Sunday, October 14, 2012

50. What You Can Do

50. What You Can Do         


One of our founders, Samuel Adams, said:  “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”   For several weeks now you have hopefully been listening to me opine about Obamacare and how this healthcare law would affect Americans, and how it threatens the very basis of our Constitution.  Mr. Don Crawford, President of Crawford Broadcasting, wanted to sponsor these commentaries because he understood how important it was to educate American voters at this crucial time in our country’s history.  Now, it’s your turn!


With great knowledge, comes great responsibility.  I urge each and every one of you to spread your knowledge about Obamacare to your family, friends and neighbors.  Don’t be afraid!  I have given over 100 talks on this subject, to many different audiences, and believe me:  everyone wants to know about Obamacare!  Even if they think it might be a good idea based on what they’ve heard from the media and the Obama administration, when they learn the truth, they are astounded.  I’ve even met self-confessed diehard liberals that do not like this law!  Remember that this law will affect every single American, and in my opinion, in mostly negative ways.


So, where to start?  First, the written version of my commentaries are posted on the Crawford Broadcasting website via the home page.  In addition, I now have a website that includes these commentaries, as well as my YouTube video series and a single page flyer that you can pass out to your friends and neighbors called “The Truth about PPACA/Obamacare”.  The video series and this flyer are purely educational—just real facts about the law that many Americans will find interesting and illuminating.  Consider posting a video, a commentary, or the flyer on your facebook page; or distribute the link to my website to your facebook friends.  You don’t have to have all the answers, and you don’t have to be an expert on Obamacare!  Just send them the information and let the dialogue begin!  Give people the facts and let them make their choices.  If you get stuck, just contact me thru Crawford Broadcasting or my website:  Don’t expect others to do this work for you!  You can be the key to the outcome of this election!  As a great friend of mine said:  “It’s time to find the George Washington in all of us!” the governance of any other.”

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

49. The Constitution is Our Protector

49.  The Constitution is Our Protector


In 1776 the American colonies made a list of complaints about their king not respecting their laws; not allowing them to have a say in their own governance; making them pay too much in taxes; creating bureaucracies that harassed and burdened them;  exposing them to “dangers of invasion”; and “fundamentally altering” their forms of government.  This document was the Declaration of Independence.  These men risked their lives and fortunes to fight for the opportunity to start a new country; one whose own citizens could determine how they would be treated, protected and governed.  They researched centuries of literature and governments “in Order to form a more perfect Union”, establish a system of justice, provide for the protection of the country and its citizens, allow for personal freedom and individual rights.  This research resulted in the Constitution of the United States. Three branches of government (Legislative, Judicial and Executive) were established in order to provide “Checks and Balances”, so that no one entity could gain too much control. 


Let’s see how that’s going…

*We now have elected representatives that spend their entire careers as politicians.  You get “access” to your representatives by making donations to their re-election campaigns.  They use legislation to buy votes.  This was never intended by our founders.  Elected officials were meant to serve for a time then go back to private life, allowing others to then serve:  hence “Government by the people”. 

*Congress and the President pass laws that violate the Consititution that they have sworn to uphold.

*Our President will not enforce our country’s legal borders as required by our Constitution.

*We have government agencies that are not part of the legislative branch of government, but they are making “laws” that affect we the citizens on a daily basis; rules that “harass and burden”. 

*We have a President who is using Executive Orders to bypass Congress and the Legislative process outlined in our Constitution.


The Constitution is our Protector.  It was established to protect “we the people” from a government gone awry.   The Declaration of Independence asserts that it is the duty of the citizens to get rid of a government that no longer provides for their protection.  That time has come.  Barack Obama and his Progressive Democrats must go.

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

48. Thank you Justice Roberts!

48.  Thank you Justice Roberts!


When the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare came down, the country was dumb-struck.  The political analysts and constitutional lawyers were in a tizzy trying to decide what it meant and how to think about it.  Many defended his decision as a brilliant long-term strategy; most declared it an indefensible case of judicial activism.  Here’s what I think:  If Roberts had ruled the Individual Mandate unconstitutional and agreed that the entire Obamacare law be struck down, I am convinced that Americans would have gone back to sleep, politically speaking.  If he had ruled the Individual Mandate constitutional under the Commerce Clause, we’d have lost untold freedom as Americans and most would never have understood what happened.  But Americans DO know what a TAX is!  And they now understand that they can’t rely on the Supreme Court to save them from Obamacare anymore.   I have a series of YouTube videos on the internet explaining Obamacare.  The number of people watching those videos quadrupled in the 2 months after the Supreme Court decision.  I used to give talks to groups of 20-30 folks, now the groups are 100 or more.  Americans are getting involved in the political process like never before!   If Justice Roberts hadn’t ruled the way he did, I don’t think any of this would be happening.


One of Justice Roberts’ decisions was applauded by all who oppose Obamacare:  he ruled that the federal government couldn’t force states to expand Medicaid enrollment.  As of last August, only 11 states had decided to expand Medicaid as required by Obamacare.  Other states are hesitating, or refusing to expand due to the millions or even billions of dollars it will costs their taxpaying residents.  If states refuse to expand their Medicaid roles, Obamacare will not work, and millions more Americans will be unable to afford the Obamacare insurance policies, and be left without insurance.


Of course, we are now left with that pesky “tax” ruling that says Congress can force us to buy things we don’t want, merely by taxing us until we comply.  The way I see it, if we can get Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, one of the first laws they should pass can say that Congress CANNOT use its taxing powers to force Americans to buy anything.  That’s why we have 3 branches of government folks!  And in the future, let’s be more careful about who we put into office.   Justice Roberts said that too—and he was right!

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

47. Life after Obamacare

47.  Life after Obamacare


So let’s say Republicans win the House, the Senate and the Presidency, and they’ve held to their word and repealed Obamacare.  What now?


Well, first let’s think about what repeal might mean?  The law may be gone, but Obama and his team have had 2 ½ years to enact many parts of it—agencies, departments, grant programs, panels, commissions, rules and regulations that took effect as early as September 2010.  What happens to those?  In January 2011, the newly Republican-controlled House passed a bill to repeal Obamacare “as if it had never been passed”.   Even then, it would have been difficult to figure out what needed to be reversed, and IF it could be.  Once a government program is in place, it is very difficult to get rid of it.  One agency is intertwined with another, which in turn depends on employees in another agency, and so forth.  It’s like picking a burr out of a cotton ball.  That said, I’m more than willing to do whatever it takes to destroy all remnants of this heinous beast!


Now, when it comes to addressing legislation for real market-based healthcare reform, Congress needs to, first and foremost, recognize and respect the 10th Amendment to the Constitution—Whatever powers are not expressly granted to the federal government by the Constitution, are hereby granted to the states and the people.  Healthcare, remember, is not one of the powers granted to the federal government.  In spite of that, over the years, the fed has been granted power over Medicare and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital system.


So, in my opinion, Congress should clearly outline what is and isn’t their responsibility when it comes to healthcare:  they get Medicare and the VA; the individual states and We the People get the rest.  I suggest that we privatize Medicare insurance coverage as outlined in the Ryan-Wyden plan; and we privatize healthcare for our ex-military and veterans.  We let the states decide whether they want to have government-run healthcare or regulated free-market systems or a little of each.  Congress and the President should get rid of the multitude of unnecessary regulations that burden healthcare providers, businesses, and technology companies.  Allow the sale of insurance across state lines and nationally; and oh yeah--make a law prohibiting the federal government from forcing citizens to purchase health insurance.  Thank You, Justice Roberts!

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

46. How to Repeal Obamacare?

46.  How to Repeal Obamacare?


So we’ve talked about how laws are typically made, and how the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010 abused that process in order to make Obamacare the “Law of the Land”.  Not too many laws of this magnitude have ever been repealed.  So how do we get rid of it? 


The typical way to repeal this law would be for the House to vote to repeal, requiring a simple majority vote.  There will likely be enough Republicans elected to the House to accomplish this, and there may even be some Democrats that will vote to repeal.


Next, we need 60 Senators to vote to repeal.  Unfortunately, there is only a slim chance that enough Republicans will be elected to reach this number, since only 1/3 of the Senate seats are up for election this year.  It is possible, but doubtful, that Democrat Senators will vote to repeal.


Finally, and absolutely mandatory, is the election of a Republican President, since Obama will definitely veto any attempt to repeal and there will certainly not be enough Senators to override a Presidential veto.


So what if Republicans only win 51 Senate seats??  How about using the same tactics to repeal this law that were used to pass it??  Sounds fair to me!  Unfortunately, there are Republican congressmen that may not agree to do that.  On the other hand, the Supreme Court decision that the Individual Mandate is a TAX, not a penalty, should allow the Reconciliation Rule to be used, which only requires 51 votes.  But there are Republican leaders that claim they have to have a budget in place before they can use that rule.  Really??  The Senate hasn’t approved a budget for over 3 years!  There was no budget when the Democrats used that rule to pass Obamacare!   What gives??


This is where We the People come in!  If we put Republicans in office to repeal Obamacare, it is their duty to represent their constituents and do their job!!  How dare they balk at repairing the injustice the Democrats have done to our legislative system?  We need to remind them that they work for us!  And we will need to keep reminding them when it comes to ideas for real reform!  It’s time to put We the People back into the legislative process!! 

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

45. How Obamacare Became the “Law of the Land”

45.  How Obamacare Became the “Law of the Land”


So how did Obamacare become a law.  It’s actually pretty interesting.  If you recall, the Democrats in the House weren’t able to pass their version of a Healthcare law.  Because all revenue bills have to originate in the House of Representatives, the Senate found a bill that met those qualifications: HR3590, a military housing bill.  They took out essentially all of the wording of it, and turned it into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.  It gets better.


The Senate at that time had 60 Democrats, just enough to pass Obamacare.  After the bill passed the Senate tho, Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy died.  In his place, Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown.  That meant that, if the House made any changes to the bill, the Senate wouldn’t have the necessary number of votes to pass the corrected bill, since they knew no Republicans would vote for Obamacare.  So they made a deal with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives:  the House would pass the Senate bill without any changes, IF the Senate agreed to pass a separate bill by the House that made changes to the Senate version of Obamacare.  This second bill was called the Reconciliation Act of 2010.  It made a bunch of detail changes, and added some things.  So the House passed PPACA, the Senate bill, as well as their Reconciliation Act.  So now PPACA was ready for the President to sign, but the Senate still needed to pass the Reconciliation Act from the House.  Confused yet?


Now, remember that the Senate only had 59 votes to pass the Reconciliation Act since Republican Scott Brown replaced Democrat Ted Kennedy.  In order to pass the Reconciliation Act, therefore, the Democrats in the Senate decided to change the rules.  They declared that they could use the “Reconciliation Rule”—this is a different “reconciliation” than the House bill now.  This rule was only used for budget item approval, so that budget items could be passed with only 51 votes in the Senate, not the usual 60.  This rule was never intended to be used for legislation of the magnitude of Obamacare.  Too bad… they used it anyway.  So then both of the “Acts” passed both houses of Congress and were then signed by President Obama.  All done by Democrats without a single Republican vote in favor of it.  To quote Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings of the House Rules Committee during the bill process:  “We’re making up the rules as we go along”.  They certainly couldn’t have made this law without it.  How do you feel about that?       

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

44. How Laws are Made

44.  How Laws are Made


Hopefully, if you’ve been listening to my commentaries, you’re ready to get rid of Obamacare.  But how does that work?  How are laws made and repealed?


First, whatever party wins control of the House or Senate gets to be in charge of all of the various committees in Congress.  That’s absolutely key. The committee chairs get to decide what bill proposals will be heard in the committees and what will actually be voted on.  Without this crucial step, no bill can become law.  Just because a bill passes one of the 2 houses of Congress does not mean that it is, or ever will be, a law.  That’s why nothing has happened in the Senate for the past 2 years:  the Democrats control the Senate committees, so, even though the House passes a bill, the Democrats running the Senate will not allow Republican-supported bills to even be voted on.  So none of them has a chance to become actual law. 


Now, each new Congress that comes in every 2 years gets to make up their own rules about how they will pass laws.  They are supposed to abide by the Constitution of course, but the Democrat-controlled Congress that passed Obamacare pushed the limits of that flexibility to the max.  We’ll talk about that tomorrow.   Typically, any bill that involves raising money, or taxing citizens, has to originate in the House of Representatives.  If it passes the House, and the Senate passes it, it goes to the President to be signed into law.  If the Senate makes changes to the bill, then passes it with those changes, it then goes on to a Conference Committee: this consists of members of both parties in both houses of Congress.  Here the wording of the law is reviewed and corrected as needed.  After the Conference Committee, it goes back to the House to be voted on again, and if passed, it goes to the Senate for a vote.  If it passes that, it goes to the President to be signed into law.  Obamacare did not go thru these typical steps—almost none of them!  In addition, not a single Republican voted for this law!  That has never happened for a law of this magnitude.  Even Social Security and Medicare had bi-partisan support.


So that’s how laws are supposed to be made in our country, according to our Constitution. Tomorrow, we’ll see how this process was abused to force Obamacare on We the People.

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

43. Romneycare Update

43.  Romneycare Update


Commonwealth Care in Massachusetts, also called “RomneyCare” was passed by a Democrat-controlled state legislature.  According to Galen Institute, then Gov. Mitt Romney tried to make several changes in the law to increase free-market involvement, and he opposed the Individual Mandate, but was overridden by the Democrats in his state.


Since Romneycare was passed, healthcare costs have skyrocketed.  Massachusetts now has the highest per capita healthcare costs in the country.  So what are the Democrats in the state legislature doing now to control these costs?  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal last August, “all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and providers must now register with a new state bureaucracy” in order to get keep their licenses to practice medicine.  These providers will have to do extensive reporting on things like their financial status, compliance with “quality measures”, market share, etc.  In addition, now get this:  “no registered provider is allowed to make any material change to its operations or governance structure”.  That means that the state will have control over how  providers runs their own businesses.  If a doctor is ordering too many tests, or spending too much on patient care, the state will force them to submit a “performance improvement plan” that then has to be approved by the commission.  Oh, and it gets worse!   Doctors that don’t comply with the commission’s requirements can be fined $500,000.   Apparently, the “left” in Massachusetts was upset that the government wouldn’t have MORE control over providers!!   I have a request—will the last doctor to leave Massachusetts please turn out the lights?


Consider now that the Democrat law called Romneycare was the template in many ways for the Democrat law, Obamacare.  Obamacare already ties provider reimbursement to compliance with “quality measures” that government bureaucrats will develop, and it organizes providers into Accountable Care Organizations that will tell doctors how much care they can give their patients. 


Democrats aren’t interested in quality patient care—they are only interested in having total control over our healthcare system…1/6 of our economy.  The only way to stop them is to vote them out of office!   A Republican House, Senate and President is the only chance we have to get rid of this agenda.

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

42. WHO study2

42.  WHO study2


We’ve been discussing the often-quoted WHO study that ranked the US 37th among 191 countries in healthcare.  This study became the reason that Democrats insisted that America needed Obamacare.  


The overall level of healthcare ranking was determined by using the criteria we talked about yesterday:  life expectancy, financial fairness, and distribution of healthcare and responsiveness… and then taking into account things like literacy and overall healthcare expenditures.  Well, consider that the US has a huge problem with malpractice.  Congressman and physician Tom Price from Georgia estimates that 25% of healthcare expenses in the US are due to defensive medicine—tests and treatments that aren’t necessarily needed, but that doctors order to protect themselves from malpractice lawyers.  That makes our healthcare that much more expensive.  So that makes us rank lower.


The WHO also used literacy rates, to decide what countries provided the best healthcare.  So the US scored lower overall partly because of our failing education system!  


It’s funny that nowhere in the WHO rankings was patient behavior considered.  Smoking, diet, sexually transmitted disease…none of these were considered.  The US was also penalized for all of the money we spend on keeping premature infants alive; and for expensive cardiac bypass operations or dialysis that save lives and keep our friends and family members active for years.  Many of the countries that ranked higher don’t even try to save these people, some leave premature babies to die.


So the WHO study penalizes the US for giving patients state of the art technology and treatments, beautiful healthcare facilities and flight-for-life.  They especially don’t like the idea that we give our citizens CHOICES, and that the US free-market allows people the ability to become wealthy enough to take advantage of those choices.  Socialism preaches “fairness” and “equality”.  What they mean is that they want to eliminate exceptionalism and opportunity for excellence.  Think about this the next time you hear Barrack Obama preaching about “fairness”.

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

41. WHO Study1

41.  WHO Study1


When the Democrats decided to make healthcare a crisis in this country, they loved to quote a World Health Organization study that ranked the United States 37th in the “quality of healthcare” compared to other countries in the world.  In fact, they are still quoting that study.  So, any discussion about healthcare would not be complete without analyzing this so called study, The World Health Report 2000.


First of all, remember that the countries being compared to the US all have socialized medicine of some sort.  Those folks were the ones that set up the criteria for the rankings and assigned the scores.  They based the ranking on how well they think a country’s healthcare system performed compared to how they THINK that country should have performed.  Sound a bit subjective?  It gets worse.  They ranked based on life expectancy and “responsiveness” of a healthcare system, and that sounds reasonable; but then they had a score for “financial fairness” and “responsiveness distribution” and “health distribution”.  Let’s look at these. 


“Financial fairness” measured what percentage of a family’s income was spent on healthcare.  They liked the idea of everyone paying the same percentage.  So, a country would get a better score if wealthy folks paid much, much more for their healthcare than poorer folks, similar to our federal income tax system.  The countries that had government deciding who paid for what healthcare scored highest… in other words, countries with socialized medicine.  Countries that had more variation, with some families paying a smaller percentage of their income on healthcare, and some paying a higher percentage, like the US, were penalized.  


“Health Distribution” and “Responsiveness Distribution” measure how “equal” the level of healthcare and responsiveness of care is for a country’s citizens.  In this scenario, a country that has poor resources and mediocre care for all ranks higher than a country, like the US, that has good quality for all, but exceptional quality for those who are able and willing to pay more.  Using a food analogy, if everyone gets hotdogs, it’s “better” than if everyone has access to hotdogs, but some eat lobster.  Me?  I think the WHO is full of baloney.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 7 Real Reform Ideas

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)
Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 6 Constitutional Issues

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)
Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 5 Doctors and Patients

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

Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 4 Employers and Exchanges

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

Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 3 Costs B

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)
Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 2 Costs A

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)
Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 1 Coverage

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.) Dr. Jill Vecchio--PPACA Pt 1 Coverage
Vecchio speech at Americans for Prosperity Rally 6/29/2012

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

40. Just the Beginning

40.  Just the Beginning


On one of my trips to Washington, DC to meet with other doctors that opposed Obamacare, I met a young physician who had grown up in Chile.  I’ll call him Francisco.  He told a sobering story of his family’s experience during the Presidency of Salvador Allende in the 1970’s. 


Allende was a Socialist who believed in nationalization of industries, re-distribution of wealth and government control of virtually every aspect of Chilean life.  One of the first things he did was nationalize the healthcare system.  He set price controls on goods and services and set up a distribution network of government agencies to ensure that his new rules were followed.  Sounds a little like Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board and the state healthcare exchanges, doesn’t it?


Francisco’s family lands were taken by the government and re-distributed to poorer families.  Funny thing though—those poorer families didn’t know how to manage their new lands.  They ended up hiring Francisco’s parents to do it.


Allende massively increased spending, especially on social programs.  Within 2 years, the inflation rate in Chile was 140% and Chilean GDP was actually in the negative.  There were numerous strikes by workers and the country defaulted on foreign debt.  Allende was accused by the Chilean congress and the Chilean Supreme Court of abusing his Executive powers “ruling by decree, thwarting the normal legislative system”.  His response to these accusations was to complain that Parliament has made itself a bastion against the transformations . . . and has done everything it can to perturb the functioning of the finances and of the institutions, sterilizing all creative initiatives.” 


In a speech in Las Vegas in October, 2011, President Obama said “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job”. “Where they won’t act, I will.”  Sound familiar?

Francisco came to Washington, DC to oppose Obamacare because he didn’t want the United States of America to end up like Chile.  He said the similarities were frightening. After researching Allende’s Presidency I have to agree.  That’s why I’m talking to you every day.  We can learn from these other countries.  We have one more chance to stop Obama and the Democrats and their socialist agenda this election.  Our Constitution can’t save us if no one pays attention to it.

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

39. The Progressive Agenda

39.  The Progressive Agenda


Obamacare isn’t a new idea. Remember when Hillary Clinton tried to get “HillaryCare” passed in the 1990’s. That wasn’t the first time either. The Progressive Movement, present in America for over 90 years, has been trying to get government in charge of the healthcare system since Woodrow Wilson.  Listen to the words of our most famous Progressive, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1932:  “our task is not discovery… or necessarily producing more goods.  It is the soberer, less dramatic business…of distributing wealth and products more equitably…the day of enlightened administration has come…”  In discussing the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, he said:  “The task of statesmanship has always been the re-definition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order.”  In other words, he and his fellow Progressives saw it as their task to re-define our rights as American citizens.  And they’ve been very busy doing just that.


In 1963 President Kennedy tried to get Medicare passed.  At that time, the American Medical Association represented 70% of physicians in this country.  The AMA then was very conservative, with conservative leadership.  They vehemently opposed Medicare as a form of socialized medicine.  As a result, Medicare was voted down.  Under Johnson however it was revived and passed thru Congress in 1965.


Since that time, the progressive movement has managed to assume leadership roles in, I would say, most of the professional organizations in medicine, including the AMA, and most of the specialty medical societies.  Our medical schools are becoming increasingly progressive, teaching concepts like “social justice”, and encouraging sacrifice in the name of “society as a whole”.  The Hippocratic Oath is being altered to include progressive terminology at many schools.


I am not exaggerating when I say that the very core of my beliefs as a physician are being threatened by the progressive notions of treating societies rather than patients, of making decisions for “the good of the whole” rather than for the good of the individual.  I will be threatened and punished for practicing my art as I was originally trained.  If Obamacare is allowed to go into full effect, I will absolutely quit practicing.  And I’m not the only one.  Not only will I refuse to be coerced into compliance with a system that I abhor; but I will not be a collaborator in the socialization of my country.  Will you? 


The Progressive movement has finally gotten their healthcare law.  God help us if they get to keep it.

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

38. Lesson in Socialism

38.  Lesson in Socialism


This story has been making its way around the internet, but it is such a great story, I have to include it in our healthcare discussions.   This story explains perfectly why the concept of socialism can never really work.  Here goes:

An college economics professor made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A….

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D!  No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that. 

Now imagine what will happen if your health, your very life, is left up to system run by people who have no motivation to do their best for you.  Welcome to socialized healthcare. 

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.  For America, this one is either Pass or Fail.  Either we continue to go down the one-way road to Socialism or we make a U-turn back to Freedom.  We cannot have it both ways. 

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

37. Follow the Money

37.  Follow the Money


So if this Obamacare thing is so terrible, you ask, why did the AMA, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the AARP all endorse it?  Unfortunately, the answer is simple:  Follow the money.


Obamacare cuts $716 billion from Medicare.  $136 billion of that comes out of Medicare Advantage—a Medicare option wherein patients can buy an upgraded Medicare policy thru a private insurer.  The federal government subsidizes these policies to keep the premiums low enough for seniors to afford.  That subsidy will go away over the next 10 years.  Since this option won’t be available for seniors, the market for supplemental health insurance for Medicare patients will increase…a lot.  And guess who sells a lot of supplemental health insurance policies---you guessed it, AARP.  So the AARP sold out their members so they could rake in the profits.


The American Medical Association sold out their members as well.  They have a monopoly on the publication and sale of the codebooks that every healthcare provider has to use in order to bill for services, so they can get paid.  Every provider has at least one set of these books in their offices. The AMA makes about 5 times as much money on these books as they do in membership dues.   Guess who granted the AMA the monopoly on the code books?   Yep, the federal government.  Think that entered the discussion at all when the administration was asking for their endorsement of Obamacare?


We talked about how the insurance industry sold out their agents and brokers with the Medical Loss Ratio and the state healthcare exchanges.  Imagine how many more policies they anticipate issuing because of the Individual Mandate requirement that every American now have insurance or pay a tax.  And the American Hospital Association loves the Accountable Care Organization model that puts them in charge of the patients for a change, instead of the doctors.  The hospitals will get to choose how the money is distributed in most of the models.  How could they resist that?


Politicians were bribed, and if that didn’t work, they were threatened.  The list goes on and on.  This law brought out the very worst of politics.  And in my opinion, it will destroy the very best of America.

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

36. Medical Loss Ratio

36.  Medical Loss Ratio


Today we’re going to discuss Medical Loss Ratios, MLRs. I know, sounds as exciting as a root canal, but you’re gonna wanna hear about this!  In Obamacare, the Medical Loss Ratio, or MLR rules say that, for every dollar of premium payment paid into an insurance company, 80-85 cents has to be paid out in direct medical care to the patient.  Wow—that sounds great!  Let’s make those greedy insurance companies pay!  Guess again!  The 15-20 cents left over isn’t enough to pay for the insurers overhead AND pay their insurance agents and brokers.  Already, the agents that I’ve talked to in Colorado are seeing a 30-50% decrease in their income from commissions!  These agents and brokers will be put out of business.  Now why would the insurance companies let that happen??  Is it because they’re planning on having the state healthcare exchanges take the place of the insurance agents.   Afterall, the exchange is just a glorified insurance brockerage, but it’s PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYERS.  The insurers aren’t stupid!  They’re more than happy to let taxpayers handle this expense, while they expect millions of new insurance policies to be purchased, primarily by the taxpayers, with premium subsidies paid for by the taxpayers, due to the individual mandate.  So the insurance companies have bought into Obamacare and they’ve sold out their agents.


Now, some states applied for a waiver from the MLR requirement in the law.  They had to show that compliance with the MLR in their state would “destabilize the insurance market”.  The latest numbers are that 17 states applied for a waiver, but only 7 states were actually granted some form of a waiver. Nevada was one of those states.  Hold on…isn’t Nevada where the Democrat leader of the Senate, Harry Reid is from?  Didn’t he push this law through?  And now his state is granted a waiver while 10 other states weren’t. 


Aren’t you tired of hearing about special treatment, secret deals, “making up the rules as we go along” behavior from this administration?  How “fair” do you think these people will be when it comes to your pacemaker, diabetes treatment, or cancer therapy?  The Democrats preach “fairness”.  Well, I think it’s only fair to hold them accountable for their healthcare law—vote them out of Washington. Make them try to find a job out here like the folks who are losing their jobs because of Obamacare.

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

36. Lizard in a White Coat

36.  Lizard in a White Coat


So last week we talked about how the Accountable Care Organizations are going to incentivize your doctor to withhold potentially necessary tests and treatments, or at least limit your options.  We’ve talked about how the Medical Loss Ratio requirement of insurance companies will put insurance agents and brokers out of business, and how the Obama Administration is once again playing favorites with your healthcare.  And we talked about how the State Healthcare Exchanges will limit your choices in insurance coverage and cost you as a taxpayer lots more money…money that you could be spending on your child’s education, or saving for your retirement.  In fact, in Colorado, 85% of the residents probably will never actually USE the exchange—but we’ll be the ones paying for it.


What if we took a lesson from Louisianna and used an internet portal for our healthcare insurance?  They have access to over 150 different insurance plan options from companies all over the country.  They get to shop around for the policy that best suits their needs AND their pocketbook.  We wouldn’t need to spend tens of millions of dollars to start and run yet another giant government bureaucracy—one that still won’t meet our needs, and that many of us will never even use.


What if we get rid of the long list of required insurance coverages—coverages that most of us will never use, but that we’ll have to pay for so others can use it—and allow us to purchase insurance from any company in the country.  That will further decrease our insurance costs by allowing nationwide competition.  Imagine getting your health insurance from the same company that provides you auto, home and life insurance.  You could get discounts for multiple policies and healthy lifestyle choices.  If you don’t smoke, have a healthclub membership, keep your weight under control and manage your diabetes, you get a discount.  You could join a huge risk pool with others throughout the country—not just those in your small business or state.  That alone would make health insurance so much more affordable for everyone.  We don’t need an Accountable Care Organization that will limit our choices to doctors and services.  We want MORE choice, MORE flexibility, MORE competition, MORE service, LESS government involvement and LESS cost.  Obamacare gives us exactly the opposite.

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

33. 34. State Healthcare Exchanges 1 and 2

33.  State Healthcare Exchanges 1


So Obamacare claims it will insure “everyone”.   Well, we’ve already shown that that’s not true.  This law plans to expand Medicaid and other government-run insurance programs in order to insure another 30 million or so Americans, but how?  Well, through the establishment of State Healthcare Exchanges.  Each state is supposed to set up yet another government bureaucracy that will act essentially like an insurance brokerage, helping folks to find an insurance plan that works for them.  Sounds good, right?  What could be wrong with that?  Lots of things!


First of all, we don’t need them!  We have thousands of private insurance agents who make their living providing advice and guidance on insurance products that individuals or businesses can access for their healthcare.  There are problems with the system, granted, but the agents themselves, and their role, is not one of those problems.


The REAL purpose of the Obamacare exchanges is to distribute our taxpayer dollars to people who go thru the exchange for their health insurance.  Unless a patient goes thru the exchange, they won’t be eligible for what is called a “premium subsidy”: money to help them pay for the very expensive policies that everyone will be required to buy under the law.  According to Obamacare, a family making up to $89,000 a year can qualify for money to help them pay for their insurance policy—a policy that the government forces them to purchase or face a penalty of thousands of dollars a year.  And with an expected premium price of $13-20,000 per year, it’s not a wonder that they’ll need help paying for it!


If an insurance exchange is such a great idea, and so necessary, let the insurance companies, or some other private entity, do it.  Oh wait, they already have done it! is an online business that already does that!  In fact, the state of Louisianna already uses for their state insurance exchange—they’ve had it running for years.  It cost about $1.5 million to set up and about $1 million per year to run.  Contrast that to the $45 million that Colorado is already set to spend setting up their exchange—taxpayer dollars mind you.  And Colorado doesn’t even know how much it’ll cost in taxpayer dollars to continue to run it every year after that.  Do you hear a giant sucking sound?  That’s the money being sucked out of your child’s college fund, or your retirement account.


So the government will be spending billions of dollars of our hard-earned money to pay for a bureaucracy we don’t need, to force us to buy insurance we don’t want, at a price that we can’t afford.  Are you kidding me??







34. State Health Exchanges 2


The implementation of Obamacare hinges on the establishment of healthcare exchanges in every state.  Without the exchanges, Obamacare would be unenforceable, impotent. These exchanges will be either government or non-profit private entities.  The policies they will offer will be required to meet the criteria of what they are calling a “qualified health plan”—that is, a plan that includes a set list of mandates or coverages.  We already talked about the fact that the more coverages that are included in an insurance policy, the more expensive the premiums are.  The final official list of mandates hasn’t been released yet, but when the law was passed, the list included things like emergency care, hospitalization, mental health services, maternity and newborn care, pediatric services and vaccinations, preventive services, things like that.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t need maternity care or pediatric services.  But anyone getting a policy thru the exchange will have to pay for it.  With a few minor exceptions, all policies offered thru an exchange will be the same—there’s almost no flexibility.  No policies sold thru the exchange can offer fewer coverages—which would make them more affordable of course—nope, can’t have that.


So, how are all the states doing with setting up these exchanges?  The deadline to submit a plan to the Secretary of HHS is November 13, 2012, so they don’t have much time.  As of Sept 12, 2012, 18 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to set up exchanges.  So 32 states are either refusing to set up an exchange, or they’re waiting to see what happens with this election.  But get this—not one state has a completed plan for an exchange that has been approved by the government yet!  Not one.


 Now, if a state doesn’t set up an Exchange that’s acceptable to Secretary Sebelius, the Federal government will supposedly come in and set one up.  So much for states’ rights, the 10th Amendment.  Funny thing is tho’—according to the Obamacare law, if an exchange is set up by the Fed, there can’t be any premium subsidies or penalties on employers.  Well now, that just negates the whole purpose for the exchanges, doesn’t it!  So now, President Obama has decided that he can ignore what the law says and just give the right to distribute subsidies and penalize employers to the IRS—which is apparently not supposed to be allowed under our laws.  Does this administration think that they can just make up the laws?  Force sovereign states to set up bureaucracies that they’ll have to pay for?  Force American citizens to purchase a product just because the Democrats think they should?   That’s exactly what they think.  And that’s exactly why they need to be voted out of office.

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

32. Consequences of ACOs

32.  Consequences of ACOs


Yesterday, we learned about the Accountable Care Organizations and how they will reward providers for NOT giving potentially needed testing and care.  Now let’s talk about some other consequences of these organizations.


The ACOs are intended to provide comprehensive services for patients all in one place.  Sounds good so far, but think about it:  are all of your doctors and therapists in one institution?  Maybe you have an orthopedic surgeon that you really like in one area of town, your cardiologist is somewhere else and your primary care doc is in another area.  Under the ACO plan, you would be apportioned to a single group of providers—a group that may or may not include doctors that you like.  In the law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority to even assign you to an ACO, regardless of your wishes.  Are you kidding me?? She also has the authority to change your Prescription Drug plan if she thinks it justified. What country are we living in again??


Right now, 50% of physicians are employed by large medical group organizations, like Kaiser, or they’ve sold their practices to a hospital.  50%.  Why have they made this choice?  Mostly because they are fed up with the government regulations and bureaucracy.  Many because they can’t make a living anymore due to high overhead costs and malpractice insurance.  Once these ACOs go into effect, a physician in private practice will find it even more difficult to stay in business:  see the ACOs will control patient referrals.  If a doc isn’t a member of an ACO, and forced to abide by their rules, they may not have a patient base large enough to support their practice.


And you can forget about the independent outpatient surgery and imaging centers—centers that provide excellent care at a fraction of the cost of a hospital.  It will be the end of private practice and competition.  This is not what our country was meant to be!  America was founded on the notion that each citizen has the right and opportunity to prosper by providing a product or service that could create wealth for the innovator.  If the product was not desired by the consumer, the business would fail.  In the ACO model, we won’t have a choice.  There will be no other alternatives.  Our ability to control our lives through our consumer decisions will be gone.  An almighty government bureaucracy will be making those decisions for us.  Is that what you want? 

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