Obama Dooms Seniors To Ravages Of Aging





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On Oct. 1, 2012 the Obama administration started awarding bonus points to hospitals that spend the least on elderly patients. It will result in fewer knee replacements, hip replacements, angioplasty, bypass surgery, and cataract operations.

These are the five procedures that have transformed aging for older Americans. They used to languish in wheelchairs and nursing homes due to arthritis, cataracts, and heart disease. Now they lead active lives.

But the Obama administration is undoing that progress. By cutting $716 billion from future Medicare funding over the next decade and rewarding the hospitals that spend the least on seniors, the Obama health law will make these procedures hard to get and less safe.

The Obama health law creates two new entitlements for people under age 65 – subsidies to buy private health plans and a vast expansion of Medicaid. More than half the cost of these entitlements is paid for by cutting what hospitals, doctors, hospice care, home care, and Advantage plans are paid to care for seniors.

Just Take Pill

Astoundingly, doctors will be paid less to treat a senior than to treat someone on Medicaid, and only about one-third of what a doctor will be paid to treat a patient with private insurance.

On July 13, 2011, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and hospitals to accept Medicare. Doctors who do continue to take it will not want to spend time doing procedures such as knee replacements when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing care their patients need for an extra fee. You’re trapped.

President Obama seems to think that too many seniors are getting these procedures. At a town hall debate in 2009, he told a woman “maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller.”

Science proves that the president is wrong. Knee replacements, for example, not only relieve pain but also save lives. Seniors with severe osteoarthritis who opt for knee replacement are less apt to succumb to heart failure and have a 50% higher chance of being alive five years later than arthritic seniors who don’t undergo the procedure, according to peer-reviewed scientific research.

Yet Foster warned Congress that 15% of hospitals may stop treating seniors once the Obama-Care cuts go into effect. The rest will have to lower the standard of care. Hospitals will have $247 billion less over the next decade to care for the same number of seniors as if the health law had not been enacted.

Obama claims his Medicare cuts will knock out waste and excessive profits. Untrue. Medicare already pays hospitals less than the actual cost of caring for a senior, on average 91 cents for every dollar of care. No profit there. Pushing down rates will force hospitals to spread nursing staff thinner.

Elderly patients will have a worse chance of surviving their stay and going home. When Medicare reduced payment rates to hospitals as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, hospitals incurring the largest cuts laid off nurses.

Rewarding Skimpy Care

Eventually, patients at these hospitals had a 6% to 8% worse chance of surviving a heart attack, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research report (March 2011).

In addition to the across-the-board cuts, the Obama administration will now impose a new measure on hospitals: “Medicare spending per beneficiary.” Hospitals that spend the least on seniors get bonus points, and higher-spending hospitals get demerits.

Hospitals will even be penalized for care consumed up to 30 days after patients are discharged, for example, for outpatient physical therapy following a hip or knee replacement.

There are ways to control Medicare spending, such as inching up the eligibility age or asking well-off seniors to pay more. Forcing hospitals to skimp on care is deadly.

Research sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Annals of Internal Medicine, February 2011) shows that heart attack patients at the lowest-spending hospitals are 19% more likely to die than patients of the same age at higher-spending hospitals. Yet the Obama health law pushes all hospitals to imitate the lowest spending ones.

Ignore the political rhetoric and look at the scientific evidence. The Medicare cuts in the Obama health law will end Medicare as we’ve known it and doom seniors to painful aging and shorter lives.

 

This commentary appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

 





Obama’s Knockout Game Against America





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One of the latest fads young people are involved with is called the Knockout Game. A group or a single person is walking down the street of some city and sees an unsuspecting person coming their way. They punch them in the face, and the victim usually falls to the sidewalk unconscious. It is dangerous because the victim isn’t expecting the punch and could land on something that could break their neck. A few of the punchers have been arrested. Often, they don’t think it is a big deal.

But President Obama has been doing his version of the Knockout Game for years. An unsuspecting America elects him and is made to think he will save it. Then he begins lowering the boom on the citizens, and America is still reeling. He said he would make creating jobs his number one priority. WHAM. He makes baling out his supporters and Wall Street his number one priority. He claims he wants students to receive the best education possible. WHAM. He shuts down the Washington, DC voucher program that allows parents in the District of Columbia to receive vouchers so they can send their kids to better schools. Maybe he feared poor students would be better than his two daughters.

He did his version of the WPA, which put so many Americans to work during the Great Depression. We are experiencing a similar economic downturn which he may have been partly responsible for since he backed the legislation that crashed our economy when he was in the Senate. But after spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create good permanent jobs, WHAM, we find out there aren’t nearly as many good permanent jobs (and some of the money hasn’t been spent yet.) Also, much of the money was never intended to be used for job creation. Money is invested in companies that go bankrupt, and unions are paid off.

Obama pushes for national health care like Progressives had been supporting for around a century. He says he wants the millions who don’t have health insurance to be covered by what is now called Obamacare. He promised we could keep our doctors and health care insurance policies if we liked them. WHAM. He lied. He said before he was elected that he wanted a single-payer national health care system, and it looks like he may get his way. He said people would save money. But he didn’t tell people that the cost savings might come at the expense of their lives. Doctors are quitting because they know the government doesn’t want to pay them in full. Hospitals are turning down Medicare and Medicaid patients because the government won’t pay all the expenses. Over $700 billion was transferred from Medicare to Obamacare. It was bad enough when Clinton took 10% of retirees’ Social Security checks in taxes in 1993, which has continued for 20 years. But with Medicare about to expire, transferring desperately needed funds into Obamacare is an enormous WHAM.

The latest WHAM comes from the Senate that decided to do away with the filibuster threat. Obama likes the idea of his nominees to the federal benches not being delayed by the Republicans filibustering his choices. The left-leaning DC federal court will now be able to go WHAM whenever it feels like it once the three recently chosen nominees become a part of the court. Will people in the district be able to exercise their Second Amendment right and carry a gun for protection? WHAM. Only the police and military will.

There may come a time in the future when protesters of the government will be arrested and, WHAM, put away for life. A preacher says something the government considers defamatory; and, WHAM, the preacher is locked up for years–and the doors of his church are padlocked. Our government trusts what the Iranians say; and, WHAM, they develop nuclear weapons in secret and receive missiles from North Korea, China, or Russia and can, WHAM, launch an attack on Israel. At least the Israeli missile defense system I will attempt to improve, if given the chance, will destroy the missiles over Syria or Jordan. But millions may die if the warheads are detonated.

When I hear Democrats say Obama doesn’t lie, I want to go, WHAM, wake up in the real world and not the Obamanation. When I hear Democrats say Obama is the greatest President, I again want to go, WHAM. We’ve lost millions of jobs that may never come back, and the real unemployment number is probably over 14%. And if it weren’t for the Fed buying bonds to prop up the stock market, WHAM, we’d have a depression.

When high unemployment causes Social Security to go belly up sooner than expected, our foreign investors decide America is too big a risk and want to redeem their bonds, our friends in the Middle East become our enemies (and our enemies take advantage of our loss of respect in the world), and over $100 trillion in unfunded mandates send our economy crashing, WHAM, this nation will be worst than a Third World Country. At least they can be bailed out. Not America. When a nation has been warned of troubles ahead like this country has been for decades, don’t be surprised if the final WHAM is the sound of the coffin lid on a nation that has expired.





Obama’s War Against the Poor





Photo credit: terrellaftermath.com

Those who want to control the poor have an easy job because the poor have little to lose.

Revolutions aren’t successful unless there are plenty of poor people who are expendables for the cause. Such a revolution is happening in America. But unlike other revolutions that depend on the poor to sacrifice themselves in an attempt to make things better, millions of poor people have been told they will do worse if Obama gets his way; and they still defend him knowing what the consequences are. I am barely old enough to remember LBJ declaring war on poverty. After spending a few trillion dollars to fight it, the percentage of the poor in America hasn’t changed, except for the worst. When you throw in the other programs meant to help the poor from FDR’s time until today, the war on poverty has cost us more than any other war. But Liberals want to fund the fight with more trillions of dollars that won’t end poverty.

Before Obama leaves office, whether by force or by outlasting his enemies and being replaced in 2017, Obamacare will become established law in one form or another. The poor supported Obama because he said they would have free health care. They didn’t want to believe that it came at a price. That is why they are going to be subsidized or included into the Medicare and Medicaid systems. But since Obama had over $700 billion in Medicare funds transferred into Obamacare, the systems millions will need to rely on are being underfunded. Doctors and hospitals are dropping out of the systems, and the poor are left with few choices for medical care. The rich can pay cash, while the poor are treated like trash.

Jobs that the poor rely on for employment are going from full-time to part-time, with few benefits if any. Obama is closing down the coal industry and coal-fired power plants, which means that electricity prices will soar before alternative energy sources can fully replace coal. If the EPA closes down privately funded oil and gas wells and prevents federal land from being used for oil and gas production, the price for gasoline might never go lower than $4 a gallon in the future. With the inflation rate not taking higher energy and food prices into consideration after Obama entered office, the poor are most affected by higher prices. And when he considered his two daughters more deserving of a better education than the children of other parents in Washington (whom he deprived of receiving vouchers that could allow them to send their kids to better schools), he demonstrated his contempt for the poor. The increase in food stamp spending illustrated the desire to make more people dependent on government “charity”.

Most of his life, Obama was no doubt told that he was special. He was better than the rabble he eventually roused. He went to Harvard because he was made to think he deserved to go there. He destroyed his competition so he could climb over their discarded lives and dreams to become the least-competent President to ever tell the voters lies they wanted to believe.

The higher-than-reported unemployment rate and lower contributions into Social Security is draining the system faster than expected. Medicare may eventually vanish as Obamacare absorbs the system. The poor will be forced to accept whatever medical care they are given, even if it means dying prematurely. If our bonds become worth little more than Monopoly money, the stock market will crash, our foreign investors will want their money, and those depending on income from bond investments will be plunged into poverty. If the tax rate on the wealthy doubles and exemptions are abolished, we could experience the worst depression ever experienced. If the safeguards established to prevent another Great Depression can’t prevent the even Greater Depression, we could see blood in the streets as the poor rise up against the government, and our troops are forced to gun them down.

Revolutions that produce bloodshed are often tragic. But revolutions that produce millions of traitors against their leaders because the poor find out they have been deceived are insane and sometimes preventable. With Obama calling the shots, despite his claims of ignorance, chaos is nearly inevitable. Using the poor to accomplish your goals is despicable. But to punish them for helping you is unforgivable.

 

Photo credit: terrellaftermath.com





Sequestering And Washington’s Fiscal Incompetence

spending2 Sequestering And Washingtons Fiscal Incompetence

As many of you may know, if the political class does not get its act together by March 1, 2013, automatic Federal government spending cuts will kick in that will reduce government spending by over a trillion dollars over the next ten years. This “sequestering” of budget dollars was agreed to by Congress and Obama in August of 2011 in the debt ceiling negotiations.

While this is a decent first step in reining in government spending, it is still pretty meager. Overall government spending will still increase in the baseline budget view, it will just increase at a somewhat lower rate. Annual spending deficits will continue to mount up, increasing our national debt and burdening future generations of Americans with that debt.

How anemic is this effort at reducing spending? Let’s do some simple math:

  • Let’s assume that the ten year trillion dollar spending reduction averages out to about $100 billion a year.
  • According to the official White House website, the Federal government will spend about $4.5 trillion in 2017.
  • This $4.5 trillion is less than it spent in 2012 but is less than it will likely spend ten years from now, under baseline budget assumptions, so the 2017 estimate is a good ten year annual average.
  • $100 billion a year in spending cuts against an average spending budget of $4.5 trillion is only a meager 2.2% spending decrease.
  • According to the White House website  budget spreadsheet, in 2017, this $100 billion in spending cuts would still add over half a TRILLION to the national debt.

Despite this feeble attempt at expense reduction, many in the administration are choking on it. Retired Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claims our national defense would be endangered by a 2.2% reduction in spending. Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that we could not afford a meager 2.2% reduction in his budget since we needed to continue to butt into the lives of people in other countries around the world. President Obama has been spreading panic, claiming many vital government services would be slashed because of this meager 2.2% cut in spending.

Makes you wonder if these so-called leaders are 1) that out of touch with the real world, 2) want to protect their turf at any cost regardless of the impact on the fiscal integrity of the country, or 3) are just that fiscally incompetent that they do not know how to run an efficient operation and can only operate it by increasing their budget rather than decreasing their organization’s waste, redundancy, and incompetence.

To help these politicians understand why this 2.2% reduction is a very easily attainable goal, let’s point out via just a HANDFUL of examples of how wasteful, redundant and incompetent their organizations are today:

- Medicare and Medicaid lose over $100 billion a year to waste, inefficiency, and criminal fraud.

- Social Security loses over $100 billion a year to waste, inefficiency, and criminal fraud.

- The IRS admits that it is so incompetent that it fails to collect over $380 billion a year from tax evaders.

- The U.S. Navy, one of Panetta’s former organizations, spent $300 million to build two Navy ships almost to completion before spending another $10 million to turn them both into scrap metal without ever using them.

- The State Department, John Kerry’s organization, recently spent $80 million to build a consulate building in northern Afghanistan that will never be used since the $80 million is not defensible from a terrorist attack and was built by bypassing the State Department’s own building guidelines relative to terrorists.

- The Transportation Safety Agency recently bought over $180 million worth of airport security equipment that it will never use, storing it in a warehouse in its original packaging.

- Employees in the General Services Administration threw themselves a Las Vegas bash at taxpayer expense, resulting in the dismissal and resignations of GSA employees and executives.

- The Obama administration recently made the inane, indefensible decision to give Egypt over one billion dollars worth of F-16 fighter planes and tanks, weapons that could eventually impact both Department of Defense and State Department operations in the future.

- And last but not least, consider some new findings relative to the President’s economic stimulus plan, as recently reported by the Independent Journal Review. Unfortunately, these types of expenses are no confined to the stimulus program, they happen every day in every Federal government department and entity.

These insults to the taxpayer occurred even though when President Obama signed the $831 billion stimulus into law in 2009, he stated that “tough choices smart investments” needed to be made. So ask yourself: if these are the “smart investments,” you can only wonder what the dumb expenses were:

  • $250 was sent to a woman in Maryland who died in 1967.
  • $840 was spent to disassemble and assemble three desks.
  • The Lincoln Center in New York City was paid to host a “tango salon.”
  • $10,000 was spent replacing light fixtures at a fish hatchery.
  • $425,000 was spent in $250 increments to 1,700 prisons inmates for social security checks.
  • $426,000 was spent to rebuild a bridge that is used by a average of ten cars a day.
  • $500,000 was spent in subsidies for rain barrel installation.
  • $600,000 was sent to a school district in Kansas …that no longer exists.
  • $1 million was spent in New York on road signs advertising stimulus projects.
  • $1 million was used to build 250 bike lockers.
  • $1.25 million was used to use electric fish to study animal sensory information.
  • $1.75 million was spent on energy-efficient garage doors.
  • $2.2 million was spent to install skylights for a liquor store in Montana.
  • $2.8 was million spent installing toilets in New Mexico’s national forest.
  • $15 million was spent to build an airport in Ouizinkie, Alaska …a town of 165 people.

Disgraceful wastes of money. Which gets us back to our central question: Are Kerry, Panetta, and Obama out of touch, protecting turf or just fiscally incompetent? Or possibly all of the above?

Let’s Be Honest – Medicare Is Insolvent And Doctors Soon Won’t Accept It

Medicare SC Lets Be Honest   Medicare is Insolvent And Doctors Soon Wont Accept It

Now that campaigning is finished, it is incumbent on our elected government to face up to Medicare’s problems and implement thoughtful solutions. Pretending that Medicare is financially solvent while ignoring the facts about the declining acceptance of Medicare and the future of health care access for seniors under the ACA is worse than misguided policy, it is outright dishonesty. Instead of fixating on ideological differences, the first step is to agree about the urgency of the situation, so that we can keep Medicare for the long term in a form consistent with America’s core.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2012 elections, the facts about Medicare have not changed.

Medicare is spiraling into bankruptcy, owing to both the demographics of America and the realities about health care. Every year for the next two decades, roughly 3 to 4 million seniors become newly eligible for Medicare as the baby boomer generation ages. Elected officials of both parties do not dispute the seriousness of the problem described in the 2012 Medicare Trustees Report, which estimated Medicare’s unfunded obligations to be almost $38 trillion and a hospital insurance trust fund that will become insolvent in 2024.

That outlook does not even consider the bigger picture over the next decades coming as a consequence of the fantastic advances in modern medicine. As the newest “Global Burden of Disease” report in the Lancet just acknowledged, with increasing longevity come two very expensive consequences: more people are surviving to die of chronic diseases found only in old age. They require expensive drugs, diagnostics, and hospital care; and more people are living with disorders that don’t kill them, but that produce disability and reduced health.

An increasing proportion of doctors are already not accepting Medicare patients, and the primary reason is low payment for services. A 2008 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, said that 29 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who were looking for a primary care doctor had a problem finding one. In the 2008 HSC national survey, more than 20 percent of primary care doctors accepted no new Medicare patients (only 4.5 percent accepted no new privately insured patients) and about 40 percent of primary care doctors and 20 percent of specialists refused most new Medicare patients. Today, in some states, more than half of doctors already do not accept new Medicare patients.

Read More at Forbes . By Scott W. Atlas.

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