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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

April 13, 2012

Letter from CCHF's President

There are many big stories this week. But there are two smaller stories I'd like you to hear about. First, Reason Magazine has reported a new poll. In a spot of good news, it finds most people want more control over their own health care.  

For example, 48 percent of Americans want their employers to give them dollars to purchase their own health insurance. And 65 percent want Medicare to pay them in credits so they can buy their own health insurance. And when asked to rate how much they trust various entities to address their health care needs, 61 percent trust themselves, 15 percent trust employers, and just 5 percent trust the government.

Then there's the Associated Press story that's meant to counter Obamacare opposition:  "The individual insurance requirement that the Supreme Court is reviewing isn't the first federal mandate involving health care." Such mandates include the Medicare payroll tax on workers and employers, and the increasingly problematic 1986 requirement that hospitals provide free emergency services whether or not a patient pays the bill.

Pundits disagree on constitutionality. In the AP article, Mark Hayes, former chief health counsel for the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee reminds readers that Congress used their constitutional tax and spend power to create Medicare and the payroll tax.

Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare proponent and MIT economist, grouses over claims that Obamacare is unconstitutional, saying, "It's so crazy to think that a society that has Social Security and Medicare would not find this (law) constitutional."

I don't believe Medicare would be constitutional in the eyes of our Founding Fathers. Putting the federal government in charge of your medical care can jeopardize life and liberty. The compulsory Medicare payroll tax also violates your right to property. Your dollars are given to others, leaving you with less to meet your own needs and no guarantee that Medicare will be there for you. In case you missed it, Medicare's $38 trillion unfunded liability is three times higher than our national debt.

Now on to the news . . .

News to Know:

Obamacare's Real Cost

One of the biggest stories of the week got me interviewed on Fox Business (TV). Charles Blahous, a trustee for Medicare authored a report damaging to Obamacare. Mr. Blahous says Obamacare "is expected to add at least $340 billion and as much as $530 billion to federal deficits while increasing federal spending by more than $1.15 trillion over the same period and by increasing amounts thereafter." He blames double-counting and the $777 billion in premium tax subsidies. He calls on Congress to eliminate two-thirds of the law's premium subsidies "to avoid worsening federal deficits." Better yet, he suggests eliminating them entirely.

Will Doctors Beg Patients?

The Feds are requiring doctors to force patients to interact with their electronic medical records. A new rule requires more than 50 percent of a doctor's patients to be able to view, download and transmit data for their electronic medical record (EMR). The rule also requires 10 percent of those patients to actually DO IT. This is the Stage 2 Meaningful Use Rule. Doctors can be financially penalized if patients refuse.  "So what on earth could [doctors] do to boost such compliance? Put signs up in the waiting room? Beg the patients? Give them chocolate?" Do you want your doctors listening to your concerns and diagnosing your condition....or do you want them trying to make you follow a government mandate so they can be fully paid?

Tax on Medical Care Proposed

The Institute of Medicine on Tuesday proposed a new tax on medical care to expand public health programs. A half-percent tax was suggested as a surcharge on all health care services and health insurance. The authors acknowledge Obamacare's new $15 billion Public Health and Prevention Fund (cut to nearly $9 million for the "doc fix" bill), but claim that is not nearly enough money. The tax, according to the report, "imposes a small amount of financial burden on the clinical encounter...[but] is unlikely to have a substantial deleterious economic effect." But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), minority leader on the Senate Finance Committee, called the tax "an absurd and misguided proposal from an organization that is becoming increasingly irrelevant."

Daring Challenge to Supreme Court

The media is in full-court press. They dare to call the Supreme Court justices uninformed. The Associated Press writes, "A possible misunderstanding about President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could cloud Supreme Court deliberations on its fate, leaving the impression that the law's insurance requirement is more onerous than it actually is." The article goes on to claim that the justices may not realize that Americans can buy a stripped down insurance product "that is broadly similar to today's so-called catastrophic coverage policies for individuals." That product is the "bronze plan." The writer also contends that the law provides "another level of catastrophic insurance limited to people under age 30."

This is nonsense. First, the "bronze plan" is a full-coverage plan, required to offer every "essential health benefit" mandated by the federal government. The difference is in what is paid out of pocket. The upfront cost is less but the plan covers only 60% of the cost of care. Furthermore, Obamacare does not provide a new catastrophic coverage plan for young people. It prohibits it for everyone over 29 years old, forcing many people off the major medical policies they have today. As Michael Carvin, attorney for the 26 states, says, "The bronze plan is not catastrophic coverage...It's got all the minimum essential benefits in it...It's got to have wellness, preventive, contraceptives...It's not remotely catastrophic." Absolutely correct.

Big Breach in Utah

Eastern European hackers have stolen 780,000 people's medical records, including 280,000 Social Security Numbers, from the Utah Department of Health. "On March 30, they downloaded 24,000 files to computers in Eastern Europe," according to The New York Times. "Each file contained records for hundreds of recipients." Many were children's records, preferred because "their identity can be exploited for years." Already the identity of "some 10 percent" of American children has been stolen. Meanwhile, a new report reveals a rise in breaches at hospitals. Specifically, 27% of respondents had experienced a security breach in the last year, up from 19% in 2010 and 13% in 2008. How vulnerable will patients be when the National Health Information Network (national medical records system) is fully in place?

News Release of the Week

Standardization of Care Hurts the Patient Experience, According to New Study

St. Paul, Minn. - Which is more important? Standardizing care or ensuring a positive patient experience?

To patient advocate Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, a patient-centered national health policy organization based in St. Paul, Minn., there shouldn't be a trade-off. But new research shows that hospitals that adopt strategies to meet government requirements see a decline in the quality of individual patient experiences.

The study by Ohio State University researchers was featured recently in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, and found that as state and federal mandates are met patients ultimately suffer, showing a negative link between clinical quality and patient experience.   Continue reading

Action Items:

Comment on Fed's Plan to Enhance Compliance With Medications

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health is seeking information about causes, impact and potential solutions associated with the public health problem of prescription medication non-adherence in adults with chronic conditions. Comments that provide input on and evidence from interventions that improve adherence are particularly encouraged.

DEADLINE: Send your comments in 500 words or less by Monday, May 7.

For more information, including where to send comments, click here

Featured Health Freedom Minute:

End Obamacare, Don't Mend It

Too often when policy is bad, legislators just tweak it a bit. They donʼt do anything daring. They resist being bold. But that is not the case with Senator Jim DeMint and Rep. Steve King. They believe that Congress must not tinker with Obamacare. They must not try to mend it. They must end it."    Continue reading

Twila Brase broadcasts a daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which brings health care issues to light for the American public. Health Freedom Minute airs on the entire American Family Radio Network, with more than 150 stations nationwide in addition to Bott Radio Network with over 80 stations nationwide.

Click here to listen to this week's features.




Citizens' Council for Health Freedom
161 St. Anthony Avenue, Ste 923
St. Paul, MN 55103
Phone: 651.646.8935 • Fax: 651.646.0100

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