Labor Law Guy

Public Perceptions v. ‘The Experts’ in Health Care Matters

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 5, 2009

I’ve shamelessly stolen the graph below that shows the differences of opinion between the public and the so-called experts on how well, or poorly, our health care system is performing–and why.

I took it from the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site and the article by Drew Altman, Ph.D., entitled “Pulling It Together”:

health-care-comparison

When Health Care Is Run Like the Post Office

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on April 13, 2009

I’m not sure why so many people, outside of politicians, are lining up behind the government’s plan to take over health care. Hasn’t anybody visited the post office or the DMV, IRS, INS (now USCIS), etc. lately?

Lines, indifferent attitudes, nay, condescending, haughty attitudes, nonexistent customer service, poor quality work–gee, I can’t wait till those same fine qualities come to my local hospital.

I remember once about 20 or so years ago receiving a notice from a credit card company informing me my payment was late when I clearly remembered having mailed it in. I dutifully repaid the amount due with a late fee (which back then wasn’t as usurious as such fees are today). Then about two months later, my original payment was returned to sender (me) with the envelope half-burned–and no explanation!

As I noted above, just apply these standards, rather, lack thereof, and you can see the fix we’re going to be in as soon as the Democrats create another entitlement to tether them to a supposedly grateful public who will repay the favor by voting them back into office forever and ever until death do us part (which would be sooner than normal given a government-run health care system).

I was reminded of this awful fate of ours–Medicare for all–when I was otherwise laughing at how bad things are in our hospitals even before the government takes over.

Consider this incident: A respected trauma surgeon at the University of Miami by the name of Juan Asensio-Gonzalez, who’s even been featured on 60 Minutes, recently performed emergency surgeon on a young woman and left a one-foot clamp inside her when he sewed her up.

Dr. Asensio-Gonzalez even admitted he blew it, but the Florida Board of  Medicine decided to drop all charges against him.

Now here’s the really scary part: When the patient complained of abdominal pain and returned to Jackson Memorial Hospital, the attending physician had a hard time locating the clamp in x-rays even though it measured 13 inches! Worse, board member Jason Rosenberg, who was reviewing the case and is a surgeon himself, said it’s not difficult to lose even large objects inside a human body.

Dr. Rosenberg did qualify his comment by adding: “I know to the general public this will sound remarkable.”

I can think of words besides remarkable, doctor.

Personnel Concepts Jumps on the White Paper Bandwagon

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on March 5, 2009

I’ve always liked the BLR (Business and Legal Reports) site because it features  informative, lengthy pieces that go by the prevailing title of “white papers.” However, when I did an on-site  search of BLR’s white papers the other day, I think the most current one I saw was from the summer of 2008, though I may have missed some in my search.

BLR also doesn’t always broach some of the regulatory topics affecting employers like the ADAAA (Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act, which took effect this Jan. 1) and the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act, which was restructured this Jan. 16).

That’s why I was happy to see that Personnel Concepts has added its own white paper section, and the section already contains lengthy, analytical pieces on both of those laws, as well as good stuff on other issues affecting employers. And if you wanted the lowdown on Lilly Ledbetter, that’s there too.

If you’re a labor law junkie like me, these kinds of resources are nice to have available.

Tom Daschle Lives On in the Stimulus Package

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings, State Labor Law by laborlawguy on February 10, 2009

Those who were fretting that the extinction of Tom Daschle as potential secretary of Health and Human Services might delay health care reform needn’t worry.

The inclusion of several stealth provisions in the stimulus package now sailing through Congress will implement, mostly unnoticed, provisions from Daschle’s government-heavy idea of reform in his book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.

His idea to prescribe which treatments and medications can and cannot be used by individual doctors lives on through the electronic health records (EHRs) initiative, which would be overseen by a National Coordinator of Health Care Technology. This latter person/office would monitor everything going on in the EHRs to make sure every doctor is following government guidelines and giving cost-effective care. And every doctor means your doctor.

Not only that, but the stimulus package includes the creation of a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to define and dictate cost-effective care: What physicians and hospitals can and cannot do.

In other words, this is the stealth implementation of Daschle’s plan to create a board similar to the one in Great Britain that dictates every medicine and every procedure for every known medical problem so that they are both efficient and cost-effective (but most of all cheap). Now, on the surface, this sounds reasonable until you face the actual results as a patient.

The British agency Daschle fell in love with (with the totally disingenuous acronym of NICE) has done things like, well, forbidding treatment of macular degeneration because the medicine was too expensive until the patient went blind in one eye. (This policy was reversed finally after three years of public outrage.)

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and now an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute,  calls this “Ruin Your Health With the Stimulus Plan.” She explains:

The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

There’s little wonder, then, that President Obama continually and frantically insists that the stimulus package be hurried through Congress–he doesn’t want anyone actually reading it. As his chief of staff quipped, this is “no time to waste a good crisis.”

As these pages have been predicting since the git-go, the only way anybody in government–using government solutions–can make health care both “accessible and affordable” is by restricting and rationing what’s available.

Hey, if you successfully lower health care expectations, maybe enough people will start kicking off before they reach 65, and the government won’t have to pay Social Security or Medicare.

Nice plan.