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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

April 9, 2014



 

Health Insurers “Closed for Business”

Health insurers are shutting down for seven months. It's virtually lights out. Unless you have a qualifying "life event," you must wait until open enrollment begins Obamacare on November 15. A product once available year around for Americans to purchase no longer is. The entire industry now runs on the Obamacare schedule.

 

Perverse incentives written into the law lead to unimaginable outcomes. As the Associated Press reports,

 

"The law allows insurers to keep selling all year. But it also creates the conditions prompting them to stop. The law, which requires nearly all Americans to be insured or pay a fine, bans insurers from rejecting customers because of poor health. The companies say that makes it too risky to sell to individuals year-around."

 

Only those who get married, move to another state, have a baby, lose a job, age out of their parent's health plan or experience some other qualifying life event will be able to get individual insurance. Otherwise insurers are "closed for business".

 

So what about health insurance agents? Are they out of work for seven months? The Obama administration never wanted the agent industry to survive. The whole point of the law was everyone would eventually get coverage through Obama's exchange system. 

 

The government exchange and the government call centers would become the new "agents" along with Acorn-like "navigators" with little training, no background checks and access to lots of private personal financial and medical data.  Agents and brokers are considered an unnecessary expense.

 

One health insurance agent quoted by the AP, says he only learned a couple of weeks ago that insurers were cutting off all new plans: "It's lousy communication out there...If we don't know, my God, how do they expect other people to know? It's terrible."

 

On March 18, benefitspro reported that B. Ronnell Nolan, president of Health Agents for America, "said she hasn't seen any carriers telling her they'll have major medical coverage she can sell during the hiatus." And eHealthInsurance.com is only expecting to sell to people with qualifying events. The article says agents can still sell "short-term medical and critical illness" policies. They can process Medicaid applications and help employers get off-exchange policies. But gone are any policies for individuals, a market once 19 million strong.

 

The individual mandate was Obama's solution to his ban on pre-existing conditions. If everyone were forced to buy coverage, insurers would have no worries. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to go uninsured. So an entire industry goes dark for seven months. There is nothing American about this.

 

Let's repeal Obamacare before the private market can no longer resurrect itself and all agents have found new careers and left the rest of us to the government bureaucrats. Donate generously to CCHF's mission to make repeal a reality.

 

And don't forget: the three Christian health-sharing ministries are far less expensive, expanding rapidly, and open for business all year long. Membership provides you with an Obamacare exemption. Check them out.

 

Advancing free markets in American health care,

 

Twila Brase

President and Co-founder

CCHFREEDOM.ORG

 


 


 




News to Know:

Encouraging Doctors to Say No to Medicare

HHS released volumes of payments made to individual doctors treating patients in Medicare Part B (clinics/outpatient). They claim that this will encourage patients to use the data to make better decisions about doctors. But that's not the likely reason for the data dump, nor will it work. For physicians with the last name starting with "R" there are 69,111 pages alone. And there are at least 10 "data limitations" on the data shown. Will patients even know what the data says? Furthermore, a lawyer quoted by the NYT expects "a lot of litigation" to come out of the data. HHS plans to use outsiders (lawyers, health plan executives, etc.) armed with data to perhaps scare or force doctors into doing fewer procedures at lower prices across the board. The data shows Medicare usually pays less than their "allowed charge." This appears to be a "more bricks with less straw" tactic. In the end, how many doctors will continue to see Medicare patients....or practice at all?



RWANDA: Why U.S. "Disparity" Tracking is Bad Idea

State and federal agencies are pushing a "Advancing Health Equity" agenda. Through it, governments will collect data on patient race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability, and more to "reduce health disparities." Rwanda's President Paul Kagame wrote in The Wall Street Journal (April 7, 2014) about how "social distinctions" were transformed into "races" which led to genocide: "We were classified and dissected, and whatever differences existed were magnified according to a framework invented elsewhere....ethnicity was made the only basis of political organization, as if there were no other way to govern and develop society." The U.S. federal government has built its own framework to magnify differences and calls it "disparities."



Coming: Hospice Surveillance System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new "system of records" (federal database) to collect data on hospice patients without consent. Hospices must send admission and discharge records including "both administrative items for patient identification and clinical items for calculating the seven quality measures." All hospice patients, even those who are not Medicare recipients, will have their data reported to the federal government. This is an Obamacare requirement. (Section 3004(c))



Forced onto Obamacare Exchange

A letter to the editor was written by Joseph Tufaro: "The fact that many are signing up for health care is tempered by the fact that most are forced to ["Thousands in NY sign up for insurance on deadline day," News, April 2]. After many years the company I work for notified all of its employees and retirees that health care coverage will cease on Aug. 1, which means that I am forced to go to an exchange. This is not something I would like to do. (Letter: Forced to sign up on health care exchange," Newsday, April 8, 2014]



$300 Million Down the Tubes

Since President Obama touted Oregon as a model for his health care law, it has tanked. Today, Cover Oregon's state-operated health exchange is considered the most disastrous having spent $300 million in taxpayer dollars to sign up 44 people offline by the end of November. That's $6.8 million per person. As of April, four different IT directors have resigned from the exchange that has had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to the U.S. Dept. of HHS. Oregon may switch to federal exchange.



Not the Deal They Thought it Was

Low-income patients with chronic illnesses are learning that they might have to pay more out of pocket, change doctors and receive reduced benefits when buying insurance plans via Healthcare.gov, and many don't like it. Hospitals and provider networks say this is the new reality and the networks available today may not be available next week or tomorrow. If consumers need a tutor they should see an Obamacare navigator.



Why Some Medication Prices are Skyrocketing

Drugs that one time cost pennies are now many times more expensive. Repatenting of older drugs and keeping drugs prescription-only so insurers pay what individuals wouldn't are reasons. For example, a nose spray called Rhinocort Aqua was selling for more than $250 a month in Oakland last year, but costs under $7 in Europe. In addition to millions spent on marketing and lobbying, pharmaceutical research has shifted from simple drugs with widespread use to complicated ones that benefit fewer patients but carry higher prices. "The increases are stunning, and it's very injurious to patients," said Dr. Robert Morrow M.D.



Doctor Says: Vaccinate or Leave My Practice

Researchers say they linked California's whooping cough outbreak to vaccine refusals. Even though forty-eight states allow parents to sign a vaccine exemption form, NPR showcased a mother who said, "To me, they're gambling with my kids' lives when they don't vaccinate their kids." The story cited a parochial survey about why non-vaccinators exist including a preference for natural immunity and lack of trust in the health care system and pharmaceutical industry. It also discussed a pediatrician who gave parents an ultimatum: vaccinate or find another doctor.



Testimony vs. the Truth

Covered California's Executive Director Peter Lee testified before a Congressional Committee "It takes, in our mind, three things for an exchange to work. It takes having affordable health plans delivering quality care, it takes effective marketing outreach, and it takes effective enrollment." Apparently is a trying endeavor as California's newly enrolled express no satisfaction complaining that few doctors accept the new health insurance plans and that the quality and cost of care does not meet expectations. 



Clueless and Not Covered

Surprisingly, 60 percent of those who remain uninsured don't even know the health insurance market is closed. Health plans fear that uninsured people will develop pre-existing conditions before November and the plan will be forced to provide coverage to a person who never paid in and will likely leave once treated.  Instead, NCPA's John Goodman suggests adding health status insurance, which would be used to pay the transfer cost to the next insurer.



Penalties for Doctors Who Refuse  

HHS has announced its governance role in accelerating health information exchanges and its plans to reward providers that share patient health data through electronic health records and penalize providers who do not. The agency is funding grants to support the adoption of electronic health records by behavioral health and long-term post-acute care providers. The information will be used according to HHS's definition of "value-based-purchasing" and "appropriate" care systems. ("HHS Health Information Exchange Strategy Combines Agency Programs," Alex Ruoff, BNA Bloomberg Health IT Law and Industry Report, 4/1/14)



Obamacare Parody 

A video clip parody featuring the Obamacare law and starring "Adolf Hitler" has been making the Internet rounds, but when conservative mega-donor Foster Friess posted it on his website it got widespread political news attention. The amusing clip outlines a series of concerns about the law as Hitler is told that his doctor of choice is out of the network under Obamacare, health plans are being cancelled and people are choosing to fines over insurance. 



Passing the Smell Test?

The federal government's Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has handed over administration of its CONNECT software development project to a not-for-profit organization, Open Health Tools, to electronically connect multiple regional health information exchanges to form the proposed National Health Information Network. Community participants include the HHS, DOD, VA, SSA, vendors, providers and academia. Overseeing the transition is Dr. Robert Kolodner, the former head of the ONC who is now the chief health information officer of Open Health Tools. ("Feds turn over CONNECT IT project to open-source developer," Joseph Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/4/14)



Obamacare Killed What Worked

Upset parents in New Jersey are left without a safety net as their children were sent cancellation notices from a highly popular, nation-leading child health coverage program. However, since it lacked mental health services it was shuttered in favor of Obamacare's $1,500 deductible. In comparison New Jersey's program required no deductible and $5 doctor visit, $1 pharmacy services. "This is enormously disappointing, said NJ State Senator Joseph Vitale (D) who co-sponsored the bill creating the program.



No Insurance, No Problem

A growing number of primary-care physicians have stopped taking insurance and see patients based on a monthly membership fee. Known as the "concierge" model, the practice allows physicians to provide quality care and address rising costs. Patients use it to receive personalized care while avoiding high insurance deductibles, co-pays and premiums. One cash-only practice offers primary care services to a family of four for a $170 monthly fee and is indicative of other concierge care memberships.




Quote of the Week:




"What you're asking for is, come on, put it on the table: Destroy the individual mandate, which guts the statute. That's what this case is about. There's nothing hidden about that." - Judge Harry Edwards of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Halbig vs. Sebelius, accusing plaintiffs counsel Michael Carvin of political reasons for the lawsuit, which says the IRS has no authority to issue subsidies to anyone getting coverage on the federal exchange. ( WSJ, March 30, 2014)

 

 




Stat of the Week:

62% - think GOP repeal of Obamacare is likely (Rasmussen Reports, April 8), with 46% describing the law as a failure and 23% describing it as a success.

 

 




News Release of the Week:

7.1 Million Is Not the Magic Number

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The White House is celebrating 7.1 million sign-ups to the government health care plan now that the March 31 deadline has come and gone. But one patient freedom organization says the President shouldn't celebrate just yet. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Do You Want Quality or Care?

The term "health care quality" actually means physician compliance with government-approved medical practices in computer checklists. If doctors comply with the checklists they get good scores and more money. This means doctors focus more on paperwork than patient care. Tell your doctor to stop using these compliance checklists. Ask them to give you patient-focused quality care rather than government care. 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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