Thousands of Schools Failing Adequate Vaccination Rates

 

Is your child vaccinated against measles? If not, your child is very vulnerable. Thousands of schools have failed to achieve recommended vaccination rates therefore failing to develop “herd immunity” for those who can’t or refuse to be vaccinated.

Brianna Abbott, Taylor Umlauf and Dylan Moriarty write in The Wall Street Journal of the astounding failure of thousands of schools to achieve expected vaccination rates, despite recent widely publicized recent measles outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 95% or better vaccination rates for all schools but thousands have failed to meet these standards.

While the majority of schools have relatively high measles-mumps-rubella vaccination rates of 90% or above, many schools have rates in the 70% to 80% range, and some small, private schools have rates hovering around 50%. “If you have children clustered together that are unvaccinated, that’s why measles outbreaks are happening,” said Carla Black, an epidemiologist in the Immunization Services Division at the CDC who tracks kindergarten immunization rates. “The real usefulness of the data is to look at your local coverage.” 

TheWSJ obtained data from 48,246 schools in 32 states out of 132,734 total U.S. schools, both public and private. Of the 30,615 schools with MMR-specific data, nearly 30%of schools had an immunization rate less than 95%. For the 31,422 schools with overall immunization data available, roughly 44% of schools fell below the 95% threshold, though those numbers do not directly correlate to MMR vaccination status because the students may be missing a different vaccine.

For the states with MMR-specific school data, 85.3% of schools had an MMR immunization rate of 90% or above. Roughly 1,800 schools, or 6.0%, fell below an 80% vaccination rate. For states with overall immunization data, 77.8% of schools had an immunization rate of 90% or better, and roughly 2,700 schools were below the 80% rate. In other words, any child in those 2,700 schools is at great risk of contracting one or more of these diseases if not immunized.

This is a serious situation. There have been 1,200 confirmed measles cases across 31 states, making 2019 the worst year on record for measles in the U.S. in 25 years.

Measles is not an innocuous disease. Before 1963, when the measles vaccine became available in the U. S., there were more than 500,000 reported measles cases every year, according to the CDC. On average, 432 cases a year resulted in death. By the year 2000 the number of cases had dwindled to 86 and the number of deaths zero. But approximately one child will die in every 1,000 infected so it is not a disease to be taken lightly.

Below is a map depicting the vaccination rates by county according to the data available. If you would like to know the vaccination rate for your child’s school, you can click on the following link school vaccination rates to connect to an interactive site.

Vaccinations for your child are important. Don’t delay. Your child’s health is at risk!

 

Bernie’s Hospital Bailout

 

Bernie Sanders wants the taxpayers to bail out the hospitals that he wants to bankrupt. There’s a Yiddish word for this that Bernie should know – hutzpah. It means “unbelievable gall; audacity.” The Wall Street Journal editorial board calls Bernie to account for this over-the-top move, even for a politician.

Sanders knows his Medicare for All bill will bankrupt our hospitals. So he’s already come up with an offer to ameliorate the damage – $20 Billion in federal bailout funds for struggling hospitals. Bernie used the occasion of visiting Philadelphia’s Hahnemann Hospital, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, to unveil his plan.

Bernie blames the failure of the hospital on corporate greed perpetrated by a private-equity firm. But he fails to appreciate the reality that two-thirds of Hahnemann’s patients are on government insurance, either Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid are notorious for paying hospitals (and physicians) less than what it costs to provide services.

According to the WSJ, the best estimates are that Medicare and Medicaid pay hospitals on average about 87% to 90% of the actual cost of care, often lower in high-cost areas like New York City. (In other words, hospitals lose money on every Medicare and Medicaid patient.) Hospitals then shift costs onto private insurers, which tend to pay more than 140% of costs, according to data from the American Hospital Association.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported earlier this year that “more than two-thirds of hospitals are losing money on Medicare inpatient services,” according to the latest data. If they can’t attract enough privately insured customers, they eventually will fall into bankruptcy.

Sanders obviously understands this dilemma because he’s already making plans for more hospitals to fail under his Medicare for All plan. His plan is endorsed by other presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris (though her plan is a bit more nuanced) and others.

But Bernie is only making plans to bail out hospitals. What about doctors? The unspoken truth is they will be affected even more. There’s no bailout being discussed for physician practices that fail. The result will be even earlier retirement for more physicians and an even greater physician shortage than already exists.

According to a report in 2019 by the American Association of Medical Colleges, there will be a shortage of 122,000 physicians by 2032. These numbers were estimated without consideration of the impact of Sanders’ Medicare for All plans.

The Journal of the AMA this year published estimates of what Medicare rates would mean: $151 Billion a year in lost revenue for community hospitals. The authors note, “Hospitals currently operating at costs substantially above Medicare payment rates may have limited ability to reduce their costs quickly.”

This is all a reminder that Sanders and the Progressives aren’t really interested in universal coverage as much as they are determined to achieve a federal takeover of American healthcare.

Middle Class Fleeing ObamaCare

 

ObamaCare was supposed to help the middle class find affordable healthcare. After all, they called it the Affordable Care Act.

For the most part the poor already had government assistance to get healthcare through Medicaid and CHIP plans for children. To be sure, ObamaCare expanded the eligibility for these programs and enrolled many just outside the poverty lines.

But it was the middle class that needed the most help with rising premiums and deductibles. Now that same middle class is heading for the exits as the cost of unsubsidized ObamaCare premiums has skyrocketed.

ObamaCare premiums are subsidized by the government for family incomes up to about $100,000 for a family of four. Those families making less than that receive generous subsidies that make the premiums easily affordable. Those families above that level of income must bear the full brunt of the rising premiums and deductibles.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a report on trends in the individual health insurance market. The message is clear – those who must pay the full cost of ObamaCare premiums are having no part of it. According to the Wall Street Journal editorial board, from 2016 to 2018, enrollment among those who didn’t qualify for subsidies dropped by 2.5 million people – a 40% declinenationally.

Average monthly enrollment across the entire individual market fell 7% between 2017 and 2018. CMS says the decline occurred “entirely” among people who didn’t receive subsidies. For those who get taxpayer help, enrollment increased 4%.

It gets worse in some states. Over the same two-year period, unsubsidized enrollment dropped by an astounding 91% in Iowa, 79% in Arizona, 78% in Nebraska, 76% in Tennessee, and 71% in Georgia and Oklahoma. CMS says the subsidized portion of the market was 122% greater than the unsubsidized market in 2018, up from 61% in 2017. The WSJ editorial board summarizes, “In other words, ObamaCare plans are increasingly valuable only to those who receive cash transfers to buy it.”

Why do polls show a slim majority of Americans approve of ObamaCare?

Only 4% of Americans are directly enrolled in ObamaCare plans – and most of those are receiving government subsidies. About 180 million Americans still receive their healthcare insurance through their employers and therefore have not felt the direct impact of rising premiums. However, they have suffered from delayed wage increases they might have received if their employer didn’t have to pay the rising cost of their healthcare premiums.

Therefore, most Americans are satisfied with their employer-provided healthcare insurance or their government-provided ObamaCare. The unfortunate minority are those middle class families who don’t receive their healthcare insurance from their employer and don’t qualify for the government subsidies. Those are the ones caught in the middle and heading for the ObamaCare exits as fast as they can run.