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Why Rep Ryan's plan doesn't go far enough Print E-mail
Written by Tara Pihn   
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:24

OK.  Let's recap.   There has been a lot of talk about unfunded liabilities and monstrous debt accumulation by the US government.    We've known this was coming (for at least the last thirty years) but there has been little political appetite by either party to face the music.   The Great Recession (and the easy money policy response) exacerbated the problem and our leaders decided to finally address it.   The Bi-Partisan Debt Commission recommends over $4 trillion in budget cuts (over ten years) with heavy hits to entitlements.  But these recommendations are not adopted.  Nothing happens.  The 'Pubs engage in a bit of brinkmanship and refuse to raise the debt ceiling.  Meanwhile the Ryan Plan recommends an austerity plan ($6.2 trillion in budget cuts over ten years) that includes re-shaping Medicare.  He is careful to exclude citizens over 55 (he states in the WSJ on April 5 "But because government should not force people to reorganize their lives, its reforms will not affect those in or near retirement in any way.").  The Dems deride Ryan's Plan and staunchly stand up for all citizens and the Medicare benefits to which they are entitled.  Rep Ryan's Path to Prosperity is promptly tabled since Progressive and even moderate Republicans won't support it.   At the 11th hour, the debt ceiling deal goes through with massive budget compromise.  Only $2.4 trillion is cut, some of it fake.  Nobody is impressed.  Including S & P.  Downgrade in US credit rating results.  Then we have a global financial market meltdown.
 
It is allegedly extreme but in reality Rep Ryan's plan doesn't go far enough.  We have to cap Medicare benefits now, for everybody.  For those over 55.  For those over 60.  Hell, for those over 70.   To quote the Prez, "we all need some skin in the game".  Now, before relegating me to the lunatic fringe, click on this link: US BIRTHS 1947-1964.  As you can see the Demographic Bulge is happening right now.  It's peaking right now.  The people enjoying benefits and about to benefit are hitting their maximum numbers over the next decade.  That's why it is Mission Critical to reform Medicare immediately with no Sacred Cows.

See related article from the New York Times:  Federal Budget (2011 and 2012) - Obama and Ryan Budget Plans

submit a READER RESPONSE for possible publication.

 
Give Me Liposuction or Give Me Death Print E-mail
Written by John Leighton Esq.   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 17:35

IN MY OPINION

Another incident of death on the liposuction surgery table has occurred.  It is outrageous and must be stopped. How can so-called rejuvenation centers continue to get away with multiple incidents of catastrophic injures?

With South Florida a Mecca of cosmetic surgery facilities, more needs to be done to ensure the safety of patients undergoing procedures. Lack of licensed medical personnel, botched surgeries and improper procedures resulting in seizures, vegetative states and death are occurring all too frequently.  And Florida does not even require these health care providers to carry any liability insurance.

Before undergoing cosmetic surgery, a patient should research their physicians and any medical facility online to check for prior claims and what insurance is maintained.  They should also speak with friends and colleagues to check out the credentials of the provider and learn of their reputations.  Much can be found online through the Florida Department of Health.

If you have a story of catastrophic cosmetic surgery, send your comments to DearJohn@LeightonLaw.com.

Mr. Leighton is the Managing Partner of Leighton Law.  Contact him at 888.395.0001 or visit www.LeightonLaw.com.

                            
                                  Reader Response, click
HERE. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:29
 
Insurance Industry "Concerned" About Mandatory Adoption of Health Policy Summary Form Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 17:16

IN MY OPINION


A recent article in WSJ reports that, as part of the health-care overhaul law, federal regulators will unveil the proposed health insurance policy summary form.  This will lay out the details of each policy, from deductibles to how much it might cost to have a baby. The requirement is supposed to take effect next March.  Currently, states mandate certain disclosures from health insurers, but they vary by state. The information often comes as part of a document known as the certificate of coverage or evidence of coverage, which can run to dozens of densely written pages and is often supplied ONLY AFTER a consumer has signed up for a policy. Employers offering coverage typically provide materials to their workers, but these also don't follow any common national format. 

The proposed new summary is expected to closely follow a draft version from a committee convened by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, people with knowledge of the matter said.  Health and Human Services is expected to finalize the form after a public comment period. Insurers said they were concerned about the potential cost and administrative burden of the new requirement, particularly if they have to create different iterations of the form for every possible plan design a consumer could explore and for every single employer.
~~~~~~~~~ 

"Insurance companies will make every effort to maintain the status quo, which disenfranchises the consumer." 

 ~~~~~~~~~

Of course they are concerned because for the first time the policies will be readable, comparable and can form the basis of rational decision making in a complex market place.  Who does understand his/her current health care policy? I don't!  I still struggle to understand how much my insurance will cover for a colonoscopy and how much I have to budget for this procedure.  If we want a free market place then we should allow for measures that create accountability and transparency.  Currently, insurance companies will make every effort to maintain the status quo, which disenfranchises the consumer.  We should support this new federal regulation and express our opinions during the public comment period.  Let's not miss this opportunity.  
 
Comment on this Story       
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:51
 
READER RESPONSE (late August 2011) Print E-mail
Written by Various Readers   
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:25

RE:  Entitlement Reform

In a recent CNNMoney.com article about the Eurozone, the author stated "The high government debt loads threaten to trap countries in a vicious cycle: The debt weighs on economic growth -- and austerity measures aimed at attacking the debt only put a further drag on their economies."  This is the reality for the US as well.  Remember too that the government will choose cuts to providers as more politically practical than cuts to beneficiaries.  Although in the end both will suffer a lot.

Healthcare Consultant, N. Miami


RE:  Pay Per Call Arrangements

I would point you to FL Statute 817.505 which prohibits pay-per-call arrangements in Florida.  There is an exception for "referral" services under section (3)(i) of this statute, but even this exception prohibits linking a fee to substantive lead, as this could clearly be interpreted as "...based on the potential value of a patient or patients..." (Which is prohibited under Section (3)(i) 4. of the statute.

Healthcare Banker, Broward County

Click HERE  to submit your comments to Reader Response

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:37
 
READER RESPONSE (early August 2011) Print E-mail
Written by Various Readers   
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 10:27

Regarding Examining the Demographic Bulge and the Dynamics of Capitalism:  Why the Pundits are too Gloomy

Well said. I also remain confident. There is no movement without friction. Every generation has had its obligation to overcome immense obstacles at long odds.  America may get a downgrade from S&P and Moodys, but I remain bullish. I think most of us are positive even with the bad news. It's part of our American DNA.  -IDTF Owner, Miami


Regarding ASK BEN

Thank you for publishing Mr. Frosch's columns.  His advice and insights are invaluable. -Practice Administrator, Orlando
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:36
 
Examining the Demographic Bulge and the Dynamics of Capitalism: Why the Pundits are too Gloomy Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:15

LEARNING TO CRAWL     

It's pretty depressing reading the newspapers these days.  I speak metaphorically when I say "reading the newspapers".  Clearly online reading is replacing traditional print media at an exponential rate.  But more on that later.  According to the experts, we are heading to Hell in a Handbasket because of unfunded entitlement programs, a demographic bulge and anemic growth.   Add to that runaway inflation caused by an historic increase in money supply (see hilarious and cynical video on The Quantitative Easing).  Admittedly the Great Recession and chronic budget deficits have left us with a full plate of challenges.  But it's not as bad as the prophets of doom have made it out to be.  Here's why.  READ MORE.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:40
 
Federal Budget Cuts Threaten Graduate Medical Education Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 17:03

In their efforts to reduce the federal deficit the partisan negotiators seem to agree on one issue only: drastic cuts of the Medicare subsidy for postgraduate medical education and funding reduction for advanced equipment that teaching hospitals require to train young doctors.

The recommendations made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, currently under consideration, would cut about $5.8 billion in graduate medical education funding from the nation's teaching hospitals. This represents a 53% cut compared to the current $10.9 billion in payments!! The Simpson Bowles Commission, which advised President Obama on debt and deficit reduction, called in December 2010 for reducing "excess" payments to hospitals for medical education. The commission said the payments could be brought in line with the costs of medical education by limiting the direct subsidy to 120 % of the national average salary paid to residents. A second, indirect subsidy, which pays for intensive services and advanced equipment, should also be reduced.  

The proposed draconian cuts will jeopardize the sorely needed expansion of graduate medical education in the U.S. and exacerbate the looming physicians’ shortage. Who will care for the baby boomers seeking medical services? Who will provide primary care physicians once millions of Americans gain access to healthcare coverage in 2014?

The proposed measures are based on penny wise and pound foolish approaches to cover our federal deficit and ignore the long-term investments needed to protect our crumbling healthcare service infrastructure in the U.S. The suggestions were developed by politicians with a limited political life cycle.

I suggest a review of thoughtful proposals such as the Nineteenth Report by the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) entitled "Enhancing Flexibility in Graduate Medical Education" before throwing out the baby with the bath water.

The future of our healthcare is at stake and politicians must step aside to let experts take charge.    Comment on this Story

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:15
 
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