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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

March 19, 2014


Is the Individual Mandate Gone?

Why worry about the March 31 open enrollment deadline? There no longer appears to be a mandate to buy health insurance. The Obama administration recently added a 14th hardship exemption that gives anyone and everyone an "out" -- without need of documentation to prove your case. It's a "catch-all" exemption, as reported by BusinessWeek.


We discovered the exemption in January. On January 27, CCHF issued a press release calling it a "Get out of Jail Free Card." We found it while comparing the list of hardship exemptions on the HHS's exemptions web page with the list on the application form. The 14th exemption was not listed on the web page.


So we announced it nationwide in a press release, but most of the media didn't seem to believe us. Except for a few radio stations, no one breathed a word....until March 12th.

That day an editorial in the The Wall Street Journal announced "ObamaCare's Secret Mandate Exemption. They had read a March 5th technical bulletin, which mentioned an earlier December 12th bulletin. Most likely, in the process of checking out the application form using a link in the December document, they found the 14th exemption.

But it turns out the 14th exemption was announced last year -- and we all missed it.  The Wall Street Journal first announced the 14th exemption in a news report back on December 20th -- in the same article that discussed the new hardship exemption for people whose insurance was cancelled. We saw one, but not the other.


Interestingly HHS was happy to leave everyone in the dark. They added hardship exemption #14 to the application form, but did not add it to the exemption page until 2½ months later (March 13) after the WSJ editorial made it national news, according to Breitbart.


Today, you'd never know the 14th exemption was hidden out in the open when we found it. The exemption web page and the application for hardship exemption match. Both have 14 hardship exemptions. But here is the screenshot of the two side by side we posted nearly two months ago:


In short, you are able to apply for a hardship exemption if "You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance" and you need only "submit documentation if possible." This exemption, as we said in our press release is the only one that includes the word "Please."


To my knowledge, there is still no official document regarding the 14th exemption. Not in the June 26, 2013 bulletin on hardship exemptions or the October 16 draft application or elsewhere.


Why is the Administration so silent about this good news? Perhaps it's a way to relieve political pressure even as they apply pressure on people to enroll.


Although Obamacare lets HHS create and withdraw exemptions, #14 essentially guts the mandate and the penalty for now. Sure, HHS could reject your application, saying your hardship doesn't count, but imagine how that would play in the media. But you really want to report all your data on a form, which will end up in the highly insecure federal, Obamacare "Health Insurance Exchange Program" database for tracking purposes. You might want to just pay the penalty.


Working toward repeal of Obamacare,


Twila Brase

President and Co-founder





News to Know:

The Truth: "Meaningful Use" Data Not So Meaningful

The American Recovery Act ("economic stimulus") requires doctors and hospitals to purchase interoperable electronic medical records or face penalties. The law includes "Meaningful Use" requirements for those wanting federal grants to help cover the cost. But the GAO reports MU data is unreliable, warning, "Data that are not reliable limit the credibility of the information and may present a risk to individuals or entities making decisions based on the data." Thankfully, this undermines HHS' desire to use EHR data to measure physician compliance with federal treatment standards.

About Keeping Your Doctor . . . Not So Much

As transcribed, President Obama takes 51 seconds to admit you can't keep your doctor: "For the average person, many folks who don't have health insurance initially, they're going to have to make some choices. They might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they're saving money.  But that's true, you know, if your employer suddenly decides we think this network's going to give a better deal, we think this is going to help keep premiums lower..."

"Have No Fear, Taxonomy is Here"

One techie, who disagrees with Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), says there is nothing to fear with the October 1, 2014 rollout of the intrusive ICD-10 diagnosis coding system. Because the total number of codes in ICD-10 are divided into bite-sized groups within a new taxonomy system, the taxonomy structure drastically reduces the organization and learning complexity even as the number of total codes grows from 17,000 to 155,000 codes. But what about privacy?

The War on Women -- Who Criticize Obamacare

Michigan Leukemia patient, Julie Boonstra, lost her coverage and now stars in a devastating ad fingering Obamacare. For doing, she is being attacked by Democrats and the mainstream media. The same is true for cancer patient Edie Sundby after she wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, as well as Bette Grenier, and Catherine Blackwood. The intent to intimidate critics from coming forward is an attempt to preserve a Democratic Senate.

Good at Mistruth, Not Math 

Byron York analyzes the Democrats' claims that Republicans have voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare. The official count for a complete repeal is just six times. York breaks out 54 other votes from defunding to delaying measures, including some provisions that President Obama said he opposed but later delayed unilaterally without full Congressional approval. Others include Obamacare fixes that passed in a bipartisan vote and were signed by the president.

I want a Divorce  

A group of physicians have " divorced" inexpensive basic care from expensive catastrophic, palliative, and chronic care. Inspired by Medicaid patients using iPhones, the physicians developed a model to collect a monthly flat fee -- similar to monthly cell phone service -- directly to cover primary care. This concierge care is cheaper, even than Obamacare, for all but the sickest patients. It cuts out the insurance companies and removes administration costs.

Minnesota Democrats Plan to Repeal Genetic Privacy

MN Public Radio quoted CCHF's Twila Brase in its report on Minnesota legislation that will repeal genetic privacy by repealing parent consent over the disposition of newborn DNA and genetic test results after newborn screening. HF 2526 (Norton-DFL) and SF 2047 (Marty-DFL) will undo a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling and subsequent parent consent laws related to government storage, use and genetic research using newborn genetic information.

Stopping a Witch Hunt

An esteemed vascular surgeon has been sentenced to 10 months in a federal prison for describing two procedures (out of 2,400 operative reports) as more complex than they actually were, supposedly to collect more in Medicare payments. Dr. John Natale, M.D. admitted to unintentional errors, but the U.S. Attorney said, "The need for deterrence is very strong...A message needs to be sent out to doctors." A message has indeed been sent, and thus there may be fewer doctors in our future. Two medical groups filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support Dr. Natale's case.

Obamacare Deadline Aligns with March Madness

While the number of 18- to 34-year-olds enrolled in Obamacare stands at 25 percent, the White House will court basketball fans in a "March Madness" - themed ad campaign to reach young consumers. Ahead of the March 31 open enrollment deadline, Heat's LeBron James will tout ObamaCare exchanges in ads, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will tweet during the NCAA tournament and the Obama Administration released "16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered" Miami. Not so fast. Generation Opportunity released its "16 Sweetest Reasons to Opt Out."

Take Control; Avoid Obamacare

Dr. Elizabeth Vliet outlines the top 10 reasons not to enroll in Obamacare. The consequences including: limits on provider and facility choices, loss of medical privacy and control of your medical information, financial and health information security breaches, risk of identity theft by navigators and compromised gun ownership rights. Dr. Vliet also offers five options for how you can choose and control your health care in the United States today.

Quote of the Week:


"[A]fter this case, doctors may believe that their government will treat them like criminals, despite an outpouring of support from their grateful patients. Many may decide that continued participation in Medicare is far too dangerous." - Dr. Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that sent an Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2014 to support an imprisoned surgeon: "Surgeon Reports to Prison; Government Sends Message," AAPS News, December 11, 2012.


Stat of the Week:

$58M - awarded by the federal government to Verizon Terremark for about 3 more months of cloud computing services for despite the company being fired several months ago for website outages.



Featured Health Freedom Minute:

The Hunger Games Teaches Civics Lesson on Freedom

Have you watched "The Hunger Games"? Robert (Pahn-DISS-ee-o) Pondiscio, the executive director of CitizenshipFirst and a former fifth grade teacher, says the movie is a lesson in Civics that teaches about freedom and tyranny. The production, he says, will get todayʼs school children to think about citizenship, government power, civil liberties and media influence. 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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