No Insurance for Ronald McDonald after Obamacare

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Sorry I haven’t done much posting…been busy on the main job, but hopefully that will slow up a little soon.  I wanted to post this one for our liberal friends who think that Obamacare will benefit the masses.  Don’t really know how one could still think that way after reading that it might cause a meltdown at the Golden Arches. From the Wall Street Journal:

By JANET ADAMY

McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.

The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans as the law ripples through the real world.

Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn’t loosen a requirement for “mini-med” plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans.

The requirement concerns the percentage of premiums that must be spent on benefits.

While many restaurants don’t offer health coverage, McDonald’s provides mini-med plans for workers at 10,500 U.S. locations, most of them franchised. A single worker can pay $14 a week for a plan that caps annual benefits at $2,000, or about $32 a week to get coverage up to $10,000 a year.

Last week, a senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.

McDonald’s and trade groups say the percentage, called a medical loss ratio, is unrealistic for mini-med plans because of high administrative costs owing to frequent worker turnover, combined with relatively low spending on claims.

Democrats who drafted the health law wanted the requirement to prevent insurers from spending too much on executive salaries, marketing and other costs that they said don’t directly help patients.

mcinsure

Noah Rabinowitz for The Wall Street JournalMcDonald’s says the new health law threatens coverage for many workers, like these in Times Square.

McDonald’s move is the latest indication of possible unintended consequences from the health overhaul. Dozens of companies have taken charges against earnings—totaling more than $1 billion—over a tax change in prescription-drug benefits for retirees.

More recently, insurers have proposed a round of double-digit premium increases and said new coverage mandates in the law are partly to blame. HHS has criticized the proposed increases as unwarranted.

Democrats, looking toward midterm elections in which the health overhaul is an issue, say it already has stopped insurance practices they call abusive, has given rebates to seniors with high out-of-pocket prescription costs and has allowed parents to keep children on their insurance plans until they turn 26.

[MCINSURE]

McDonald’s, in a memo to federal officials, said “it would be economically prohibitive for our carrier to continue offering” the mini-med plan unless it got an exemption from the requirement to spend 80% to 85% of premiums on benefits. Officials said McDonald’s would probably have to hit the 85% figure, which applies to larger group plans. Its insurer, BCS Insurance Group of Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., declined to comment.

McDonald’s didn’t disclose what the plan’s current medical loss ratio was.

The issue of limited-benefit plans has also hit colleges, which face the same 80-to-85% requirement beginning next year.

“Having to drop our current mini-med offering would represent a huge disruption to our 29,500 participants,” said McDonald’s memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “It would deny our people this current benefit that positively impacts their lives and protects their health—and would leave many without an affordable, comparably designed alternative until 2014.”

The health law expands Medicaid and offers large subsidies to lower-income people to buy coverage, but those provisions don’t kick in until 2014.

Federal officials say there’s no guarantee they can grant mini-med carriers a waiver. They say the answer may not come by November, when many employers require employees to sign up for the coming year’s benefits.

The government is waiting for the association of state insurance commissioners to draft recommendations. The head of the association’s health-insurance committee, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, said she doesn’t think these types of mini-med plans deserve an exemption.

“If they are sold as comprehensive coverage, we expect them to meet the same [medical-loss ratio] standards as other health plans,” she said.

Without Coverage

Some options for low-wage workers if they don’t get health insurance on the job

Under current system:

  • May be eligible for Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, especially families with children
  • Can purchase private insurance on individual market, but premiums are likely to be too costly n Hospital emergency rooms must treat all comers without regard to ability to pay.
  • Some 1,200 federally funded community health centers offer low-cost basic care.

Starting in 2014 under health overhaul:

  • Everyone with income up to 133% of federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid. (Poverty level for individual is $10,830 in 2010.)
  • People with income between 133% and 400% of poverty level will be eligible for subsidized health insurance. Premiums are capped at 2% of income for those at the lowest end of that scale and 9.5% of income at the highest end.
  • Additional $11 billion spent on community health centers

Steven Larsen, the HHS official who received McDonald’s email memo, said the department doesn’t want employers to drop coverage over the law. The agency says it has already given the carrier for McDonald’s and others the chance to seek exemption from new annual limits on benefit payouts.

Insurers say dozens of other employers could find themselves in the same situation as McDonald’s. Aetna Inc., one of the largest sellers of mini-med plans, provides the plans to Home Depot Inc., Disney Worldwide Services, CVS Caremark Corp., Staples Inc. and Blockbuster Inc., among others, according to an Aetna client list obtained by the Journal. Aetna also covers AmeriCorps teaching-program sponsors, who are required by law to make health coverage available.

Aetna declined to comment; it has previously indicated that the requirement could hurt its limited benefit plans.

“There is not any issuer of limited benefit coverage that could meet the enhanced MLR standards,” said Neil Trautwein, a vice president at the National Retail Federation, using the abbreviation for medical loss ratio.

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said it would look for other insurance options if it couldn’t get the waiver. The company’s chief people officer for the U.S., Steve Russell, said, “McDonald’s will continue to be committed to providing competitive pay and benefits.”

The chain has offered a limited benefits plan for more than 10 years. The current version provides outpatient, inpatient, preventive-care and prescription-drug coverage. McDonald’s says 85% of participants have less than $5,000 in medical expenses a year.

The new rules at issue apply only to fully insured health plans and not those where the employer absorbs the risk and directly pays out medical claims. The rules wouldn’t affect Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for instance, because it is self-insured.

Benefit consultants anticipate that, by 2014, most employers will stop offering mini-med plans. Such plans likely wouldn’t meet the definition of adequate coverage for full-time workers. Under the law, midsize and large employers that fail to offer such coverage will have to pay a fine.

Until 2014, workers on mini-med plans would have few affordable alternatives for coverage. According to a survey by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, workers without health insurance were three times as likely to visit the emergency room without being able to pay as their counterparts with health insurance.

“The packages maybe could be better, but for a start, they’re quite good,” said Jerry Newman, a professor at State University of New York at Buffalo, who worked under cover at McDonald’s to write “My Secret Life on the McJob.” He added: “For those who didn’t have health insurance through their spouse, it was a life saver.”

Andy Griffith’s being tarnished over ObamaCare

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Yep, Sheriff Andy Taylor, bought by the Obama folks with your money to pitch his tainted Health Care as “good for you” From the New York Post:

Sheriff Taylor’s health pitch sparks cardiac arrest

Last Updated: 5:32 AM, August 4, 2010

//

Charles Hurt – Inside Washington

WASHINGTON — Was it not enough for President Obama to saddle future Americans with billions of dollars in new health benefits and entitlements that they simply cannot afford?

He also had to go and corrupt one of America’s most beloved figures of the last half-century. And stick you with the $700,000 bill.

Before Obama started pimping him out last week to sell the highly unpopular health-care law, actor Andy Griffith was about as all-American as you could get.

Grew up during the Great Depression.

Award-winning gospel singer.

As widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, he was thoughtful, big-hearted and always gently right.

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As Matlock, he always won his cases.

Yet in a sick deal with the Obama administration, Griffith shatters his credibility, promising all roses with a health-care law that even Barney Fife could tell you is a disaster in the making.

“This year, like always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits,” Griffith says in the gauzy ad, as if today’s seniors are America’s last generation.

“And with the new health-care law, more good things are coming. Free checkups, lower prescription costs. and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud.”

Yeah, as if the real problem with today’s economy is that people aren’t paying enough in taxes and the government has too much money on its hands.

Guess it is good to know that at least Andy Griffith is still in Mayberry.

But the 59 percent of voters who want the law repealed live far from Mayberry, no matter what Griffith tries telling them.

And the most shocking thing about the fantasy ad?

You paid for it.

That’s right. It is taxpayers who are coughing up the $700,000 to run the ad all over the country in a government campaign to sell its cockeyed health-care scheme.

ObamaCare Simplified

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AMERICA’S NEW HEALTH CARE SYSTEM REVEALED

UPDATED CHART SHOWS OBAMACARE’S BEWILDERING COMPLEXITY
Washington, D.C.Four months after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously declared “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it,”a congressional panel has released the first chart illustrating the 2,801 page health care law President Obama signed into law in March.

Developed by the Joint Economic Committee minority, led by U.S Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the detailed organization chart displays a bewildering array of new government agencies, regulations and mandates.

“For Americans, as well as Congressional Democrats who didn’t bother to read the bill, this first look at the final health care law confirms what many fear, that reform morphed into a monstrosity of new bureaucracies, mandates, taxes and rationing that will drive up health care costs, hurt seniors and force our most intimate health care choices into the hands of Washington bureaucrats,”said Brady, the committee’s senior House Republican. “If this is what passes for health care reform in America, then God help us all.”

Brownback, the committee’s ranking member, added, “This updated chart illustrates the overwhelming expansion of government control over health choices and the bewildering complexity facing everyone affected by this law.  It doesn’t take long to see how the recently signed health care bill causes a hugely expensive and explosive expansion of federal control over health care. Personal choices that should be between a doctor and a patient will quickly be strangled in a never ending web of bureaucracy.”

Senate Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) called Obamacare “a bureaucratic nightmare. The Democrats’ takeover of health care creates a byzantine network of 159 new federal programs and bureaucracies to make decisions that should be between just the patient and their doctor. It should concern everyone that at the center of this regulatory web is the new CMS chief, Donald Berwick, who has championed rationing and European socialized medicine. Americans were rightly outraged that this big government bill was rushed through Congress before anyone read or fully understood the bill’s consequences. Republicans will fight to repeal this reckless takeover and to ensure health care freedom to American families.”

In addition to capturing the massive expansion of government and the overwhelming complexity of new regulations and taxes, the chart portrays:

  • $569 billion in higher taxes;
  • $529 billion in cuts to Medicare;
  • swelling of the ranks of Medicaid by 16 million;
  • 17 major insurance mandates; and
  • the creation of two new bureaucracies with powers to impose future rationing: the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Independent Payments Advisory Board.

Brady admits committee analysts could not fit the entire health care bill on one chart. “This portrays only about one-third of the complexity of the final bill. It’s actually worse than this.”

Download Chart (PDF format)

Obamacare = Eurocare, here’s a preview…

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I’m actually attaching a couple of incidents, there are more…read and prepare..Notice the red hightlight, real funny.

Jonas, 32, sewed up his own leg after ER wait

From the Local…Sweden

A 32-year-old took the needle into his hands when he tired of the wait at Sundsvall hospital in northern Sweden and sewed up the cut in his leg himself. The man was later reported to the police for his impromptu handiwork.

“It took such a long time,” the man told the local Sundsvall Tidning daily.

The man incurred the deep cut when he sliced his leg on the sharp edge of a kitchen stove while he was renovating at home.

“I first went to the health clinic, but it was closed. So I rang the medical help line and they told me that it shouldn’t be closed, so I went to emergency and sat there,” the man named only as Jonas told the newspaper.

After an hour-long wait in a treatment room, he lost patience and proceeded to sew up his own wound.

“They had set out a needle and thread and so I decided to take the matter into my hands,” he said.

But hospital staff were not as impressed by his initiative and have reported the man on suspicion of arbitrary conduct for having used hospital equipment without authorization.

While Jonas admitted to the newspaper that he has no prior experience of sewing up himself he sought to play down the fuss that his handiwork has caused, arguing that “through the ages people have always sewn themselves up”.

From the Guardian in Canada:

Peakes woman loses her baby, dignity while awaiting hospital treatment

Michael and Christine Handrahan say they’ve lost all faith in Prince Edward Island’s largest referral hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. Handrahan had a miscarriage in front of a packed waiting room while she waited more than thr Guardian photo by Nathan RochfordMichael and Christine Handrahan say they’ve lost all faith in Prince Edward Island’s largest referral hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. Handrahan had a miscarriage in front of a packed waiting room while she waited more than thr

by Wayne Thibodeau
// <![CDATA[//

Christine Handrahan describes hours of tension in emergency room

Losing her first baby was devastating enough but having to do it in a crowded waiting room is what angered Christine Handrahan the most.

The 29-year-old Peakes woman was nine weeks pregnant when on July 12 she started bleeding.

Fearing the worst, Handrahan and her husband, Michael, headed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s new emergency room.

There she waited more than three hours, blood seeping out of her jeans, tears rolling down her face as she feared she was losing her baby — or that she might be bleeding to death.

Still, she waited and waited.

More than three hours passed before Michael had enough.

“Somebody should have cared enough to say ‘Oh my goodness, you’re going through a miscarriage, do you need some quiet time?’ I was fighting my tears. I wanted a place to go cry,” – CHRISTINE HANDRAHAN

Only one patient had gone through the big glass doors to see a doctor so he knew the wait was going to be extensive.

Michael helped his wife out of a wheelchair into his truck and they made the 45-minute drive to Prince County Hospital in Summerside. There she was immediately rushed into the hospital’s emergency room where the mother-to-be was told that she had a miscarriage.

“What bothered me the most was the fact that I had to sit in public going through a miscarriage — in public,” Handrahan said.

“It’s emotional. It’s such an emotional time for anybody. We tried for a couple of years to conceive a child and then to lose it. It was horrifying.”

Handrahan says nobody at the hospital showed her any compassion.

“They could have given me a room to go in. Not necessarily a room with a bed. Even if it had been their TV room, or their lunchroom, or their closet. That waiting room was jam packed full of people.

“Somebody should have cared enough to say ‘Oh my goodness, you’re going through a miscarriage, do you need some quiet time?’ I was fighting my tears. I wanted a place to go cry.”

Officials at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have launched a full investigation into what happened to Handrahan.

Rick Adams, the executive director of the hospital, cancelled an afternoon of meetings to talk to the Handrahans and to offer an apology.

Adams is on holidays this week, but Dr. Rosemary Henderson, the acting executive director, confirms an investigation is underway.

The medical director, the nurse manager and a quality and risk management team will lead the investigation.

“The sort of things we’re looking at is, was she triaged appropriately?” said Henderson.

“And whether or not she was seen in a reasonable time frame and there are certain guidelines . . . and I won’t pussy foot around it we do have trouble meeting those guidelines at times.”

Henderson would not answer the question about whether it was appropriate for Handrahan to have her miscarriage in the hospital’s waiting room.

That, she said, will have to wait until the investigation is complete.

Health Minister Carolyn Bertram maintains safety is not being compromised at the Charlottetown hospital.

“I certainly do not want to talk about an individual case but I certainly feel for a case such as this, . . . but our officials are investigating this matter,” said Bertram.

Handrahan, who works at a vet clinic, said she has never seen an animal being treated like she was treated at the province’s largest referral hospital. She came forward with her story in hopes nobody will ever have to go through what she went through again.

Her husband, Michael, 31, agrees. He said he went to the nurse’s station twice, pleading with them to see his wife.

“The first time, she said ‘we’re very busy’ and they’d get to her as soon as possible,” Michael said.

“I knew we were going to have to wait. But what pissed me off is they didn’t take her in when we got there, clean her up, and see what was going on.”

Patients the Handrahans talked to while they were at the emergency department said they had waited 12 to14 hours.

Handrahan said she remains angry at the hospital and traumatized by the whole situation.

If she ever needs medical attention in the future, Handrahan said she will go to Summerside.

She did receive an apology from one of the nurses in the emergency department but it was too little too late, she said.

“She came over and she apologized to me, and she said ‘I just wanted to tell you that it’s not that we don’t care,’” Handrahan recounts.

“I remember telling her that I realized tonight how cruel this world really is.”

Tell It Like it is….

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Doctor tells Obama supporters: Go elsewhere for health care

My Comments in RED…

MOUNT DORA — A doctor who considers the national health-care overhaul to be bad medicine for the country posted a sign on his office door telling patients who voted for President Barack Obama to seek care “elsewhere.”

“I’m not turning anybody away — that would be unethical,” Dr. Jack Cassell, 56, a Mount Dora urologist and a registered Republican opposed to the health plan, told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday. “But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it.”

The sign reads: “If you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”

Estella Chatman, 67, of Eustis, whose daughter snapped a photo of the typewritten sign, sent the picture to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, the Orlando Democrat who riled Republicans last year when he characterized the GOP’s idea of health care as, “If you get sick, America … Die quickly.”

Chatman said she heard about the sign from a friend referred to Cassell after his physician recently died. She said her friend did not want to speak to a reporter but was dismayed by Cassell’s sign.

“He’s going to find another doctor,” she said.

Cassell may be walking a thin line between his right to free speech and his professional obligation, said William Allen, professor of bioethics, law and medical professionalism at the University of Florida‘s College of Medicine.

(He didn’t say he was refusing ANYONE you twit!)

Allen said doctors cannot refuse patients on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability, but political preference is not one of the legally protected categories specified in civil-rights law. By insisting he does not quiz his patients about their politics and has not turned away patients based on their vote, the doctor is “trying to hold onto the nub of his ethical obligation,” Allen said.

“But this is pushing the limit,” he said.
(He’s not doing anything illegal, immoral, or is he refusing to treat, he is making a statement to these “gimme more” handout entitlement folks.)
Cassell, who has practiced medicine in GOP-dominated Lake County since 1988, said he doesn’t quiz his patients about their politics, but he also won’t hide his disdain for the bill Obama signed and the lawmakers who passed it.

In his waiting room, Cassell also has provided his patients with photocopies of a health-care timeline produced by Republican leaders that outlines “major provisions” in the health-care package. The doctor put a sign above the stack of copies that reads: “This is what the morons in Washington have done to your health care. Take one, read it and vote out anyone who voted for it.”

Cassell, whose lawyer wife, Leslie Campione, has declared herself a Republican candidate for Lake County commissioner, said three patients have complained, but most have been “overwhelmingly supportive” of his position.

“They know it’s not good for them,” he said.

Cassell, who previously served as chief of surgery at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, said a patient’s politics would not affect his care for them, although he said he would prefer not to treat people who support the president.

“I can at least make a point,” he said.
(And it IS his right, just like it’s a patients right not to see him.)

The notice on Cassell’s office door could cause some patients to question his judgment or fret about the care they might receive if they don’t share his political views, Allen said. He said doctors are wise to avoid public expressions that can affect the physician-patient relationship.

Erin VanSickle, spokeswoman for the Florida Medical Association, would not comment specifically.

But she noted in an e-mail to the Sentinel that “physicians are extended the same rights to free speech as every other citizen in the United States.”

The outspoken Grayson described Cassell’s sign as “ridiculous.”

“I’m disgusted,” he said. “Maybe he thinks the Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no good.’ If this is the face of the right wing in America, it’s the face of cruelty. … Why don’t they change the name of the Republican Party to the Sore Loser Party?”

Why don’t you ask that question after November Congressman, when you’re in the minority?  You’ll be asking yourself “Why didn’t I listen to the people?”

Legislators and the Constitution

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Why is Washington Broken?  Because they don’t give a hoot in high beans about what the Constitution says.  They don’t even understand the Constitution, and they bend it to fit what they need.  From Illinois, here is Rep. Phil Hare.  Now, watch what happens when they question him about the constitutionality of what he’s doing, and when he’s labeled a liar.

Obama Reneges on Health Care Transparency

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Actually, he reneged about 8 times or so….

(CBS) President Obama wants the final negotiations on health care reform – a reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the bill – put on a fast track, even if that means breaking an explicit campaign promise.

“The House and Senate plan to put together the final health care reform bill behind closed doors according to an agreement by top Democrats,” House Speaker Nanci Pelosi said today at the White House.

The White House is on board with that, too, reports CBS News political correspondent Chip Reid. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stressed today that “the president wants to get a bill to his desk as quickly as possible.”

Special Report: Health Care Reform

During the campaign, though, candidate Obama regularly promised something different – to broadcast all such negotiations on C-SPAN, putting the entire process of pounding out health care reform out in the open. (That promise applied to the now-completed processing of forging House and Senate bills, too.)

Back when Republicans controlled Congress and George W. Bush was in the White House, it was Democrats who angrily complained about secret backroom deals.

Now the roles are reversed.

“The negotiations are obviously being done in secret and the American people really just want to know what they are trying to hide,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Even with no cameras and no Republicans in the room it will be a tall order for the House and Senate to resolve their differences – especially on abortion coverage and how to pay for health reform

Even so, top Democrats in both houses say they hope to have the final bill ready for the president’s signature in time for his State of the Union address – less than four weeks from now.

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