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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for August, 2010

Canada Stepping Up for the Over 80 Crowd

Monday, August 9th, 2010

In a study published online in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on August 3, 2010, “The use of revascularization procedures is increasing rapidly among those over 80 admitted for an acute myocardial infarction.” The report indicated that “For such patients living in Quebec, rates increased for both percutaneous coronary intervention (from 2.2% to 24.9%) and coronary artery bypass grafting (from 0.8% to 3.1%) from the mid-1990s through 2006.” In addition, “Despite a similar rise in the prevalence of comorbidities in this population, one-year mortality declined from 46.5% to 40.9% (P<0.001), possibly related to the greater use of revascularization procedures and recommended medications.”

Will the statistics show similar favorable results in the U.S.A. when ObamaCare kicks in completely in 2014 along with a $575 billion cutback in Medicare funding? I doubt it. Those golden years are looking more like pine box years.

More Medicare Follies

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Some administration officials who, like their chief, have no problem distorting the truth now say that the ObamaCare law has dramatically improved Medicare’s finances.  “Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is now expected to remain solvent until 2029, 12 years longer than was projected last year,”  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has proclaimed.

He conceded that is easier said than done.  “As we know the future is uncertain, these are very long range projections.  And those reforms require that we achieve very substantial improvements in efficiency and productivity.”

The Medicare trustees expressed some skepticism about those savings, indicating that there is “Great uncertainty” about the assumptions on Medicare cuts. For example, the health care law assumes some $200 billion in savings from productivity gains.The trustees called that “far from certain.”

Those and other assumptions have drawn fire from several directions, including John Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He said,  “The problem is it’s all a fantasy.  It’s based on assumptions that are so unrealistic that Medicare’s own actuaries put out a separate report today, and I’ve never seen that happen before.”

In fact, the Medicare actuary issued a separate 18-page report questioning many of the assumptions used to justify $575 billion in cuts to Medicare:

1. It said these cuts to providers “. . . could jeopardize Medicare beneficiaries access to mainstream medical care.”

2. That In the next two decades these cuts could also force 25% of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health care agencies into insolvency.

3. And many of these facilities “would have to withdraw from providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.”

The actuaries consulted several prominent health economists, and all indicated the payment reductions were unsustainable.

John Goodman “Half the funding for health reform is paid for by cutting spending on the elderly”, and the way they’re going to cut spending is by squeezing the doctors and squeezing the hospitals.”

Of course, The Medicare Trust Fund is empty, it’s a fiction. It’s a fiction filled with millions of IOU’s written by the federal government that has stolen all the Medicare receipts yearly for decades in order to operate the government and ameliorate the federal debt, which every year’s federal budget intensifies. So, if Medicare is to remain “solvent,” it means some other part of the government will be “insolvent.” What patent nonsense this administration spins!!

Good luck all you “Baby Boomers” as you gallop into those “Golden Years.”

William S. Frankl, MD, All Rights Reserved