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Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Doctors Spurning Medicare

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 31, 2013

There are lala-land expectations in Washington, especially among Progressives, that desiring a result can be legislated.  Such is the case with Obamacare.  Those that support this significant new government entitlement program often base it on the facts that people need medical service and many do not have insurance coverage.  While both are accurate, wishing for corrective action through complex, but poorly conceived legislation, merely makes matters worse.

Many government programs have proven counterproductive and ineffective.  An example is the Department of Energy started during Jimmy Carter’s administration for the purpose of lessening America’s dependence on imported oil.  When the DOE was started the United States imported a bit more than 30% of its oil.  That number has more than doubled under the watchful eyes of the DEO, but has not stopped the agency from growing and increasing its authority and spending.  Another example is Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs started in the mid-1960s.  Since then poverty rates have increased, but the programs remain and have been expanded.

Those who believe the outcome of Obamacare will be beneficial to Americans and their medical needs are but ostriches that stick their heads in the ground to avoid addressing danger.  The Wall Street Journal has reported a related issue, i.e. doctors opting out of the Medicare program in growing numbers.  According to the Journal, a growing Medicare problem includes:

  • Approximately 9,500 doctors who previously accepted Medicare have opted out of the program in 2012. This is an increase of approximately 6,000 since 2009.
  • The number of family doctors accepting new Medicare patients has decreased from 83% in 2010, to 81% in 2012.
  • While in 2010 3% of family physicians were cash only or concierge practices, it increased to 4% in 2012

Physicians are opting out the Medicare program because of economics.  The government has been reducing reimbursement amounts significantly with some being less than $60 for a 15 minute office visit.  Even those that continue seeing Medicare patients are forced to shorten the amount of time spent with each patient in an effort to maintain their income.  In addition, the amount of paperwork required for Medicare is burdensome.

While the number of doctors opting out of Medicare is only a small percentage of the total doctors participate in the program, the trend is alarming.  Add to this the new pressures put on the medical industry from Obamacare and the likelihood for shortages of doctors and poor service increases significantly.  When this train-wreck occurs it will be too late to unravel Obamacare.  Instead, look for the same government who created the mess to create even more legislation in attempts at corrective action.  And so the world turns.


Posted in Medical, Obamacare | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

AMA Now Classifies Obesity a Disease

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 24, 2013

Last week the American Medical Association (AMA) held its annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.  According to USA Today, the AMA for the first time classified obesity, which it defines as 35 pounds over one’s healthy weight, as a disease.  This new “disease” currently covers roughly 1/3 of all Americans.  Prior to last week’s announcement, the AMA merely referred to obesity as “a major public health problem.”

burgerAfter the announcement (proclamation) was made, the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine’s (St. Louis) director Samuel Klein said: “The most important aspect of the AMA decision is that the AMA is a respected representative of American medicine.  Their opinion can influence policy makers who are in a position to do more to support interventions and research to prevent and treat obesity.”  This statement is correct and carries with it unintended consequences.

Mass obesity in the United States is a recent phenomenon, only a few decades old.  This this fact points over eating and making poor food selections a choice for most people and not an inherited disorder.  Making overindulgence a disease opens the door for demands for insurance coverage and governmental benefits to pay for corrective action.  In addition, like so many other new “diseases” created in our psychobabble society, calling obesity a disease removes some personal responsibility.

Finally, the AMA and others in the medical industry are in conflict position when claiming additional human behaviors as diseases.  This industry, like the social service industry, benefit by supplying services to those who need corrective action to cure the newly defined affliction.  This accelerating slippery slope is a natural extension of the big brother government who promises to take care of all in need.

Posted in Medical | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Obama’s Health-Care Reform’s Sleight-of-Hand

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 25, 2011

President Obama loves theatrics, often combining them with facts that do not hold up to scrutiny.  Such was the case with the push to promote ObamaCare.

It was obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics that the promises presented by the President for health-care reform did not add up.  For example, the President indicated that the bill would result in millions of uninsured Americans receiving insurance while cutting costs.  Speaking of alchemy!

For the theatrics, Obama promoted that his health-care reform had broad support within the medical profession and often touted the American Medical: Association’s (AMA) backing.  During ceremonies at the White House, Obama held photo ops with doctors to promote the illusion of this broad support, as exemplified in the photograph below still posted on whitehouse.gov.  That assertion was false.

Forbes magazine published an article titled Doctors And AMA Split Over Contentious Issue Of ObamaCare that included some interesting facts:

  • The AMA currently represents 17% of doctors.  The AMA’s support does not mean broad support within the medical community.  In fact, a survey conducted by Jackson & Coker indicated that only 13% of doctors agree with the AMA’s support of Obama’s health reform.
  • Jackson & Coker also reported that of the doctors recently dissociating themselves from the AMA, 47% cited the organizations backing of the health care bill as the reason.
  • In a study by the National Physicians Survey, doctors by a three to one margin indicated their belief American health care quality will deteriorate under ObamaCare.  That survey also found that nine of ten physicians believe ObamaCare will have a negative impact on their profession

The polls also indicate that most Americans believe Obamacare will lead to higher medical costs and less or lower quality services.  This conclusion is reasonable given that of most governmental interventions in the marketplace have shown similar results.  In addition, experience with government agencies from the departments of motor vehicles in states to the US Postal Service has set appropriate expectations.  But this reality has not deterred President Obama from his primary goal to fundamentally change America via more governmental intrusions.  To Progressives like Obama, the masses are but shipped to be shepherded by the elitist Left.

Posted in healthcare reform, Medical | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Added Costs of ObamaCare Beginning to Take Hold

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 22, 2011

While most of the supposed benefits of the healthcare reform bill, better known as ObamaCare, are yet to be implemented, its costs to the medical system are already being added.  Signs of these costs can be seen when patients register at a doctor’s office.  First, the office makes a copy of the patient’s driver’s license.  Then, the patient is asked a series of three new questions:

  • What is your race?
  • What s your ethnicity?
  • What is your primary language?

While patients are informed that they may opt out of answering the questions, the fact that they are asked should be an affront to all Americans.  These questions have nothing to do with the well-being of patients and do nothing to lower medical costs.  In fact, they increase costs by requiring still more data entry and storage at the doctors’ offices.  In addition, once collected goventment workers will obviously do something with the data that will not only be unproductive, but probably lead to still more governmental program.

As ObamaCare continues to be implemented, still more surprised will come from it, most of which will lead to higher medical costs.  Unless ObamaCare is reversed, the damage to America’s medical system, even in its current imperfect state, will be similar to the current financial status of Social Security, Medicare and the Post Office.

Posted in Medical | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New York 26 Results Have Nothing to do With Medicare

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 26, 2011

Guest writer Jim Mahoney shares with us some straight talk about this week’s election results in the 26th congressional district in New York.  As usual, Jim gets it; but the Leftists in the media do not.

To emphasize the importance of this issue, ABC caught a candid discussion between President Clinton, Democrat, and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan on the implications for the Left on the outcome of the New York election.  Clinton candidly admits the dangers to the Democrats and the Country should his Party misinterpret the results of this on congressional election.

Harry Reid and Barack Obama have performed a miracle; making the Clinton presidency look pretty good. 

New York 26 Results Have Nothing to do With Medicare, Jim Mahoney

All eyes were on New York State this past Tuesday for the special congressional election to fill New York’s 26th congressional district near Buffalo, as Democrat Kathy Hochul, running on a one note campaign of “saving Medicare”, upset Republican Jane Corwin putting the seat in Democrat hands for the first time in ten years.  Predictably, the New York Times was quick to assume this one special race spells bad news for Republican plans to reform Medicare and their prospects in the national elections in 2012.  The Times noted the results of the election should cause some “soul-searching” among Republicans and cause them to rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan.

As with most things liberals tell us spell doom for conservatives, what was left out was more important than what was reported.  Democrat Hochul won with 47% of the vote, Republican Corwin got 43% and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis received 9%.  If we break down the numbers we get 43% GOP Conservative + 9% Tea Party Conservative = 52%, or +5 Republican in a district where the registration is +6 Republican.  So it seems that the election didn’t turn on Republicans plans to overhaul Medicare, but as the result of a Tea Party spoiler in the race.  Curiously it also seems that Jack Davis is a faux conservative Democrat operative who ran as a Tea Party candidate in order to the split the conservative vote.

By now the template is well established.  When Democrats win special elections it means the tide is turning and Republicans and their polices will be ousted in the next election cycle.  When Republicans win, the media tell us the results are either meaningless, reflect only local dissatisfaction or portend a coming Democrat backlash that will oust the Republicans in the next election cycle.  It is all so predictable and so tiresome.  The results of New York 26 do not signal a sea change in voter sentiment and liberals ignore that fact at their own peril – or so we can all hope.

Posted in Medical, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Autism Study Linking Vaccines Proves Fraudulent

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 5, 2011

For some time a 1998 British study that supposedly connected childhood vaccinations with autism gained traction in western countries.  This theory  received high-profile publicity from some in Hollywood that announced they would not vaccinate their children because of the potential dangers.

CNN has just reported that the British medical journal, BMJ, concluded that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the study’s author, misrepresented or altered the histories of all 12 patients in the study.  BMJ’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee, went so far as to say:

It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors.  But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”

Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession.”

It’s always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science.  But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues.”

The negative impact on society from this fraudulent study has been significant.  Concern from parents led to a drop in children getting vaccinated for  measles, mumps and rubella. In Britain after the studies publication, the vaccination rate dropped to 80% and in 2004 with cases increased sharply.  In the United States, measles cases in 2008 were the highest in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As bad as the initial fraud was, it remarkably took very long for Dr. Wakefield to be called on the flawed study by the scientific community after questions arose as to its validity.  His co-authors withdrew their names from the study six years ago when it became public knowledge that Wakefield  took funds a law firm that sued vaccine manufacturers.  If something quacks like a duck it is not an elephant!

This story of bad science seems to have parallels with some of the junk science being used to support the theory of global warming being creating by man’s use of carbon-based fuels.

  • Both have inherent conflicts of interest with significant money at stake.
  • Both have shown fraud in their studies.
  • Both have or had wide support in the Progressive community including the Hollywooders.

Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, concluded of the reported fraud that it “represents Wakefield as a person where the ends justified the means.  Unfortunately, his core group of supporters is not going to let the facts dissuade their beliefs that MMR causes autism.  They need to be open-minded and examine the information as everybody else.

Those who blindly follow the theories of manmade global warming would do well to consider Dr. Wiznitzer’s advice and be open-minded and examine the information.  They would also do well to determine who profits from the theory since they are most susceptible to the ends justifying the means


Posted in Autism, Medical | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »