The Vacu-Suck!

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The weekend and I attempt to bring a little humor and enlightenment into my readers lives…..I remember back in the days when an instrument of sexual pleasure was sold as the Swedish Penis Pump….and then in the early days of the 21st century the Penis Pump became the Vacu-Pump….same product but with a new ad campaign….I know….what the Hell am I going on about?  Right?

On the surface this is NOT a big deal…but that is only on the surface.

Just stay with me a few more moments…..and the government spends a lot of wasted cash on superfluous things…..crap they right off on MediCare or MedicAid………but this is beyond moronic and just chaps my butt…….

Newser) – Between 2006 and 2011, Medicare spent $172 million on penis pumps, according to a report out yesterday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services. That figure is outrageous for a reason other than that you might think. As NBC News reports, penis pumps, more properly known as vacuum erection systems, are actually one of the “few viable treatment courses” for men with erectile dysfunction, per the National Institutes of Health. So it’s not the coverage of the item for some 474,000 men over those six years that’s the problem, but the amount that was spent: Each claim cost Medicare an average $361—more than double what the pump would have cost if the user just bought it online. (And OIG verified this by … Googling. It reports that “research on 22 different Web sites yielded pricing information for 105 VES … the average Internet price … was $164.74.”)

And if Medicare had adjusted its “grossly excessive” coverage amount to be in line with what a non-Medicare consumer pays (and, the report noted, what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays), the government would have spent an average of $14.4 million less per year for each of the years under review, reports Reuters. And the savings wouldn’t end there. Beneficiaries are responsible for 20% of the cost of the pump, plus any unmet deductible, which worked out to an average $90; a Medicare fee adjustment would have saved them roughly $3.6 million a year. It could have come to pass, had the issue been dealt with when it previously came up—in 1999, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggested changing the VES fee schedule, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

Now, if you can, justify this for me….please.

Hospice–The Newest Con

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I have a bit of experience on this subject…..my late father was tended to by a hospice company in the last year of his life…..he was not dying at the time…..but he needed help and hospice was gladly there to lend a helping hand…..at least we thought it was their plan.

Once you go on hospice you lose your doctor and have to use the hospital that they deem worthy…..and they happily do anything they can to help….as long as social security can be billed……

I was not going to make a deal out of what I thought of them but after I read this piece I felt like I had to say something…..

(Newser) – Hospice care is for the terminally ill, yet the number of “hospice survivors” jumped 50% in California between 2002 and 2012. Something to celebrate? Not quite: A Washington Post investigation into the $17 billion industry now dominated by for-profits reveals hospice companies recruit patients who aren’t dying because they need fewer visits, stay enrolled longer, and make them more money since Medicare pays about $150 a day per patient, whether or not they get a visit. Profits have exploded from $353 per patient in 2002 to $1,975 in 2012 in California—the data “offers a portrait of the industry,” the Post notes—and despite advice from watchdogs, Medicare has kept the financial incentives in place, at a potential loss of billions of dollars a year.

“It must be strange to be told you’re dying and then not die,” says a lawyer who’s filed several suits against hospice companies on behalf of ex-employees who claim some hospices have a “sign everybody up” policy; the companies have denied the claims. But the length of stay is important, too. On average, patients stay at nonprofit hospices for 69 days, and 102 days at for-profits, the Post notes. “If they come in very sick and die right away, it’s difficult to run a business that way,” says a former Delta Hospice worker. The branch she worked at had a survival rate of 63%, but hospices say that’s no sign of fraud. Per a Delta rep: “To state the obvious, terminal prognostication is not an exact science.” Click for the full piece

It seems that the doctor and the nurse that would visit my father missed a septic condition and pneumonia……..after I called the EMTs and admitted him into a hospital (was not their choice) they threatened to tell social security that the house was filthy and dank…..a typical cover your ass move…….but once I got my hackles up they quickly decided that there had been a miss communication or something equally lame.

In closing….it is a racket and social security and Medicare are being bilked out of millions every year….maybe instead of screwing the elderly we should look into these con artists and thieves.  Whatcha think?

Just How Screwed Are Patients?

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Back after hurricane Katrina my leg was crushed in a fall……and when I was looking at the bill that the EMs sent to me, which was covered under Workers Comp, I noticed a charge that was not kosher……I was charged $50 for a cervical collar and was never given one…..my leg was broken but I had all my faculties….I told the workers comp rep that was handling my case and was told that it was not important enough to challenge……I asked her just how much money does the service make on gouging?  I never got an answer.

And then I saw this story and it answered my question pretty well…..

  Getting Hodgkin’s lymphoma was bad enough. Then Ohio resident Sean Recchi received his hospital bill: $83,900. You can blame his limited health insurance, but Steven Brill at Time looked behind the numbers to see why MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston charged so much. What Brill found: shocking markups that hiked prices by several hundred percent or more above cost. Queried about the markups, MD Anderson said their billing practices “are complex” and “similar to those of other major hospitals.” Which is exactly what Brill found: “a uniquely American gold rush” of tax-exempt “nonprofit” hospitals across the US that are raking in huge bucks and handing administrators mega-salaries. Among his other findings:

  • Hospitals are forcing Americans to spend nearly 20% of GDP on health care—double the usual for developed countries—and more than the next 10 top-spending nations combined.
  • Each hospital’s internal price list, or chargemaster, is far higher than what Medicare pays for health care. Advocates have started a cottage industry helping people understand and reduce their bills.
  • Brill uncovers huge markups from specific bills, like $4,000 for items like a blanket warmer, marking pen, and surgical gown. Recchi was billed $13,702 for medicine that cost MD Anderson only $3,000 to $3,500.
  • Brill’s first solution: Bring all Americans under the Medicare umbrella, and charge wealthier Americans more for their medical care. At least Medicare forces hospitals to charge the proper rates. Only problem: A massive, single-payer overhaul like that won’t happen anytime soon.
  • Solution No.2: Strengthen anti-trust laws to restrict the power of hospitals; this would give insurance companies more leverage to bargain over prices. Then tax hospital profits at 75%, and tack a surcharge on excessive non-doctor hospital salaries. And ban the chargemaster. Will any of this happen? Probably not, because hospitals are too powerful.
  • Brill’s take on ObamaCare: It’s good for certain things, like curbing some hospital-bill collecting and getting more people insured. But ultimately it’s just bringing more customers into a grossly unfair marketplace.
  • Click for the full article.

We all know that hospitals gouge the patients……and there is little we can do about it…….but crap like this drives all the rising costs of health care……but yet they are seldom held accountable…….why is that?

Medicare Vouchers

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Ryan Medicare Vouchers

Medicare Stand!

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Ryan Medicare Plan

Another Plan For Seniors

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The Good Deed

Can GOP Rescue Itself?

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Please take a moment today to thank all those who gave their lives in service to their country……and speaking of dead or dying…….

For about two months now the GOP has been taking lots of grief over their budget proposal that would essentially eliminate Medicare…they are on record ion the House as voting to do so…and soon in the Senate…..they are toeing the party line by supporting it…..but all the rumblings are that they really want to try and distance themselves from the proposal….look for them to try and divert the voters attention with some other manufactured issue to try and do just that…..

Well, first Eric Cantor has said that Paul Ryan should run for the Senate for Wisconsin……since he is being billed as the “Boy Genius” of the GOP, this would be a great idea….it would take him out of the media filter and give him something to focus on other than the Medicare proposal that the entire is trying quietly to run away from before the 2012 election.

Next…..a budget deal……they need to work hard to come up with a deal with Dems without killing Medicare…this is possible because almost ALL Dems are saying that the situation with Medicare needs to be addressed but in a way that protects people’s need for the program……

Lastly……A Candidate……the GOP is desperate for a real candidate…..right now they have mostly wannabes that are in love with personal appearances and light on real solutions to the country’s problems…..they have 3 sorta promising candidates……Romney and T-Paw and the one that is in the weeds…Huntsman….the problem is all 3 have a massive amount of baggage that the base is just not that into……

So, can the GOP rescue itself?  YES, but only if they find a real candidate and the election season draws closer and they still have NOT found the one……,it is looking very likely that the GOP is in trouble….at least for now……

Paul Ryan’s New Approach

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With his Medicare proposal going down the toilet rapidly they, meaning him, is trying a new tactic…watch!

http://j.mp/jXBgTQ

Let me explain…..that tactic is #20 on the List of Disinformation tactics used to influence…and 20 reads….

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

I received the “25 Rules For Disinformation” in a e-mail…I have NO idea who wrote them but ….in my opinion they are a genius…..

And There Is A Balanced Budget

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I guess today is Budget Day…where I piss on all things budgetary…oh well….someone has to do it!

The political ballet has been going on now for about 5 months, since the last election and the swearing in of the new Congress….that ballet has been the back and forth of the debate on a balanced budget……2 steps forward…one step back, then one step forward and then 3 steps back…..back and forth…..one side gets points the other side gets hammered and then it is vice versa……what then is the answer?

Good question, class!  The Repubs have come up with a budget that most of the middle class thinks sucks…..and that is the privatization of SS and Medicare….oh, my bad….they are calling it the personalization of SS and Medicare…..it is all in the presentation, huh?  Anyway looks as if they will back off of their proposal for a voucher system for Medicare….if they do how will that play against the balanced budget thingy?

TPM is reporting……

It turns out that if you strike the Medicare plan from the GOP budget — authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — it doesn’t achieve fiscal balance anymore.

“It certainly blows a major hole in his plan,” said Paul Van de Water, a health care and budget expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in a phone interview.

If you take Ryan at his word, and assume that the tax-side of his plan is revenue neutral — a big “if” — his plan balances the budget over decades entirely on the spending side of the government’s ledger. Van de Water explains that if you take the Medicare privatization plan out of the equation, the budget sinks — dragged down by higher spending, and then higher interest payments as a result of larger-than-projected deficits.

Well that just SUCKS!  Without the voucher thing…Ryan’s budget proposal floats like a lead toilet…what to do….what to do?  My guess is to start tap dancing like a drunken sailor to try and find a compromise or the Repubs Golden Plan is dead in the flipping water…..Once again….what to do?  What to do?

Cowards!

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I know some of my readers get tired of my continuing bitching about the people we elect to govern us….I have accused them of more concern for their re-election than in the future of this country and its people…I do not feel that I had been unnecessarily hard on these people, but I have had some push back against my views (go figure)……but like most people I DO enjoy it when I am proven right….like others my ego needs a shot from time to time……

For weeks now we have heard about the Medicare proposals by the GOP in Paul Ryan’s budget….that the end game of his proposal was the elimination of the program that has benefited so many seniors over the years…..of course, the conserv noise machine had spent a bunch of time and resources trying to push back from the position…and even those GOPers who held town halls were catching total Hell from their constituents…..but they stood by their guns and tried to explain it to their people and unfortunately the narritive was NOT getting through…..so what will they do?

Will the GOP stand by what they believe is a solid answer to some of our debt problems?  Or will they do what I have expected them to do and drop the Medicare thing?

And then yesterday the call went out……this from Talking Points Memo….

A little dust-up happened tonight that likely tells us where the debate over Medicare Phase-Out is going.  Shortly after 9 PM this evening the Washington Post emailed a breaking news alert which read “Medicare dropped from GOP budget proposal.”   That kicked off a furious push back from the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).   And shortly after 10:30 PM the Post sent out a revised email with a new headline: “Republican leaders seeking compromise in deficit talks.”  In the body of the email there was an editorial note: “The headline on an earlier alert incorrectly described the GOP position in deficit talks.”

It’s not clear to me how much the article itself changed.  My sense is little or none at all.  And the initial headline probably was an aggressive read on just what Republicans are saying.   But my sense is they were likely much more right than wrong.

Come on people!  You know damn well that this is NOT about the budget……rather their fear of NOT being re-elected!  And yes I said cowards!  If this is truly about trying to find answers to our spending problem then to abandon it is COWARDLY!  But NOT unexpected!

Since I began writing this post 2 more GOPers have backed off of the Ryan Budget thingy….

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told TPM that while he would vote for the House budget if it comes to the Senate floor to “move the ball down the field,” his own preference on Medicare was a different proposal that would give seniors the option to remain in the traditional government plan.Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), one of the GOP’s most experienced budget hands, having previously served as OMB director under President Bush, told TPM that he and his colleagues — while not ruling out Ryan’s budget — are looking at several alternatives.

Let us be honest….we all knew these people would not stand by their golden boy once the fur began to fly with the seniors…..it is a dead issue…they know it and now YOU know it!

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