Healthcare Lunacy California Style

We are hearing the term “single payer” pretty often in the connotation of healthcare funding.  What you may not have heard is that California has a bill pending to turn the entire state into a single payer entity with the government of California paying for ALL healthcare for EVERYONE — including illegal immigrants!  The projected cost for California:  $400 Billion per year.  Yes, I know, that is an astronomical figure for spending for an astronomical venture.

How do they plan to pay for it?  It’s actually a pretty simple plan — more taxes, broken down this way:

$200 Billion will be paid with a 15% payroll tax increase;  the other $200 Billion will be drawn from existing local, state, and federal funds.

Needless to say it is very controversial in California as well.  But not controversial like you think.  The state Senate last week passed the bill that now has to go to their House for debate and approval.  But there’s a holdup there.  House Speaker Anthony Rendon killed the bill for this

Bernie Sanders

year even though it sailed through the Senate.  Renton did not mince words:  In a statement, he mentions how the bill “was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete,” namely that “it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation.”  Subsequently Renton has gone into hiding amid constant verbal attacks and demonstrations at his home and office and has received multiple death threats.  Those who are raking him over the coals do not all live in California.  That famous Socialist from the northeast Bernie Sanders has even weighed in.  Bernie Sanders said he was “extremely disappointed” at the Speaker’s action, and prophesied that, “If the great state of California has the courage to take on the greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies, the rest of the country will follow.”

The bill that passed the California Senate, you see, did not address the rather significant detail of how single-payer would be financed. Since the official legislative estimate is that it would boost state health-care costs by $200 billion — which would more than double the state budget — that’s a pretty big omission.  Doubling the state budget and not having a plan to tackle that?  Yes, even though I love much of the state California and have good friends that live there, this proves that old statement that California “is the land of fruits and nuts.”  And most of them work in Sacramento.

Let’s run some quick numbers:

  • Healthcare spending for 2016 in the state was $367 Billion of which the government paid 71%, or $261 Billion  (this according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in their “Health Policy Brief” of August 2016)
  • 2017 year spending numbers are not released yet (for obvious reasons) but are reportedly running much higher than those 2016 numbers

  • Healthcare spending numbers included do NOT include unpaid hospital bills.  Remember:  it is illegal for a hospital to turn away any ill patient who walks into an emergency room.  They get treated for whatever illness for which they arrive at the ER.  We have no recent numbers for those costs, but in 2011 that number was $41.1 Billion.  Hospitals ate that $41.1 Billion, NOT the California government.

Think about this folks:  California is legitimately considering “planning” on spending 1/2 Trillion dollars a year on paying for the treatment and care for anyone who walks into California regardless of citizenship, legal or illegal status, or nationality.  That is crazy enough as it is.  But consider this:  Governor Jerry Brown in his proposed 2017 budget planned for a $1.6 Billion deficit.  Add that number (if it will be accurate) to their $1.3 Trillion debt that already exists.  Pure lunacy!

This is Scary!

You are probably digesting this the same way I am.  I simply cannot believe that are breathing, educated, and reasonable people alive that can somehow reconcile a plan like this.  Unfortunately there are, and they number in the millions.  A bunch of them number among the 535 members of Congress that actually are the ones that could conceivably put together a bill and pass such a bill that could make a program like this actually exist in YOUR life in America.

The Obamacare goal was its failure.  Why would they want it to fail?  It’s simple — follow this scenario:

  1. The Liberal Left in unison passed the Affordable Care Act into law without one person even reading it.
  2. The drafters of the law knew that it was financially nonviable, would lose billions of dollars, and would quickly have to be replaced.
  3. The replacement would have to take healthcare further down the road.  What was “further down the road?”  Single Payer Healthcare.
  4. Obama and the other members of the Liberal Left knew that once “free anything” was given it could never be taken away.  That would certainly assure no possibility of healthcare finance ever finding its way back into the free market system — the only place it could ever work.
  5. Obamacare is dying a quick death.  Single Payer for the Nation is imminent……except —-
  6. HILLARY LOST THE ELECTION!  That was the ultimate plan:  Hillary, who is a single payer Illuminati proponent, has lusted for single payer healthcare for decades and was handpicked to take American healthcare there as President.

So what do we do now?  I don’t know what we “will” do now, but I know what we “should” do now:  go as far back to free market healthcare as possible.  What would that look like?

  • We keep the few things in Obamacare that are really good:  no pre-existing conditions exclusions, children stay longer on parents policy, Medicaid state block grant funding.
  • Insurance companies market and operate healthcare plans universally — no state boundaries.  That will drive insurance costs down dramatically both in cost of policy premiums and procedures.
  • Healthcare providers ALL participate in an adjusted regional fee schedule for every treatment provided to patients.  Medicare has for decades had a fee schedule for this that works really well.  It is regionally skewed:  an MRI cost paid to a New York hospital is higher than an MRI cost paid to a hospital in Longview, Texas.  Why?  the NY actual expense is much higher.  The Medicare Part B fee schedule would work beautifully if adopted for all healthcare providers for all procedures.  It prevents price gouging, the uncertainty of knowing how much treatments will cost the patient. (have you ever priced shopped for teeth cleaning or a series of shots for your kids?)
  • Medical Providers would have to be paid within 45 days of receipt of the correctly coded and documented bill by the Insurance company.  This is a critical piece.  Doctors and other providers have to fight hard now to get paid by insurance companies in a timely fashion and paid accurately.  A fee schedule with a 45-day payment guarantee would allow them the ability to operate their practices smoothly which means better patient care.  I have owned and operated a Medical Reimbursement Management company for 25 years.  We fight the battles for doctors, clinics, hospitals, surgery centers, radiology centers, etc. to get them paid quickly, accurately, and the maximum amount they should receive per patient policy terms.  It is uncanny how difficult it is for medical providers to get paid.  Most doctors never think about those reimbursement issues while spending their fortunes on their education.  But they all have to fight to get paid their entire careers.  With that gone, healthcare in every area would immediately improve dramatically.
  • I have a doctor in my family who has never been sued but pays $100,000 a year in medical malpractice insurance premiums.  Why?  “Ambulance chaser” lawyers.  We MUST have tort reform immediately.  Doctors screw up and make decisions that negatively impact the lives of patients and their families for life — sometimes they even cost patients their lives.  There needs to be reimbursement to those injured for these incidents.  But the reform needs to be adjusted to be just actual verifiable damages instead of the settlements that read like this:  “$25,000 for actual damages, $2 million for pain and suffering.”  This alone would decrease the cost for providers in the nation that some estimate to be as much as 20%.  The problem is attorneys:  most Congressional legislators ARE attorneys.  They look out for their own.

As far as healthcare in the U.S. is concerned, we need to be careful we do nothing that hurts actual healthcare while repairing healthcare finance — the two are totally separate.  America has the best overall healthcare system on Earth.  It is a scary thing to allow Washington bureaucrats to make life and death decisions for the structure of Healthcare.

Unfortunately I see and hear NOTHING from healthcare finance specialists who the government brings into this conversation to fix healthcare finance.  There are doctors in the mix.  But as a whole doctors are not good at finance.  But doctors and others in healthcare are the last to admit they don’t know about finance and to turn it over to specialists.

The American Healthcare System is teetering on the edge of a cliff.  If it is pushed over that cliff into the Healthcare abyss called “Single Payer,” future generations of Americans will never have access to the quality of care Americans have seen in our lifetimes.

 


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