Blog

Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Facebook     Twitter     Youtube

Blog

Category: Healthcare



  • 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.

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

    Michi Iljazi on January 10, 2014

    ocare

    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.

    » Read More
  • Six Weeks Later: Obamacare Implementation Getting More Painful

    Michi Iljazi on November 14, 2013

    ocare

    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.

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

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on October 31, 2013

    jack

    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
  • 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

    vpseb

    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.

    » Read More
  • 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.

    » Read More
  • RECESS WATCH: Obamacare

    Michi Iljazi on August 9, 2013

    OCareChart
    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.

    » Read More
  • 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.

    » Read More
  • 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.

    » Read More
  • 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.

    » Read More
  • Taxpayers Get Bitten by Medicaid Fraud

    David Williams on January 4, 2013

    Dentist

    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.

    » Read More
  • Wednesday Roundup: Obamacare and Green Building Standards

    David Williams on October 24, 2012

    Blog postings by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) usually focus on one issue.  Today, because there seems to be so much news about a variety of issues, TPA will be highlighting 2 issues, a new report  about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was created by Obamacare and a story in USA Today about the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard (click here to read an op-ed about LEED by TPA in Real Clear Policy).  The Hill ran a story today about a report that was released today by the American Action Forum, which is headed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  TPA has been long critical of IPAB and has spent the better part of the year talking to taxpayers about the problems with IPAB.  TPA is concerned with the proposed changes to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards known as LEEDv4.  The federal government and many state governments have adopted LEED as their green building standard which unnecessarily increases the cost of construction.  The costs of LEED for American taxpayers is exorbitant and this could be addressed by incorporating other green building rating systems to introduce competition to help bring costs down.

    » Read More
  • TPA Wraps Up Health Care Bus Tour With 60+ Association

    David Williams on October 8, 2012

    Bus

    For the past six weeks, the 60+ Association has been traveling on the Health Care Reform:  Let’s Do Better bus tour, which visited Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida.  As one of the policy experts, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been on the bus for numerous stops including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Florida.  Joining us on the trip was comedian Jimmy Labriola (you may remember him from his role as Benny on Home Improvement) and Rick Heil (Grammy nominated Christian rocker).  The goal of the tour was to educate folks on the massive financial costs and the destruction of the doctor-patient relationship brought on by Obamacare.  The crowds at every stop were not only enthusiastic to see us but also concerned about the direction of the country.  After a program of policy speeches and entertainment, people were invited to sign the bus.  Yes, that’s right, the bus was wrapped in a material where folks could sign the bus so the folks at the 60+ Association could take it to Capitol Hill and show members of Congress that Obamacare should be defunded.  Many thanks to all who participated in the journey, but special thanks to 60+ Association Chairman Jim Martin and 60+ Association President Amy Frederick.





    » Read More
  • New Study Exposes the Truth About Tobacco Taxes

    David Williams on September 28, 2012

    The New York State Department of Health recently released a study that raised a lot of eyebrows, and perhaps the results of the study will lead elected officials to implement policies that help rather than punish the people.  The study found that in New York cigarette taxes harm the poorest among us most.  Although the study did not examine the effects of such taxes beyond New York state, cigarette taxes have the same effects on the poor no matter what part of the nation we’re looking at.   The Daily Caller reported that “Low-income smokers [in New York state]... spent an average of 23.6 percent of their annual household income on cigarettes.”  Interestingly enough as the article also points out, “That number is up…in spite of increasing cigarette taxes imposed by the state and city governments.”  These findings fortify facts that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and others have been saying for quite some time.  Plain and simple: excise taxes such as those on cigarettes, alcohol and soda harm the poor by taking more from their pocketbooks.

    » Read More
  • The Truth About Medicare Reform: Rep. Paul Ryan's Plan

    David Willliams on September 5, 2012

    (This is the second in a two part series on Medicare reform) Earlier this week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance posted a blog explaining President Obama’s plan to reform Medicare.  In this post, we will discuss an alternative plan that Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), has proposed. Unlike the president’s proposal, empowerment of individuals is the centerpiece of the Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare.  Whereas Obama’s reform measures seek to increase government’s powers at every turn and support its overreach in every aspect of our lives, the Ryan plan recognizes that individuals are best suited to determine their health care needs.  While this statement should appear obvious, the president and many members of Congress fundamentally disagree.  Unlike the federal government, an individual has a clear incentive and interest in making wise decisions about how to spend one’s money on health care.  The Ryan Medicare plan embraces this concept and includes a reform called premium supportPremium support provides seniors with the ability to choose their health care plan.  With more options of health care coverage to choose, increased competition among health care providers will result.  As competition increases, not only will seniors be able to enjoy an improved quality of health care, they will also benefit from lower costs.  Additionally, this Medicare reform proposal will encourage the next generation of retirees to begin considering private coverage.

    » Read More
  • The Truth About Medicare Reform: The President's Plan

    David Williams on September 4, 2012

    (This is the first in a two part series on Medicare reform) If what the pundits say is true, then the issue of Medicare and what to do with it is what will define this year’s presidential election.  While Medicare may be the issue of the day, the discussion and its significance goes much deeper than merely a debate over health care policy. At the heart of the matter is the fundamental difference between the philosophical approaches undergirding the two predominant political parties in the U.S.  The decision a voter makes at the ballot box won’t be merely choosing between two candidates, it will be a question of who is the most capable agent to make decisions that will affect one’s health care as well as the way we live our lives.  Ultimately, the question is whether the individual or government is best at determining how we live in society.  Even though this seems like a tremendously important and complex philosophical question, the decision becomes a lot easier when considering what each candidate would do to “fix” Medicare and more generally health care. Obamacare is the epitome of government possessing control over your health care.   With a loud declaration of government might, the law effectively strips individuals from making their own decisions regarding the types of service and quality of health care.

    » Read More
  • IRS Getting Ready To Collect More Taxes for Obamacare

    David Williams on August 21, 2012

    Let’s be honest, government comes up short in most things it does.  Whether we’re talking about the quality of education, our roads and in just a few years, our health care system, time and time again the government fails to deliver and meet the needs of the American people.  However, there’s one sector of government that is an outlier from the rest of the programs the government commands where the government is relatively efficient – or as efficient as a government can be.  The bad news is that the efficiency is in tax collection.  This revelation may be somewhat intuitive because even if government has no interest in doing anything else well, it must ensure it has a revenue source to continue its spending propensity.  Given this reality, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman recently announced that the IRS will have its greedy hands prepared and ready to take more taxpayer dollars come 2014.  Specifically thanks to Obamacare, the new source of revenue will be extracted from those that refuse to succumb to the government’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

    » Read More
  • Grant Recipients Continue to Break Law and Lobby With Taxpayer Funds

    David E Williams on July 17, 2012

    It’s bad enough when Washington spends your hard earned tax dollars on duplicative, ineffective and/or unnecessary programs.  It’s even worse day when we learn that our money is being used to lobby for laws or regulations that will restrict consumer choice and promote nanny state policies that infringe on our freedoms.  Unfortunately, that’s what appears to be occurring thanks to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant program funded by the 2009 stimulus bill.  The eye-catching lead sentence in an article from The Hill describes the matter succinctly: “Federal healthcare grants may have been illegally used for political lobbying.”  As The Hill recently reported, Daniel Levinson, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Inspector General (IG) said nearly the exact same thing last week.  The Hill obtained an “early alert” letter Levinson sent to CDC Director Thomas Friedman.  In his correspondence, Levinson wrote that some documents and information the CDC provided to grant recipients “appear to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use grant funds for impermissible lobbying.”  And as disconcerting as this revelation is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact for well over a year, TPA has worked to bring more attention to this flagrant misuse of taxpayer money by writing letters to Congress and many blogs on this issue. 

    » Read More
  • Taxes? We Don't Need No New Stinkin' Healthcare Taxes

    David Williams on July 2, 2012

    Last week (June 28) the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is constitutional under Congress’ power of taxation.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s reaction was swift (read here).  Very few could imagine a day when our President and some in Congress would actually embrace (and exuberantly at that) a law that will create the biggest tax increase in our nation’s history.  Rather than running from the fact that they are responsible for imposing such a hefty tax increase, the Obama administration and others have prized this as a victory.  If the likes of Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are the “winners” of Thursday’s decision, then the losers are the American people, who will soon see tax bills rise as a result of this detrimental policy.   Setting aside for a moment the grave financial implications this disastrous law causes, let’s look at one disturbing fact that deserves closer examination.   The most troublesome aspect of the initial passage of the bill is that roughly half of the elected officials in Washington and others around the country willingly and eagerly opened their arms to a tax increase.  And while for a second a few may contend this action warrants at least some positive recognition because of its honestly, we should quickly remember and subsequently be appalled by the fact that the policy proposal of Obamacare and its individual mandate was marketed throughout its debate and eventual passage as a fine.  But you don’t have to take my word for it, take President Obama’s. From a 2009 interview on ABC, interviewer George Stephanopoulos asks, “But you reject that it’s a tax increase?” President Obama responds, “I absolutely reject that notion.”  Oops!

    » Read More
<< 1 2 3 4 5 >>