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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

May 28, 2014



 

IRS Closes Escape Route from Obamacare

The Obama administration wants no one to escape Obamacare's wealth redistribution scheme. A new IRS regulation shuts down a major escape route, corrals the unwilling and tries to keep the truth about Obamacare under wraps.

 

The IRS just ruled that employers cannot reimburse their employees for the cost of health insurance premiums that the employee buys on their own and claim they are complying with the Obamacare employer mandate by doing so. This means employers also cannot send employees to the government exchange, pay for coverage and claim compliance.

 

The IRS says "employer payment plans" that reimburse employees do not comply with Obamacare because they do not prohibit annual limits on Obamacare's 10 essential health benefits nor do they include the requirement to provide preventive care without cost sharing.  Penalties for non-compliance are harsh. If employers reimburse them, the IRS will fine employers $100/day per employee -$36,500 per employee, per year.

 

Why would the Obama administration do this?

 

First, the IRS ruling protects the Obamacare wealth redistribution system. Keeping employees corralled in employer-sponsored coverage leaves people trapped in Obamacare's mandates, penalties and pricing, which gives the Obama administration more dollars to redistribute.

 

For example, Obamacare classifies employer-sponsored coverage as "affordable" if self-only coverage for the employee is no more than 9.5% of family income. However, if someone does not have coverage through their employer, insurance is not deemed "affordable" if it cost more than 8.0% of their income. The upshot: Obama is counting on individuals with employer-sponsored coverage to pay more into the wealth redistribution scheme than required by others.

 

Second, the IRS ruling allows the Obama administration to hide the truth about Obamacare. If employers are allowed to send employees to the government exchange:
 

  • Employees may realize that Exchange coverage is government coverage with "narrow networks" of doctors and hospitals, not private insurance. This could increase national opposition to Obamacare.

  • Employees will realize these "employer payment plan" dollars are compensation they could receive as cash wages, and they may want the cash instead of the coverage.
  • Employees who qualify for Medicaid will be forced into Medicaid (which is partially funded by state taxpayers), making Obamacare less sustainable and increasing state legislative opposition to the law.

 

Obamacare is a nationwide wealth redistribution system. After passage, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) told the media Obamacare "will have the effect of addressing the mal-distribution of income in America." Their ultimate goal is the largest wealth distribution system of all -- single-payer health care.

 

What should concerned Americans do? In every way possible, citizens must deprive the system of the cash, enrollment and cooperation it needs to survive. Your donation of just $25 or $50 today will help CCH Freedom fight to keep Obamacare from embedding itself permanently into American medicine. This may mean temporary pain for long-term gain. That's the Obama strategy to single-payer. It should be ours as well - to health freedom.

 

Telling the truth about Obamacare,

 

Twila Brase

President and Co-founder

CCHFREEDOM.ORG



 


 




News to Know:

Police Searches of Prescription Database Challenged

Forty-eight states keep giant electronic databases of prescription records for drugs with a high potential for abuse and many states also keep records of less-potent drugs, to which law enforcement across the country all have access.  Privacy advocates, defense lawyers, and the ACLU support restricting warrantless searches of the databases, citing privacy concerns, a move which is gaining ground.  Police argue that the access is needed to help curb the illegal flow of prescription pills.  



Privatize the VA Health System

Avik Roy makes a good case for privatizing the Veterans Health Administration.  He points out that the VA health system has always provided substandard care because it is truly socialized medicine (worse than Obamacare!) -- completely government-owned and government-run and it pays for all the health care costs and doctors' fees.  Why not privatize the system so it can compete, or give vouchers to our vets so they can get the best care they deserve, and where they choose, Roy asks.



MNsure Campaign Targets Youth

MNsure (MN's Obamacare  exchange) is targeting college grads in a new ad campaign, Graduate with Health Coverage. It urges  young people to sign up for Obamacare if they are not already covered under their parent's or employer's plan.  The campaign focuses on high costs young adults could face for an emergency room visit, MNsure invites the young to  sign up now during the ongoing special enrollment period available to those with a "qualifying life event."



VA Department Ignored Own Medical Guidelines 

To add to the growing list of outrages at the U.S. Department of VA, a new Inspector General investigation of 140 VA hospitals, found that the VA ignored its own clinical guidelines for treating outpatients who take opioid pain medicine.  The report noted the dangers posed when opioids are taken concurrently with other drug combinations, some of which can be fatal.  However, very few VA patients were given proper screening before starting the opioid therapy.



Money for State Exchanges Not Well Spent, says Report

A federal report shows the total cost per enrollee in Healthcare.gov and each state-based health exchange. The Feds have spent almost $7.4 billion setting up the exchange system. Fourteen states plus D.C. have state-based exchanges and the Feds runs healthcare.gov in 36 states. The average cost per enrollee over the entire system is $922, but the cost per Hawaii enrollee is $24,000. The cost per Florida enrollee, where there is no state-based exchange, is just $76.



Huge Government Errors in ACA Payments

Taxpayer-funded subsidies (Advance Premium Tax Credits) are likely being underpaid or overpaid to 1 million Obamacare enrollees. The government has not been able to fix the payment errors because the automated back-end financial operations of the Exchange system are not yet built. HHS is sitting on piles of "proof" documents sent in by enrollees, but cannot do the necessary comparison to prove eligibility.  Meanwhile, a federal contractor is working on the eligibility issue by hand!



Medicaid Expansion Hampers Prosperity

Lanhee Chan cites alarming new research as a more compelling reason for folks who oppose Medicaid expansion.  A National Bureau of Economic Research academic paper shows that expanding Medicaid enrollment will continue to weaken the nation's economy, largely by including millions of low-income childless adults, a group who previously were mostly ineligible for Medicaid.  This expansion will create "significant and lasting" reductions in work and thereby keep many beneficiaries in poverty. 



Mining Health Data for Disaster

Imagine getting a knock on your door or a call after a weather emergency and a local public health official asks about your serious medical condition. How did they find me? How did they know?  It's happening for the first time, as federal officials poured through Medicare claims data to identify vulnerable people and share their names with local officials for assistance during disasters.  A federal health policy official acknowledged "sensitivities" around doing this.



Veterans Health Scandal Expands

The VA Health Department hospital scandal now includes 26 facilities nationwide which are accused by whistleblowers, and patients of falsified records and secret waitlists involving delayed care for new and retired vets.  The system hospitals are required to provide care within 14-30 days of a patient's request.  Even so, some high level employees received large monetary bonuses.   Members of Congress in both parties have called on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign.



Officials Deeply Worried About ACA Retention

If you liked 2014, wait for the 2015 Obamacare enrollment!  State-based exchange directors, who had a hard time meeting first year enrollment targets, worry about even maintaining 2014 enrollees during the second health exchange enrollment period, which opens November 15, 2014.  CBO estimates that the state exchanges will cover 13 million people in 2015. Exchange directors are concerned about how to make sure current enrollees keep paying premiums.



NIXED: Small Business Group Insurance

A Michigan-based health insurance company is eliminating its small business group health plan over the next year to cut company losses and to meet client demand for a plan on the federal health exchange.  McLaren Health Plan plans to terminate 10,000 enrollees by next summer. NOTE: The article explains that the small business employers are "giving employees a stipend, a small amount of premium" and sending them to the exchange. But the latest IRS ruling (see commentary above) may upset the plans of these small.



Liberal Group Wants CEO to Run Exchange System

A think tank report issued by former White House officials at the liberal Center for American Progress recommends a CEO with private sector experience be appointed to oversee the government's online Obamacare exchange system. The group wants to avoid last fall's enrollment and technical problems and ensure that the centerpiece of the ACA runs smoothly during the next open enrollment period. The CEO would answer only to President Obama and the HHS secretary.



Mass. Health Insurers Post Steep Losses

Massachusetts's three largest health insurers posted "steep" losses due to the heavy first-time taxes and fees imposed by Obamacare, which totaled nearly $133 million.  Insurance companies and others were required to help fund the new law with annual taxes that must be reported by the first quarter (ending on March 31). The insurers said they hope to regain part of the losses by raising future premium costs to consumers.




Quote of the Week:



 

"Why are politicians punishing veterans with inferior government health care?"    The Government Health-Care Model, Wall Street Journal (editorial), May 23, 2014.

 




Stat of the Week:

$200 million - amount settled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in wrongful death claims since 9/11.  "The Cox Media Group calculates the VA's malpractice tab at $845 million over the last decade."  -- "The Government Health-Care Model," The Wall Street Journal (editorial), May 23, 2014.




News Release of the Week:

Insurance Company 'Hush Money' Hides Real Obamacare Costs until after 2016 Election

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Just months before health plans are required to announce their premiums for 2015, the Obama Administration is offering them billions in taxpayer dollars to keep up the illusion that the Affordable Care Act is affordable. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Administration Goes Dark on Obamaca

The Obama administration has gone silent. They quietly decided to stop reporting the monthly enrollment of Obamacare. After their claim of 8 million enrollees was announced in a May 1 report, that was it. No more reporting. Perhaps they don't want to talk about the fact that 5,000 of Oregon's 81,000 enrollees have already dropped coverage or been kicked out of Obamacare. 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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