World View: Veterans’ Medical Services Continue to Worsen Since 2014 Scandal

Chicago Area Hines Veterans Hospital Sited In Mass VA Scandal
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This morning’s key headlines from

  • Doctors prepare to strike UK’s National Health Service
  • Veterans’ medical services continue to worsen since 2014 scandal
  • Obamacare prices skyrocketing in 2016, as I predicted in 2009
  • Kentucky’s new governor Matt Bevin promises to end Obamacare abuses
  • Four more Obamacare co-ops collapse in the last week
  • Obamacare ‘risk corridors’ are also collapsing financially

Doctors prepare to strike UK’s National Health Service

Sign announcing the closure of Kentucky's Nicholas County Hospital because of Obamacare-related bankruptcy (USA Today)
Sign announcing the closure of Kentucky’s Nicholas County Hospital because of Obamacare-related bankruptcy (USA Today)

Members of the UK’s far left British Medical Association (BMA) labor union will vote on whether to go on strike on November 18 against the National Health Service (NHS). The vote was called after the union rejected a last-ditch pay offer by the UK government that increased pay by 11% and reducing the maximum work hours per week to 72 from 91.

As I wrote in “5-Aug-15 World View — Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) faces existential financial crisis”, UK’s government-run single-payer health system is facing a financial disaster, with a deficit of over $3 billion in 2015-16, and growing rapidly. Furthermore, with so much money involved, the NHS is filled with criminality and fraud. As a result, the NHS faces cutbacks on staffs, increases in waiting times for appointments that are already measured in months, and cutbacks in services.

Because the NHS bureaucracy is so old and bloated, and because the services are “free,” costs can only be controlled by rationing, queuing, reduced quality and artificial cost suppression. UK’s doctors earn far less than doctors in other countries, and UK specialists earn about half of what they do in America. As a result, UK’s homegrown doctors have left to work in other countries, and NHS has had to import 28% of its doctors from abroad, usually from poorer countries where low UK salaries look attractive. Oxford Mail and Telegraph (London)

Veterans’ medical services continue to worsen since 2014 scandal

The American version of Britain’s NHA is the Veterans Administration (VA), a government-run single-payer system providing “free” medical services to veterans. Last year, a major scandal found major fraud and criminality in the VA healthcare system, with VA offices systematically lying about waiting times and treatment outcomes.

Since then, billions of dollars have been poured into the Veterans Administration but, as in the case of the NHS, the extra tsunami of money is disappearing, and services are continuing to get worse. At the Phoenix VA medical center, which was the epicenter of the 2014 scandal, appointment times and fraudulent activities continue to worsen, with the center using complicated wait-time calculations to obscure ongoing appointment delays.

According to one whistleblower, “The reality is veterans are waiting months — three, six months at a time, sometimes more — for care at the Phoenix VA” — and this includes critical health procedures, such as colonoscopies.

In August, more than 8,000 requests for care had wait times longer than 90 days at the Phoenix VA, and even those figures are low because of deceptive methods for measuring wait times.

Even worse, whistleblowers continue to receive vicious retaliatory treatment for complaining. The Veterans Administration is no longer in the news every day, but the fraud and criminality is just as bad, and probably worse. CNN and Military Times and CNN (13-Apr-2015)

Obamacare prices skyrocketing in 2016, as I predicted in 2009

Inflation rate following the imposition of wage-price controls on August 15, 1971 (Source:
Inflation rate following the imposition of wage-price controls on August 15, 1971 (Source:

In July 2009, when Obamacare was first announced, I wrote that Obama’s health plan is a proposal of economic insanity. I compared it to President Richard Nixon’s wage-price controls, and I predicted that it would be just as much of an economic disaster.

Nixon’s price controls were imposed in 1971 because the inflation rate was around 4%. The purpose of the price controls was to lower the inflation rate to 2%. It took three years for the inflation rate to surge to 12%.

In 2009, I said that Obamacare was no different, at its core, than Nixon’s price controls, and that the same kind of disaster would recur. I repeated that comparison many times. ( “1-Dec-13 World View — Obamacare: 500M lines of code, $500M, only 60% completed”) Obamacare was imposed in 2013 and, now, in its third year, Obamacare prices are surging.

For the first two years, Obamacare premium price hikes were very modest, just as the inflation rate was very modest in the first two years of Nixon’s price controls.

But now, for 2016, Obamacare premiums are skyrocketing, again like Nixon’s third year. 231 insurers requested double-digit percentage premium price hikes for 2016, as opposed to just 121 in 2015. Furthermore, the magnitude of the hikes will be much greater in the upcoming year. A whopping 126 plans aimed for a minimum 20% premium hike, 61 plans attempted to justify a 30% premium boost, 26 policies are targeting a 40% price jump, and a dozen plans actually requested a 50%-plus premium jump for 2016.

Taking all plans into account, premium prices are rising 20.3%, much worse than the 12% disaster following Nixon’s price controls.

Administration officials are bragging that Obamacare premium costs for the cheapest plan, the Silver Plan, increased only 7.3%. (I recall similar deceptions argued by Nixon’s supporters in the 1970s. That’s like saying that the inflation rate may be 12%, but the price of tomatoes only rose 7%.) When you look at the entire Obamacare marketplace, premium prices are rising 20.3%. Forbes and Daily Caller

Kentucky’s new governor Matt Bevin promises to end Obamacare abuses

In what is being called a bellwether election, a Tea Party Republican, Matt Bevin, this week unexpectedly won the election for governor on a platform that included repeal of Obamacare.

The mainstream media are appalled. Here’s what left-wing writer Jordan Weissmann wrote in Slate:

Kentucky voters elected Republican businessman Matt Bevin as their new governor on Tuesday, which sadly means a whole lot of people are probably about to lose their health insurance. The Tea Party favorite has promised to roll back pieces of the Affordable Care Act that have helped slash Kentucky’s uninsured rate by more than half according to Gallup, the biggest drop of any state in the country since the law’s major planks were implemented.

Oh well. ‘Twas a happy story while it lasted.

Obamacare has been an unmitigated financial disaster for Kentucky, as I described in my August article, “ — The greatest software development disaster in history”, which I posted after months of extensive research.

I wrote extensively about what happened to Kentucky. Here’s a short list of the devastation:

  • Kentucky hospitals are losing $1 billion because of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
  • Most newly insured — 75% — use Medicaid, which only pays 82% of the actual medical costs, and updates are not keeping up with inflation. This is costing hospitals an additional $135 million per year.
  • Since the onset of Obamacare, bad debts have increased by $200 million, largely because patients cannot afford the $10,000+ deductibles.
  • For every $100 that Obamacare collects in Kentucky, it has to pay out $121 to deliver the care. That alone explains why Obamacare is a financial disaster for Kentucky.
  • Some Medicaid plans pay hospitals on $50 for an emergency room visit, even though the services cost thousands of dollars. As a result, emergency rooms are going to have to restrict accepting some patients on Medicaid.
  • Because of Obamacare, there was a 10% reduction in statewide hospital workforce, for a loss of 7,700 jobs. Nearly 2/3 of the lost jobs were for rural hospitals. Some hospitals will be forced to close.

Matt Bevin won because he wants to bring this disaster under control. Obamacare acolytes like Weissmann are appalled because they do not understand simple economics. Louisville (Ky) Courier-Journal and USA Today (8-May-2015) and Slate

Four more Obamacare co-ops collapse in the last week

As I wrote two weeks ago when the Colorado Obamacare health insurance co-op collapsed, these co-ops are almost unbelievably hare-brained entities designed to be non-profit and provide competition to the evil corporate insurance companies. (Read my August article for further details on Obamacare co-ops.)

Co-ops have been paying out $1.10 to $1.60 in benefits for each dollar they received in insurance premiums. They got away with this because they were supported by federal Obamacare slush funds – which are now running out.

During the last week, co-ops collapsed in four states: South Carolina, Utah, New York, and Michigan. There are 23 Obamacare co-ops in all, and that makes 12 of them that have collapsed. California Health Line

Obamacare ‘risk corridors’ are also collapsing financially

Another hare-brained Obamacare scheme is the “risk corridor” program, which is supposed to collect excess profits from profit-making insurers, and give the money to insurers losing money. As jaded and cynical as I am, this thing is so incredibly stupid, even by Obamacare standards, that I can barely believe it. Once again, read my August article for further details.

Just in time for this article, Standard and Poors said on Thursday that the risk corridor program is facing a massive cash shortage, with only $1 to cover every $10 in claims.

Once again, it is time to recall the words of that great Obamacare architect, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who said: “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever. But basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” He was not talking about me. He was talking about Obamacare supporters. And he was absolutely correct. The Hill

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Britain, National Health Insurance, NHS, Veterans Administration, Obamacare, Richard Nixon, Nixon’s price controls, Kentucky, Matt Bevin, Obamacare co-ops, Obamacare risk corridors, Jonathan Gruber
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