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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

January 8, 2014


Obama Rejects Charity Payments for Premiums

The sick are getting a reality check. It's 2014, the first year of full Obamacare implementation and taxation...but Obama is focused on the well and the healthy, not the poor and the sick. An article in Inside Health Insurance Exchanges (HEX) tells the tale, "HHS Warns Hospitals, Providers Not to Cover Patient Premiums."


A Los Angeles non-profit, called A Better LA, plans to donate the $50 to $100 per month share of 50 people's Obamacare premiums not financed by federal subsidies. In addition, some hospitals want to pay the premiums for their most frequent patients so their costs can be reimbursed. (WSJ, 12/17/13, p A6).


Obama is not pleased. First, such 'premium charity' makes his "affordable" premiums look bad. Second, he desperately needs the well, not the sick, enrolled in government exchanges (aka "Marketplaces"). Therefore, his health officials released the following statement on charitable payment of premiums:


"The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has broad authority to regulate the Federal and State Marketplaces (e.g., section 1321 (a) of the Affordable Care Act). It has been suggested that hospitals, other healthcare providers, and other commercial entities may be considering supporting premium payments and cost-sharing obligations with respect to qualified health plans purchased by patients in the Marketplaces. HHS has significant concerns with this practice because it could skew the insurance risk pool and create an unlevel field in the Marketplaces. HHS discourages this practice and encourages issuers to reject such third party payments. HHS intends to monitor this practice and to take appropriate action, if necessary." [Emphasis added.]


In other words, too many sick people in the exchanges without enough well people to cover their costs will destabilize the exchanges.


Tim Jost, legal scholar at Washington and Lee University, doubts HHS has authority to prohibit such charity. He told HEX: "I haven't seen anything in the regs that specifically prohibits it...If they had some specific authority to prevent it, you'd think they would have mentioned it." They didn't. The Administration is throwing its weight around trying to plug any legal hole where the freedom to be charitable might get through.


Hospitals are not being charitable. Hospital payments for patient premiums may sound laudable, but their intent is to open the door to taxpayer dollars for hospital reimbursement. Obamacare has already cut $18.1 billion in federal Medicaid "disproportionate share hospital" (DSH) payments, which cover the hospital's uncompensated care costs, including charity care and bad debt.


Insurers oppose 'premium charity.' They want the taxpayer-funded federal premium subsidies from Obamacare enrollment but they don't want a deluge of the high-risk or sick patients. As The Wall Street Journal reports,


"[I]nsurers say they can't make a profit unless the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act draw a balanced mix of healthy and sicker customers...Help from nonprofits or hospitals could speed the arrival of less healthy customers into the exchanges, outpacing the arrival of younger, healthier people who might not cross paths with hospitals."


SCOTUS upset the Obamacare applecart. Obama intended to impose a national wage and wealth redistribution scheme primarily on the backs of the young and healthy and the wallets of the working. It includes 20 new or higher taxes, two coverage mandates, expansion of Medicaid, a ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, and higher prices for care and coverage. No one, including the hospitals and insurers now on the hook for providing care and coverage to millions more enrollees, expected the Medicaid expansion and individual mandate to be ruled unconstitutional, thus leaving insurers and hospitals in the lurch as the sick sign up and the young and healthy stay away.


But who's to blame? Not the young or the healthy. Hospitals and insurers are reaping the consequences of their own complicity. If health plans and hospitals had not supported Obamacare, the "Affordable Care Act" would not be law.


2014 is a critical year.  We can stop Obamacare this year. Federal funding for operating Obama's exchanges - federal takeover centers -- runs out December 31, 2014. Exchanges need enrollees to fund their multi-million dollar operations in 2015. Stop the exchanges from being successful in 2014:   Donate to CCHF & Opt-Out of Obamacare & Refuse to Enroll.


Committed to patient-centered health freedom,


Twila Brase, RN, PHN

President and Co-founder





CORRECTION - In the December 18 Commentary, the Halbig vs. Sebelius lawsuit was incorrectly cited as originating in Oklahoma. There are four similar lawsuits. Pruitt vs. Sebelius is the lawsuit filed by Oklahoma's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.


News to Know:

Kentucky Exchanges Limit Choice of Hospital

Despite years of warnings, many Kentuckians are finding themselves surprised by the limited number of health care options they are being offered on the state's insurance exchanges. Due to the "narrow networks" coverage, individuals have limited choices of hospitals and physicians for their care. This means residents who use the government exchanges will have virtually no choice when it comes to preferred hospitals and physicians, even when their life depends on it.

Emergency Squads Could by Crippled be ACA

Fire departments and emergency squads across America are waiting to learn from the IRS just how they will be affected by Obamacare in regards to volunteer responders. Obamacare requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance. However, the definition of "full-time" is unclear. If regulators define volunteer fire fighters as full-time employees, the financial implications may cripple emergency response teams nationwide. This is yet another example of how poorly Obamacare was crafted.

Obamacare Happy Hour

Obamacare advertisers are again launching campaigns to enroll young people in the ACA, and this time they've headed to the clubs. DC Health Link, Washington DC's exchange, focused late-December campaign efforts on sending brochures to the area's most popular dance clubs. President Obama even urged bartenders to host insurance-focused happy hour discussions. Not surprisingly, the campaign has produced little to no response, as insurance is usually the last thing on club-goers minds.

Hiding the Hacking

With all the social concerns about information privacy, it is quite disturbing to discover that is not required to inform users if their information is compromised. In fact, HHS was specifically asked to include such a requirement in the rules designed for the health exchanges, but HHS declined. So you'll never know who took your information on the sly or when they stole it.

Beware the Deductible

People enrolling in one of the less expensive coverage options on the ACA exchanges could be in for a nasty surprise when they discover that some plans will not pay for a doctor visit before the annual deductible is met. At least half of the bronze plans require a deductible of up to $5,000 be met before the expensive new kicks in. About 25% of higher cost silver plans will require consumers to meet deductibles before insurance contributes.

Botched EHR Installation Costs More

The implementation of an already expensive Epic electronic health record at Maine Medical Center will cost tens of millions more than expected. Maine Medical Center had already spent more than $145 million on the system when the system began displaying serious errors that cost the hospital $14 million this past year. Despite the issues, the hospital has not abandoned the system, and will spend an additional $55 million, mostly on staff training.

"Another 100 Dogs" Required

Far from the "affordable" coverage advertised, middle-class families and small business owners are being hit the hardest by Obamacare and are spending the beginning of the year making extensive changes to cover increasing insurance premiums. Michael Kennedy, the owner of two dog-grooming salons, states that his insurance rates doubled under Obamacare, from $132.99 to $325.92 a month per person. "It's another 100 dogs we need to groom," said Kennedy.

Obamacare Devastating for Middle Class

The New York Times has finally agreed with Obamacare critics in recognizing that the ACA truly devastates America's middle class. The law's sharply increasing premiums coupled with the lack of subsidies for middle-income households isolate a large percentage of American families in need of health care. These families "are caught in the uncomfortable middle: not poor enough for help, but not rich enough to be indifferent to cost."

Government Bailout for Obamacare Failures

America is already reeling from the disastrous Obamacare rollout in late 2013, but the government may have already ensured that 2014 won't be much better. If Obamacare does fail, and insurance companies do not enroll enough Americans to sustain the coverage and plans, Health and Human Services (HHS) will step in to cover the insurers' losses. So we're essentially looking at the possibility of a government bailout of insurers implementing a flawed federal law. Not only that, but the bailout will likely be taxpayer-funded.

Eight Ways to Opt Out

With the deadlines for Obamacare enrollment coming fast, many Americans are choosing not to enroll. However, it's important that Americans use alternatives to Obamacare other than not having insurance. Brietbart has compiled a list of eight ways to opt out of the exchanges. Among the top suggestions:

  1. Join a health care sharing ministry.
  2. Visit cash-only doctors and retail health clinics.
  3. Sign up for a telemedicine service.

Obamacare Enrollment Falls Short

The White House issued an end of year statement admitting that only 1.1 million people have used to sign up for Obamacare as of Christmas, 2013. Roughly 1 million people have enrolled via the state exchanges. The 2 million total is only two-thirds of the administration's enrollment goal, which is least 3 million less than the 5 million who had their insurance plans canceled by the ACA. Plus no one knows how many of the 2 million have paid and are actually enrolled.

Quote of the Week:

"It cost money, but now I sleep well." - Dr. Charles Smutney III, D.O., a Centerport, NY doctor who got out of Medicare and all insurance contracts in 2009, refuses to submit to "EHR private data theft," declines insurance and serves only his patients. AAPS News, December 2013.


Stats of the Week:

$100 million - may have been spent by health insurer WellPoint, Inc. for television, social media and print ads to woo young, healthy Americans to the Obamacare exchanges. (AIS's Health Business Daily, December 31, 2013)


News Release of the Week:

Obamacare Language on Subsidies Could Protect Americans from the Law's Mandates and Penalties

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Thirty-four states have refused to set up Obamacare state health insurance exchanges, and residents in those states may be exempt from Obamacare with no enforceable mandates or penalties.

According to Twila Brase, patient advocate and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, the Affordable Care Act specifically reads that only people in the 14 states and the District of Columbia that have established their own exchange can receive government premium subsidies through the exchanges, impose the individual and employer mandates, and impose penalties for failure to buy ACA-comliant insurance. Continue reading

Featured Health Freedom Minute:

The HIPAA Privacy Rule Part 5

Welcome to part five of a five-day series on HIPAA, the "no-privacy" Rule. The rule allows your data to be computerized and shared. But after doctors refused to use electronic medical records, Obamaʼs 2009 stimulus bill penalizes doctors who donʼt. It also adds new intruders. Due to HIPAA and the stimulus bill, 2.2 million entities can share your data. 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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