Care values your privacy and will not sell or rent this email: mduininck@inhisimage.org..
To unsubscribe, please go to http://www.freedom2care.org/join/page/unsubscribe
Just moments ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed the federal healthcare “reform” bill that pro-abortion legislators have been working on behind closed doors. In just a few days, the Speaker wants Congress to vote on the bill. So our time to act and speak out to our legislators is very, very short. We must do so today. Continue reading

What Lessons Massachusetts Holds for U.S. Health Care Reform

Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor has an article, reprinted by ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8899142, that I found instructive as we here in the U.S. consider national health care reform.
A mandate on individuals to buy health insurance can work   just don’t expect it to reduce the cost of care.
That, in a nutshell, may be the lesson from Massachusetts as Americans consider healthcare reform ideas backed by President Obama.
The message is significant, because Democratic proposals in Congress have big similarities to reforms that Massachusetts adopted in 2006.
Common elements include:
A mandate on individuals to buy insurance.
Subsidies to help lower-income people pay for it.
Exemptions for people who don’t qualify for subsidies and can’t afford insurance.
An “exchange” where people shop for state-approved policies.
The goal is to slash the number of people who are uninsured.
In the heat of national debate, the Bay State’s experience has inspired Rorschach-like interpretations. Supporters see a model for the nation. Detractors say it’s a model of failure, not for imitation.
No Havoc Due to Individual Mandate
Amid the din, however, health policy experts generally agree on some basic lessons: First, a mandate for individuals to buy insurance can be imposed without causing havoc. Hospitals and individuals have adapted. Employers haven’t dropped the health plans they sponsor.
Second, the mandate, while expanding coverage to many uninsured, doesn’t solve the deeper problem of escalating healthcare costs.
“Cost control is clearly much more difficult to solve” than is expanding access to insurance, says Katherine Baicker, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
She notes that the 2006 reforms in Massachusetts focused squarely on access, not on medical-cost inflation. So it’s unfair to call the Bay State’s law a failure on that front.
But both the state and the nation are now forced to at least begin to grapple with that question.
Taming costs is tougher on two fronts than expanding access: There’s less certainty about how to do it, and it’s more difficult to build political support as legislators get caught between healthcare-industry lobbyists and wary voters.
Some 97 Percent Are Insured
On access to care, Massachusetts can claim big strides but not truly universal coverage. Some 97 percent of residents have insurance, according to the Connector, the state-run exchange for buying insurance. That’s well above any other state. Nationwide, 85 percent of Americans are insured.
The rise of a state-run insurance pool and subsidies for individuals haven’t caused employers to drop their own health plans, as skeptics had feared. One reason: The law requires businesses with more than 10 employees to either offer coverage or pay $295 a month per worker to the state. Another reason is that a business that drops coverage might have trouble holding onto skilled workers.
“Right away they’d be at a disadvantage relative to all of their competitors,” says Jim Klocke of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “People like the coverage they get from their employer.”
The Massachusetts law, passed by a Democratic legislature and signed by Republican then-Gov. Mitt Romney, has expanded the ranks of insured at all levels. Some 163,000 residents bought policies using new “Commonwealth Care” subsidies. Another 190,000 enrolled in employer plans or bought insurance privately, without subsidies. Even MassHealth, the Medicaid program for the poor, expanded its rolls by 76,000, as of the start of this year   in part by adding more children.
Bay State resident Carol Wideman, visiting the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston, says she’s glad that her great-nephew has access to care through MassHealth.
Such views are widely shared, judging by opinion polls last year showing solid public support for the program. Still, the system has cracks.
Subsidies Remain a Key Question
Health coverage is hard for many residents here to afford, just as in other states. Ms. Wideman is stretching to keep her own insurance intact, after losing a job, by making payments under the federal COBRA program for the unemployed.
A key question in Massachusetts and the nation is how much to subsidize people who don’t qualify for Medicaid. For a Bay State family of four, for example, assistance is available up to an income of $66,000. Above that, many families enter a zone where they get no help from the state, and buying insurance on their own may cost more than the state considers affordable. Those families can either struggle to pay premiums and copayments, or use a state exemption and go without insurance.
That’s where cost control comes in. Massachusetts sees that as the next phase of reform, or else voters will face tough choices between rising taxes and squeezed coverage.
Already, budget woes have prompted the state to scale back on access   paring coverage for legal immigrants and ending automatic enrollment for people who qualify for subsidized care.
Critics on the left say the answer is a stronger government role as a payer or perhaps as the single provider of care. On the right, critics say more consumer choice and industry competition will reduce costs and allow more people to afford coverage.
State Sets Basic Standards About What’s Covered
In Massachusetts, consumers choose from a range of plans, but the state sets basic standards about what care and procedures are covered. The Bay State’s reforms seek to occupy a middle ground.
“The big lesson is that the mandate works   we’ve dramatically increased our insurance coverage” without operational glitches or enforcement problems, says Jonathan Gruber, a healthcare economist who serves on the Connector’s board.
Another positive lesson, he says, is that setting up the exchange caused costs to fall for residents who buy insurance directly (rather than through an employer or government program).
Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor has an article, reprinted by ABC News, that I found instructive as we here in the U.S. consider national health care reform. His bottom line conclusion? “A mandate on individuals to buy health insurance can work just don’t expect it to reduce the cost of care.” Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 6 – Japan

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Japanese system. Continue reading

Christian Doctors Refuse Bribe from Senate Leader

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest association of faith-based physicians, today spoke out against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) reported offer to get physicians to drop their opposition to pending healthcare legislation in exchange for more money. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 5 – Germany

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the German system. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 4 – France

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the French system. Continue reading

Prevention may not cut healthcare costs

Bloomberg News is reporting that while both Democrats and Republicans are asserting in the healthcare debate that “prevention saves money.” However, “economists and policy analysts who study the issue have a different message: Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.” Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 3 – Great Britain

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the system in Great Britain. Continue reading

An uninsured gorilla in Colorado Springs receives specialist service faster than a Canadian human might

There’s been big news at our local zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, here in Colorado Springs. Rafiki,  a 25-year-old silverback lowland gorilla, took ill. When he did, medical attention was available immediately. Some of the finest doctors in the world converged upon him, determined to quickly find and fix whatever was wrong. Fortunately, his waiting time for tests was far less than many people in countries with nationalized healthcare. Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 2 – Canada

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of the Canadian system.

Continue reading

The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World – Part 1

In the midst of our national debate about healthcare reform, people on both sides of the debate seem to pick and choose among the facts and myths about the nationalized healthcare available in a number of other countries. The fact is that every nationalized health care system in the world is battling issues of rapidly rising costs and decreasing access to care. But, these systems also have some very attractive benefits. So, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of each system.

Continue reading

How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?

To my surprise, the most popular blogs I’ve ever written are on healthcare reform. So, now that we are on the eve of the Senate unveiling its healthcare proposal, I want to put you in the decision-maker’s seat. Which of the uninsured would you cover, if you could make the decision? I hope you’ll take the time to consider this blog and then post your vote in the comment section below. Continue reading

More Outrage about President Obama’s “Misrepresentations” in His Healthcare Reform Speech Last Night

Last night, after the President’s speech to Congress on healthcare reform, I asked, “Did He Lie?” Then, I shared with you a number of misrepresentations he made. Today, more of his inaccuracies are being exposed. Here are some more. Continue reading

President Obama’s Speech on Healthcare Reform – Did He Lie?

Earlier today, I gave you a report card you could use to grade the President’s speech tonight on healthcare reform. By my count, the president failed (with a grade of 30 out of 100). Early returns showed others agreed with me. He graded 0% by 28% of voters, 10-30% by 50% of voters, 40-50% by 13% of voters, and 60-70% by 3% of voters. In other words, only 7% of voters gave him a passing grade. However what was most shocking was when South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” during the President’s speech. Not the most polite thing to do. But, who was telling the truth? The President? Or, the Representative? Continue reading

Sarah Palin Bashes Rationing in Health Care Bills

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has penned an opinion column running in the Wall Street Journal that again bashes Obama and Congress. She expands on her previous comments about “death panels” by saying that the bills wrongly endorse health care rationing. Continue reading

Healthcare Reform that Most Americans Support

Readers have sent notes to this blog asking, in essence, “Dr. Walt, what healthcare reform do you support?” And, in his labor day speech about healthcare reform, President Obama had sharp words for those of us who have loudly opposed his proposals in public forums. He said, “What’s your answer? What’s your solution?” Then he said, “The fact is, they don’t have one. It’s do nothing.” He could not be more wrong. So, here’s not only what I support, but what most American’s support.

Continue reading

Grade the President’s Healthcare Reform Speech Tonight

President Obama has had a month to listen to the American people on the topic of healthcare reform. For a month, thoughtful Americans have gone to town hall meetings in large numbers to oppose more spending, more government, and more Washington centered bureaucracy. For a month, the polls have gotten worse and worse for big spending, big deficit, high taxes, and big government. Tonight President Obama has an opportunity to show whether he’s listening to the majority of Americans or to his party’s radical leftwing. Here’s how you can grade the speech: Continue reading

Congressional Research Service says Obama Bearing False Witness

In this time of bitter partisanship, there are still a few issues that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can agree on. One of those issues is providing taxpayer-subsidized benefits to illegal aliens. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

More Information: Continue reading

Christian Doctors Group Warns of New Pro-Suicide Bias in Law and Policy

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest faith-based organization of physicians, today warned of the potential for pro-suicide ideology to seep into law and government policy. The organization pointed to pro-suicide influence in a controversial Veterans Administration (VA) manual and a section of the main House healthcare overhaul bill.

More Information: Continue reading