Saturday, May 31, 2014

Media: VA Health Care Is A Model For The United States: A MUST READ

via RedState;
 streiff (Diary)  |   
This week we have seen the Inspector General of the VA deliver a devastating critique that lays direct blame for the death of some veterans on the VA’s practice of denying care to veterans for prolonged periods of time in order to make their appointment wait-times look better. A whistleblower in Texas equates the VA management with a crime family. Despite the avalanche of evidence now tumbling down the figurative mountain to grim justice at the bottom, old habits on the left die hard. Yet only two days ago a seeming moron named Suzanne Gordon wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe defending the VA.
FIRST IT was Social Security, then Medicare and Medicaid, and then the public health care option under Obamacare. Now, in the wake of recent allegations that veterans hospitals put patients on secret wait lists, Republicans are calling for the privatization of the Veterans Health Administration, the nation’s largest public health care system which provides cost-effective and high quality care to 6.2 million veterans.
It is of course unacceptable if patients suffered as a result of any delays. But regardless of what went wrong at any VA facility, turning veterans over to private sector insurers and for-profit hospitals is not the solution.
There are so many lies, half-truths, distortions and non-sequiturs crammed into these three short paragraphs that one doesn’t know where to start.
In fact, the VA has never been a model. Throughout its history the VA has been associated with slipshod and substandard care.
But in defending Obamacare the left and the media, but I repeat myself, has tried to convince us that the VA is the standard the nation should adopt. Let’s review the bidding over the course of the Obama administration.
Paul Krugman:
Many people still have an image of veterans’ health care based on the terrible state of the system two decades ago. Under the Clinton administration, however, the V.H.A. was overhauled, and achieved a remarkable combination of rising quality and successful cost control. Multiple surveys have found the V.H.A. providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers. Furthermore, the V.H.A. has led the way in cost-saving innovation, especially the use of electronic medical records. Source.
More in the same vein can be found here | here and in other stories. Any serious debate over Krugman’s status as a the political equivalent of an expensive hooker should be put to rest.
Nicholas Kristof
Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effectiveelements in the American medical establishment.
quick search of the New York Times finds dozens of stories extolling the benefits of the VA health care system. But the New York Times is not alone. In the Washington Post, a feckless yob named Yogesh Khanal spins this story:
This multifaceted and coordinated approach to treatment — all of it at minimal or no cost for veterans at the VA — is rarely practiced in other American hospitals and clinics. If this patient had hobbled in and found me at a private clinic outside the VA system, his lack of insurance and a job would have put him in the Medicaid ranks. Specialists might have refused to accept Medicaid, and he might have had to pay out of his own pocket — or not see them at all.
Moreover, like nearly all private patients, he would have needed to coordinate these visits on his own, carry his medical chart with him and later ensure that I received the specialists’ recommendations. To see me again, he might have needed to wait weeks for an opening.
The VA system could be a model of how to change all that. Indeed, it’s a model of changing itself.
Ezra Klein:
We all know Klein is a twit. That someone with a liberal arts degree from a school know[n] for producing… well, goofs… was ever able to convince the Washington Post that he was a “wonk” will redound to the perpetual disgrace of the Post and its readers. It a article called “When socialism works in America:
The thing about the Veteran’s Administration’s health-care system? It’s socialized. Not single payer. Not heavily centralized. Socialized. As in, it employs the doctors and nurses. Owns the hospitals. And though I think there’s some good reason to believe its spending growth is somewhat understated — it benefits heavily from medical trainees, for instance — accounting for that difference still means a remarkable recent performance.
If you ordered America’s different health systems worst-functioning to best, it would look like this: individual insurance market, employer-based insurance market, Medicare, Veterans Health Administration.
The NYT and WaPo were not alone
“You’re much better off in the VA than in a lot of the rest of the U.S. health-care system,” she said. “You’ve got a fighting chance there’s going to be some organized, thoughtful, evidence-based response to dealing effectively with the health problem that somebody brings to them.”
The combination of its information system and support tools, routine performance reporting and financial incentives for managers who hit quality targets gives it an edge, said McGlynn, who co-authored a comparative study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2004 that found the VA outperformed its community health-care counterparts by 20 percentage points in preventive care. It also performed significantly better on chronic disease care and in overall quality.
Over the course of Obama’s administration, there has been relentless shilling on the part of the major media about the alleged high quality of health care in the VA system. We now know conclusively that the evidence presented to make these claims was false. The VA has been touted as a model because its centralized nature allowed it to produce performance data that was much superior to its actual performance and because the media has generally bought into the socialized view of medicine that is congruent with that of the White House.

Thank You Streiff and Redstate.

And you wonder How ObamaCare - which will subject Everyone to the VA's brand of Lethal, Slip-Shod, Devil May Care, Corrupt Ineptitude, - was foisted into some Voting segment of the American Mindset.

Senator, VA Whistleblower Detail "Culture of Corruption" At VA, "Boxes And Boxes" of Echocardiograms Unread, Until Patients Died

Senator, VA Whistleblower Detail "Culture of Corruption" At VA, "Boxes And Boxes" of Echocardiograms Unread, Until Patients Died

In Chicago, right in Obama’s wheelhouse…
CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said a doctor at a suburban Chicago veterans hospital told him Friday that “boxes and boxes” of echocardiograms went unread for weeks and in some cases not read until after the patients died, the latest allegations in a widening national scandal about shoddy medical care provided to the nation’s veterans.
Appearing with a VA whistleblower who described widespread intimidation and harassment of employees at Edward Hines, Jr. VA hospital, Kirk stopped short of saying that any of the deaths were caused by the failure to read the tests.
Neither he nor the whistleblower, a VA social worker and union representative, Germaine Clarno, would identify the doctor who told Kirk about the echocardiogram. Clarno declined to provide any documentation because she said it would identify staffers who were already in fear of being punished or fired.
But at a news conference at Kirk’s office just hours after President Barack Obama announced that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki had stepped down, the Illinois Republican and Clarno outlined what Kirk called a “culture of corruption” putting the lives of veterans at risk.
“My concern is from what I heard from the whistleblower today is one physician… described virtual clinics where people were claimed to be seen and hadn’t really been seen,” said Kirk, a veteran himself.

Thank You Chicago Tribune, WZ, and Nickarama. 

Obama Was On Veterans Affairs Committee From 2005-2008, Yet Still Feigns Ignorance of Problem

Obama Quietly Issues Rule Paving Way For Sex-Change Operations Through Medicare

Build a Base - Buy a Vote. No matter How small a percentage of the populace this will buy, when it's Other People's Money, . . Just Waste It.
Obama Quietly Issues Rule Paving Way For Sex-Change Operations Through Medicare

And they don’t think anyone will have a problem with this?
WASHINGTON — In a relatively quiet announcement Friday, the Obama administration struck a major blow for transgender rights by ending a decades-long blanket ban that prevented Medicare from covering sex reassignment surgery.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Departmental Appeals Board, an internal review structure within the byzantine federal agency, issued a ruling that ended a ban on Medicare even considering covering sex reassignment surgery and related care because a fear of “serious complications” resulting from the “experimental” surgery. That language was issued in 1981, and most medical professional organizations now consider sex reassignment surgery a safe and accepted procedure. The DAB ruling noted the change in how sex reassignment surgery is understood 33 years after the Medicare ban was issued.
“Even assuming the [National Coverage Determination]’s exclusion of coverage at the time the NCO was adopted was reasonable, that coverage exclusion is no longer reasonable,” reads the ruling. “This record includes expert medical testimony and studies published in the years after publication of the NCO.”
Experts say the change to Medicare could have far-reaching implications for American medicine, helping to drive more private insurers to offer coverage for sex reassignment surgery and related care. Though it fits within President Obama’s promise to make the government fairer to LGBT Americans, the DAB announcement was a relatively quiet one. The White House did not trumpet the move, and advocates for the change issued a joint statement hailing it but downplaying it as a revolutionary change for transgender people, instead casting it as bringing Medicare up to speed with the rest of the medical profession.
“This decision removes a threshold barrier to coverage for medical care for transgender people under Medicare,” leaders of the ACLU, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — the groups that fought for the change — said. “It is consistent with the consensus of the medical and scientific community that access to gender transition-related care is medically necessary for many people with gender dysphoria.”

Thank You Mr McMorris Santoro and Zip. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

NEW STUDY: ObamaCare Will Actually INCREASE The Number of Uninsured

NEW STUDY: ObamaCare Will Actually INCREASE The Number of Uninsured
[Same way the 'Mental Illness' Industry creates its own clients. They are both parasites dependent upon GOVT. Funding.]

Implosion coming, paving way to single payer…
Via IJR:
A study was released that shows that Obamacare will both increase the cost of health insurance and increase the number of uninsured.
Stephen Parente from the University of Minnesota did an analysis of Obamacare and its projected effect on the number of uninsured over the next ten years. He found that the number of uninsured will go up starting in 2017 due to the declining purchasing power of the government subsidies.
Parente also found that health insurance costs will increase by nearly $1400 for those individuals with “silver” plans and $4200 for families with “silver” plans.
From Conservative Hideout:
Nationally, we estimate an initial decrease in the uninsured with greater use of the private health insurance subsidies, but over time health plan prices are likely to increase faster than the value of the insurance subsidy. As a result of the declining purchasing power of the insurance subsidy, the implementation of the qualified health plan requirements and the end of the reinsurance and risk corridor programs we estimate a significant reduction in the private insurance market in 2017 with steady declines continuing for the rest of the decade.

Thank You IJR and Nickarama.

This study is not unexpected. We've seen its punchline before in June of 2013:

CBO: Uninsured Under ObamaCare NEVER Falls Below 30 Million 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UCSF, . Again, . . Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders

via npr;

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"We've seen far too many times where military personnel have neuropsychiatric disorders and there's very few options," says Justin Sanchez, a program manager at DARPA.
DARPA is known for taking on big technological challenges, from missile defense to creating a business plan for interstellar travel. In 2013, the agency announced it would play a big role in President Obama's initiative to explore the human brain.
The new program will fund development of high-tech implanted devices able to both monitor and electrically stimulate specific brain circuits. The effort will be led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Simple brain stimulation devices are already used to help patients with problems including Parkinson's disease. But DARPA wants something much more sophisticated, Sanchez says.
"While those devices have been shown to be effective, they are very much built on concepts from the cardiac pacemaker industry," he says. "And we know that the brain is very different than the heart."
Working With Epilepsy, Parkinson's Patients
The UCSF team will begin its work by studying volunteers who already have probes in their brains as part of treatment for epilepsy or Parkinson's disease.
That will allow researchers to "record directly from the brain at a level of resolution that's never [been] done before," says Eddie Chang, a neurosurgeon at UCSF.
By monitoring the electrical activity of brain cells, the researchers will be able to study how brain circuits behave in real time, Chang says. And because many of the volunteers also have depression, anxiety and other problems, it should be possible to figure out how these conditions have changed specific circuits in the brain, Chang says.
"If we are able to understand how the circuit has gone awry, that may give us some very critical clues as to how we may be able to reverse that," he says.
Once the scientists have those clues, they hope to design tiny electronic implants that can stimulate the cells in faulty brain circuits. "We know that once you start putting stimulation into the brain, the brain will change in response," Chang says.

That sort of change, known as plasticity, is what allows the brain to learn and adapt throughout our lives. And a device that can deliver the right kind of stimulation to the right brain cells should be able to "heal" malfunctioning brain circuits, Chang says.

At first the DARPA program will focus on patients with depression, anxiety and symptoms of PTSD. Later, the plan calls for treating conditions including chronic pain and even traumatic brain injury.

"Giving money and power to Govt. is like giving whiskey and car keys to teen age boys."

PJ O'Rourke.