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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

June 25, 2014


HMO Fox Enters Obamacare Henhouse

There are many roads to national health care. Managed care is the one America is on.


Thus, the federal government's recent hire of Andy Slavitt to run Obamacare is very troubling. Mr. Slavitt is a managed-care executive. He's an executive vice president at Optum, the information technology (IT) and data analysis division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest managed-care corporation.


When the Obamacare website was in trouble last October, Mr. Slavitt offered his services to the Obama administration. Then troubled state exchange websites (I call them "dummy terminals") in Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont asked UHG's Optum to step in, evaluate their technology system and help them fix their huge IT problems.


Why Optum? The company has inside information. UHG strategically (and quietly) purchased QSSI, which HHS had hired to build the Federal Data Services Hub - the central server of Obamacare, which federal and state exchange websites ("dummy terminals") must use to transfer data for Obamacare enrollment and verification.

(Is Real ID Dead? Check out "News to Know" below)

Now Mr. Slavitt, a key Optum executive, has been hired as second in command at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He'll be in charge of all Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid operations.


The fox has entered the henhouse. UHG now has a man on the inside with substantial power to more deeply embed managed care into America.


For three decades Congress has embraced managed care (central control of health care dollars and decisions) as the political solution to Medicare's cost crisis. In short, give health plans the money and let them ration care so Congress can keep its hands clean. To drive senior citizens into HMOs, Congress pays Medicare Advantage plans - established by Republicans in 2003 - 12% to18% more per recipient than traditional Medicare.


The rush to managed care began when Senator Ted Kennedy (D) authored the HMO Act of 1973 and President Richard Nixon (R) signed it on December 29, 1973, calling it an "integral part of his National Health Strategy" for cost containment. Seven months later he resigned in scandal, but the HMO Act lives on.

(What's the Big Fat Surprise? See "News to Know")

The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes Congress' responsibility. In 2000, the justices unanimously refused to rule in favor of patient Cynthia Herdrich, who believed the HMO's financial incentives led to her doctor rationing care. Justice Souter, who wrote the Pegram vs. Herdrich decision, said Congress "has promoted the formation of HMOs for 27 years" and:


"The defining feature of an HMO is receipt of a fixed fee for each patient enrolled... [W]hatever the HMO, there must be rationing and inducement to ration. [I]nducement to ration care goes to the very point of any HMO scheme."


Obamacare is a monument to managed care. Traditional (true) health insurance is prohibited. Managed-care corporations get $1 trillion from new Obamacare spending. And Accountable Care Organizations, which some have called "HMOs on steroids," are established to put doctors and hospitals in charge of rationing care by making them bear the financial risks of medical care. As ACOs, doctors and hospitals essentially become both insurer and provider of care - and patients become threats to the economic welfare of the doctors they depend on for their lives.


It's telling that the Obama administration has hired a managed-care executive to run its government health care programs. When will Democrats stop believing the president "cracked down" on "abuses by health insurers"  -- and when will Republicans stop supporting managed care?


Working to secure health freedom for all,


Twila Brase

President and Co-founder





News to Know:

New Job Titles Emerge Under Obamacare

According to a new study, the following nine job titles are emerging for healthcare executives. 1) Chief Population Health Manager; 2) Vice President of Cost Control; 3) Chief Clinical Transformation Officer; 4) Chief Experience Officer/Patient Engagement Officer; 5) Head of Technology Innovation; 6) Chief Medical Informatics Officer; 7) VP of Clinical Transformation; 8) Vice President of Medical Management; and 9) Vice President of Clinical Informatics. The titles point to the way Obamacare and The Recovery Act have changed health care - and not for the better.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann Speaks Against Baby DNA Bill

CCHF opposed HR 1281, the "Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2014", which provides a total of $99.5 million to states, the federal government and researchers from 2015 through 2019. It authorizes the federal government to nationalize newborn screening surveillance. It expands genetic research on children, and genetic testing of babies for conditions not yet approved for newborn screening, without parent consent. On June 24, Congresswoman Bachmann was given three minutes to address these concerns - right before HR 1281 passed by voice vote.

National ID Activities Underway

A Cato Institute report provides a state-by-state review of the current status of Congress' 2005 national ID program - REAL ID. The law was never implemented because most of the states rejected this unfunded federal surveillance mandate. Some states outright banned it. Now some state legislatures and some state motor vehicle departments have been quietly working to implement the national ID program. Citizens should also be aware of Congress' movement toward biometric cybersurveillance and identification systems. 

You Can Eat That

The author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet hails a large medical study, which concluded that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. Nina Teicholz traces nutrition science policy and politics - not proven science ---  to today's modern but incorrect guidelines that call saturated fats bad. "Seeing the U.S. population grow sicker and fatter while adhering to official dietary guidelines has put nutrition authorities in an awkward position," writes Teicholz.

Conservative Medical Societies Fill the Gap

The leading medical professional groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) spend millions lobbying Congress. But many of these groups' policies and politics have veered to the left over the years, angering many members. When the AMA endorsed Obamacare in 2009, 5% of the doctors left, according to World Magazine. In response, alternative conservative medical societies have been formed that are attracting many members.

MNsure: A System In Trouble

Citing technological troubles, MNsure, Minnesota's Obamacare exchange, has slowed its massive transfer of Medicaid recipients into the exchange. It has delayed using the website for enrollment from April until August. Enrollment projection numbers were lowered from 70,000 a month to just 14,000 sign-ups expected in August and in September. The numbers of enrollees since May is less than one-fifth of the long-term projection for coverage through MNsure.

What Disparities??

In a study that contradicted itself, research published in the American Heart Association's Circulation, said that despite health reform in Massachusetts the law has done little to impact "racial, gender and socioeconomic disparities" in heart health. The researchers said issues such as "heart disease risk factors, stress and disease severity could contribute to the disparities in treatment." However, the study also noted ZERO difference in the "one year mortality rate among any of the groups." 

Don't Mess with Christy!

One Michigan Mom was outraged Sparrow Hospital's disregard for her parental rights.  A hospital sign informed Christy Duffy that a state law required a nurse to have a 5-minute conversation with her child about HIV, STDs and birth control - without Christy in the room!  She was told she could not opt out of it. Turns out, no such law exists. The hospital was forced to admit its mistake. Duffy has issued a warning to parents. [Photo taken by Ms. Duffy, as shown on TheBlaze]

Broken Promises

Most middle class families will continue to see health insurance premiums skyrocket according to preliminary state rates for 2015. President Obama once promised families their premiums would decrease by $2,500 a year but,  "The Administration now is engaged in a series of regulatory rewrites and administration maneuvers to hide temporarily the damage the health care law is doing to insurance premiums," the Senate Republican Policy Committee reports.

Obamacare is a Monopoly

As stated by Robert Laszewski, if health insurance companies "want to be in the individual and small group markets, Obamacare is the only game in town - it has a monopoly over these markets." In short, Obamacare took over two markets completely. This is further evidence of Obama's "government takeover." Why didn't health insurers "Harry and Louise" Obamacare like they did HillaryCare? Perhaps they thought Obama wasn't serious about getting rid of insurers?  [Image from Wikipedia]

Is Obamacare Affordable to the Middle Class?

Does Obamacare help the middle class as Obama promised? Robert Laszewski says low-income individuals benefit because they pay the lowest deductibles and receive the biggest federal subsidies. But the system needs young healthy people enrolled to redistribute their dollars to cover the costs.  When surveyed most young adults who bought health insurance through said that they couldn't comfortably afford their new Obamacare-sized health premiums. Laszewski says continued failure to enroll the young could lead to a chronically uninsured class. 

Genetic Tests Coming To The Doctor's Office

Genome-based sequencing tests that help diagnose and treat mysterious or rare genetic illnesses will soon be available in your medical clinic, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Genomic sequencing is the decoding of all the details in a person's genetic code. Researchers predict doctors will order 10,000 clinical genome tests this year. It is unclear whether health insurers will pay for the tests, but the cost, once considered unaffordable, is rapidly approaching $1,000. 

 Privacy Concerns With Wearables

The growing popularity of fitness and other monitoring devices (known as wearables) has led tech firms to create apps that collect even more health data from an unsuspecting public. Insurance firms say access to this behavioral data will help them control health care costs. The next generation of wearables like Fitbit, will give employers access to employee's health data via sensors that can monitor individual behavior. Are you willing to submit to 24/7 surveillance?

Quote of the Week:

"I'm saddened that some thing that could have turned out to be very beneficial for kids has actually turned out to be a political slime ball." - Quentin Van Meter, MD, explaining why he quit his 37-year membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics.  World Magazine, p. 64, June 14, 2014


Stat of the Week:

76% - the amount taxpayers are paying of Obamacare recipient's monthly premiums. Nearly 70% of Obamacare recipients pay $100 or less per month after federal premium subsidies - nearly 50% have premiums of $50 or less after subsidies. The following chart was created by the Senate Republican Policy Committee:


News Release of the Week:

House to Vote Tuesday on Newborn Blood Screening without Parental Consent

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday on the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R.1281), which would extend for five years the funding program that allows states to collect and store newborn DNA without parental consent. Continue reading


Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Google Enters World of Patient Data

Google is entering the world of patient data. One electronic medical
records company is incorporating Google Glass into its platform. They
plan to "create the first wearable health record -one that is always
mobile."  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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