Tuesday, September 18, 2012

30. Privatize, privatize, privatize

So this week we’ve talked about all of the new taxes that Obamacare imposes
that will affect all Americans. These new taxes will be used to pay for new
mountains of bureaucracy that will make the VA system look like a well-oiled
machine. We’ve also talked about the risks of increasing dependence on
government in our lives. I have a better idea:

First, let’s let private insurers compete for Medicare patients like Vice-
presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan and Democrat Senator Ron Wyden
are proposing. We discussed this plan last week.

Now, let’s give a set amount of money directly to the states for Medicaid and
let them figure out what will work best in their particular state, based on their
resources and population. Some states have already proposed using health
savings accounts with high deductible private insurance for their Medicaid
patients, allowing them to control their healthcare dollars. Indiana uses HSAs for
their government employees and it’s saved them millions of dollars.

Then, let’s let Americans save more of their own money, tax free, for their
healthcare expenses. Come to think of it, how about letting them save more for
retirement, so we don’t have to depend on a failing Social Security system. How
about giving businesses the freedom to help their employees save more for their
healthcare and retirement. Then, we can afford to have a true safety net for
those that truly need it.

Now, let’s shut down the VA hospitals and send our brave veterans to private
hospitals, where they will get the VIP treatment they deserve.

Imagine how much money that will save the American taxpayers—hundreds of
billions of dollars every year that’s now spent on ever-increasing government
bureaucracies, staffed by unionized government workers with lucrative pensions
that we cannot afford. Combine these savings with those of Health savings
accounts, tax breaks for medical expenses, posting prices for health services
and increasing flexibility in choosing insurance plans—now we’re talkin real
cost savings for the entire country and everyone in it. Now we’re talking about
patients really getting access to affordable, quality healthcare.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

29. To be or not to be….Dependent? That is the Question

The way I see it, there are 3 groups of people politically: one group wants to just
be allowed to live their lives; government’s role for them is for the protection
of their basic rights. The second group wants to control the lives and decisions
of everyone else. They tend to aspire to positions of power, including elected
office! The third group consists of those who don’t want to take responsibility for
their lives or decisions—they want to be provided for, and to be “given” security.
Unfortunately, the last 2 groups tend to get along quite well… at the expense of
the first group!

We have allowed our government to pay for more and more of our lifetime
expenses: welfare, aid to dependent children, Medicaid, medicare, social
security, food stamps. Unfortunately, the recipients have grown to forget that
most of these programs aren’t paid for by the “government”—they’re paid for
by other Americans. The government takes our hard-earned money, wastes a
bunch of it, divies up what’s left, and then makes us feel as if they’ve “given” us
something that we couldn’t have gotten on our own.

When we become dependent upon government for our basic life needs, we
simultaneously relinquish our freedoms to make our own decisions about those
lives. Benjamin Franklin said it perfectly: “Those who would sacrifice freedom for
security deserve neither.”

Such is the case with Obamacare. The Democrats who drafted and passed this
law have sold it to Americans as the ultimate version of “government taking care
of its people”. In reality, they are robbing us of our most basic constitutional
rights: liberty, property, religious freedom, perhaps even life. They are taking
freedom from 85% of our citizens in the name of “taking care of” 15%. Why are
we putting up with this???

Where in our constitution does it say that the government has the right to take
money from us to pay for institutions that only serve to make us increasingly
dependent on the one thing that the constitution was meant to protect us
from—our government?

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

28. The VA Hospital System

Ever wonder what government-run healthcare will be like? Well, wonder no
more! We already have it in this country—it’s the Veteran’s Administration
Hospital system—the VA! I did years of my medical training in this system, and I
have colleagues that are working there today. Let’s take a look at this marvel of
government-run healthcare:

The bureaucracy is unmatched in my 25 years of medical training and practice.
Patients may spend years trying to get access to care, even if it’s related to
active duty during wartime—just ask our Viet Nam vets who were exposed
to Agent Orange. At our local VA hospital, the wait time for spine surgery by
a neurosurgeon is up to 16 months. That’s right up there with the Canadian
healthcare system.

The VA hospitals are staffed by government employees—low-level administrators,
nursing staff, clerks…many with the work ethic we’ve come to appreciate at the
DMV. The process for hiring new nurses, for instance, may take over 3 months—
just to get thru the normal channels of command. No quality nurse is going to
endure that sort of run-around when she can get a great job at a private hospital
within a week.

Now, try to fire a government employee—good luck! Is this the atmosphere you
want surrounding you when you need medical attention, when you’re at your
most vulnerable, treatment that may determine whether you live or die?

When I was a radiology resident, we had to get special permission to use a
contrast agent for CAT scans that was well-proven to cause fewer allergic
reactions than the older-version. All of the private hospitals used this more
expensive, but much safer, contrast agent as routine. But not the VA—it was
cheaper for the government to take a chance that my patient would have a
severe, perhaps life-threatening, allergic reaction. That’s how the government
makes healthcare decisions.

Supporters of Obamacare claim that opponents are just speculating when they
criticize the notion of government-run healthcare. The fact is, we don’t have to
guess—we just look at the VA hospital.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

27. Healthcare IS the Economy

Let’s talk about how Obamacare will affect businesses in this country. Yesterday
I mentioned the new taxes on insurance companies, medical device and
pharmaceutical manufacturers, and personal investments, including real estate.
These taxes will cost all Americans, not just the millionaires and billionaires.

There are thousands of business owners who plan to stop offering health
insurance to their employees altogether due to the high cost of the new policies
they will be required to get through the healthcare exchanges and private
insurers. As a result, thousands of business owners will be “taxed” $2000 for
each of their employees. So much for job creation…

There are increased taxes on employers for Medicare part D coverage for their
retired employees.

There is a whopping 40% tax on what they call “Cadillac” insurance policies—
those that have very high premiums. Before you say, “those millionaires and
billionaires can afford it”, consider that, by 2018 when this provision takes affect,
a great number of the insurance policies out there may qualify for this tax!! Oh
but wait…that tax applies to all companies except labor unions. What…you
didn’t know that? Yep, labor unions are exempt. Still think Obama cares
about “Fairness”??

And we haven’t even talked about how the states are going to pay for their new
healthcare exchanges—exchanges that they will be forced to support on their
own starting in 2016 when the federal support, paid for by our tax dollars, runs
out. Estimates are that the running of these new bureaucracies could be up to
$30Million per year for each state. Think your state will be looking for new ways
to tax you and your employer as well?

There’s a popular saying regarding the key issue in this election: “It’s about the
economy stupid”. Considering all of the new taxes, the effect on investments
and the real estate market, the effect on employers, and the disruption of
our healthcare system that makes up 1/6 of our economy, in my opinion, this
healthcare law IS about the economy...stupid!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

26. War on Taxpayers

All you taxpayers out there, Hold onto your wallets! Obamacare is set to tax
everything having to do with healthcare, and I mean everything.

First, let’s remember that all costs are passed on: The Federal government passes
their expenses to the states and taxpayers; states pass theirs on to businesses
and taxpayers; businesses pass their costs on to their customers; employers
pass expenses on to employees, or they lay workers off, or they don’t hire new
employees. Even those who don’t pay federal income taxes are customers and
employees. In other words, every single American, poor, middle class, and
wealthy, will be paying something in new taxes from Obamacare.

There are taxes on insurance providers, passed on to their customers in higher
premiums. There are taxes on medical device and pharmaceutical companies
that will be passed on to the patients that need to use these products.

There will be a new tax on income from investments; which will include the sale
of your home—3.8%. The calculations are tedious, but this tax will affect millions
of middle class Americans and those on fixed incomes—Americans whose homes
represent their largest lifetime investment. And imagine what it will do to the
already depressed real estate market.

There are higher Medicare taxes. Decreased tax breaks for medical expense
accounts and medical expenses. And my personal favorite—the 10% tax on
indoor tanning services! Where did that come from??

Seems like I’m forgetting one….Oh yeah, the “tax” to be imposed on American
patients who realize that they can’t afford the premiums of Obama’s new health
insurance policies –estimated to be $13-20,000/year for a family of 4 by 2016.
The “tax” will be $695 per person per year, or 2.5% of your income, whichever is
larger. Chaaaching!

Tell me again how this law is supposed to make our lives better?? Sounds to me
like a War on Taxpayers.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

25. The Tenth Amendment

Obamacare is not the first time some form of socialized medicine has been tried
in the United States. The Constitution grants certain powers to the Federal
government. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that any powers not
specifically granted to the Federal government by the Constitution are granted to
the states and people. Some states have already tried versions of government-
controlled healthcare:

In 1974 Hawaii started the Individual Mandate Plan
In 1993 there was the Washington State Health Plan
In 1994 there was the Oregon Health Plan and TennCare in Tennessee
In 2005 Maine started the Dirigo Health Plan
In 2006 Massachusetts started the Connector Plan and Commonwealth Care, also
known as Romneycare

All of these plans included many of the same elements as Obamacare: individuals
and employer mandates requiring the purchase of insurance; price controls on
payments to doctors and providers; government controls on insurance premiums;
long lists of services that each insurance policy must cover; decreased flexibility
in choices to the patients; guarantee issue of insurance regardless of pre-existing
conditions; and expansion of Medicaid enrollment to covered the uninsured. The
results for each of these programs was similar: healthcare costs skyrocketed;
taxes increased; insurance carriers left the state; patients had more difficulty
finding doctors and providers to take care of them due to low reimbursement;
in many cases, the number of uninsured actually increased. Some states were
nearly bankrupted.

The biggest problem is trying to get rid of these programs once they’re in place.
Can you imagine what will happen when an entire country experiences these
same problems because of government controlled healthcare?

Control of Healthcare was not among the powers granted to the federal
government. Technically, the argument could be made that Medicare is
Unconstitutional. Let’s face it…Government controlled healthcare doesn’t work.
It robs us of our choices and our money. Plus…It’s not their job.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

24. Winners and Losers

Obamacare requires all employers with more than 50 full-time employees to
offer health insurance or pay a penalty of $2000 per employee. All employers
with more than 200 employees are required to automatically enroll them in their
healthcare plan. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are expected to get
their insurance through the state healthcare exchanges. If an employer offers
a healthcare plan, but it is deemed not “affordable” by a series of complicated
calculations, the employee has the option of going directly to the state exchange
for insurance, where they may be eligible for a premium subsidy to help pay
for their policy. If this happens, the employer will be fined $3000 for that
employee. That’s more than what the employer would have to pay if he didn’t
offer insurance at all! Now consider that the cost of an average insurance policy
through the exchange was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to
be about $19,200 for a family of four by at least 2016—that’s a lot of money.
Needless to say, a lot of employers can’t afford to offer an insurance plan that
expensive. As a result, many of them are planning to drop their health insurance
benefits altogether—that could actually increase the number of uninsured!

So the Obama administration decided to offer “waivers” for some employers.
They could continue to offer minimal health insurance policies to their
employees, so they could stay in business. Funny thing though—not everyone
who applied for a waiver was granted one. The Secretary of Health and Human
Services got to decide who did and didn’t get a waiver. And guess what—of the
waivers granted, a huge proportion were given to, get this, labor unions—yeah,
the same organizations that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to elect the
people that put Obamacare into law! What’s wrong with this picture?? The very
people who pushed this law onto America are the first ones in line to get out of
having to comply with it!

So we have an administration that passes a monstrous, heinous piece of
legislation, and then gets to say who has to abide by that law. When did this
become acceptable? Obama’s administration has become famous for their
practice of choosing “winners and losers”.

Unfortunately, America is the biggest loser in this game.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

23. Individual Mandate

Both Romneycare in Massachusetts and Obamacare require all individuals to carry health
insurance, and both penalize people who don’t. In addition, both plans require insurance
companies to issue insurance to anyone at any time, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
This is referred to as “guarantee issue”. All this sounds great right? Let’s look at how this
works for some folks in Massachusetts: in 2010, an insurance policy for a family of 4 in
Massachusetts was between $15-20,000—that’s a lot of money. So many folks decided not
to get insurance and just pay the relatively small penalty rather than the high premiums.
When they got sick, they were guaranteed a new health insurance policy. They’d pay the
premiums, have their medical expenses covered, then drop the policy when they were well
again. Gee….what’s wrong with this picture? Isn’t everyone just supposed to have insurance
all the time? Can’t everyone just play nice and be responsible? Of course, with Obamacare,
things will be different, right?

Let’s face it folks—the minute a new rule is made, someone is going to find a way to get
around it! Then they make another rule to get around that, and the cycle begins. Pretty soon,
we have millions of pages of rules and a system that still doesn’t work. Rather than forcing
people to get insurance, forcing insurance companies to issue insurance, and forcing doctors
to lose money seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients, how about fixing the system by getting
RID of some of the rules? Give doctors, patients, states and insurers the flexibility to make a
few rules of their own; and then GET THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THEIR WAY!! How about
encouraging patients to save money to take care of themselves, rather than forcing them
to depend on government programs? We could save Medicare and Social Security just by
allowing people to save their own money through tax incentives. There will always be those
people who need extra help, due to circumstances beyond their control. So let’s let private
charities and the government help those folks, and let us take care of ourselves! As for
those of our citizens who are perfectly capable of caring for themselves, but who refuse…
well, it’s time they learn to live with the consequences of their decisions. It is not my duty to
support them and they do not have the right to steal from me. If they incur medical expenses,
they should be required to pay for them. Period. So let’s lower healthcare costs thru the
marketplace and make it more affordable for folks to have insurance. Government control is
not the answer.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

22. Romneycare vs. Obamacare

Let’s face it—there are a lot of similarities between Romneycare in
Massachussetts and Obamacare: they both use state exchanges to administer
government and private insurance; they both expand Medicaid to cover the
uninsured; they both require that all citizens have “minimum” health insurance
or else they have to pay a fine; and they each require insurance companies to
issue policies to anyone at any time, regardless of pre-existing conditions. We’ll
discuss all of these points in time, but let’s suffice it to say that Romneycare in
Massachusetts isn’t exactly a model of healthcare success. Thankfully, Gov.
Romney doesn’t plan to institute Romneycare on a national level!! In fact, his
ideas for healthcare reform for America are totally different---they’re market-
based and I fully support them, but we’ll talk about all that later.

So, how is Obamacare different than Romneycare? Well, since Romneycare
hasn’t been very good at controlling healthcare costs in Massachusetts,
Obamacare plans to control costs through a combination of healthcare rationing,
and increasing taxes. We’ll talk about the new taxes in Obamacare later in more
detail, but there are roughly 22 new taxes in the law. And that doesn’t include
the Supreme Court decision that established the Individual Mandate as a massive
new tax that will affect primarily the poor and middle classes—one of the largest
in American history!

Obamacare will limit patient’s choices regarding their diagnostic tests and
treatments in basically 5 ways: we’ve already discussed the Independent
Payment advisory board, the $716 Billion dollars in Medicare cuts, and
Comparative Effectiveness. The other 2 ways are through the US Preventive
Services Task Force guidelines; and through Accountable Care Organizations.
We’ll discuss these last 2 in more detail starting next week.

So Obamacare forces us to participate in a system that will increase our taxes
AND decrease our freedom as patients to make our own healthcare decisions.
That’s how it differs from Romneycare.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

21. The Ryan-Wyden Plan for Medicare

New Vice-Presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan has presented several plans to
reform Medicare over the years. His latest version is a plan developed by him and Democrat
Senator Ron Wyden called the Ryan-Wyden Plan. Here’s how it works:

First of all, and listen carefully—there are no changes at all in Medicare for 10 years. NO
CURRENT MEDICARE PATIENTS, AND NO ONE THAT IS NOW OVER THE AGE OF 55 WILL HAVE ANY CHANGES IN THEIR MEDICARE BENEFITS. That right there is a significant change from Obamacare. IF these patients want to participate in the Ryan-Wyden plan, they have that
option, but they are not obligated to, and they will NEVER be required to.

Ok, back to the plan. Each year, private insurance companies will submit a bid to the
government outlining what they will charge in premiums for a comprehensive health
insurance policy for persons 65 and over. The second lowest premium cost will determine the
amount of money given to each Medicare patient. Sicker and poorer patients will receive a
higher payment, and bids will vary by region. The Medicare patient then uses that money to
shop for and purchase their own health insurance policy from a private insurer. If they choose
a policy that costs more than the voucher, they pay the difference. If they choose a policy that
costs less, like a high deductible/health savings account plan, or one of the lower premium
plans, the money that’s left over goes into a health savings account for that patient. In other
words, Medicare patients will be guaranteed a voucher that will completely pay for at least 2
different comprehensive health insurance policies.

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that this
plan would have premium costs 9% lower than typical Medicare costs—that’s huge!! It will
increase competition, thereby driving down premium costs even more over time, AND it
allows Medicare patients flexibility that they do not currently have.

Now, it’s important to know that the ads that President Obama is running are not factual! His
claims about the Ryan health plan are actually referring to an older version, NOT his newest
Ryan-Wyden plan. I just think it’s pretty pathetic when a sitting President who has easy access
to the facts, misrepresents them so blatantly. As a future Medicare enrollee, I’ll take Ryan-
Wyden any day!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

20. Baby Steps

In Obamacare, the wording in different sections contradicts itself, but it claims
that federal taxpayer dollars cannot be used to fund abortion. Now, the actual
rule released regarding abortion funding will place a mandatory $1 surcharge on
most insurance plans to pay for free abortion coverage. So, even though our tax
dollars won’t be paying for abortion, Obama’s administration figured out a way to
make us pay for it.

Included in the list of mandatory coverages with no co-pay under Obamacare
will be sterilization “for any female of reproductive age”. That means that girls
as young as 11 or 12 could be sterilized for free. In the state of Oregon, a 15-
yr old girl can legally consent for medical procedures. So if you live in Oregon,
your 15 yr old daughter could have her tubes tied without your knowledge as her
parent. Of course, the supporters of Obamacare think that free contraception,
free abortion and free sterilization is a great triumph for women’s rights. Anyone
who disagrees is waging a “War on Women”.

Considering that Obamacare will tell us what healthcare we can and can’t have,
how hard will it be for them to tell us what we MUST have??

In 1927 the Supreme Court ruled on Buck v Bell, a case where a mentally
deficient girl was sterilized against her will. The Supreme Court decided that
her sterilization was justified. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the opinion.
Listen to this: “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call
upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon
those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices… in
order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the
world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let
them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly
unfit from continuing their kind.”

That ruling resulted in over 65,000 sterilization procedures being done on “unfit”
American citizens in 30 states.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

19. War on Women 3

We’ve spent the last 2 days talking about the government’s screening
mammography guidelines, but there’s one last thing I wanted to mention about

We talked a couple weeks ago about the dangers of “evidence-based medicine”
and how it sounds great, but how it can hamper the development of new
technology. Well, after looking at a bunch of research studies, the government
mammography task force came to the conclusion that having doctors examine
their patients’ breasts for lumps actually causes more problems than it solves….in
fact, they even recommend that women not check their own breasts for cancer!!
So let me get this straight: a 40 year old woman is at risk for the most aggressive
breast cancers and is more likely to die of cancer if she has it, but she isn’t
supposed to get a mammogram, she’s not supposed to go to her doctor for a
breast exam, and she’s not supposed to examine her own breasts to see if she has
a lump. Exactly how are we supposed to find her cancer????

And why do we even need these government task forces? We have the American
Cancer Society, the Komen Foundation, multiple physician specialty societies…all
of whom review medical research to develop clinical practice guidelines that are
best for the patients. Maybe that’s the problem. These charity and professional
groups are acting on behalf of the patients, not the government…not on behalf of
society as a whole, the collective.

So Obamacare wants to protect our rights as women. Our rights to have an
abortion—for free; our right to be sterilized from the time of our first menstrual
period—for free; our right to get contraceptives if we decide not to be
sterilized—for free. Obamacare even gives others the right to help us to commit
suicide without penalty. But Obamacare will prevent us access to a life saving
mammogram. So they’re great at protecting my right not to create life. How
about my right to life?

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

18. War on Women 2

We talked about the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines issued in
November 2009 that would decrease screening mammography in women by 60-
75% and how that would potentially cost thousands of women their lives. Here’s
more of the story:

When the guidelines were released—even before Obamacare was passed—there
was an enormous outcry—from doctors, patients, husbands, sisters, brothers,
even politicians. Every person in this country is affected in one way or other
by breast cancer or knows someone who has been. The panel of government-
appointed bureaucrats who had made up the guidelines did not include a single
practicing physician that specializes in breast disease. Not one. These new
guidelines completely contradicted those of the Komen Society and the American
Cancer Society, as well as all of the specialty medical societies that deal with
breast cancer. So Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services
quietly put a new provision into Obamacare. It says that Obamacare will abide by
the 2002 task force guidelines instead. They didn’t openly discredit or eliminate
the 2009 guidelines, they just tabled them. Why would they do that? Do you
think they’re waiting until after the election? Or until the rest of the law is in
force in 2014-- when we can’t get rid of it anymore?

In Obamacare, I as a physician will be required to abide by all of the guidelines
set up by these task forces. If I disagree with the guidelines, and issue my
own recommendations I will be punished: I will not be paid, and if I’m really
naughty, I could be fined or barred from seeing government program and state
exchange insurance patients. These guidelines will force me as a physician to
make a choice: do I do what the government tells me, or do I do what I know to
be right for my patients as individuals? The government makes decisions for
populations, I make decisions for individual patients. I don’t treat Democrats or
Republicans, Catholics or Atheists. I treat people. Government doesn’t spend
29 years in education and training to be a physician like I did. Government isn’t
held accountable for its healthcare recommendations..…I AM. Government
won’t suffer because your disease wasn’t diagnosed or treated—YOU WILL.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

17. War on Women 1

So Obama and the Democrats have declared that the Republicans and Catholics
are waging a “War on Women”. Let’s review some facts:

In November 2009, an Obama administration-appointed panel of bureaucrats
changed the guidelines for screening mammography. This group of bureaucrats
was one of several US Preventive Services Task Forces. The American Cancer
Society set up guidelines years ago that recommended screening mammograms
for all women over 40, to be done every year. We have many excellent studies
that have shown that screening mammograms under these guidelines decreased
the number of women dying of breast cancer by 30-40%. Somehow, this task
force panel, none of whom are physicians specializing in breast cancer, decided
that only women from 50-74 yrs old should get mammograms, and then only
every other year.

The number of women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer has been
increasing, from 1 in 11 in 1996 to 1 in 7 or 8 today. About 80% of women
diagnosed with breast cancer have no significant family history of it. Let me say
that again because I think it’s so important: About 80% of women diagnosed
with breast cancer have no significant family history of it. To truly understand
the impact of these new guidelines consider that the most aggressive and life-
threatening breast cancers occur in women under 50, and women are more
likely to get breast cancer as they get older. Breast cancer is becoming more
and more common. In addition, most breast cancers are found by screening
mammography, and at a very early stage so that women have a high likelihood of
complete CURE with relatively minimal treatment. Under these new guidelines,
women will be diagnosed later, with more advanced cancer that will require more
aggressive treatments, or it may not even be curable. In other words, WOMEN
WILL SUFFER AND DIE because of government decisions about their healthcare.

The contraception insurance requirements on the Catholic church are NOT about
women—they are about our rights as citizens to religious freedom. The 2009 task
force screening mammography guidelines, on the other hand, are the REAL ‘WAR
ON WOMEN’, and THAT war is being staged by the Obama Administration.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

16. War on Religion

We’ve been hearing a lot from the Democrats about how the Republicans are
staging a “War on Women”. The Obama administration issued a rule that all
employers are now required to include abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives
and sterilization procedures in the insurance plans that they offer to employees.
Typically, this requirement would automatically exclude religious groups that
may object on moral grounds. The first amendment to the Constitution not only
protects our right to free speech and assembly, but also to the free exercise
of religion. Since the Catholic church certainly objects on religious grounds to
these insurance requirements, the Obama administration has declared them to
be “against women”. And of course, since the Republican party has sided with
the Catholic church, the Republicans must be “waging a war on women”.

I find it therefore fascinating that in Title 1, Subtitle F of "Obamacare" members
of religious groups that morally object to the concept of health "insurance" are
exempted from having to pay the annual penalty for not having health insurance.
The groups included here are Amish, Mennonites, and some Muslims. See,
Muslims object to insurance in general since it is considered a form of gambling
in their religion. So, Obama exempts one religious group from compliance based
on their religious convictions, yet forces another to violate theirs. Yet another
example of this administration choosing winners and losers.

So as of last May, 43 separate Catholic entities filed lawsuit in federal court
challenging the constitutionality of the contraception requirement.
The Obama administration changed some of the wording of the rule, but it didn’t
change the real effect.

One thing to consider here: the PPACA law is bad (in my opinion), but now
we are seeing what its supporters really want out of it when these rules and
regulations are being developed. Rules with the force of law. Rules that are
being made by scores of unelected people. People who are not accountable to
we the citizens. When do we get to challenge the Constitutionality of THIS?

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

15. When Government Controls Healthcare

So far, we’ve talked about ways that Obamacare will ration healthcare in this
country and the philosophy behind those ideas. How Hippocrates believed that
doctors should treat all patients throughout their lives, and how that differs from
Plato’s belief that only young, able people should have healthcare. We discussed
how Obama’s health policy advisor follows the Plato view.

We’ve discussed the Independent Payment Advisory Board and how it changes a
government accountable to the voters into one that is not accountable.

We’ve discussed Obamacare’s cuts in Medicare benefits and payments to
providers and how that will limit patient’s access to care by decreasing care and
forcing doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients.

We’ve discussed Obamacare’s encouragement of euthanasia, assisted suicide,
and abortion. In addition, Obmacare also requires physicians to regularly discuss
end-of-life planning with their elderly patients. While I don’t think this is a bad
idea in general, I definitely don’t think the government has any business forcing it
on doctors or their patients. How you as a patient choose to die is none of their
business—at least it shouldn’t be. But because we have, over time, allowed our
health to be paid for by the government, we are now in the position of having a
group of elected officials, and some unelected, that will literally determine for us
whether we are tested for an illness, treated for that illness, and how and when
we will die from our illness. Think about that. When a government controls
healthcare, it control the people. Is that the “hope and change” Americans voted
for in 2008? When Obama said he would “fundamentally change” America, he
wasn’t kidding. He is changing America from a government of the people, by
the people and for the people; to people of the government, by the government
and for the government. It is time to get the government out of the healthcare

Next week we’ll talk about the differences between Obamacare and Gov. Romney
and Paul Ryan’s plans for healthcare reform.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

14. Independent Payment Advisory Board

Obamacare establishes the Independent Payment Advisory Board, IPAB. Their job is to control
healthcare costs by limiting reimbursement to Medicare providers. Doesn’t sound so bad,
does it? But this is definitely a case of “the devil’s in the details”…

The IPAB is a panel of 15 members, not elected, but appointed by the President and approved
by the Senate. Now it gets interesting: this panel of unelected officials will have the power to
make law. Not rules and regulations with the force of law (which is bad enough), but actual
law. They will do this initially by making recommendations on changes in Medicare payments
to providers. They submit these to Congress and Congress has 4 months to vote “yes” or “no”,
BUT, if they vote “no”, they have to come up with cuts of their own that will equal or exceed
the cuts to Medicare recommended by the IPAB board. If Congress does nothing in 4 months,
the recommendations become LAW.

Because of these cuts, more providers will stop seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients, and
patients will have even longer wait times to see a physician. Many physicians will just leave
practice altogether. This only trades one problem for another: it trades lower costs for
poorer access. And it won’t really lower costs—patients will end up going to the Emergency
room for routine care since it will be easier than trying to find a physician or clinic to see you.
That will actually add to healthcare costs. It will only make a bad situation much worse, for
both patients and providers.

Now think about this from a politician’s standpoint: your congressman needs your vote,
and the support of doctors, hospitals, businesses and patients. The IPAB does not. If your
congressman doesn’t want to risk the consequences of limiting payments to doctors, or
limiting benefits to his constiuents, he’ll just let the IPAB recommendations go thru as law.
When election time rolls around, he can just tell voters that he was unable to stop the IPAB-
afterall, HE didn’t recommend those cuts….Can you see how this works? It’s brilliantly devised
to transfer the burden of controlling healthcare costs from elected Congressmen who have
to answer to voters, to an unaccountable panel of bureaucrats, who do not. In other words,
Obama and the Democrats have taken We the People out of the healthcare equation.

On November 6, 2012, it’s time to take Obama and the Democrats out of the equation.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

13. Comparative Effectiveness

Let’s talk about another form of healthcare rationing: Comparative Effectiveness. The
concept of Comparative Effectiveness puts a dollar value on each year of a person’s remaining
life. That number is multiplied by the number of years a person is expected to live, depending
upon their diagnosis or illness. If you are diagnosed with cancer, for instance, and the cost of
your treatment exceeds that number, guess what? You don’t get the treatment. None of it. If
you have cancer, chances are you will suffer and die from it.

For years, Comparative Effectiveness has been used to control healthcare costs in England.
A colleague of mine did part of his neurosurgery residency in England several years ago. An
otherwise healthy lady slipped and fell on the steps of the hospital, hitting her head badly.
She was unconscious and brought into the ER. This doctor could tell that she was bleeding
into her head and that an emergency surgery needed to be done to save her life. He began
preparing her for surgery, when a hospital administrator told him to stop. Apparently, she
was 71 years old, over the age limit for neurosurgery according to their national healthcare
guidelines. So instead of going to the Operating Room for life-saving surgery, she was taken to
the Recovery Room where she slowly died over the next 3 days. 71 years old. Think this can’t
happen in the U.S.? Think again!

In 2010, while the US Senate was in recess, President Obama appointed Dr. Donald Berwick
to be the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. He had been honored
by Queen Elizabeth II for his work with the healthcare system in England—the system that
let that woman die. Dr. Berwick spoke frequently of his admiration for that system. He said
quote “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially
80% of the total health care bill out there. The decision is not whether we will ration care.
The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." "There needs to be global budget
caps on total healthcare spending for designated populations." Unquote. Designated
populations. That just may mean YOU. The Democrats claim that healthcare is a right—but
a right for whom? I guess they get to decide, not us. Whatever happened to government for
the people?? Obama and the Democrats have created a government over the people. This
healthcare law, Obamacare, could mean the end of America as we know it.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

12. History of Medicare

When Medicare became law in 1965, very few Americans lived to the age to 65,
let alone 20 years beyond that. At that time, the government estimated that
about $9Billion would be spent on Medicare by the year 1990. The real costs
were $63Billion, or 7 times that. So the government hasn’t been very good at
estimating the cost of Medicare. During that same time, the reimbursement to
hospitals and doctors went down markedly and the amount of paperwork and
regulation skyrocketed. That’s why doctors and hospitals frequently lose money
on Medicare patients. Many physicians can’t afford to take care of Medicare
patients anymore, and these patients are having a hard time finding doctors.

Now we have about 10,000 “baby boomers” going onto the Medicare rolls
each year. Even though these patients have paid into Medicare for many years,
they typically cost the system about 2 ½ times what they’ve paid in. The entire
Medicare system is estimated to be completely bankrupt by 2024 at the latest. At
that point, none of us will get Medicare. Something has to be done.

So President Obama’s healthcare plan includes $716 Billion in cuts to Medicare.
He claims that this will save Medicare, but he’s not using those “saved” dollars
to shore up Medicare costs…he’s using those dollars to help pay for other
parts of Obamacare!! Some of Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare patients will
include cuts to hospice, home health care, outpatient surgery, outpatient lab
tests, outpatient imaging…a long list of services that currently help to keep our
parents and grandparents healthy and active. Not anymore. Obamacare is the
only healthcare reform plan that actually cuts benefits to current Medicare
recipients!! None of the other plans do that—including the plan from Vice-
Presidential candidate Paul Ryan! When the Democrats aired that TV commercial
showing a Republican politician pushing “granny” off a cliff, it wasn’t just in bad
taste…it was a lie. Obama is the one really holding the handles, and it’s the
Democrat party leading us all to the edge.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

11. Philosophy of Healthcare

Is healthcare a right or a privilege? That’s a question that the Democrats have used for years
to define the differences between themselves and Republicans—they claim that Republicans
are heartless and selfish and don’t want poor people to have access to quality care. Let’s look
at the origins of this argument.

In ancient Greece, there were 2 prominent philosophers: Hippocrates and Plato. Hippocrates
believed that physicians should provide the best care possible to all of their patients—hence
the Hippocratic oath that I and millions of physicians have taken over the years. We pledge to
protect human life in all of its forms from conception to infirmity and death.

Plato thought otherwise. He believed that only the young and strong should be allowed
medical care. Those with chronic disease or mental illness, and those who no longer
contributed to society should be allowed to die, or even be put to death. Supporters of this
philosophy also believe that babies born with physical defects should be allowed to die. They
believed that resources should be used only to support the well-being of people between the
ages of 15 and 50. Sounds crazy right? Could never happen in the U.S. right?

Now listen carefully to this quote: “…unlike allocation [of healthcare resources] by sex or
race, allocation by age is not discrimination…Treating 65 year olds differently because of
stereotypes would be ageist, treating them differently because they have already had more
life years is not…” end of quote. Who said this? Some ancient Plato follower? Nope--Dr.
Ezekiel Emanuel, President Obama’s health policy advisor (also brother to Rahm Emanuel,
Obama’s former Chief of Staff).

Now, consider that Obamacare specifically allows assisted suicide, euthanasia and mercy
killing, without penalty. I call this the Dr. Kavorkian clause. NOW consider the requirement
in Obamacare that all insurance policies sold through the exchanges should offer abortion
coverage, and that all employers should offer plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs.
Our healthcare is changing, from our Hippocratic roots to Plato’s belief of survival of the
fittest. It’s time to wake up citizens! It is time to stop this movement, led by President
Obama and the Democrat party.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

10. Post Prices

So this week we’ve talked about how the government has been fixing prices in healthcare for
over 50 years, and how they will be discouraging new technology with increased regulation
and oversight—technology that could potentially save lives.

So let’s consider another way—something that really will decrease the costs of healthcare
AND promote the development of technology: it’s so simple….POST PRICES.

Instead of the ridiculous system we have of all of these hidden costs and prices, let’s all just
post our prices for the services we offer. Let the patients decide what they are willing to pay
for (we talked last week about health savings accounts and hi-deductible insurance plans that
allow patients to make more decisions about their care). If your doctor recommends a test or
medication that’s too expensive, you as the patient can ask them to consider alternatives that
cost less. If your hospital charges $1000 for a CAT scan and the center 3 miles away charges
$500, guess what—you go where it’s less expensive. And we all know what happens to prices
when everyone can see them—they go down! Let good ole American competition start
working in healthcare! We could have iphone apps for the least expensive CAT scan in your
area of town. They could list reviews of the facility, with quality and satisfaction scores. As it
is, we spend more time researching our big screen television purchase than we do our major
healthcare purchases.

Doctors that I have talked to have estimated that they spend between 5 and 40% of their
overhead on complying with these price-fixing billing systems and unnecessary government
regulations. Think of how much we could decrease healthcare costs by eliminating this waste.

Now, let’s decrease corporate taxes and let our new competitive market influence the
device manufacturers and medical technology companies—now we’re talking real savings in
healthcare costs—savings that are passed onto the consumer the same way that the costs of
new taxes and government regulation are passed onto the consumer now. Think about Lasik
eye surgery: it’s not covered by insurance, prices are posted, and costs have gone from $5000
to $400 per eye over the past several years! And that includes at least 4 changes in technology
in the field during that time!

It doesn’t take a government bureaucrat to decrease healthcare costs—it takes the great
American free market system. It’s time to apply it to healthcare!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

9. Death to Innovation

Another reason for the high costs of healthcare is our Technology. We have developed very
advanced medical technology over the years, technology that saves our lives and helps us to
live longer and healthier lives. When health insurance became popular in the 1960’s we had
very little technology—I’m a radiologist and we had xray, and barium studies—upper GIs,
things like that. Now we have CAT scans, MRIs and PET scans. The machines alone cost over a
million dollars. Technology has become very expensive.

Did you know that 90% of new medical technology and innovation is developed in our very
own United States of America? 90%. Why do you think that is? Money-grubbing corporations
no doubt. Let’s look at an example:

In the late 1980’s Dr. Steve Parker designed needles to sample tissue in breast masses, saving
patients from the risk and expense of having to have surgery in an operating room in order
to diagnose their breast disease. Now this needle biopsy technique is used throughout the
US and around the world. Dr. Parker’s innovation has changed the way breast disease is
diagnosed throughout the world, and it has saved patients, insurers and the government
billions of dollars in healthcare costs. If he had been restricted to only practicing government
approved medicine, he would never have had the opportunity to develop this technology.
You see, Dr. Parker was not working in an academic institution… he was in private practice. He
did this on his own, funded it on his own. It is this kind of innovation and courage that makes
America the land of opportunity.

Under Obamacare, that will change. The new law adds a 2.3% tax on medical devices. This tax
alone could put some small medical device manufacturers out of business. It will certainly
limit the amount of money they will be able to commit to research and development of new

Now, consider this: In the new law physician ownership or investment in medical technology
manufacturing will be monitored by the government---they get to choose who can be
involved in what research, and to what extent. Don’t they realize that a huge portion of new
medical technology and innovation comes from physicians? Why are they discouraging new
technology? If a new technology isn’t what the market needs, it won’t be adapted. We DO
NOT need government to choose for us!

As a physician, I am afraid for my patients. As an American, I am afraid for my country.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

8. Beware of Evidence-Based Medicine

My job as a physician is to find breast cancer as early as possible so that my patients can
have the best chance for complete cure with as little treatment and potential complication
as possible. Any new technology that can help me to do my job more effectively, that is, that
makes life better, healthier and longer for my patients, is technology that I want to be able to
use as soon as possible.

In Obamacare, and elsewhere in medicine these days, you’ll hear the term “evidence-
based medicine”: the notion that we should only employ and encourage the use of medical
techniques and technology that have proven their value over time and have been well-
documented in multiple medical research studies. Sounds great right?

Let me give you an example of how this works in the real world of taking care of patients:

Digital mammography came out in the early 1990’s, but it took several years for the FDA to
approve it for general use. It was very clear that the digital technology allowed doctors to see
potential breast cancers easier and earlier, giving patients a better chance for survival or cure.
It also involves less radiation exposure to the patient. In spite of its high costs, when it was
finally approved, most breast centers scrambled to get it installed.

By 2008, I had been using digital mammography for many years. In talking to other groups
in town, I learned that every one had digital mammography except the managed care group
that used evidence-based medicine to determine whether or not they would adopt a new
technology or practice. They were still using the old film-screen mammography. They were
waiting for a few more studies to be published proving that digital mammography really was
better. They didn’t plan on adopting digital mammography for another 5 years or so because
of this requirement!

The bottom line here is this: Relying solely on Evidence-based Medicine will destroy
potentially life-saving innovation in our healthcare industry by not allowing practitioners to
adopt potentially life-saving new technology as soon as it is developed. If new technology
can’t be adopted readily, companies will have no incentive to develop it. Socialized medicine
throughout the world strongly advocates for Evidence-based medicine. We are the only
country left without largely socialized medicine. THAT’S part of why 90% of the world’s new
medical technology is developed here in the US. We’ll talk about another reason tomorrow.

So, beware of a healthcare plan that depends heavily on “evidence-based medicine”, like
Obamacare does---your life may depend on it!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.) 

7. What Medicaid expansion means to doctors and patients

Yesterday we talked about how the government has been fixing prices in healthcare for years
through Medicare and Medicaid. Now, because private insurance companies know that we
lose money on these patients, they will pay us a bit more to see their patients. So, when the
government threatens to decrease reimbursement to Medicare providers, it is automatically
decreasing the amount we get paid by private insurers also. I’ll bet you didn’t know that you
were paying more for your private insurance premiums to make up for Medicare and Medicaid
patients did you?

Let me give you an example. In a well-established large community hospital in a fairly
large city, the breakdown of payers coming into the Emergency Room is this: 15% have
no insurance and do not pay anything for their care; 40% are Medicare patients ;20% are
Medicaid patients); and the remaining 25% are privately insured patients. So 75% of patients
seen in the emergency room in this typical hospital are actually COSTING the hospital
money. Now this is a private hospital, not a public inner-city trauma center. In an inner-city
trauma center it’s much worse. Name one other industry that does so much work, and takes
so much risk, to lose money.

So, Obamacare wants to increase the number of people who are insured by increasing the
number of people that will qualify to be on Medicaid—the worst paying government program
in existence. But, you say, at least you’ll get paid something for the patients that you don’t
get paid for at all now. Perhaps, but we will also have to file mountains more paperwork, deal
with thousands more pages of government regulation, and hire thousands more employees
(with benefit packages) to do all of this additional work. In the long run, we will be losing even
more money. Already 30% of US doctors don’t accept Medicaid. Now we’re going to increase
that by adding 19 Million more Medicaid patients? Just because you have an insurance
card, doesn’t mean you can find a doctor to take care of you. That’s what happening in
Massachussetts. The average wait time to see a primary care physician there is 48 days.
Why in the world do the Democrats think that we can solve the problem of the uninsured by
expanding a program that is already bankrupt and not working??? Expanding Medicaid is
NOT the answer!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.) 

6. Government Price-fixing in Medicine

So why are healthcare costs are so high?

First of all, We don’t really HAVE health INSURANCE—we have prepaid healthcare. Our car
insurance doesn’t pay for oil changes or tire rotations, we pay cash for those services. In
healthcare, we have everything paid for by insurance, less maybe a small copay. The more we
use, the more we get our money’s worth. If we have back pain, we don’t want to exercise, or
lose weight, or just get an xray—we want an MRI. As patients we don’t even know how much
most of our healthcare costs. I’ve got news for you—neither does your doctor! And it’s not
because we’re stupid, or because we don’t care. It’s because the cost is different for every
patient! The cost of a spine MRI will be different for a patient with Medicare, Medicaid, Blue
Cross/Blue Shield, or someone who’s paying cash. Why all the difference? Because of the
Government! Let me explain…

The government decides how much money they will pay doctors for services they provide
to Medicare patients. Their payments, about half the time, do not cover our costs as
providers…we frequently lose money when we see Medicare patients. Why is that? Because
we have to pay employees to fill out piles of complicated paperwork and pay employees
to make sure that we abide by all of the government regulations. Then we have to submit
and often re-submit charges, hoping that we MAY be paid within 90 days. Medicaid is much
worse—doctors and hospitals lose money on every Medicaid patient they see. In other words,
we PAY to see these patients. In spite of that, most doctors continue to care for Medicare and
Medicaid patients.

So the government is actually FIXING the price of healthcare in this country! Providers are
limited in what they can charge and how competitive they can be because of the overhead
expenses incurred in complying with an insane regulatory load, and they even prevent us from
being flexible in pricing.

So tell me again, how MORE government regulations, MORE government program patients,
MORE price fixing by government, and MORE government bureaucracy is supposed to LOWER
the costs and improve the quality of healthcare! Later, we’ll talk about how we can do better
with real market-based reforms. Obamacare is NOT the answer!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.) 

4 and 5. Government started all this!

In the 1950’s most folks paid cash for their healthcare expenses. Doctors and patients worked
out payment for services between themselves. There wasn’t much healthcare insurance.

In steps the federal government. They established a salary freeze on employers after WW2.
In order to compete for employees, employers started offering benefit packages…including
healthcare insurance. Thus began the practice of health insurance that’s tied to the
workplace. Now, employers decide which insurance options their employees will have, and
how much they will pay for them. Employees don’t know how much their health insurance
costs, and often they don’t know what it actually covers until they have to use it. If employees
are unhappy with the coverage, there’s not much they can do about it. Now, for offering this
health benefit, employers are granted a tax break to help offset the premium costs. If an
employee quits or is laid off, they may find themselves unable to get insurance because of a
pre-existing condition.

Let’s think about what may be a better plan here: how about insurance plans that follow
the patient throughout their lives, regardless of where they work, or if they work. That
would largely eliminate the pre-existing condition exclusion. Let’s say an insurance company
isn’t allowed to exclude you for coverage if you’ve had continuous coverage and are merely
changing insurance carriers.

How about letting the patient decide exactly what kind of insurance they want. How about
giving patients a real tax break on their premium costs and medical expenses. How about
allowing employers to contribute to a health savings account for their employees—much
like a 401k. The money can only be used for medical expenses and premium payments.
That account stays with the patient whenever they leave that employer. Let’s say you can
accumulate a lot of money in that health savings account, so much that you could afford long-
term care insurance, or maybe pass the account on to your heirs, or donate it to charity.

After Medicare was passed in 1965, another law was passed that banned private insurance
companies from offering full medical insurance to anyone over 65—thus forcing all elderly
Americans onto the government system, even if they didn’t want it! They then required that
retirees couldn’t collect their social security check unless they were enrolled in Medicare! All
this and we somehow think that government can solve our healthcare problems??

But wait, there’s more! The government also decided that each state should require that
every insurance policy sold in that state have a minimum list of coverages-- called “insurance
mandates”. This includes the basics, like emergency care, hospitalization, things like that.
Many states have gone overboard with these required coverages—New York and New Jersey
for instance, have the longest lists of mandates. The longer the list, the higher the insurance
premiums. In Colorado, a single male is required to have maternity care coverage! Why
should a single man have to pay for maternity care? Well, it’s to subsidize the premium
costs of other people who DO need maternity coverage. IS THAT FAIR?? If you don’t drink
or do drugs should you have to pay higher premiums for substance abuse treatment? How
about this: how about we get rid of state insurance mandates and let everyone decide for
themselves what they want to insure themselves for, and what they may be willing to use
the cash in their health savings account to pay for? Insurance agents would walk their clients
through the process, just like they do with homeowners or auto insurance. You decide what
coverage is best for you. Free market hasn’t been in healthcare for over 50 yrs.

It’s time to think “outside the box”! Let’s get the government out of our healthcare-- They’ve
messed it up enough! Let’s put control back in the hands of the patient where it belongs!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

3. Freeloaders

So the Obama administration is justifying their new “tax” of the individual mandate by
claiming that they are terribly concerned about “freeloaders” who get sick without health
insurance and then pass costs onto “responsible Americans” for their care. That’s rich!

Let’s see—the number of people on food stamps has more than doubled during the Obama
administration. They are actually running ads encouraging people to go on food stamps. They
are advertising for freeloaders!

--Obama just eliminated the rule that people on welfare have to work in order to collect a
welfare check. They are enabling freeloading.

--Did you know that almost HALF of all Americans don’t pay federal income taxes?? 47% of
our fellow citizens don’t pay any income taxes to the federal government, yet they benefit
from government programs and protections. Sound like freeloading to you?

--47% of the newly insured under Obamacare will be enrolled, not into private insurance plans,
but rather into government sponsored insurance programs like Medicaid, paid for by…you
guessed it, we the American taxpayers. They are mandating freeloading.

--people earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level (about $89,000 per year) will be
able to get money from the state healthcare exchanges to help them pay their insurance
premiums—money from…you got it…we the American taxpayers. Why will these folks need a
subsidy? Because the insurance premiums will be up to $20,000 for a family of four! They are
forcing Americans to be freeloaders.

--In Obamacare there is an individual waiver for “low income individuals who cannot afford
insurance”! Hold on…isn’t that why the Democrats say they had to have this law in the first
place??? There are also waivers for individuals who object to health insurance on religious
grounds. American taxpayers will continue to pay for their healthcare. They are doing
nothing to deter freeloaders.

So when Nancy Pelosi or Debbie Wasserman Schultz try to use the “freeloader” argument to
justify their massive tax increase on the middle class…THEY ARE LYING TO YOU!! They and
their Democrat party have created an entire society of freeloaders. All paid for by you, the
American taxpayer. And why? That’s easy…to buy votes…to stay in power. Thomas Jefferson
wisely said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government
from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” It’s time to
stop the gravy train!

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

2. Who are the uninsured?

So who are the uninsured? What got all this started? According to government figures, before
Obamacare was passed, there were about 47 Million people that did not have health insurance.
That doesn’t mean that these folks couldn’t get healthcare. The supporters of this law tell us
that millions of patients are left on the steps of emergency rooms to die because they don’t have
insurance. THAT IS A LIE! Doctors and hospitals give billions of dollars of care to patients every
year that they don’t get paid for. I care for patients every week that don’t have insurance.

According to the government, of the 47 Million uninsured, about 25 million are people who
either make enough money to afford some basic health insurance and choose not to get it or
they have access to health insurance from their employer or through government programs
and they CHOOSE not to participate. That leaves 22 million people who don’t have access to
affordable insurance. Now…according to the Congressional Budget Office, even if everything in
the Obamacare healthcare law worked according to plan—and when does that ever happen with
the government—there would still be 22 million people who wouldn’t have health insurance!
That’s partly because of the millions of illegal aliens we have in this country, but also because of
certain “waivers” or exclusions in who is required to get health insurance.

Now, of the newly insured under Obamacare, 47% will NOT get private insurance—they will be in
a government-run program like Medicaid or SCHIP—which will be paid for by we the taxpayers.
The Congressional Budget Office has revised its estimates of the costs of Obamacare several times.
It is now up to $2.6 trillion. That’s ON TOP OF the 22 new taxes in the law, all of which will cost
us as taxpayers and consumers. Still think this is a great deal?? So much for free healthcare!

And we still haven’t figured out how much we’ll be paying for the 159 new government
bureaucracies that will be set up through this law. Oh wait… you didn’t know about that? Yep,
Obamacare sets up 159 new agencies, grant programs, commissions, panels, boards….159 new
government bureaucracies. And the CBO hasn’t even calculated the costs of setting up and
running these new entities. So that $2.6 trillion will be much, much higher very soon. This deal
just keeps getting better.

So, so far we’re spending at least 2.6 trillion dollars for something that’s supposed to DECREASE
our healthcare costs. Is there honestly someone out there who thinks this makes sense??

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

1. Informed Consent

Hello! My name is Dr. Jill Vecchio and I am a practicing physician. In 2010, with
rhetoric flying from both right and left about “Obamacare” I decided to find out
for myself what was in the law, so I, unlike the congressmen who voted for it,
read it. While reading this 2700 page monstrosity, I was amazed and alarmed at
the scope of this legislation. I kept saying to my husband: “I can’t believe what‘s
in here! I’ve never heard any of this before! People need to know what’s in this
law!” So I started to give talks on the real content of the law. I’ve spent 2 1/2 years
researching it, and I’ve done a YouTube video series on it.

Over the next several weeks we will delve into the facts of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of the Obama Administration.

As a physician specializing in breast cancer, I believe strongly in the concept
of “Informed Consent”. Before I do a procedure on a patient, I review the risks
and benefits of the procedure as well as alternatives for diagnosis or treatment.
I then allow the patient to consider these options and make a decision that she
believes is right for her at the time. She may or may NOT choose to do what I’ve
recommended. She makes her decision, based her individual situation.

Years ago it was standard practice for doctors to withhold “bad news” from
patients…instead, the doctor would discuss it with family members. Patients let the
doctor determine what their treatment would be, and they accepted the outcomes
without question. Today we call that “doctors acting as God”. Now we have the
Obama Administration “acting as God”… by not giving we the people factual
information about this law and allowing us to determine our healthcare future

We all agree that the healthcare industry is sick… I propose to you that we, as
American patients, deserve to know the truth about what the Obama Administration
is doing to us as patients and citizens; what the risks of this legislation are, and what
the alternatives might be.

So let’s begin learning about what the Democrats in Congress and the White House
have decided is in our “best interest”. Let us then form our own opinions, and decide
this November whether or not we will indeed give this law our Informed Consent.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

PPACA Flyer by Dr. Vecchio

“Obamacare” :   The Facts about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)                            
Will Everyone Really be Insured?
No. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), even if everything worked out as the supporters of the law claim, there would still be 22 million Americans without health insurance.                                                                                                   
How will the newly insured be covered? According to the CBO, 47% of the newly insured will be covered under Medicaid or other government-sponsored insurance. The states will be responsible for most of the expenses for these new enrollees. This will add to the financial burden on the states and be paid for by YOU, the taxpayer.                                                                               
Will “Obamacare” decrease my premium costs?
Since “Obamacare” passed, healthcare premiums have increased from 10-22%! The CBO estimates that the premium costs for a typical family of 4 will be $20,000 per year by the year 2016. That’s how much you or your employer will have to pay. You may be eligible to receive a subsidy from the government, but that money must come from state or federal funds, and therefore, from YOU, the taxpayer.

Will “Obamacare” decrease overall healthcare costs?
The only way this law proposes to decrease overall healthcare costs is by restricting patient access to tests and treatments (healthcare rationing), or by decreasing payments to doctors and hospitals, forcing many qualified providers to stop seeing Medicaid and Medicare patients. Massachusetts has a similar plan to “Obamacare”, and the average wait time to see a primary care physician there is 48 days!

How Will Medicare be affected?
Overall, over $500 Billion dollars is scheduled to be cut from Medicare. “Obamacare” is the ONLY healthcare reform plan being proposed that decreases benefits to CURRENT Medicare recipients! All other plans, including those proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and Republicans, do NOT affect current Medicare patients. Many services, such as hospice, home health care, outpatient surgery, will be restricted. In addition, federal subsidies for Medicare Advantage will be severely cut, leaving millions of Medicare patients unable to afford the premiums.

How will my doctor be affected?
“Obamacare” directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (now Kathleen Sebelius, NOT a physician) to determine, through government bureaucrats, how doctors are allowed to diagnose and treat patients. If doctors do not comply with their rules, they may not be paid, they could be fined, or even put in jail! 45% of physicians surveyed have said that they will stop practicing medicine if these rules are allowed to go into full effect.                                                                                          

What are the “waivers” I’ve heard about?  
 Because the premium costs of the proposed government plans are so high, and the rules that businesses have to follow are so extensive, many businesses have requested “waivers” so that they will not have to participate in parts of “Obamacare”.  Even the entire state of Nevada (Senator Harry Reid’s state) was granted a waiver!   Many small employers will stop offering health insurance to their employees altogether, since the premium costs will be so high.   We may end up with MORE uninsured after this law goes into effect!                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Why did the American Medical Association support “Obamacare”? That’s a really good question!  The AMA only represents 17% of physicians, most of whom are not actually practicing physicians.  So most of the physicians affected by this law are NOT represented by the AMA!            

So what CAN we do to fix the Healthcare system?   
There are lots of great ideas being discussed that use market-based solutions rather than government bureaucracy to solve the broken healthcare system.   

To learn more, watch this YouTube video series:   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDk_GhE9Q1E                                                                                                                                                                         Feb. 2012 JQV