Zuckerberg’s Folly: The Rising Threat of Chan Zuckerberg Science

 

As any of you who follow me on Facebook know, as a relative newcomer to the platform—and to social media in general—I am no fan of Mark Zuckerberg’s. In fact, for some time now, I have said that I am considering leaving Facebook, going away as quickly and quietly as I arrived a few short months ago. I am still seriously considering doing so.

Recently, the young, uber rich millennial again proved that my concerns are justified.

Mark Zuckerberg has done it again. Having spent his short life promoting social media, he has now set his sights on a new goal: to cure all human diseases.

Say what?

The Rise of Chan Zuckerberg Science

In yet another self-involved, self-promoting, delusional move, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, arranged a presentation in a massive hall complete with a gigantic screen as a backdrop. After taking the stage, like a child bursting at the seams to tell a secret, the young couple smiled broadly as they looked out at the considerable audience in attendance. They then pledged a total of $3 billion to “cure all diseases in our children’s lifetime.” They are even calling the endeavor “Chan Zuckerberg Science.” I kid you not.

Even Zuckerberg had to admit at the unveiling of the . . . ahem . . . donation to yet another of his own pet projects that it “doesn’t mean no one will ever get sick.”

Really? Then what do you mean by “cure all diseases,” exactly?

 

 

The Riddle of the Billionaire Cheapskate

Perhaps the most telling thing about this latest self-promotion campaign is that Zuckerberg and Chan apparently think that $3 billion is enough to end human disease as we know it. Is it just me? Doesn’t it seem that this power couple—who are richer than rich thanks to the timely rise of social media and Zuckerberg’s astute and ruthless pursuit of its control—should be well-versed enough in Big Finance to know that $3 billion, while an awful lot to you and me, barely rises to the level of chump change when talking about managing—much less curing—human disease?

Even the notoriously liberal National Public Radio (NPR) recently admitted that $3 billion is barely a “drop in the bucket” compared to annual federal taxpayer-funded medical research and development. It is also little more than a blip on the bank account screen compared to the more generous—and far less self-promoting—routine donations of Zuckerberg’s fellow have-it-alls—which, by the way, they have been doing for generations and generations.

And yet here we are, still, suffering from and fighting that most daunting of all adversaries, human disease and disability. Just look at Hillary Clinton. Money, and power, and influence aside, she will die of Parkinson’s disease just like all of its other victims. If, Heaven forbid, she is elected president next month, she will not hold that office for long. She will not be able to, because she is dying. While she admittedly looked better than usual on last night’s debate stage, that is the nature of Parkinson’s disease. It comes and goes until, one sad day, it sticks around. Judging from her current symptoms, which include a complete collapse at the recent 9/11 Memorial Service, that day is not far enough away to allow Clinton one term in the White House—much less two. To read my thoughts on Clinton’s health, please check here and here and here. You can also check out my archived radio shows from September 7, 14, and 21 by going to our website at www.moormanmedia.com/radio-show-archives.html.

Please do not misunderstand me: All of the generous rich and not-so-rich, including Zuckerberg, who have given money have helped in the common cause of combating illness and alleviating human suffering. For that, we are eternally grateful—no one more so than we practicing physicians, who use the tools their money has purchased to improve and save lives on a daily basis.

Still, when it comes to Mark Zuckerberg, something is amiss . . .

 

 

Celebrating Parenthood by Donating to Planned Parenthood

Apparently, Zuckerberg understands all too well how not far $3 billion goes these days. In 2012 and 2013 alone, he and Chan donated almost $1 billion—each year, for a two-year total of almost $2 billion—to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a major supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Even so, Zuckerberg and Chan now claim to have been motivated to donate their latest $3 billion check out of love and concern for their baby daughter, Max. And yet they openly support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading provider of both legal and illegal abortions and its only professional middleman in the trafficking of the body parts of the very babies it murders. The same Planned Parenthood that is now peddling panic over the Zika virus in an effort to dupe unsuspecting women who truly want to become mothers to abort their innocent babies—babies every bit as healthy, and beautiful, and full of potential as little Max.

Hmmm . . . Am I the only one who sees a disconnect?

 

 

Big Wallet, Bigger Dreams

It gets better—or worse: Apparently, Zuckerberg and Chan were so overcome with emotion at the late 2015 birth of little Max that they pledged what is claimed to be 99% of their wealth—to the current tune of over $45 billion—over the course of their lives “to join many others in improving this world for the next generation.”

At least they dream big. The problem is that they are neither alone in that quest nor preceded by generations of dunces who simply were not as smart, or capable, or concerned, or rich as them. With all due respect to Zuckerberg’s generosity, which is commendable, the quest to “improve the world” has been going on for centuries. It is also likely to continue for centuries after Zuckerberg and Chan—and Max and her children and grandchildren, for that matter—are long gone. If, that is, we as a society survive for that long, which is becoming increasingly uncertain.

 

 

A Tale of Two Mark Zuckerbergs:

When the Prince of Social Media becomes the King of Censorship

At the expense of looking even further into the gift horse’s mouth by throwing even more cold water on Zuckerberg’s charity, I would add a final but exceptionally important wrinkle:

Keep in mind that Zuckerberg ostensibly created Facebook so as to allow average Americans to communicate openly, free of charge, from the comfort of their homes and offices (and now tablets and cell phones), and without restrictions in the setting of an electronic community forum. Talk about great ideas that everyone could get behind. And everyone did get behind Facebook. Through hard work, ingenuity, and, we now know, more than his share of piracy and ruthlessness, Zuckerberg cornered that burgeoning market. In return, he became a multibillionaire in his twenties.

 

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So far, so good. Zuckerberg is living The American Dream. Good for him.

But wait! There’s more . . .

Years later, Zuckerberg, now an all-grown-up liberal progressive ideologue, has a problem: It seems that regular folks, angry over the debacle of the Obama presidency, exhausted from years of America-rejecting, white-bashing, and race-baiting, and concerned for the country’s future, are actually daring to log into their Facebook accounts and make “right-wing” statements that offend Zuckerberg’s liberal progressive, safe-space-loving millennial mind. I do just that routinely.

It is the ultimate dilemma faced by any young liberal holding the keys to the communication kingdom: What to do when the free speech you created and espouse to suppot—and that made you a billionaire many times over before the age of 30—doesn’t agree with your own personal philosophy?

In Zuckerberg’s case, he simply deletes the offending communications from the site. He and his minions routinely suspend, even ban for life, users who offer one too many politically incorrect views from the right. Somehow, offensive remarks from the left—even the white-bashing, police-hating radical left—are never deemed, by the “Facebook police,” to rise to the level of removal and/or sanction.

A Case in Point

To use a concrete example among many, this is even true where the communication involves a despicable, horrifically graphic cartoon depicting a kneeling, uniformed police officer being beheaded by a hooded ISIS assassin. To this day, I regret having innocently stumbled upon the cartoon. I truly wish that I had never seen it. And I’m a 51-year-old emergency medicine physician who has seen a lot, including more than my share of human violence, carnage, blood, and gore. The cartoon is that graphic.

Demands for Facebook to remove the cartoon poured in. And yet Facebook left it up, having determined that it did not run afoul of the company’s so-called “decency standards.” It goes without saying that many of us were left wondering what would be graphic enough, and despicable enough, to warrant administrative removal from the site. We did not have to wait long. Apparently, simply saying that Black Lives Matter is not a real political movement suffices. Post deleted. User suspended if not banned.

Go figure.

In fact, to the extent that you and I say anything negative about the Black Lives Matter Movement—much less any of the far-left liberal agendas being shoved, hurled, and rammed through by a runaway executive branch unimpeded by an impotent Congress and a consenting Supreme Court—we do so at the risk of being censored by the likes of Zuckerberg. We “little people” in “flyover states” have no right to comment. We must remain silent while they bash us repeatedly and create an alternative world more to their liking in which we are the ignorant villains and they are whatever they wish to be, all the while living off of the fruits of our labor.

It is a typical, delusional liberal progressive millennial dream. The problem is, Zuckerberg actually believes his own garbage. In that, he is very much like another young dreamer and champion of eloquent yet empty promises who likewise does not wish us conservative Americans well: my former law school classmate Barack Obama. More on that in a bit.

An “Orwellian” Threat to Free Speech

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In his never-ending quest to stifle conservative speech, Zuckerberg earlier this summer joined with other social media outlets, including Microsoft (run by Zuckerberg’s mentor and fellow tech geek and multibillionaire Bill Gates), Twitter, and YouTube in entering into a formal agreement with the European Commission, the unelected executive branch of the European Union (EU). The purpose of the agreement is “to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally.” The agreement purports to set forth a “code of conduct” while requiring that parties crack down on what it calls “illegal hate speech.” It advocates “criminalizing” offenders and “promoting independent counter-narratives” that the EU favors. It also purports to provide a platform for the “re-education” of politically incorrect users.

The agreement has been branded “Orwellian” by Members of the European Parliament. Some characterize it as “a frightening path to totalitarianism.” Others decry it as designed to “not just curb hate speech but free speech as well.” Numerous digital freedom groups have declined to join in and have pulled out of further discussions with the Commission.

Asked about the initiative, Zuckerberg stated that he had to join so as to combat the two greatest threats plaguing the social media community: (1) the online social media radicalization of Muslims and the resulting rise of ISIS; and (2) “far-right extremism.”

“Far-right extremism.” Hmmm . . .

On our side of the pond, that could easily be construed as the speech of middle-class, white, conservative America, of those who come from backgrounds just like, and who look and sound just like, Zuckerberg himself—only we disagree with him on so much. He already deletes our posts and bans us from his site—and the conversation. Will he prosecute us next? Perhaps “re-educate” us? Why? Because he says so, that’s why. And so does the EU to which we do not belong. By so doing, they shut us down and shut us up, both inside and outside of Europe.

In joining this thinly veiled attempt to curb free speech both here and abroad, Zuckerberg gave himself away as nothing more patriotic, idealistic, and American than a self-important liberal progressive ideologue and elitist soaked in the hypocrisy of political correctness and globalism.

So much for free speech. And honesty. And the truth. Thanks, Zuckerberg.

The Inherent Threat of Chan Zuckerberg Science 

What worries me is that in the event Zuckerberg gets his tentacles into the American health care system, he will do the same thing. Indeed, given his latest donation and public spectacle of an announcement, coupled with his long-expressed infatuation with both Barack Obama and Obamacare, it is more likely than not that what Zuckerberg is actually doing is paving the way to not only unfathomable future wealth for himself and Chan, but also unbelievable power as the agents of the health care rationing that we know is coming (and that in fact has already begun).

If you don’t believe me, consider this: There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of existing research institutions and charitable foundations that focus upon every human disorder and disease imaginable. Many were started, and are currently maintained, through the generous donations of the rich. Others are financed by federal and state taxpayer dollars. Many are considered tax-exempt, which in reality amounts to a taxpayer subsidy. Many are a combination of these and other structures.

Rather than simply donating to these existing institutions, Zuckerberg and Chan chose instead to donate the money to their own newly formed Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, controlled by—you guessed it—Chan and Zuckerberg. Admittedly, the money is not slated to sit for long. Indeed, their most recent donation includes a $600 million commitment to fund a new research center at the University of California, San Francisco, which will be run in collaboration with UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Because as we all know, all of the major medical research takes place within 40 miles of San Francisco.

They have already named their “independent research center.” Like something out of an episode of Star Trek or Dr. Who, it will be called “Biohub.” How very fitting for a millennial technology nerd.

Biohub, no doubt, will also be controlled by Chan and Zuckerberg. But never fear: They have surrounded themselves with the best. That includes Biohub’s designated leader, Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist whose claim to fame is her research on the behavior of a tiny worm named C. elegans. That’s a relief. You know, just in case we decide to turn our attention—excuse me, I mean just in case Zuckerberg decides to turn our attention—from human diseases to worm diseases. In that case, we’re all set. Thank goodness for Biohub.

Wisecracks aside, all of this should concern you. It certainly concerns me.

He who controls the researchers and their laboratories controls the future of medicine. He also controls the people—all of the people, all of the time. Just ask any Holocaust survivor, if you can find one still alive. Though it is politically incorrect to say so, we are literally allowing folks like Obama and Zuckerberg to do exactly what Adolf Hitler did a few years before ascending to power and forcing brutal Nazi rule on its unsuspecting and apathetic—not to mention defenseless—people. Sound familiar? 

There, I said it. No doubt, Zuckerberg would delete this post and ban me from the Internet were he able. Thankfully for me, the good folks at Red Nation Rising actually believe in telling the truth. But I digress.

Big Promises, Big Caveatsmark-zuckerberg-goofy-blue-01-mark-zuckerberg

And what about Zuckerberg’s and Chan’s stated desire to “cure all diseases?”

It seems that promise, too, comes with a caveat. And it’s a doozy.

Zuckerberg and Chan are amazingly transparent about their agenda—which does not, in fact, seem related to curing any specific diseases, much less all of them within a lifetime (theirs, of course). Recently, they stated that their goal is “not to focus narrowly on specific ailments, such as bone cancer or Parkinson’s disease” (funny choice of disease given the current situation with Hillary Clinton), but rather to “do basic research.” As an example, they outlined a plan to create “a cell atlas that maps out all the different types of cells in the body, which could help researchers create various types of drugs.” They also espoused a goal of approaching medical and scientific research from the standpoint of employing “world-class technology.”

Right. If only we had thought about these breakthrough mark-zuckerberg-looking-down-blue-01-mark-zuckerberg-050211-croppedideas of yours. Thanks, Zuckerberg.

Hmmm . . .

Where do I begin?

First, we already know the different types of cells in the body, and we already use that information in developing, producing, testing, and administering drugs of all types. You would think that Zuckerberg—wunderkind of social media without to my knowledge one iota of formal scientific or medical education or experience—had also, in his spare time, discovered the human cell in his parents’ garage.

Second, with all due respect to Zuckerberg’s technology experience, I am told that we already employ “world-class technology” in the medical and scientific research institutions that currently exist and that would have benefited greatly from a portion of Zuckerberg’s largesse. As a practicing emergency physician who has trained and worked at some of the country’s best healthcare institutions, I know for a fact that to the extent that it exists, we already employ “world-class technology” on the treatment side of the equation.

mark-zuckerberg-angry-01-zuckerbergThird, call me paranoid and ungrateful; but Zuckerberg’s plan sounds an awful lot like that of a guy looking to develop tools upon which the pharmaceutical industry will over time become dependent, then hold them over a barrel—perhaps suspend or ban them from the “Chan Zuckerberg Cell Mapping System”—if they develop drugs that Zuckerberg himself does not like. Or if they charge too much for their drugs, making Obamacare even less affordable than it already is. (Consider what Congress just did to the CEO of Mylan, the company that makes the EpiPen.) Or if they actually try to develop medications for sick folks who are suffering and dying today rather than spending all of their time developing futuristic tools that will make Zuckerberg even richer and more powerful than he currently is.

In other words, my fear is that Zuckerberg—having inserted himself and his money into a system upon which we all depend for our health if not our life—will do to the pharmaceutical and other health care-related systems exactly what he has done in the social media arena: censor, control, and punish those who do things with which he personally disagrees. And profit—greatly—from his efforts and our suffering.

Think I’m being unfair? Consider this: Upon announcing his new initiative, Zuckerberg argued: “We spend 50 times more on health care treating people who are sick than we spend on science research.” If that doesn’t make you feel better, all of you who are out there sick and in need of care today, well, I don’t know what will. At least we can say that we were warned.

In singing his young protégé’s praises, Zuckerberg mentor and Microsoft founder and fellow multibillionaire and liberal progressive philanthropist Bill Gates gushed that through their initiative, Zuckerberg and Chan will lead the way to cure disease, and thereby to “lift millions out of poverty.”

Hmmm . . . Read the wrong way, that could sound a whole lot like redistribution. And redistribution, as it turns out, is a major goal of Obamacare.

It’s all beginning to make sense.

 

 

Zuckerberg: Kardashian or Obama?

I wish that this were a story of the conceit, self-involvement, and self-importance of the millennial super rich. I wish that I were comparing the conceit of Mark Zuckerberg to that of, say, Kim Kardashian. Or her mother Kris. Or her step-father-turned-step-mother Caitlyn (formerly Bruce Jenner).

Unfortunately, I am not. The two are quite different in an extremely important way.

While Zuckerberg and the Kardashians may have started out with the same optimism, perhaps even some of the same goals, Zuckerberg’s story is much darker and more sinister. While it may not have started out that way, it is that way now.

I am reminded of the British Lord Acton’s famous observation, made over a century ago, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Mark Zuckerberg is as clear an example of that as my former law school classmate—and Zuckerberg’s good friend—Barack Obama.

I am also reminded of the observation of the black conservative economist Thomas Sowell that what makes Obama dangerous is the fact that Obama really thinks that he can change the world. According to Sowell, that blind self-delusion makes Obama far more dangerous than a mere crooked politician.

The same may be said of Mark Zuckerberg. Again, the danger of Mark Zuckerberg, as with Obama, is that he actually believes his transformative garbage.

Personally, I fear that there is an endgame for Zuckerberg—and it has nothing to do with curing disease. Rather than giving away his fortune, he is leveraging it. The two are very different.

Whereas the Kardashians are all about the Kardashians and their ongoing quest for publicity and wealth, they are harmless, even laughable. Indeed, they have become the poster children for American self-absorption, self-promotion, and excess. They happily perform in the voyeuristic circus that is reality television, and we reward them with our tweets. And our likes. And our time. And our attention. And, of course, our money.

At least the Kardashians are honest about what they do. They prostitute their lives for public consumption. In return, we make them rich and allow them to live lives of excess despite the fact that since the 2003 death of the family patriarch, attorney Robert Kardashian, not one of them has done anything besides reality television and all that comes with it, including modeling and personal endorsements. Self-promotion, for the Kardashians, is a full-time gig. It also pays extremely well.

Zuckerberg is another matter altogether. You see, Zuckerberg is after something quite different. Zuckerberg, as Obama whom he so admires, is after control. Having effectively gained control over the social media conversation, Zuckerberg now seeks to control the American healthcare development and delivery systems. Or at least to police where—and upon whom—their resources are spent. As does Obama, Zuckerberg no doubt hopes thereby to control you and me.

And who is going to criticize him for whatever he does as one of the post-Obamacare powers that be in health care? He’ll just delete your post. Or ban you from his cell research thingamajig high-tech platform. You will be left with nowhere to turn. So will your doctor. Like me.

Remember what Saul Alinsky said: “Control healthcare and you control the people.”

For his part, Zuckerberg has much more in common with Obama than the Kardashians. Now that Zuckerberg—like Obama before him—has trained his well-heeled eye on your health care, you should find that very concerning, indeed.

A Final Request

Mr. Zuckerberg, while you mull over this latest step in your quest for power through money, and in all of your 32-year-old wisdom, please do us all a favor: As you are having press conference after press conference to pat yourself on the back for your charity, please do not condescend to indicate that what we in medical science lacked for all these years, in the eternal quest for better human health, was the right social media and technological and financial support. Please do not tell us that what we lacked was you. Because that would be a lie. As you will one day learn when illness or injury strikes you or someone you love, all the money in your oversized wallet cannot buy victory over the human condition.

Disease is part and parcel of that human condition. Can we combat it? Certainly! Should we strive to do so? Of course! May we expect to make astounding progress in the future? I certainly hope so—though the chances of our doing so are significantly reduced given the onerous restrictions, punishments, control, and rationing of Obamacare. That will certainly be the case if Zuckerberg is in charge.

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that Chan, who again is a pediatrician, has gone along with Zuckerberg’s folly. Although I do not personally know Chan, judging from their apparently blissful union, I would guess that Chan is above all else a liberal progressive ideologue just like her husband. She is also no great fan of the Hippocratic Oath; for she and her husband are most certainly on the dark path of doing harm. To so many.

Will Mark Zuckerberg lead the way in the quest to better human health? Not likely—unless there is a lot more money where that $3 billion came from and unless Zuckerberg in all of his wisdom is able, in the meantime, to deliver us from the human condition. Perhaps he should go back to his parents’ garage and get to work on that.

In the meantime, I won’t hold my breath. A rich millennial—even one who controls the conversation—can only do so much.

A Final Warning

Welcome to the real, all-grown-up Mark Zuckerberg.

Welcome to what he represents: the four-way marriage of Obamacare, Wall Street, EU globalism, and social media (and therefore the media). Theirs is the most dangerous of liaisons joining in unholy matrimony a federal government-administered healthcare system, the biggest and most ideological of Wall Street fat cats, unelected European globalists who care nothing of America or us except inasmuch as we can serve as their slaves and indentured breadwinners, and the media that controls the conversation about what they are doing to us and why.

The fact that Zuckerberg is a baby-faced boy in faded tee shirts and jeans who loves his wife and kid doesn’t change that fact.

Oh, and one more thing: You’re going to hate what they together do to you. And me. Because to Mark Zuckerberg, it never really was about us. We should have learned that by now.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

The Obamacare Hustle: An Unconvincing Justification for Failure

 

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Political Doublespeak

I have long warned that we are surrounded by healthcare propaganda. A case in point occurred recently when Fox Business host and Fox News contributor Stuart Varney interviewed Obamacare architect and Ivy League physician Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm. (By the way, Emanuel never practiced medicine a day in his life.)

In the interview with Varney, Emanuel demonstrated again what most of us already know: that he is no different – or more honest – than was Jonathan Gruber.

Because of that, his interview with Varney went about as badly for Emanuel as one would expect.

When Varney cornered Emanuel with the broken Obamacare promise to keep healthcare costs from rising, Emanuel admitted that healthcare costs are in fact rising. He explained, however, that whether they are rising isn’t the question. Rather, the question is how fast costs are rising.

Right.

Similarly, when Varney reminded Emanuel of their promise to lower healthcare costs, Emanuel claimed they never promised to lower healthcare costs, but rather to control them.

Right. In fact, you did promise to lower costs.

But I’m feeling generous, so bygones. Water under the . . .

Hey, wait! Do you call THIS “cost control,” Emanuel??? Have you looked at a hospital bill lately?

When asked about the high deductibles that are preventing good, insurance-purchasing and taxpaying Americans from obtaining care, Emanuel retorted that high deductible plans “are a conservative idea.”

Seriously?

 

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An Economic Deception

Just wait. It gets worse.

Business Insider contributor Bob Bryan covered the development in an article published earlier this week.

From the article: “If you didn’t know better, it would appear that healthcare costs are skyrocketing.” (No. Really???)

The article concludes that “prices for healthcare aren’t exactly ballooning.” (Really? I think the American people—me included—see it differently.)

At least Bryan took the time to include a fancy graph charting how “Health Care Services Notably Affect Core PCE Inflation.”

What’s “PCE Inflation,” you ask? Why, it’s “personal consumption expenditure,” you silly goose. (Trust me. I have a graph. It’s even in color. ‘Nuff said.)

Surely you can see how that clears things right up.

You don’t see it? Don’t worry: Neither do I.

Because as long as you and I are paying more money for less benefit, I—in my blissful ignorance of economic science—will continue to call that rising prices and inflation. I will also call it a very bad deal. And as long as the federal government both controls the system and reports its supposed think-tank findings, I will continue to simply look around me for the answers—simple though they may be—that I know to be true in the real world as opposed to the paper world of charts, graphs, and projections.

Like that if you pay more for less, then prices are, most likely, going up. Call me crazy.

All that folks like Emanuel, Gruber, and Bryan are handing us are lies. All of the graphs and economic formulas, and all of the Ivy League education (which, by the way, I have as well) in the world can’t change that.

 

Peanuts - Charlie and Lucy with Football - fool me once

 

Fool me once . . .

This is more of the same Gruber-inspired gobbledygook and economic and political doublespeak that gave you Obamacare in the first place.

Or, as I like to think of it, it is more of the same lies.

You know what they say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Will you be fooled a second (or third or fourth or fifty-seventh) time?

I certainly hope not. For all our sakes.

Oh, and welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

An American Classic: Life Imitates Art as Clinton Reprises the Greatest Presidential Scams in the History – Of Fiction

Hillary Clinton - In Profile 01 - hillary-clinton-falling-poll

Elephants All Around Us

Much has been made in recent weeks of Hillary Clinton’s failing health despite her refusal to acknowledge it.

The evidence is clear, and plain as day. Everyone can see it. You don’t need a medical degree for that.

Clinton’s disorders appear to be neither minor nor temporary. They certainly don’t seem consistent with qualification for the nation’s highest office. After all, we need a president who is not only morally upstanding and intellectually capable, but also physically fit. After all, it’s a demanding job—both intellectually and physically. In a word, Clinton simply doesn’t have what it takes on either front.

And yet the story is, for the most part, met with . . . silence. Crickets. If-we-just-don’t-talk-about-it-it-will-go-away awkward pauses and then nervous verbal stumbles back to easier topics like the economy. And race relations. And Vladimir Putin. And ISIS.

You know you’re in trouble when a conversation about ISIS is the easier one to have.

A giant elephant has plopped down in the middle of the political room and set up house, and no one is talking. We are in trouble.

The American people, led by an ideological and left-leaning (who am I kidding—left-careening) media, are looking the other way while the greatest scam in American presidential history is unfolding.

A Scandal of Silence

Already, the scandal of silence has claimed its victims. As I covered in a recent post, when popular CNN host Dr. Drew Pinsky so much as expressed concern for Clinton and her health care, he was summarily fired and his show canceled.

Pinsky and I do disagree on one point: Pinsky sees Clinton’s medical care as outdated—or at least that’s what he said on-air. I see her care as manufactured—by political operatives who don’t know enough medicine to make the story believable to those of us who do. I believe that Clinton, assisted by the liberal progressive left and the powers that gave us Barack Obama, will do, or say, anything to get elected in November. This includes falsifying and lying about her medical history.

More victims from the medical community are promised. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, earlier this week, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS)—one of few national physicians’ groups devoted to conservatism in medicine and the defense of the individual physician—sent a survey to its physician members asking, “Is it appropriate to raise questions about the health of candidates running for President of the United States?”

Do we really have to ask—much less answer—that question?

I, for one, choose to answer that question in the affirmative. I choose to tell you the truth, come what may. I choose to be faithful to my own moral code and Hippocratic Oath by telling you what I know as a trained physician looking on. I choose to do my civic and moral duty by warning you of the medical and political scandal playing out in this most fixed of presidential elections.

There’s Always a Reason

There is a reason why Clinton’s symptoms do not make sense to trained physicians like Pinsky and me. There is a reason why her symptoms do not match her claimed diagnoses. There is a reason why her medications, in turn, match neither her symptoms nor her diagnoses. There is a reason why to us looking on as physicians, Clinton’s medical care appears both outdated and nonsensical.

That reason is that they are lying. They are lying about it all.

Clinton’s medical history is being written not by physicians, but rather by campaign staffers. And handlers. And political operatives. And pundits. And a media that we now know is untruthful, unethical, ideological, biased, and painfully desperate for a Clinton presidency—which, of course, would be a third, if not a third and fourth, Obama term.

In fact, those who currently control American politics from the left would be perfectly happy to elect Clinton president even if she were brain-dead. Actually, she might hold even more appeal for them in that case. After all, she could hardly oppose their wishes, as the presidential string-pullers, if she were physically and cognitively incapacitated. All they would need to do is medicate her heavily and parade her out every now and then in highly controlled conditions so as to reassure the nation—falsely—that she is in control. Which she will not be.

Sort of like now, on the campaign trail. Clinton only appears infrequently and in tightly controlled environments. If she gets into trouble, say, by having an unfortunate coughing fit—which she does daily now, it seems—the cameras wobble momentarily and then suffer “technical difficulties” or pan away from Clinton and her spasms.

And no one in the media will talk about the physicDave - Movie Poster - Dave_posteral incapacity that interrupted the interview. They awkwardly pivot to political talking points and nervously await the next commercial break. They run from this pitiful display of an aging, corrupt, self-deluded woman trying too hard to run away from the ultimate human foes—age, physical debility, and incapacitation—that have the advantage and that will, it appears sooner rather than later, overtake even Clinton. Her current refusal to acknowledge what is happening is both ungraceful and unrealistic. In a word, it is cringeworthy.

Even the media cannot protect Clinton from that.

And this is while she is still running for the presidency. How bad will it be if she actually wins the Oval Office? What is to stop them from hiding her away in the White House if she wins?

Life Imitates Art

As I said in a previous post, this situation reminds me of the 1993 comedy starring Kevin Kline entitled Dave. In the movie, Kline plays a presidential impersonator who is persuaded by the real president’s team to double as the president in public. He is first asked to do so in a ruse designed to cover up the president’s extramarital affair. In the process, however, the president suffers a massive stroke, leaving Kline’s character, Dave, holding the bag—and occupying the Oval Office.

I know . . . it’s all a bit, well, eery given Clinton’s conditions. Talk about life imitating art.

Since the movie is a comedy, it turns out well—better than well, in fact, as Dave comes to the country’s rescue and brings integrity back to a White House that was, on the inside, a corrupt house of cards. Something tells me that Clinton’s story—and ours—would not end so well were she elected as an ailing president.

House of Cards Poster 01 - House-Of-Cards-US-vs-UK

House of Cards

Something tells me that our own house of cards distinctly resembles the one underlying the hit Netflix series by the same name starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, which is an adaptation of the British hit mini-series of the same name. Something tells me that in that instance, our house of cards would come tumbling down, just as Frank Underwood’s is on the small screen.

The Manchurian CMovie Poster - The Manchurian Candidate 01 - Frank Sinatra - 514GE8H825Landidate

Finally, yet another obvious literary and cinematic reference springs to mind: The Manchurian Candidate. While hopefully, Clinton is not a trained assassin, the analogy is a fair one. After all, who better to manipulate through the Oval Office than an individual who is not only unable to oppose you because you know secrets about them, but who is physically incapacitated as well?

It is the perfect plot for the perfect scam. And it is playing out on a presidential campaign trail near you.

The Final Diagnosis

Because few physicians both can and will tell you the truth about Clinton’s health, and because I am neither famous nor a celebrity with everything to lose, I will tell you what we all are thinking.

First, a necessary caveat: As I have said many times, I do not know Clinton personally. (Actually, I have no desire to know her.) I have never examined her.

Even so, I can tell you this: Clinton suffers from some combination of the following illnesses: severe cardiac disease, stroke disorder, seizure disorder, another progressive neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease), and/or early dementia.

None of those conditions is mild. None is temporary. All are progressive, often rapidly so. All are potentially life-ending. All are most certainly ability-limiting, sooner rather than later. We are already seeing that in Clinton’s performance on the presidential campaign trail.

None of these conditions is consistent with holding the highest office in the land. None is consistent with serving as the nation’s commander in chief.

As always in these posts, I feel compelled to say that Clinton’s health is certainly not the only thing making her unfit for the presidency. Certainly, we need someone healthy. Clinton is seriously ill. But we also need someone who is honest, trustworthy, and principled. Clinton is none of those things. We need a leader. Clinton is not that either. We need someone who is capable. Clinton is as incapable as they come.

In fact, given Clinton’s recent scandals and her many contortions to evade responsibility for her actions, Clinton has painted herself into that most inhospitable of corners: American voters must now choose whether to believe that Clinton is: (1) a corrupt, crooked liar, or (2) grossly incompetent. Those are the only two options. And either alone—much less both together—should disqualify her from the presidency.

Now we can add physical unfitness to that list.

We need a leading man, or woman. We need a hero. What we don’t need is an actor playing out someone else’s script.

This is no dress rehearsal, and the curtain is coming up.

How will you vote in November?

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

When a Cough Isn’t Just a Cough: The Truth About Hillary’s Health

 

Cough and a Chilling Effect: What is going on here?

Throughout these final months of this presidential election, there has been much speculation on the state of Hillary Clinton’s health. After all, it was bound to happen given her increasing tendency to lose her balance, stumble, fall, take tumbles while walking up stairs, faint, shake, bobble, shout, bark, gesticulate, and make funny faces that are all but unbelievable once memorialized in freeze-frame. And seemingly everyone these days has a cell phone ready to capture every unflattering detail. The resulting images are so bizarre that we would be tempted accuse their purveyors of photographic opportunism, if not Photoshop shenanigans, except, well, we are all there to see the original performances—which are as cringeworthy as they come.

There is, of course, a good reason for our concern. While the President of the United States must be morally and ethically fit for the nation’s highest office (which Hillary is not; but that’s another post), he or she must in the first instance be physically healthy enough to withstand the rigors of the presidency while serving as a dependable leader of the free world.

Turns out, Clinton is not that either.

Unfortunately, very little of that speculation has found its way to the established media outlets. As I covered in a previous post, Dr. Drew Pinsky recently expressed, on air, his concerns regarding Clinton’s health and the seemingly outdated medical care that she is receiving. That is all that he said. Even so, CNN promptly fired Pinsky and cancelled his show eight days later.

That was bound to have a chilling effect on the medical community, and it did.Doctor with Hand Over Mouth 01 - imagesCQO9ZTV0 - RESIZED AND CROPPED

Just yesterday, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS)—a stalwart icon of conservatism in medicine and a staunch defender of the rights of individual physicians—sent a survey to its physician members asking, “Is it appropriate to raise questions about the health of candidates running for President of the United States?”

Do we really have to ask—much less answer—that question?

Because to answer it in any way other than the affirmative would be to yet again muzzle the nation’s physicians as the liberal progressive left carries off perhaps its greatest coup yet: the election of a true Manchurian candidate. Because to us physicians looking on, Clinton does not appear physically fit to run for, much less hold, the office of the presidency.

Physicians were muzzled throughout the debate, passage, and early implementation of Obamacare. That hasn’t turned out so well. Didn’t we learn our lesson? When it comes to matters of medicine and health, we doctors know best. We certainly know better than self-serving politicians, federal government bureaucrats, and insurance industry and Wall Street fat cats. Trust me on that one.

Rumblings from the Medical Community

Thankfully, it appears as though a small number of physicians are becoming aware of the stakes. That, in turn, is leading them—us—to speak out against this latest Clinton cover-up. We will see what happens to us and if anyone listens.

Recently, I saw where one physician has publicly stated that in his opinion, it is most likely that Clinton suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I do not disagree. However, without the benefit of a personal examination and medical workup, my differential list—or list of possible diagnoses—is a bit longer. I am also an emergency physician. As generalists who oftentimes cannot afford to get it wrong, we tend to consider everything, at least at first blush.

Also recently, what purported to be copies of Clinton’s medical records surfaced on the Internet. Those records assigned to Clinton diagnoses of complex partial seizures and subcortical vascular dementia—seizures and early dementia for short. A supposed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) film purported to show a telltale loss of mass and volume of Clinton’s brain.

With time, many outlets rejected those records as fake. I have no idea, and no way to determine, whether that was the correct call. That does not change my opinion regarding the state of Clinton’s health.

What I do know is that there was a reason why reaching the conclusion that the records were fake took time. The medical diagnoses contained in those records are far more believable to the medical community than are the explanations being force-fed to us by the Clinton campaign and the mainstream and cable news giants.

One thing that we all agree upon: Hillary Clinton is not well. Hers is not an illness that any of us practicing physicians not blinded by a desire to see her elected president would characterize as mild, temporary, or unrelated to her fitness to serve as president. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

 

 

When a Cough Isn’t Just a Cough

First, a caveat: As I have stated before, I have never met, and do not wish to meet, Hillary Clinton. Nor have I ever personally examined her. I am not privy to her personal medical records, which she refuses to share with the American public. That is her prerogative. But by the same token, telling you what I know to be true about her fitness for the presidency is my prerogative, which I choose to exercise. It is, I strongly feel, my civic, if not my moral, duty to do so. Because goodness knows, few others have lined up to join me.

So let’s get to it.

Individuals can develop a chronic cough for many reasons. Some of the more routine and least worrisome are the common cold and flu, seasonal and other allergies, chronic bronchitis, direct irritants like cigarette smoke, and certain medications, most notably a particular class of blood pressure medications. Usually in such cases, the diagnosis is straightforward, because the source of the irritation is readily apparent. In other words, the person exhibits other symptoms or characteristics that lead to the correct diagnosis. These include: (1) fevers, chills, runny/stuffy nose, and sneezing in the case of colds and bronchitis; (2) itchy/watery eyes, runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, and exposure to a known trigger in the case of allergies; (3) the patient’s status as a known smoker in the case of smoking-related cough; and (4) the presence of known cough-causing medications in the case of cough as a side effect.

Sometimes, however, a cough is not just a cough. Sometimes, a cough is a symptom of serious illness that tends to be rapidly progressive. The more chronic the cough, the more concerning the situation and the more imperative it is that we reach the correct diagnosis. This type of cough is caused not by an external stimulus (as is the case in the conditions listed above), but rather by damage to or interference with a nervous cascade in the body that results in the cough reflex being triggered not appropriately (as in the conditions listed above), but rather inappropriately and in the absence of a specific stimulus.

That is the category where I—and a growing number of my colleagues courageous enough to speak out—would place Clinton.

So . . . what are the possible diagnoses?

Broadly speaking, they fall into three separate but related categories:

“The Cardiac Cough:” Severe Heart Disease, including Heart Failure

Chronic cough in the absence of a known stimulus is most commonly associated with severe heart disease. This includes severe congestive heart failure, either occurring on its own or after a heart attack. Less common but also possible are cardiac arrhythmias in which the heart beats with an irregular, and thus inappropriate, rhythm.

Unfortunately, I saw this syndrome up close and personal a number of years ago when my grandmother suffered a severe heart attack. Though she survived, she was left with a chronic, persistent cough that severely diminished the quality of the life remaining to both her and her husband, my step-grandfather, himself a retired physician. Though she lived for a number of years thereafter, her condition was both frustrating and debilitating, even though we were well aware of its cause.

Acute Neurologic Injury, including Stroke

As a second broad category, chronic cough in the absence of a known stimulus can result from acute neurologic injury.

The most common cause of acute neurologic injury is acute stroke, either in the cerebrum or the brainstem. This should be at the top of any differential list for Clinton. First, she suffers from other symptoms suggestive of stroke, including chronic double vision and problems with balance, steadiness, and gait. Second, she suffered a known stroke in 2012 (despite the fact that they refuse to call it that). In addition, as I discussed in a previous post, Clinton was known to have suffered from deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in 1998 and 2009. This indicates that she is at high risk for stroke—which we now know she suffered, but lied about, in 2012. It also leaves her at high risk for more recent and future strokes.

Chronic cough can also result from acute spinal cord injury of the sort that partially or completely paralyzes the individual. The higher up the spinal cord the injury, the more likely the possibility of chronic cough as a permanent condition. This represents the permanent impairment of the respiratory and cough mechanisms that causes so many victims of high spinal cord injuries to eventually die of pneumonia despite the best of care.

Progressive Neurologic Disease

As a third broad category also applicable to Clinton, chronic cough is commonly seen in a number of progressive neurologic disorders. Primary among those are Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

The Neurologic “Cough Cascade”

The reason for the development of chronic cough after acute or progressive neurologic damage is simple: The neurologic injury, whether acute or chronic, triggers a cascade of activity in both the craniospinal nerves (nerves of the brain and spinal cord) and the central nervous system that results in an inappropriate chronic cough—that is, cough in the absence of an irritating stimulus.

In other words, the individual coughs for no reason. Because of this, the use of medications designed to relieve cough/cold/allergy symptoms, including the antihistamines that Clinton routinely takes and claims to have recently increased, provide little, if any, relief. Also ineffective at relieving the cough are topical agents like lozenges and water. That stands to reason, because the cough is occurring in the absence of a topical irritant that a lozenge or water would relieve (that is, a scratchy or tickly throat or irritated and inflamed airways).

Sound familiar?

One More Possibility

In addition to the above, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that chronic cough can be a presenting symptom of obstructive hydrocephalus, which is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) gets trapped in the brain, unable to drain appropriately. This condition was once known as “water on the brain.” The excess fluid causes the widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This widening, in turn, compresses the surrounding brain, resulting in neurologic and cognitive symptoms.

Because of this, hydrocephalus should especially be considered where the patient also exhibits gait disturbances, cognitive decline, and other neurologic symptoms as is the case with Clinton. Treatment is accomplished by the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt in the brain to assist with the drainage of CSF. Unfortunately, patients frequently continue to have problems and often progress, sometimes rapidly, to more serious neurologic impairment and cognitive dysfunction.

 

 

The Truth About Hillary

Notice the pattern? Chronic cough often means one of two things: severe cardiac disease or neurologic disease or injury. It’s that simple—and devastating to Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

What is important to know is that Clinton more likely than not suffers from one, if not more, of the serious medical conditions listed above. This is especially clear given her other obvious neurologic and cognitive difficulties.

I can tell you this: If Hillary Clinton walked into my emergency room with the symptoms we have now all seen played out over and over on the campaign trail, I would send her directly to the MRI scanner. I would also place a call to the best neurologist and cardiologist I could find while I awaited the results. I would be that certain.

Because that is where Clinton should be: in the care of the best physicians she can find. Where she should not be is on the campaign trail seeking the nation’s highest office. I’m sorry, Mrs. Clinton; but you just aren’t healthy enough—in addition to your already long list of .  . ahem . . . qualities making you unfit for office.

A More Pressing Question

Sometimes, a cough is not just a cough. Hillary’s cough is not just a cough. That much is clear.

This leaves us with the obvious question: Why are the powers that be on the left (and in the left-leaning media) so anxious to dupe the country into electing a woman who is clearly seriously impaired to the point of being able, at best, to serve as a Manchurian candidate? What are they planning to do to us through her?

The American people deserve to know the truth.

Please join me in demanding that they tell us the truth about Clinton’s declining health. Her health, and our futures, depend on it.

Aware of the growing controversy surrounding Clinton’s health, Donald Trump recently stated that he would agree to releasing his complete medical records if Clinton would do the same.

I suggest we take them both up on it. What say you?

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

 

 

Obamacare Hits Delete: Turns out you can’t keep your doctor, after all.

 

Promises, Promises

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Barack Obama’s promise, repeated constantly in selling Obamacare to the American people, seemed too good to be true, even then.

Turns out it was.

It’s a long story . . .

My good friend Don Neuen here at Red Nation Rising recently made me aware of a telling development on the Obamacare enrollment website found at healthcare.gov. Don knows that a primary goal of mine—in fact, the reason why I write books, write columns and blog posts, and host a radio show—is to explain to the American people why it is that you cannot, after all, keep your doctor. Or your health.

It is not that you will leave your doctor. No, your doctor will leave you. Your doctor will not leave you because he or she wants to. Quite the contrary. Your doctor will leave you because your doctor will have no choice. Your doctor will be forced, by your federal government, to leave you without care while your federal government pockets your money. That, after all, is the goal of any system of rationed and socialized medicine.

That fate was sealed the moment Obama signed his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, into law. From that point forward, all that was left was the fallout. We are now in the middle of that fallout, with much more to come.

If you doubt me, you should read my post from a few days ago entitled “Is there a doctor in the house? Not for long.”

Sign - Keep your politics out of my healthcare - no-on-obamacare - RESIZEDWe all know that Obamacare is not working. Understanding why, and how, it is not working is more complicated.

For instance, you probably know that despite Obama’s promise, you cannot, in fact, keep your doctor. But do you know why that is? Or how it will happen? Likewise, you probably know that socialized medicine by definition requires that health care be rationed. Do you know how that will come about, or how rationed care will look in the real world?

I’m guessing that your answers to most, if not all, of those questions is no.

That’s okay. That is, in fact, what I hope to spend the next months, if not years, explaining to you.

For now, I want to share with you Don’s interesting find.

Misinterpreting the Obvious

When Obama was campaigning for Obamacare, his promises were unequivocal:

“Here is a guarantee that I’ve made. If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.”

You have to hand it to the guy: It was a bold promise. It doesn’t really leave any room for misinterpretation.

Unfortunately, it was also a promise that Obama had neither the ability to keep nor any intention of keeping. We learned that from Jonathan Gruber’s revelations of the level of deception used to pass the Affordable Care Act, which relied largely upon “the stupidity of the American voter.”

Still, Obama’s promise was a constant on the Obamacare campaign trail.

Even so, it is now the government’s position that if we silly Americans thought that Obama actually meant that we could keep our doctors, well, that represents a misinterpretation on our part.

Really? Seems more like a lie on his part to me.

 

Healthcare.gov - Screen Shot 01 - Editorial-Use-Healthcare-Gov-Website-ObamaCare

 

Evolution of a Website Cover-up

Because Obama made such a point of repeating (and repeating and repeating) the promise that you could keep your doctor, the original healthcare.gov website—the official Obamacare information and sign-up site—contained that promise as well. In fact, there was an entire section devoted to reiterating the promise that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. That section was entitled “Can I keep my own doctor?” That was followed by representations that indeed, you can. Again, it was stated in promissory language that was hard to misinterpret.

The first perceptible change occurred around July 2013. At that time, The Weekly Standard reported that the healthcare.gov website changed that section. Suddenly, it informed consumers not that that they could keep their doctor, but rather that they “may be able to keep your current doctor.”

Hmmm . . .

Healthcare.gov - Screen Shot 02 - obamacare-website-voting-rights - RESIZED

There’s more:

A version of the website that was up as late as October 2015 contained a section entitled “How to keep your doctor.” Under the topic “Comparing health plans,” the website offered the following advice: “Depending on the plan you choose in the Marketplace, you may be able to keep your current doctor.” Under a section entitled “Type of plan and provider network,” the website advised: “If staying with your current doctors is important to you, check to see if they are included before choosing a plan.”

That’s is. No more advice. Nada. Promises gone. Suddenly, anything is possible.

Now, isn’t that helpful.

And yet there’s more:

Just before open enrollment began last year, even that section was deleted from the website. The link took users to a section entitled “How to pick a health insurance plan.” A search for “keep your doctor” redirected users to a page addressing types of plans.

The closest the newly revised website came to addressing the “keep your doctor” issue was by advising the user: “Some types of plans restrict your provider choices or encourage you to get care from the plan’s network of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical service providers.” It also offered: “To be certain your doctor is included in your plan’s network, contact the plan or provider for the most up-to-date information.”

That was it. How helpful.

Just before publishing this post, I visited the healthcare.gov website yet again and did a search for “keep your doctor.” The system returned me to the generic “Resources” page. You know—the page where I would go if, for instance, I didn’t know what “health care” is, what “health insurance” is for, or how much my federal government cares about me and my health. That sort of thing.

So . . . what happened to “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”

Seems that was just as much a lie as was their representation that Obamacare would lower the cost of healthcare (which is skyrocketing).

 

Obama and Clinton - RTR3AZP4_1420733429_Content_Consumption_Large

 

Like Two Peas in a Political Pod

It seems that Obama and Hillary Clinton have more in common than we realized.

First, they both lie.

Second, neither has any regard for the health, safety, and prosperity of the American people they ostensibly serve.

Third, they both have a talent for deleting inconvenient previous statements once those statements have gotten them their way.

That is handy for them, and oh, so dangerous for us.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

 

Dr. Drew is Out: Fired by CNN for Getting Too Close to the Truth About Hillary’s Health

 

Drew Pinsky 01 - PinskyIndyREV_2

 

CNN: Dr. Drew is Out

It was recently announced that CNN and Dr. Drew Pinsky will part ways. The network has canceled Pinsky’s popular show, Dr. Drew on Call. Its final episode will air on September 22, 2016.

So . . . what happened?

Pinsky is beyond popular. Years ago, he made a name for himself on the syndicated radio call-in program Loveline. For the most part, the show addressed issues of relationships, love, sex, and sexual dysfunction. In the process, though, Pinsky shined a light on, and opened up honest and frank discussion of, such topics as sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. This was at a time when those subjects were being ignored by much of the media, leaving their victims to live lives of silent shame and disgrace. For many, Pinsky changed that. It made him a sort of radio hero.

Some years later, Pinsky starred in the popular VH1 reality television show Celebrity Rehab. Eventually, he would come under harsh criticism after a number of celebrities who appeared on the show died of drug overdoses.

Most recently, Pinsky made Dr. Drew on Call a popular offering in the HLN lineup. As the parent company of HLN, CNN is in charge of on-air talent and content.

Most of what Pinsky touched did well. He broke down barriers, blasted medical and social stigmas, and was a commercial success. Much of that could be attributed to Pinsky’s demeanor, which is sort of a mashup of friend, confidant, therapist, pastor, and stern disciplinarian. Dr. Drew’s demeanor, at least on air, is frank but easygoing and kind. Though he is tough when he needs to be, he really does seem to care.

That success made Pinsky wealthy—a multimillionaire, in fact. So don’t worry too much. I’m sure he will come out on top.

Even so, what the heck happened?

 

Drew Pinsky - On Dr. Drew Show Set - DR-DREW

 

Asking All the Right—or Wrong—Questions

According to multiple media outlets, it all happened during an August 17 appearance by Pinsky on KABC’s popular radio show “McIntyre in the Morning.” Addressing Hillary Clinton’s recent health care issues, Pinsky stated, on air, that he is “gravely concerned not just about her health, but her health care.” He added that he had consulted with another physician who shared his views.

Pinsky went on to say:

“What is going on with her health care? It’s bizarre. I got to tell you. Maybe they have reasons, but at a distance, it looks bizarre. There ought to be some sort of standard for people that are going to lead the country or are going to [be] making these important decisions. Again, Hillary may be fine with all of this. I mean, it’s dangerous and it’s concerning, but you can see— . . .”

Pinsky continued:

“. . .and by the way, there were two other things that gravely concerned us. When she hit her head, she had to wear these prism glasses when she came out. . . . That is brain damage, and it’s affecting her balance. Now clearly, it hasn’t affected her cognition, but tell us a little more about that. That’s profound. And then number two, when they screened her for heart disease, again, they did an old-fashioned screen. It just seems like she’s getting care from somebody that she met in Arkansas when she was a kid, and you’ve got to wonder. You’ve got to wonder. It’s not so much that her health is a grave concern. It’s that the care she’s getting could make it a concern.”

It should be noted that Pinsky does not treat Clinton. Nor has he ever examined her. Rather, he was basing his opinions upon information—of which there has been a lot—leaked to the public. He was also basing it upon the same photos, videos, and other documentation of her recent struggles that we have all by now seen. Finally, as noted above, he claims to have consulted with another physician who shares his concerns.

A Swift Network Response

Exactly eight days later, on August 25, CNN summarily announced the cancellation of Pinsky’s hit show. No explanation was provided.

Questions were bound to be asked, and they were. Often.

And everyone, it seems, has sources.

While I have no way of verifying this, it just came out that sources close to Pinsky recently reported that upon being made aware of Pinsky’s on-air comments, the CNN brass confronted Pinsky and demanded that he retract his comments. He refused to do so. What followed was a “series of nasty phone calls and e-mails” that the source characterized as “downright scary and creepy.”

And then Pinsky was fired. Without any explanation. Hmmm . . .

Even so, Pinsky’s own representative, Valerie Allen, was evasive when recently questioned about the series of events leading to the cancellation of Pinsky’s show. Allen denied that the two events were related, explaining that the show’s cancellation had been decided “weeks before Pinsky’s comments as part of an overall HLN revamp that includes the end of Nancy Grace’s show.”

Right. Only they apparently forgot to announce it. You know—weeks ago. Like they announced the end of Grace’s show—months ago.

And one more thing: The end of Nancy Grace’s show was publicly announced as soon as the decision was made on June 30.

According to CNN and Allen, the decision was made to end Pinsky’s show “weeks ago,” yet they failed to announce it for . . . what? Weeks? Even worse, they would now have us believe that they only remembered to announce it eight days after Pinsky happened to comment upon Clinton’s health on-air.

And one more thing: The decision to end Nancy Grace’s show was made and announced on June 30. Her last show is in October. In contrast, the decision to end Pinsky’s show was announced on August 25. His last show is September 22.

Oops. Rather than Pinsky’s firing having nothing to do with his on-air speculation regarding Clinton’s health, Pinsky’s firing and the ending of Nancy Grace’s show are the two things that seem completely unrelated.

No, judging from appearances, Pinsky’s firing seems to have everything to do with his on-air comments about Clinton’s health, and nothing to do with the cancellation of Grace’s show.

Addressing this telling fact, Pinsky’s rep Allen held firm: “I know the timing is suspicious, and I know it’s hard to believe, but the two things had nothing to do with each other.”

Right. That’s convincing.

Seems the Pinsky camp and the Clinton camp have more than a little in common.Drew Pinsky 02 - 610x360

Res Ipsa Loquitur: “The Thing Speaks for Itself”

CNN, Allen, and anyone else can spin the dissolution of the CNN/Pinsky relationship however they wish. Clearly, Pinsky was fired because he dared to speak out publicly against the presumptive (goodness knows why) president of the liberal democratic left and, by extension, CNN.

I am reminded of the Latin legal phrase res ipsa loquitur, which means “the thing speaks for itself.” In law, it is used to mean a harm for which the blame is so patently obvious that the injured party need not go to the trouble of proving it.  The responsibility of the accused for the injury is a given.

The fact that CNN fired Pinsky for speaking out about Hillary Clinton’s health is so obvious as to make further proof unnecessary.

Once Again, the Media Gets It Wrong

Almost immediately after the announcement was made, multiple media outlets criticized Pinsky for publicly opining about the health of a presidential candidate whom he has never personally examined. Never mind that the entire point of Pinsky’s show—and place in the CNN/HLN lineup—was to give him a platform for opining about the health of any number of Americans from a distance and on air. The hypocrisy and double standard of their firing him for doing just that, all because he was speaking about their gal, is hard to miss.

Hypocrisy and a double standard from CNN? Surely not.

Yep. It’s all true.

My point is this: Regardless of how you feel about the propriety of Pinsky’s on-air statements, as they usually do, the media missed the real point—and the real story. This is because whether intentionally or not, they have gotten one very important piece of the story wrong.

In the days since CNN announced the cancellation of Pinsky’s show, I have watched as reporter after reporter has criticized Pinsky for opining, on air, regarding the health of a potential future President of the United States whom he has not personally examined. Some have even gone back into Pinsky’s past and dug up instances where he was accused of wrongdoing, though none of the instances reported is remotely related to his on-air comments about Clinton.

It has resulted in the dissemination of typical media fare by journalists who are anything but.

It also goes to show that once a story is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth. Even to those who made the story up in the first place. Never underestimate the capacity of human beings for self-delusion. This is particularly a talent of the liberal progressive left. But that’s just my opinion.

Other things, thankfully, are not just my opinion. They are not just Pinsky’s opinion. They are the opinion of the entire American medical community. Those are the opinions that I will share with you.

Since neither the media nor the actors have told you the truth, and because they will not do so, I will tell you that story.

The Truth About the “Clinton-Pinsky Affair”

While Pinsky was fired by CNN for opining about Clinton’s health on-air, he was not fired for that reason alone. Nor was he fired, as many have opined, for criticizing Clinton’s medical care as outdated and nonsensical.

No. Pinsky was fired because by initiating a serious discussion about Clinton’s health, he got too close to the truth.

Keep in mind that despite his celebrity status and reputation as a “TV doctor,” Pinsky is a trained internal medicine physician. While he has made his fortune over the past couple of decades by treating more patients in front of television cameras, over radio microphones, and in podcasts than in the treatment rooms of a hospital or clinic, he is traditionally trained in the art and science of classic modern medicine. That is what makes him infinitely dangerous to the Clinton camp.

In other words, Pinsky knows a bogus medical history when he hears one. So do I.

And Hillary Clinton’s medical history is as bogus as they come.

Though Pinsky did not come out and say that on air, he had to have been thinking it. In fact, he stopped just short of saying it by comparing her care to that of physicians from her childhood—which would have been the 1950s, give or take. In other words, Clinton’s symptoms do not match her diagnoses. Her diagnoses, in turn, do not match the medications that she supposedly is taking.

In other words, Hillary Clinton’s medical story is not that of outdated medicine. Rather, it is that of made-up medicine.

The Trouble with Hillary

Here is a partial list of Clinton’s more notorious recent public medical meltdowns:

1.)  In 1998 and again in 2009, Clinton suffered a clot, most likely in her leg, commonly known as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

2.)  In 2009, Clinton ostensibly fell, shattering her elbow.

3.)  In 2012, Clinton supposedly caught a “stomach bug,” which for some reason caused her to “faint,” at which time she fell and hit her head, suffering a “mild concussion.” She was hospitalized and eventually discharged.

Just so you know: It would actually be quite difficult to fall from a standing or sitting position and give yourself a concussion. In fact, the only way you could do that is if you happened to fall directly onto your head or on the way down, you hit another object, like a porcelain bathtub or sink or the corner of a table. Even then, you would be much more likely to suffer bleeding in or around the brain—commonly known as an epidural or subdural hematoma—than a concussion, which requires more generalized forces. That is why football players suffer concussions (generalized force to the brain during a tackle), while those who fall tend to suffer hematomas (discreet force to the brain when a fall results in the head striking an object) (for example, the actress Natasha Richards tragically died from an unrecognized hematoma sustained when she fell skiing).

4.)  Within weeks, Clinton was again hospitalized after doctors supposedly discovered a “blood clot in her brain” that they referred to as a “cerebral venous thrombosis.” Only recently, in response to inquiries over Clinton’s health, did Lisa R. Bardack, MD, an internist and one of Clinton’s physicians, finally provide the specific clinical name for Clinton’s disorder: transverse sinus venous thrombosis.

At the time, Dr. Brian D. Greenwald, Medical Director of the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center for Head Injuries, explained that had the clot not been detected in time, it could have impeded blood flow to Clinton’s brain and “could have caused stroke or hemorrhage”—if it had not been caught in time. Which it was. Caught in time, that is.

Right. No reason to suspect a stroke here. Nothing to see. Move on.

Perhaps the esteemed Dr. Greenwald sees it differently. To us in the emergency rooms spanning the great state of Georgia and, I would guess, this great nation, we call transverse sinus venous thrombosis a stroke. It is a stroke that is both occlusive and hemorrhagic. It is occlusive in the first instance due to the blood clot blocking the flow of blood around the posterior, or back, part of the brain. With time, as the pressure builds in front of the immovable blockage (the clot), blood seeps out into the brain tissue. This causes a hemorrhagic stroke. In the area of the brain that processes vision. Thus, Clinton’s thick glasses at the Benghazi hearings.

Speaking of the Benghazi hearings:Hillary Clinton - Benghazi Hearings - Glasses - WATCH-Hillary-Clinton-chokes-up-during-Benghazi-testimony - RESIZED

5.)  In January, 2013, Clinton famously testified before the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees regarding the recent terrorist attack at the Libyan embassy in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four Americans, including the American Ambassador to Libya. During her interviews, Clinton famously—and uncharacteristically—blurted out in anger: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Talk about giving your political opponents the best. Footage. Ever.

Also uncharacteristically, at the time, Clinton was wearing thick glasses immediately identified as speciaHillary Clinton - Benghazi Hearings - What difference 02 - 177960_hillaryClintonWhatDiffl glasses commonly worn by patients who have suffered significant traumatic brain injury, most commonly stroke. The special glasses contain a Fresnel Prism specifically designed to correct trauma-induced double vision. Clinton’s physician Bardack confirmed that Clinton was wearing the glasses for that purpose and as a result of her previous “brain trauma.”

Hey, Dr. Bardack! I thought you said she only had a “blood clot!”

. . . Anyway, where were we?

Needless to say, among physicians, “brain trauma” in this context means stroke. Period.

6.)  In 2014, Bill Clinton was asked about his wife’s health. Ever the helpful spouse, Bill explained that it had taken Hillary “six months” to recover from her previous “brain injury.”

There’s that phrase again: “brain injury.” Not “blood clot.” “Brain injury.” Hmmm . . .

7.)  Very recently, Clinton, cornered by her own lies and incompetence in the ongoing email and Clinton Foundation scandals, has taken to claiming that she “does not remember” significant events as well as her own actions and inactions as a result of her 2012 brain trauma.

Just so you know: While a “mild concussion” can lead to momentary memory loss, that memory loss is usually limited to the actual moment of impact. At the most, it encompasses the moment of impact and the moments just before or after impact. It does not involve chronic or long-term memory loss. Certainly, it does not excuse chronic misbehavior and poor judgment as Clinton now claims.

It is also important to note that in the case of a mild concussion, memory loss and other symptoms lasting longer than 24, and certainly 48, hours would be highly unusual. Symptoms being present for one month, much less six months, is simply inconsistent with mild concussion.

8.)  Washington, D.C. insider Edward Klein, in his book Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary, reveals that Clinton suffers from a number of chronic medical conditions, including depression, migraine headaches, and insomnia.

9.)  Clinton has long been known to take a number of chronic medications, including blood thinners, thyroid hormone replacement, antihistamines, and vitamin B12.

10.) In recent months alone, the American public has observed Hillary Clinton suffer the following difficulties in public and on the campaign trail:

•  Multiple episodes of difficulty standing, walking, and ascending steps. We have personally seen Clinton fall while stepping up into an airplane and almost fall while ascending the steps to a front porch, at which time her Secret Service agents appeared to steady her and actually lift her the rest of the way up—a completely normal set of front steps.

•  Multiple fits of uncontrollable coughing, in the absence of other cold symptoms, that are unrelieved with water and lozenges. Some of the fits have been so severe and violent that they have abruptly ended interviews with the presidential candidate.

•  Multiple spontaneous facial expressions and physical reactions that, quite frankly, are more consistent with dementia, seizures, or other neurologic problems than with normal human expression.

•   Instances of uncharacteristic verbal outbursts, such as her self-defeating outburst in the Benghazi hearings referenced above and one particularly unflattering moment when she allowed herself to be filmed barking like a dog. (And too convincingly for comfort, I might add.)

•  Several episodes of spontaneous, uncontrollable head bobbing that are inconsistent with normal human behavior and communication. For the seconds during which they occur, these episodes give Clinton the appearance of the popular “bobble-head” doll found on car dashboards across the country. This is consistent with a number of known medical disorders, all of which are both serious and progressive. Those include seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and any number of other progressive neurologic disorders.

The list is fairly short. It does not include anything routine, minor, or temporary. None of the entries on the list is consistent with its sufferer serving as President of the United States.

•  Several episodes on the campaign trail where, as Clinton was speaking, her “Secret Service” agents have rushed the stage, though there was no perceptible disturbance coming from the crowd or threatening Clinton. Invariably, in that moment, Clinton is noted to be dazed, confused, and momentarily unable to speak.

Eventually, folks noticed that there is one man who is always the first to reach Clinton’s side, who invariably holds her up and tells her to “be calm,” that “everything is okay,” and to “keep talking.” That gentleman has now been identified. He is not, as he appears, a Secret Service agent. Rather, he is Clinton’s personal physician.

Right. Don’t we all travel with our personal physician ready to leap upon the stage at a second’s notice?

Um, no. Not even Donald Trump does that. Because he—unlike Clinton—is not ill.

On one particularly noteworthy occasion, cameras captured the fact that as Clinton’s personal physician rushed to her side and steadied her with his right arm, all the while telling her that everything was okay and to “keep talking,” he held something in his left hand.

Photographs from the crowd don’t lie. They can also be magnified. Almost immediately, it was reported that he was holding an object very low—and, he mistakenly thought, behind the podium—and very near Clinton’s left thigh. I have seen the photos. He was holding what was clearly a device used to automatically inject a drug.

My educated guess regarding the contents of the spring-loaded syringe? You guessed it: an anti-seizure medication.

No doubt, their plan was as follows:

Were an on-stage, mid-speech seizure to last too long or make it obvious that Clinton is seriously ill, the good doctor would secretly inject the drug into her thigh while, he thought, no one was looking. Undoubtedly, the medication, if injected, would within seconds have rendered Clinton drowsy if not unconscious. No doubt, the good doctor would have caught Clinton, as he was already positioned to do, in a dramatic show of happening to be in the right place at the right time.

After all, better that you have to explain that your presidential candidate “fainted from exhaustion” than that she in fact suffers from a chronic and progressive seizure disorder.

As with everything the Clintons do, they again chose to tell a lie about Hillary fainting rather than the truth: That she suffers from a number of serious and progressive illnesses, including chronic seizures.

Fortunately, at the event in question, Clinton regained her composure within a seconds, allowing the good doctor to take his medication off the stage with him as Clinton finished her speech.

Just so you know: Clinton’s ability to remain at the podium, and even keep talking coherently, during a brief seizure is not unusual. Though the brain is seizing, the body is capable of continuing with rote tasks, including standing, walking, and continuing to speak and even deliver a previously memorized speech. This is akin to the person who is in the process of fainting yet is still capable, for a time, of speaking and even standing, walking, or sitting upright. These are deeply ingrained, highly reflexive, rote behaviors that also satisfy the patient’s subconscious desire, in the moment, to press on and not draw attention to themselves. Particularly in public, on some level, they are desperately hoping to “overcome” the seizure or blackout. Again, it is a reflexive act.

This is why Clinton’s doctor told her to “keep talking.” He knew that she could.

One other important medical point needs to be made: Many of us envision seizures as involving the violent writhing, gesturing, and tongue-biting that commonly occur with a classic, or “grand mal,” seizure. There is also, however, a common variant known as “absence seizures.” They are so named because the seizing patient simply stares into space, and thus appears to be “absent” from the situation. Most such seizures last a few seconds at the most, and most patients and their families learn, with time, to simply ensure that the seizing person is safe from falling or otherwise injuring themselves as they wait for the seizure to pass. The patient usually comes out of the seizure with an intact memory of everything leading up to and following the seizure. The only gap in their memory involves the few seconds when the seizure was actually taking place.

Some patients naturally have “absence” rather than “grand mal” seizures. For others, chronic seizure medications successfully “downgrade” grand mal seizures to absence seizures, in which case the risk of seizure-related injury and death are greatly reduced. I had an uncle in that latter category. From time to time, I observed him have absence seizures. For the most part, they were non-events. In fact, you had to be looking directly at him, or talking directly to him, to even notice. Even then, the only perceptible change was that he appeared to stare off into space for a few seconds. Once the momentary seizure was over, he would then pick up the conversation where you left off without missing a beat. Oftentimes, his seizures went unnoticed. Even more often, they came and went without much discussion, at least within our family that knew what they were.

The actual medicine of seizures, of course, is quite a bit more complex. These, however, are the basics most relevant to Clinton’s situation.

All aboard! . . . Before Clinton, that is.Hillary Clinton - Falling Boarding Plane 01 - WATCH--Hillary-Clinton-Falls-Boarding-Plane-In-2011-_VIDEO - RESIZED AND CROPPED

More recently, the Clinton camp has gone to even greater extremes to shield Clinton from inquiring eyes.

Recently, a reporter tweeted out that when the press flies with Clinton, Clinton staff members will not allow anyone to observe, photograph, or film Clinton either walking from her car to the airplane or boarding the plane. All members of the press are required to be seated on the plane before Clinton gets out of her car.

I think by now we all know why that is.

A Vexing ProblemHillary Clinton - Falling on Front Steps 01 - CpcjDb1VUAAHXvL - RESIZED

I guess Clinton’s staff’s directive to the media makes sense given Clinton’s growing tendency to shake, bobble, trip, and fall, and most particularly while walking, standing, ascending steps, and boarding a plane.

And then there is her obsession with being elected president.

Obviously, for the aging Clinton, there is a vexing clash between her reality of the unforgiving, progressive onslaught of physical illness and her enduring dream of being president. Just like Bill. And she’s rapidly running out of time.

It’s a good thing that the United States President doesn’t need to walk. Or climb stairs. Or board planes. Or speak to voters. Or give speeches. Or be, well, healthy. Or alive. For years to come. Or . . .

Wait a minute! 

Right! There’s a reason why we require that presideHillary Clinton - Benghazi Hearings - Looking Down - 151022122853-07-clinton-benghazi-1022-large-169 - CROPPEDntial candidates submit physician statements of physical and mental fitness for the job!

There’s always a reason . . .

There is also a reason why Clinton’s symptoms do not make sense. There is a reason why her symptoms do not match her claimed diagnoses. There is a reason why her medications, in turn, match neither her symptoms nor her diagnoses. There is a reason why to Pinsky looking on as a trained internal medicine physician, Clinton’s medical care appears both outdated and nonsensical.

It is because they are lying. They are lying about it all.

It is because Clinton’s medical history is being written not by physicians, but rather by campaign staffers. And handlers. And political operatives. And pundits. And a media that we now know is untruthful, unethical, ideological, biased, and painfully desperate for a Clinton presidency—which, of course, would be a third, if not a third and fourth, Obama terDave - Movie Poster - Dave_posterm.

In fact, those who currently control American politics from the left would be perfectly happy to elect Clinton president even if she were brain-dead. Actually, she might hold even more appeal for them in that case. After all, she could hardly oppose their wishes, as the presidential string-pullers, if she were completely incapacitated. All they would need to do is parade her out every now and then in highly controlled conditions so as to reassure the nation—falsely—that she was in control. Which she would not be.

Sort of like now, on the campaign trail. Clinton only appears infrequently and under highly controlled conditions. And this is while she is still running for the presidency. What is to stop them from hiding her away in the White House if she wins?

It reminds me of the 1993 comedy starring Kevin Kline entitled Dave. In the movie, Kline plays a presidential impersonator who is persuaded by the real president’s team to double as the president in public. He is first asked to do so in a ruse designed to cover up the president’s extramarital affair. In the process, however, the president suffers a massive stroke, leaving Kline’s character, Dave, holding the bag—and occupying the Oval Office.

I know . . . it’s all a bit, well, eery given Clinton’s conditions. Talk about life imitating art.

Since the movie is a comedy, all’s well that ends well. Something tells me that Clinton’s story—and ours—would not end so well were she elected as an ailing president.

The Bottom Line

Because I am neither famous nor a celebrity like Pinsky, and because he cannot, I will tell you what we are both thinking.

First, a necessary caveat: Like Pinsky, I do not know Clinton personally. (Actually, I have no desire to know her.) I have never examined her.

Even so, I can tell you this: Clinton suffers from some combination of the following illnesses: stroke disorder, seizure disorder, another progressive neurological disorder such a multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, and/or early dementia.

None of those conditions is mild. None is temporary. All are potentially life-ending. All are most certainly ability-limiting, sooner rather than later. We are already seeing that in Clinton’s performance on the presidential campaign trail.

None of these conditions is consistent with being elected to the highest office in the land. None is consistent with serving as the nation’s commander in chief.

I feel compelled to say that Clinton’s health is certainly not the only thing making her unfit to hold the nation’s highest office. Certainly, we need someone healthy. Clinton is seriously ill. But we also need someone who is honest, trustworthy, and principled. Clinton is none of those things. We need a leader. Clinton is not that either. We need someone who is capable. Clinton is as incapable as they come.

In fact, given Clinton’s recent scandals and her many contortions to evade responsibility for her actions, Clinton has painted herself into that most inhospitable of corners: American voters must now choose whether to believe that Clinton is: (1) a corrupt, crooked liar, or (2) grossly incompetent. Those are the only two options. And either alone—much less both together—should disqualify her from the presidency.

Now we can add her physical unfitness to that list.

Pinsky knows this. On that fateful morning radio show, he simply got too close to the truth. And that scares the you-know-what out of the Clinton camp and their well-heeled cronies, including those who regularly polish their brass knuckles at CNN.

That, in the end, is why Pinsky was fired. He was fired for being the serious physician that no doubt still lingers underneath his celebrity status and star-studded reputation as a sex therapist, drug rehabilitation counselor, and entertainment personality.

Welcome to the real world of real medicine, Dr. Drew. It’s good to have you back.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

Is there a doctor in the house? Not for long.

Doctors like me have to go. That much is clear. Even though we have done nothing wrong.

The problem is simple: I was trained to provide the best care possible, to everyone, all the time—regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, wealth, power, position, politics, cost, cleanliness, friendliness, consciousness, or anything else.

 

Hippocrates Frustrated - ICD-10-Patient-Care-Impact-Frustration

 

A Simple Recipe for Care

Mine was a simple recipe. And it worked every time.

I was taught to consider only that person sitting in front of me needing my care. I was not burdened with considering the needs of society or the world. I was not charged with correcting past societal injustices by others—whether based upon race, ethnicity, religion, social status, sex, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

Health care, I was told, is too important an arena for mean-spirited revenge. As an ER physician, I have kept gravely injured murderers alive so that they can stand trial for their crimes against others, many of whom I pronounced deceased myself. I have even been called to testify in some of those trials. It is not, I was told, my place to judge. And so I did not judge—anyone. I had my opinions, but they never left my mind. Nor did they influence the care that I provided. It made my job easier. And it was more fair, because who is to say that my personal judgments would always be correct? Most certainly they are not. Of that, I am acutely aware.

I was not asked to make my treatment decisions based upon cost or in such a way as to save anyone money or make anyone money. Though I was aware that a lot of money was being spent and made by someone based upon the decisions that I made, that someone was not me, and it could not be me. Those were the rules. I was glad for those rules. They, too, made my job easier.

I was not expected to fret over whether what I wanted to give the patient was affordable in a societal sense. To the contrary, I was intentionally blinded to the money involved lest the independence of my medical decision-making be compromised. I liked it that way. I still do.

I was taught that it was not up to me to choose the winners and losers in the raffle of life. I was assured that if I just did my job, and fought my hardest, for every single patient, the rest would take care of itself. And until Obamacare came along, for the most part, it did.

In other words, I was taught to practice medicine like it says in the Hippocratic Oath that we traditionalists still take seriously.

For that I am grateful. It does, however, make me like a fish out of water in this brave new post-Obamacare America.

medicare-frustrated-doctor

No Country for Old Doctors

Because of my training and resulting philosophy, there is no place for me in the post-Obamacare healthcare delivery system. You see, we traditional physicians are unwilling to ration care. We are unwilling to ration care, because we know better than to do so. We recognize the inherent cruelty, immorality, and self-defeatism in our being transformed from caregiver to executioner, if only through the passive withdrawal of care. Or at least most of us do.

I still feel that it is not my place to judge. And yet Obamacare will force me to do just that—to judge my fellow man not even according to my own guiding principles, but rather according to the impersonal, cruel yardstick of a federal government hundreds of miles away from where both me and my patient sit, and lie, and struggle.

And so we traditionalists must go. It’s either that or change—in big, oath-shattering ways. We must become controllable. We must forgo exercising the very judgment for which we are trained in favor of the ill-intended edicts of self-serving, non-medically trained government bureaucrats, politicians, and insurance industry and Wall Street fat cats.

Some of us will simply leave and never look back. Medicine is a funny discipline. Once we leave it, though we retain the knowledge and skills, we rarely return. To return is far too painful. And so we continue to sit it out.

Doctor's Back in Green Scrubs - Handcuffed

Many will claim to be retiring early. If pressed, they will talk of spending more time with the grandkids, gardening, or traveling around the country in that RV that has been parked in the backyard for years. That is a much easier conversation.

While they may end up enjoying their retirement years, that is not why they left. I can promise you that. They left because they are unwilling to change. They left because they are unwilling to do their government’s bidding, hurting their own patients in the process. They left because they are unwilling to work as government robots. They left because they are unwilling to work for free, and under constant threat of financial ruin, imprisonment, or both—which is what the government now demands.

Those who cannot or will not leave the profession will change. Many will become unrecognizable, though they will look the same on the outside.

That is bad for us physicians. It is even worse for you, our patients.

The Brave New World of Obamacare

In case you doubt me, consider these facts:

The Affordable Care Act specifically gives certain nurses the right to introduce themselves to patients as “Doctor.” Why would that be, except to confuse the healthcare consumer about who—and what—their provider really is?

And lest you think this will be the exception rather than the rule, consider this:

According to a new study, the healthcare workers anticipating the greatest job growth over the next decade are not physicians or nurses. They are not therapists or any other trained medical professionals. Rather, the three healthcare job categories anticipating the greatest growth over the next decade (by quite a large margin) are:

(1) with 555,000 new jobs and 38.1% ten-year job growth: home health aides, who make an average of less than $22,000 per year and who have no formal education or training;

(2) with over 458,000 new jobs and 26% ten-year job growth: personal care aides, who make an average of $20,000 per year and who have no formal education or training; and

(3) with 599,000 new jobs and 17.6% ten-year job growth, nursing assistants, who make an average of less than $26,000 per year and who are required to obtain only a postsecondary nondegree.

Hmmm . . . All of the high-growth healthcare jobs are as untrained aides and assistants. Go figure.

Why is this concerning? Because once this anticipated job growth takes off, and once they all don white coats and introduce themselves to you as “Doctor,” you will not know the difference, that’s why.

And there is a difference. That is not being elitist. It is a fact.

As an emergency physician with literally decades of education and training behind me, I am trained to save your life in the event of an emergency. It is what I do. It is what I love doing. With all due respect to the wonderful job that they do under my supervision, a home health aide, personal care aide, or nursing assistant can do little more than call 911—even from iElder Care - Holding Hands - end-of-life-800 - RESIZEDnside the hospital. That is neither a criticism of them nor an exaggeration of my skills. It is a fact.

Even so, in a few years’ time (if not sooner), you will have no way of telling me from them. In fact, if things stay on their current course, I will not be around. And so you will be left with them. Unsupervised. Good luck with that.

Don’t get me wrong: They will smile sweetly, hold and stroke your hand gently, and hug you warmly. They will make you feel both valued and appreciated. They may even bring you your medications and take your vital signs. Will they save your life? No. Will they cure, or even provide you with a concrete way to manage, your disease? Not likely. Are they me? Absolutely not. And yet you will be left in their unsupervised, if kind, care. And that is a dangerous place to be.

A New Breed of Doctor

Of course, lots of folks will still be walking the halls of hospitals and clinics wearing long white coats and introducing themselves as “Doctor.” Some will be nurses and nurse’s aides, and some will be other ancillary staff.

Some will be actual physicians—with MDs and everything. The difference is that they will be educated in a way that is completely foreign to me. Those who are already practicing but unwilling to retire early will be “re-educated” along with them. That process has already begun.

Together they will be taught to consider medicine as not a personal, but rather a societal endeavor. They will be taught to practice “population-based medicine.” They will be charged with practicing “outcomes-based medicine” (which will function to exclude the sick and the elderly from receiving care, because their “outcomes” are less likely to be good despite exemplary care). They will be expected to address—and remedy—”health disparities” by making it easier for some (the historically disenfranchised) to access care, while preventing others (the historically favored) from doing so. In that way, they will be taught to deliver “medical justice” through the care that they deliver to real human beings, all of whom are innocent of any of the historic wrongdoing ostensibly being rectified.

They will be taught to practice medicine that is judgmental rather than accepting, that is punitive rather than comforting, and that is redistributive rather than fair.

In fact, this is already being done behind the closed doors of the nation’s predominantly liberal progressive institutions of medical higher education.

Don’t believe me? Consider this:

A New Breed of Medical School

The Affordable Care Act explicitly provides for the establishment and federal funding of government-run medical schools, ostensibly to meet anticipated “physician shortages” caused by the passage of the law itself. The statute furthermore explicitly provides that government-run medical schools will emphasize affirmative action in their admissions and advancement policies.

Loyola Stritch - Dreamers to Doctors - Promotional Ad 01 - D2D-Screening-Flyer-Web-2

To make matters worse, there is already a movement afoot throughout the existing medical school community advocating for unrestrained affirmative action that will ensure that the country’s euphemistically labeled “Dreamers”—meaning the children of illegal immigrants who are themselves in the United States illegally—are allowed to attend and graduate from the American medical school of their choice regardless of accomplishment and promise—and, apparently, citizenship. No doubt, they will also do so for free. Unlike your kids and mine.

I ask you: Do you want your surgeon to be a product of affirmative action—much less an illegal immigrant who is also the product of affirmative action? Call me crazy; but I’m guessing not. And yet he or she will be. And you will never be told the truth.

And the defendant is . . . no one.

If, Heaven forbid, you were to die on the table, your family will simply be told that nothing could be done. Only it could have, in the right hands. But they won’t know that. No doubt, your family will be told the tragic news by a sincere, tearful nurse’s aide who will actually believe the script that she has dutifully memorized. After all, she has neither the education nor the training to know better. And so her conscience is clear as your family breaks down before her.

Your distraught family may not even be told that much if—as the federal government tends to do—it does away with the ability of patients to sue those who provide care once those who provide care are all government bureaucrats rather than private folks like me. Ever wonder why the VA Health System can get away with providing such notoriously substandard care? That’s why—because no one can sue them. Because they are the federal government. Get my drift? It will be no different with Obamacare. Mark my words.

And how can you sue an ilGavel on White Background 01 - judicial-reformslegal immigrant? Do they even fall under the jurisdiction of the United States courts? What’s to keep them from fleeing back to wherever they came from? Again, you get my drift. Again, mark my words: This is not the last you have heard of this.

In fact, there is already serious talk among state and federal politicians and the medical elite regarding the establishment of a taxpayer- and physician-funded “funds” from which patients injured in the course of medical treatment are automatically reimbursed according to government tables and charts and projections. Whoopee!, the American people are told. No more lengthy, expensive, and exhausting trials! No need to prove your case! Just get in line for the cash that Uncle Sam is ready to dispense! After all, if you say you’re hurt, we can assume that your doctor screwed up, can’t we?

Are we all together on this?

I certainly hope not.

Think of such funds as strict liability for doctors like me. If you treat patients, you will pay them for their bad outcomes, regardless of the quality of your care.

While such a model benefits those who suffer minor injuries (or are not actually injured at all), it discriminates against those gravely injured by provider misconduct, who necessarily lose their right to sue in exchange for a pittance payment too small to cover their future medical bills. In the process, it deprives both patients and physicians of that most sacrosanct right, the right to a trial before a jury of their peers.

Finally and most importantly, it directly incentivizes hospitals and physicians not to provide serious care to old and gravely ill Americans, whose outcomes are notoriously bad despite quality care—precisely because they are elderly and ill, with depleted reserves. In a system of strict liability for bad outcomes, those folks represent too much risk. In fact, resulting payouts are a given. And so they must be let go. And they will—be let go, that is.

The worst part? No one will be the wiser.

It is the perfect plan for the perfect scam. It is also the recipe for government-sanctioned murder.

Kaiser to the Rescue: The Medical School of the Future

As we learned this spring, there is yet another wrinkle in the re-education of America’s physicians. And it’s a doozy.

It seems that the medical schools of the future will also be run by the very insurance and health administration fat cats who dutifully climbed into bed with the Obama administration and helped shove Obamacare further down your throats.

Kiaser Permanente Sign 01 - la-fi-kaiser-permanente-20151204

Indeed, the first such medical school will be run by none other than the health insurance and healthcare delivery giant Kaiser Permanente. The new school, which will be located in Pasadena, California, will enroll its first students in 2019. Look it up.

So . . . the medical schools of the future will be run by the federal government and administered by the same corporate giants that already control the health insurance, healthcare administration, and healthcare delivery markets—in other words, the fattest of the Wall Street fat cats. And now they will control medical education as well. Even though they are the very individuals who stand to gain the most—and it’s a lot—from the denial of your care.

It is the ultimate self-serving, inside-dealing, corrupt monopoly. And it will kill us all if we let it.

Pretty Words for Ugly Actions

Yesterday, I published a blog post entitled, “Bad Influence: The 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.” In that post, I decry the fact that that annual list is full of politicians and Wall Street fat cats and contains not one—not one, in a list of 100—practicing physician.

In the number 2 position, right under Barack Obama, is Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and longtime Obama—and Obamacare—supporter.

Kaiser Permanente Sign 02 - KaiserPermanente05102012 - RESIZED

Upon announcing its plans to build the first government- and corporate-controlled medical school, Kaiser issued a press release stating: “Demographic changes in the U.S. population have created increasingly diverse communities. Physicians in the 21st century require cultural competency and fluency in order to meet the needs of their patients and to best serve their communities.”

Sounds reasonable, right? After all, who isn’t for “cultural competency and fluency?” And who doesn’t want to “serve their communities?”

Edward M. Ellison, MD, Kaiser’s Executive Medical Director, was quoted as stating, “We have an opportunity, even an obligation, to redesign medical education and be a catalyst for change.” He further opined that new generations of Kaiser-trained physicians “will be well-prepared to meet the total health needs of communities across the nation, including the necessary work of addressing health disparities.”

So . . . the new generation of Kaiser physician will “be a catalyst for change” and focus upon meeting “the total health needs of communities across the nation.” He or she will also strive to address “health disparities.”

Warning: That is liberal government-speak for “Gullible young doctors will be taught to consider society’s needs over your needs, and they will be taught to use your health care to correct historic injustices for which you are not responsible.” That, in turn, is code for “They will be taught to practice medicine in such a way as to make us rich and you sick.”

Please keep in mind that a bleeding heart cannot keep you alive for long.

Indeed, by their own admission, Kaiser’s stated mission is the very definition of redistribution and social engineering through health care. It is the main—and by far the most important—argument against Obamacare and socialized medicine.

It gets worse:

The same day as the press release, the LA Times published an article about Kaiser’s plans. As one of Kaiser’s most important objectives, Ellison told the paper, “Kaiser plans to train students as emergency medical technicians when they arrive at the school,” after which it will send them out “into the community, visiting patients’ homes.”

Hmmm . . . That seems suspiciously like they plan to provide a lower level of training, get the students out into the field quickly (where many of them will remain, having gotten accustomed to making money and having decided not to return to the classroom to become a doctor), and at the same time keep patients at home and away from the ER and hospital. That can be very dangerous, particularly in the hands of a wet behind the ears recent college graduate with no real medical school training.

That, too, is the very definition of intentionally rationing care by blocking patients’ access to that care. Because with all due respect, a young college kid with a medical bag and a stethoscope standing in your living room is about as capable of saving your life as that nurse’s aide dialing 911.

The point is so obvious that even the young LA Times reporter felt compelled to address it.  By way of a passing reference, she noted that critics of Kaiser’s plans worry “that a Kaiser medical school would focus on cutting costs that could negatively affect patient care.”

I don’t think there is any question about that.

History Repeats

The problem is as old as the history of dictators and despots. It is also as filled with the tragedy of needless human suffering and death as are their tales of conquest and defeat through the control of human beings.

Hitler's Physicians - Karl-Brandt Sentenced to Dealth by Hanging - RESIZED

Physician and Nazi Officer Karl Brandt being sentenced to death by hanging by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, 1947.

Keep in mind that one of the very first steps that Adolf Hitler took was to require all physicians—in both Germany and its German-occupied neighboring territories—to swear an oath promising—innocently enough, it seemed—to treat their individual patients in accordance with their social utility and for the good of German society rather than the individual.

More specifically, the order of the Reich Commissar of 19 December 1941 read in part as follows:

“It is the duty of the doctor, through advice and effort, conscientiously and to his best ability, to assist as helper the person entrusted to his care in the maintenance, improvement and re-establishment of his vitality, physical efficiency and health. The accomplishment of this duty is a public task.”

To their credit, the physicians of the Netherlands immediately recognized the new oath for what it was—a directive to ration care. According to Leo Alexander, MD, Chief U.S. Medical Consultant at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, the physicians of Holland recognized Hitler’s oath as “the concentration of their efforts on mere rehabilitation of the sick for useful labor, and abolition of medical secrecy.”

Alexander continued: “Although on the surface the new order appeared not too grossly unacceptable, the Dutch physicians decided that it is the first, although slight, step away from principle that is the most important one.”

They refused to obey Hitler’s order to take the oath. All were stripped of their medical licenses and put out of business. Many were imprisoned. Many were eventually murdered in cold blood for their refusal to take the oath and practice medicine according to Hitler’s directives.

Of those physicians who took the oath, Hitler gradually transformed them from caring healers into cold-blooded killers. They let him, because they had no choice. Soon, they became the monsters Hitler had envisioned—his personal army of killing machines. They became professional torturers, and maimers, and executioners without kindness, or mercy, or compassion, or pity. They became utterly soulless.

A Dark Path to a Dead End

Dark Path 01 - dark_path_2_by_stephariara - RESIZED

We are on that same dark path. It is an overgrown path at first discovered, then cleared (with the help of an optimistic community of believers), by all dictators, despots, and social engineers. It is the same path that, once unburdened of its wild overgrowth, is walked—first enthusiastically, then willingly, then reluctantly, then fearfully—by all civilized societies that embark upon the practice of socialized medicine. All believe that they will be different. None are. Ever.

Kaiser is Obama’s Josef Goebbels. While Kaiser paints happy pictures for young reporters of optimistic young doctors caring for the world, that is propaganda. It is pretty wrapping obscuring a most ugly package. Once that package is unwrapped and the beast springs forth into plain sight, it will be too late. By that time, the beast will be grown, unleashed, and uncontrollable. Just like Hitler’s army of physicians. Even the most casual student of history—and of medicine—knows that.

Heaven help us all. For this sad story will end no better for us than it did for Nazi Germany. Because it never does end well.

That, too, is a fact.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it. You’re also going to fear it, for good reason.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

 

 

Bad Influence: The 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare

Leave it to the healthcare establishment to snub its own heroes—physicians, nurses, and other providers of care—real heroes who go above and beyond and save countless lives, all in a day’s work. Leave it to the healthcare establishment to overlook its own in favor of the government and Wall Street fat cats who are trying to put them out of business.

It’s called propaganda. And whether you realize it or not, it surrounds you.

Modern Healthcare - 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare - 2014 - 01 - feature-2044-logo-modern-healthcare-100-most-influential-274x168

Modern Healthcare is a leading publication and research institution serving America’s healthcare providers and healthcare systems. Every year, they publish a list of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.” They just published their 2016 list. And it’s a doozy.

Some of the entries, while dismaying, are not surprising.

The Politicians

For the third straight year, Barack Obama has been named the number one most influential person in healthcare. Go figure. If by “influential” you mean the most destructive, I suppose Obama’s placement at the top of the list makes sense. More on that in a moment.

Obama is in good political company on the list, which is slightly more surprising.

Joining Obama at the top of the list are the anticipated individuals who gave you Obamacare. These include at number 5 Silvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and, at number 9, Marilyn Tavenner, disgraced former administrator of the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Tavenner currently serves as President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans. Go figure. It seems no one in Washington actually loses their job these days.

Burwell and Tavenner are joined by Andy Slavitt, the current acting administrator for CMS (#10), Patrick Conway, Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer for CMS (#26), Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (#28), and Karen DeSalvo, acting Assistant Secretary of Health for HHS (#31). Next up is Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#53), Robert Califf, Commisioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) (#61), and Mark Chassin, President and CEO of the Joint Commission, the body that accredits and certifies American hospitals and clinics (#65).

Finally, there is Vivek Murthy, Obama’s controversial (and largely publicly absent) Surgeon General. Murthy, an Indian American physician born in Great Britain, is married to a Chinese American physician. Together they run a national physicians’ organization dedicated to liberal progressive healthcare reform. Murthy publicly declared gun violence a threat to public health, leading many to conclude that he would like to see gun control shoved in through the Obamacare back door. That almost cost him his appointment to the Surgeon General’s post. Even so, Murthy came in a surprisingly low 73rd. I guess he was a little too absent from the Obamacare debate, when he could have done so much for the liberal progressive cause. Oh, well.

Whew! But wait! We’re not done with the politicians yet!

I know what you’re thinking: But the list is only 100 entries long! Why so many politicians?

Which is exactly my point. But I digress . . .

 

US Capitol - Large Banner - Capitolhill

 

Then there is the group of politicians—and politicians posing as non-politicians—who are slightly more surprising given that they have done absolutely nothing of record for the sake of health care—unless, of course, you consider opposing those seeking to inject a modicum of sanity into an increasingly insane system to be “influencing healthcare.” Those include U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (at a surprisingly high #11), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (an equally surprisingly high #13), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (#32). Rounding out the group from the other side of the aisle (or wherever it is that he hails from these days) is U.S. Senator, longtime Independent, and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (#15). Then there are the political outliers, including John Edwards, Governor of Louisiana (#35), joined by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (#89).

Finally, there are the non-political politicians whose inclusion should make every decent and informed American scratch his or her head: At number 19 is the Honorable John Roberts, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who virtually single-handedly secured the survival of the inaptly named Affordable Care Act (ACA). Roberts is joined at number 54 by his colleague on the High Bench, the Honorable Anthony Kennedy, the High Court’s notorious “swing vote” who dutifully swung in Roberts’—and Obama’s—direction when it came to the ACA. No coincidence there, I’m sure.

Nor is it any coincidence that not a single justiUS Supreme Court - supremecourt - CROPPEDce who opposed the constitutionality of the ACA—even for reasons espousing a firm understanding of the American healthcare delivery system—is included in the list. To the contrary, the most vocal among them, the Honorable Antonin Scalia, the ACA’s most outspoken critic, died alone in a remote part of Texas, was pronounced deceased of natural causes by an individual who did not know him, never met him, did not travel to the location, and in fact never examined, much less investigated, anything. After refusing to conduct any inquiry whatsoever (or even, apparently, send any federal officers to the scene), arrangements were quickly made to cremate Scalia. As if that weren’t enough, the ever-self-absorbed Barack Obama again treated us to a disgraceful show of disrespect by refusing, oh-so-publicly, to attend Scalia’s Funeral Mass on a lovely Saturday a few days later during which Obama had nothing better to do. Again, I’m sure there is no connection. None at all. Nothing to see here.

Altogether, 20 of the 100 individuals honored are politicians, the heads of federal government healthcare bureaucracies, or idologues masquerading as objective jurists. So 20% of the list is made up of the D.C. powers that be. Got it.

What about the other 80%? That is even more dismaying.

Health Insurance and Wall Street Fat Cats 

Man Holding Money 01 - 47536562To make a painfully long story short, 65 out of 100 spots went to the healthcare insurance and Wall Street fat cats. That’s right: The guys who have already made themselves rich at the expense of your health, including those who just grabbed the money and ran—away from the Obamacare exchanges that they convinced you to adopt. This group includes the CEOs of most of the country’s largest and most profitable insurance companies, healthcare systems, healthcare federations, associations of healthcare professionals, and healthcare managers. Also included in the list are the well-heeled heads of ancillary providers such as Big Pharma. Also included are some of nation’s largest healthcare technology giants—who, like their corporate colleagues on the list, publicly supported Obamacare, with its onerous technological mandates, in exchange for promised—and now delivered—wealth and control beyond what we regular Americans can even fathom.

Okay. So between the politicians and the industry fat cats, we’re up to 85.

Yikes! We’re running out of spots!

Quasi-governmental Agency Leaders

Just wait: With only 15 spots remaining, guess who garnered 13 of them? Why, the illustrious heads of quasi-governmental agencies and foundations that also lent their public support to Obamacare while cashing in behind closed doors. These include the presidents of such quasi-political, quasi-professional membership associations as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the National League for Nursing, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Joining them are the executive directors of the union National Nurses United and the American Public Health Association. Also joining them are countless  heads of other ideologically motivated so-called “professional organizations” that serve everyone except their real, working members.

With only two spots left, the editorial board of Modern Healthcare had to be discriminating.

The Final Two

Coming in at number 41, the 98th spot went to Atul Gawande. Gawande, a professor, author, and speaker from the Harvard Medical School, has spent most of his career criticizing his own profession and devising overly simplistic “checklists” that, according to Gawande, will prevent medical errors. Only they don’t. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Drumroll, please . . .

The last and final place of honor on the Modern Healthcare list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for 2016 goes to . . .

Planned Parenthood - Cecile Richards 01 - 150929-plannedparenthood-editorial - RESIZED

Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation. You know—the national organization started by a confirmed racist and eugenicist that today trades in free abortions for poor minority women and the auctioning off of the partially formed body parts of their aborted fetuses. You know—the same organization that is now using the Zika crisis to advocate, yet again, for unrestricted access to free late-term abortions.

You know—the organization that engages in the abject practice of genocide, all the while claiming to champion “women’s rights.” (Except, of course, the rights of women not to have their children murdered and their tiny bodies sold off like so much meat. Or the rights of baby girls who will never even be given a chance at life, much less an opportunity to exercise their feminist rights. Or the rights of the scared young women whom they dupe into believing that they are exercising a personal freedom, all the while knowing that it is only later in life that those same women, upon becoming mothers, will likely be traumatized by the magnitude of what they did out of desperation, fear, manipulation, and ignorance of their options—which are many, happy, and life-saving.)

That Cecile Richards. Right. Let’s honor her. What a feminist and healthcare hero.

The Final Tally

So there you have it:

In a list of 1Hippocrates - With Hippocratic Oath 01 - hippocrates200 supposed “movers and shakers” in healthcare, we have: (1) one U.S. President taking the number 1 honor for the third year running, who ran roughshod over his own Congress and the American public that elected him in enacting and defending the very law that will increase our suffering and hasten our death; (2) 19 other politicians who have done . . . what, exactly, for healthcare in America? Anyone? Anyone?; (3) 65 of the heads of the country’s wealthiest insurance, pharmaceutical, health care administration, technology, and other corporate conglomerates who sold out the American people by publicly supporting Obamacare even as they arranged—and collected—their own bailouts behind closed doors; (4) 13 equally well-heeled heads of quasi-governmental bodies that likewise supported Obamacare publicly while polishing their golden parachutes in private; (5) a Harvard academic who has spent the better part of his career criticizing and oversimplifying what his colleagues—unlike him—still actually do for a living in an increasingly hostile healthcare environment; and (6) the President of Planned Parenthood, which trades in free, on-demand abortions and the selling of fetal body parts.

These are the “most influential people in healthcare?” Seriously?

What in the world do you suppose Hippocrates would have to say about this list?

A Matter of Definition

I guess it depends upon how you define “influential.” If by “influential” you mean the 100 people who did the most to destroy the American healthcare system, then the list is pretty darned accurate. On the other hand, if by “influential” you mean the heroes of healthcare, not so much.

 

Weary Doctor 01 - Doctor-with-head-in-hands-in-hospital

 

Where did all the doctors go?

There is one very large and diverse group that was left completely off of the list. Not one entry. Not one out of 100.

That is practicing physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers. You know—the ones who get up most days weary from the day before, put on scrubs and a white coat, and take care of folks in need. The ones who have not traded in their stethoscope for a Rolex and their dingy call room for an oceanfront vacation home. The ones who you hope are working when illness or injury strikes you.Young Doctor Studying at Table 01 - 8617738979_98826c79fe_o - RESIZED

Healthcare’s Real Heroes

Since Modern Healthcare won’t do it, I will tell you who the heroes of healthcare are:

They are the young medical resident working his 18th, or 24th, or 30th hour in a row without sleep, food, or a moment to himself so that your needs are met no matter the hour.

They are the local ER physician who misses sleep, food, and major events in his own and his family’s lives so that when illness or tragedy strike, he will be there for you.

They are the beaming obstetrician who Medical Resident with Newborn Baby 01 - 20150618_0371 - CROPPED AND RESIZEDbreathes a sign of relief, smiles broadly, and discreetly wipes away a tear as she completes her 1,000th delivery of a healthy baby, who was prepared to pull out all the stops and cry tears of frustration and pain had things not gone so well—which happens more often than she would like, but thankfully far less often than the joyous deliveries.

They are the dedicated cancer doctor who specializes in not only eradicating that most dreaded of diseases, but also in holding the hands of the suffering as they bravely battle their way toward certain death.

They are the dedicated family physician who, in the middle of the night, trades his warm bed and comfortable pajamas for a snow-covered car and a pair of mismatched scrubs as he heads, for the third time in 24 hours, back to the hospital across town because a patient needs his help or simply wants to hold his hand.

They are the idealistic young doctors and nurses who fly to faraway lands to care for those without the benefit of hospitals, doctors, and medications in an efforSalvation Army Clinic 01 - c8811cbb-3a9f-47e4-a54d-a02c0a81faa5_Picture31t to make not only our great nation, but also the entire world a better, happier, healthier, safer place to live.

They are the nurses, midlevel providers, therapists, and other clinicians who work alongside the nation’s physicians to care for those in need. They are the ones who specialize in heartbreakingly human maladies that know nothing of the rising and setting of the sun, family vacations, and other personal luxuries.

They are the doctor who will one day be there for you to pull you back from the brink—of pain and despair, if not death. They are the doctor, like me, who will be there for you just because you ask.

Just Between YouHome Health Nurse with Patient - 2a99f6_d49f5166d1e2424fb07533215c65f4f0 and Me

Because in that moment, there will be no discussion of politics, or money, or your “right” to care. There will be no consideration of what is right for society if that is not also what is right for you.

In that moment, there will be only you and me. Neither of us will be rich. Both of us are likely to be tired, and overwhelmed, and afraid. That, however, will not matter, for we will have something far more important than money, or rest, or nerves of steel.

In that most private of moments, despite the bustling activity around us, we will have a quiet connection. A real, human connection. We will care. We will be there for each other. We will trust each other. And we will get the job done, the government and Wall Street be damned.

We will have no choice—for unlike them, we have no boardroom to which to retreat. Nor do we have a golden parachute to transport us to safety.

When the going gets tough, unlike them, we will get going. Together we will stare down the beast, come what may. Together we will see you to safety, whether in this life or the next.

Because that is what we do. We do it not for fame, or weath, or recognition. We do it for each other.

Modern Healthcare can have its list. I’ll take holding your hand any day of the week.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

Making Lemons from Lemonade: How Obamacare is Destroying the Health Insurance Market

Earlier this summer, UnitedHealth announced its exit from the Obamacare exchanges. Last month, Aetna did the same—as had Humana before.

This is why.Lemons 01 - Lemon3

It all comes down to lemons and lemonade.

Perhaps I should explain.

The Bitter Truth About the Obamacare Lemon

Years ago, when the country was still debating the passage of Obamacare, I gave presentations warning of this very development. After all, it was inevitable. Health care administered as a federal government entitlement necessarily would destroy the private health insurance market. It was a given.

I warned that the private health insurance market necessarily could not compete with a taxpayer-subsidized system wielding the power of the federal government. In such a system, the private health insurers necessarily must compete for business with the federal government—the same federal government that is spending taxpayers’ money, that makes the laws, and that issues and enforces all of the regulations that govern the insurance marketplace. In other words, the federal government holds all the cards, shuffles them, deals them, and controls the table. In fact, the federal government owns the table. No private insurers, regardless of wealth and/or influence, can compete with that. They would be fools to try.

And so they do not. As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. The insurance industry has joined them. And that is very bad for you and me.

The endgame, it must be remembered, was never improved or more affordable care. The endgame was universal, single-payer health care. Health care provided by the federal government, through nameless, faceless bureaucrats, to the favored few, for the good of society. Health care designed to keep those in power in power. Socialized medicine.

Mixed Reactions

While some showed great interest in what I had to say, others did not. With every election cycle, folks were lulled by the talking points of vote-seeking politicians promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare—even as the law dug its tentacles ever deeper into the healthcare delivery system, forever destroying the status quo. In non-election years, the topic was continually pushed to the back burner as “too complicated,” “boring,” and, again, soon-to-be-solved-when-Obamacare-is-repealed-and-replaced.

Given the very public exits of the nation’s major insurers from the Obamacare exchanges, perhaps a few of you out there are finally ready to hear what I have to say. We shall see

And besides, what could be better in the waning days of a long, hot summer than a story about lemonade?

And so I will tell my story again.

A Simple Lesson Worth Repeating

Kids at Lemonade Stand - $1 cups - Lemonade-Day-2

Back then, I used the example of a lemonade stand. Imagine this:

One kid, an industrious sort, convinces his mom to buy lemons and sugar and make lemonade. It is hot out, so he buys bags of ice. And cups. He builds a lemonade stand. He sits down with his parents and figures out that each cup of lemonade costs him 25 cents to make. And so as any good entrepreneur, he sells cups of lemonade for $1 each. Folks buy his lemonade. After all, it is hot out, and they all want to support the young boy’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The boy next door, who is new to the neighborhood, sees this and decides to join in on the action. Having seen the first boy’s example, he dives in head first, realizing that there is a real market in their neighborhood for lemonade on a hot summer day.

There is a difference between the two boys, however. The second boy’s dad owns a sugar factory, and his mom grows lemons for a living. His uncle runs the local convenience store, where he gets cups and ice for free. And he makes do with an old card table from the garage, thereby relieving himself of the expense and trouble of building a stand.

He sets up shop right next door to the other young boy. He, too, sells his cups of lemonade for $1 each—for a time.

At $1 each and 25 cents in overhead and costs, the first boy makes 75 cents’ profit on each cup of lemonade sold. At $1 each and zero overhead and costs, the second boy makes $1 profit on each cup of lemonade sold.

Eventually, the second boy tires of sharing his business with the first boy. After all, no one wants two cups of lemonade at once.

And so he drops his price to 75 cents. He gets more business.

Noticing that his business is falling off, the first boy likewise lowers his price to 75 cents. At that price, the first boy makes 50 cents’ profit per cup, while the second boy makes 75 cents’ profit per cup.

Eventually, the second boy again tires of competing. He lowers his price to 50 cents. Reluctantly, the first boy follows suit. At this price point—50 cents per cup—the first boy makes a profit of 25 cents per cup, while the second boy makes 50 cents’ profit per cup.

You know what happens next: The second boy again tires of competing, so he lowers his price to 25 cents per cup. The first boy now has a serious problem: Does he lower his price to 25 cents—and thus make nothing, but keep his customers—or pack up his stand and go inside?

Let’s say he chooses the first option. He is now merely breaking even, while the second boy is making a profit of 25 cents per cup. If he chooses the second option, he will lose his customers. He decides to keep at it and break even while he considers his next step.

The second boy now wants to see the first boy gone. So he lowers his price to 10 cents per cup.

Now the first boy has a serious problem. He must choose: Should he sell his lemonade, which is already made and chilled, at a loss, or should he pack up and go inside? If he chooses the former, he will lose money. In fact, the more lemonade he sells, the more money he loses. If he chooses the latter, he will be stuck with pitchers of lemonade in which he has already invested, and all of his customers will go to the second boy. He will lose their business, perhaps forever.

Bitter Marketplace Lessons 

My point is this: The second boy necessarily controls the situation. Is he smarter or more industrious than the first boy? No—quite the opposite. All he did was copy his neighbor. Is he more willing to work? No. The difference is that he has no overhead. He gets his sugar, lemons, cups, ice, and stand for free. The first boy, in contrast, struggles under the realities of any free market, including overhead, expenses, and the necessity of making a profit.

There is also a second dynamic at work. As both boys lower the price of their lemonade, both can get away with selling smaller cups. After all, since their customers are paying less,Lemonade Stand 01 - images they expect less. At only 10 cents per cup, they actually don’t expect much at all.

The first boy realizes this, but refuses to reduce the size of his lemonade cups. After all, he promised everyone a large cup. He promised to quench their thirst. And he is selling lemonade to his neighbors, his parents’ friends. He wants to please them. He promised his parents he would do just that. His parents believe in him, and trust him to do the right thing. To make sure, they will ask their neighbors about his service. He doesn’t want to let them down.

In contrast, the second boy just moved into the neighborhood. He doesn’t know the people buying his lemonade. Since his parents both work—Mom in the lemon fields and Dad at the sugar plant—no one is watching what he does. And so with each price reduction, the second boy uses smaller and smaller cups. Eventually, he is not selling enough lemonade to quench anyone’s thirst.

A Simple Lesson in Supply, Demand, and the Power of the Profit Motive

Even so, realizing that they are only paying 10 cents per cup, the thirsty public gladly buys more cups of lemonade. After all, who would expect to have their thirst quenLemonade - Tiny Cup of Lemonade 01 - article-0-1B826914000005DC-349_634x818 - CROPPEDched for a dime? They order 2, 3, 4 cups of lemonade before even tasting it.

This makes the second boy very happy. It also makes him a lot of money.

The more dime cups of lemonade the public buys, the more money the second boy makes—and the more money the first boy loses. And the more lemonade their neighbors buy. It is the reality of the marketplace.

Eventually, the second boy will not be able to make enough 10-cent lemonade. He will demand more lemons, sugar, and ice, as his customers clamor for more lemonade. If his parents don’t give it to him, he will pitch a fit, and his customers will feel cheated. His parents can thank themselves, because they created this situation by giving their son everything for free. He can also blame himself for lulling his customers into believing that a tiny cup of lemonade for 10 cents is a good deal.

With time, the first boy will be forced from the market. Eventually, he will sadly pack up his stand and go inside.

At that point, the second boy realizes something: To his delight, he has now conditioned his customers to be grateful for very little lemonade. And they are now asking for more, aware that its supply is suddenly limited. Finally, he is the only kid in the neighborhood selling lemonade.

And so he raises his prices. His cups are first 25 cents, then 50 cents, then $1, the $5 each. And yet he keeps the size of the cups small. He is now making money hand over fist.

Barriers to Market Re-entry

You may think: At that point, the first boy will come back out and start selling lemonade, this time for $5 per cup.

Think again. First, the boy promised his neighbors a large cup of lemonade for $1 per cup—not a small cup for $5, which is where the market now is. Second, he has learned his lesson: The second boy, with no overhead or expense, holds all the cards. As soon as the first boy invests in more lemonade and returns to his stand, the second boy will again lower his prices until the first boy is again run out of the market with pitchers of lemonade on hand that he has paid for and made but cannot sell.

And so the first boy will stay out of the market. He simply can’t compete. He can’t take the risk of investing, only to be forced out of the market a second time by the same market dynamics that are out of his control.

But the young man is industrious, and not a quitter. He will move on to another source of income not requiring the lemons, sugar, ice, and cups that the second boy gets for free. He will move on to a project where he can fairly compete—like mowing his neighbors’ lawns. After all, the second boy’s family doesn’t own a lawnmower shop, so unlike the lemonade stand, the two boys can compete fairly mowing lawns. Neither boy can afford to drop his price below the costs of fuel and lawnmower maintenance. Both boys have very real overhead and a need for pricing that takes that into consideration.

The Moral of the Story

The analogy should by now be obvious.

The first boy represents a free market healthcare system wherein there is real overhead and concrete costs (sugar, lemons, cups, ice, and a stand), individual oaths to do the right thing (promises to sell a certain size glass of lemonade and thereby quench everyone’s thirst), and a systemic commitment to quality with built-in oversight through feedback (parents talking with their neighbors).

The second boy represents a taxpayer- or government-subsidized service. Since no one is paying for sugar, lemons, cups, ice, and a stand, price goes down, initially, as all competitors are driven from the market. Once a market monopoly is established, prices skyrocket as both quality and service plummet.

Wait. This is an important point: Someone actually is paying, just not the boy selling the lemonade. The ones paying are his mom, dad, uncle, and the employees of all of their companies who are able to sell less sugar, lemons, cups, and ice because he is using them in his lemonade business. There is, however, a complete separation between those who pay for the system (the boys’ family members and their companies), those who provide the service (the second boy), and those who consume the product (the neighbors buying the lemonade). That is key. It is also like any taxpayer-funded system of benefits, where all facets of the relationship are separate. As a result, there is no accountability or incentive to produce and sell an exceptional product.

Once all of the competition is eliminated, price skyrockets. As competitors try to enter the market, the subsidized system can simply manipulate any number of factors to drive them back out. After all, they hold all the cards, because they are subsidized by taxpayer dollars—so-called “free money,” as it were. They, personally, have no overhead. They also have no incentive to keep you healthy and happy.

The Bottom Line

We had the healthcare system we now say we want. Did it have seeds? Perhaps a little pulp? Was it sometimes bitter? Yes, yes, and yes.

Did it quench our thirst? Yes, more often than not.

Did it need fixing? Most certainly.

Was it better than this $5, 2-ounce cup of lemonade that is Obamacare? Most definitely.

Let’s face it: We screwed up healthcare.

Now, the question is: How do we fix this?

More on that later.

Oh, and welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

Another Failed Obamacare Promise: The Continuing “Job Lock” Problem

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Oops! It seems Barack Obama did it again. He made another healthcare promise he didn’t keep.

I know: You’re shocked. Am I? Not at all.

Healing the Economy Through Health Care—or Not

Remember way back in 2009 when Obama was pushing health care reform while the country languished through its worst financial crisis in years? Obama sold the country on socialized medicine—the last thing a country teetering on the edge of bankruptcy needs—by arguing that health care reform was economic reform. He promised that the Affordable Care Act would “build a new foundation for lasting and sustained growth.” One of the ways that health care reform would give a much-needed boost to the economy, Obama promised, was by ending what is known as “job lock.”

 

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Job Lock

First, a little background: Why do economists worry about job lock, anyway? More importantly, what is job lock?

I’m glad you asked.

Job lock is the phenomenon whereby individuals who receive their health insurance through their employers are afraid to leave their jobs out of fear of losing their health insurance. Those employees are literally “locked in” their jobs by their health insurance needs. Where employees are afraid to leave dead-end jobs for better jobs or, more importantly, to start their own businesses, they are less productive than they could otherwise be.

Growth in American productivity, in turn, is widely assumed to be necessary in order for American workers, as a whole, to see their wages rise. Indeed, this lack of productivity growth is one of the fundamental problems keeping the United States economy stagnant. For that reason, insurance-related job lock is seen as a major impediment to American economic prosperity—so much so that it is acknowledged as a pressing concern by politicians on both sides of the aisle.

 

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Unkept Promises

In 2009, the newly elected President Obama campaigned for the Affordable Care Act before a skeptical American public. In his characteristic eloquent style, Obama stood confidently before hopeful crowds flush with the promise of exceptional but free care. He spoke eloquently of health care as a human right, not a privilege. He told the stories of ostensible victims of the vicious healthcare system that routinely brought attendees to tears. He told of the horrors of the insurance industry, drug manufacturers, physicians like me, . . . everyone except the government—his government.

In an attempt to appear to reach across the aisle while doing nothing of the sort, Obama made a show of good will for his recently vanquished presidential opponent, Republican Senator John McCain. Obama magnanimously cited research from the conservative Heritage Foundation praising McCain’s 2008 health reform plan and its proposed ability to solve the job lock problem by offering tax credits to employees so they could afford to buy health insurance on the private market. While the details under Obamacare differed (and who has time for details?), Obama confidently promised the same outcome. As a result, Obama argued, American workers would feel free to leave unfulfilling and unproductive jobs, because they would “own” their health insurance coverage and could take it with them to a new, more fulfilling, and more productive job.

The American public could almost hear the cha-ching-punctuated purring of a humming, happy economy.

Curing job lock was the first step to economic utopia. Upon that both parties agreed. Obama had a point. The problem was, he had no power to deliver on his grand promise. To the contrary, the Affordable Care Act promised not relief, but exacerbation of the problem of job lock. And the American public was supremely uninterested in the boring details. And so they fell for Obama’s empty promises—as they say, hook, line, and syringe. Or something like that.

 

 

The Final Analysis

Now, over seven years later, as Obama prepares to leave the White House, we can chalk Obama’s pledge to end job lock up as another promise eloquently made but not kept.

According to a new study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Obamacare has done nothing to solve the problem of job lock.

NBER economists recently studied states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA. They found no evidence that there was a reduction in job lock in those states as a result.

What they did find was something completely predictable—and damning to Obamacare:

New Medicaid enrollees exceeded expectations. That is a problem, because those individuals require taxpayer subsidies, some to the tune of 100% of their Obamacare premiums. And they are likely—make that certain—to require continuing subsidies in the future. To make matters worse, many of them are the sickest of the sick and already need long-postponed—and very expensive—care. And Obamacare says they can have it, after the fact, for free.

It gets worse: While the number of new Medicaid enrollees exceeded expectations, the enrollment of middle-class, working, taxpaying Americans fell far short of expectations—according to one recent study, by more than one-half.

Economic Death Spiral

Obamacare, it seems, suffers from the most devastating economic malady of all: one-way cash flow. All of the Obamacare cash—heck, all of the healthcare cash—is destined to flow out to those who contribute nothing. At the same time, those who do contribute get nothing for their good deeds. And so they opt out. And the money stops flowing in. And there is nothing that Obama or anyone else can do to revive the dying patient.

As it turns out, you don’t have to have a degree in economics—or even be that interested in the boring details—to understand that this represents an economic death spiral.

The insurance industry’s reaction has been equally predictable: One by one, they are throwing in the towel and exiting the Obamacare exchanges. Despite the fact that they supported the law and were instrumental to its passage. Despite the fact that they knew these very losses would occur, and why. Despite the fact that they have already received their cash bailout, which was baked into the Obamacare pie.

So much for ending job lock. Now, we have both job lock and “disease lock.” Because the chances of your navigating these choppy waters without subjugating your interests to those of the federal government, and the Wall Street and insurance fat cats with whom they share both a bed and a lifeboat, are slim to none—nonexistent, really.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

Cash for Care: The Obamacare Discount Club

No Free Lunch—or Free Health Care

It is now official:  Health care costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare. It seems the old saying is true: There is no free lunch—or free health care. In fact, costs governed by Obamacare have risen disproportionately to all other markers of economic growth. They have also outstripped by far the few aspects of health care that, for now, have remained under private control.

Go figure. Government interference results in higher prices. Who knew?

And there’s more bad news where that came from:  It seems that consumers are punished for having insurance. That’s right: You are punished, in terms of pricing, for having insurance. Those without insurance who are willing to pay using cash or credit are getting steep discounts on routine healthcare screenings.

This makes sense. After all, who wouldn’t discount their prices in order to avoid the red tape, delay, risk, and uncertainty of reimbursement through the bureaucratic jungle of not only gargantuan insurance companies, but also the federal government? After all, providers are merely passing their savings on to their customers. What could be wrong with that?

A lot, actually. Because their doing so means that you are actually worse off for having insurance. It seems that the old saying is true: No good deed goes unpunished.

Medical Price Wars

Don’t get me wrong: This is not a new development. Historically, as insurance companies reduced the percentage of billed charges paid, providers responded by raising prices. After all, 40% of a lot is more than 40% of a little. Likewise, 20% of a lot is more than 20% of a little. And 40% of a little equals 20% of a lot. You get my drift.

In response, the insurance industry lowered its reimbursements even more, and providers again raised their prices. And so on and on and on. It was a vicious cycle that resulted in a hospital-administered tablet of Tylenol costing $100 and a CT scan coming with a price tag of $1,500 or more.

So, why did we never address this issue? Seems it didn’t matter that much, that’s why.

While that back and forth pricing duel between the insurance industry  and providers was not good, it didn’t actually matter to insured health care consumers, who were going to pay little to none of the inflated prices charged. Nor did it matter to the insurance companies or the federal government, both of which have the clout to tell individual providers to take a hike if their reimbursement isn’t enough.

Of course, this is all ancient history. This was way back when deductibles were in the hundreds rather than the thousands and premiums, too, were in the hundreds and not thousands per year. You know: Way, way back. Six years or so. In other words, before Obamacare intentionally destroyed both the insurance market and the health care system.

Here are some examples from my own experience:

The $1,700 CT that Costs $350—or Less

A friend of mine recently commented to me that her daughter didn’t know what to do. When I asked what was going on, I got an earful. It seems her daughter and son-in-law had gotten caught in the dreaded upward spiral of employer-sponsored healthcare insurance premiums. Their monthly premiums, which they paid through their employer, had gone from just over $200 per month to over $450 per month.

Recently, my friend’s daughter experienced excruciating abdominal pain. When she made an appointment to see her doctor, she was told that under her insurance plan,”her part” of the bill for the office visit was $159. How much, she inquired, was a visit for someone without insurance? $89, she was told. For the very same visit.

After a few more visits, the young woman was finally told that she needed to have her gallbladder removed. Before surgery could be performed, she would have to have a CT, or “cat,” scan of her abdomen. The cost under her insurance policy? A cool $1,700 copay. In cash. Before the scan could be performed. In light of the $1,700 designated as “her part” of the charges, she inquired as to the total amount being charged for the scan. The answer shocked her: Over $4,000.

My friend lamented that her daughter and son-in-law, though insured through a major insurance company, simply could not afford to seek treatment. And so her daughter remained in pain.

A few days later, my friend was decidedly more upbeat. It seems that her daughter, by then desperate, complained to the insurance company that she could not afford a $1,700 CT. A representative of the company referred her to a private radiology group. The same exact CT, under her insurance policy, would cost $450—total. The cost if she paid cash and did not use her insurance? $350.

So . . . a $1,700 CT actually costs less than $350 to perform. Most likely far less.

In fact, I can confirm that the real price is most likely far less.

Man in Scanner 01 - male-patient-ct-scan

$1,500 or $150 for an MRI? That depends . . .

As I shared with my friend, long before she told me about her daughter’s dilemma, I personally became curious about the pricing of routine scans. So I went to a medical imaging center. I asked how much a routine MRI would cost. The answer was $1,500 for an insured patient. I then asked how much it would cost for an uninsured patient paying with cash, check, or a credit card. The answer was $750. I then asked how much it would be if the patient hesitated on price. The answer was $350. I then asked what the bottom line price was if, say, the patient started to leave and their machine was not being used. Their answer? $150.

So in a free market system, that $1,500 scan just became a $150 scan – with immediate, no-wait service, no less.

Thus, we could get things like CTs and MRIs for 10% of their current price – or 90% off – if we could get the big insurers and the government out of the way. Unfortunately, self-serving politicians have convinced the American public that free market, cash-based medicine is “medicine for rich people.” Who, I ask you, can possibly pay $1,500 for a routine MRI that may or may not result in any pertinent findings? That’s right: Rich people. And who can pay the $150 that the same scan would cost in a free market system? That’s right: You and me.

And lest you think this problem is new, consider this:

The Case of the $5,000 Colonoscopy

Years ago when I was in medical residency, I was due for a routine colonoscopy due to a family history of colon cancer. Because I was a medical resident, I had my health insurance through my employer (that is, my medical residency program and the attached hospital system in which I worked). One of the gastroenterologists (GI doctors), a friend of mine, agreed to waive his fees for performing the colonoscopy. (This is a common courtesy among physicians.) So the only costs I would incur were the charges of the hospital.

So far, so good – especially for a medical resident on a steady diet of ramen noodles and peanut butter. I scheduled the colonoscopy.

Weeks later, after a day of prep (which if you have ever had a colonoscopy, you know is not fun), I showed up for the procedure. When I signed in, I was told that my copay was $1,300. I wrote them a personal check on the spot.

At the time, the standard, going price (total) for a colonoscopy was between $900 and $1,200. So charging me $1,300 cash up front was high – particularly given that the hospital would collect on my insurance as well. Even so, I did as they asked.

Thankfully, the colonoscopy was routine and without complications. One small polyp was removed and sent to the lab. That was negative for disease. There were no other findings. I was in the procedure for less than 10 minutes total.

Several weeks later, I received a bill from the hospital – my employer – for over $4,000! With the $1,300 that I had already paid, that meant that they were charging well over $5,000 for a routine, 10-minute procedure with a market value of $900 to $1,200. And that was years ago. With no physician’s fee included.

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The Losers in the Health Care Price Wars: You and Me

This price inflation is what government over-regulation, insurance interference, and profit-mongering do to health care.

Let’s face it: We blew our chance to improve the American healthcare system. And it will only get worse from here. Better hang on.

Welcome to the Obamacare price wars. You’d better bring your Discount Club membership card. And your wallet. You’re going to need it.

Oh, and welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours

Rhonda

moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

Another One Bites the Dust: Aetna Joins Humana, UnitedHealth, Others Leaving the Obamacare Exchanges

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Let’s face it: The American health insurance industry is officially dead.

Before you reach for the tissues and plan the funeral, know this: Theirs was a self-inflicted wound. It was also a calculated endgame.

Its victims? You and me, that’s who.

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Aetna Bows Out

Earlier today, Aetna reported that it is all but exiting the Obamacare exchanges starting in 2017. The company is slashing its involvement in the exchanges by 70%, from an initial participation in over two dozen states down to a mere four states for 2017. No doubt, that number will reach zero by 2018.

The only folks surprised by Aetna’s exit are those who haven’t been paying attention. In fact, all Aetna did today was join a growing list of major insurance conglomerates to leave the Obamacare exchanges. Just yesterday, I posted a blog about the equally abrupt exit of UnitedHealth (“Growing Profit by Bleeding Loss: The New Accounting of Obamacare”). And then there is Humana.

The community of Obamacare expats is growing by the day.

It is worth remembering that a mere two years ago, Aetna served as one of the biggest—and most influential—proponents of the Obamacare exchanges. Almost from inception, Aetna joined the exchanges in over two dozen states, eagerly jumping behind the Obamacare podium and preaching a sermon of free lunches and healthcare for all. At little to no cost to you. Coming to a hospital near you.

The only problem was, the sermon was  a lie. As they pounded the podium and wiped their furrowed brows, asking for donations and support—not to mention your trust—they knew that the sermon was a lie. You were the only one who didn’t know. Even back then, I tried to warn anyone who would listen; but no one wanted to hear my message.

Let’s try this again.

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Golden Parachutes and Beachfront Real Estate

They lied to you, and now they are leaving you with the consequences of their misdeeds.

Oh, and one more thing: They are getting rich in the process, and leaving you poorer than ever. And sicker than ever.

Welcome to Obamacare. Welcome to government-run healthcare designed by Wall Street and insurance fat cats and administered by liberal Democrats intent upon both controlling and rationing the care that you receive.

In yesterday’s blog referenced above, I discussed the fact that Obamacare specifically included a “risk corridor” that was intended to bail out the insurance industry. Everyone knew from the beginning that the nation’s insurance companies would lose massive amounts of money. And they have. Aetna lost over $200 million in the second quarter of this year alone. So did UnitedHealth, which has reported overall losses of some $1.3 billion in 2015 and 2016.

And yet to a company, they all came out in rousing support of the Obamacare mandate.

What gives?

They were promised money. Like most of American politics, money talked—or convinced them to keep their mouths shut, as it were, regarding what Obamacare would really do to the health care that you receive.

Okay. So in exchange for the insurance behemoths’ agreement to stand dutifully at the Obamacare podium—and thereby (as I mentioned yesterday) help forge the instrument of their own demise—they got a bailout. A nice, big, fat wad of government cash, guaranteed. Their CEOs dreamed of golden parachutes and sunset years on sun-drenched beaches.

Today, those same insurance executives are preparing to cash in, and are now looking at oceanfront real estate. But there is a catch, and it’s a big one: As with every government bailout, it now seems that there isn’t enough money to go around. After all, beachfront real estate is expensive—very expensive. And the list of those seeking to cash in is growing.

Forgive me for not weeping openly for their plight.

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Earlier today, Aetna Chairman and CEO Marc Bertolini issued a statement identifying as the problem that Obamacare plan members tend to incur high medical costs, while the federal risk adjustment program (the so-called “risk corridor”) meant to offset insurance company losses has not been adequate. As a result, Aetna, as many insurers, is losing money in the exchanges.

If you haven’t yet read it, you should read my post from yesterday that is referenced above. I said just that.

In other words, Aetna made a bad deal. So did UnitedHealth. And Humana. And now they want out. And the federal government—the same federal government that shoved this entire mess down the throats of good Americans—says that is just fine. Seems they never thought, before handing out the bailout cash, to require that the insurance companies stick around for the ride. And so that ride just got a lot bumpier—for you and me.

So . . . What is going on?

Here is the truth:

You are being hosed by the same fat cats this administration encouraged you to hate. My former law school classmate Barack Obama—assisted by generations of liberal progressive Democrats, free-lunch politicians, and medical establishment and educational elites—convinced you that they were the good guys. At the same time, they made you hate the insurance industry. They made you hate them, while blaming them for healthcare’s enduring plagues: high cost and inadequate access.

Having done that, they fed you a line that somehow the federal government would put the insurance companies in their place. They put them in their place, all right: right beside them in the bed that they share, and have always shared.

For their part, the insurance companies were happy to go along for the ride. After all, public vilification is nothing new to them. Everyone already hated them. All that was needed was a little reinforcement and the acquiescence of the insurers themselves. And that came at a price—a very high price, indeed. And, we now learn, with no strings attached. It was a typical government deal in which we, the American taxpayers and the only folks with no seat at the table, get hosed.

In the meantime, the politicians, policymakers, and government bureaucrats encouraged you to hate the insurance industry. They publicly blamed the nation’s insurers for most of the shortcomings of the American healthcare system. But here’s the kicker: They did all that with a wink and a nod in the insurance industry’s direction. Theirs was a fake conflict manufactured to lead you down the path to the destruction of not them, but you. Only you could not see that.

With the exits of Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth—not to mention the long list of insurers who will join them at the exit door—millions of Americans will be left with few to no viable options for both insurance coverage and care.

It was the classic bait-and-switch. And we are the catch of the day.

Even worse, the void will be filled—by the same federal government that orchestrated this entire charade. Acting as though they are benevolently bailing us out this time, they will offer what they intended for us all along: universal, single payer health care. Health care by the government, for the benefit of the chosen, in accordance with the social good. Socialized medicine.

Welcome to the VA Health System on steroids. Get comfortable. You’re going to be here for a while.

 

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Let’s face it: We allowed them to brainwash us into screwing up our own health care.

And now they are all bailing out, leaving us without care. Because make no mistake: single payer health care is the closest thing to no care that you will ever have the misfortune of experiencing.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

The New Wage Wars: Physicians and the “Maximum Wage”

There is a new wage war brewing in the United States. The federal government says that doctors are paid too much. Is a “maximum wage” for physicians next?

 

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The New Wage Wars

Thanks to Bernie Sanders, this election year has seen a reinvigoration of the liberal Democrats’ ever-advancing war on free markets and at-will employment. Referring to this latest political skirmish as the “Fight for 15,” they seek to mandate a so-called “living wage” that, as we all know, will actually result in the intended beneficiaries losing their jobs. It is a typical liberal Democratic initiative that will punish the very individuals it claims to help.

Ironically, those same liberal Democrats—and the federal government bureaucrats who work for them—have no problem arguing the opposite case when it comes to the country’s physicians. Doctors, it seems, make too much, and therefore should be limited to a federally imposed, one size fits all “maximum wage.”

Unfortunately, in today’s post-Obamacare America, this outlandish and blatantly unconstitutional position has teeth. It is also being enforced at hospitals around the country.

Welcome to Obamacare. The outlook for your future care is very bad, indeed.

Don’t believe me? Sounds outlandish? Well, read on . . .

Making Examples of the Nation’s Hospitals

It was recently announced that Lexington Medical Center located in Columbia, South Carolina will pay the federal government $17 million to settle claims that it paid its employed physicians too much. Sadly, Lexington is not alone. In the last year alone, another South Carolina hospital and two Florida hospitals paid the federal government $72.4 million, $69.5 million, and $118.7 million respectively to settle similar lawsuits. And there are many other stories where those came from.

So . . . what is going on?

 

Dollar Bills with Stethoscope - 50-50-secrets-hospitals-wont-tell-you-doctor-fees

 

The Obamacare Dilemma

Having forcibly shoved Obamacare down our throats, the federal government now has a few very serious problems:

First, doctors, like everyone, cannot, and will not, work for free.

Second, the biggest consumers of Obamacare—that is, the previously uninsured and those who are in the country illegally—have no intention of paying any health insurance premium, no matter how ostensibly “affordable.” For its part, the federal government has no real recourse aside from penalties that those same folks likewise have no intention of paying. Anything more forceful is a political non-starter and would alienate their base of entitlement voters.

Third, because the biggest utilizers of Obamacare are not paying a dime for the privilege, they are spending other people’s money. And we all know how that turns out: costs escalate as quality plummets. It is a basic law of economics, markets, and human nature that no politician or government bureaucrat can overcome.

Between rising healthcare costs (of which physician salaries is a less-than-minuscule component), the need for subsidies, and the tendency of the subsidized to overspend (among other factors), any way you slice it, Obamacare is simply unaffordable.

To add to the government’s problems, healthcare is also notoriously difficult to regulate in the trenches. After all, the practice of medicine involves highly skilled and trained professionals making constant (and often snap) judgments involving both art and science. How is a government bureaucrat with a degree in political science going to keep up, much less catch the healthcare “bad guys” in the act, when he doesn’t even understand their language?

Finally, many in the country still respect physicians. Most actually love their own physician. With marching orders to divide and conquer, how is that same government bureaucrat to turn physicians into villains, much less public enemy number one?

The Federal Government’s Solution

All of these problems are solved by the federal government’s newest tactic in its 100-year war on physicians: Suing hospitals for paying their employed physicians too much. While the rest of the country argues over raising the country’s minimum wage, physicians are quietly being clubbed over the head by a federal government intent upon applying a “maximum wage” restriction to them alone.

Of course, such a thing is frankly unconstitutional. Of course, that never stopped the D.C. powers that be.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS:Doctor in Scrubs Rubbing Eyes - RV-AO258_DOCTOR_GR_20140829105746
This is how doctors will have their pay effectively lowered, and lowered, and lowered until such time as they become dramatically underpaid and thus are forced to quit practicing medicine. This, of course, will solve the Obamacare problem of physician compensation—especially when the government makes good on its promise to replace physicians with those with less training and experience, who in turn will accept lower wages—for a time. Then they will quit, and someone even less qualified will be hired. They, too, will accept less, until they, too, quit, at which time someone even less experienced—and less expensive—takes over. They, too, . . .

You get the point: It is a never-ending downward spiral of increasing ineptitude. After all, you get what you pay for. Health care is no exception to that universal rule.

You will be told that physicians are willingly leaving the country at the mercy of a doctor shortage because they are greedy and do not care about your needs or your health. In actuality, they are being forced out by a federal government that is driving them into forced servitude and personal poverty. When it comes down to a choice between practicing medicine and sending your children to college, or between practicing medicine and paying the light bill, then things can get very oppressive very fast. And for the nation’s physicians, they are—at lightning speed.

Calling in Reinforcements

The whistleblower nature of these lawsuits also solves the enforcement problem. By effectively incentivizing disgruntled physicians—who are in so short supply these days—to snitch on their colleagues for their own personal gain, it turns physicians into the federal government’s eyes and ears—and expert witnesses—on the hospital floors.

Nowhere is this effect more apparent than in the Lexington case. Lexington paid the federal government $17 million to settle claims that it paid its employed physicians to refer patients to the hospital for the care that they needed. One neurologist employed by the hospital collected a paycheck from the hospital, yet sent his patients elsewhere for care. Of course the hospital “pressured” him to utilize their facilities—they were paying his salary! After he was fired, he went to the federal government, which promptly filed a whistleblower lawsuit on his behalf. According to the government, paying the neurologist’s salary gave the hospital no right to pressure him into treating his patients at the hospital. That paid his salary. I kid you not.

The tattling physician’s take? A cool $4.5 million for doing absolutely nothing. He will never have to work another day in his life. He also gets his revenge against a former employer. No doubt, he was motivated by bitterness over the hospital’s having purchased his practice and turned him into an employee. Of course, the necessity of such a mutually distasteful employment arrangement was the fault of neither the hospital nor the neurologist. If you must blame someone, blame Obamacare—and the same federal government that shook down Lexington for $17 million while throwing a “finder’s fee” of $4.5 million to the newly wealthy tattle-tale. It’s a sweet deal for both. For you and me? Not so much.

White Coat VillainsDoctor in Scrubs and Handcuffs - fake cancer doctors

Finally, lawsuits like the one in South Carolina assist the federal government in its never-ending quest to vilify doctors and hospitals so that it can continue to punish and control them at will and with the public’s approval. They allow the federal government to take a public “victory lap,” at the same time giving the public the impression that it is “cracking down” on “bad doctors” and “bad hospitals.” You know the drill: Publicly vilify your target, excoriate them in the oh-so-compliant press, then take them out. That is what is happening here.

And best of all for the government, it is a rigged game—an unfair fight. Since they are the federal government, they simply pressure the hospitals until they have to settle. The hospitals have no choice. Guilt, and the breaking of laws, has nothing to do with it.

Show Us the Money—Or Not

In case you were wondering, absolutely none of the money collected from these sham lawsuits will be used to fund the care that you receive. Instead, it will go straight into the pockets of: (1) the government bureaucrats who approve the lawsuits; (2) the government lawyers who bring them, pretending to practice law while knowing that all of the cases will settle; (3) the judges who approve these forced and planned extortions masquerading as settlements; and, of course, (4) those who contribute nothing yet continue to receive Obamacare subsidies while the rest of us working stiffs are priced out of the insurance marketplace altogether and, eventually, denied the care that we need for our troubles.

This, of course, allows for greater redistribution. It works out for everyone—except you and me.

Bad Medicine

None of this improves the quality of your health care. Nor will it lower the cost of that care. But then again, as I have warned many times over, Obamacare has nothing to do with the quality or cost of your care. To the contrary, the law is designed to destroy the care that you receive. And it is doing just that.

Here is the point:

Hospitals are now being sued by the federal government for paying their employed physicians too much.

How can that be?

So-called “whistleblowers” make millions of dollars—for some, tens of millions of dollars—for doing nothing more honorable than snitching on their former employers—again, for ostensibly committing the “new crime” of paying physicians too much for doing one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

Ask yourself: Exactly how much is too much? How much is a good physician worth? Is physician compensation one size fits all?

What if we suddenly said that CEOs could not be paid “too much” regardless of their qualifications and value to the companies they run? Or attorneys? Or painters, plumbers, or roofers? Or the guy who mows your lawn? Or you?

That’s right: No one would stand for it.

Somehow, when the victims are physicians, it is just fine. Go figure.

So . . . In a world where employed physicians’ salaries are already dropping precipitously, how long will it be before physicians are making less than any other professionals? Or, for that matter, your local manual laborer?

That’s right: Not long.

And when that happens, how many of the best and the brightest academics are going to choose to go into medicine in return for a government-mandated “maximum wage?” How many are going to be willing to go through decades of medical training, stay up endless nights, work countless weekends, miss important events in their own families, and risk being sued at every turn—again, in exchange for a government-mandated “maximum wage” that will be far less than their college classmates are making? How many will forgo caring for their own family’s needs so that they can care for the needs of others?

Most importantly, how many will be there to respond to the call when you need them?

That’s right: None.

Welcome to rationed care, compliments of the federal government.

The Obamacare ride is getting bumpy. Better hold on tight.

If Hillary Clinton wins in November, things will get much worse. Brace yourselves. As the liberal Democrats get their wish of a McDonald’s minimum wage that starts at $15, is indexed for inflation, and goes steadily up from there, physicians—your physician—probably won’t be paid enough to live on.

What do you think that will do to the care that you receive?

That’s right: It will destroy it.

Welcome to Obamacare. You’re going to hate it.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

Just Like George: Avoiding Suicide by Principle

Those of us who support Donald Trump are diverse. Most of us do not agree with Trump on everything. We also disagree with each other–on so much. In many ways, we are a ragtag bunch. Truth be told, many of us are not particularly thrilled about the prospect of a Trump presidency.

In other words, most of us never wanted to be here. And yet here is where we are.

Trump is not perfect. That having been said, in this election year, we have a much larger dragon to slay. For almost eight years, we have watched our standing in the world plummet, our economy stagnate, our security crack, our freedoms erode, our most basic rights disintegrate, and our identity as a nation crumble under a blanket of political correctness, anti-American rhetoric, and delusional politics.

We need help–fast.

We are pragmatists. We are also afraid.

That makes us just like Donald Trump. And George Washington.

 

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Just Like George

George Washington was an officer in the British army when he was turned down for a promotion. After coming to America, he found himself in charge of the all-volunteer army of colonists at the start of the Revolutionary War. At the time, there existed no concept of a loose confederation of states with no king or ruler. The idea that states could both self-govern and at the same time revolve around a centralized federal government with no monarch or dictator at the helm was yet to be imagined.

Because of this lack of unity, the struggling colonies often perceived themselves to be in direct competition with each other. Not surprisingly, many in the ragtag band of soldiers fought among themselves, even on the front lines and in the midst of battle. This was counterproductive, self-defeating, and dangerous. Washington knew this.

One of Washington’s earliest challenges was to persuade the soldiers to put aside their individual differences—many of which were significant and would require future compromise. Some are still lurking in the recesses of the American consciousness today.

Even so, Washington persuaded them to focus instead upon the greatest and most imminent threat to them in that moment: the British military forces who were landing on their shores and advancing through their fields and into their community squares with a solitary purpose of killing anyone who got in their way. The enemy could not tell citizens of one colony from those of another. To the enemy, all colonists must subjugate themselves or die. It was an equation both simple and terrifying.

There was no time to work out the details of the colonies’ future relations. There was a red-coated dragon to slay first.

As one of his greatest challenges, Washington had to make his men understand that while they had many differences, some of them serious, there would be time, later, to work those out. He had to make them understand that if they failed to defeat the advancing British, their differences would be of no consequence, because all would be lost.

Thankfully, Washington succeeded in his mission. His troops stood and fought side by side together, eventually forming a disciplined, fearless band of patriots to whom we owe our nation, if not our lives. Their cooperation served as the model upon which the resulting infant nation was envisioned and the foundation upon which it was built.

Suicide by Principle

Trump’s supporters are in many ways as diverse as the ragtag band of revolutionaries that Washington forged into an effective army that won our freedom. We disagree with Trump in places. We disagree with each other as well. Most of us do not like Trump’s rhetoric. Many of us doubt whether he can, or will, do everything that he promises. Trump, to us, is far from perfect.

That is okay. Like Washington’s troops 240 years ago, we have a bigger dragon to slay that threatens us all.

What is not okay is for us to lose sight of the forest for the trees. What is not okay is for us to allow our doubts about Trump to lead us to elect Hillary Clinton, the one person who unabashedly promises more of the same—the very “same” that is killing us.

That would be like Washington’s soldiers allowing the British to advance unimpeded because they were busy squabbling among themselves. It would be like the colonists allowing themselves to be forever enslaved by a faraway tyrannical king just because, as free men all, they disagreed with their neighbors over trade. Or the boundary between free colonies. Or how to exercise the personal and collective freedoms that at that point were virtually without limit.

That would be suicide by principle. And more than an uncertain Trump presidency, that would be a crying shame.

It would also be supremely stupid, and self-defeating.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

Growing Profit by Bleeding Loss: The New Accounting of Obamacare

 

WONDERING WHY YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS ARE SKYROCKETING?

HERE’S WHY:

It’s all UnitedHealth’s fault. Sort of.

Modern Healthcare is a leading publication of the healthcare industry. Recently, Modern Healthcare published an article entitled “UnitedHealth posts major gains despite $200 million of additional ACA losses.”

Needless to say, the article caught my attention.

As bad as the headline is, the details in the article are even worse.

According to the author:

  • “UnitedHealth Group . . . grew revenue by more than 28%, even though the conglomerate continued to bleed money from the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.”
  • “UnitedHealth’s profit increased 11% in the second quarter to $1.75 billion” despite “an additional $200 million of losses from the ACA’s public exchanges.”
  • UnitedHealth “has now lost approximately $1.3 billion in 2015 and 2016 from the new marketplaces.”
  • “Despite those losses, UnitedHealth raised premium prices and controlled costs in other areas to solidify its fundamental business.”
  • “Earnings from UnitedHealth’s operations totaled $3.2 billion in the quarter and $6.2 billion in the first half of this year.”
  • Finally, having made its excess profit despite record losses, “UnitedHealth has pulled out of most of the exchanges for 2017.”

Keep in mind that UnitedHealth currently insures almost 48 million Americans.

And yet they are pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges. After making record profits from the confusion and insurance industry . . . um, flexibility (I’m being nice) it created.

It gets worse.Worried Woman 01 - 131568-566x848r1-ExcessiveWorry

A spokesman for UnitedHealth recently opined—out loud, and in public—that the only way the Obamacare exchanges will survive is with “a massive new infusion” of taxpayer money.

Keep in mind that Obamacare and its regulations already established a so-called “risk corridor” to subsidize insurance behemoths, like UnitedHealth, that lost money in the exchanges (as everyone knew they would). It was the only way to get the politically powerful insurance industry on board as supporting the passage and implementation of the very law that would destroy their industry. Tricky business, that: getting smart folks to help forge the instrument of their own death.

Everyone knew that the Obamacare exchanges would fail. And so, in exchange for their public support, the country’s largest—and most profitable—insurance companies demanded a bailout. It was classic quid pro quo. It was also the classic pay to play scheme. Only this time, the payer is you. And you don’t even get to play.

Welcome to health insurance administered by the federal government.

Needless to say, the insurance industry got just what it asked for in the risk corridor.

Only like all bailouts, now it seems what they got was not enough. Now they want more—of your money. And the federal government has signaled that it is more than willing to oblige. And remember that this time around, they have the power of the federal Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice on their side. You will pay—dearly—for their . . . um, miscalculation (again, I am being nice, which isn’t easy).

 

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How can this be?

How, you may ask, can one of the nation’s largest insurance conglomerates support the passage of Obamacare over the wishes of its insureds, intentionally lose billions of dollars in the exchanges as a result, yet still make record profits?

And how can they legitimately make up for those losses—all of which were of their own doing—by increasing premiums paid by, and decreasing coverage provided to, those they insure?

And having cashed in on the legislated risk corridor, what right do they have to return to the well and demand even more taxpayer dollars to subsidize their mistake if not their misconduct?

Finally, having done all that, how can they simply exit the system, leaving some 48 million Americans with few options other than substandard Obamacare offered through an obscure and unaccountable middleman, if not the federal government itself?

Do those 48 million Americans have any idea where they will go? Does UnitedHealth even care?

I think we know the answer to both questions:  No.

Worried Man 04 - worried-1

Welcome to the future.

Welcome to government-controlled healthcare administered by nameless, faceless, and unaccountable bureaucrats, working in concert with equally unaccountable insurance and Wall Street fat cats, none of whom cares about you or your care.

None of what is about to happen will make sense to good folks like you and me. None of it will be right, or fair. None of it will improve your health—quite the opposite.

And there is not one thing that you or your doctor can do about it.

And who do you think footed the bill for UnitedHealth’s “major gains” despite their record losses under Obamacare?

That’s right: You and me, that’s who.

And who do you think will provide the “massive new infusion” of cash that UnitedHealth now demands?

That’s right: You and me, that’s who.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

Increasing Spending by Lowering Cost: Obamacare and the Upward Death Spiral

Worried Woman 02 - Worried-pensioner-reading-overdue-bills

 

It appears that the Obamacare narrative continues to run headlong into the unforgiving brick wall of reality.

Pesky things, facts.

The latest: 

Healthcare costs are skyrocketing under Obamacare.

In 2015, the United States healthcare system spent $3.2 trillion—that’s trillion with a “t”—or almost $10,000 for every person. This is the highest rate of spending—and the greatest increase over 2014 spending—seen thus far under Obamacare. It also outpaces by a significant stretch all pre-Obamacare healthcare spending.

With a whopping 5.5% annual growth rate, healthcare spending goes up by $176 billion every year. That same 5.5% annual growth rate also ensures that healthcare spending outstrips by a significant margin the growths of gross domestic product (GDP), tax revenue, and wages. In other words, healthcare spending is outgrowing every other marker of American productivity and wealth. That is concerning.

Under Obamacare, the percentage of the United States economy devoted to healthcare spending has grown.

Remember when proponents of Obamacare relied upon the supposedly unprecedented percentage of the U.S. economy devoted to healthcare spending—16% at the time—to promise a remedy?

Outrageous!” they exclaimed, with a righteous indignation that was visible and, for many, compelling.

Well, under Obamacare, that percentage has increased—to 17.8%, to be exact. So in less than six years of Obamacare, that number has increased by some 1.8%, or just over 11%. That’s almost 2% per year. With overall spending of $3.2 trillion, that’s a lot of money—almost $60 billion—that’s billion, with a “b”— per year, to be exact. And that’s just the annual increase in the percentage of the economy devoted to healthcare spending under Obamacare. Yikes.

Even worse, Barack Obama’s own Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that by 2025, healthcare spending will comprise 20.1% of the U.S. economy. That, of course, leaves precious little money for defense, education, transportation, infrastructure, disaster preparedness and relief . . . You know: the other necessities.

Healthcare spending will not slow down anytime soon.

Between the Obamacare-mandated expansion of Medicaid and industry responses that have increased prices while limiting consumer choice, healthcare spending is poised to continue its upward death spiral. As they say, few things are as certain as death, taxes, and increased healthcare spending. Okay, so they don’t add that last part. But they should.

Obamacare has done nothing measurable to lower healthcare spending.

When recently pressed, even Obamacare-friendly CMS economists “could not definitively say” whether the law’s payment and delivery reforms have done anything to lower healthcare spending.

You know what that means: They have not.

One area alone has continued to grow at a historically low rate of 0.8%—private sector price inflation.

Tellingly, that is the one part of the healthcare spending equation that remains, for the most part and thanks to an aggressive lobbying effort, in the private sector—for now. You should hope that continues. If not, and if the federal government takes over, expect dramatic increases in the prices of everything related to your health.

 

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Relentless, Obamacare-driven job growth in the healthcare sector will further exacerbate the problem.

All new jobs are not created equal.

According to healthcare economists, the current healthcare hiring pace will put the industry at 900,000 added jobs in 2015 and 2016 alone.

Job creation is a good thing, right? Not necessarily.

No doubt, this acceleration in hiring is in response to the added burdens placed on providers by Obamacare and its regulations. The problem is, these are jobs that are now required to do the same work that was previously done by fewer people. Just because the workplace is more crowded, that doesn’t necessarily mean that more, additional, or better care is provided.

Nor is more profit being generated. Rather, thanks to Obamacare and its regulatory complexity and technological mandates, the new jobs are required just to maintain the status quo. Obviously, where employment costs rise and profits do not, that equals a net loss. In such a scenario, the more new healthcare jobs are created, the more healthcare spending increases, while profits remain stagnant.

And so the upward death spiral continues.

Americans are paying more out of pocket for the health care that they receive.

In 2015, a record 10.6% of national health expenditures came directly from consumers. With $3.2 trillion in total healthcare spending, that equals almost $340 billion—that’s billion, with a “b”—per year that comes out of individual Americans’ pockets. As those consumers are increasingly pushed toward high-deductible health plans, that upward trajectory of individual costs is expected to continue, reaching historic highs over the next few years.

It is only a matter of time before average Americans like you and me are priced out of not only the health insurance market, but the health care delivery market as well. That is when things will get really painful—literally.

Because of the personal costs involved, more and more Americans are postponing both seeking and receiving care, leading to higher costs and worse outcomes.

Individual responsibility for costs associated with healthcare services reduces spending in the short term as healthcare consumers forgo routine and non-emergent care. However, that same postponement leads to more long-term spending and worse outcomes. Because individuals wait longer to seek care, they are sicker when they do, with the result that their care is both more expensive and less effective.

 

 

Having “skin in the game” does not a better healthcare consumer make.

Obamacare’s proponents extol the cost savings associated with giving healthcare consumers “skin in the game” by making them pay more out of pocket for their care. Economists disagree. They report that when it come to healthcare, high deductibles and copays have the opposite effect. Increasing out of pocket expenditures—particularly in a time of economic recession and record unemployment and wage stagnation—results in higher overall healthcare spending. This is because for every healthcare consumer who forgoes low-value/high-cost care, another forgoes low cost/high value care like preventive care and disease screenings. Again, costs rise and outcomes worsen as a result.

 

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Per-person healthcare spending increases with federal government involvement. 

In 2015, private health insurance companies spent an average of $5,380 per insured individual. That same year, Medicare spent almost $12,000 per enrollee—not including enrollees’ out of pocket expenditures. Of course, since Medicare is used almost exclusively by the elderly and those with serious health conditions, that is understandable. They are a self-selected group inclined toward healthcare spending. Less understandable is the fact that that same year, Medicaid programs—which presumably represent the same wide variety of individuals as the private health insurance industry—spent nearly $8,000 per member.

All of this is a direct result of the passage and implementation of Obamacare.

Even the Obamacare-friendly CMS admits that these are direct effects of, and responses to, Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and its resulting disruption of both the health insurance market and the healthcare delivery system. On that we all agree.

So why, exactly, are we continuing down the Obamacare road? That’s a good question.

The Bottom Line

Who, exactly, is surprised by any of this? Certainly not the nation’s physicians. But no one asked us. Certainly not my former law school classmate, Barack Obama. Go figure.

Just wait until the rationing of care begins in earnest starting in 2017. If you think rising insurance deductibles and copays are concerning, just wait until you cannot get the care that you need regardless of price and your ability and willingness to pay.

Unfortunately, that day is fast approaching. Its arrival will be hastened in the event Hillary Clinton wins the presidency this fall. She has actually promised as much.

Higher costs. Less care. Worse outcomes. Government control. Bureaucratic interference. Rationed care. Death panels.

This is the real face of Obamacare.

Is this progress? Because it looks and feels a lot like failure to me.

Welcome to Obamacare. I’m sure you’re going to hate it.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

 

Obamacare Gets an F: Physicians Give the Law a Failing Grade

Medical Economics - Cover - Health Care Reform F - 072516 - cover-10[1] - RESIZED

 

Grades Matter

Grades matter. They are also telling. Obamacare has just been put to the test, and the results are not good. Obamacare has failed—miserably.

Late last month, while the nation recovered from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and continued to obsess over every new investigation of Hillary Clinton and every regrettable utterance by Donald Trump, the results of a stunning survey were released.

While the nation slept, one of its scariest boogeymen looked it straight in the eye; and the American public did not even blink.

 

Hippocrates Frustrated - ICD-10-Patient-Care-Impact-Frustration

 

Surveying America’s Physicians

Medical Economics is a leading journal of the medical profession. Recently, the magazine’s editorial board surveyed hundreds of practicing physicians across the nation. With the help of healthcare industry experts, including healthcare policy analysts and policymakers and physician advisors, the magazine’s editorial board devised a list of eight major policy initiatives of Obamacare. Items listed were among the largest, most sweeping promises used to sell Obamacare to physicians and healthcare consumers—you know, you and me as the individuals with the power to make or break the new law—and vote politicians into, and out of, office.

Physicians surveyed were engaged in the day-to-day practice of medicine. They were asked to grade each Obamacare promise based upon whether that promise had been kept, whether the stated goal had been achieved, and whether that element of Obamacare assisted them in their day-to-day work as a physician. They were asked to grade each element between a low of 0 (not at all) to a high of 10 (very much).

In the cover article of the magazine’s July 25, 2016 issue, pictured above, the magazine’s editorial board revealed the results of that survey.

They were dismaying, but not surprising.

That’s Obamacare with an “F”

It is now official: Six long years in, America’s physicians give each element of Obamacare an F.   medicare-frustrated-doctor

It is worth noting that practicing physicians do not give each element of Obamacare an F as in, say, a 64, 60, or even 55 sort of F—in other words, the sort of F that says, “If you had just tried harder, everything would have been okay; so better luck next time.”

No. They gave each element of Obamacare an F that is in the 20s or 30s—you know, the kind of F that in school would have caused you to be held back, grounded by your parents, or most likely both. In other words, each element of Obamacare examined received a “you-didn’t-even-try-so-there-won’t-be-a-next-time” sort of F.

Even more telling, as the article’s authors note, individual survey respondents did not differ much in their evaluations—or their grades. Indeed, the physician respondents were uniform to a physician in their perceptions of the massive failures of Obamacare.

Again, the results are disappointing but not surprising to those of us who have struggled under Obamacare’s false promises and egregious mandates for six years now.

Results Rundown

Since most of you have no reason or desire to subscribe to, much less read, Medical Economics Magazine, here is a rundown of the specific Obamacare promises considered, their respective grades (both number and letter), and verbatim quotes from physician respondents:

1.   Medicare bonus for primary care services  

     The Obamacare promise: Obamacare-mandated Medicare bonuses for primary care services will more fairly compensate primary care physicians by closing the gap between reimbursement for primary care services and payment for specialist services, which have historically be compensated at much higher rates despite a relative equality of services, training, and education. This would have amounted to an effective raise for primary care physicians while leaving medical specialists’ payments intact. It was proposed as a win-win for all physicians as well as their patients.

     PHYSICIAN GRADE: 33 = F  

Physician comments:

      “It is totally meaningless.”                                                 

      “It was a silly Band-Aid.”

2.   Medicaid-Medicare parity

       The Obamacare promise: Obamacare-mandated payments to primary care physicians providing services under Medicaid will be reimbursed at the same rate as the same services under Medicare. This would have amounted to an effective raise for physicians caring for the Medicaid population while keeping Medicare reimbursements stable. Again, it was proposed as a win-win for everyone. 

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 34 = F

Physician comment:

       “Once again a short-term fix for long-term problems which mandates one and then walks away to  leave someone else holding the bag.”

3.   Increased coverage through healthcare insurance exchanges 

      The Obamacare promise: Under Obamacare, more Americans will be provided health insurance coverage thanks to the healthcare insurance exchanges.

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 35 = F

Physician comments:

      “Coverage is shockingly bad, and at a high price.

      “[M]ore coverage does not equal more access.”

       “High deductibles appears to me to be a by-product of insurance companies protecting their assets.” 

       “Why would selling an insurance policy with a large deductible help someone who can’t even afford the premiums? They can’t pay the deductible, so they still can’t afford care. Who made out? Insurance companies. Who lost? Private practice doctors who had to deal with patients who stiffed them for the deductibles on policies. Thanks Obama!

       “[Physicians] have been the ones who have to explain that the patient does have to pay their exorbitant copays—usually we end up with zero and an angry patient.

4.   Physician networks                                           

       The Obamacare promise: Under Obamacare, Americans will enjoy access to a wide range of care from a physician of their choosing. (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”) (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”)

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 29 = F

Physician comments:

      “[Obama said] ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ The result? Reduced choice.”

     “Insurance companies are prohibited from cherry picking healthy patients, so they cherry pick physicians who treat healthy patients.”

      “The network delineations in our area are so arbitrary and inappropriate that all they do is impede care.”

      “If I can’t send my patients to specialists within a reasonable travel time, the patient simply can’t go. This is particularly true in rural areas. 

5.   Accountable care organizations  

      The Obamacare promise: Through Obamacare-mandated Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Medicare patients will enjoy high-quality, coordinated care.

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 29 = F 

Physician comments:                                      

      “This is managed care reintroduced under another name. There will be temporary savings then rapidly increasing costs again as the market becomes controlled.”

      “ACOs add layers of work for physicians, reducing our ability to spend time with our patients and adding unnecessary burdens to our already busy schedules. And all of this with marginal if not negligible benefit.”

6.   Outcomes-based reimbursement   

       The Obamacare Promise: Obamacare-mandated initiatives, including outcomes-based provider reimbursement, will ensure patients a higher quality of care.

       PHYSICIAN GRADE: 28 = F 

Physician comments:

      “Let’s start paying lawyers and politicians using a similar grading system.” 

      “Unintended consequence of this in a long run will be that no one will be willing to take care of sick patients, because they will cost the doctor money in reimbursement.”

      “This is a very dangerous game that the government is playing with physician reimbursement and it will be the death of the small practice.”

      “Ultimately could just be a complicated way to cut reimbursement.”

      “The emphasis has moved from the patient to the process.”

      “The problem is that this law does not reward good medicine, it only rewards good recordkeeping.”

7.   Physician ratings via the Physician Compare website

       The Obamacare promise: Obamacare-mandated physician compare websites will allow patients to make more informed choices of providers, at the same time incentivizing physicians to provide the highest quality care possible.

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 26 = F

Physician comments    

      “We need a site for insurance companies and congressmen as well.”

      “This website constitutes CMS’s engagement in cyberbullying practicing physicians.”

      “[The site is] horribly inaccurate.”

      “It appears to be at random and not vetted at all.”

      “Not all that is important can be measured, and not all that is measurable is important.”

8.   Expansion of health IT

       The Obamacare promise: Obamacare-mandated electronic health records (EHRs) will improve patient care and physician communication.

      PHYSICIAN GRADE: 31 = F

Physician comments:

      “The EHR is the single worst thing among many to happen to medical practice in the past 15 years.”

      “This is the single most detrimental hurdle to practicing.” 

       “Nothing ruins a patient’s experience faster than a computer in the exam room.” 

       “[EHRs] just opened doors to lots of IT vendors who are overcharging because they can!” 

       “[E]verything involved in patient care takes longer.” 

       “I spend a large amount of time as a clerk. Thank you 9th grade typing teacher!

 

 

Obamacare’s Failing Grade

The results are in. They also speak for themselves.

Obamacare’s average? Exactly 30. That’s a dangerously long way from 100—or even the passing mark of 65, for that matter. In fact, it is less than half of passing. Hardly commendable. Not even acceptable.

Imagine what would have happened to you in school were you to take such a dismal report card home.

Obamacare should be held back. Or grounded. Or suspended until improved.

Obamacare is a failure—a massive failure.

In case you wondered what your physician thinks of Obamacare, well, you have your answer.

That is bad news for us physicians, and even worse news for you, our patients.

Welcome to Obamacare. You’re going to hate it. Heck, you might not even survive it.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

#MoormanMedia

 

Cruz Control

 

Cruz Speaking at RNC 02 - untitled

Though predictable overall, the recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions did deliver some notable drama–particularly of the Ted Cruz variety. If it was drama you sought, the first-term Texas Senator and previous GOP presidential hopeful did not disappoint.

Before we get into this, I should admit: I was once a Ted Cruz fan. Not anymore.

Drama at the RNC

You know what I’m talking about: Cruz’s infamous non-endorsement speech at the RNC. Watching Cruz speak that Wednesday evening was like watching a train go off the tracks in slow motion. At first, the ride was fun and the view lovely. Cruz was telling us what we wanted to hear. And then we went through a tunnel. Those present on the floor began—softly at first—to chant for Cruz to do the right thing and endorse Donald Trump, the GOP nominee. Cruz refused to do so. Those of us watching at home became uneasy. We shifted in our seats, suddenly uncomfortable. Surely Cruz, the ultimate politician, would not refuse to endorse Trump; would he? Surely he would not be so obstinate in a prime time speech with much of America watching; would he?

And then he did. The train emerged from the tunnel only to careen down a steep incline and over a cliff that few of us saw coming. In a matter of moments, the audience went from adoring, to respectful, to guarded, to suspicious, to demanding, to angry, to furious. Through it all, Cruz remained unyielding, defiant. He was a man on a mission to . . . what? Stand on principle? Hurt Trump? Destroy his own carefully crafted and constantly nurtured political career?

There is a silver lining, however: Those events lead me to conclude that presidential primary seasons, while challenging, tiresome, and expensive, do work, after all. Their purpose is to vet, hone the skills of, test the mettle of, and rally increasing support behind the deserving while weeding out the unacceptable, the undeserving, the incapable, and those of impure purpose.

True Colors

Cruz’s RNC speech was a stunning moment that is destined to take its place in the archives of presidential politics as one of the most dramatic convention moments in modern history.

Drama, it turns out, is rapidly becoming the hallmark of Ted Cruz. And that is a problem.

In that stunning moment that we will discuss for years to come, Ted Cruz failed to reach the mark. He also showed his true colors.

Ted Cruz is in it for Ted Cruz. Like a petulant child who did not get his way, Cruz stood defiantly before the American people, figurative arms crossed tightly across his chest and lower lip protruding, and unapologetically refused to do what he pledged he would do: support the party’s nominee. Despite having just delivered a rousing speech that would make any constitutional scholar proud, for that very public transgression, Cruz was literally booed off the stage. At that very moment, Trump appeared in the wings, with his thumb jutted firmly into the air, in a signature gesture. Trump’s message was clear: “It’s all good. I’m bigger than this. I’m better than this. We’re better than this.” The no doubt contrived optics worked for Trump, as Cruz silently slunk from the stage. It was a very presidential moment—for Trump. Yet again, the career politician had been outmaneuvered by the political newcomer.

It was not Cruz at his most splendid. It did not make him look remotely presidential. To the contrary, it made him look small, petty, mean, jealous, and self-serving. It made him look entitled. Moments later, Cruz’s wife Heidi was hurriedly escorted out of the convention hall by security as angry delegates yelled the intended insult, “Goldman Sachs!” at her.

The Wall

Cruz’s evening went downhill from there. As he walked past, shocked, disappointed and furious Republicans averted their eyes. It was too soon. One gentleman had to be restrained. Cruz proceeded to the suite of Las Vegas casino magnate and GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson, having previously been invited to do so. That invitation, however, was rescinded the moment Cruz refused to endorse Trump. Cruz was stopped at the door to the lavish suite, where he was denied entrance. Later, a senior aide to Adelson tweeted out a picture of Adelson and his wife posing with Trump, “their choice for President!”

Trump and his supporters were building their first wall—to keep Cruz out of the upcoming general election process.

 

Ted Cruz with RNC Texas Delegation - cruz+rnc+texas+delegation

This is personal.

Even so, mere hours after being booed from the convention stage, an astoundingly tone-deaf Cruz on Thursday morning told an angry group of Texas constituents that he refuses to be a “servile puppy dog” to the party’s nominee. Did I miss something? Trump gave the man a prime time speaking slot—and an opportunity to address the nation—despite the fact that he refused to endorse Trump. What about that indicates the servility of anyone, much less Cruz?

Cruz also admitted that despite his lofty speech the night before, steeped as it was in soaring constitutional rhetoric and concluding with a call for those listening to “vote their conscience,” his beef with Trump was, it turns out, quite personal. When some members of the Texas delegation voiced their displeasure with his actions, Cruz defiantly stated that his refusal to endorse Trump was “not about politics” but was, rather, “personal.”

It seems that Cruz was mad because of TTed Cruz Pointing Finger - ted-cruz-acuse-pointing-ap-640x480rump’s perceived attacks against Cruz’s wife Heidi and his father Rafael. With regard to Heidi, the Cruz campaign created an ad portraying Donald Trump’s wife, former supermodel Melania Trump, scantily clad and in a distinctly immodest pose—which it then plastered across the notoriously conservative and religious state of Utah just prior to the Utah primaries. The Trump campaign hit back with an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz. With regard to Cruz’s father Rafael, the National Enquirer published a photo of what appeared to be the elder Cruz with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963. The implication was that the elder Cruz was linked to the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Though he was not responsible for its publication, Trump publicly referenced the National Enquirer photo.

That is it. Even so, facing his constituents Thursday morning, Cruz angrily pointed his finger and doubled down, declaring that “right and wrong matter.” Needless to say, Cruz’s morning-after righteous indignation fell as flat as his speech the night before.

After all, this was pretty surprising stuff coming from the guy who just publicly broke a formal pledge because, well, he got mad. And how could he have known, in taking the pledge so many months before, that he would become mad at Trump . . . because Trump hit back . . . when Cruz hit him first. Oh, that’s right: Cruz could have saved himself this dilemma by simply never taking the pledge. After all, that would have been the honest, upstanding thing to have done. And as we all now know, Ted Cruz is all about standing up for what it right. As it was, he did—take the pledge, that is. And he should have kept it.

Punch and Counterpunch

The back-and-forth between the Cruz and Trump camps is the classic political punch and counterpunch. It is the dirty underbelly of politics. It is the stuff of tough primary contests, where politics don’t differ all that much and distinctions must be drawn among individuals candidates as individuals. It is the part that makes good, decent Americans everywhere wince in discomfort and embarrassment that our politics should sink so low—on both sides of the aisle.

Were these among America’s proudest moments? No. Were they too personal for comfort? You bet. Were they surprisingly juvenile and mean-spirited for a presidential contest? Of course. Were they completely unexpected given the rough-and-tumble world of presidential politics? Of course not.

Most importantly, were the majority of the so-called “personal attacks” started by Ted Cruz? Yes, they were. Whatever you may think of Donald Trump, he was hitting back. That is very different from dealing the first blow.

Every playground bully knows this: Think twice about throwing the first punch if you can’t knock the other guy out. Whatever you do, don’t throw the first punch if you can’t take the counterpunch.

Cruzing to Obscurity

In the days since, things have not improved for Cruz. His favorability ratings have dropped precipitously. A recent CNN/ORC poll indicates that Cruz’s likability, at least among Republicans, dropped by 50 percent as a result of his actions at the RNC. Before the convention, two-thirds of Republicans viewed Cruz positively. After his RNC performance, that number dropped to one-third. That represents a precipitous decline, and is not what a 2020 presidential hopeful wants to see.

The ever astute Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer put it best in observing that “what Cruz delivered was the longest suicide note in American political history.”

Cruz’s gamble—taking a solitary stand against Trump as the GOP nominee—appears, for the time being, to have backfired. While that is bad for Ted Cruz, it is probably a good thing for the rest of us.

As it turns out, taking dramatic stands based on principle rather than practicality for the purpose of serving his own needs is somewhat of a Cruz characteristic.

Green Eggs and HamTed Cruz - Senate Filibuster - Early Shot - 90

Cruz’s RNC performance was reminiscent of his much publicized 2013 quasi-filibuster in the United States Senate in protest of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. For 21 hours, we watched Cruz talk. We watched him read bedtime stories to his young daughters, including Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. Cruz even provided two versions of his family’s recipe for the literature-inspired dish. All the while, Cruz kept talking, and talking, and talking. It was dramatic, yes. Perhaps even slightly touching—in an odd, uncomfortable, too-public way. It was silly, and pointless.Ted Cruz - Senate Filibuster - Late Shot - abc_pol_cruz_130925_ducks_wb

Ultimately, it was Ted Cruz grandstanding. Cruz was making a name for himself while strategically positioning himself as a “Washington outsider” ostensibly opposing “the Washington establishment”—the same Washington establishment of which he was unquestionably a part. Cruz was positioning himself to run for the presidency in an election cycle characterized by unprecedented voter mistrust of and anger at career politicians—career politicians like Cruz. As far as the Obamacare question, Cruz’s mission was doomed from the start. It would have no effect or consequence. It was, we now know, mere political theater. It was also typical Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz - Standing at Door - Ted-Cruz-on-Deck-MSNBC-Cliff-OwenAP-640x480

Fall From Grace

The RNC marked what I predict will be the beginning of Ted Cruz’s stunning fall from political—and certainly the GOP’s—grace. Though it is still early, that fall promises to assume Shakespearean proportions—or at least I hope it does. Because at the RNC, Ted Cruz showed that he is not fit to lead—now or ever. Despots and Manchurian candidates from the right are every bit as frightening—and destructive—as those hailing from the left. So are those who feel personally entitled to hold political office. Regardless of party affiliation, a leader who is in it for himself is no leader; he’s a tyrant. So is a leader who is convinced of his own entitlement to lead. He, above all, is dangerous to the nation he feels entitled to dominate.

It may just be that we dodged a bullet in Ted Cruz. Time will tell.

Out-Politicking the Politician

It is ironic that in the contest between a businessman with no political experience and a career politician, it turns out that the career politician is the one who can’t take the heat in the boiling kitchen of a messy and overcrowded primary contest. Go figure. One would almost think that Trump—as the founder, owner, and main force behind one of the largest real estate development companies in the country, if not the world—has himself battled a storm or two. Go figure. But I digress.

Someone should send Ted Cruz a memo. This is not about Heidi or Rafael Cruz. It is not about Melania Trump. It is not about Ted Cruz or even Donald Trump. This is no longer even about politics. This is about the future of our country. This is about stopping the bleeding of the last eight years. This is about stopping a train headed full-bore toward our self-destruction. This is about saving us from the suicide that we are in the process of committing. This is about saving us from the dire predictions of none other than Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Toqueville. This is about saving our own lives.

Just as we conservatives will reject the Clinton/Obama 3.0 ticket this fall, so also should Texas voters reject Ted Cruz when he comes up for re-election in 2018.

Cruz needs to go. Let’s face it: He’s just no good at the politics of politics.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

Donald Trump: America’s First Responder

 

I support Donald Trump, and I’m going to vote for him in November.

There, I said it. Now, let me explain why.

For a while now, I have made it known that I am fully on board the “Trump Train.” And I am far from alone. Even so, on social media and elsewhere, a number of folks have told me that they are currently sitting on the fence, unsure whether to join me. Others have stated in no uncertain terms that they plan to remain at the station.

It is to them that I write.

As an initial matter, it bears noting that we Trump supporters are a diverse group. We don’t drink “Trump Kool-Aid” or any such nonsense. Many of us are not particularly thrilled about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Most of us are realistic about what Trump offers—and what he does not.

That having been said, we are, like the nominee himself, pragmatists. We are also afraid.

First Responder

For those who are considering joining us, I would offer the following simple, straightforward analogy that explains why, after much soul-searching, I climbed on board a train with a destination unknown:

Simply put, Donald Trump is a political first responder. Please allow me to explain.

If you woke up in thePolice Car Lights 01 - untitled darkness of night to the sounds of someone breaking into your home, you would likely call 911. When the police arrive, would you turn them away because you don’t like the individual responders—how they look, who they are, or their race, age, sex, or any other characteristic? Of course not. You would allow them to help you in your time of need. There will be time to evaluate, even criticize, them later.

Similarly, if you found yourself in a horrible car accident, pinned in your car and bleeding, would you turn away an offer of assistance—whether from a good Samaritan or an emergency first responder—because you prefer someone else? Of course not. Again, you would allow the person who is there with you to help you in your time of need.

Stopgap Measures

Both of the above situations represent stopgap measures. Stopgap measures are often needed to preserve life. As an emergency physician, I see this principle in practice every day.

EMTs 01 - 86479753

If you come to me suffering from a heart attack, I am not the cardiologist or surgeon who can either place a cardiac stent or perform bypass surgery. Would you reject my help because of that? Of course not. While I am not a cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon, I am the link in the physician chain specially trained to do three things: (1) keep you alive while the cardiologist or surgeon is summoned; (2) minimize the damage to your heart, brain, and other organs while we await your definitive treatment; and (3) ease your pain while we wait for your cure.

I am not your cure; I am your life saver so that your cure can happen. I stop the damage while your cure is being arranged. Would you reject my offer of assistance just because I cannot, on my own, fix your struggling heart? Would you reject my offer of assistance because we do not know if, in fact, I will succeed in keeping you alive? Would you reject my offer of assistance because I may cause you some pain or injury in the process of attempting to keep you alive?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. Because in that moment, I am all that you have. And I am enough. Am I the greatest physician in the world? No. But I am here, I am ready and able to help, you need me, and I am enough.

Similarly, if you come to me with a broken hip, as an emergency physician, I am powerless to repair your broken joint. That will require the assistance of my friend and colleague the orthopedic surgeon. In the meantime, I make sure that despite your broken bone, your surrounding nerves continue to function. I ensure that you still have blood flow around the break. These endeavors ensure that with appropriate surgery, recuperation, and physical therapy, you will walk again. As we wait, I also give you medicine to ease your pain. I make sure that you are the best candidate for a surgical cure, and I take away your pain. Would you reject my offer of help just because I cannot, myself, fix your broken bone? Would you reject my offer of help because we do not know if, in fact, I will succeed in easing your pain and ensuring neurologic function and blood flow? Would you reject my offer of help because I may cause you some pain or injury in the process?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. Because in that moment, I am all that you have. And I am enough. Am I the greatest physician in the world? No. But I am here, I am ready and able to help, you need me, and I am enough.

In both cases, are you going to waste time in my Emergency Department obsessing over the likely size of your surgical scar or how long you will be out of work? Would you reject my offer of assistance on the basis of either concern?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. You understand that we must first correct the immediate problem that is threatening your wellbeing, even your life—by any means necessary. We can then settle into the process of dealing with the long-term consequences of your injury or illness. There will be time later for you to evaluate the quality of my care. In the future, you may even choose another physician when an emergency is not looming. That is okay.

A Nation in TroubleDonald Trump at RNC - Profile - imagesNK3DU0PO

My point is this: Like the patients whom I am privileged to treat, our nation is gravely ill and seriously injured. We are gasping for air. We are dying. Absent emergency intervention, we will not make it another four—and certainly not another eight—years. Just look at what is happening on the streets of France. And Germany. And Libya. And around the globe. We are next. That much is certain.

Above all else, in America in 2016, we must be practical. Trump is all that we have. He is ready, willing, and able to help. And he is enough.

Donald Trump is our first responder. He is our emergency physician. He is our stopgap measure to control the disease and limit the injury. He is our tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Trump doesn’t have to fix the entire injury—just stop its progression to death. Like a tourniquet (or seatbelt), once called into action, he may even do some damage. So be it. At least we will still be alive and able to correct whatever situations he creates.

Time for Perfection Later

Trump doesn’t have to be perfect, or even close. He just has to stop the bleeding. He just has to stop the pain. He just has to give us time to figure this out.

That is something that Trump can do. At the very least, Trump can break this deadly cycle. We can look for more perfect constitutionalists, or more committed conservatives, later. Right now, we must save ourselves, and our nation, so that we can have those future debates.

Several years ago while in D.C., I met and spoke at length with then-Congressman, now Indiana Governor and Trump’s vice presidential running mate Mike Pence. In person, Governor Pence is an exceptionally nice, notably striking, extremely impressive gentleman. So perhaps one future solution lies with him. We shall see. Certainly, his speech at the recent RepublDonald Trump at RNC - Flags 01 - untitledican National Convention was a good start.

I hope that those still sitting on the Trump fence can see that the country is bleeding out. We are suffering from multiple wounds, each of which has the potential to kill us. Now, in this election year, we must stop the bleeding, stop the pain, and stop the disease progression by whatever means necessary. We must buy time to right this ship.

If we don’t succeed, we most certainly will die. In that event, having stuck to our conservative values—even to the Constitution itself—will be of little comfort, for our lives—both as individuals and as a nation—will be over.

We need Trump. Our very survival depends upon him. Regardless of how you feel about the man, he is the only one holding the fire extinguisher. Please don’t reject the only man poised to buy us the time we need to fix this mess.

That is why I will vote for Trump in November. Is he the best candidate possible? I’m not sure. Is he the most polished politician? Most certainly not. Can he do everything that he promises? I don’t know. Is he the only person poised to stop the bleeding, stop the pain, and stop the progression of the deadly disease that threatens the greatest nation in the world? You betcha. And in the end, that is why he has my vote. I sincerely hope that he has yours as well.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

 

 

 

The Unity of Disunity: Coming Together to Disagree

Sometimes, you have to come together to realize how far apart you are.

For political junkies like me, the past two weeks were anything but dull. Fireworks and sparks were the order of the day, and none of them was of the celebratory variety. Now that the convention dust has settled, it seems that a quick review is in order.

 

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

 

Republican Party Disunity

First up: The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Tempers flared almost immediately, thanks to the “Never Trump” movement and an equally committed faction of die-hard Ted Cruz supporters.

First, there was the stunning display of party disunity on the convention floor as a small but persistent group led by Mike Lee and Ken Cuccinelli made a bold move to rewrite the convention rules–presumably, to make the ground more favorable for a Ted Cruz 2020 presidential do-over. Of course, that is looking less likely given Cruz’s performance the following Wednesday evening. More on that in a moment.

Next there was the so-called “Melania-gate” when an out-of-work journalist discovered that a couple of phrases from Mrs. Trump’s speech were similar to sentiments previously expressed by none other than Michelle Obama. Tellingly, one of Melania’s most vocal critics was not a liberal Democrat or even an Independent. He is not a Clinton or Sanders supporter. Rather, Melania’s most vocal critic was none other than Erick Erickson, self-proclaimed überconservative and founder of Red State. Equally tellingly, it turns out that the long-time Trump speechwriter responsible for the gaffe is herself a registered Democrat.

The following evening, Donald Trump, Jr. received the same treatment. He had barely finished speaking when Erickson was again lobbing into the Webosphere accusations of plagiarism. Soon, it became obvious that the younger Donald had plagiarized nothing. As it turns out, the same man who helped write his speech was the original creator of the phrases in question. The speechwriter thus had borrowed the phrases from himself–hardly plagiarism. Did Erickson apologize? Did he back off? Of course not. He doubled down while keeping the Trump criticism going. Clearly, Erickson was on a roll and determined to prove himself right. To Erickson, everyone with the last name Trump was a plagiarist–because, presumably, Erickson had nothing else.

Then there were the stunning events of Wednesday evening. Ted Cruz started out well. He delivered a polCruz Speaking at RNC 01 - images3UHRGR6Iished and well-received speech about constitutional conservatism and the imperative that we follow our consciences. Then the train went off the tracks when he refused to honor his pledge to support the party’s nominee. Cruz remained unmoved even as he was loudly booed off the stage. Suddenly, all eyes were on Donald Trump, who appeared in the wings, thumb jutting confidently into the air in his signature gesture. The message was clear: Trump was the bigger man. Trump was presidential. Cruz was neither. Yet again, the lifetime politician had been outmaneuvered by the political newcomer. Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer characterized Cruz’s performance as “the longest suicide note in American political history.” Time will tell.

On Thursday night, Ivanka Trump introduced her father. In the process, she stated, “With my father, all things are possible.” The crowd applauded as she smiled broadly. The following day, an increasingly delusional Glenn Beck accused Ivanka of plagiarizing the Bible. And Jesus. I kid you not. Beck even made it sound spooky.

Clearly, things were getting out of hand. Thankfully, the convention ended and everyone went home. Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson kept talking, but most folks at home had moved on. A big week lay ahead as the DNC got underway. All eyes turned to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia and the DNC would not disappoint.

 

DNC - Star-Spangled Coat - untitled

 

Democratic Party Disunity

Needless to say, the Republicans did not corner the market on party disunity. Not by a long shot.

Before the Democratic National Convention even got underway, an initial, devastating email dump was dropped in the party’s lap courtesy of WikiLeaks. As many had long suspected, and as Bernie Sanders had claimed for months, it turns out that the Democratic National Committee had colluded with Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to assure Hillary Clinton the party’s nomination–by tanking Sanders’ campaign. To make matters worse, Wasserman Schultz had no sooner stepped down as DNC Chair than she was hired by the Clinton campaign. Obviously, there was nothing to see there.Protesters at DNC 01 - AP_16206736946105-450x253

Tempers flared, as the demonstrations–both outside and inside the convention hall–grew. Sensing an opportunity to escalate a civil unrest that was not theirs but convenient, Black Lives Matter protestors crashed the party. So did a few shadowy figures dressed in black and referred to–at least by the media–as “anarchists.” Eventually, they were joined by representatives of Code Pink and various individuals toting signs expressing positions like “No TPP,” “No More War,” and “Walk the Walk.” While the protestors were both committed and colorful, position statements were hard to come by. So were plans about what to do about their leaderless dilemma.

Thankfully, the protests remained for the most part peaceful. But anger persisted. Those still “feeling the Bern” felt misled and abused, and rightly so. Their idealistic, grandfatherly leader had not only abandoned the movement he started; he was now telling them to vote for Hillary Clinton. Many angrily refused even to consider such a thing. They looked for a new candidate, and found that in physician and potential Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Even so, on the eve of the official delegate vote count, Sanders and his closest supporters awkwardly invited the delegates to cast their votes for him, despite the fact that he had already publicly endorsed Clinton. Things were getting interesting as the convention took on the appearance of a free-for-all. It was a political brawl playing out on television screens across the country.

Of course, Sanders lost handily to Clinton. After all, as we already knew, he had, months before, been sandbagged by his own party. No last-minute protests could stop the so-called “Clinton Coronation.” Whenever the cameras panned over to Sanders, he looked both ill at ease and angry. His expression did not change for the remainder of the convention. In fact, he wore the same stoically angry expression as Clinton, in her Thursday evening acceptance speech, praised him for bringing ostensibly serious social and economic concerns to light as only an avowed Socialist can do. His discomfort was palpable. He had been sandbagged. More importantly, he had sold out. It was an awkward moment with more than enough shame to go around, with no one accepting the blame. It reminded us at home why we dislike politics and politicians of every stripe.

And that was before we knew that prior to the Thursday evening finale and Clinton’s speech, the DNC powers that be blocked off entire sections of seats where Sanders supporters were expected to sit, installed white noise machines overhead to neutralize any protests, and delayed allowing Sanders supporters to enter the convention hall until there was nowhere to sit. Clearly, they had been silenced. While we may disagree with their politics, at that moment, Trump supporters everywhere were cheering for the disenfranchised Sanders supporters. In that moment, the two groups on either end of the political spectrum had more than a little in common. Of course, that tells you all you need to know about the political middle.

DNC headliner speeches were for the most part well done but, in my opinion, dishonest. And while we’re on the topic of plagiarism (weren’t we?), the DNC had its share. One such incident occurred when Hillary Clinton dramatically declared that we Americans “are great because we are good”–apparently unaware that Alexis de Toqueville beat her to the punch–or the punchline, as it were–by some 180 years. At least she didn’t plagiarize the Bible. Or Jesus. Or not that I noticed. I’m sure that Glenn Beck was relieved.

As the week progressed, more WikiLeaks revelations came to light. This time, the forces-that-shall-not-be-named released new information further demonstrating the tone deafness, bigotry, disingenuousness, and hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and its nominee. Out of respect for Clinton’s big night on Thursday, discussion of that new information was for the most part restrained. No doubt, there is much more to come. I, for one, cannot wait.

For his part, Trump grabbed the media spotlight from the DNC when he made a statement, at a press conference, to the effect that if Vladimir Putin had Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails, he might consider releasing them. This sent the liberal media into a frenzy of anti-Trump vitriol. They accused Trump of inviting a foreign government to commit espionage and to interfere with a United States election. They accused Trump of compromising United States security. Apparently, they forgot that Clinton–not Trump–had already done that.

Most importantly for Trump, he managed to dominate the news cycle even at the peak of the DNC. It was typical Trump.

 

John Taggart/Bloomberg

 

All’s well that ends well . . . or something like that.

And so this fortnight of political theater ended much as it began: with Trump brashly speaking out of turn and dominating the news cycle, Wasserman Schultz colluding with Hillary Clinton and the DNC, and Sanders’ tearful followers, in their Peter Pan felt hats and Birkenstocks, taking to the streets, where they were joined by the ultimate agitators, members of the Black Lives Matter movement. Anarchists and the generally disenfranchised quickly joined the parade. The news media sensationalized what they wished, even as they ignored what did not fit their agenda. Everyone bashed Trump, even as he continually stole the spotlight. In the end, tens of millions of dollars were spent, but nothing was accomplished or decided. Everyone, as far as I could tell, stuck to their political guns and rarely strayed from their carefully crafted talking points.

All was not for nothing, however. The American public was treated to one helluva show.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It promises to be a long fall. November 8 cannot get here soon enough.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com

An Open Letter to My “Never Trump” Friends

In this, my first post for Red Nation Rising, I offer the following open letter to my “Never Trump” friends:

Dear Friend:

Like it or not, if you are a Republican and/or conservative, or even a Libertarian, Donald Trump is your nominee. That leaves many of you “Never Trumpers” disappointed, angry, and frightened. I get that. This is why I disagree.

 

RNC Convention Floor - Balloons and Confetti - 85

 

Two Big Weeks, One Important Lesson

Last week was a big week for Republicans and conservatives. (Unfortunately, in today’s America, the two are not necessarily the same.) This week was a big week for Democrats and liberals, who are even more divided than are we.

Having watched both national Obama and Clinton Hug at DNC 01 - untitledconventions, I am more convinced than ever that we conservatives must unite against our common adversary. Whatever faction of conservatism you identify with, one thing is certain: While you may not like Trump, Trump is not your enemy. Bernie Sanders and his “Never Hillary” followers are not your enemies.

Hillary Clinton is your enemy. We must come together to defeat Hillary Clinton. If we do not, we place ourselves in grave danger—not as Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals, but rather as human beings. This is no longer about politics. This is about saving our lives so that we can live to fight our inevitable future political battles.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is the only person standing between us and four, if not eight, more years of the disastrous duo I call Clinton/Obama 3.0. It really is that simple. And that dire.

Think about it.

To all of my friends who persist in defiantly waving the “Never Trump” flag, please know this: We get you. We share your anger. Until the recent conclusion of the primary process, most of us were one of you.

That having been said, the time for primary squabbles has passed. We are now heading into what promises to be the roughest of general elections. And we must conduct ourselves accordingly.

As part of that process, please ask yourself this simple question: Are you a “conservative” or are you an “establishment conservative?” As opposed to other times in our nation’s history, in today’s America, the two are very different, making the distinction critical.

Please know this:Hillary Clinton Laughing and Pointing 01 - untitled

1.)  Voting for any third-party candidate is voting for Hillary Clinton.

2.)  Not voting is voting—for Hillary Clinton.

3.)  Not going to the polls is going to the polls—for Hillary Clinton.

4.)  Voting only for down-ticket Republicans is voting up-ticket for Democrats—namely, Hillary Clinton.

5.)  Continuing to campaign against Donald Trump is continuing to campaign—for Hillary Clinton.

6.)  Not endorsing Donald Trump is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

I would respectfully ask you: Would you rather have Hillary Clinton in the White House than Donald Trump?

Because that really is our only choice.

Because what you are doiHillary Clinton Bored at Hearing 01 - untitledng right now is furthering Clinton’s cause, not impeding Trump’s. What you are doing now is making it easier for her to win the presidency.

Is that what you want?

If your answer is yes, or silence, or hesitation, then I have news for you: You are that dreaded creature, an “establishment conservative.” If Hillary Clinton wins in November, please do us all a favor and refrain from criticizing what she does or publicly pining for someone more conservative, more constitutional, more presidential, more likable, or whatever it is that you seek.

Why? Because you know both what she is and what she has promised. Because you know what she has done as well as what she has failed to do in forty years of so-called “public service.” (I use the term loosely.) Because you will be the reason she got elected. Again, it is that simple.

So Trump is an unknown–a loose cannon, even. I get that. But wouldn’t you rather take a chance on an unknown than elect a known elitist, hypocrite, liar, and crook who has allowed brave Americans to both be in harm’s way and die as a consequence, who has severely jeopardized American security, and who quite possibly has committed grave criminal offenses on her way to the top? Trump may be an unknown; but Clinton is a known evil. Isn’t the choice between the two obvious?

If you even have to consider your answer, then as it turns out, you and I have precious little in common. I do not believe that to be the case.

 

Trump, Pence on Jumbotron - RNC Final Night 01 - 85

 

All aboard!

The Trump Train is boarding. Its destination is uncertain, but its direction is clear. Sometimes, moving in the right direction is all that we have. Thankfully, more often than not, that is enough.

Perhaps Trump signaled his understanding of this fact in choosing his final song for the balloon-drop conclusion to the RNC. That iconic song goes: “No, you can’t always get what you want . . . . / But if you try sometimes / you find / You get what you need.”

In this election, in this moment, Donald Trump is what–and who–we need.

I sincerely hope that you join us on the Trump Train. We will save you a seat, and we will welcome you aboard.

We can agree to disagree. Hopefully, we can disagree without being disagreeable. We will save our personal battles for another time.

Most importantly, we will live to see another day. And on that day, we can, with great spirit, debate the many issues upon which we respectfully disagree.

That, after all, is the purpose of a Trump presidency. It is what he both can and will deliver: a change in course. And that is enough, for now.

And that is why I support him.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Rhonda

www.moormanmedia.com