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Columns

John McCain and the Partisan Farce on “Health-care Reform”

August 9, 2017 - 6:00am

Senator John McCain of Arizona sequentially played the role of superhero, villainous traitor (to Republicans), and savior (to Obamacare) as the McConnell “skinny repeal” lost by one vote—his.

First, he dropped in for the crucial vote on bringing the issue to the Senate floor, to a thunderous standing ovation, days after brain surgery (not “eye surgery,” as it was repeatedly billed by the press that covers “health-care” matters). This is not his first such performance—he interrupted his 2008 presidential campaign to vote for TARP, the financial system bailout.

Once repeal itself was up for a vote, McCain ostentatiously cast the decisive “nay,” in a stunning violation of the vehement promises made during his senatorial campaign. Somebody had to do it, since a lot of the Republicans really didn’t want to kill a cash cow for their state or donors. McCain is at the start of his term and has less to lose.

Then he made a speech that former senator Joe Lieberman said was “one of his finest hours.” McCain called for a “return to the bipartisan cooperation that can lead to real legislative accomplishments.”

“Bipartisan” is not the same thing as wise or good, and bipartisan mistakes are even harder to get rid of. But why the stark party-line divide here? Why did no Democrats offer any suggestions? Are they interested in helping their constituents, or just in obstructing Republicans? Do they believe the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s precious legacy, is functioning perfectly?

Hardly. Everybody seems to agree that the insurance “market” needs “stabilizing.” That means it needs more taxpayer dollars to bail it out. And if there aren’t enough votes to appropriate the money for cost-sharing subsidies properly, ACA partisans want the illegal funding begun by Obama and being paid month-to-month by Trump to continue.

The lawsuit against this brought by the House of Representatives is sitting in the D.C. Court of Appeals, which just agreed to allow 18 attorneys general (17 states plus D.C.) to intervene on the side of lawlessness.

And why do insurers need the money? It’s because ACA allows them to offer only unaffordable, money-losing products. Premiums must escalate to the point that nobody can pay them without huge taxpayer subsidies. So why no bipartisan amendments to ACA’s price controls and larded-up “essential” benefits? Why not an amendment to legalize a genuine market for real insurance? The Democrats ought to have to explain why they object to actuarially fair premiums for low-risk persons, or why they insist on adding third-party overhead to routine costs that should be paid out of pocket. If the object is to help a few people with known high costs (“pre-existings”), why do they have to wreck the insurance market for the 95% who could get a policy they liked?

Why don’t any Democrats speak up for repealing mandates? Why do they insist on punishing people for not buying an overpriced product they don’t want? Do politicians really believe that coverage is the same as care? And do they swallow the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) fictions: (1) that the individual mandate has worked and (2) that choosing not to buy something is the same as “losing” it? Are they all that lacking in understanding and judgment, or is it all partisan politics?

Or do they understand perfectly well that ACA is a wealth transfer mechanism from those who receive or provide brain surgery or other actual care to Congress’s real constituents, the money-changers? Consider, for example, the really big cash sinkhole: Medicaid. A lot of people wouldn’t bother to enroll in Medicaid, even though it is free, if they didn’t have to pay to avoid it (the individual mandate). Then the states and managed-care contractors would lose the constant flow of federal dollars for patients who are not getting care.

And what about the neediest patients, say an American Charlie Gard? Medicaid doesn’t cover experimental treatments. Would Charlie’s parents be allowed to raise money and pay privately?

The question of whether Medicaid recipients are restricted to care available within the system comes up frequently. In Sen. McCain’s home state of Arizona, we are trying to get a clear answer.

Why do we need to ask the question? Because when government pays, your medical care is a partisan political issue.

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Since 1988, she has been chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Pima County (Arizona) Medical Society. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fourth editions of Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. She authored books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopf’s Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopf’s Spelling Method, published by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle books, Neomorts and Moonshine. More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.


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Comments

The government should not be allowed to stand between one's doctor and his or her patient. AAPS proposal would remove government from that role and let doctors do the job they are trained to do.

Mr. McCain is a disappointment but should at least change party affiliations since he thinks more and more like Obama!

John McCain (the "Songbird"), 'master-practitioner' of Congressional "Kabuki Theater"; the "spoiler" in ALL things political & military for almost 40 years. McCain cast his Senatorial votes FOR Iran's 'nuke program'; McCain voted in 2013 FOR Federal gun registration and an "assault-type-appearance" gun ban (Constitutional 2nd Amendment "be damned !"). [As he was in the Navy, he is STILL "that Admiral's blameless cocky-kid" running & "leapfrogging" on "Dad's & Grandpa's reputations"; which protected & shielded him right through his 'Navy Commission' as well as during his "reservation" at the "Hanoi Hilton"]. {George Soros has a list (of at least a half dozen Congressional Representatives and State Governors) who are on Soros' regularly occurring "payroll" including: John McCain, Marco Rubio, Carlos Curbelo, Charles Schumer, John Kaysich, Lindsey Graham....(and no doubt, 'others'..)

The trailer park Fox News fanatic strikes again... Get a job NY fool...

Probably been in Florida longer than you've been alive "Cow Fart" !

What you fail to mention here and is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about is the insurance industry itself. It is one of, if not the most corrupt industry in America. Record profits, dividends, and the highest (in the billions) lobby in the world. Insurance is not self-sustaining. it is just like unregulated capitalism, which is the most inefficient system in the world. It essentially implodes due to greed, inefficiency and fiscal failure. If we had capped rates, payouts, dividends and limits to no lobby, the insurance industry would work. However, without those, and there is no move to go in that direction (see billion-plus lobby), it will likely implode shortly after Obamacare. This is really why EVERY industrialized nation in the world, except the U.S. has gone to single payer, or some form of universal healthcare. Not because they are raving socialists, as the idiocy would have you believe, but simply because they could not afford not to. It is the single most efficient system and way of controlling healthcare costs in the world. There are the liars who say we cannot guarantee coverage and have a quality healthcare system. That was debunked years ago and by the way, the U.S. ranks 37th out of 191 nations ranked in healthcare quality. Those are the facts folks. Don't like it or believe me, than Google them for yourself. Knowledge is power.

Kudos to you ! Fact-based articles are sorely lacking in far too many journalistic endeavors.Mis/dis- information is the preferred mental snack for the willfully ignorant.Unless and/or until the insurance industry and its ancillaries are reined in , we will continue to be the outlier in health care quality,access, and affordability. Why does SSN publish anything from AAPS? From Wikipedia..................................................................... "AAPS describes itself as "non-partisan",[12] the organization is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative.[9][13][14] The AAPS opposed the Social Security Act of 1965 which established Medicare and Medicaid, arguing that "the effect of the law is evil and participation in carrying out its provisions is, in our opinion, immoral",[15] and encouraged member physicians to boycott Medicare and Medicaid.[16] AAPS argues that individuals should purchase medical care directly from doctors, and that there is no right to medical care.[17] The organization requires its members to sign a "declaration of independence" pledging that they will not work with Medicare, Medicaid, or even private insurance companies.[18] AAPS opposes mandated evidence-based medicine and practice guidelines, criticizing them as a usurpation of physician autonomy and a fascist merger of state and corporate power driven by the pharmaceutical industry.[19] AAPS also opposes abortion[20] and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception.[21] AAPS also opposes electronic medical records[18] as well as any "direct or de facto supervision or control over the practice of medicine by federal officers or employees."[22]On October 25, 2008 the AAPS website published an editorial implying that Barack Obama was using Neuro-linguistic Programming, "a covert form of hypnosis", to coerce people to vote for him in his 2008 presidential campaign.[23][24]"

Who is "AAPS"?

The author of this article is the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Attention to detail is always helpful.

YOUR "facts" are contrived AND flawed !

Why? Because an idiot like you said so? Pulease...

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