Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Health Care Reform and Doctors – Part II
Hardly a day goes by that we don’t learn something new about the negative impacts that Obama’s health care plan is having or holds in store for the sick and elderly in America.
Speaking to the American Medical Association in Chicago on June 15, 2009, Barack Obama made the following statement: “So let me begin by saying that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage – they like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what’s broke and build on what works.”
So, what happened on the way to implementing Obamacare?
For one thing, we certainly did not get a health care plan that is acceptable to the American people. Rasmussen reports that 58% of the public want the president’s health care plan repealed.
So, did we simply lose our way? Was it deliberate, a part of the plan all along? Or, was it just legislative overkill that most legislators didn’t expect or foresee? Or, all of the above?
Whatever the case, each new step in the process of implementing Obamacaare exposes more information about the unanticipated or unintended consequences of the president’s health care plan. And, they aren’t good.
For example, a recent AP (Associated Press) headlined, “Senate fails to spare doctors from Medicare cuts,” reported that, although the Senate passed legislation to avoid a 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors, their action was too late to prevent Medicare from implementing fee reductions for the month of June because the House was unable to act on the bill in time. The president of the American Medical Association said, “This is no way to run a major health coverage program.”
But, this situation was just the tip of the iceberg. Offering further insight to the potential disaster that is now unfolding in America’s health care system, a blogger, Joseph Scherzer, M.D., recently noted: “There is hardly a week that goes by without some new concern or demand, none of which have to do with learning about Medicine. We are caught up in a torrential whirlwind of bureaucratic regulations admixed with a flood of threats.”
Dr. Scherzer further commented: “If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!”, warning: “Because of government meddling in the practice of medicine and unreasonable, excessive rules, regulations and reimbursement that does not keep up with the actual cost of living, doctors nationwide are already decreasing the number of new Medicare patients they will take.  Eventually, all across the country, and already in some states, there will not be enough doctors for all the baby boomers.  I predict that because of the expected severe shortage of Medicare providers under Obamacare, our intrusive government will then force the doctors they are abusing to take on new Medicare patients or risk horrific fines if they refuse.  And, with the appalling fines discussed below, consider how many physicians are just going to say "to hell with it" and throw in the towel and shut their doors so they won't have to put up with government's new socialist, terror tactics.  Not only are the president and the Dems bankrupting the country and scaring off doctors, they are ensuring rationing of health care to seniors.  Can you imagine what healthcare will be like for seniors in 10 years after Obamacare destroys the best health care system in the world?”
Some of the fines that Dr. Scherzer refers to range from $11,000 to $50,000 for such transgressions as making an error in Medicare billings, noting also that the government’s burden of proof is very light. In addition, the definition of “fraud” has been expanded to include “unnecessary” or “ineffective” services, or services that don’t “comply with Medicare requirements.”
Having run a hospital, I can tell you from firsthand experience that dealing with the bureaucratic overkill of Medicare and other government agencies can be enough to make many doctors decide to quit.
Put yourself in the position of your doctor, who must now practice medicine under the continuous threat of financial ruin for such simple mistakes as billing errors. Keep in mind that doctors do not actually do the billing themselves. It’s done by office staff.
The cumulative effect of all this regulation and financial risk can only result in increasing numbers of doctors giving up the practice of medicine.
Don’t be surprised if you call for an appointment to see your doctor one of these days, only to learn that he or she has retired or otherwise given up the practice of medicine.  
You can count on it.   And, who will be there to look after you?
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Read more of Harris Sherline’s commentaries on his blog at www.opinionfest.com
Posted at 15:03 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I have great respect for Sam Blakeslee
By Andy Caldwell

I have great respect for Sam Blakeslee.  John Laird on the other hand scares me to death.
The organization I represent and work for is the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business.  We are a coalition of organizations and individuals.  Our organization does not endorse candidates, except under rare circumstances.  However, the organizations that make up the coalition do endorse, such as various organizations that represent farmers and manufacturers.  Further, COLAB is a member itself of organizations such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses that publish legislative report cards.
Without a single exception that I am aware of, every single business, manufacturing and taxpayer advocacy organization that are part of COLAB or that we belong to, gave John Laird straight F’s when he was in the State Legislature.  Further, family values advocacy organizations rated Laird as a zero when it came to promoting family values.
Laird was described by one political observer as the person behind the wheel when the California economy was driven off a cliff, as he was the Chairman of the Assembly Budget committee when California was being driven to the brink of insolvency.
Laird has taken out ads and put up billboards with a focus on Blakeslee’s career in the oil industry.  Sam does have a PhD and he did work for Exxon some years ago as a scientist.  However, if you watch the Laird ads, you will get the distinct impression that Blakeslee is guilty by association with the likes of BP and that if elected he represents a threat of a similar oil spill in California waters.
Well, the reality is, this election is not about BP or oil for that matter.  This election is about the future of the California economy and the ability to keep our state from going bankrupt.  As indicated, part of the burden of the debt lies squarely on the shoulders of Laird.  Moreover, obstacles in the way of our recovery can also be laid at his feet.  For the biggest obstacle to economic recovery in the State is the existence of a bill, AB32, California’s version of Cap and Trade.  If this legislation is not suspended by voters in November, it could cost the California economy nearly $200 billion in regulatory costs every year.  Do I need to indicate that John Laird was actually one of the co-authors of the bill?
Laird also supported other bills that even made his fellow democrats nervous!  Special privileges for illegal aliens such as drivers licenses and free college tuition.  This lists goes on and on! 
Knowing these things, do you want Laird to be part of a super-majority in the State Senate?
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and a 42 year resident of the Central Coast.  For contact information visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org
Posted at 09:26 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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