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Report: Obamacare Exchanges Fraud Costs Taxpayers Millions

It seems an incredible waste to put tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of taxpayer dollars at risk through fraud on federal exchanges.

Christopher Jacobs reports: What do Obamacare and Haley Joel Osment have in common? They both see dead people.

On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released another report into eligibility verification checks on the federally run Obamacare insurance exchange used by more than three dozen states. As with prior studies, GAO concluded that regulators still need to improve integrity efforts to ensure the federal government spends taxpayer funds wisely.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Among the report’s most noteworthy conclusions: A total of 17,000 federally subsidized insurance policies studied during the 2015 plan year—the most recent for which GAO had complete data at the time of its investigation—began or continued after the applicant’s reported date of death. In 1,000 of those cases, coverage began after the applicant’s reported date of death. In a further 2,000, the application was submitted after the applicant’s reported date of death—in most cases because the exchange automatically re-enrolled applicants without checking to determine that they remained alive.

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GAO previously recommended that the federal exchange verify eligibility periodically, checking changes in circumstances that would affect the status of federal subsidies, such as death. However, to the best of auditors’ knowledge, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not implemented this recommendation, one of 18 relating to exchange integrity that remain open (i.e., not completed) from two prior GAO reports. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Government Can’t Fix Healthcare


[VIDEO] Remy: People Will Die! 


[VIDEO] Bloodthirsty Zombie Democrats Turn Up The Rhetoric!



[VIDEO] Goldberg & Hemingway: Is the Senate GOP Healthcare Bill Dead On Arrival? 


[VIDEO] Reality Check: Health Care is Not a Fundamental Right 

The ‘Right’ to Health Care.

There isn’t one.

Kevin D. Williamson writes: With the American Health Care Act dominating the week’s news, one conversation has been unavoidable: Someone — someone who pays attention to public policy — will suggest that we pursue policy x, y, or z, and someone else — someone who pays a little less careful attention, who probably watches a lot of cable-television entertainment masquerading as news — responds: “The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that health care is a human right!” What follows is a moment during which the second speaker visibly luxuriates in his display of empathy and virtue, which is, of course, the point of the exercise.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

It’s kind of gross, but that’s where we are, politically, as a country.

Here is a thought experiment: You have four children and three apples. You would like for everyone to have his own apple. You go to Congress, and you successfully persuade the House and the Senate to endorse a joint resolution declaring that everyone has a right to an apple of his own. A ticker-tape parade is held in your honor, and you share your story with Oprah, after which you are invited to address the United Nations, which passes the International Convention on the Rights of These Four Kids in Particular to an Individual Apple Each. You are visited by the souls of Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, who beam down approvingly from a joint Hindu-Catholic cloud in Heaven.

Question: How many apples do you have?

You have three apples, dummy. Three. You have four children. Each of those children has a congressionally endorsed, U.N.-approved, saint-ratified right to an apple of his own. But here’s the thing: You have three apples and four children. Nothing has changed.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Declaring a right in a scarce good is meaningless. It is a rhetorical gesture without any application to the events and conundrums of the real world. If the Dalai Lama were to lead 10,000 bodhisattvas in meditation, and the subject of that meditation was the human right to health care, it would do less good for the cause of actually providing people with health care than the lowliest temp at Merck does before his second cup of coffee on any given Tuesday morning. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Obama’s Condescension Is ‘Why We Should Be Grateful as a Nation That He’s Gone’ 


[VIDEO] SUPERCUTS: The GOP Health Care Bill Will Kill Everyone!


[VIDEO] Single-Payer Health Care: America Already Has It 

Could a single-payer, government-run health care system work in the United States? We already know the answer, because America already has single-payer, government-run health care. Author and commentator Pete Hegseth explains.

 


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Another Republican Opportunity for Healthcare Legislation Around the Corner 

 


Peggy Noonan: High Anxiety Over Health-Care Reform 

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People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore. And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

Peggy Noonan writes: What politicians, those hardy folk, don’t understand about health care is how anxious it makes their constituents. Not suspicious, not obstinate, but anxious. Because unlike such policy questions as tax reform, health care can be an immediate life-or-death issue for you. It has to do with whether, when, and where you can get the chemo if you’re sick, and how long they’ll let you stay in the hospital when you have nobody, or nobody reliable and nearby, to care for you. To make it worse, the issue is all hopelessly complicated and complex and pits you as an individual against huge institutions—the insurance company that doesn’t answer the phone, the hospital that says “I’m afraid that’s not covered”—and you have to make the right decisions.

It’s all on you.

Politicians don’t understand all this, in part because they and their families are well-covered on a government insurance policy, and they have staff to put in the claim and argue with the insurance company, which, when it’s a congressman calling, answers the phone in one quick hurry. They don’t know it’s not easy for everyone else. Or rather they know on some abstract level but forget in the day-to-day, as one does with abstractions.

But I want to speak of how it’s all on you: You don’t want to be seen—by others, by yourself—as someone who couldn’t make the right decisions for yourself and your family. “She didn’t know she needed Part B.” “She got the supplement that says she can’t be treated in Jersey.” You don’t want to be humiliated. “What a dope.” “What fatal lack of sophistication.”

“Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.”

And then these jokers in Congress come along. Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

And then it settles down, as things do after seven years. You hate the system, but it is what it is and you’re used to it. And now these new jokers come along and say, “We’ll make it nice, trust us!” And it’s all big and complicated—so complicated the president negotiating it appears to have no idea what he’s saying yes or no to. But the effects and implications of his decisions will all be left on you. And you watch from the corner of your eye as you pass the TV, and suddenly your blood pressure’s spiking again. For you it’s all more anxiety and dishevelment and confusion, but in a new package, this time delivered by Republicans.

When all you want is the card in the wallet so when you’re strapped to the gurney in the emergency room, they’ll see it and they’ll say the word you want to hear: “Covered.” Then you can happily pass out.

People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore.

And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

We go now to the failure of the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.

Politically it’s all obvious. For the new administration it is a loss and a significant one. It has damaged the new president’s prestige. Every president until he fails has the aura of unused power. Boy, when I use it, you’re gonna see muscle. He used it. No muscle. Fatal? No. Damaging and diminishing? Yes. It is an embarrassment too for Speaker Paul Ryan. Together they could not get a win on the board after they threw everything they have into it. This does not speak well for everything they have. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dana Perino Joins Mercy Ships’ Humanitarian Mission in Africa

Floating hospital docked in the Republic of Benin; for more information visit mercyships.org

Dana first visited our ship in 2013 during Mercy Ships’ field service in the Republic of the Congo. She will return on March 8 for four days while we’re docked in Cotonou to witness firsthand the hope and healing our crew is bringing to the people of Benin. On board theAfrica Mercy, Dana plans to shadow volunteer surgeon Dr. Mark Shrime, visit a local community, meet with patients to learn their stories, and much more.

Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo
Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo africa mercy ship dock africa mercy ship port

Many people in developing nations have little or no access to healthcare, causing children, teens and adults to suffer every day from treatable medical conditions. That’s why we use a hospital ship to bring care to those directly in need. Since our founding in 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered free services impacting more than 2.5 million children and families. Dana will experience a small taste of this during her visit.

Mercy Ships is tirelessly motivated to bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor, but we cannot do so without help from people like you. Mercy Ships operates via funding from private donors, foundations and socially responsible corporations. Our entire crew — from surgeons and nurses to chefs and electricians — is made up of volunteers who pay to serve on the ship. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ted Cruz vs Bernie Sanders Debate the Future of Obamacare 

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[OBAMA] Krauthammer: Obama Did a Lot, But It’s ‘All Built on Sand’ 

“I am the best president I’ve ever been?” That’s a pretty low bar. I’m sure all presidents, on the week they are leaving office, delude themselves into thinking they were a great historic success, I’m sure it happens in all walks of life. And you wonder whether Obama believes it. I’m convinced he does. I think what he doesn’t quite understand is: Yes, he did a lot of things, but they are all built on sand.”

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“The reason is that he never brought in the opposition. He never brought in the country. He wins all the elections when he’s on the ticket, and he gets crushed in the elections when he’s not because, as he said himself, “I’m not on the ballot but my policies are.” He completely overshot the mandate. The mandate in ‘08 was to reassure a very nervous, apprehensive country and to govern sort of in a moderate way. He understood it as a mandate for his sort of social democratic — he was Bernie Sanders before Sanders was Sanders. And he tried to govern that way, and you can’t for a country that is 80 percent non-liberal.”

Source: National Review


DNC Handbook: How to Avoid Accountability

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The Obama Legacy: Big Government’s Failed Pitchman

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President Obama entered office in 2009 with the twin goals of expanding the role that government plays in the lives of individuals and businesses and proving to Americans that the government could be trusted to achieve big things. He was only half successful.

Philip Klein continues:

…Through sweeping legislation and strong-armed use of executive power, Obama broadened the reach of government more than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Congress passed a national healthcare program, ramped up regulation of the financial sector, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure and alternative energy projects.

“As the Obama epoch wanes, trust in government has reached historic lows. A Pew poll last fall found that just 19 percent of Americans said they could trust the government to do the right thing most of the time — a lower percentage than during Watergate, Vietnam or the Iraq War.”

Rules issued by his administration now determine what type of health insurance everyone must have and how many miles per gallon their cars will need to average. Other rules, such as a far-reaching plan to curb carbon emissions, await legal challenges before formal implementation.

So Obama undoubtedly moved the ball down the field for liberalism, but the gulf between his promises and the reality of what was implemented dramatically hardened public skepticism about government. Under Obama, the nation found out that “shovel ready” stimulus projects weren’t shovel ready, and discovered that they were not allowed to keep the doctors and health insurance that they liked.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

As the Obama epoch wanes, trust in government has reached historic lows. A Pew poll last fall found that just 19 percent of Americans said they could trust the government to do the right thing most of the time — a lower percentage than during Watergate, Vietnam or the Iraq War.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Read the rest of this entry »


The Great Recession Enabled ObamaCare. Now the Law’s Failure Makes Reform Possible

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The Four Legs of a New Health-Care System

James C. Carpetta and Scott Gottlieb write: Donald Trump announced this week that he had chosen Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), a leader in the efforts to replace ObamaCare, to be his secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a consequential choice. Mr. Trump’s election, and the political realignment it represents, offers a generational opportunity to pursue a new direction for American health care. Mr. Price will now be leading the charge.

The new system should be fully consumer driven, empowering individuals to be the surveyors and purchasers of their care. Past reforms in this direction became stilted and ultimately incomplete, but the current moment offers a chance to truly rebuild from the ground up. If Messrs. Trump and Price want to make the most of this short window, they should keep four central reforms in mind.

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1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans. There’s ample evidence that enrollment in insurance doesn’t always lead to improvements in health—but access to health insurance is important nonetheless. A 2012 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found higher insurance enrollment from reforms in Massachusetts led to better results in several measures of physical and mental health.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Health insurance is also important for financial security. The ObamaCare replacement should make it possible for all people to get health insurance that provides coverage for basic prevention, like vaccines, and expensive medical care that exceeds, perhaps, $5,000 for individuals.

Those Americans who don’t get health insurance through employers, or Medicare and Medicaid, should be eligible for a refundable tax credit that can be used to enroll in a health-insurance plan. The credit would be set at a level comparable to the tax benefits available to individuals with employer-sponsored insurance plans. The subsidy would be enough to make a basic level of catastrophic coverage easily affordable for all Americans.

2. Accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions. The price of insurance naturally reflects added risk. That’s why beach houses cost more to insure than a typical suburban home. Yet there is a reasonable social consensus that people should not be penalized financially for health problems that are largely outside of their control.

So as long as someone remains insured, he should be allowed to move from employer coverage to the individual market without facing exclusions or higher premiums based on his health status. If someone chooses voluntarily not to get coverage, state regulation could allow for an assessment of the risk when the person returns to the market. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cuba’s State-of-the-Art Universal Health Care Innovations

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[VIDEO] REWIND: Best of Late-Night Jokes Mocking Obamacare

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Why Government Doubles Down on Policy Mistakes

Lawmakers, press and the public need to understand the strength of this “doubling down” phenomenon of and guard against it when adopting policy positions.

In simplified form, the dynamic runs as follows:

1)  Government, in response to a perceived need, takes action to meet that need in a manner that distorts economic behavior and produces predictable adverse effects.

2)  The public consequently experiences problems and expresses concern.

3)  The problems themselves become justification for additional government actions that worsen the distortions and the resultant problems.

4)  As problems worsen, the public more urgently demands corrective actions.

5)  Steps #3 and #4 are repeated ad infinitum.

We have seen and continue to see this dynamic operate in many areas of economic policy. To cite but a few:

Worker Health Benefits

With the best of intentions the federal government has long exempted worker compensation in the form of health benefits from income taxation. Lawmakers aren’t scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems.There is wide consensus among economists that the results of this policy have been highly deleterious. As I have written previously, this tax exclusion “depresses wages, it drives up health spending, it’s regressive, and it makes it harder for people with enduring health conditions to change jobs or enter the individual insurance market.” Lawmakers have reacted not by scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems, but rather by trying to shield Americans from the resulting health care cost increases. This has been done through the enactment of additional health programs and policies that further distort health markets and which themselves drive personal and government health spending still higher.

Federal Health Programs

The federal government has enacted programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to protect vulnerable seniors and poor Americans from ruinous health care costs.
The positive benefits of these programs co-exist with well-documented adverse effects. For example, it is firmly established that creating these programs pushed up national health spending, driving health costs higher for Americans as a whole. Consumer displeasure over these health cost increases subsequently became a rationale for still more government health spending, rather than reducing government’s contribution to the problem. Examples of this doubling down include the health exchange subsidies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as its further expansion of Medicaid. As the problem of high health care costs remains, proposals have proliferated to expand government’s role still further; for example, some have proposed making Medicare available to the entire US population. Though intended to provide relief, such legislation inevitably adds to national health spending growth. Read the rest of this entry »


‘After America, There Is No Place to Go’

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‘I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.’

If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”

“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.

She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.

“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”

No so.

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Hitler is welcomed to Austria

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.”

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.

“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.

Possible Presidential Candidates Attend South Carolina Democratic Convention

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.

“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.

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“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

“After the election, German officials were appointed, and, like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.”

“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.

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“Then we lost religious education for kids”

“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.

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“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”

And then things got worse.

“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

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“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.”

“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew Alle_zehnjaehrigen_zu_unsup, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.

“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.

“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.”

“In 1939, the war started, and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and, if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.”

“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.”

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.”

“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for heller_5military training just like the boys.

“They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines.

“When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.

“Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

“When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers.

“You could take your children ages four weeks old to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government.

“The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.”

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“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.”

“Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna..

“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.

“When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.

“As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80 percent of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families.

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“All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.”

“We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables.

AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / FILESBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.”

“We had consumer protection, too”

“We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the livestock, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.”

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Clinton Calls Skyrocketing ObamaCare Premiums ‘Glitches’

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[See the VIDEO here]

RADDATZ: What’s broken in Obamacare that needs to be fixed right now, and what would you do to fix it?

CLINTON: Well, I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches that you just referenced. Number one, we do have more people who have access to health care. We have ended the terrible situation that people with pre-existing conditions were faced with where they couldn’t find at any
1208_angry-doctor_400x400-300x300affordable price health care. Women are not charged more than men any longer for our health insurance. And we keep young people on our policies until they turn 26. Those are all really positive developments. But, out-of-pocket costs have gone up too much and prescription drug costs have gone through the roof. And so what I have proposed, number one, is a $5,000 tax credit to help people who have very large out-of-pocket costs be able to afford those. Number two, I want Medicare to be able to negotiate for lower drug prices just like they negotiate with other countries’ health systems. We end up paying the highest prices in the world. And I want us to be absolutely clear about making sure the insurance companies in the private employer policy arena as well as in the affordable care exchanges are properly regulated so that we are not being gamed. And I think that’s an important point to make because I’m going through and analyzing the points you were making, Martha. We don’t have enough competition and we don’t have enough oversight of what the insurance companies are charging everybody right now.PANTSUIT-REPORT

RADDATZ: But you did say those were glitches.

CLINTON: Yes.

RADDATZ: Just glitches?

CLINTON: — Well, they’re glitches because —

RADDATZ: –Twenty-seven percent in the last five years, deductibles up 67 percent?–

CLINTON: It is. Because part of this is the startup challenges that this system is facing. We have fought as Democrats for decades to get a health care plan. I know. I’ve got the scars to show from the effort back in the early ‘90s. We want to build on it and fix it. And I’m confident we can do that. And it will have effects in the private market. And one of the reasons in some states why the percentage cost has gone up so much is because governors there would not extend Medicaid. And so people are still going to get health care, thankfully, in emergency rooms, in hospitals. Those costs are then added to the overall cost, which does increase the insurance premiums.

(read more)

Source: National Review Online

 


[VIDEO] Pro-Choice Talking Point Debunked by … Planned Parenthood?

Blake Seitz reports: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) issued a passionate defense of abortion provider Planned Parenthood during a hearing on Tuesday, and she had one of her talking points shot down by an unlikely source: Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.

Maloney cited mammograms as an example of “life-saving services provided by Planned Parenthood” in a statement decrying efforts by “anti-choice extremists” to defund the organization.

“To the best of my knowledge, not any [Planned Parenthood clinics] have mammogram machines,” Richards said in response to a question by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyoming.).

Transcript below:

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY: When you read this, there are certain things that jump out. All of the signatories are men, none of whom will get pregnant, or need a cervical screening for cancer, or mammograms, or a Pap smear, or other life-saving services provided by Planned Parenthood.

REP. CYNTHIA LUMMIS: Thank you, Ms. Richards, for being with us today. My first question is, how many Planned Parenthood clinics have mammogram machines?

CECILE RICHARDS: There aren’t any Planned Parenthood clinics—I believe, to the best of my knowledge, not any have mammogram machines at their facility.

Maloney appeared to react with surprise when Lummis asked Richards about Planned Parenthood’s provision of mammograms. Read the rest of this entry »


Startups Vie to Build an Uber for Health Care

Melinda-Beck-WSJ

Are house calls better than ER visits?

Melinda Beck writes: Darren Gold had a stomach virus the first time he used an app called Heal to summon a doctor to his Beverly Hills home. He liked the Stanford-trained doctor who showed up so much that he called Heal again when his 2-year-old son had a fever, and again when the whole family had colds.

“Such ventures are fueled by a confluence of trends, including growing interest in the so-called sharing economy, where technology connects providers with excess capacity and consumers who want on-demand services.”

The charges—$99 each for the first two visits; $200 for the family—weren’t covered by insurance, but Mr. Gold, who owns a corrugated-box company, says that was still a bargain compared with taking time off work to go to the doctor. “Now, whenever my son bumps himself, he says, ‘Daddy, we need to get the doctor here,’” Mr. Gold says.

“Many doctors and nurses who work for hospitals are eager for extra work in their off-hours, the companies say. The services carry malpractice insurance, but say overall low overhead keeps prices down.”

Heal is one of several startups putting a high-tech spin on old-fashioned house calls—or “in-person visits,” since they can take place anywhere. The services provide a range of nonemergency medical care—from giving flu shots to treating strep throats and stitching lacerations—much like a mobile urgent-care clinic.

“And thanks to the boom in mobile-medical technology, providers can carry key equipment with them, from portable blood analyzers to hand-held ultrasounds.”

The companies use slightly different models. Pager, in New York City, dispatches doctors or nurse practitioners via Uber, for $200. Heal, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, Calif., promises to “get a doctor to your sofa in under an hour” for $99. (A medical assistant goes along to do the driving and parking.)

RetraceHealth, in Minneapolis, has a nurse practitioner consult with patients via video (for $50), and only comes to their homes if hands-on care like a throat swab or blood draw is necessary (for $150).

 uber-of-health-care-wsj

“The companies are attracting venture-capital investment and partnerships with hospital systems, which increasingly see in-home care as a way to reduce unnecessary ERs visits and readmissions.”

Atlanta-based MedZed sends a nurse to a patient’s home to do a preliminary exam. Then the nurse connects via laptop with a doctor who provides a treatment plan remotely. Several Atlanta practices use MedZed as a way to offer patients extended hours without having to keep their offices open.

Most of the services don’t accept insurance, but they say patients can pay with health savings accounts or submit out-of-network claims.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Such ventures are fueled by a confluence of trends, including growing interest in the so-called sharing economy, where technology connects providers with excess capacity and consumers who want on-demand services. Many doctors and nurses who work for hospitals are eager for extra work in their off-hours, the companies say. The services carry malpractice insurance, but say overall low overhead keeps prices down.

And thanks to the boom in mobile-medical technology, providers can carry key equipment with them, from portable blood analyzers to hand-held ultrasounds. Read the rest of this entry »


[CHART] Average Age of Death for Popular Musicians by Genre and Sex

CBmIOBmVIAEEAqa


Modern Good Samaritan

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More Than $310,000 Raised for Father Raising Quadruplets Alone After Wife Dies During Childbirth

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TIME

Carlos Morales wakes up every morning to his two two-month-old babies, Carlos Jr. and Tracy – and then rushes to the hospital to see his other two newborns, Erica and Paisley.

Although he is busy learning how to feed his quadruplets, bathe them and tend to their every need, he still can’t help but think of his late wife. Erica Morales, 36, died on Jan. 16, shortly after giving birth to the quadruplets. She never got the chance to see her babies or hold them in her arms.

“She should be here,” Carlos tells PEOPLE. “It’s slowly getting a little bit easier.”

Erica became pregnant with four babies through IVF but died after she went into hypovolemic shock, an emergency condition involving severe blood loss.

One of the things that Carlos finds comfort in is knowing that he doesn’t just have support from his family and friends, but also…

View original post 235 more words


Good News from Japan: ‘We’re not killing ourselves as much as we were a few years ago’

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Real Time Japan – WSJ

 

 


Paperback Thriller: Obamacare

obamacare-horror


‘Obamacare Extension Is Not An Extension’

Kathleen Sebelius

Wynton Hall writes:  Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s decision to extend the Obamacare open enrollment period is not, in fact, an extension.

“This is not an extension of open enrollment. It is just saying, like you do on election day, if you’re in line to vote, we want to make sure you vote.”

— Sebelius, to Michigan Fox 2

However, unlike election day, the Washington Post says the Obama administration will give people several weeks – until mid-April – to enroll.

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Read the rest of this entry »


New Forced-Retirement Community Opens For Local 60-Year-Olds

senior center

TAMPA, FL—Offering a “safe and friendly environment” for newly jobless older residents, the Pine Meadows Forced-Retirement Community opened its doors Friday to local 60-year-olds who have been hastily ousted from their workplaces by downsizing. “We here at Pine Meadows are proud to welcome all of you who aren’t quite in your golden years, but who nevertheless have no choice but to accept that your productive days are suddenly a thing of the past,” said facility director Phil Garsten at the grand opening, noting that the community offers a variety of residence and meal packages at price ranges to suit any substandard severance package. “Our facility offers satellite television, fully equipped game and exercise rooms, nightly social activities, and dozens of other entertaining diversions from the ignominious disgrace you’ve suffered after decades of thankless service to your former employer…”

Read the rest of this entry »


As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500

Two-year-old Ben Bellar of East Lansing, Mich., getting stitches after a fall at home. The bill for his treatment came to more than $2,000.Fabrizio Costantini for the New York Times

Two-year-old Ben Bellar of East Lansing, Mich., getting stitches after a fall at home. The bill for his treatment came to more than $2,000.Fabrizio Costantini for the New York Times

By  writes:  On a quiet Saturday in May, nurses in blue scrubs quickly ushered the two patients into treatment rooms. The wounds were cleaned, numbed and mended in under an hour. “It was great — they had good DVDs, the staff couldn’t have been nicer,” said Emer Duffy, Orla’s mother.

Then the bills arrived. Ms. Singh’s three stitches cost $2,229.11. Orla’s forehead was sealed with a dab of skin glue for $1,696. “When I first saw the charge, I said, ‘What could possibly have cost that much?’ ” recalled Ms. Singh. “They billed for everything, every pill.”

In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Associationfound.

A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to theInternational Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insuranceindustries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Carson: Obamacare Is Big Government

Dr. Carson –  The Firewall


[VIDEO] Rebranding: ‘Obamacare’ vs. ‘The Affordable Care Act’

Google “Rebranding Obamacare” and here’s what comes up: About 331,000 results 

Let the rebranding begin!

Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 25th, a Cover to Remember

NOV. 25th, a Cover to Remember

NYPost


Out: ‘We are the 99%’. In: ‘We are…’

Out: 'We are the 99%'. In: 'We are...'


‘More Care Costs More Money’ [VIDEO] The ACA and the Labor Market

ObamaSebeliusPaul Mulshine writes: A wise man once said the following about the proposal to mandate that every American buy health insurance:

“If mandates were the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness, by mandating that everybody buy a house. The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money.”

Shortly after the wise man made that statement, something horrible happened to him: He got elected president. Ever since, Barack Obama has said a whole lot of really unwise things, such as “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

That boast turned out to be untrue. More than a million Americans are learning to their shock that the Affordable Care Act is making their care less affordable. The reason is obvious, and Obama put his finger on it when he made that comparison to the cost of housing during his 2008 Democratic primary campaign. Just as building more houses costs more money, providing more health care costs more money.

Read the rest of this entry »


Washington D.C. Sebelius BBQ Fest to Begin Next Week

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The Hill’s Healthwatch

 


CHILLA: Movie Poster of the Day

CHILLA: Movie Poster of the Day


Cartoon of the Day

Cartoon of the Day