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Twisting the Facts About Health Care

Posted Oct 24 2012 11:46am
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

I have been a New York Times reader since 7th grade. At that time I delivered the New York Times to all the classrooms in my Junior High School.

The New York Times has become pretty shabby in recent years. It has stopped printing unbiased news. It does not print,  “All The News Fit To Print.”

It has been publishing biased news, news leaks as well as opinions that have contained innuendo and not based on facts.

The New York Times is trying very hard to help defeat Mitt Romney and push President Obama over the finish line.

I hope intelligent readers can see through the Times’ smokescreen of no facts and evaluate the candidates objectively.

The editorial’s first sentence is absolutely correct.

“The outcome of the presidential election will determine which of two opposing paths the nation will follow on health care for all Americans.”

One path represented by Obamacare is a path of government takeover of healthcare. It will convert the healthcare system totally to an entitlement system.  The government will make the rules and create regulations. Many will be difficult to follow and impossible to enforce.

This path leads to restriction of freedom of choice, rationing and a decrease in access to healthcare.

Americans did not expect this option when they elected President Obama.

It is easy to remember the sound-bite, “ If you like your present insurance you can keep it. If you like your physicians you can keep them.”

His campaign principles were vague. His promises were broad brushstrokes of policies and not a specific outline of policies. At the end of these vague promises was the appealing promise of affordable healthcare insurance coverage for all.

It turns out that after four years healthcare insurance coverage has become more expensive. There is no relief in sight. All Americans are subjected to 10 hidden taxes that in effect increases the cost of healthcare insurance coverage.

America has passed a 2400 page bill that few read and fewer understand. The bill has generated over 44,000 new regulations so far and massive new government bureaucracies.

The bill was supposed to decrease the cost of healthcare by over $125 billion dollars during the next ten years.

It is now estimated to cost taxpayers an additional $1 trillion dollars over ten years.

The New York Times editorial goes on to say:

“If voters re-elect President Obama, he will protect the health care reforms that are his signature domestic achievement.”

It sounds like the New York Times believes this is a good thing. My guess is the Times is not a very good judge of sound business practices because it is itself on the verge of bankruptcy.  Obamacare is unsustainable and destined to drive America into bankruptcy.

So far President Obama has done nothing to decrease the number of uninsured and nothing to decrease the cost of care. In fact the cost of care has escalated as patient deductibles have increased, premiums have increased and the quality of employer coverage has decreased. Employer sponsored healthcare insurance coverage is expected to decrease further in the next two years.

The New York Times editorial goes on to state:

“If they elect Mitt Romney, they will be choosing a man who has pledged to repeal the reform law and replace it with — who knows what?”

The biggest defects in today’s healthcare system are ;

1. It does not encourage individuals to be responsible for the maintenance for their own health

2, it does not give consumers control of their healthcare dollars or incentives to preserve those dollars.

3. It does not discourage the practice of defensive medicine with effective tort reform.

4. It does not create a competitive healthcare market that must become consumer driven in order to control costs.

The New York Times invites us to visit Mitt Romney’s web site after this biased preamble:

“The competing visions are often difficult to evaluate because the Republican candidates — Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan — have become so artful about obfuscating their plans for Medicare, Medicaid and what they will do to reform the whole system.”

I went to the web site to see what Mitt Romney’s plan is. He has very specific proposals in his healthcare plan. The proposals could Repair the Healthcare System if implemented correctly.

I imagine the New York Times did not pay attention to any of the words in the plan because they are drinking President Obama/Mr. David Axelrod’s "Kool Aid."

The Times tells us in the very next sentence;

“Almost nothing the Republican candidates say on these or other health care issues can be taken at face value.”

I would say this is not objective reporting.

What is Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan? I would like readers to read it carefully and judge for themselves.

He first explains the Obamacare failures. The failures are important to keep in mind because Obamacare has been shoved down the mouth of Americans.

OBAMA'S FAILURE

Unfortunately, the transformation in American health care set in motion by Obamacare will take us in precisely the wrong direction. The bill, itself more than 2,400 pages long, relies on a dense web of regulations, fees, subsidies, excise taxes, exchanges, and rule-setting boards to give the federal government extraordinary control over every corner of the health care system. The costs are commensurate: Obamacare added a trillion dollars in new health care spending. To pay for it, the law raised taxes by $500 billion on everyone from middle-class families to innovative medical device makers, and then slashed $500 billion from Medicare.

Obamacare was unpopular when passed, and remains unpopular today, because the American people recognize that a government takeover is the wrong approach. While Obamacare may create a new health insurance entitlement, it will only worsen the system’s existing problems. When was the last time a massive government program lowered cost, improved efficiency, or raised the consistency of service? Obamacare will violate that crucial first principle of medicine: “do no harm.” It will make America a less attractive place to practice medicine, discourage innovators from investing in life-saving technology, and restrict consumer choice.

In short, President Obama’s trillion dollar federal takeover of the U.S. health care system is a disaster for the federal budget, a disaster for the constitutional principles of federalism, and a disaster for the American people.

MITT'S PLAN

On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will issue an executive order that paves the way for the federal government to issue Obamacare waivers to all fifty states. He will then work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.

In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan that is best for its own citizens. The federal government’s role will be to help markets work by creating a level playing field for competition. 

Restore State Leadership and Flexibility

Mitt will begin by returning states to their proper place in charge of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the poor, uninsured, and chronically ill. States will have both the incentive and the flexibility to experiment, learn from one another, and craft the approaches best suited to their own citizens.

  • Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
  • Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
  • Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
  • Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
  • Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution

Promote Free Markets and Fair Competition

Competition drives improvements in efficiency and effectiveness, offering consumers’ higher quality goods and services at lower cost.  It can have the same effect in the health care system, if given the chance to work.

  • Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
  • Empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools
  • Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
  • Facilitate IT interoperability

Empower Consumer Choice

For markets to work, consumers must have the information and the power to make decisions about their own care.  Placing the patient at the center of the process will drive quality up and cost down while ensuring that services are designed to provide what Americans actually want.

  • End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
  • Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines
  • Unshackle HSAs by allowing funds to be used for insurance premiums
  • Promote "co-insurance" products
  • Promote alternatives to "fee for service"
  • Encourage "Consumer Reports"-type ratings of alternative insurance plans

 

Mitt Romney’s plan is an outline of his healthcare plan that corrects all of the defects in our healthcare system. Obamacare has amplified the healthcare system’s defects.

By giving states the opportunity to select a waiver from Obamacare, Governor Romney is eradicating all the new taxes, regulations, bureaucracy, and impingement on individual choice, individual freedoms and access to care issues. He is also opening the door for subsidized healthcare coverage for those in need.

It is much more specific than the plan President Obama presented before his election in 2008. I have reviewed my articles on his proposals. President Obama disguised his real intentions. He made it sound much better than he intended. If one reads between the lines it is clear President Obama wanted the federal government to control the healthcare system.

The blog post from 2008 make interest reading. Please click on them.

President Obama is the pot calling the kettle black.

Government Romney puts the consumer first, not the government. His plan also strengthens states rights which have been severely discounted during his term in office. The states can be a little more efficient that the central government.

President Obama has presented nothing about his healthcare plan during his reelection cycle,

Many of the regulations have not been written yet. President Obama is waiting until after the election when “he will have more flexibility. ”

Please remember I voted for him in 2008. President Obama has been a tremendous disappointment to me. He does not understand the American psyche and is ignoring Americans’ wishes.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone

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