Tea Party Candidate, Docs Blast 'Obamacare'

At Bethlehem forum, a congressional candidate, two local doctors and a nurse say ‘Obamacare’ will destroy the health care system.

President Obama’s signature health care law is going to undermine doctor-patient relationships, close hospitals, cripple small businesses and result in rationed care, according to four health care professionals, including a congressional candidate, who spoke at a forum in Bethlehem Wednesday night.

The Lehigh Valley Coalition for Health Care Reform, a nonprofit with ties to conservative and physicians groups, presented the two-hour forum at Bethlehem Area Public Library to a sympathetic crowd of about 25. The panel included Laureen Cummings, a Scranton Tea Party founder and the Republican candidate for the redistricted 17th congressional district, currently held by Tim Holden.

Cummings, an LPN who owns a home health care agency in Old Forge, had a staffing service that paid nurses $40-$50 a hour to do temporary work in nursing homes but provided no health insurance. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,  she said she would have to provide health insurance to her nurses without lowering their wages and she can’t afford that.

The federal government is hiring many more IRS agents to enforce provisions of the new law, Cummings said, adding that she would love to get rid of the IRS.

“It’s celebrating its 100th birthday next year. I plan to stop that birthday from occurring,” she said to great applause.

Terry Ingalsbe, who received nursing degrees from Northampton Community College and Kutztown University, said she read the entire 2,700-page law. She claimed its real aim is to bring about a collapse of the current health care system and create a single-payer, single-provider system.

“Obamacare is not a safety net, it’s a straitjacket,” Ingalsbe said. It’s also a step toward total indoctrination of the nation’s youth into a secular, Marxist worldview and it gives the federal government more private information about individuals, including about their DNA, she said.

“The world that is created by secular Marxists and Obamacare has no room for God,” Ingalsbe said.

Dr. Thomas Bonekemper, a retired internist and past director of the Veterans Administration clinic in Allentown, and Dr. Joseph Grassi, a rehabilitation specialist, said new regulations plus cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements from the government will mean fewer doctors will accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.

“Practices can’t stay open if they are reducing the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rate,” Grassi said. “Our office is four physicians, we have close to 50 employees. When I started in the office 12 years ago, we had three people in the billing office. We now have eight full-time billing personnel and they can’t keep up with the regulations.”

“There will be severe restrictions on services to the elderly,” Bonekemper said. He said it will be a return to the days when HMOs paid doctors bonuses for ordering fewer tests for patients. 

Grassi predicted that rather than pay for employees’ insurance, companies will shift the burden to the workers and instead pay a $2,000 fine per employee because it’s cheaper.

Bonekemper said one of the law’s biggest failures is the lack of tort reform, which would cap non-economic damages in jury awards to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. Such a move would bring down costs because doctors wouldn’t have to perform so many unnecessary tests in the name of practicing defensive medicine.  

Cummings said she signed a pledge to repeal and replace the health care law.  She joined Grassi in arguing that a key to making health care more affordable is to open it up to the free market, allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines.

Cummings was asked afterward if government involvement in health care is the problem, wouldn’t it make sense to end Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration health care system? “It’s impossible to end Medicare and Medicaid and the VA right now,” Cummings said. “I believe there are better ways to fix what’s broken.”

“Our solution has to be something that lessens the burden of what we’ve already got while at the same time providing good quality care for the patient,” Cummings said.

Karen Samuels June 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Above comment is not true and has never been implemented. "The original draft LCD included onerous documentation requirements of multiple 12-week non-surgical interventions prior to authorizing coverage of a total joint replacement. After receiving comments from the AAOS and the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS), the contractor stripped the onerous requirements from the LCD, making it so that only one non-surgical intervention needed to fail in order to meet the requirements of the LCD.
Jim Gregory June 08, 2012 at 05:01 PM
The far right is nutso!..Why dont you tea party nuts cry about the 650 billion dollar defense budget! The rest of the world pales in comparison..Without half of that budget we could afford a single payer system in this country..yet you want to nickle and dime every thing else including medicare and social security. The joke of a supreme court will probably toss the health care law anyway sometime this month..So go whine about something else please..
Elyssia Mathias June 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
If you want free health care, go to medical school and become a physician. Until you do, demanding that people give away their services and goods because you feel entitled to it is slavery. Become a doctor and you can give free health care to yourself, your family members, your friends, your neighbors - whomever you wish.
Jim Siverly June 08, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Jim, You don't know what you are talking about. If all of the defense spending was cut from the budget, the deficit would still be about $1 trillion based on 2011 data. We can't afford single payer, because we are broke already and the entitlements are leading us beyond the point of no return. Rather than push for single payer (which will result in less quality, less care, and more debt), I suggest we return to the old-fashioned way and pay for our own health care. But what do I know? I'm just one of those far-right nuts who think welfare should be reserved for the truly helpless, not for everybody.
Harrison T Williamson, Jr. June 09, 2012 at 12:38 AM
yo, you forgot becoming a politician, those in Harrisburg and Washington DC whom represent us have it on easy street for life
Joe June 09, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Well for all of you who wish to pay your own way have at it. When you get sick and run up a half million dollar bill let me know how you plan on paying for it.Oh yea and when you are dropped from your insurance policy let me know who will cover you.Medicare is one of the biggest health insurance policies in this country and it needs reform but it works-and guess who runs it.I am all for stopping rediculous lawsuits and abuse of the system.
Jim Siverly June 09, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Joe, I am paying for my own health care. If anything catastrophic happens, I will do whatever I can to be responsible. I don't expect the government to bail me out. The mindset that it will, is why Medicare is in the red and getting worse. Do you call that working? Being "all for stopping rediculous lawsuits and abuse" doesn't make it happen, unfortunately.
John Schubert June 09, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Jim Siverly, the problem with paying for your own is that the system has made that impossible if you have significant bills. For a two-day hospital stay and emergency procedure, your bill can easily get near $100,000. The insurance companies work a deal -- they'll pay about $7,000 and the bill is considered paid in full. You, an individual, have no such deal. Every doctor I know thinks this is a ridiculous situation, and the Affordable Health Care Act doesn't directly solve it. What the Affordable Health Care act does do, is make it far easier to get insurance coverage. The tea party jerks don't talk about fixing that -- they want to go back to driving families into bankruptcy. I consider it shamefully irresponsible of them to want to inflict such misery on people. If they have a comprehensive solution that's better than the Affordable Health Care Act, they should bring it forth -- but of course we all know they are far to intellectually lazy to do that.
John June 09, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Karen, I beg to differ. It happened to my neighbor last month when she was informed that Medicare is withholding paying the hospital because she failed to demonstrate conservative treatments. I am not certain who the "contractor" is, but Medicare denied paying the facility. I highly doubt the federal government cares what the AAOS or the AAHKS care, as they have disregarded most of those organization's resistance in the past. I would like to know more so I can pass on to my neighbor if I have been misinformed. I have also had a relative have her surgery rescheduled because the facility wouldn't allow the surgical procedure to occur because of 'lack of sufficient non-surgical documentation'.
John June 09, 2012 at 09:10 PM
First, @Elyssia...you get it. I think food should be free! Tell the farmers that they should work the fields, then give away their crop! Eating should be a right. Hunger should never happen here. John S. I would like to see which hospital charges you $100,000 for a 2-day stay. Today, with managed healthcare, it doesn't matter what you are charged, as ALL providers know that is simply a number. You get charged $50,000 fo a joint replacement, the surgeon gets $1200, the hospital takes $8500 and the prosthetic company takes $10,000. Nobody ever pays $50K. Shouldn't everyone get a free Mercedes? Safe dependable car. So we feed everyone, we provide everyone a car and we just give away healthcare to those who need! What a perfect Utopia.....of course nobody would need to work, because it's all FREE. As Americans, we are all equally entitled! Jim S. - just imagine getting sued every time you failed to use your directional in your car. That's what the medical provider is looking at. Imagine making $500,000/year, because you are good at what you do, but have to pay $40-60,0000 right off the top for malpractice insurance...and you never had a claim in 20 years. Reality gentlemen, not politics, reality.
Jim Siverly June 09, 2012 at 10:04 PM
John, I'm totally on your side here. Your analogies are superb! I will not sue you for doing what you do best to keep me at mine. Somewhere, somehow the "no such thing as a free lunch rule" failed to get taught. Expecting the federal government to fix this mess is foolishness.
Jim Siverly June 09, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I'll make it a point to be at the next Lehigh Valley Tea Party meeting to introduce you. Apparently you know nothing about us. We don't want people going into bankruptcy. That is the reason we exist. Are you aware that the Affordable Health Care Act has already been revised by the CBO to cost way more than originally projected? Has any government program turned out within the projected cost, time, and quality? Isn't it possible that there is no "affordable" comprehensive solution? Or is that too intellectually lazy?
John June 10, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Jim...concur 1000%!
mark wood June 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM
you going to love the chip we all get put under our skin next year, all new borns with have a chip put under the skin for I.D. Can you say NAZI, if your too stupid to understand what that means then your ignorance and arrogance will be your demise. and now that ALL the new-party solcialist (like obama) have come out of the closet good luck with you future of FEMA camps....No returns on this, not interest in your so-called informed mind. You are too smart for your own good buy thinking that this man who has signed 400 executive orders taking over every private industrys, you will not escape his devil fingers...enjoy hell on earth you idiots, you get what you beg for....total control.
Lower Saucon Guy June 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM
You know, if you learned how to spell and properly phrase, you could have a future as a fiction writer. You have quite an imagination.
Elyssia Mathias June 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM
louis kootsares June 14, 2012 at 06:10 PM
we need to get rid of obahmacare and obahma hopefully there are people who look at what this phoney has done or if someone is a product of our egucation system and cannot comprehend look at the inflation kids and obahma should be seen and not heard his opinions are those expressed by his money people boy will he have lots of different opinions if god forbid he spends his war chest on peopaganda and people forget his track record and fall for his bs
Smedley June 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Obamacare stinks. A Trillion dollar gift to the insurance companies. Our Health Care in the U.S. costs TWICE as much as the Next Highest Country! Over 60% of bankruptcies now are healthcare related. A Great book called "The Healing of America" by T.R. Reed compares our health care system to other countries around the world. It's a great read. Be informed. Medicare and the VA are forms of socialized medicine. They operate on a 3% margin. The insurance companies margin? Over 30% Profit. That's right. They make money before you get healthcare.
Frightwingslayer June 28, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Smedly, if Obamacare sinks tomorrow 30 million people without health care will continue to not have health care..I'm sure that doesnt concern you or louis or the other right wing whacos because my guess is that you are covered..You are all pathetic!!!
louis kootsares June 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM
i can say my prayers every night and hope that bought and paid for terrorist saddam obahma and you boo hoo liberals go infect some other country i can only dream hehehe
Smedley June 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Hi Frightwing, I am not right or left I'm around the middle like most other americans. My wife and I pay for our own health insurance. Over 600.00 per month and it's crap! We rarely go to the doctor. I'm for Single Payer. We could have it in Pennsylvania. House Bill 1660 - The Family and Business Healthcare Security Act is a bill that sitting in Harrisburg but our representatives won't bring it to the floor and talk about it. I want Healthcare 4 all Pa - http://healthcare4allpa.org/
louis kootsares June 28, 2012 at 03:05 PM
we have a punk scumbag president boy will we pay if that terrorist gets reelected lets see them enforce that bought and paid for obahmacare this is a disgrace under that scumbag we are loosing freedom of speech he is trying his best to get our guns no way but he will try and now taking away freedom of choice the freeloaders will take advantage of this and we who pay our way will pay for the spongers and i am positive i am not alone in my opinion for sure i wont agree with the boo hoo liberals
Frightwingslayer June 28, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Well now that Obamacare has passed Smedley, my guess is, that despite its flaws, it'll be alot better than what is offered now and what you have now..I would have preferred single payer but thanks to the Republicans in the Senate, it was filibustered to death.
Smedley June 28, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Tell me how it's going to be a lot better now? Don't even try to tell me it will be cheaper. Will I get better health care? I doubt it.
mark wood June 28, 2012 at 06:30 PM
40 friends have read the health bill, goodbye america, its been nice, but the morons who voted are real stupid, and it can't be fixed, you don't fix stupid, you sell it to TV and call it a 1000 ways to die. You short minded folks will get the picture real soon. enjoy. As a business owner for 25 years I am fireing the first liberal employee I see tommorrow, just for the pleasue of it, sell the business, after I do that and he can sue me in Brazil.
louis kootsares June 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
mark can you imagine this country succeeding if saddam obahma and his kind of bought and paid for scumbags were in charge when this country was first becoming a world power he would only try to enact legislation if it meant votes or policies dictated by contributations
Keith June 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I just wonder what our founding fathers would say to this country if they were alive. You think George Washington had the government pay for his wooden dentures, or did he perhaps get a block of wood and carve them himself? Maybe he paId someone experienced to do it? I highly doubt when he stuck those things in his mouth and took his first bite of food wearing them he thought "this is great! Everyone in America should have to be covered by WE the people so that when they need them they can afford to pay my buddy so he can make more!". We are so out of touch. Stop blindly following a party and wise up! Obamacare is going to bankrupt WE the PEOPLE! And YOUR "elected officials" are to blame. What really needs reform is not health care, but THE GOVERNMENT!!!!
Smedley June 28, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Keith I agree with you these people who blame bush or obama or whoever is next for everything don't have the foggiest idea what's really going on. The president doesn't really do anything. He's just a figurehead. He and the rest of our so called representatives republican or democrat are bought and sold by lobbyists and corporations. Money and Greed run our government now. Not freedom and democracy.
Keith June 30, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Thank you smedley, it's nice to be agreed with for a change. LOL
ANTHONY September 12, 2012 at 03:58 AM


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