Wednesday, June 16, 2010

----- Original Message -----  Open Letter to John McCain
From: Mark Rubin
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: AMERICAN FREEDOM ~ Bad, Bad John Mc Cain !
First, I would like to thank everyone who read and responded to my Open Letter to Senator McCain. To date, I have received approximately 100 emails, letters, faxes, and phone calls, all in support of what I wrote.
Unfortunately, absent from the list of responders is Senator McCain, or anyone from his office. In fact, I called the Senator’s office manage several times, and have not received a call back.
Many of the comments I received reiterated the frustration that I feel. It seems that rather than being represented, we are being ruled by those whom we elect. After months of emails, phone calls, and even an open letter in the Arizona Republic, is there any reason that Senator McCain would not call me back? I cannot think of a good one.
I plan to continue to speak out about, specifically about the Medicare issue, and perhaps more importantly, about the apparent belief by an elected official that he is above answering to his constituents. This message is resonating with everyone who hears it, and my hope is that I can continue to be heard so that I can make a difference.
The phone number to Senator McCain’s Washington office is 202-224-2235. If you push Option 2, you will be connected to a person. Please call and remind our Senator that he works for us.
When I began my attempts to reach Senator McCain, I was actually his supporter. I voted for him in the last election. I believed that there was a serious problem with Medicare, and I thought it was fortunate that one of the leaders of the Republican Party happened to be one of our Senators. I called his office more than ten times before I was finally connected with a staffer. After a few emails and phone calls, he stopped responding to me. I asked for his supervisor, and when I did not hear back from her, I wrote the letter that I published in the AZ Republic.
Since that letter, I have called her three more time. She is yet to call back.
This is not how it is supposed to be. I have this feeling that being a Senator is just too good, and rather than public “service,” many of those whom we elect become like professional athletes who never get too old for the game. Their only concern becomes staying in office, and they forget that they are there to represent us.
If this experience is any indication of the true state of affairs, then we all have a lot to worry about. I know I am just one person, but I am not going to accept this. I will continue to stand up and I demand to be heard.
I may be naïve, but I have not lost hope. In this country we are allowed, or more accurately, we are encouraged to speak out against injustice. I want to be represented, not ruled!
I will continue to provide you with updates. Thanks again for responding to my efforts.
Mark J. Rubin, MD
Don't Count on Medicare--Radical Changes to Come
Controversy is mounting over Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's nominee to run Medicare and Medicaid -- and for good reason.Berwick's writings reveal that he would make radical changes -- seniors beware.
Berwick laid out his "Triple Aim" plan in an article he co-authored in Health Affairs (May-June 2008), advocating widespread government use of the "medical home" model.
The Congressional Budget Office says that's a version of HMO-style medicine, with a primary-care provider to oversee your access to costly services such as visits to specialists and diagnostic tests.
But in Berwick's plan, many -- perhaps most -- primary-care providers would not be physicians.
Ever since Medicare was founded in 1965, seniors have been able to call any doctor who takes Medicare, get treatment and have the federal government pay.
Not in the future.
The Obama health law will give Berwick wide latitude to make this change.
Congress empowered the Health and Human Services secretary (Berwick's boss, if he's confirmed) to make vast changes in how care is delivered under Medicare, including setting up pilot programs -- such as medical homes -- and then expanding them nationwide.
In his Triple Aim plan, Berwick laments that US health care is "designed to focus on the acute needs of individual patients." He argues for a different focus, social justice.
Instead of doctors making decisions autonomously in the interest of their own patients, he wants a nationwide plan allocating resources "to anticipate and shape patterns of care for important subgroups.
" These subgroups -- which can be defined by age, disease affliction or socio-economic status -- should be the "unit of concern," not the individual patient.
Will the elderly be a favored subgroup? Not under the Obama health law. An April 22 report by Medicare and Medicaid chief actuary Richard Foster shows that the law nearly doubles Medicaid rolls at a cost of $410 billion over the next decade.
To pay for this, the law slashes future Medicare funding by $525 billion over the same period, when 30 percent more people will enter Medicare as baby boomers age. In short, boomers will get less care than today's seniors.
Less care is Berwick's vision. In a speech marking the 60th birthday of the British National Health Service, he praised the NHS for deliberately creating scarcity: "You [the NHS] plan the supply; you aim a bit low; historically, you prefer slightly too little of a technology or service to much too much and then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them."
Berwick confessed, "I am a romantic about the NHS. I love it. All I have to do to rediscover the romance is to look at the health care in my own country." He praised the NHS for its central planning, frugality, wealth redistribution and rationing.
Berwick has won accolades for his "100,000 Lives Campaign," which encouraged hospitals to implement rules preventing infections, bed sores and medical errors. But he is an inappropriate choice to head Medicare.
A fervent ideologue, Berwick puts social engineering ahead of the individual patient's needs. In contrast, most doctors understand that their duty is to heal each patient who comes to them.
Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York.
Betsy McCaughey
Defend Your Healthcare