Medical Doctors Prefer Romney, Want ObamaCare Repealed

A new survey finds that physicians prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama in the presidential race, 55%-36%. Jackson & Coker, a division of Jackson Healthcare, the third largest healthcare staffing company in the country, conducted the study.

The study featured 3,660 participants from 50 states in a self-selected online survey. Physicians identified themselves as 24% Democrat, 35% Republican, 26% Independent, 6% Libertarian, and 7% Unaffiliated. Of those surveyed, 72% were male and 28% were female. The margin of error for the survey, at the 95% confidence level, is 1.6%.

Regarding the survey results, Sandy Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker, said, “Doctors are highly motivated this year to have their voice heard, particularly after passage of the Affordable Care Act. No doubt, the health care law has stirred many passions in the medical community.”

Of the physicians who participated in the study, 55% responded that ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced, while 40% said the law should be implemented and improved.

Women physicians were more likely to support President Obama, as well as physicians employed by hospitals and health systems. The latter is a predictable outcome since doctors who either own, or retain ownership in, a practice are essentially small businesses. Hospitals and health systems, on the contrary, will ultimately benefit from ObamaCare.

Specialists, particularly psychiatrists, pediatricians, and behavioral medicine doctors, tended to support President Obama in the study. Anesthesiologists, surgeons, radiologists, and ophthalmologists were more likely to say they would vote for Romney.

Support for the president has declined since 2008, when Obama received 40% of medical doctors’ votes compared to 44% for John McCain. Physician turnout for the 2012 election is expected to surpass that in 2008. Eight percent of those surveyed said they did not vote in 2008, but only one percent said they would not vote this November.

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OBAMA’S CONDOM-NATION TO COST BILLIONS

If the Obama administration has its way, not only will taxpayers be forced to purchase health care, they also will be required to indirectly subsidize various health-care services globally.

The plan ultimately could extract another $56 billion from the U.S. Treasury over the next eight years.

A large chunk of the international health-care endeavor would be condom distribution, a measure aimed, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, at the prevention of HIV/AIDS and reduction of unplanned pregnancies.

USAID this week began circulating a presolicitation notice informing the public and “in particular, members of the business community” of its plans. It is not yet soliciting bids from contractors, however, to carry out such tasks.

President Obama last year unveiled his intention to execute what he calls the Global Health Initiative, or GHI. The latest notice – which USAID uploaded Aug. 21 to the FedBizOpps database – sheds additional light on what is turning out be an increasingly enormous undertaking.

The document points out that this particular part of the Obama plan – despite its $7 billion estimated annual cost for five years plus a three-year option period – is simply one facet of GHI. Indeed, the Global Health Supply Chain initiative, as it is known, solely involves procuring “health commodities and services” while seeking to ensure uninterrupted supply chains.

The commodities include condoms and other forms of contraception, malaria treatments, insecticide-treated nets and HIV-treatment medicines.

USAID between 2006 and 2010 delivered contraceptives and condoms valued at $376.4 million, the agency said.

During that same period it also bought 95.3 million anti-malarial treatments known as artemisinin-based combination therapy, 45.4 million insecticide-treated nets and 10.2 million preventative treatments for malaria in pregnancy. The document did not specify the volume of HIV-related medicines delivered.

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One in 10 employers plans to drop health benefits when Obamacare takes affect

About one in 10 employers plans to end workers’ health insurance as the new healthcare law takes effect, according to a new study.

The finding could bolster opponents of the law, who argue that its changes to the healthcare system will force workers out of insurance plans they like. Supporters of the law say most people will keep their current coverage.

Surveying 560 U.S. companies, consulting firm Deloitte found that 9 percent of employers are planning to drop employee health benefits within three years. Eighty-one percent said they would continue covering employees, and 10 percent said they were not sure.

The study was conducted between February and April, before the Supreme Court ruled to uphold most of the healthcare law. Deloitte said it does not believe the decision would change companies’ responses.

The law includes a provision requiring people to carry health insurance or pay a fine, and seeks to make it easier for Americans to find and afford coverage outside of their employers.

The study found that smaller firms were most likely to say they will drop coverage. Thirteen percent of companies with 50 to 100 workers said they would end policies within three years, compared with 2 percent of companies with more than 1,000 workers.

The businesses surveyed were not identified.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said the Massachusetts law that inspired the federal healthcare overhaul led to an increase in the number of people insured through their employers.

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Thousands fled Canada for health care in 2011

A Canadian study released Wednesday found that many provinces in our neighbor to the north have seen patients fleeing the country and opting for medical treatment in the United States.

The nonpartisan Fraser Institute reported that 46,159 Canadians sought medical treatment outside of Canada in 2011, as wait times increased 104 percent — more than double — compared with statistics from 1993.

Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 specialties and 10 provinces reported an average total wait time of 19 weeks between the time a general practitioner refers a patient and the time a specialist provides elective treatment — the longest they have ever recorded.

In 2011, Canadians enrolled in the nation’s government-dominated health service waited long periods of time for an estimated 941,321 procedures. As many as 2.8 percent of Canadians were waiting for treatment at any given time, according to the Institute.

“In some cases, these patients needed to leave Canada due to a lack of available resources or a lack of appropriate procedure/technology,” according to the Institute. “In others, their departure will have been driven by a desire to return more quickly to their lives, to seek out superior quality care, or perhaps to save their own lives or avoid the risk of disability.”

Increases in the number of patients leaving Canada for treatment were seen in seven of the ten Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Some of these patients will have been sent out of country by the public health care system due to a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided
in their home jurisdiction,” the report concluded.

“Others will have chosen to leave Canada in response to concerns about quality … to avoid some of the adverse medical consequences of waiting for care such as worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability, or death … or simply to avoid delay.”

Canada’s median wait time for treatment after consultation with a specialist also increased in 2011, from 9.3 weeks to 9.5 weeks. The Fraser Institute’s report concluded that the nation’s doctors don’t like the status quo any more than their patients..

“[P]hysicians themselves believe that Canadians wait nearly 3 weeks longer than what they consider is clinically ‘reasonable’ for elective treatment after an appointment with a specialist,” according to the report.

Read more here.

We Will Still Not Comply: Obama‘s Contraception Mandate Change ’Unacceptable’

After initially saying the changes to President Barack Obama’s contraception mandate were a good “first step,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said late Friday they have “serious objections” to the new policy and that it remained “unacceptable,” CNS News reported.

Under Obama’s alteration, religious-affiliated employers may refrain from paying for contraceptive coverage themselves, but their insurers are still obligated to provide the coverage for free — a change that still raises “serious moral concerns,” the bishops said in a statement.

“It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write,” the bishops said. “At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate…the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders…is unacceptable and must be corrected.”

The bishops said they also object to the plan’s retention of the “nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients.”

“This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty,” the statement said.

Saying the proposal “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions,“ the bishops vowed to ”continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem.”

Feds to design health insurance for the masses

The federal government is taking on a crucial new role in the nation’s health care, designing a basic benefits package for millions of privately insured Americans. A framework for the Obama administration was released Friday.

The report by independent experts from the Institute of Medicine lays out guidelines for deciding what to include in the new “essential benefits package,” and how to keep it affordable for small businesses and taxpayers, as well as scientifically up to date.

The advisers recommended that the package be built on mid-tier health plans currently offered by small employers, expanded to include certain services such as mental health, and squeezed into a budget. They did not spell out a list of services to cover, but they did say that treatments should be cost-effective.

Until now, designing benefits has been the job of insurers, employers and states. But the new health care law requires insurance companies to provide at least the federally approved package if they want to sell to small businesses, families and individuals through new state markets set to open in 2014.

Existing workplace plans won’t be required to adopt the federal model, but employers and consumer advocates alike predict it will become the nation’s benchmark for health insurance over time.

Read more here.

Court of Appeals finds ObamaCare individual mandate unconstitutional

A second federal circuit court of appeals has spoken in the ObamaCare case, the one brought by 26 states. A split three judge panel for the Atlanta-based 11th Citcuit has found the individual mandate unconstitutional, but leaves the rest of the law intact, though crippled and financially not viable.

Jennifer Harberkorn of Politico:

The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.

Judge Stanley Marcus, in a dissenting opinion, said the mandate is constitutional. He was also appointed by Clinton. (snip)

The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.

Judge Stanley Marcus, in a dissenting opinion, said the mandate is constitutional. He was also appointed by Clinton. (snip)

The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.

This ruling all but guarantees that the Supreme Court will review the case, as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the mandate in a similar suit six weeks ago.

Medical secret police calling doctors

The federal government is conducting a stealth survey, calling up doctors and lying to them, seeking a way to catch doctors turning down Medicare and Medicaid patients, now that ObamaCare will be vastly expanding the number of people seeking treatment but paying with government programs that pay substantially less than private insurance. But don’t worry, the new secret police promise that they will keep the data produced by their deceptive tactics confidential.

The details are found in a New York Times story by Robert Pear:

Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

It is all too easy to see where this is leading. Having expanded demand without addressing the supply of doctors, and paying less for that expanded demand than market prices, the Obama administration needs a fall guy, and doctors fit the bill.

Some of the liars calling doctors will say they have the symptoms associated with pneumonia, something requiring a medical visit. All the better to scapegoat doctors who decline to see a Medicare or Medicaid patient. Others will follow scripts with more benign symptoms.

To make sure they are not detected, secret shoppers will hide their telephone numbers by blocking caller ID information.

Eleven percent of the doctors will be called a third time. The callers will identify themselves as calling “on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” They will ask whether the doctors accept private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, and whether they take “self-pay patients.” The study will note any discrepancies between those answers and the ones given to mystery shoppers.

Can you say, “Gotcha!”

Another state drops Obamacare

Joining the more than the thousand unions and companies that have rejected ,er sought waivers on Obamacare, Louisiana is about to become the 9th state seeking waivers from the program according to Investors Business Daily.

In addition

One other state is in the process of putting together a waiver, five others are considering it, and three are keeping it as a future option.

If this pace continues soon all 57 states will have dropped Obamacare, Congress will revise the laws limiting purchasing health care insurance to the individual’s home state while encouraging health insurance divorced from employment and some other improvements and then, at last, this country will have affordable health care. Or at least more affordable than Obamacare’s Non Affordable Health Care Act.

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