Sunday, October 23, 2011

Could Herman Cain Have Survived Obamacare? 9-9-9 Man With A Plan Speaks Out

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Herman Cain gleefully shouts to adoring crowds that he now has a target on his back. Amazingly, this non-pol has vaulted to the front of the back, leapfrogging over career politicians who have been running for president and other political offices for years. Can Cain go the distance? Does he have the right stuff? With a 'wink' toward Genesis, is Cain ‘able’?

He is derided over his 9-9-9 plan by folks who are scared that his bold and innovative reform proposal is attracting voters. They are more frightened that his plan may actually work. Critics point out or invent flaws in his proposal, trying to chip away at the edifice. Carping is a lot easier than constructing.

I’m not an economist and I have no idea if the 9-9-9 plan should be championed or stuffed into a pizza box and recycled. Increasingly, the public believes that whatever flaws and inadequacies 9-9-9 may have are preferable to the deficiencies and abuses of the current tax system.

Reform threatens the status quo whose agents will push back hard for all the wrong reasons.

A Whistleblower reader could use the above statement to challenge my numerous posted arguments against Obamacare, claiming that I am the hypocritical whiner who is clinging to the status quo and attacking medical reform.

This argument would have some merit if I accepted that Obamacare was truly reform, which I do not. Simply (mis)labeling the law as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, doesn’t make it so. Over the years, I have been amused by the labels that legislators assign to the laws they sponsor. These names are often sanitized sheep’s wool covering up rotting carcasses.

Here are some other labels for Obama’s health care reform law that just missed the cut.
  • Phase 1 Government Takeover of Health Care Act
  • Medical Malpractice Attorneys Protection Act
  • Medical Private Practice Unaffordable Act
  • Medicaid Expansion Act
  • Pandering to Medicare Beneficiaries Act
  • Government Rationing of Health Care Act
  • Hassle Doctors Out of the Profession Act
  • The Democratic Party Protection Act
Of course, nothing is all good or all bad. There are elements of Obamacare that I do support. I do not think folks should be discriminated against for pre-existing medical conditions. I agree that everyone should have access to medical insurance coverage. I zealously support comparative effectiveness research, which I don’t think has a prayer to succeed against the medical industrial establishment. I support the objective of improving medical quality, but reject the pay-for-performance and related charades that will diminish quality and demoralize and punish doctors.

Herman Cain, like his GOP rivals, all promise to bury Obamacare if elected. Cain, a Stage IV colon cancer survivor believe that had Obamacare been the law of the land when he was ill, that he might have ascended prematurely to heaven.

If I had been under Obamacare, and a bureaucrat had been trying to tell me when I could get that CT scan, that would have delayed my treatment. I was able to get the treatment as fast as I could based upon my timetable, and not the government's timetable. That's what saved my life.

While Cain’s pronouncement may be hyperbole, patients should be concerned about the intended destination of today’s medical ‘reformers’. While the law is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I think the law will strive for affordability at the expense of patient protection.

The government wants to shrink the pie and yet promises that we will all be satisfied. Which candidate today understands pies best?

This post is not a political endorsement. Herman Cain has not yet earned my support, but I’m glad he’s at the table. The ferocity of attacks against him convinces me that he has a valuable voice in the conversation. At the very least, it has forced the other candidates to defend their policies and positions. Competition breeds excellence. Let the games begin.

13 comments:

Roger Blazic said...

Great Post Dr. Mike. You're walking in my territory - humor - But that's OK.

I want you to install the Share This button on your site.

Go to www.ShareThis.com Click on GET THE BUTTON. It will give you options. All you do is get the code and add a gadget box from blogger for HTML and you paste the code in it. Put the page element on the bottom of any column. It will be invisible. But on each post the SHARE THIS button will show. That way, readers can share to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ - anywhere.

Andrew Bailey, M.D. said...

Nice post.

There is a quandary of modern health care delivery: costs cannot be contained unless access is limited, but limiting access inevitably hurts individuals. There is no way around it.

Compounding the problem is the dis-ingenuousness of the Obama administration, which uses content-free words to sell really bad ideas.

If the government wants to limit access to care, then 1) be honest about it, and 2) remove physicians from the liability of carrying out whatever plan the politicians conjure up.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Thanks to the commenters. Roger, if you detect humor in the post, I am honored since I know from perusing your blog that you are a professional. As for sharing the share button advice with me, I fear if I do it alone that the blog may implode. Perhaps, you can instruct in person.

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

can one really be a long term survivor for stage IV colon cancer? Will he not recur at some point?

Gyn cancers at stage IV are in general unsurvivable.

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

Here's what I don't like about 9-9-9.

Why is it 9? Did a very intelligent and experienced economist work on a fixed tax plan and actually calculate that the right number was 9-9-9? If so, that seems awfully coincidental with the fact that 9-9-9 is easy to say and remember. 8.2 / 11.1 / 12.7 might actually be more economically sound, but would never sell.

Cain cannot put up an intelligent argument for why his tax plan is good. He is just playing off the masses generally dislike of the protean tax law we have now, not presenting a well thought out alternative.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Nick, nice to have you back. Agree that choice of 9-9-9 wasn't random. Prices are chosen in the same way, e.g $29.99, etc. Even if 9-9-9 doesn't add up, it has stimulated a national conversation and is influencing his competitors;so, his plan is serving a useful purpose. He states that his 2006 colon cancer was in the liver, so he has beaten very long odds. Sometimes, it's great to be wrong, as apparently his doctors were when they discussed his prognosis with him.

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

Has he really beaten those odds? Steve Jobs said he was cured as well - but people who know what stage IV cancer is know better....

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

I think if Cain triumphed over Stage IV colon Ca, then he shouldn't be counted out politically yet. VP slot?

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

I don't like the guy irrespective....

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Nick, I don't think he'll be on the scene for the duration, but anything is possible!

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

At this point, the only person who is in the running with anything close to a clue as to how to be a successful president is the person currently in office.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Nick, are you suggesting the current president is successful?

Nicholas Fogelson, MD said...

I think he's made some mistakes, but given what he had the beginning of his administration he has done a reasonable job.

He should have steamrollered the republicans rather than trying to make peace with them, given that they seem to be predominantly ruled by right wing Christian nutjobs these days. You can't negotiate with crazy.

I think the health care bill has a lot of very positive things in it, and is a step in the right direction, and more than anyone else has ever been able to do.

Not as good as Clinton, far better than Bush Jr. maybe not as good as Bush Sr.

Most importantly to me, he's just a very intelligent man. The only republican candidate that comes across as even moderately thoughtful is Romney. The rest are scary dumb. The sad thing is that being uneducated and poorly spoken seems to be a boon when you are trying to get the votes of middle America.

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