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Tue Dec 6, 2016, 03:13 AM

Health Wars! or A Chicken in Every Pot and a Shiny New Knee in Every Leg

Been trying to figure out what it all means? Tom Price, orthopedist to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Affordable Care Act to be repealed---but not for two to four years. Vouchers so Veterans can get care outside the VA. Medicare going to be replaced by vouchers any day now (Paul Ryan swears it is true even though his Party does not have the balls to actually take away the health insurance of the 22 million people who got under the Affordable Care Act because it might cost the GOP the next midterm election so they hope that their right wing supporters will understand that these things take time and it's the thought that counts and if they are afraid to take away ACA insurance for fear of a voter backlash, how would they ever dare to touch Grandma's Medicare with all the political damage that would entail but Ryan still wants you to believe that the death of Medicare as we know it is coming down the pipeline.) Toss in a plan to deny folks on Medicaid any pain medication stronger than ibuprofen. And make sure that even when you dismantle the ACA, you keep the part that keeps insurance companies from discriminating against people with per-existing conditions, like osteoarthritis of the knee or hip----

Add it all up and what do you get?

The math is simple, really. Especially if you recall that Tom Price is an orthopedist who shot down federal legislation that would have funded a study to compare the efficacy of different treatment options, because (in his words) that was the first step towards "health care rationing". And especially if you understand that "health care rationing" is a buzz word (phrase?) for "under European style socialized medicine very few people get elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements but in the United States you can get one on demand--which is why orthopedists drive expensive cars".

Still trying to put it together? What do you think folks on ACA insurance will do when told that they will lose their benefits...in two years? What do you think people on Medicare will do if told they could lose their generous benefits at any moment? What will veterans do if given vouchers and told "Go out into the community and become health care consumers"? What will poor, working class people who take opiates like hydrocodone for their hip and knee osteoarthritis and lumbar disc disease so that they can go to work at Wall-Mart each day for another grueling eight to twelve hours on their feet--what will they do when the pain gets so unbearable that they can no longer work?

Answer: they will run (or maybe hobble) to their nearest orthopedist to declare "I am now ready for the lumbar diskectomy and fusion/total knee replacement/total hip replacement/shoulder surgery that you said I was gonna need one day and I said 'I want to put it off as long as I can, but now I'm afraid if I put it off much longer I won't be able to get it so when can you put me on the operating room schedule?"

There. That was easy. And best of all, the only people who will get all hot and bothered by the Trump plan to create a massive demand for expensive orthopedic (and other semi-elective surgeries) in as short a period of time as possible are the health insurers! And the GOP, which once danced to the tune of the health insurance industry (Bush ran on a platform of "My state passed the Patient Protection Act!" then, as soon as he was in office had AG Ashcroft strike down Texas' Patient Protection Act in federal court) has spent the last four years telling the faithful how bad the health insurance companies are and how they deserve to suffer for taking part in Obamacare. And how they will never ever give the health insurance industry a bailout (though lately there have been whispers that the GOP Congress might consider a bailout, something they will have to do once the nation's insurers get through paying for all that semi-elective surgery.

So, who stands to gain? Doctors and hospitals obviously. As a physician myself (thought not a lucrative surgical specialist) I urge my brothers and sisters to be circumspect. Even if you are raking in the cash, try to limit your conspicuous consumption. And remember that when the feeding frenzy is over, there will still be a demand for what you do, because people always need health care and the nation as a whole is getting older and sicker everyday.

Who else stands to gain? The manufacturers of all those artificial joints that are going to be inserted into all those people. I touched on the subject in my last journal. The company that used to make and sell the most artificial joints, Stryker, is owned by three siblings who are all billionaires thanks to their sire's inventiveness. They don't need any extra business. They will be fine. The new kid on the block, Zimmer, which is now the largest manufacturer of artificial joints--I am guessing that they will be relieved at being so popular. They have been snatching up other companies right and left. (See their acquisition history at wiki here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmer_Biomet ) And thanks to all the young, active (often obese) people who are now demanding new joints that can keep up with their active lifestyles, manufacturers of artificial joints are now facing an onslaught of artificial joint failures and lawsuits. Like these:

https://www.drugwatch.com/hip-replacement/zimmer/

http://thesandersfirm.com/defective-medical-devices/zimmer-nexgen-knee/

http://www.lieffcabraser.com/injury/devices/zimmer-knee/

http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2015/10/23/zimmer-biomet-sued-10m-ex-sales-rep/74402816/ (whistle blower suit from former sales rep who says Zimmer gave gifts as bribes to doctors to encourage them to use Zimmer products---but wait! Chris Christie shut that down when he was AG, didn't he? See my last post)

Sigh. It was so much easier being a manufacturer of artificial joints in the old days when the recipients usually had one foot in the grave and were more likely to kick the bucket than run a marathon.

So anyway, don't despair! Trump does not want to take away your heath insurance. On the contrary. He is trying hard to get you to use your health insurance. And not for any old routine mammogram or cholesterol check, no. He wants you to get the very best that the health care industry has to offer. Hysterectomies for everyone! Weight loss surgery! Bladder suspensions! Sinus surgery! Tonsillectomy! The list goes on and on! Act fast! Operators are standing by the take your call---

Just think twice or maybe three times before you toss out your old knee and replace it with a shiny new one.

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Reply Health Wars! or A Chicken in Every Pot and a Shiny New Knee in Every Leg (Original post)
McCamy Taylor Dec 2016 OP
jmowreader Dec 2016 #1
voteearlyvoteoften Dec 2016 #2

Response to McCamy Taylor (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 04:37 AM

1. One issue the "privatize the VA" people haven't considered

The civilian health system simply is not set up to deal with some of the shit we veterans present with.

Let's see...

Agent Orange syndrome
Jungle Rot
Traumatic Brain Injury from landmine explosions
Gulf War Syndrome
PTSD
Repairing the effects of burns over 90 percent of your body

These are not things civilian doctors can deal with - they may not be things they've ever seen.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2016, 07:50 AM

2. Follow the money

Works every time

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