Articles by JCS

Say No to Bushcare

Word count: 500

Say No to Bushcare

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recently declared Obamacare a “train wreck,” which is paradoxical considering “Bushcare” has already crashed that healthcare train. Indeed, the Affordable Care Act had to happen after Bushcare, but it may still be too little, too late.

In fact, healthcare reform is not a new issue considering numerous presidents from FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Clinton, to Obama (all Democrats) have tried to reform healthcare, but each encountered the same resistance from the medical cartel and GOP as we now see with Obamacare.

First of all, Bushcare (Big Insurance, the AMA, Big Pharma, and Big Hospitals) has left millions of people uninsured, many people bankrupt, and Americans continue to lead the world in every category of chronic degenerative disease. According to the World Health Organization, our national health stats are shocking: America ranked 37th out of 191 countries of the world in overall health care delivery systems, 72nd in overall population health, but number one in overall costs.[1]

Moreover, a recent study by the British Medical Journal found 62% of 3000 medical treatments to be “ineffective, unproven, or too risky to use.”[2]  Obviously that’s not much bang for our medical buck, but that’s the train wreck we have experienced with Bushcare.

Allthewhile the medical cartel has thrived. In 2011, $2.7 trillion was spent on health care in America, nearly 20% of our GDP, and $551 billion was spent on Medicare alone.[3] There’s just too much money at stake for the Bushcare cartel to tolerate the Affordable Care Act.

As example, Bushcare Big Insurance has made a fortune off the present healthcare system with its motto to “squeeze care to expand profits” by cutting provider fees, increasing insurance premiums while lowering services to patients, and citing “pre-existing conditions” to exclude coverage for chronic diseases.

Meanwhile, these Bushcare Insurance CEOs made $10 to $14 million each in annual salaries while taking 25% to 55% profit off the top.[4] Such a deal!

However, the new Obamacare80/20 rule requires insurers to spend at least 80% of each premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement, rather than on administrative costs, advertising, or executive salaries.[5]

Adding to these extraordinary costs were Big Hospital inflated fees due to the outrageous Charge Master system exposed by Steven Brill in TIME magazine[6], the ungodly costs of Big Pharma prescription meds, and the tsunami of unnecessary heart, back, knee, and hip surgeries.[7]

Perhaps the biggest problem with the present Bushcare system has been the lack of fair competition on a level playing field in a free market. Fortunately, Section 2706 in Obamacare, called the “non-discrimination” clause, will finally give patients the freedom to choose non-MD care.

As President Barack Obama said in 2009, “If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of General Motors; paying more, getting less, and going broke.”[8]

I suggest we give Obamacare a chance since anything is better than Bushcare. Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) might find he does like green eggs and ham.

Regards,

JC Smith, MA, DC

Warner Robins, GA

 



[1] WHO: The World Health Report 2000—Health systems: Improving performance. June 21, 2000. 

[3] Medicare Spending & Financing-A Primer-2011, Lisa Potetz, Juliett Cubanski, Tricia Newman, The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation

[4] Medical Loss Ratio: Getting Your Money's Worth on Health Insurance, HealthCare.gov, Sept. 15, 2012.

[7] Elliott Fisher, MD, on the CBS Evening News, “Attacking Rising Health Costs,” June 9, 2006.

[8] Text of President Obama’s health-care speech, Jun 15, 2009, by MarketWatch


The following is the LONG VERSION of the same letter.

Word count: 965

Say Yes to Obamacare

&

No to Bushcare

Recently House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) declared Obamacare to be a “train wreck,” which is absolutely absurd considering Bushcare had already crashed leading to the present healthcare crisis that President Obama is trying to clean up just like the entire economy.

As a chiropractor for the past 33 years in Warner Robins, let me share a few professional insights into this debacle over implementing or defunding Obamacare.

Healthcare reform is not a new issue considering American presidents from FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Clinton, to Obama (all Democrats) have tried to reform healthcare but encountered the same resistance as we now see to Obamacare.

For example, in 1962 actor Ronald Reagan was employed by the AMA and the Republican Party to fight JFK’s initial Medicare/Medicaid legislation in a battle dubbed Operation Coffee Cup and he was successful in defeating Kennedy’s initial legislation that eventually was passed three years later by LBJ.[1]

Reagan brazenly scared people, just as we now hear Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) concerning Obamacare, when he declared “Medicare would be a slippery slope to Communism.” Imagine where our senior citizens would be today if Reagan and Cruz had their wish to end Medicare.

First of all, a case can easily be made that anything is better than “Bushcare” that left millions of people uninsured and many people bankrupt. Allthewhile the medical cartel (Big Insurance, the AMA, Big Pharma, and Big Hospitals) thrived. In 2011, $2.7 trillion was spent on health care in America, nearly 20% of our GDP, and $551 billion was spent on Medicare alone.[2]

Despite this huge sum of money, Americans lead the world in every category of chronic degenerative disease. According to the World Health Organization, our national health stats are shocking: America ranked 37th out of 191 countries of the world in overall health care delivery systems, 72nd in overall population health, but number one in overall costs.[3]

According to the British Medical Journal, adding to this healthcare dilemma is the shocking realization that 62% of 3000 medical treatments are considered “ineffective, unproven, or too risky to use.”[4] 

Obviously that’s not much bang for our buck, but if the Tea Party-led GOP has its way, that’s what we would continue to have with Bushcare.

Nor does it come as any surprise that the Republican Party shills backed by the Bushcare lobby continue to deter healthcare reform with its shutdown of our government over the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2009. There’s just too much money at stake for the Bushcare cartel to let Obamacare prevail.

For example, the greedy Big Insurance executives have made a mockery of the present healthcare system with their motto to “squeeze care to expand profits” by cutting provider fees, increasing premiums while lowering services to patients, and citing “pre-existing conditions” to exclude coverage for chronic diseases. Meanwhile, these Bushcare CEOs made $12 to $14 million each in annual salaries while taking 25% to 55% profit off the top.

Is it any wonder these Bushcare advocates in Congress want to stop Obamacare that will restrict their profit margin to 20%? The new80/20 rule requires insurers to spend at least 80% of each premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement, rather than on administrative costs, advertising, or executive salaries.[5]

Adding to these extraordinary costs were the inflated Big Hospital fees due to the outrageous Charge Master system exposed by Steven Brill in TIME magazine[6], the ungodly costs of Big Pharma prescription meds, and the tsunami of unnecessary surgeries by the AMA.

In fact, the abuse of surgery has skyrocketed according to the Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy that suggested 30-40% of heart, back, knee, and shoulder surgeries (and the associated hospitalization costs) were unnecessary, and this is a conservative estimate.[7]

In spine care, my specialty as a chiropractor, Medicare stats also showed from 2002 to 2007, spine surgeries increased 15-fold despite numerous research studies revealing the “bad discs” seen on MRIs also occur in pain-free people.[8],[9] As well, the illegal medical boycott of chiropractic care, a recommended “proven treatment”[10] by an agency of the USPHS, has made low back pain the #1 disabling condition in the nation.[11]

Considering the estimated total cost of back pain alone is $267.2 billion annually in the US, a 40% reduction in spine surgeries would save $106 billion,[12]  which is equivalent to the cost of the war in Afghanistan for one year.[13] Despite the obvious potential to help millions and save billions, chiropractic claims account for less than 1/10th of 1% of overall Medicare expenditures.[14]

The reason why the present Bushcare system has not lowered costs or improved outcomes is also the lack of open competition on a level playing field. Free enterprise is not in the best interest of the medical cartel that has ruled healthcare as a closed shop rather than allowing the open market to prevail in healthcare.

Fortunately, Section 2706 in Obamacare, called the “non-discrimination” clause, will finally give patients the freedom to choose non-MD care. Until free enterprise enters this fray, we will continue to see rising costs with worsening outcomes when people are forced into ineffective and costly medical care.

As you can see, this begs the obvious question: why are people wondering about the need for Obamacare healthcare reform after the disaster Bushcare has left our country with skyrocketing costs along with poor outcomes? Indeed, healthcare reform had to happen after Bushcare, but it may still be too little, too late.

As President Barack Obama said in 2009, “If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of General Motors; paying more, getting less, and going broke.”[15]

I suggest we give Obamacare a chance since anything is better than Bushcare. Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) might find he does like green eggs and ham.

Regards,

JC Smith, MA, DC

Warner Robins, GA

 



[2] Medicare Spending & Financing-A Primer-2011, Lisa Potetz, Juliett Cubanski, Tricia Newman, The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation

[3] WHO: The World Health Report 2000—Health systems: Improving performance. June 21, 2000. 

[7] Elliott Fisher, MD, on the CBS Evening News, “Attacking Rising Health Costs,” June 9, 2006.

[8] SD Boden, DO Davis, TS Dina, NJ Patronas, SW Wiesel, “Abnormal Magnetic-Resonance Scans Of The Lumbar Spine In Asymptomatic Subjects: A Prospective Investigation,” J Bone Joint Surg Am. 72 (1990):403–408.

[9] “New Study Demonstrates A Three-Fold Increase N Life-Threatening Complications With Complex Surgery,” The BACKLETTER, 25/6 (June 2010):66

[10] Bigos et al. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 14: Acute Low Back Problems in Adults AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642, (December 1994)

[11] The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States Bone and Joint Decade, Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. ISBN 978-0-89203-533-5, pp. 21.

[12] The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States Bone and Joint Decade, Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. ISBN 978-0-89203-533-5, pp. 21

[13] http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0933935.html

[14] Whedon JM, Song Y, Davis MA. Spine J.,Trends in the use and cost of chiropractic spinal manipulation under Medicare Part B., 2013 Jun 14. pii: S1529-9430(13)00521-4. doi: 10.1016/j.spine.2013.05.012.

[15] Text of President Obama’s health-care speech, Jun 15, 2009, by MarketWatch






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