Healthcare Category

Fixing Our Ailing Mental Health Treatment System

One of my favorite Congressman, Rod Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, has an excellent weekly newsletter. This week he writes:

"More than 10 million Americans have severe schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or suffer from major depression.  Yet millions are going without treatment and families struggle to find care for their loved ones.

As a longtime mental health advocate, I recognize that the federal government’s approach to mental health has been notoriously chaotic - a patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies across numerous departments, agencies, and offices.  In fact, the General Accountability Office notes that there are 12 federal programs charged with addressing mental illness and “interagency coordination for programs supporting individuals with serious mental illness is lacking.”

Fundamentally, mental illness is a disease. We certainly do not treat people with cancer or diabetes or heart disease so callously.

Sadly, some people end up in the criminal justice system or out on the streets because services are not available. The illness may result in suicide, drug abuse, crime, homelessness and more. Our failure to care for those who are ill comes at a very high cost to our society, in economic terms and in wasted human potential and, occasionally, terrible violence.”


Through my education in Psychology, my time as a social worker in a maximum security prison, as mobile crisis clinician, and in my private practice, I have been hip deep in this stuff. It has at times been sad, frustrating, infuriating and, occasionally, there is a light when medicine and government and community come to together to literally save a life. 

I am all too familiar with these unfortunate problems in our society. I have worked the psychiatric units. I have been instrumental in some rescues. I can’t wait to get to Washington to clear out bureaucratic bumbling and get out help for these fellow citizens!

Posted on 09 Jul 2016, 01:46 - Category: Healthcare

13th Healthcare Co-Op Goes Down

Here’s another sign Obamacare is entering its death spiral: Ohio’s InHealth Mutual co-op announced that it will shutter ahead of the 2017 open enrollment period. This failure will abandon nearly 22,000 consumers, the majority on individual plans, who will now have 60 days to “re-locate”.

InHealth received $129.2 million dollars in government loans, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Under Obamacare, CMS offers low interest loans to these non-profit groups for set up and maintenance. CO-OP loans are only made to "private, nonprofit entities that demonstrate a high probability of financial viability". Right.

So far, 13 of the 23 co-ops set up under this program, with 739,000 enrollees, have gone broke. They received $1.3 billion in government loans, and leave behind an approximately equal amount in other debt. The total of 23 co-ops received $2.4 billion in government loans.

In Maine and New Hampshire, Maine Community Health Options was awarded $132 million. Early enrollment approached 71,000. As of December, it had lost $17 million in the first 9 months of 2015 and suspended individual enrollment.

Like abortion, universal healthcare has long been the holy grail, the sacred alter of the progressive left. Various versions have been constantly in the works behind the scenes, bubbling up from time to time, e.g. HillaryCare in the ‘90s. The ACA version got passed, shielded by lies (“You can keep your doctor”), celebrated by gloating ("Call it the stupidity of the American voter…”), without one Republican vote.

The failures of the co-ops doesn’t faze the left at all. How come? Chellie Pingree is tickled pink. In press release after press release, she has proclaimed nothing but rosiness. My staff couldn’t find one misgiving or criticism of ACA in her record. Pingree asserts: “[The] bill is paid for in part by cutting out waste, fraud, and abuse from the health care system”. I didn’t know she did stand up comedy.

To understand the situation, understand that the outcome so far is considered a success by the liberals. The ACA, as passed, is only a step toward a full single-payer system. The closing of another co-op is mission accomplished along that road. The people in Ohio are supposed to be frustrated, put out and unnerved. Then, they can blame the private sector. Then they can beg Obama to fix it. 

Posted on 03 Jun 2016, 20:35 - Category: Healthcare

VA Mess Continues

Despite all the proclamations coming out of the Whitehouse that they are fixing the reprehensible  problems at the Veterans Administration, there is no evidence of progress.

Pete Hegseth, former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, recently returned to the Baltimore VA hospital a year and a half after he spoke to vets who were frustrated with the treatment they received.

He found that despite assurances by the VA that improvements have been made to staffing and services, most vets haven't seen a difference. They continue to experience problems with long wait times, a lack of accountability, and insensitive bureaucracy. VA employees still have job security galore, protected by unions. Most recently, two VA officials are accused of fraud to the tune of more than $400,000; they have been demoted, but not fired!

A few vet comments:

"Everything's slower. Stuff speeded up for like a month or two. Now, it's back to being worse than it was a year ago.”

"From this past September til now, I've been down here 14 times. And I keep getting the same...everytime I come down, nothing gets done.”

I am furious about this! This scandal has basically dropped off the radar, due to a complicit press. I treat these vets every day in my private practice and I know the heartaches first hand. This hideous, unfair and outrageous mess is showing us where Obamacare will take the rest of our healthcare system. 

Posted on 05 Apr 2016, 17:30 - Category: Healthcare

Obamacare Poll

In a recent poll of 1,002 people by The Hill, 15% said they have personally benefited from ObamaCare. 26% said they have been personally harmed by the healthcare law since its passage and that the cost of healthcare has been a serious strain on their finances in the last two years. 

Most Americans — a total of 56 percent — say they haven’t felt directly affected by the Affordable Care Act. Among those who have felt affected, more people say the law has hurt them than helped them, according to polling by National Public Radio and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The national poll included 1,002 responses with a margin of error of 3.8.

Remember, the effects of Obama are still filtering down into our citizenry. A number of the punishing provisions have yet to kick in. 

Posted on 29 Feb 2016, 13:38 - Category: Healthcare

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