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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin doc speaks out on Obamacare

Curtsy to Silent E Speaks via Da Bubbler via Politico.

By Dr. Tim Westlake (Emergency medicine Doctor in Oconomowoc)

I am not a very political person, but I feel called to send this out and obligated to fight what is going on in our country right under our noses. I cannot sit by and simply live my life and practice clinical Emergency Medicine while the very fabric of our healthcare system is being attacked/assaulted/and dismantled. I have found that most people have no idea about what is proposed in the healthcare legislation. We need to make ourselves aware and informed. This is not a democrat or republican issue--- this is an issue of freedom and personal choice for all Americans.

Now is the time to stand up for what we believe in. While we are working nose to the grindstone providing the best healthcare to our patients, the Government is attempting to fundamentally and irrevocably alter the healthcare system. I'm not an alarmist, but the laws that are being considered in HR 3200 are unbelievably scary. I can't even comprehend the changes that are being rammed through. The U.S. healthcare system is under attack. What is being proposed is nothing short of the complete takeover of healthcare by the Government. There is no mention in all 1000 pages of any mention of tort reform/malpractice reform which is probably one of the costliest aspects of practicing medicine--defensive test ordering. There is no personal accountability--the problem now is that patients don't directly know or usually care about the cost of their healthcare--this bill takes accountability even further away by creating a nanny state of cradle to grave entitlements. The proposed changes truly will constitute socialized medicine and take control of healthcare away from doctors/patients and families and put the control in government beurocracy. This is not true healthcare reform--this is the elitist government of Nancy Pelosi taking making a grab for 1/7th of the nations economy. The media is not covering it. We have to act now. We have an obligation to our patients/ourselves/our families and our fellow Americans to get our voices out. We have to get our opinion out to our legislators and government. I know we all think "What can I do?" But we cannot sit back while the best healthcare system in the world is damaged beyond repair, while we stick our heads in the sand.

Here are a few examples of the things they are proposing to turn into law:

1)There will be rationing of healthcare--there is an "annual limit" on healthcare expenses (sec122 pg.29 lines 4-16, and sec203 pg.85 line 7).

2)There will be a Government committee and a Health Choices Commissioner deciding what treatments and benefits you will receive--(sec123 pg. 30, sec142 pg. 42).

3)Healthcare will be provided to all illegal aliens and non U.S. citizens (sec152 pg.50-51), and they will not pay (sec59B pg.170 line1).

4)Govt will gain control of all private plans by creating an exchange that all private plans must join, and then the Govt. will control/define all the coverage and benefits (sec 201 pg. 72, and sec203 pg. 84-85).

5)Govt will force all new employees into public option (sec 312 pg 145).

6)Govt will control physician salary and reimbursement (sec225 pg.127), and what conditions will be paid for (sec1751 pg.800)

7)Govt. will control all aspects of medical training programs (Sec1501 and 1503).

8)Govt will have real-time access to all Americans bank accounts/healthcare records, and be able to use them for electronic fund transfer to withdraw money they see as owed for services (sec163 pg.58-59).

I can't go into all the details, but in the webpage below there are literally 7 pages of the worst examples of what this bill entails. It just makes me sick. Take 15 minutes and read all seven pages of the Overview. I wanted to vomit when I read it.

We can do a few things to stand up and be heard. We have to make ourselves heard. We are the only one's who can look after the safety of our patients.

This is what we can easily do--

1)Be informed--attached is a webpage that concisely translates the bill, and has a link to the actual bill. The site is www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=19319 . Please look and read through it.

2)Call our Senators and Congressmen-- both Senators express public support for this bill--even though they won't discuss any details. Here are the web pages Russ Feingold www.feingold.senate.gov/contact.html and for Herb Kohl www.kohl.senate.gov/contact.cfm/ which has the phone #'s for all of their offices. Congressmen are by district and can be found by www.writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome/shtml/. Just call and leave a message of who you are--including that you are a physician (or what your profession is), where you live, that you don't want them to pass this bill. I've called all the offices and left messages with the staffers at each one. It will only take a few minutes. God forbid what if this bill passes and we look back and didn't even take 10 minutes to try and stop this?

3)Tell our friends, pass along the information to everyone--neighbors/friends in our address books etc...

4)Tell our patients--they need to know what is truly at stake.

5)Donate to organizations that are getting the word out---check out www.Dickmorris.com/.
Remember, if we say nothing- then our silence will be interpreted and used as tacit agreement.
This is not a single battle, this is a war. If we stop this this month, they will not go away. We have to wake up and protect our profession before it is taken from us.

Please forward this to as many people as you can. This may get voted on in September. Democrats are considering using Reconciliation--a special way to pass budget bills by using only 51 votes in the Senate instead of 60 to ram this pig of a bill through against the will of the people.

We cannot stand by idly while our freedoms and liberties are being stripped away.

Tim Westlake

And on a side note, listen closely. Perhaps Barry spoke some healthcare truth in this message. :-)

Didn't catch it? Read HERE.


Local MLIS student said...

I STRONGLY urge you and your readers to really check the facts on these kinds of emails and essays.

The non-partisan, Pulitzer Price willing PoliFact has an excellent summary of the truth/falsity of many of the these claims here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/subjects/health/

At first glance, seems Dr. Westlake is false about #2, #3, #4, #8, if not more.

wbman said...

I was shocked when I read the post. Then I matched some of the allegations against the text of the bill, and they don't reconcile. It's after 2:00AM and I don't have time to look at all of them. And by the way, I have no ax to grind about this. I'm as confused as the average person about this 1,018 page bill.

#1: The verbiage in the Bill doesn't refer to a cap on coverage; it refers to a cap on "cost-sharing".

#2: everyone with health insurance has this done to them now. My coverage comes with 20 pages of what is and is not covered.

#8 describes what happens when I go to the doctor right now. The clinic immediately knows what my co-pay is; determines plan eligibility based on the coding; I can use my debit card to pay the co-pay. account. The Bill clearly states that any electronic fund transfers must reconcile with what's being billed. It also requires a "timely and transparent claim and denial process..." so you should be able to see these transactions (just as I can do on-line with my current carrier). Of the allegations I looked at, this one was REALLY overblown.

By the way, I'm old enough to remember that the AMA opposed Medicare, claiming it was "socialized medicine". My 87 year old father can't say enough about the care he gets from Medicare and the VA.

Unknown said...

An insurance broker raises some interesting suggestions on the front page of the Crossroads section of today's JS.

Nanette Bulebosh said...

How disappointing that a physician would write such alarming things to frighten people so needlessly. This man is not only uninformed (or else downright dishonest ... for now I'll assume the former), he is also irresponsible. Even if his disingenuous assertions weren't so wrong, he still ruined his own credibility by referring to our president as Barry; it's a disrespectful put-down employed by Beck, Savage, Limbaugh and others. Yes, Mr. Obama called himself that for a few years in high school, but he has since moved on. The nation should too. I guess I have higher standards for physicians, whatever their politics.

Rationing? What kind of a nonsensical argument is that? Does he mean that certain procedures will be outright banned for certain people? No one, absolutely no one, is suggesting such a thing. If we all WERE lucky enough to have access to a less-expensive public option, naturally there'd be price ceilings on certain elective procedures - maybe a co-pay would be requested for a hip replacement, etc. This is called controlling costs, which I thought conservatives supported. But isn't this ALREADY being done in the private plans that the luckiest Americans have access to now?

The important thing to know is we'd all be better protected with at least a minimal safety net, should the reforms now being discussed actually pass (unlikely now, I guess). No one would have to go bankrupt because of an unexpected illness, as so many Americans do now. Don't you understand that some people have no protections at all, and this is costing the rest of us? We're all paying more than we should have to whenever someone visits this man's emergency room to treat something that could easily have been prevented.

All of us would still be able to purchase whatever supplementary insurance we could afford. This is what happens in Canada, and it works very well.

Rationing. This is an alarmist term and has no place in this conversation.

Nanette Bulebosh said...

My bad. I realize now that it was the blogging host, not Dr. Westlake, who referred to the president so negatively. His assertions are still so wrong. Anyone with experience arguing with insurance bureaucrats for a fair deal understands that it is dishonest and misleading to use the fear-mongering rhetoric he employs. He is describing a nightmare scenario, mostly fiction. Far too many Americans are living the nightmare right now.