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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

January 29, 2014



 

The BOLD Republican Plan for Health Care

I'm not going to talk about Obama's SOTU... except to say that I feel like I did the last time he had to get up and try to sell Obamacare to the nation: he doesn't want to do it; he feels it's beneath him; it's four years after Obamacare and he's perturbed that he still has to be marketing the law in a speech. So his comments lack passion.

 

He wants so much to be beyond Obamacare, but just can't get there. The young aren't buying it. The enrollment numbers are filled with people who were previously enrolled --in policies cancelled by Obamacare. The website is a fraught with glitches and slowdowns and data insecurity. In short, he's not happy about the long list of realities swirling around his "signature" act.

 

Instead, I'm going to talk about one bold GOP health care plan. Here is a plan that can evoke passion.

 

For comparison let's first talk about the recent GOP plan. The 'repeal and replace' plan unveiled on Monday has been called "pragmatic and realistic" by GOP Senate aids. There's little to be excited about. I hoped I would like it, but the "replace" part of the plan authored by Republican Senators Hatch, Coburn, and Burr seems more like a re-hash of tired old ideas that won't register high on anyone's enthusiasm meter. 

 

Furthermore, their plan, called the "Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act" (Patient CARE Act), keeps the federal government in power. The 8-page overview of the Patient CARE Act claims it will "return the power of regulating health insurance to the states," but just like or similar to Obamacare, the CARE Act:

 

  • Prohibits lifetime limits by insurers.
  • Requires guaranteed renewability.
  • Requires insurers to take people with pre-existing conditions as long as they've been "continuously covered" for 18 months with at least catastrophic coverage by another insurer.
  • Sets a national "open enrollment" period for the uninsured.
  • Requires auto-enrollment by states of people who fail to choose a health plan within a certain time frame.

 

This puts the federal government where the federal government does not belong. Yes, it starts to deal with the problem of federal tax deductions being only available to those with employer-sponsored coverage, but the Patient CARE Act keeps the federal government in charge of health insurance even after it repeals Obamacare.

 

Not so with the OPTION Act.

 

The OPTION Act is a bold health care plan. Authored Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (R-GA), the "Offering Patients True Individualized Options Now Act of 2013" - H.R. 2900 - is an exciting 77-page proposal to repeal Obamacare and change the entire landscape of American health care.

 

It would reintroduce freedom.

 

The OPTION Act eliminates Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program --- and the entire ...

 

Continue reading...

 

 


 




News to Know:

Will Doctors Be Forced into Medicare?

Medicare plans to limit access to medications and force doctors into Medicare using a proposed 678-page rule which would ban doctors who don't participate in Medicare from prescribing to patients in Medicare Part D, give Medicare fraud contractors direct access to patient medical records without consent, and restrict access to certain medications. As ProPublica notes, "the new rules would require some patients to change doctors - or force some doctors to apply to be part of Medicare." Comment on proposed rule. Deadline:  Friday, March 7.



Don't Regulate Us

Developers of electronic health records (EHRs) are all trying to get  a piece of the $27 billion in federal funds for health IT. A bill supported by EHR developers-- the SOFTWARE Act of 2013 -- would add federal definitions to the law for medical devices that must be regulated by the FDA. But EHRs would not be on the definitions list despite being the cause of patient deaths and injuries. (Bloomberg BNA, Jan. 15, 2014).



Approved but Not Paid

Even though some health insurance agents have been approved to offer policies through MNsure, the troubled Minnesota exchange, they are not being paid commissions.  When agents sell Obamacare coverage offered through MNsure, the insurers are paying them nothing, -- because the insurance agents selling Obamacare coverage "do not fit" the companies' criteria to receive commission as a seller. So "approved" does not mean "approved to be paid"?



MN Privacy Commission Proposed

In an email to constituents, Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville) said she has several legislative privacy-related proposals planned for this coming session dealing with data privacy. One bill would create a Legislative Commission on Data Practices and Personal Data Privacy. Another would ensure that patients can assert their right to privacy and not be refused treatment.



Healthcare.gov Still Not Secure

Despite reported improvements to the federal heath care exchange site, experts say that Healthcare.gov is still very easy to hack. Witnesses testified on Capitol Hill Jan. 16, that the exchange site is not much more secure than when it launched Oct. 1, 2013. "Healthcare.gov is not secure today," said David Kennedy, head of computer security firm TrustedSec LLC, who said over 20 security flaws remain unfixed.



NSA Access to Your Medical Records

Hidden in most healthcare providers' privacy forms are some shocking statements most patients never read. Most, if not all, healthcare providers include language stating that they may disclose your personal health information (PHI) with federal officials for vaguely stated "national security and intelligence activities." In short, your doctor can share your medical records with state, local and federal officials without your consent.



The Uninsured are Disinterested

Obamacare was established and advertised largely as a way to provide access to health insurance for the previously uninsured. Now that it has been implemented, is it accomplishing its goal? Not according to The Wall Street Journal, which reports that only 11% of consumers who have purchased Obamacare coverage were previously uninsured. Despite the many ads, when it comes to Obamacare it seems the uninsured just aren't buying it, literally and figuratively.



MNSure Exchange Fails Assessment

Optum brought 15 staff to assess MNsure, Obamacare in Minnesota. Their assessment concluded that the agency will not immediately recover from its disastrous launch and will not meet the original enrollment goals. Instead MNsure needs to change everything about their organization, including improvements in their call center, management structure, and software and data processing methods.



Target Ends Coverage for Part-Time Workers

On Jan. 21, Target Corp. said that it will stop offering health insurance coverage to part-time workers, effective April 1. Employees that will be losing coverage will receive $500 and be directed to purchase coverage through state or federal exchanges. The change will affect approximately 10% of all Target employees.



Obamacare: Pain is More than Gain

An infographic on the Republican's website shows a U.S. map with 29 of the states colored varied shades of red. The graphic allow readers to see the number of state residents with cancelled plans due to Obamacare, and the number of Obamacare enrollees in each state. There isn't a single state where more people have enrolled than had their insurance cancelled.



Too Old to Treat?

In the United Kingdom, people are worried that seniors with cancer are being dismissed as "too old to treat." Campaigners for better health care for English seniors cite statistics showing that the survival rates for British cancer patients aged 75 and over are among the worst in Europe. They think the elderly are not receiving optimum care because of their age.



Medical Group Hides Huge Data Breach

A Canadian medical group has come under fire after announcing that the health records of 620,000 patients have been compromised in a data breach that has been hidden for months. Medicentres Family Health Care Clinics notified officials on Jan. 22 that an unencrypted laptop containing patient names, health card numbers, and billing information, had been stolen four months earlier.




Quote of the Week:



"Prevention isn't in a doctor's office. It's 24/7." - Samir Damani, founder and CEO of MD Revolution and a specialist in cardiology, genomic and digital medicine at the CES 2014, the Consumer Electronics Show, MobiHealthNews, January 14, 2014.

 




Stat of the Week:

500 - number of pages of an electronic health record generated for just six days of care (AIS Health Business Daily, Jan 22, 2014). The quote by William Malm from Craneware in the Report on Medicare Compliance noted "It was not articulated in a very good way and kept repeating lab values."


 




News Release of the Week:

  The Obamacare 'Get Out of Jail Free Card'

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The language of the Affordable Care Act is nothing less than vague, confusing and convoluted. But there is one section of the federal health care law that seems to be a clear way out for citizens who do not want to enroll in Obamacare - a hidden 14th hardship exemption.

Twila Brase, patient advocate and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, notes that theHealthCare.gov web site lists several exemptions under the heading, "How do I qualify for an exemption from the fee for not having health coverage?" Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Judge Agrees and Disagrees

A judge has ruled for the federal government in a case called Halbig vs. Sebelius. Halbigʼs attorney says Obamacare doesnʼt allow federal premium subsidies from the federal exchange. 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
Email: info@cchfreedom.org
www.cchfreedom.org



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