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Category: Healthcare



  • Veterans Affairs Department Still Not Living Up to Promises of Reform

    Michi Iljazi on May 28, 2016

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    VA Secretary Robert McDonald, with President Obama 

    This weekend is Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is grateful to all of those in the United States Armed Forces who put their lives on the line so that America can be a safer and freer place.  Memorial Day is also a reminder of the shameful treatment U.S. veterans are receiving at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics and hospitals.

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  • Veterans Affairs Department Still Not Living Up to Promises of Reform

    Michi Iljazi on May 25, 2016

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    VA Secretary Robert McDonald, with President Obama 

    This weekend is Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is grateful to all of those in the United States Armed Forces who put their lives on the line so that America can be a safer and freer place.  Memorial Day is also a reminder of the shameful treatment U.S. veterans are receiving at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics and hospitals.

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  • The Obamacare Bailout

    David Williams on April 25, 2016

    obamacare

    This article originally appeared in Townhall.com

    The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on April 15th to address yet another failure of Obamacare: the bailing out of insurance companies through the reinsurance program. Created to financially protect insurers during the early years of the implementation of the legislation, the Transitional Reinsurance Program established by the Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to deposit a certain portion of fees, $5 billion to be exact. The fee was to be collected by the Treasury for deficit reduction, but for the past two years, much of that has been illegally paid out to health insurers instead. It’s no surprise that Obamacare has been riddled with setbacks and broken promises. When the law was enacted, the President assured Americans that patients would come first and health insurers would be held accountable for providing affordable coverage, but the reality is quite the opposite. Patients don’t come first when it comes to Obamacare, insurance companies do.

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  • Virginia Looking for Real Competition in Healthcare

    David Williams on February 14, 2016

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    On Friday, members of the Virginia House of Delegates debated and cast their first vote on repealing an archaic law knows as the Certificate of Public Need (COPN).  These laws require hospitals and other healthcare providers to acquire approval from state regulators to add or expand healthcare services, ranging from adding MRI machines or additional beds to performing new surgeries. The intention of this law, which stems from a 1970’s federal mandate, was to control costs and increase access to care. However, it’s accomplished quite the opposite by stifling competition, making healthcare less accessible and more expensive for consumers and taxpayers. As noted in a previous blog, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) these laws, COPN laws create barriers to entry and expansion, limit consumer choice and stifle innovation.


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  • Congressional Repeal of Obamacare is an Important Step Forward

    Michi Iljazi on January 8, 2016

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    On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Obamacare, was signed into law.  Now, less than two months away from its sixth anniversary, the United States Congress finally passed an Obamacare repeal bill that will be sent to President Obama.  While it is likely that the bill will be vetoed and unable to be overridden in the Senate, this is an important moment in the fight against Obamacare. This victory, while not fully realized without a President willing to sign the repeal bill, presents an opportunity for Congress to make their case on the best way forward to fix the problems that do exist within our healthcare system today. The House voted on Wednesday, January 6 240-181 to pass a repeal bill of Obamacare.  The same bill passed the Senate in December by a vote of 52-47 through a process called reconciliation.  TPA applauded House and Senate leaders for finally doing what had been promised for several years; get a repeal bill onto the President’s desk.

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  • Outdated Virginia Law Reduces Healthcare Competition

    David Williams on January 7, 2016

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    Just before the holidays, three Republican Members of the Virginia House of Delegates introduced multiple pieces of legislation that would repeal Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN).  In place since the early 1970’s, COPN is an old top down healthcare regulation that stifles innovation. The law was created to ensure access to care and curb rising healthcare costs. But, if a healthcare provider or hospital in Virginia wants to add beds or equipment or even offer a new service such as an MRI machine, they must first go through a lengthy application process seeking approval from state regulators. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), COPN laws create barriers to entry and expansion, limit consumer choice and stifle innovation.

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  • Hillary Clinton Opposed Insurance Companies In the 90s, But ObamaCare Is Making Her Sing A New Tune

    David Williams on October 16, 2015

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    This article originally appeared on Independent Journal Review

    Whether it’s because she believes in them or she thinks she must articulate them to defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders and ward off a threat from Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has become the voice of big leftwing ideas over the last several months. From her sudden opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline to her new plan for federal control of prescription drug costs, she’s leaving precious little room on her left for her Democratic opponents to maneuver. But there is one dragon she appears curiously disinterested in slaying: Big health insurance companies. In 1994 she called Big Insurance, “the very industry that has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy because of the way that they have financed health care.” But today, despite record insurance profits and sky-rocketing premiums that hardly seem to be in the best interest of consumers, Clinton is stone silent. Horror stories about plans in Illinois relied upon by families with special needs being cancelled or deductibles that “are crippling the middle class” seem custom made for Democratic campaign ads. But don’t expect those worried-families-around-the- kitchen-table commercials from Hillary this cycle.

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  • Obamacare Gives Big Windfall To Insurance Companies As Quality of Healthcare Declines

    David Williams on August 31, 2015

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    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on August 24, 2015

    When President Obama was selling the government health care takeover to Congress and the American people, he repeatedly promised that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, would keep health insurance companies “honest” and held “accountable” for providing affordable, quality health care to Americans. Over the past five and a half years the country has experienced the unraveling of this unworkable law as millions of Americans continue to struggle with higher health care premiums, increased out-of-pocket costs, less choice and greater health uncertainty. Americans are paying more for out-of-pocket for health care now than they did in the past decade. Most still remember the president’s famous words, “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.” But for many, that’s turned out to be another unfulfilled Obamacare promise. Now, insurance companies are preparing to gouge consumers with massive premium increases. Estimates for 2016 show that insurance companies around the country are seeking premium rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under Obamacare turned out to be sicker than expected.

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  • Congress Watch: Obamacare and the "Doc Fix."

    Joe Jansen on March 18, 2014

    (Joe Jansen has a decade and a half of experience working as a staff member on Capitol Hill.  He has worked in almost every legislative capacity in both the House and Senate. Congress Watch will be weekly feature for TPA.) The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) was enacted as part of a deficit reduction law in 1997.  The SGR formula contains costs by linking Medicare payments to physicians with overall economic growth.  If payments in one year go over a target rate, then physician payments the next year are decreased.  The SGR formula worked for a few years.  But, when economic growth slowed and health care costs rose dramatically, it became a recipe for disaster.  In every year since 2002, the SGR formula has called for a reduction in Medicare physician payments.  Only once has that reduction actually been allowed to occur.  Beginning in 2003 Congress began passing legislation to prevent the cuts.  These stopgap measures, referred to as the “doc fix” have cost around $150 billion so far.  Near universal agreement exists that the formula is flawed.  Physicians and others have been calling for a permanent fix for a decade or more.  Health care providers are faced with uncertainty each time a temporary fix is set to expire.  Congress will not allow a payment reduction to occur because that would encourage doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients, threatening seniors with a loss of access to medical care.  While each of the short-term fixes is expensive, it is easier to continue kicking the can down the road than to resolve the issue once and for all.

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  • Obamacare: Two Bills Set for Vote in Congress as Concerns Grow Over Website Security

    Michi Iljazi on January 10, 2014

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    The future of health care is one of the more pressing questions for the United States as Obamacare continues its implementation into the new year. With a disastrous rollout last fall that included a defective website and millions of policy cancellations for holders of private market insurance policies, the President and democrats in both chambers of congress can ill-afford a new slate of problems with a law they are solely responsible for in every way possible. Unfortunately, there is another aspect of Obamacare that is already causing havoc for millions of Americans and the problem is one that has the potential to impact millions more if not addressed responsibly.  This problem is the real threat to the security of private information of individuals who use the healthcare.gov website to attempt to sign up for coverage under the federal health insurance exchange. Concerns about how secure the Obamacare website have been voiced long-before the October 2013 rollout of healthcare.gov and there were even some early signs that the information of users may not be totally protected in the federal exchange.  Henry Chao, the Deputy Director and Deputy Chief Information Officer of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), apparently was kept in the dark even though he was the administration’s point-man on the security of the website.

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  • Six Weeks Later: Obamacare Implementation Getting More Painful

    Michi Iljazi on November 14, 2013

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    It’s been more than a month since the rollout of Obamacare.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been warning taxpayers for years even before the law was implemented. The October 1st launch of the Obamacare website saw some initial ‘glitches’ but for the most part the media coverage was minimal due to the competing story in DC about the government shutdown. However, a funny thing happened on the way to November, as the website “glitches” actually became serious deficiencies and soon the problems with the website began to expose the serious flaws in the preparation of this massive overhaul as well as the enormous cost to taxpayers. Unfortunately for Americans across the country, the website was just a preview of the pain that Obamacare would inflict on the public.  And now, six weeks later, that pain is being felt by millions of taxpayers and there doesn’t seem to be a happy ending anywhere near in sight. First, let’s look at the cost to taxpayers for the federal exchanges. A recent report by Peter Gosselin in Bloomberg Government shows that the cost to build, as well as the late surge before the launch, and now bringing in new experts to help fix what isn’t working right, now shows that taxpayers footed more than $1 billion for the construction and subsequent fixes to the Obamacare website.

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  • TPA Celebrates Halloween with Taxpayer Tricks & Treats of 2013!

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on October 31, 2013

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    Halloween is quickly approaching which means candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and cute trick-or-treaters filling neighborhood sidewalks across America. This also means that it is time for the Taxpayer Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Trick or Treat fun. The tricks by the government ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are out once again to scare taxpayers.  The biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt and a debt ceiling that no longer exists (a ghostly disappearing act).  TPA reached down deep into its bag of goodies and found few Treats so taxpayers don’t turn into Zombies.

     

    TRICKS

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or “The Green Blob”: No stranger to tricks, the General Services Administration (GSA) and US Green Building Council have been in on one for quite some time and TPA has been there every step of the way to ask the tough questions and continue to expose the reality of the (LEED) certification system. TPA warned about the “new” LEED standards, known as LEED v.4 (click here to read previous blog posting).  LEED v.4 is now set for official use as it has been approved. TPA continues to argue that adopting LEED standards would be harmful for taxpayers and businesses.  GSA officials vanished like a ghost when TPA asked submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Click here to read more on TPA’s efforts to unmask LEED.

    To see the all of TPA's Tricks & Treats, click 'read more' below!

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  • TPA Celebrates Halloween with Taxpayer Tricks & Treats of 2013!

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on October 25, 2013

    jackolantern

    Halloween is quickly approaching which means candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and cute trick-or-treaters filling neighborhood sidewalks across America. This also means that it is time for the Taxpayer Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Trick or Treat fun. The tricks by the government ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are out once again to scare taxpayers.  The biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt and a debt ceiling that no longer exists (a ghostly disappearing act).  TPA reached down deep into its bag of goodies and found few Treats so taxpayers don’t turn into Zombies. 

     

    TRICKS

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or “The Green Blob”: No stranger to tricks, the General Services Administration (GSA) and US Green Building Council have been in on one for quite some time and TPA has been there every step of the way to ask the tough questions and continue to expose the reality of the (LEED) certification system. TPA warned about the “new” LEED standards, known as LEED v.4 (click here to read previous blog posting).  LEED v.4 is now set for official use as it has been approved. TPA continues to argue that adopting LEED standards would be harmful for taxpayers and businesses.  GSA officials vanished like a ghost when TPA asked submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Click here to read more on TPA’s efforts to unmask LEED.

    To see the all of TPA's Tricks & Treats, click 'read more' below!

    » Read More
  • Coming Soon From Obamacare: Substandard Medical Care

    David Williams on October 17, 2013

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    This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on October, 15, 2013


    The Obamacare train is clearly in motion, and it has had quite a bit of trouble leaving the station. It’s important that we not let the technical issues with the rollout distract from the far worse consequences of the law that loom on the horizon, including a movement to re-define what constitutes a “doctor.” This change could harm patients and taxpayers. Instead of at the national level, many healthcare fights will play out in state legislatures across the country. One of these battles is where the scope of procedures medical practitioners can perform are determined. Over the past year, legislation that would allow healthcare practitioners that are not medical doctors to perform increasingly complex procedures has been proposed in both red and blue states – Tennessee, Louisiana and California in particular. In each of these states, Democrat legislators have tried to give what are often termed “allied health professionals” – like optometrists, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners – the ability to perform procedures reserved for highly trained medical doctors.

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  • Obamacare Launch Not Exactly A Smooth Liftoff

    Michi Iljazi on October 2, 2013

    ocare

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has written quite extensively about Obamacare, warning about the harmful impact the law will have on healthcare, taxpayers, consumers, and business across the country. As we moved closer towards the official rollout of the law there were multiple indicators of just how much of a “train wreck” the nation would be faced with once Obamacare became official. The problems we have already seen in the last several months as the Administration began to gear up for the October 1st launch date of Obamacare came at the painful cost of lost jobs, tax hikes, increased premiums, dropped coverage, special exemptions, selective delays, and even privacy concerns that would give any individual pause about a law that influenced so much of the American economy it wasn’t difficult to understand why continued decline in public approval of the law was a constant. The President just recently admitted, speaking about the law, that “we raised some taxes.” TPA recently joined a coalition urging a full delay for all Americans noting how it was unfair for the President to delay the mandate for employers only, while leaving middle class families behind. Yesterday, citizens were able to see the first indications of what we may come to expect now that Obamacare has officially opened their exchanges for individuals to sign up. The launch was anything but smooth so TPA thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some of yesterday’s lowlights.

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  • RECESS WATCH: Obamacare

    Michi Iljazi on August 9, 2013

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    The Obamacare 'nightmare' (courtesy Joint Economic Committee)

    With much of Washington D.C. on vacation this month, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will remind everybody each week during the congressional recess about the amount of unfinished business politicians still have waiting for them when they return to work. This first edition of the “Recess Watch” focuses on the President’s Health Care law, also known as Obamacare. The President arrives in Martha’s Vineyard on August 10 for an eight-day vacation while Americans everywhere continue to feel the impact of the train wreck implementation of his signature domestic legislation. There has been great concern among many Americans on all sides of the table about the impact the law is having and will have once fully functional. These concerns have manifested themselves into real action taken by stakeholders including insurance companies having tovraise rates due to the increasing costs of Obamacare, employers dropping coverage because they can’t afford it, entities who once supported the bill looking for ways out seeing how it would dramatically change the existing coverage they currently enjoy. Sadly, the group most impacted by the law are average Americans who will be mandated starting in 2014 to carry some form of approved insurance or else face a massive tax (or penalty, or fee depending on who is interpreting the language). As expected, TPA has been vehemently opposed to Obamacare and critical of the way in which the law has been selectively applied, or in some cases not applied, to groups that clearly have garnered favor and special treatment from the Obama Administration throughout his Presidency. Some of the most blatant “waivers” have come in the form of a “blanket exclusion.” A recent exclusion that received a great deal of publicity is the one made with Capitol Hill staff (on both sides) to ensure that their coverage can be retained and won’t face any change as the enrollment for exchanges begins this October. However, the most troubling “selective” treatment came just a few weeks ago on July 4th weekend when it was quietly announced that the employer mandate in Obamacare would be “delayed” giving businesses a temporary reprieve from a law that they long feared would negatively impact their businesses. There are two problems with this and it is important to identify each one in order to clearly understand why this legislation continues to be destructive and loaded with inconsistencies and inefficiencies.

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  • NEW TPA REPORT: The Expensive Truth Behind Taxpayer-Funded Mail Order Pharmaceuticals

    David Williams on May 6, 2013

    If you were born in the 1970’s (or before) you probably remember the Columbia House record club where you would buy 6 records for a penny but then they would send you a new record every month at full price.  The trick was that you would be billed for each record and the shipments and the records would keep on coming whether you liked it or not.  Well, those days are long gone but there are some folks that are in this situation with mail order pharmaceuticals as they receive thousands of dollars of unwanted or unneeded mail order pharmaceuticals.  Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report that shines a light on the costly truths behind taxpayer subsidized mail order pharmaceuticals (for full report, click here).  The study shows that, while health care and prescription coverage becomes more costly, the delivery of mail order pharmaceuticals grows and is non-transparent and is extremely vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.  Taxpayers are on the hook for billions of dollars in waste because taxpayer funded healthcare programs such as TRICARE, the Federal Employee Benefits Health Program and Medicare Part D that pay for prescriptions are vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.  The practice of automatic refills through mail order is the leading cause of this waste.  The report breaks down the expanding role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), their lack of transparency as well as the many problems with mail order prescriptions that are put on virtual autopilot.

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  • Obamacare, Congress, And The Coming "Train Wreck"

    Michi Iljazi on May 1, 2013

    The history of Obamacare so far has been a very rocky road with very little hope of stabilizing.  The crafting of the legislation, the passage of the bill, and the Supreme Court challenge, and now the costly rollout and implementation have been marked by hurdle after hurdle and sometimes from very unlikely source. The latest news out of the nation’s capital regarding Obamacare is word that members of Congress are allegedly seeking bipartisan deal that would allow themselves and their staff to be “exempted” from that law.  According to Politico, “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.”  While many would doubt this on its face, the fact is that there have been many instances of “waivers” being granted to particular industries when it came to who would have to follow the rules as outlined in the 1,000-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition to Urge Congress to Repeal Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

    David Williams on January 28, 2013

    Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) joined with 20 other limited government organizations to urge Congress to enact H.R. 351, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, which would repeal provisions relating to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). IPAB’s most expedient tools for holding down Medicare costs would closely resemble price controls, which have been a proven failure here and abroad for many areas of the economy.  Because its mission is defined by PPACA’s framework, IPAB will focus on cost-containment measures whose scoring windows are narrow.  IPAB’s mechanics would work against fiscal discipline as well as transparency.  Click here to read the full letter.

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  • Taxpayers Get Bitten by Medicaid Fraud

    David Williams on January 4, 2013

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    From the uncomfortable tools in your mouth, the bright light shining in your eyes and then finally the large bill at the end with little to show for it except for a painful jaw, nobody likes going to the dentist.    Now taxpayers have even less to be happy about when it comes to dentists because of a newly uncovered fraud where Dentists are doing unnecessary, painful procedures on poor children in order to rack up more money from Medicaid.  As the Today Show reported, a company called Small Smiles, raked in $1,000,000 in revenue from one lo by Mcation (with 90 percent of that revenue coming from taxpayers through Medicaid).  Unfortunately this is not the first time that these types of clinics have been exposed for waste, fraud, and abuse.  As “Today” reported, a few years ago, Small Smiles settled with the Department of Justice for providing substandard and unnecessary procedures, yet the problems still exist and the operation raked in $150 million last year in Medicaid money.

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