Krauthammer is Wrong

By Greg Scandlen

A few weeks ago Charles Krauthammer made a splash on Fox News by advising Republicans not to defund ObamaCare. He said:

“I am skeptical about taking away the funds because what it will do, it will poke holes in the system. It will make it more chaotic. It will allow some things to be enacted, others to be more slowly or clumsily enacted. In the end, if healthcare collapses or if it becomes utterly unworkable, the Democrats will have a way of saying ‘well, it was all these injuries inflicted by the Republicans that made it not work.”

But like a lot of political commentators, Mr. Krauthammer is focused entirely on the political shenanigans in Washington. He seems unaware that all across America an awful lot of people are investing a lot of money on what they see as the new opportunities presented by ObamaCare.

Politico reports that on the other side of the continent, in San Francisco, thousands of investors are placing bets on the idea that ObamaCare will be implemented pretty much the way it is. In an article headlined, “Investors See Health Law’s Potential,” they report:

As Republicans push forward on repealing health reform, planning the law’s demise, a different conversation is happening among thousands of health care investors gathered in San Francisco for this week’s J.P Morgan Health Care Conference: how to capitalize on health reform’s new business opportunities.

One example is Aetna, that is salivating over all the new business coming to it in the Exchanges:

Aetna is exploring how to capitalize on the individual market, expected to boom in 2014 when Americans must purchase health insurance or pay a fine. “We have major efforts underway to strategize on how to take advantage of those opportunities,” said the insurer’s CFO, Joseph M. Zubretsky, in a presentation to health investors. “We’re clearly understanding the risks…but with millions coming on to the health exchanges, one needs to not only balance risk but really understand the opportunity for growth that exists in this market place.”

Another is Molina Healthcare that sees major profits in Medicaid expansion:

Molina Healthcare, a company that has a large book of business in Medicaid, listed the millions of Americans who will become newly-eligible for Medicaid as a “health reform growth opportunity” in an investor presentation.

Add to that the millions of dollars being spent by employers, hospitals, drug companies, and physician practices on software up-grades, consulting and legal fees, and conferences to learn how to comply with the new requirements, and we are building an enormous infrastructure of businesses that are quite literally invested in this new law.

Once up and running, these interests will not want to throw away the effort. Even if they opposed the bill originally, they will soon become the biggest defenders of it.

That is why it is absolutely critical that implementation be slowed down in any way possible and as soon as possible. These companies need to understand that it is premature to invest a lot of money in this monstrosity. They need to hedge their bets and wait for the dust to settle. Talking about what we might do in 2013 will not cut it. We have to show them today that ObamaCare is on the ropes.

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Connecting the Dots

By Greg Scandlen

Pretty often you have to read several stories side-by-side to figure out what is going on in the Democratic mind. Although you may walk away more confused than ever.

Two stories in Politico illustrate the point. In one, “Democrats Seek Redo of Health Pitch,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says he can’t wait to get into the debate over repeal. The article says the repeal effort, “gives Democrats a second chance to defend their landmark legislation — and the first substantial chance to show a united front on health reform.” It quotes Sen Schumer —

“We welcome, in a certain sense, their attempt to repeal it because it gives us a second chance to make a first impression,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He said the debate will allow Democrats to talk about “the good things that didn’t get a real airing during the sturm und drang of the debate.”

And Kathleen Sebelius agrees –

“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there is an “opportunity for education” during the repeal debate. The pieces of the law that have already gone into effect allow for “a more productive conversation than when the bill was being drafted, because the bill was so intangible to people. That conversation is easier now,” she told the University of Miami Global Business Forum on Thursday.”

Yep, they are really eager to have this debate and be able to show America all the wonderful things that have been done.

But, wait a minute. Another article in Politico, “Repeal Vote Just GOP’s First Step,” reports —

“McConnell will push for a vote on the House bill after the body returns next week, even though Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made clear that he will do everything he can to block the measure.”

So, The Democrats are eager to have this debate, but Harry Reid wants to “do everything he can” to prevent it from happening?!?! Golly, someone must not have gotten the memo from HQ

Thoughts on Repeal

By Greg Scandlen

There seem to be two arguments the Democrats use against repealing Obamacare. The first is that it isn’t going anywhere, the second is that there is some good stuff in it.

If it isn’t going anywhere, I have to wonder why they care about what the House does. They argue that it won’t pass in the Senate, and even if it does, the President will veto it.

Maybe, but the dim prospects in the Senate didn’t stop the House Democrats from passing Cap and Trade, and the chance of a veto has never stopped Congress of either party from passing legislation. In fact, a presidential veto of a popular bill is usually used as an argument in the next election – which, by the way, starts in less than a year.

Fact is that votes like this help to crystalize the issues – one side is trying to do something supported by the people and the other side wants to stop it. Which side should be re-elected?

The more important argument is that there is some really nifty stuff that would be lost if the law is repealed. Therefore, they say, the whole law shouldn’t be repealed, just the bad stuff. The Republicans should just identify the bad stuff and keep everything else.

So far the Republicans haven’t dealt very effectively with this argument. What they should do is turn it around and demand that the Democrats identify the good stuff they want to keep and repeal everything else.

So far, the only “good” things the Democrats have cited are the slacker mandate and the prohibition on pre-ex denials for children. I don’t agree that these are good ideas, but let’s accept the argument for the moment. Those provisions might take two pages out of the 2,700 pages of legislation. Why not offer to repeal 2,698 pages and keep only those two pages? Are there any other provisions worth keeping? Name them and we’ll consider keeping them. Maybe we’ll end up with a ten-page keeper and a 2,690-page throw-away.

This would also allow Congress to go through the bill provision-by-provision and have an up or down vote on each idea, something that never happened in passing this monstrosity. And at the same time, the Republicans could also insert their own ideas, something else that was never allowed the first time around.

It Costs A Lot So Use It

By Ross Schriftman, RHU, LUTCF, ACBC, MSAA

Here is a true story that shows how health care costs can easily increase and drive up insurance premiums for everyone.  Recently I attended the funeral of a friend’s father.  After returning from the cemetery on this very cold day I was sitting with the family having lunch at the church.  All of a sudden I started having back pain and spasms.  They came and went.  I drove back to my office which took two hours and continued to work.  The pain level was about a 5 on a scale of 10 so I was in some discomfort.  That night I kept waking up from the pain.

During the trip I had some noises in my car.  The next morning I took my car to my mechanic.  Jokingly I told him I needed an alignment.  But the alignment was for me; not my car.  When I told him I planned to go to my chiropractor as soon as possible, he suggested I go get an MRI instead.  “You pay a lot for your insurance.  You might as well use it.” was his advice.

(He doesn’t know that I pay less because I have a high deductible policy.)

I always take his advice on my car but I decided to take my own advice as far as my healthcare.  Luckily my chiropractor was in that Saturday.  He released the tension in my back with a quick alignment. I paid him his $30 fee from my health savings account.  Within two hours I emailed him that I was already feeling better.  That Monday I went back for another treatment and paid him another $30.  I feel fine now.  I don’t know what caused the spasms.  Maybe it was the cold air at the cemetery.  Maybe I just twisted something. Maybe it was the tension I felt for my friends with their loss of their loved one.  The cause didn’t matter.  Stopping the pain and resuming normal activity was. I was cured and all for $60.

If I had listened to the advice of my mechanic I would have remained in pain all weekend, had to go to my doctor on Monday and have him order an MRI.  The MRI would have cost at least $1,000.  Then the results would have gone back to the doctor who might not have had any treatment suggestion or had just sent me to my chiropractor any way.  My time would have been wasted.  My health insurance company would have paid their share after my deductible and the cost of health care would have increased for everyone else in the insurance pool.

Each person who has health insurance has a responsibility to the other people who are covered.  If we over utilize our health insurance and if we don’t take care of our own health we contribute to the rising cost of health care.  It is far too easy to blame the insurance companies.  It is far harder to act with knowledge and wisdom when it comes to our responsibility for our own health.

Obamacare will continue to contribute to the blaming-others concept of healthcare reform.  Just listen to how the politicians including the President demonize the insurance industry for its “abuses.”  The law demands more benefits, waives pre existing condition clauses for people who didn’t bother to get coverage BEFORE they got sick or had an accident and eliminating limits on how much insurance companies must pay.  This will contribute to higher costs as the law doesn’t create any personal responsible.  It will make the problems worse as those who are forced to buy insurance will attempt to use their coverage to the maximum.  The insurance mandate is NOT personal responsibility.  It is the government making people buy something. Ask the people of Massachusetts who have the mandate under their “reforms.”  They now have the highest insurance premiums in the nation.  We need to repeal Obamacare as quickly as possible and instead promote better health literacy, personal responsibility and decision making by all of us.