Managed “Wealth” Care

June 22, 2009

Sooner or later, We, the American People, the President, patients, physicians, all health care providers, the heretofore useless and corrupt Injustice Department, and even the equally corrupt and incompetent US Congress will need to look at what this country and its citizens need instead of simply what lobbies want.

There will be no reasonable national health care without first disinfecting the deep seated vermin within the Medicare System, and, subsequently, the entire health care system. We can no longer support or tolerate the Pete Starks and John Dingells, and other Democratic parasites who have preyed upon the retired and disabled, taking millions of dollars in contributions to support unconscionable inflated prices for laboratory, durable goods and oxygen anywhere from two to five times retail prices. We can no longer support Republican vermin, the likes of Tom Delay, Dick Cheney and other supporters of fixed drug prices at least twice their free market cost.

Amazingly, with the simple addition of legitimate competitive bidding in all of these areas, Medicare, alone, might save 25-30% of its total budget! Of course, what’s a few hundred billion dollars to Pelosi and Reid, the ignoramuses who paid 112 billion dollars in pork bribes to bail out the same vermin that they are (admittedly under-) paid to protect us from??

Meanwhile, we in the United States pay, by far, the highest prices for drugs, even on Part D of Medicare- at least twice as much as Canada and far more than our equally rich cousins in Europe. Besides the lies concerning the amount of research done by pharmaceutical companies (approximately 12% max of expenses), there is the fact that we, the U.S., support practically all of the worldwide costs for most of the drug companies despite our fraction of the total population of the drug market. Worse yet, most of the companies have moved to Europe.

Now, don’t relax yet. We have the really absurd problem of the federal government “giving” patient “lives” to HMO’s- giving licensure to uninvestigated companies with no federal oversight. That’s right, folks, the insurance industry is not regulated at all by the Federal government. This is something those ignoramuses in Congress did not know, for the most part. Thus they “bailed out” state regulated insurance underwriters that were not in any trouble, to save overseas (AIG) entities who should have gone bankrupt. Similarly, with so many state insurance commissioners allowed to take contributions from insurance companies, HMO’s and other insurance entities have had an unmitigated bonanza. The government sees no difference between well run, effective HMO’s and the deadly cheaters.

It gets worse. In their ever growing ignorance, the Federal government, whether Democrat or Republican, has seen fit to torture the country’s hospitals. While hospitals, even before government (appropriate) intervention, had utilization and review committees designed to insure appropriate use of services and resources both medically and financially, most outpatient facilities have been held to much lower (sub) standards. That means, essentially, that I can order a multi-thousand dollar PET Scan instead of an X-ray to investigate a wart on a patient’s finger. I can order a PET Scan for three thousand dollars and not a CT Scan and Bone Scan for a few hundred dollars, thereby allowing me to perform useless lung surgery on a patient with metastasis to the spine. I can siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars in inappropriate tests because some idiot in Washington is as stupid as mud and some other S.O.B. hates hospitals.

At the same time, the insurance company holds the hospital hostage! It wants the hospital to charge the same amount for inpatient and outpatient procedures. It will not let the hospital compete, on an even playing field, for outpatient business. Why should they or the government worry about the enormous cost of inpatient care? In fact, why not bury hospitals in as much useless paperwork and nonsense as possible to prevent nurses from performing those duties and skills for which they were so aptly trained?

For some twenty years, I have been ranting about health care reform, mostly to deaf ears. Physicians are afraid to stand up and mobilize their patients to fight to save Medicare because of the atrocities committed by the office of Attorney General under Janet Reno and assistant Eric Holder in the late 90’s. Rogue prosecutors went after many innocent physicians along with the few guilty with virtually no evidence. Many could not afford to pursue their cases and cost licenses and life savings. Many physicians with whom I have conferred have warned about government retribution. Hopefully, under the watchful eye and guiding hand of Secretary Sebelius, Mr. Holder can now be trusted to perform the proper duties he has so long neglected.

The sad truth is that, ideally, Mr. Obama could take his time and first clean up Medicare! Unfortunately, with a Congress that has shown, time and time again, that it likes the currently ultracorrupted system, I believe that would take years. He has months. He needs to utter those immortal words of one of the last honest men in Congress- Bill Thomas: “Competitive bidding.”

A panel with Mr. Thomas, Mr. Daschel, Secretary Sebelius and (Bush’s Secretary) Leavitt, Dr. Howard Dean, attorneys, insurers, physicians, nurses, therapists and, yes, clergy, needs to ask the hard questions about what we need and leave the question of what we want to the “ignoramuses.”

Allen Finkelstein, D.O.