This week in the Wall Street Journal there is an interesting ‘on the ground’ look at health care and how it has changed in the past 50 years. The article is particularly worth watching because it is written by ‘former’ physician Dr. Ed Marsh.
Dr. Marsh opened his practice in pediatrics in the early 1960’s, ran a solo practice for many years until he joined a third party group, feeling the growing interaction with insurance and government regulations.
“Preventive care” became the touchstone. The concept is obvious, but the evidence for its value, and especially its potential for savings, is rarely conclusive.
Insurance relationships drove practice relationships. Patients were more likely to come to me because their insurance told them to, and more likely to leave, despite our congeniality, because their insurance required it. Thus our dealings were less personally rewarding, for my patients and for me.
When it became increasingly difficult to work according to my principles, I closed my practice, first joining a “prepaid” group for 15 years, and then leaving patient care altogether. As more physicians leave active practice, it must be appreciated that a focus on the economics of health care is not the only, and perhaps not even the most important, reason for their disillusionment. The glow of the personal relationship one might have with one’s patients is being extinguished.
You can read the full article at the Wall Street Journal. For additional information on the changes in health care the editorial board of the WSJ gives a helpful, yet brief, synopsis explaining our managed care past and where we are today. Board member and Pulitzer Prize winner Joe Rago explains why the big bureaucracy of Obamacare will decrease the relationship between you and your doctor while making it more difficult to get the care you need.
This week on Varney and Company Dr. Marc Siegel discussed these results with Stuart Varney.
Not all doctors will leave the practice; many cannot afford to but the strong results indicate most physicians are very concerned with the future of health care. The decrease in pay for Medicaid and even Medicare patients is already causing many physicians to stop taking these government plans. President Obama uses the decreased payments as a positive to tell citizens that Obamacare is not costing them money. Yet, many patients are already feeling the pinch as they find it more and more difficult to locate a health care provider, in their area, who takes their insurance. While some say doctors need to become more efficient, buck-up and take the lower reimbursement rates many physicians say they are having to reduce staffing and some are closing their offices due to these cuts.
While doctors in practice may not retire incentive to join will certainly be impacted. Do we want our best and brightest to choose another vocation due to the complex regulations placed by Obamacare?
The upcoming election gives voters the opportunity to change the direction of health care in the United States. We can make it better.
Dr. Jim Denison Explains to Westerners ‘Why Muslims Still Hate Us, What We Can Do’
DALLAS, July 26, 2011 — On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, author and educator Jim Denison explains in his new book, “Radical Islam: What You Need to Know,” that the greatest threat our children have ever faced is Muslim extremism. “The battle waged against the West by radical Muslims is the war of our generation,” Denison says. “Killing bin Laden doesn’t end this war.”
James C. Denison, Ph.D., is a cultural apologist, building a bridge between faith and culture by engaging contemporary issues with historical, scientific and biblical truth. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture (DFTC) in February 2009 and writes for “The Dallas Morning News,” contributing weekly to the “Texas Faith Forum.” He currently serves on the board of the Baylor Health Care System and as chair of the advisory board for Dallas Baptist University. Denison is former senior pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church, a 10,000-member congregation in Dallas.
Dr. Denison’s daily cultural commentary is made available around the world to thousands of subscribers. It offers a faith perspective on topics as varied as medical ethics, the 2012 election, the Casey Anthony trial, gay marriage and many more topics.
“The events of 9/11 are still painfully raw for many,” said Dr. Abraham Sarker, former Muslim and founder and president, Gospel for Muslims, who has worked alongside Denison in his native Bangladesh. “Ten years later, questions remain about the world’s fastest-growing religion and the worldview of its 1.6 billion adherents. Jim Denison’s book provides a timely, insightful interpretation of this movement in our times. His understanding of radical Islam is accurate and balanced. His intellectual brilliance and excellent communication skills engage and support readers in navigating these complex issues.”
“Radical Islam” begins with a look at Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader killed in May in a U.S. Special Forces raid in Pakistan, and examines the ramifications of bin Laden’s death, including whether it was just. The book goes on to explain what distinguishes radical Islam from the rest of the Muslim world, then addresses basic questions: “Where was God on 9/11?” and “How Do We Win This War?”
“It’s been my privilege to know and befriend Muslims from six continents through respectful dialogue over the past 30 years,” said Denison. “But the fact remains that the threat of radical Islam is even more real and dangerous than it was 10 years ago. Osama bin Laden is dead, but his story isn’t over. His followers are more resolved than ever.
“This book is a primer that tells Westerners what they need to know about this threat, why radical Muslims still hate us and what we can do about it.”
Denison briefly touches on basic Muslim beliefs before focusing on the two tenets that distinguish radical Islam. First, extremists contend the West has been attacking Islam since the Crusades, and therefore Islam must be defended through violent attacks. Second, radical Muslims believe all Westerners are complicit in the ongoing siege of Islam because of their participation in a democratic society, and therefore in terrorist attacks on the West there are no innocent victims.
Faced with this worldview, Denison writes, both Christians and secular Westerners must act. He offers practical ideas on how to handle the threat, including praying for Muslims and supporting Christians from Muslim backgrounds.
“Radical Islam” will be available in August as a trade paperback for $13.99 and distributed by Wescott Marketing. It also will be available as an e-book Aug. 15 through all major e-book sales sites.
The first chapter, which explores bin Laden’s life and whether his death was just, along with an opportunity to subscribe to Dr. Denison’s daily cultural commentary, are available at http://www.dftc.co/presskit.
“Radical Islam” is the first in the “Unlocking the Truth” series of books offering a spiritual perspective on key cultural issues facing America. Denison is also the author of six books, including the most recent, “Wrestling with God: How Can I Love a God I’m Not Sure I Can Trust?” by Tyndale House Publishers.
The Denison Forum on Truth and Culture (DFTC) (http://www.denisonforum.org) exists to engage contemporary culture with moral truth. Founded by Dr. Jim Denison in 2009, the Forum responds to issues through a variety of communications and channels, including a column in “The Dallas Morning News,” daily online cultural commentary, Baylor Health Care System board membership, books, articles and speaking engagements.
Civilian Corps Chief, Recruitment & Retention, Informs Radio Audiences of the Thousands of Medical-Related Positions Open in Army Hospitals Across the US and Abroad
BISMARCK, N.D., May 24, 2011 — The Civilian Corps of the United States Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) announces “Secure a Job, Support Our Troops,” a Memorial Day media effort highlighting the many medical-related positions and benefits offered to civilian healthcare workers in Army Medical Treatment Facilities across the US and abroad.
“As many take the time to reflect on the well-being of our soldiers and their families this Memorial Day, Civilian Corps has teamed with several media outlets to expound on the opportunities and benefits available to civilian healthcare workers,” says Dr. Joseph Harrison, Chief, Recruitment & Retention, Headquarters US Army Medical Command, Civilian Human Resources Division. “Bringing awareness to these opportunities benefit those seeking a new job or career change as well as the many enlisted soldiers and their families who depend on various medical services each and every day.”
Interviews, radio PSA copy and ready-to-publish articles are being provided to those media outlets interested in participating in the Secure a Job, Support Our Troops media effort. If interested in taking part or to schedule interviews for future segments or issues, please contact Kimberly Ross at [email protected]
Medical professionals who are interested in working for MEDCOM will join nearly 45,000 other civilians and are not subject to military requirements such as “boot camp,” military uniforms or deployment. Video of employee testimonials can be viewed here:http://www.civilianmedicaljobs.com/?id=62.
The Army Medicine Civilian Corps maintains a day-to-day healthcare of active and retired military personnel and their families through a global network of medical treatment facilities. The Civilian Corps of the United States Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), as part of the United States Army Medical Department, is comprised of civilian federal employees, who work alongside our military counterparts. The Army Medicine Civilian Corps falls under the Department of the Army, which was listed as one of the best places to work in Federal Government 2009.
Obama-appointed Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius is supporting President Obama and congressional liberals in their concerted effort to kill America sooner.
To make sure that no critically-thinking Americans stop them on their reckless spending binge, Kathleen channeled the oratory prowess of Alan Grayson who last year told us that Republicans want us to “die quickly”. In her testimony to the House Education and Workforce Committee, Sebelius echoed Mr. Grayson’s concerns.
“If you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you’re left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There really aren’t a lot of options.”
The left-wing extremists in our government know that any cut to entitlements threatens there very base of power. They buy votes by handing out gifts from the treasury. Americans have to be bold enough to say, no thank you Madame Secretary, we can’t afford this anymore – we can’t afford YOU anymore.
It is becoming obvious that voters are going to be barraged with an entire line of messaging based on only emotion – no facts, no realization that we’re broke, no compromise – just pure emotion. We’ll be told that any cuts will harm children, kill grandma, or cause the earth to be destroyed by global warming/climate change/human-caused disasters or whatever. The truth is that if nothing is done, everyone will be harmed, all children will suffer, everybody will die quicker.
If we do not cut entitlements – the nation will fall into bankruptcy. Look at Greece, Ireland, Portugal, the list goes on.
Democrats aren’t coming up with any solutions, just poking holes in the well-thought plans of the House Republicans – Paul Ryan’s plan. Instead. senate democrats are position a status-quo Medicare bill as having savings in it. Senate Budget Committee Charman Kent Conrad (D-ND) is proposing a Medicare bill as a contrast to the House GOP plan. Unfortunately for America, there is absolutely zero deficit reduction in the bill.
“There are savings in Medicare, modest savings to pay for the doc fix,” Conrad said.
The doc-fix is Congress’ annual fix to a shortcoming in Medicare that would underpay doctors for their services. The underpayment would be so significant as to force many out-of-practice. Sen. Conrad’s bill proposes unspecified cuts in Medicare so that more money can be paid to physicians, but does nothing to reduce the deficit.
The Democrats plan simply proves that the current Medicare model cannot continue to exist – it must be reformed. It can’t afford to pay doctors and Sen. Conrad’s cuts will reduce services to seniors in some way.
The major differences in Sen. Conrad’s plan and Rep. Ryans is that Ryan’s reform phases in changes so that seniors aren’t immediately affected and that Rep. Ryan’s plan reduces the deficit – Sen. Conrad is fine with the status quo and hurting seniors to keep it that way.
It is expected that progressives would attack Paul Ryan’s honest attempt to save the country from its fiscal mess. Now, it appears that other house GOP members are quietly stepping back from supporting the plan they voted for. Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has already stated that he will not creating the chairman’s mark-up on Ryan’s proposed entitlement reforms.
If the Democrats status quo entitlement plan is allowed to continue, the America our parents and grandparents gave us – will “die quickly”.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to spend a little under an hour with the President of The Alliance for Retirement Prosperity, Dr. Larry Hunter. Dr. Hunter is a supply-side economist that has worked in the Reagan White House as well as numerous Conservative initiatives such as Empowering America and the Social Security Institute.
On September 15th, Dr. Hunter launched what may be the first credible challenger to AARP’s monopoly on senior citizen and baby boomer advocacy and support. From the Alliance website, wethealliance.com, their mission statement sums up the organization’s purpose.
The Alliance for Retirement Prosperity Association is an association of advocacy groups (“Allies” or “Alliance Partners”) and their members working to ensure a prosperous, enriched and secure retirement for today’s seniors and the seniors of tomorrow while working in the political arena to promote conservative American values, principles and public policies that affect the quality of our members’ lives.
In talking with Dr. Hunter I wanted to straighten out some conflicting information on the internet about the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity. Many sites report the Alliance as a 501(c)4, or non-profit and that Dick Armey, Jack Kemp and Dorcas Hardy are co-chairs. It would seem that this is all ancient history as Dr. Hunter explained that to be a very old press release detailing a past project.
The Alliance is now organized as a for-profit Virginia Business Trust, with Dr. Hunter as the President. Dr. Hunter explained why a for-profit model is required to compete against AARP:
If we were going to take on AARP, we had to take them on for what they are. That means you have to have a for profit business who can provide real goods and services to members to compete with them [AARP].
Dr. Hunter went on to explain that many attempts to take on AARP as a non-profit have struggled. Why would AARP as a non-profit have an advantage over other non-profits?
AARP.org states that their organization is a non-profit
Founded in 1958, AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives.
This statement is fact, AARP is a registered 501(c)4 non-profit organization as far as the law is concerned, but, as an article in the SeniorJournal stated, it’s behavior is not similar to most non-profits. It sells insurance products to the tune of several hundred million dollars per year and the membership that it’s members pay for is not a traditional membership .. they don’t vote for AARP officers.
In other words, AARP claims non-profit status for tax exemption purposes, but in all truth, appears to operate much like a for-profit organization – that does not have to pay any taxes. Imagine that, a tax-exempt insurance company?
With the Alliance choosing to engage AARP head-on, how will they offer better and less-expensive products to the 50+ crowd considering AARP’s questionable tax-exempt edge? Enter: the free market.
According to Dr. Hunter, AARP finds a vendor or carrier and first asks them for an endorsement fee. Then, for each product or service sold, a “cut” is taken by AARP. This double-hit is going to be passed on to someone – the members. These single endorsements might also be costly to the AARP membership as the vendors have little competition within the AARP population. The practices, as described by Dr. Hunter, do not seem competitive and would seem to limit choice. What pressure is there for these vendors/carriers to keep prices low? In fact, it seems more of a monopolistic approach wherein an AARP endorsement gives an endorsed vendor a choke-hold on a significant market.
The Alliance is taking a free-market approach. With a supply-side economist at the helm, could it have gone any other way? The Alliance is creating an exchange where vendors and carriers will compete for every dollar of Alliance member’s money. Dr. Hunter goes on to explain the exchange.
We are going to create a real-time shopping model. In which, we are not going to offer single-endorsed products, we are going to bring in a whole stable of top-of-the line insurance carriers and vendors and then those carriers and vendors are going to compete with each other for our member’s business.
Each vendor will know that they must provide a good quality product at an attractive price or they will be drummed out of the exchange by simple market economics. As an added differentiator, according to Dr. Hunter, the Alliance will not sell insurance like AARP. They will have insurance carriers in their competitive exchange for members to choose from.
I shared with Dr. Hunter that several of Conservative Daily News’ readers have emailed or commented that they feel that some of AARP’s programs and discounts are rip-offs and asked him how the Alliance might address these concerns.
I don’t know what [your readers] mean by rip-offs, but what I have seen is that companies will offer a discount. To get the discount, you have to sign-up with a credit or debit card. Your credit card or bank account will be hit each month in order to pay for whatever you signed-up for. Many times, people are signing up for these programs and don’t really understand what they are getting or what they are agreeing to do. They will come back in a couple months and their credit card has been hit four times. . I can guarantee your readers that we will have none of that. Our discounts are going to be a coupon- basis. For example we have a very good restaurant coupon. If you agree to pay $5 a month for the premium upgrade, you will automatically get a $25.00 restaurant coupon to the restaurant of your choice. .. if anybody comes back to us and says they don’t want to keep doing this .. we’ll give them their money back.
Along with questionable discounts, readers have also mentioned that AARP seemed to be pushing increasingly left-wing policies. Dr. Hunter even mentioned this AARP town hall video that illustrates how out-of-touch AARP may have become.
This brings out another facet of the Alliance’s competitive strategy against AARP – policy.
We are pursuing what we call a common sense conservative consensus. People have been thirsting to join an association that caters to baby boomers and seniors that they find compatible philosophically and politically.
So what policy initiatives would the Alliance be pushing in the near future? He said that the Alliance won’t get deeply involved in social or foreign policy issues, but did make clear some initiatives they will be pushing:
“Do everything in our power to repeal Obamacare .. because it was enacted under false pretenses”
Push for across-the-board government spending cuts
Push for across-the-board tax cuts
Get government back to within Constitutional limits
Restore the Constitutionally provided for powers to States
The push for across-the-board spending cuts led to another question – how to cut spending but not gut Medicare and Social Security? I asked Dr. Hunter if the Alliance would play a part in helping reduce spending and defining that optimal government size.
If we do this the right way, we can protect all the safety net programs from major cuts for current retirees and baby boomers who are about to retire. Reform the programs for younger workers and cut other government programs. It is going to be a challenge, no doubt about that. But, not as much of a challenge as the liberals would have you believe.. we are going to fight like bulldogs against any proposals, Republican or Democrat, to take a hatchet to Medicare [or] Social Security.
Acknowledging that the Alliance represented a policy agenda that should appeal to a broad swath of Conservatives, I asked how someone under the required 50 year old age limit could help the Alliance in it’s goals.
He offered the idea of buying the membership for your parents and upgrade to the family plan so the children of seniors and boomers can also take advantage of the discounts, offers and community forums.
In a Rasmussen opinion poll released today, the latest figures show that support for the big-government style of health care is on the rise. Last week, the opinion poll found that while 41% supported the plan, 56% opposed it. In today’s release, 46% support the liberal tax-and-spend approaches that the President and the Congressional majority prefer while only 50% oppose. What is even more striking, is that this “bounce” came without appearances on late-night T.V. or a public address from the seat of government. It came seemingly, on it’s own.
What caused the bounce? The only real coverage today that might have affected the poll was the appearance of 150 white-coated doctors on the White House Lawn. The appearance of so many doctors supporting health care reform may have influenced the votes in the opinion poll, but did they realize that the entire thing was a charade.
The invitation-only list was populated by only supporters of health care reform and drawn heavily from the Doctors for America – a shadow group from Doctors for Obama. No one from the Mad as Hell Doctors association was permitted an invitation, but then again, they don’t want the public option.
The President is meeting with folks and interviewing with T.V. programs that agree with him. A true leader meets with everyone and seeks the best solution. This kind of behavior is what one expects from elitists. Unfortunately, the public may be getting more used to it.