Social & Domestic Issues

Nurses in Congress Rip Obama’s ‘Plan’ to Save Medicare

Days after the White House insisted that the President has long had a plan to maintain and reform Medicare, that claim has come under intense fire from three lawmakers who have a particular interest in and understanding of the program—the freshman U.S. Representatives who are former nurses. 

In separate interviews with HUMAN EVENTS, Republican Representatives Diane Black (Tenn.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) and Renee Ellmers (N.C.)—all of whom were nurses and health care professionals—blasted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for this claim he made on June 9:  “I think we’ve made clear what the President’s plan on Medicare reform is.”

In responding to a question from HUMAN EVENTS as to whether the President has offered a plan to reform Medicare, Carney said, “It’s part of his proposal for his 10- to 12-year budget-deficit-reduction plan of $4 trillion.  So we have—there are reforms to entitlements, including Medicare, in the Affordable Care Act.  There are more reforms that strengthen and improve Medicare in a proposal he’s put forward for his long-term deficit-reduction plan.”

The three nurses who are now Republican House Members hit this hard.

“I can’t believe [Carney] could say that,” Buerkle told us.  “The budget that the President proposed and that he is talking about was rejected 97 to 0 by the Senate.  The Affordable Health Care Act would eventually take $500 billion out of Medicare.  What he’s talking about is not a plan at all.”

North Carolina’s Ellmers strongly seconded this view.  Speaking as a nurse and the wife of a surgeon, the Tarheel State lawmaker told us:  “I’m still shocked that the President would continue to stand by his health care plan that the independent Congressional Research Service has shown would bankrupt Medicare by 2024.  The President says that the only way to fix Medicare is to take away $500 billion from the program in order to pay for his government takeover of the health care industry.

Both Buerkle and Ellmers warned that under the Affordable Health Care Act, there would be a fifteen-member panel of government officials who would oversee health care.  In Ellmers’ words, “Unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats [would have] the power to choose who will get health care and who will not.  I’ve seen firsthand the problems facing doctors, patients and seniors and am dismayed to think that our President would continue to allow an important program like Medicare to go bankrupt by 2024 in order to mandate his own healthcare program.”

Tennessee’s Black, who had been a nurse for nearly 40 years before her election to Congress last fall from the district once held by Al Gore and his father, told us, “I don’t consider this much of a plan.  In fact, the Medicare changes in the health care law and the President’s recent doubling down on IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] doesn’t save Medicare for future generations at all.  We’re still facing a system that will go bankrupt within a decade unless something is done to save it.”

Like her fellow nurses in Congress, Black took the opportunity in responding to Carney to again voice support for the Republican alternative plan on Medicare.

“I voted for the Path to Prosperity,” she told us, “because it is the only plan out there that will provide real choice and save Medicare for the next generation.”

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  • Dustoff

    Shear madness at that. 

  • Sweetrae aka: LeAnn

    Finally some health care workers, nurses I might add :) standing up and telling the truth about this sham. Yes I know some Dr’s who stood up to fight this also, but I’m am so glad that the perfume has faded the the true stench of this abomination of a regime and the side show Carney and his ilk are being exposed as the liars that they are.

  • Martin Hale

    You know, the sad truth is that there probably is $500Bn which could come out of Medicare without impacting the quality of care at all.  Remember that the $500Bn figure is cast out over an extended time frame (is it 8 or 10 years?  – can anyone else remember?).  If Congress had been smart about it, they could have launched a meaningful probe into Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Medicare and in so doing, found more than $500Bn of savings in the same amount of time.  Of course that would have meant exposing some of their larger donors as the frauds and cheats they are – and we wouldn’t want to do that, would we?  /sarc

    Two additional ‘tweaks’ I can think of right off the top of my head which would make Medicare less expensive are to institute billing reforms which do away with the mechanistic ‘levels of care’ system, and to allow for charges to be billed at UCR (usual and customary rates) instead of a fixed pricing schedule. 

    Between those two changes and cleaning the FWA out of the system, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could save as much as $1T in the same time frame and services wouldn’t suffer at all.

  • Wil

    Three Republican nurses are complaining. Aren’t they special!

  • Mr Kimber

    Hi Sweetie

    I know alot of Docs, mostly surgeons, and boy are they PO’d. I get a kick out of telling them “told ya” esp. the young ones. I tell them voting is too important to not know who you are voting for. Never do it again. I have had some tell me they will never vote Democrat for the rest of their lives. to this day the more they find out about Ocare the dummer they feel and I don’t let them off the hook. They can KMA. esp. the surgeons.

  • Niniane

    Medicare won’t need as much money as it has once Obama has achieved in solving the world food problem at the same time. Think ‘Soylent Green’ solution for the elderly and infirm.

  • Mr Kimber

    Good thought MH. There is merit to that argument. When it come to MC fraud too many people think it is of fraudulent MD’s…it is not. Mostly these are errors in billing that not intentional. I had one Doc. tell me if he was going to commot fraud it would be with a regular ins co. b/c MC pays less then 1/2 of all other ins co. I know this to be true b/c I bill also. BTW I can  bill as much as I want the ins. co. will only pay UCR pertaining to that area of the country.

  • joesolargenius

    Medicare fraud is a serious financial drain and I would love to see an audit done on all the foreign doctors who come here and set up practice . Being an advocate for the homeless of which 70% are military veterans I have observed during my travels around America that the immigrant doctors especially those from India and the middle east are the ones which are hustling the system the most and am glad to see Florida cracking down on it.

  • rick_ds

    Obama will ‘save’ Medicare the same way he ‘saves’ jobs, and saves the housing industry, and saves the economy!

    Yeah Obama, do for Medicare what you have done for everything else in this country!

    My gosh, the great depression has returned. Thanks Obama!

  • Paul Murphy

    Dear Mr. Gizzi:

    Editors at he etc bounces.. so please excuse my abuse of the comment system to bring something I wrote to your attention. It’s at and I think you’ll find it interesting in the medicare context.


  • Martin Hale

    Yeah, some providers are definitely part of the FWA picture.  I’ve seen it all from them – the upcharging using the levels of care rules, the bogus counseling charges which the patient doesn’t even know are being billed, to even outright false billing.  I’ve even seen practice administrators who were committing fraud under the provider’s name without the provider’s knowledge.  The billing process is so complex that there are hundreds of ways to cheat, but Congress never changes the rules to prevent this. 

    But the providers aren’t alone in bilking MC – some of the companies in the DME supply game are masters of the art.  As well as some of the ancillary service providers.  In a nutshell – fixed cost billing invites suppliers to cherry pick the most profitable goods and services and carve out a comfortable niche for themselves exploiting the system.  Teevee is littered with ads for companies who offer consumers the chance to get their mobility scooters and diabetic supplies free of charge while they suck the taxpayer dry.

    And you’re right – Congress has been leading FWA probes since the year after Johnson signed MC into law – the FWA was there from the beginning – but they never seem to really get rid of it – never.  Gee, I wonder why that is.  /sarc

    My ex-wife is an NP in a private practice with a group of docs.  She pays a phenomenal amount for malpractice coverage each year – nearly 90% of what her physician colleagues pay on average.  The last time she mentioned a figure to me it was $27K and that was a couple of years ago – I’m sure it’s gone up since.  Her insurance is on the high side, not because she’s had claims, but because she provides pre-natal care and is lumped into the OB/GYN risk pool as a result.  Add to her malpractice insurance premiums what she pays per transaction to the billing corporation which handles the group’s billing and her allegedly “robust” income isn’t anything special at all.

    I’ve long been a fan of loser pays as a part of general tort reform.  With med mal cases, I’d also like to see meaningful caps on awards put in place with an emphasis on providing awards which cover actual damages and which limit the ‘pain and suffering’ part of the award.  I’d also like to see expert witness testimony in med mal cases reformed so that instead of bringing in highly compensated medical ‘hitmen’, expert witness testimony was provided by a panel of specialists who are compensated at a flat fee by a third-party organisation – a bureau of medical specialists, as it were.  Let the jury hear from say three experts in a given medical specialty and give them the opportunity to directly ask questions of the specialists. 

  • dmacleo

    seems to me they have to pass a budget….or propose one…before they can do anything.
    while enjoying a super majority in both house and senate no budget was proposed/passed and yet we are supposed to believe they know how to financially fix anything.

  • Mr. EMT

    Personally I would rather see tort go away period.
    I know a lot of people panic over the thought of, “What happens if…..?” And “But if something happens to me I should be entitled to compensation”

    But seriously, let the criminal courts take over. When a doctor amputates a limb by “accident” he goes to jail. He does not get to practice again.
    Tort is absolutely abused, and almost every case is settled rather than go to a jury. No attorney or doctor wants to be the “quack who plays golf almost as much as obamao that is refusing to give up their money to the shmuck who was mistreated”
    And as much as I have heard the “Im gonna sue” threat bandied around ER’s and ambulances from people who were not treated the way they wanted to be treated, Tort seriously needs to go through a lot of restrictions to be used.
    Maybe go through a criminal trail first and allow that judgement to carry over into tort could be another option?

    But getting back on track about the obamao, “Health care reform bill.” Lets get real for a minute.
    This bill does absolutely nothing to address the quality of care we provide.
    It claims to address access issues and affordability issues.
    And what brainiac ever thought that a politician is going to be the one to trust with making something affordable for you and making sure you can use it is so insane they should be locked up for their own safety.
    That is about as smart an idea as selling guns to drug cartels just to see who gets killed by them…oh wait

    Obamao already came out with the truth to “Access” when he was addressing the “Affordability” problems facing it now. Saying that instead of granny getting a new hip, maybe its time she just gets a pill.
    Welcome to the world of eugenics and the slippery slope of removing moral ethics and patient autonomy.
    Now we are only a step away from deciding, “Does that 12 year old on a feeding tube that is not going to have a productive life really need physical therapy?”
    And of course there is going to be a very concerned portion of people who will say about the 12 year old, “Hey, we need to end her suffering. Lets Terry Shiavo her to death and pull out her feeding tube and just let her starve”
    After all, someone starving to death was argued in the Shiavo case to be humane and cost effective.

  • juryveto

    Well I hope those nurses and doctors in congress  have respect for their oath of office, care enough about seniors and have enough sense and skill to work to get the federal government out of health care except when there is no other choice such as active miltary in the field or out to sea.                                        
      If they don’t then they need to either be replaced by those that will or states and the people are going to need to tell the federal government to go to hell.
    State nullification and Jury nullification of illegal federal healthcare regulations, taxes and provisions( AKA monoply capture)

  • Roman Gil

    Who is Going to Pay for The Global Interventions? The Status Quo Partisan Politics Must End.
    Instead of engaging in distracting partisan politics with the status quo politicians that have ruined America, we need to focus on the mortal economic and social dangers that we are now facing because of the ruinous policies of these politicians.
    We have to end the wars and occupations immediately and all foreign affairs, including foreign aid and military alliances. Europe and Korea among many other countries are rich enough to defend themselves. We now have 3 Muslim wars, plus NATO and the rest of the military waste, all follies are financed by debt that we will be forced to pay.
    We have a President that starts wars, imposes economic sanctions and other acts of war against countries that he does not like without even consulting Congress. Obama refuses to enforce Federal laws that he does not like, including immigration laws. The Congress is not balancing the power of the Executive or Judicial government branches. It abdicated its Constitutional duties and is just a debating society. Obama has more power than the President of Communist China. The Chinese President must obtain Communist Party approval for what an American President does in foreign affairs and must enforce all Communist laws. The power of the American Presidency must be limited to the American Constitution or we will lose even more than we have already lost. Our freedom.
    In my blog, I expose that over 50% of the total USA military forces are war contractors and that 2/3 of their employees are foreigners. We have wasted $5 Trillion dollars fighting Osama’s war strategy to bankrupt America as they did the Soviet Union by bringing it into permanent war in the Muslim world. The war contractors and the other special interest groups are making profits from trillions of debt dollars that we’ll be forced to pay.
    America cannot afford to spend debt money on global empire dreams. The 2011 national debt, national current account balance and other economic indicators show that America has a negative net worth of -$58 Trillion. This is the truth that globalists are concealing and is the inevitable result of the globalist export of America’s industry to Communist China and other cheap labor countries plus all the ruinous policies of the two globalist controlled parties that now require that the Federal government must beg and borrow $1.65 Trillion a year to add to the present national debt of close to $15 Trillion.
    TEN Generations of Americans cannot pay the 2011 national debt, but the politicians still borrow and spend. 47% of American households are too poor to pay income taxes. The American industrial base is only 9% of the economy. There are not enough taxpayers to support a globalist government that is fueled by debt. Get the truth from my blog. I have a 28 point program to rebuild the American industrial base and to create energy independence.
    Roman Gil

  • Sweetrae aka: LeAnn

    Well skippy when you’re waiting 7 to 10 months to see a specialist and then wait another 6 to 12 months if you need knee surgery as an example, we’ll see how you are singing the praises of the Dick Tater in Thief.

  • Sweetrae aka: LeAnn

    I bet they were more worried about their collective barganing rights. We had a a hospital system up here in MN the Fairview system which also includes the Uof M hospital and the nurses were all ready to strike. Well Fairvew had all these contractors nurses ready to go, and they were telling them if you won’t negociate then we’ll have to closeup some hospitals and you won’t have any job to bargain for. I mean these hospital systems are being streched to the bone, and yet these politicians bitch that these Dr’s and such make so much money and blah blah.

  • Mr. EMT

    Was that last year?
    I remember when some nurses were talking about taking contract jobs somewhere up north. I dont remember where now.
    But they were talking about how they would have had to have guards escort them to and from some of the hospitals because of the strikes.

  • HOO

    Thank God for these Nurses.

    I heard today that the American Medical Association has now voted to RETRACT its previous support for the mandated part of Obamacare. Well isn’t that special: to reverse itself after the damage has been done. This corrupt organization has as its members only 17% of practicing physicians. Long ago it sold its soul to the Devil. How, you say? ANSW: By accepting money from a a federal government eager to get into the organization and control it. The AMA bureaucrats always need money to avoid real work and they have it in the form of a $100 Million dollar annual fee from the Federal Government for the AMA to maintain and publish a Code Book of medical diagnoses and procedures for use by Insurance Companies and Government bureaucrats. Do you think the AMA is going to oppose this Golden Goose? If there was a competent investigative journalist alive he would examine the Financial operations of the American Medical Association and its connections to the federal government. The AMA is roughly equivalent to the Vichy government in France in WWII. When you are reflecting on the general competence of the federal government in Medical affairs recall that Government doctors controlled by government bureaucrats made a mess of JFK’s autopsy and the government then lost JFK’s brain. This was Obamacare in 1963. Obamacare was never about anything but expansion of the Ruling class Government and domination of the citizenry. Obama is nothing more than a major international con man and thief.