OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

July 18, 2013

Why Health Care Costs So Much – Interview with Dr. G. Keith Smith

OK-SAFE, Inc. – On July 15, 2013 we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. G. Keith Smith (Anesthesiologist) of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma on America in the Balance on Truth in Focus Internet radio.

Dr G Keith Smith photo

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma was established in 1997 by two doctors (Dr. Steven Lantier and Dr. G. Keith Smith) fed up with how hospitals were treating both the patients and the surgeons.

Right away they decided they would do two things very differently:

  1. They would never take a dime of government money.  “We just decided that the federal government is not a reliable, or an honest or a trustworthy partner or payer in any capacity.  And we did not want to take the leverage that went along with taking their money.  We also increasing saw, philosophically, accepting federal money as an act of theft.” Taking money from one neighbor to give it to someone else was unacceptable to them.
  2. They would engage in what they called “price honesty.” They decided their own prices and communicated this beforehand to the patient.  “This is what we charge and mean it.”

Soon, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (SCO) became a haven for not only the uninsured, but people who lived outside of Oklahoma.  Patients from as far away as Canada come to the SCO, as well as from Massachusetts and Alaska.

Apparently this success dismayed the insurance establishment, who made multiple attempts to throw down roadblocks in their path – i.e., by steering patients away from them.

Dr. Smith provides a history of the health care system (see the Hill-Burton Act of 1946, for one), and goes into the specifics of why health care costs so much; the role “not-for-profit” hospitals play in distorting the costs of health care, and the manipulative pricing tactics employed by the insurance companies.

Those Privacy-Killing Electronic Health Records

At the bottom of the interview be sure to listen to the “The Four Buckets of Meaningful Use” audio, as a woman explains Stages 1 through 4 of the “Meaningfully Use” requirements for electronic health records.  Stages 1-4 can be summed up as, 1) adopt electronic health records technology, 2) capture data, 3) move the data, 4) report the data. All that “data” is about you, the patient, so it can be sent hither and yon, including to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).  In a nutshell, you are getting naked for more than just the doctor.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma does not use electronic health records, recognizing their inherent risks, and belongs to no “network” of information sharing about their patients.

Options?

What can we in  Oklahoma do to avoid the pitfalls of “ObamaCare”?  One recommendation Dr. Smith makes is to avoid seeing a doctor attached to a hospital.  Independent providers are still out there – these are the ones to frequent.  Toward the end of the interview Dr. Smith provides a list of other options for health care, including options if you need a hospital.

About the Surgery Center of Oklahoma

“The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a 32,535 square foot, state-of-the-art multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, owned and operated by approximately 40 of the top surgeons and anesthesiologists in central Oklahoma.Soon, the Surgery Center became a haven for uninsured and more – people from as far away as Canada started showing up at their facility.”

“It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”

Government interference in health care is the problem.  Entities like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma are the solution.

Link to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:  www.surgerycenterok.com

Address: 9500 N. Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Phone: 405-475-0678

Dr. Smith’s email: Ksmith@surgerycenterok.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Smith’s blog.

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January 20, 2013

Why Health Entitlements are “Broke” – G. Keith Smith, MD

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This blog post by Dr. Keith Smith is so good we are re-posting it here.  Dr. Smith is one the co-founders of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, located in Oklahoma City.  This physician-owned facility is an example of the free market medicine –  see more about them here.

Dr. Smith objects to government involvement in health care, having a low opinion of so-called  “health care cartels”.  Also of note is the fact that his health care facility does not use those privacy-killing electronic health care records.

OK-SAFE applauds Dr. Smith for his stance and for working to expose the deceptive practices associated with so-called “health care reform”.

Jan. 18, 2013

Why Health Entitlements are “Broke” – by G. Keith Smith, MD

At the end of 2012, like the end of many prior years, physicians faced the draconian Medicare cuts, the threat of which has served to be one of the most effective fund raisers for politicians in history.  SGR.  Sustainable Growth Rate.  Calculation of what this cut might have been involves a complex series of factors, affecting some doctors more than others.  Some specialists were anticipating cuts of as much as 23% in pay.  Alas, the “Doctor Fix,” although temporary, arrived just in the nick of time, as sufficient contributions to the D.C. extortionists rolled in.

“Either we cut the doctor pay by up to 23% or the country might go broke!”  ”Cuts are inevitable.”  ”We will have to face this one of these days.” “There is simply no other way.”

Those of you who follow this blog know my thoughts on Medicare, indeed on any government involvement in health care at all.  However…..

Keep in mind several things.  Medicare pays the “not for profit” hospitals twice what is listed on our website for the same operations.  Hmmm.  How did this happen?  Medicare pays the local teaching hospital twice what it pays the physician-owned hospital for a joint replacement.   Hmmm.  Now my favorite.  Medicare pays hospitals for the services provided by their physician employees 40% more than for the same services provided by non-hospital employee doctors.  Hmmm.

I see not only a potential for savings, but a pattern.  This is without a doubt an assault on the private practice of medicine by the government, an attempt to drive physicians to be hospital employees, at once lining the pockets of the health cartel lobby and annihilating the remnant of doctors who take the patient-doctor relationship seriously, those doctors who are pushing back on further medical intrusion by Uncle Sam.  The buy-electronic-health-record-systems-or-else policy by Medicare is yet another move that has cut the net pay to physicians in private practice and a move that has brought many doctors to “throw in the towel.”

Click here for the rest of the post by Dr. Smith.

October 25, 2012

Data Breaches? Cash is king when it comes to Security

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Proponents of electronic payments systems often claim they are a more “secure” means of transaction.  Not so – data breaches (and identify theft) have escalated ever since their adoption.

Just imagine what kind of breaches will be forthcoming with the adoption of electronic health records.

From a Sun Times article, dated October 24, 2012:

Want to avoid the next big data breach? Expert says use cash.

BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter jseidel@suntimes.com October 24, 2012

Customers jarred by news that credit and debit card devices at seven Chicago-area Barnes & Noble stores and 63 nationwide have been tampered with have at least one option for defending themselves, an expert said.

“The simple answer is pay cash,” said Jacob Furst, a professor at DePaul University specializing in information security.

Barnes & Noble has warned its customers to check for unauthorized transactions and to change their personal identification numbers, or PINs. It didn’t say how many accounts may have been compromised, but it said only one of the “PIN pad” devices was tampered with in each of the compromised locations.

Those locations include the Chicago stores at 1130 N. State and 1441 W. Webster, and the suburban locations in Crystal Lake, Deer Park, Deerfield, Evanston and West Dundee. Adam Didech dropped in and bought three books Wednesday at the State Street store, where he’s shopped for more than a year. He said he’s pretty protective of his bank and credit card accounts and monitors them regularly.

“I don’t use my credit card for a lot, and so it’s pretty easy for me to get a sense of when something’s gone wrong,” Didech said.

End of excerpt. Rest of article here.

 

November 21, 2011

Stop Obama Care in Kansas Responds to OK-SAFE Comments on Health Care Reform Committee

The following letter of support from our friends in Kansas, who are also engaged in a fight against the implementation of PPACA (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obama Care”).  Like Oklahoma, Kansas citizens applied political pressure to their legislators and governor and rejected the Obama Care enabler “Early Innovator” federal grant money.

OK-SAFE thanks them for their support and will continue to offer our support to their efforts against the liberty and privacy killing provisions of PPACA and the ARRA, (the stimulus bill was the real health care reform bill, providing the funding mechanism for electronic health records adoption, the backbone of the inhuman health IT monster called “reform”.)

(See earlier OK-SAFE post entitled OK-SAFE Response to Federal Health Care Reform Committee.)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, November 20, 2011

RE: OK-SAFE comments on the recent Joint Legislative Committee on Health Care Reform Law in Oklahoma.

Dear Amanda,

On behalf of the Stop Obama Care in Kansas (the Republic) (SOCK) tour we are 100% in solidarity with you, OK-SAFE and the citizens of Oklahoma.

In addition I would note that under Article VI cl. 3, of the U.S. Constitution every state and federal legislative, judicial and executive officer must take an oath to “support” the Constitution.  Although the founders left the actual words of this oath of support to the individual states they did write the oath for the President of the United States.  No other officers can have any more or less responsibility that that of the President, although the means to carry one’s oath out will change based on the office held. That oath is as follows:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

-U.S. Constitution, Article II §1.

All of the descriptors of this duty to the U.S. Constitution are action words which clearly indicate that his duty is an active duty not a passive duty. One may not, consistent with their oath to the Constitution, sit quietly by as the Constitution is violated or otherwise attacked.

Also note this duty is by no means limited to military or other physical attacks but includes all attacks including philosophical attacks and legislative, judicial and executive usurpations.  Also those who are not fulfilling their duty in this regard are also failing to support the Constitution and are passively attacking the Constitution.

Under the Kentucky and Virginia Resolves, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison espoused the principle that any time the central government  exceeded its authority under the Constitution then the central government’s actions in such regard was a nullity and of no force and effect upon the sovereign States. They also noted the only way for the states to preserve the Union was to protect the Constitution from such usurpations by the federal government and in fact the States not only had a right but indeed a duty (were required)  to intervene and “interpose” themselves between the central government and their citizens to stop an infringement of the rights of their citizens.

In 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court,   affirmed the principle espoused by Jefferson and Madison, holding that any federal law which was not “in pursuance” of the Constitution  was a total nullity upon its inception and never comes into force and effect. Murbarry v. Madison. (See U.S. Constitution Art. VI cl.2.) As such no one is required to enforce, obey or otherwise support such law. In fact to support such an unconstitutional law would be a breach of one’s duty to the Constitution.

Note the Court said the law was a nullity upon its very inception not from the time the Court declared it to be so.

What this means is that all those who are under an oath to the Constitution must in the first instance determine for themselves if a law or regulation is Constitutional.  Once they have made that determination their further conduct is sealed.

It is no excuse for those under oath to say they are “not an attorney” or are not a “Constitutional scholar”. Once they raise their hand and swear their oath to the Constitution they are required to have a working knowledge of the Constitution otherwise they are incompetent to hold office. In other words such oath established a substantive requirement for them to be qualified to hold office, the oath is not a mere formality as most public officials now treat it.

As Justice Scalia said in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. ___, and was repeated in M c DONALD et al. v. CITY OF CHICAGO:

“In interpreting this language, it is important to recall that constitutional provisions are “‘written to be understood by the voters.’ ” Heller, 554 U. S., at ___. The objective of this inquiry is to discern what “ordinary citizens” at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment ’s ratification would have understood that Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause to mean. Ibid.”

For those of us who know the law, our public servants have no excuse for their ignorance except for laziness and incompetence.

In Kansas the Governor has declared Obama Care to be “unconstitutional”. He has thereby limited the actions he may take as to Obama Care. Also Kansas has sued the federal government based on Obama Care being unconstitutional. Therefore, the official policy of Kansas is that Obama Care is unconstitutional. Further the Federal District Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have found it to be unconstitutional at some level. Therefore, any official in Kansas that moves ahead with Obama Care is violating their oath to support the U.S. Constitution by supporting and or implementing an unconstitutional law.

I am sure you will find that Oklahoma politicians are in the same position.

Thank you for all your effort to return our Republic to Constitutional Governance.

For the sake of Liberty,

Richard D. Fry

Founder / Co-Coordinator

Stop Obama Care in Kansas

General Counsel

Patriot Coalition

816 853 8718

November 14, 2011

Health Care Reform Definded – It’s Not What You Think

OK-SAFE, Inc. – OK-SAFE was the only grassroots organization* in Oklahoma given an opportunity to speak to the Joint Legislative Committee on Federal Health Care Law.

It was also the only organization that actually defined what is meant by “health care reform”.

The Federal Data Hub – the New American Idol?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Care Reform – is really about the use of IT to implement a nationwide health information network (NHIN), that will enable the seamless flow of information across boundaries, and that allows a growing global surveillance system to function. Medical records will be accessible, without a search warrant, by the Dept. of Homeland Security, and others.

Electronic Health Records – Reform is predicated on the creation of a standardized, interoperable electronic health record (EHR) on every single individual

Cradle-to-Grave – EHRs are used for data collection, aggregation and reporting and are intended to track a person from birth to death. (Longitudinal)

EHRs are universal and to be shared globally – not only within our government, but with foreign governments, universities, and other third parties.

Requires Standardization and Interoperability – to establish uniformity and compatibility in data collection, regardless of jurisdiction.

EHRs include each person’s genetic information – and will be used for research purposes without the knowledge or consent of the person.

Rights killing – Health care reform, and other data collection networks, do an “end-run” around search warrants and nullif our inherent rights to life, liberty and property.

___________________________________________________________

See the OK-SAFE power point here for a detailed explanation of Health Care Reform – IT, Privacy and Security Issues.

Listen

You can listen online to two interviews discussing the real meaning and purpose of health care reform and how the exchanges plug into the system. Check out the 11/6/11 America in the Balance radio show and to the 11/4/11 interview entitled “Privacy or Panopticon?” podcast on Axxiom for Liberty on Rule of Law radio.
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*[OCPA gave the only other conservative perspective to these proceedings, having a speaker at two of the meetings. Both OCPA presentations showed the stark reality of the high cost of health care reform, as well as pointing out excess spending by state health care entities.]

October 24, 2011

Health Care Reform Law/Exchanges Meetings – OKC and Tulsa

OK-SAFE, Inc. – The third meeting of the joint legislative committee to examine the effects of the federal health care reform law (Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare”, etc.) on Oklahoma will be held in the Senate Chambers at the Capitol on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

The meeting will run from 9 am to approx. 4 pm and should be available for viewing online.

The third meeting features speakers addressing the impact on Indian Health; status of lawsuits, and the ballot question opposing the mandate; federal vs. state exchanges; constitutional issues; what other states are doing.

Every Oklahoman with concerns about the implementation of health insurance exchanges (now “marketplaces”), electronic health records (EHRs) being shared everywhere, or infringements on your medical privacy needs to attend these meetings.

Committee co-chairs are Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Glen Mulready.

Contact Senator Gary Stanislawski’s or Rep. Glen Mulready’s office to be notified of meetings.

Sen. Stanislawski: 405-521-5624
Rep. Mulready: 405-557-7340

The agenda for the third meeting in OKC is below, including the names of the joint committee members. This meeting will be held in the Senate Chambers and audio/visual should be available online.

[NOTE: The fourth meeting, scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd, 2011, will be held at the Tulsa Technology Center, Riverside Campus. Amanda Teegarden, Executive Director of OK-SAFE, Inc., is one of the scheduled presenters on that date, addressing the technology, security & privacy concerns associated with the implementation of health care reform. The fifth, and last, meeting will be in OKC on Nov. 15, 2011.]

_______________________________________________________________

MEETING NOTICE

JOINT COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW

SUBJECT: Third Meeting

MEETING DATE: Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MEETING TIME: 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 pm (approx. end time)

LOCATION: Senate Chamber, State Capitol Building
__________________________________________________________

Agenda:

1. 9:00 – 10:00 – Affordable Care Act impact on Indian Health – Jefferson Keel, Lt. Governor, Chickasaw Nation

2. 10:00 – 10:45 – Status of PPACA lawsuits, what the ballot question did for Oklahoma – Pat Wyrick, Oklahoma Solicitor General

3. 10:45 – 11:30 – Comparison of Federal vs. State based Exchanges – David Blatt, Director of Oklahoma Policy Institute

4. 1:00 – 1:45 – Constitutional issues – Andy Spiropoulos, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law and Government, OCU School of Law

5. 1:45 – 3:00 – What other States are doing – Laura Tobler, Health Programs Director, Martha Salazar, Policy Associate, NCSL

6. Other Business

Committee Members:
Senate Appointees: House Appointees:

Senator Gary Stanislawski, Co-Chair Rep. Glen Mulready, Co-Chair

Senator Cliff Aldridge Rep. Doug Cox

Senator Bill Brown Rep. Randy Grau

Senator Sean Burrage Rep. Danny Morgan

Senator Brian Crain Rep. Jeannie McDaniel

Senator John Sparks Rep. Jason Nelson
_________________________________________________________

To call these legislators, see their contact information here. Click on Legislators link, then Senate of House members pages.

There OK legislature has created a website detailing these meetings: http://www.okhealthcare.info – check for meeting details, including presentations.

NOTE: The second meeting took place on October 5, 2011 at the Tulsa Technology Center, Riverside Campus, and featured speakers from the OK Insurance Dept., providers, and insurance underwriters. One presenter, Janet Trautwein, of NAHU, hinted at the development of the federal data hub. Video of this event is here.

Psalm 118: 8,9 – “It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than to trust in princes.”

September 7, 2011

UPDATE: Revised First Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law Meeting Notice – Sept. 14, 2011

(9/8/11 UPDATE: Below is the revised agenda for the first joint committee meeting.)

The first meeting of the joint legislative committee on the effects of the federal health care law (Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare”) on Oklahoma will be held in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am in the House chamber at the OK State Capitol.

This first meeting appears to be featuring some of the key members of the Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.  The OHCA is the recipient of the federal grants to implement health care reform, including a $1 M planning grant, as well as being the intended recipient of the $54 M Early Innovator Grant the state accepted then “rejected” earlier this year.

Committee co-chairs are Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Glen Mulready. Every Oklahoman with concerns about the implementation of health insurance exchanges (now “marketplaces”), the use of electronic medical/health records and medical privacy should try to attend this meeting.  This looks to be an all-day meeting, so come prepared to spend some time.

The entire notice is below, including the joint committee members.

Future meetings are to be held in Tulsa, and then again in Oklahoma City.  Dates and times are not confirmed at this time.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEETING NOTICE

Date of Notice: September 7, 2011

JOINT COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW

SUBJECT:                  First Meeting

MEETING DATE:   Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MEETING TIME:        9:00 A.M.

LOCATION:                House Chamber, State Capitol Building

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Agenda:

9:00 am – 11:30 am                                                                          

1.              Welcome and Introductions

2.              Present State of Health Outcomes and Health Care in Oklahoma

Julie Cox-Kain, Chief Operating Officer, Oklahoma State Department of Health

                                                Mike Fogarty, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 3.              PPACA: Description of Mandates, Costs, and Other Implications for the State Concerning Public                         Health

Julie Cox-Kain, Chief Operating Officer, Oklahoma State Department of Health

 4.              Medicaid and Accountable Care Organizations

Buffy Heater, Director of Planning and Development, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

                                                Cindy Roberts, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

                                                Jason Sutton, Policy Impact Director, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

5.              Other Business

Senate Appointees:                                                     House Appointees:

Senator Gary Stanislawski, Co-Chair                Rep. Glen Mulready, Co-Chair

Senator Cliff Aldridge                                                 Rep. Doug Cox

Senator Bill Brown                                                      Rep. Randy Grau

Senator Sean Burrage                                                Rep. Danny Morgan

Senator Brian Crain                                                    Rep. Jeannie McDaniel

Senator John Sparks                                                  Rep. Jason Nelson

Senate Staff:

Jennifer Mullens, Legislative Analyst

Alicia Emerson, Legislative Analyst

Lori Block, Staff Attorney

Andrew Messer, Fiscal Analyst

Anthony Sammons, Staff Attorney

Darrell D. Washington, Administrative Assistant

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