February 1, 2014 Recent News





A new study showed that middle aged men who drink more than 21/2 alcoholic beverages per day accelerate their memory decline by six years in a decade.  I forgot the rest of the article.

In an article in Kaiser Health News there are some that want to get rid of the fourth year of Medical School in order to save time and money.  They forget (see above story) that this is the time when electives come into play and many careers change.  One does not want to go through a residency and then find out you screwed up in the beginning.

The #2 in HHS just doesn't recall telling Sebelius that the healthcare.gov website was screwed-up.  In testimony to the House investigation of the website William Corr said that even though he and Sebelius have offices near each other and see each other often he just forgot to mention that the gateway to Obamacare did not work and would not work.  He just fell on his sword.  

A hacker testified that he breached the website in under four minutes and retrieved over 70,000 persons personal information.  So much for security.

CMS head Sebelius has exaggerated again.  In order to ballyhoo the Obamacare fiasco she announced that 6.3 million are now eligible for Medicaid.  She forgot that many of those already had Medicaid prior to the Obamacare rollout.  She also did not mention that there are no physicians to care for the patients.

Sebelius states the Obamacare numbers are now up to 3 million This includes those who have not yet paid any money to the insurers and the Medicaid expansion.   Most importantly it includes the people who were insured previously and who had their coverage terminated because of Obamacare and who needed to buy the more expensive exchange policies.

The healthcare law continues to lose support among the uninsured according to the Washington Post.  They commented on a Kaiser poll that showed the weakening support.  It should be noted that even in the left leaning California only half of the population likes the law.

The Brookings Institute reports that Obamacare may be increasing the incomes of the lower 20% of the population and trimming the incomes of the "rich".  They looked at income and included health insurance costs.  This had not been done before.  They report the income increase may be as much as 6% since they are not paying out of pocket for insurance.  What they forget is they probably had Medicaid in the past and did not pay for that either.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Democrats are fighting for their lives.  Those Democratic Senators who are up for reelection are looking to tweak the law so it will be not a detriment to their reelection.  They want Obama to use his executive actions which may not be legal but will get the voters to go along before they are tested.  They are looking to a law that will enable people to keep their old insurance plans even though they do not live up to the Obama ideals.  Schumer is making sure the idea does not come up for a vote during the election cycle.

About 20% of those who signed up for Obamacare via either the federal or state exchanges have not paid their premium and are not covered.  They probably realized just how expensive it was. 

Oregon has found that by expanding Medicaid there is a corresponding increase in ED visits.  San Diego has found the opposite.  What is the correct answer?  Time will tell.  I am betting that it is Oregon since there will be few physicians willing to take the low paying plan.  There are only so many clinics.

Target has cut benefits to its part time employees.  The reason is Obamacare.  They are paying each employee $500 and asked them to get their own health insurance on the exchanges.  Who could have ever predicted this??  They are following the lead of others who have done the same thing such as UPS. 

Merritt Hawkins  has released a new survey showing the average time it takes to get an appointment with a physicians in 15 cities.  To no one's surprise the city with the longest wait is Boston.  There are few private physicians and many patients who want something for nothing.  Due to the regs of the Republic the new physicians are not staying in the area and are going to other places.  

Nest door in Connecticut more physicians are seeing Medicaid patients than previously because they raised the amount they are paying physicians.  This may be temporary since the increase is due to an increase for two years by the feds.  What will happen later is hard to predict.  One of the other main things the state did was go away from a insurance company managed care program.        Top  


Ah yes.  What do physicians tell their patients who can no longer see them due to Medicare Advantage networks only using the low price spread.  The insurers state they must cut the networks due to the upcoming fed reductions in payments.  What they don't say is that they could cut some of the benefits paid for and keep physicians.  Let the patient decide if he want free adhesive tape or his physician.  The other question is why have the insurers over all the years received more per patient than fee for service Medicare receives.  For once the Democrats got it right cutting the payments to these plans over the next decade.  The insurers lie by saying the short term disruption is worth it so they can keep a close watch on the nasty physicians who may order an extra test.  

A study out of Northwestern University showed that about 1/3 of the physician time with the patient is looking at the computer and not at the patient.  It also showed the patient also looks at the computer screen even though he has no idea what he is seeing.        Top


Anthem Blue Cross of California has told about 300,000 of their subscribers that were told they could keep their old policies and not join Obamacare that they would pay premium increases of up to 25% more starting April 1.  Happy April Fools Day!!  Anthem said if the policyholder did not like the increase they could switch to an Obamacare plan and may be eligible for a subsidy.        Top


 DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.