Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Folks, are you noticing a trend here? None of this crap has anything to do with actually doctoring or nursing, none of it. PPO, HMO, EPO, HMS, all these things, HealthCare.gov, exchange plan, change this, plan that, extended care, early care, none of this has anything to do with needles and syringes and stethoscopes and sphygmomanometer (I think that’s what the gizmo is called that does the blood pressure). It doesn’t have anything to do with any of this. It all has to do with lawyering, doesn’t it, and accounting. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Edie Littlefield Sundby, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Everyone now is clamoring about Affordable Care Act winners and losers. I am one of the losers.
My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. [Mike: Good for you, madam. Boy, I’d love to be in your position.] For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.
My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.
Countless hours searching for non-exchange plans have uncovered nothing that compares well with my existing coverage. But the greatest source of frustration is Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchange and, by some reports, one of the best such exchanges in the country. After four weeks of researching plans on the website, talking directly to government exchange counselors, insurance companies and medical providers, my insurance broker and I are as confused as ever. Time is running out and we still don’t have a clue how to best proceed.
Two things have been essential in my fight to survive stage-4 cancer. The first are doctors and health teams in California and Texas: at the medical center of the University of California, San Diego, and its Moores Cancer Center; Stanford University’s Cancer Institute; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The second element essential to my fight is a United Healthcare PPO (preferred provider organization) health-insurance policy.
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Since March 2007 United Healthcare has paid $1.2 million to help keep me alive, and it has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team. The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers.
But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market. [Mike: Of course they are. Why would they want to stay in California when they can have payouts up to $1.2 million? That makes no sense at all. They can just end all those policies and go get the easy pickings available about there for people who are A, not sick, or B, who will have guaranteed government subsidies. That’s what I’d do if I were them.] The company suggested I look to Covered California starting in October.
You would think it would be simple to find a health-exchange plan that allows me, living in San Diego, to continue to see my primary oncologist at Stanford University and my primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego. Not so. UCSD has agreed to accept only one Covered California plan—a very restrictive Anthem EPO Plan. EPO stands for exclusive provider organization . . .
Mike: Folks, are you noticing a trend here? None of this crap has anything to do with actually doctoring or nursing, none of it. PPO, HMO, EPO, HMS, all these things, HealthCare.gov, exchange plan, change this, plan that, extended care, early care, none of this has anything to do with needles and syringes and stethoscopes and sphygmomanometer (I think that’s what the gizmo is called that does the blood pressure). It doesn’t have anything to do with any of this. It all has to do with lawyering, doesn’t it, and accounting. How did the accountants and lawyers get in the medical business? Gee, what a great question, Mike, what a fantastic question. Gee, I bet they had a little help from their buddies in government, don’t you think? Oh, they would never do that. They only care about you. They only want to help you. Back to Ms. Sundby’s story in the Wall Street Journal:
So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.
Before the Affordable Care Act, health-insurance policies could not be sold across state lines; now policies sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges may not be offered across county lines.
What happened to the president’s promise, “You can keep your health plan”? Or to the promise that “You can keep your doctor”? Thanks to the law, I have been forced to give up a world-class health plan. The exchange would force me to give up a world-class physician.
For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.
Mike: Wow, you think she’s a little bit angry? AG, let’s analyze this last paragraph again because this puts it out of political terms and into human and real-life terms. “For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.” That’s to the point, isn’t it? You can’t get more to the point than that.
Remember back in the day when all this was being talked about and there were going to be all these death panels that were going to convene at the Health and Inhuman Disservices Department and they were going to sit in judgment of who was going to get what care and who was not going to get what care, how you were going to get it, how you would qualify for it and this, that and the other. The fear was that these panels would ultimately lead to arbitrary decisions being made on behalf of people’s healthcare, whether they would actually get it or maybe they would be denied because of age or whatever the case may be. That doesn’t even have to happen now. You don’t even have to get to the death panel to get a death sentence apparently. All you have to do is to have had previous coverage and to have stupidly, I guess, relied upon it.
Just imagine this for a moment. We hear all these stories nonstop, day in and day out, about how reckless and irresponsible our fellow citizens are. There are 49.2 percent of fellow American citizens out there that are just a bunch of mind-numb sheep baaing their way across the amber waves of healthcare. They don’t care about responsibility, they don’t care about productivity, they don’t care about how they get all the stuff they consume as long as they get it and don’t actually have to put much effort into it. We hear about this all the time.
The story that you don’t hear, and this is what pains me, and I bet it pains a lot of you, too, the story that we don’t hear is what Amity Shlaes, the author, based the title of her great book about the Roosevelt administration called The Forgotten Man. My buddy Mark Kreslins has a radio show called “The Forgotten Men.” You don’t hear the story about the forgotten man or the forgotten woman, do you? Well, who would they be today? They were the people that were being responsible before Obamacare, before the HealthCare.gov website opened. They did nothing more than try to be responsible. They tried to pay their own medical costs. They went out and sought their own plans. They even paid for them with their own money. Just imagine how injurious to the rest of the body politic these responsible citizens must be. We have to eliminate these people. We have to get rid of these people.
So, what do we do? We reward their responsibility by telling them what they were responsible for paying and administering on their own previously is no longer going to be available in the manner in which it was available. Is there something wrong with that? Not only yes, but I’d say I ought to be able to get a hell yes. Of course, it’s a Monday, so I guess I probably won’t get anything. I would imagine the 18 of you that just heard the question I just asked are nodding your heads going: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Not only does this monstrosity, this aberration of an act of government open the door for more sloth and more codependency when what you are codependent upon is government, it actually punishes and is punishing and continues to punish people who have been civically and fiscally responsible. Now they are being forced to deal with situations that they did not ask for, that they have not brought about, and seemingly, by most accounts, are not going to be able to adjudicate or settle in their favor in a manner similar to how they were able to settle them before HealthCare.gov, before the Affordable Care Act.
Do you want to sound smart out there today? Tell people this: Wasn’t the Affordable Care Act passed so that all these tens of billions of people that we were told did not have health insurance policies could get health insurance policies? The end result of the Affordable Care Act has been so far to kick two million people off of health insurance policy rolls. Isn’t it having the exact opposite effect it was advertised to solve? If you were trying to screw something up, here’s a piece of advice. If you’re trying to bring, through subterfuge or some other nefarious means, if you’re trying to bring your competitor down, here’s a suggestion: Get government to write a rule to help it. Ask Congress to chip in. I think I’m safe in saying your problems will become a thing of the past.
End Mike Church Show Transcript