Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.), of Obamacare cave-in notoriety, was asked on NBC by Andrea Mitchell why he opposes Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal. What followed was the most unenlightened, intellectually devoid, and reflexive response parroting liberal canards that he still seemed challenged to articulate.
It is painful enough to watch. Even worse is the fact that this is a Senator… in our government… and one who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, no less!
We think that local officials in a banana republic or a village idiot somewhere would have provided a more substantial and engaged answer that showed intellectual input.
And some people actually wonder why the federal government can’t pass a fiscally responsible budget! The Democratic Party is infested with this type of zombie politician.
To no one’s surprise, the total theorized costs of Obamacare are continuing to increase years before the first patient is planned to be seen under the system. That is, if the nationalized healthcare fraud doesn’t die a quick death beforehand from strangulation by defunding or repealing. The whole process was interminably corrupt and opaque in order to be able to pass it against the vociferous opposition of a large majority of Americans.
Just to implement one of their ideological linchpins.
Fiscal Fraud of Obamacare Snowballing Already
Terence P. Jeffrey 6/02/2010
Remember the health care issue? Well, the fiscal consequences of the socialized medicine scheme enacted by President Barack Obama and Congress just two months ago are already beginning to snowball.
Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, was one of the key architects and advocates of Obamacare. He was back on the House floor on Friday delivering an urgent plea to fellow Democrats that inadvertently -- or, perhaps, unavoidably -- revealed the fraudulent nature of our new national health care regime.
It was supposed to save the taxpayers money, remember?
"This legislation will lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government, reducing our deficit by over $1 trillion in the next two decades," Obama said when he signed the bill.
On Friday, Waxman declared that the sky is about to fall on the Medicare system. He went to the House floor to "urge" his colleagues to vote for a bill that includes $102 billion in new federal spending and would add $54 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years -- $25 billion of it in the few months remaining in this fiscal year.
Why did Waxman believe this new borrowing-and-spending was necessary?
"It's absolutely critical to do this if we are going to keep doctors in Medicare and keep the promise to Medicare beneficiaries that they will have access to physicians' services," said Waxman. "This provision will provide a moderate increase in physicians' fees, 2.2 percent for the rest of the year. If we don't act, doctors' fees will be cut by 21 percent from where they are today. This would be unconscionable."
It would not merely be unconscionable. If the 21-percent cut in Medicare fees for doctors -- that, in fact, legally took effect on June 1 -- is allowed to stand, many doctors in this country will simply stop seeing Medicare patients. They will not be able to afford it. The cost to them of serving their patients will exceed what they are paid. Their profit margin will be swept away.
To make precisely this point, 12 national surgeons' associations -- including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery -- sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter last Wednesday warning her what would happen if Medicare doctors' fees are slashed as they are scheduled to be under current law.
"These continued payment cuts, rising practice costs and a lack of certainty going forward, make it difficult, if not impossible, for already financially challenged surgical practices to continue to treat Medicare patients," the surgeons' associations told Pelosi.
The letter pointed the speaker toward the results of a survey of more than 13,000 physicians done in February by the Surgical Coalition, a group of more than 20 medical associations. The survey asked these doctors what they would do if Medicare fees were slashed by the scheduled 21.2 percent.
Twenty-nine percent said they would opt out of the Medicare system entirely. Almost 69 percent said they would limit the number of appointments they would take from Medicare patients, 45.8 percent said they would start referring complex Medicare patients to other physicians, 45.3 percent said they would stop providing certain services, 43.8 percent said they would defer purchasing new medical equipment and 42.7 percent said they would cut their staff.
Almost 4 percent of the doctors said they would close or sell their practices.
Why did Congress plan to slash the doctors' Medicare fees in the first place? It didn't. In the past, the majority in Congress has routinely enacted budget bills that fraudulently assumed that on some future date the federal government would dramatically slash the Medicare fees paid to doctors, knowing that before that date arrived the majority would pass "emergency" legislation postponing the cuts to some still-future date. The majority in Congress does this so the long-term deficits caused by their spending bills appear to be smaller than they actually are.
As originally proposed, Obamacare would have ended this practice, permanently setting Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors at the true anticipated level. But the Congressional Budget Office determined that doing so would have added $208 billion to the cost of Obamacare over 10 years, forcing the CBO to declare that Obamacare added to the deficit rather than reduced it. That would have cost Obamacare votes on the House floor and quite possibly defeated the legislation.
So the congressional leadership stripped the "doc fix" out of Obamacare and left it to another day.
Waxman went down to the floor last Friday to declare that day had come. Unfortunately, for him, the Senate had already left town for its Memorial Day vacation. So, the current fix will have to wait until it returns.
Even then, the fix only accounts for $22.9 billion of the $102 billion cost of the bill the House did pass on Friday. Most of the rest of the money is for extending unemployment benefits and special targeted tax breaks.
The $22.9 billion fix for the doctors' fees -- if passed by the Senate -- would only last through September 2011. Then Congress will presumably do it all again -- or let the Medicare system collapse.
In the meantime, Obamacare is supposed to cut half a trillion in spending from elsewhere in Medicare, while Obama's budget -- not counting the $54 billion in new debt included in this bill -- is expected to add $9.8 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.
As we have mentioned myriad times, an overwhelming majority of physicians are resolutely opposed and in a state of perpetual outrage at the dictates of Obamacare. This may not necessarily be apparent given that most have elected to vent their disapproval in quieter ways such as e-mailing, writing and calling their Senators and Representatives.
One physician who did decide to be a little more overt in his vehemence, Jack Cassel MD, the Florida urologist who posted a sign on his door regarding those who voted for Obama, did get his message heard … and nationally. Unfortunately, the malignant and portentous Representative of his district, Alan Grayson (D – Florida) then initiated malicious verbal assaults on him including calling him racist and unprofessional and has indicated that he will seek professional sanctions and legal charges against him. This has become a dangerous and illegal pattern of Democrat politicians pursuing whatever measures possible to squelch First Amendment Rights. Threaten and silence the opposition into submission.
With this scenario fresh in mind and cognizant of the ubiquitous threats from the Government, media and even liberal loons, Dr. Joseph Scherzer, a Scottsdale, Arizona Dermatologist in practice for 34 years, felt that for the good of the country and patient care in particular, more needed to be shared with the public. He has bravely elected to speak out on the pernicious nature of the Obamacare legislation and its severe and adverse impact on medical care in America which will lead to irreparable harm to the world’s best healthcare system.
Neil Cavuto interviews Dr. Joseph Scherzer on FoxNews:
The story below details an Orlando, Florida area urologist who posted a sign on his office door stating:
“If you voted for Obama … seek urological care elsewhere.”
This physician reaction has created a tempest in many parts, but what did Obama and the Congressional Democrats expect? They have legislated involuntary servitude of America’s physicians with their corruptly passed and ideologically radical healthcare “reform”. They are trying to pay for the Obamacare wealth transfer on the backs of productive citizens and physicians though all healthcare providers including medical device companies will be negatively impacted. They are destroying the physician-patient relationship, quality of care, etc. with the insinuation of federal officials in the mix, determining who can be treated and by what (less expensive) means.
And then there is the reimbursement part that we will put in perspective. Medicare reimbursement rates this year pay doctors below 1995 levels which were low at that time. To make matters worse, as of this April 1st, reimbursement is scheduled to drop another 21.3%. In other words, physicians will be paid almost 22% less than they were 15 years ago. Meanwhile, Congress which incredibly can vote for its own pay raise, will received nearly 95% more than they were 20 years ago!
Many physicians have been losing money for years taking care of Medicare patients at artificially low reimbursement rates that don’t even cover their expenses. Now lower that rate another 22% and add far more government bureaucracy and you have a disastrous situation.
Though it may not judged to be “politically correct” for a physician to react as this sign indicated, it is well within one’s Constitutional rights to do so and does not violate any medical laws nor should it. Despite the fine line that medical societies may need to toe in response to actions of physicians like the above, there is nothing illegal or immoral. Unfortunately, our government has facilitated such actions by their oppressive legislation.
The overwhelming sentiment in the medical community is vehemently against Obamacare for myriad reasons. Therefore, we expect to see additional significant actions in the future that would far surpass this one incident in scope and extent. Reactions to Obamacare are only just beginning...
Doctor tells Obama supporters: Go elsewhere for health care
A Mount Dora doctor posted a sign telling Obama health care supporters to go elsewhere.
By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel April 2, 2010
MOUNT DORA — A doctor who considers the national health-care overhaul to be bad medicine for the country posted a sign on his office door telling patients who voted for President Barack Obama to seek care "elsewhere."
"I'm not turning anybody away — that would be unethical," Dr. Jack Cassell, 56, a Mount Dora urologist and a registered Republican opposed to the health plan, told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday. "But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it."
The sign reads: "If you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years."
Estella Chatman, 67, of Eustis, whose daughter snapped a photo of the typewritten sign, sent the picture to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, the Orlando Democrat who riled Republicans last year when he characterized the GOP's idea of health care as, "If you get sick, America … Die quickly."
Chatman said she heard about the sign from a friend referred to Cassell after his physician recently died. She said her friend did not want to speak to a reporter but was dismayed by Cassell's sign.
"He's going to find another doctor," she said.
Cassell may be walking a thin line between his right to free speech and his professional obligation, said William Allen, professor of bioethics, law and medical professionalism at the University of Florida's College of Medicine.
Allen said doctors cannot refuse patients on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability, but political preference is not one of the legally protected categories specified in civil-rights law. By insisting he does not quiz his patients about their politics and has not turned away patients based on their vote, the doctor is "trying to hold onto the nub of his ethical obligation," Allen said.
"But this is pushing the limit," he said.
Cassell, who has practiced medicine in GOP-dominated Lake County since 1988, said he doesn't quiz his patients about their politics, but he also won't hide his disdain for the bill Obama signed and the lawmakers who passed it.
In his waiting room, Cassell also has provided his patients with photocopies of a health-care timeline produced by Republican leaders that outlines "major provisions" in the health-care package. The doctor put a sign above the stack of copies that reads: "This is what the morons in Washington have done to your health care. Take one, read it and vote out anyone who voted for it."
Cassell, whose lawyer wife, Leslie Campione, has declared herself a Republican candidate for Lake County commissioner, said three patients have complained, but most have been "overwhelmingly supportive" of his position.
"They know it's not good for them," he said.
Cassell, who previously served as chief of surgery at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, said a patient's politics would not affect his care for them, although he said he would prefer not to treat people who support the president.
"I can at least make a point," he said.
The notice on Cassell's office door could cause some patients to question his judgment or fret about the care they might receive if they don't share his political views, Allen said. He said doctors are wise to avoid public expressions that can affect the physician-patient relationship.
Erin VanSickle, spokeswoman for the Florida Medical Association, would not comment specifically.
But she noted in an e-mail to the Sentinel that "physicians are extended the same rights to free speech as every other citizen in the United States."
The outspoken Grayson described Cassell's sign as "ridiculous."
"I'm disgusted," he said. "Maybe he thinks the Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no good.' If this is the face of the right wing in America, it's the face of cruelty. … Why don't they change the name of the Republican Party to the Sore Loser Party?"
"The end of freedom in medicine"
By 970 WFLA
Monday, March 29, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. (970 WFLA) - The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) became the first medical society to sue to overturn the newly enacted health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). AAPS sued Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (AAPS v. Sebelius et al.).
“If the PPACA goes unchallenged, then it spells the end of freedom in medicine as we know it,” observed Jane Orient, M.D., the Executive Director of AAPS. “Courts should not allow this massive intrusion into the practice of medicine and the rights of patients.”
“There will be a dire shortage of physicians if the PPACA becomes effective and is not overturned by the courts.”
The PPACA requires most Americans to buy government-approved insurance starting in 2014, or face stiff penalties. Insurance company executives will be enriched by this requirement, but the AAPS says it violates the Fifth Amendment protection against the government forcing one person to pay cash to another. AAPS is the first to assert this important constitutional claim.
The PPACA also violates the Tenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the provisions authorizing taxation, the AAPS says. The Taxing and Spending power cannot be invoked, as the premiums go to private insurance companies. The traditional sovereignty of the States over the practice of medicine is destroyed by the PPACA.
AAPS notes that in scoring the proposal the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was bound by assumptions imposed by Congress, including the ability to “save” $500 billion in Medicare, and to redirect $50 billion from Social Security. HHS Secretary Sebelius stated that PPACA would reduce the federal deficit, knowing the opposite to be true if these assumptions are unrealistic.
AAPS asks the Court to enjoin the government from promulgating or enforcing insurance mandates and require HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue to provide the Court with an accounting of Medicare and Social Security solvency.
Congress recognized that PPACA cannot be funded without the insurance mandates, and will become unenforceable without them.
Court action is necessary “to preserve individual liberty” and “to prevent PPACA from bankrupting the United States generally and Medicare and Social Security specifically,” AAPS stated.
Despite inexorable denials by Obama, Pelosi and Congressional Democrats, the basic fiscal tenet of Obamanocare is rationing of healthcare. Plain and simple. Ignore the prevarications about rationing, cost savings, compassionate care, keeping your own doctor who will make the healthcare decisions along with you, etc. These are all part of the nefarious scheming intended to deceive the public about their ultimate goal of government control of healthcare, transfer of wealth and further aggrandizement of government power.
The following editorial from The Wall Street Journal, delineates some of the inimical dictates of the legislation.
The Rationing Commission
Meet the unelected body that will dictate future medical decisions.
As usual, the most dangerous parts of ObamaCare aren't receiving the scrutiny they deserve—and one of the least examined is a new commission to tell Congress how to control health spending. Democrats are quietly attempting to impose a "global budget" on Medicare, with radical implications for U.S. medicine.
Like most of Europe, the various health bills stipulate that Congress will arbitrarily decide how much to spend on health care for seniors every year—and then invest an unelected board with extraordinary powers to dictate what is covered and how it will be paid for. White House budget director Peter Orszag calls this Medicare commission "critical to our fiscal future" and "one of the most potent reforms."
On that last score, he's right. Prominent health economist Alain Enthoven has likened a global budget to "bombing from 35,000 feet, where you don't see the faces of the people you kill."
As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commission—all 15 members appointed by the President—would have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.
The theory is to let technocrats set Medicare payments free from political pressure, as with the military base closing commissions. But that process presented recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Here, the commission's decisions would go into effect automatically if Congress couldn't agree within six months on different cuts that met the same target. The board's decisions would not be subject to ordinary notice-and-comment rule-making, or even judicial review.
Yet if the goal really is political insulation, then the Medicare Commission is off to a bad start. To avoid a senior revolt, Finance Chairman Max Baucus decided to bar his creation from reducing benefits or raising the eligibility age, which meant that it could only cut costs by tightening Medicare price controls on doctors and hospitals. Doctors and hospitals, naturally, were furious.
So the Montana Democrat bowed and carved out exemptions for such providers, along with hospices and suppliers of medical equipment. Until 2019 the commission will thus only be allowed to attack Medicare Advantage, the program that gives 10 million seniors private insurance choices, and to raise premiums for Medicare prescription drug coverage, which is run by private contractors. Notice a political pattern?
But a decade from now, such limits are off—which also happens to be roughly the time when ObamaCare's spending explodes. The hard budget cap means there is only so much money to be divvied up for care, with no account for demographic changes, such as longer life spans, or for the increasing incidence of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Worse, it makes little room for medical innovations. The commission is mandated to go after "sources of excess cost growth," meaning treatments that are too expensive or whose coverage will boost spending. If researchers find a pricey treatment for Alzheimer's in 2020, that might be banned because it would add new costs and bust the global budget. Or it might decide that "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller," as President Obama put it in June.
In other words, the Medicare commission would come to function much like the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which rations care in England. Or a similar Washington state board created in 2003 to control costs. Its handiwork isn't pretty.
The Washington commission, called the Health Technology Assessment, is manned by 11 bureaucrats, including a chiropractor and a "naturopath" who focuses on alternative, er, remedies like herbs and massage therapy. They consider the clinical effectiveness but above all the cost of medical procedures and technologies. If they decide something isn't worth the money, then Olympia won't cover it for some 750,000 Medicaid patients, public employees and prisoners.
So far, the commission has banned knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis, discography for chronic back pain, and implantable infusion pumps for pain not related to cancer. This year, it is targeting such frivolous luxuries as knee replacements, spinal cord stimulation, a specialized autism therapy and MRIs of the abdomen, pelvis or breasts for cancer. It will also rule on routine ultrasounds for pregnancy, which have a "high" efficacy but also a "high" cost.
Currently, the commission is pushing through the most restrictive payment policy in the nation for drug-eluting cardiac stents—simply because bare metal stents are cheaper, even as they result in worse outcomes. If a patient is wheeled into the operating room with chest pains in an emergency, doctors will first have to determine if he's covered by a state plan, then the diameter of his blood vessels and his diabetic condition to decide on the appropriate stent. If they don't, Washington will not reimburse them for "inappropriate care."
If Democrats impose such a commission nationwide, it would constitute a radical change in U.S. health care. The reason that physician discretion—not Washington's cost-minded judgments—is at the core of medicine is that usually there are no "right" answers. The data from large clinical trials produce generic conclusions that rarely apply to individual patients, who have vastly different biologies, response rates to treatments, and often multiple conditions. A breakthrough drug like Herceptin, which is designed for a certain genetic subset of breast-cancer patients, might well be ruled out under such a standardized approach.
It's possible this global budget could become an accounting fiction, like the automatic Medicare cuts Congress currently pretends it will impose on doctors. But health care's fiscal pressures will be even stronger than they are today if ObamaCare passes in anything like its current form. And that is when politicians will want this remote, impersonal and unaccountable central committee to do the inevitable dirty work of denying care.
The only way to take the politics out of health care is to give individuals more power to control medical dollars. And the first step should be not to create even more government spending commitments. The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government.
In a heavy handed and threatening maneuver, Federal government officials are launching a probe into Humana (insurance) after it mailed letters to it members alerting them of the healthcare reform legislation. Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) which oversees the Medicare program, ordered a "cease and desist" order on all of Humana's health care mailings until the investigation is completed. This is manifestly clear evidence of the dangerous power that the government possesses and exactly why it should not have control over the whole healthcare system.
Republican Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell was outraged at this action, labeling it as a "federal gag order" with the intent to silence health providers that disagree with the administration. He has also requested legal justification of the probe.
Obamacare will take away billions of dollars annually from the Medicare program in order to help pay for the government run healthcare program. To add insult to injury, some of this money will be used in the treatment of illegal aliens.
It appears ironic that the group which probably has the most to lose with Obama’s healthcare reform plan, doesn’t generally appear not too concerned with its passage. As Dick Morris noted in his assessment:
“Obama’s health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.”
Why aren’t the elderly and elderly to be not in a state of panic about this? The reason, as we have discussed countless times, is that Obama and the Congressional Democrats have intentionally used disingenuous rhetoric in order to hide the real truths from all but the most perceptive and informed individuals. The elderly are expecting one thing including much better care than they have right now with Medicare and in fact will be facing far worse prospects including ineligibility for care.