Archive for December, 2007

Hillary’s Christmas Ad

Monday, December 24th, 2007

I watched Hillary Clinton’s Christmas ad yesterday. In the TV ad, she is seen sitting by a Christmas tree with wrapped packages each tagged with her wishes for us all. These items include: Alternative Energy, Universal Pre-K, Bring Home the Troops, Middle Class Tax Breaks, and of course Universal Healthcare.I am struck by several items from this ad as Hillary shows her true colors as she is trying to get the Democrat nomination. All of her “gifts” to us includes redistribution of wealth. How else could one explain Universal Healthcare and Universal Pre-K? Someone has to pay for these “gifts” and she would make sure it came from the “rich” as Democrats define that particular class of Americans. The problem of course is that Democrats define the “rich” as a much larger percentage of Americans than most people realize. Her Robin Hood mentality is counter to all things American.

Next, Hillary’s ad feels a little degrading. She is playing Santa and supposedly giving gifts to us all as if we are little children. Does Hillary really think she is smarter than the rest of us?

It seems clear to me from this ad that Hillary is trying to win by giving out money for votes. Both Democrats and Republicans use this method, and ultimately it is bad for the country. I think it was Ben Franklin that said we are basically doomed as a Republic when we start voting ourselves money. For me, I think that is Hillary’s plan.

Finally, Bill Clinton always scared me a little, but for the most part he was held in check by a Republican congress in the 1990s. Hillary is a different story. I truly believe she is a socialist (she wants to redistribute wealth). This Christmas ad just reinforces my thoughts on her. What are your thoughts about Hillary?

Article Bias Regarding Cancer and Uninsured

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Well, the headline today on  read as below:

Study: Uninsured Cancer Patients Twice as Likely to Die

I had to read this story based on the above shocking headline.  Yet, it raised more questions than I expected after reading it.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

“People without health insurance are less likely to get recommended cancer screening tests, the study also found, confirming earlier research. And when these patients finally do get diagnosed, their cancer is likely to have spread.The research by scientists with the American Cancer Society offers important context for the national discussion about health care reform, experts say — even though the uninsured are believed to account for just a fraction of U.S. cancer deaths. An Associated Press analysis suggests it is around 4 percent.”

This article goes on to imply that the reason uninsured cancer victims are dying is due to our heartless healthcare system, which is letting these people down and essentially killing them.  This is an article, at its heart, that is as biased as they come regarding the uninsured.  First, as the article states, uninsured cancer deaths are thought to be 4%.  Now, I understand if you are unfortunate enough to be one of the 4% that you don’t care the number is that low.  Yet in the context of national politics, it is a rather low number.  So, 96% of cancer deaths are from the insured.  In that case, I don’t think having insurance has much to do with the outcome of treatment. However, reading the rest of the article sure sounds like our healthcare system is in total failure for this population.

Furthermore, I really wonder why people without insurance don’t get cancer screening tests.  Some of these tests like a colonoscopy are expensive, but others are not.   I think Americans need to be willing to take on the responsibility of their own healthcare, including screenings.  Sure, they can be expensive, but this is a person’s health at stake.  Wouldn’t the cost of a healthcare screen be more important than taking a vacation?  Also, I don’t know the stats, but I doubt most people with insurance get preventive health screenings for cancer.

I have always thought that all Americans should have catastrophic insurance coverage, especially to cover cancer.  The real question, as always, is who should pay for it?  Right now, we all pay for the uninsured through higher premiums.  Thus, I still like the idea proposed by Romney, require all Americans to purchase at least catastrophic insurance coverage.  Many of my conservative friends don’t agree with this, but I still believe it to be a reasonable solution. 

Work Comp Bill Review

Monday, December 17th, 2007

A week ago, Joe Paduda on his blog examined the current state of bill review and several of the major players in the market. See an excerpt from a recent post of his:

“King hired former Medata exec Don Theis to head up sales and marketing; Theis’ task, and it is a formidable one, is to bring a market- and customer-orientation to the company. With no ownership of networks, Medata is looking to be neutral and customer-driven regarding network access, building links to the major network vendors and assessing customers a transaction fee for access. Word from Medata is the transaction fees will be transparent and modest.Medata’s new leadership could not have come along at a better time, and the tight focus on WC and ‘Switzerland’ approach to networks may help King and Theis reverse the company’s course.”

Regarding all the various bill review organizations that Joe examined, I think he nailed it just right in discussing the need for bill review companies to be “Switzerland”. It seems to me that in the long run it will be hard for them to be successful, if they don’t take a netural approach regarding PPOs, TPA functions, etc… Over the years, the partnership between independent bill review company and PPO has served the industry well.

Proposed Work Comp Changes in Louisiana

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Everyone that has operated a Workers’ Compensation PPO in Louisiana knows what a nightmare this state has been recently. I talked to one PPO back in the summer that indicated they had close to 1 billion dollars in exposure for penalties associated with PPO discounts taken where ID cards had not been used. Of course, using an ID card for workers’ compensation is just almost impossible. Most workers’ compensation PPOs simply chose to quit doing business in the state. Now, with new Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, the thought is that workers compensation can be revisited in the state. In a recent article from Louisiana Medical News (see quote below), there is new hope for LA.

“Sharma says that LWCR, which represents 250 large employers and hospitals and close to 1 million workers, is taking a comprehensive approach to changing the workers’ comp system. Sharma said he is confident that changes will be made by the legislature.

The group has recommended lowering compensation costs, changing the dispute resolution process to promote consistency and efficiency, and creating quality medical provider networks to treat injured workers.”

Thus, any changes to allow PPOs to operate effectively in the state again will help to lower medical costs. This just might solve some of LAs problems such as Louisiana employers have the longest temporary disability duration rate, 40 percent higher than the median, and pay more than the national average in workers’ compensation costs, with higher premiums.