Thursday, April 28, 2011

Medicare "As Is" is Not an Option

The Budget War has reignited the Medicare War with both Republicans and Democrats fearful of angering Seniors (and potential Seniors) about diminished access to blank-check health care.

Polls show people want Medicare to continue "as is" --but this is not a fiscal possibility.

Medicare must be changed, and both Pres. Obama and Rep. Ryan offer ways to change it.

The President calls for top-down restriction of care by a government-appointed panel of experts. Ryan's plan calls for restriction of government payment to individuals and more individual choice.

Neither plan ends Medicare --just Medicare as it currently exists.

Neither plan supports Seniors' ability to pay for care when Medicare won't.

The debate must continue.

More information here, here and here.

Just ask

5 Questions from WTRC Films on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Black Ribbon Project Goes to Washington

D4PC "Crash Card" report:
(Although not visible in this photo--every doctor proudly wears a Black Ribbon.)

Charging the Hill

Dr. Hal Scherz's Field Report from the Capitol

Docs4PatientCare with Speaker of the House John Boehner
Speaker of the House John Boehner prioritized a meeting with the leadership of Docs4PatientCare just before meeting with President Obama in the midst of the political fight over the Government shut down.

On April 6 & 7, a group of leaders from Docs 4 Patient Care went to Washington for meetings on Capitol Hill with Senators, Congressmen and their staff, for policy meetings and to participate in a healthcare symposium with the Galen Institute.

Docs4PatientCare staging outside the
Capitol to "Charge the Hill" on behalf
of the Doctor-Patient Relationship.

Docs4PatientCare prepares to charge the Hill
On this trip to DC, as compared to previous ones, we had no trouble arranging meetings with Senators and Congressmen. That is because after 2 years of work, they recognize that we are a bona fide organization and worthy of their time.

We would have had meetings with many more Senators and Congressmen then we did, had it not been for an imminent government shutdown, which occupied most of their time and attention.

Nonetheless, the highlight of our trip in many respects was our 30 minute meeting with Speaker of the House, John Boehner, which immediately preceded his first meeting with President Obama over the budget impasse.

Most of the time, groups come to DC with their hand out, trying to get a bigger slice of the federal pie. They gain entry into these offices because they have spent an enormous amount of money through lobbyists, who are hired guns, but have no real skin in the game.

We were received differently, because we are different.

New Congressman and
Docs4PatientCare member,
Dr. Dan Benishek came to
Washington to prevent the
trampling of the Doctor-
Patient Relationship.

Congressman Benishek has a message.
We did not come asking for anything except for the opportunity to help them fix healthcare. We told them who we were (although many already knew), and what we had done. We shared with them our successes in the 2010 elections- helping Congressmen Dan Benishek MD, get elected in Michigan, and Joe Walsh in Illinois.

We shared with them our Prescription for Healthcare Reform and that we believed that with our expertise, we could help them with the healthcare message far better than policy experts or media professionals. We explained how our organization worked- which is not to have lobbyists, but instead to develop personal relationships between doctors and their elected officials in Congress.

We offered to help with Congressional testimony and to give assistance in healthcare matters that affect our patients and us every day, because as opposed to the faux doctors who gave up taking care of patients in favor of becoming bureaucrats, we are on the front lines daily. Finally, we shared a vision of what we can do in 2012 to help put people into Congress and the White House who will be serious about fixing healthcare in America. This can be done through the media but is better accomplished through the influence that we have on the 2000-10,000 patients that each of us sees in our offices and clinics.

We informed them about our new web site and how we had transformed it into the trusted source for healthcare information by keeping it current with updated daily content. Many of them already knew about this and had been following us.

This was a powerful message.

Speaker Boehner and everyone else that we met with acknowledged just how powerful it was. They all appreciated that we were there and had given up time at our practices and with our families and traveled to DC at our own expense. They all told us essentially the same thing:
  1. We need a continued presence in Washington and we need to bring doctors from as many Congressional districts as possible.
  2. We need to build our membership. There is a palpable need for a group like Docs 4 Patient Care, but the best way for people to notice us is to have as many members as possible.
  3. We need to work to change control of Congress and the White House in 2012, otherwise, the prospects for healthcare will be bleak.
D4PC's rising influence after
the mid-term elections.

Docs4PatientCare Leadership and Political Leaders
In addition to the meeting with Speaker Boehner, we met with the GOP healthcare leadership team in the House (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy) and the Senate (McConnell). We met with Senator John Barrasso MD from Wyoming and his team, the team of Sen. Tom Coburn MD and Sen. Rand Paul MD. Also with 3 of the 5 freshmen GOP physician Congressmen- Scott DesJarlais (TN), Andy Harris (MD), and Dan Benishek (MI). We chatted with John Fleming MD (LA), Joe Wilson (SC) and John Culberson (TX). We also met with the healthcare specialists for Reps. Mike Burgess and Michelle Bachman.

We had an excellent healthcare symposium with the Galen Institute and Congressman Tom Price MD, helped out by delivering an impassioned speech about why this healthcare law is a disaster for America and what we must do to get rid of it.

The Heritage Foundation is one of our most important strategic partners and we were hosted to an afternoon session by Bridgett Wagner, the Director of Coalition Relations and attended by Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner to discuss Docs 4 Patient Care, healthcare policy issues and strategy, and Grace-Marie's new and excellent book- Why Obamacare is Wrong For America; an essential must read book for anyone who hopes to understand this difficult and convoluted subject.

Just a couple of other items to share-

Congressman Tom Price presents
the case to repeal ObamaCare.
Congressman Tom Price with Docs4PatientCare
We have filed an amicus brief in Virginia in support of the Virginia case against the Federal Government which challenges the mandate that people must purchase healthcare insurance in the Affordable Care Act. We are looking to get involved with other court actions in the near future.

We are in the process of forming Docs 4 Patient Care state chapters. We have chapters in Arizona, Colorado, and Illinois. We formally launched the Georgia Chapter this week. We are looking to have 20 state chapters by the end of 2011.

So there you have it.

Docs 4 Patient Care is very much real and vibrant.

We need those of you that have never joined as a member to do so- what more do we have to do to prove ourselves to you? Just go to our web site- now and click on Become a Member.Those of you who have not sent in dues for this year- you are not a member, so please renew by clicking on the same link. (unless you signed up as a Gold Member since September).

We cannot succeed without every one of you. We will do the heavy lifting if you do not want to - just help us do it by supporting us. No one else will help you (or your patients) if you don't start now, by becoming a member.

Those who want to get into the fight- just let us know and we will give you something to do.

Thank you.


The full framework of our plan for America can be viewed here. We invite all Americans to join us in the true effort to reform healthcare.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Quality Bonuses"--Grease for the Squeaky Wheels

One hand giveth while the other taketh away--and both hands live in the White House.

— Millions of seniors in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare will get a reprieve from some of the most controversial cuts in President Obama's healthcare law.
--LA Times 4-20-11

The ability to arbitrarily punish and reward groups and individuals is one of the key problems with politicizing an economic activity. Rule by Men instead of Rule of Law.

Once power is concentrated in the hands of the few, the threat to liberty accelerates--Newton's laws of motion applied to political power instead of mass.

While I was in Washington DC last week, several different people remarked that a key strategy for supporters of the health care control law will be to keep potential complainers happy---and quiet. The waivers, and now out-right hush money like Medicare Advantage "quality bonuses" are just two ways this will be accomplished.

There are only two ways to rid ourselves completely of this terrible law--either the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional, or opponents take control of the government in 2012. Both of these pathways require continued popular discontent.

We must do everything we can to keep this issue fresh in the minds of voters. It truly has life and death consequences--for both our liberty and our access to affordable, trust-worthy medical care.