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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

July 2, 2014



 

Anti-Religion Firestorm Breaks Out

Liberals view faith and freedom as obstacles to Obamacare. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby that closely held (private) corporations are not required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

 

In the aftermath, the Court vacated several similar cases and sent them back to lower courts to make rulings based on the Hobby Lobby ruling. The court also provided an injunction to Wheaton College to protect it from penalties for refusing to offer contraception.

 

Given the outrage coming from the Left, you'd think Obamacare was repealed. Far from it. All 2,700 pages remain. Faith trumped the law on just one provision.

 

The court's decision has an interesting stipulation. According to Politico Pro, companies can't just stop contraception coverage. They must go to court to obtain an exemption. But Daniel Blomberg, an attorney at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty who represented Hobby Lobby, says the ruling makes getting the exemption easy. He notes that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act "only applies to the people who assert it." So employers will be required to register their religious objections with government one by one.

 

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One day after the ruling, liberals pounced. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank with ties to the Obama administration and the drafting of Obamacare, has proposed legislative language for Congress to undo the Hobby Lobby decision and put "reasonable restrictions on religious liberty":

 

"This section (referring to the existing Obamacare statute) does not authorize exemptions that discriminate against, impose costs on, or otherwise harm others, including those who may belong to other religions and/or adhere to other beliefs."

 

If enacted, Americans would have no freedom of religion. People of faith would be discriminated against. For 238 years the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has stood as a vanguard against anti-religion zealots. CAP says it's time to change that.

 

CAP calls Hobby Lobby a "slippery slope ... that can be used to discriminate, dictate women's health choices, evade federal protections, and promote unfair advantages in the corporate world." But polls show a majority of women don't believe employers should have to pay for contraception.

 

Don't miss CAP's choice of words. CAP says failure to provide contraception is "dictating choices" and "discriminating against women." Meanwhile CAP proposes government-enforced discrimination against people of faith (including women) and has no qualms against government forcing people of faith (including women) to make choices that violate their conscientiously-held beliefs.

 

Women can easily get contraception. A prescription for birth control pills costs as little as $9 a month at Walmart. Women can pay for it with their paycheck, just like they pay for everything else their employer doesn't buy for them. As a tweet today sent out by @adammotzko says:


 

Justice Alito, writing for the majority, suggested other actions the government could take, including to assume the cost of coverage, or to give these companies the same accommodation to the mandate that it already gives to non-profits. Justice Kennedy concurred with this advice in a separate opinion.

 

With deception as its aim, and the elimination of religious freedom and health freedom as its goal, CAP's proposals are in a new report audaciously titled "A Blueprint for Reclaiming Religious Liberty Post-Hobby Lobby." Don't believe a word of it.

 

Protecting your freedom every day,

 

Twila Brase, R.N., PHN

President and Co-founder

DONATE TO CCHFREEDOM.ORG TODAY!

 



 


 




News to Know:

Saving Money Through Free Markets

Key enrollment statistics on the 10th anniversary of the HSA are out. Health savings accounts (HSAs) allow individuals to make tax-free contributions to a savings account to pay for medical expenses. There were approximately 10.7 million accounts holding $19.3 billion in assets at the end of 2013 and that number is expected to grow. Seventy percent (70%) of HSAs were opened since 2011.



Obamacare Means Higher College Tuitions

Obamacare has extended its costly mandates to higher education, which will pass those costs along to already debt-burdened students through higher tuition. The University of North Carolina system estimates it will cost "$45 million to pay for the Obamacare mandate." The University of South Carolina announced a 3.2 percent tuition hike directly due to Obamacare implementation costs, saying, "We are now at a critical tipping point."



What Do You Really Believe?

Some surveys show that a "strong" majority of Americans favor doctor "assisted suicide." Or do they?  It often depends on how the question is phrased and whether the terms are accurately defined. Most Americans are inconsistent and ill informed about end-of-life issues. But, more and more favor a "moral right to suicide" in certain circumstances. Recent polls by Time Magazine, Gallup, and Pew Forum yielded different results depending on how the question was asked.



GAO: States Should Audit HMOs for Fraud

As Obamacare expands Medicaid, a federal report says states should increase their oversight of government payments for Medicaid managed care programs, which are growing at a faster rate than payments under traditional fee-for-service (FFS) programs.  A GAO report identified gaps in state and federal efforts to "ensure Medicaid managed care program integrity." For example, five of the seven states investigated by the GAO said they focus oversight efforts mainly on FFS claims, not on payments made to managed care organizations.



Future Alzheimer's Test?

If a diagnostic test is developed for Alzheimer's disease, how might a positive test affect insurance enrollment, premium pricing, legislation or family decisions? Genetic expert Hank Greely at the Neuroethics Blog says these issues already exist with genetic diseases like Huntington's disease. "But HD is rare and [Alzheimer's disease] will affect between 10 and 15% of the population. A test could be extremely disruptive," Greely writes.



Data Is Power

Aetna Insurance scientists have developed a way to predict whether employees will develop diabetes-related problems within a year. Using detailed medical and pharmacy data from patient electronic health records (EHRs), Aetna was able to determine risk factors for 37,000 employees of a major corporation. The new research could give companies the ability to "help" employees manage their health conditions, or eventually impose certain requirements on employees. How do you feel about this kind of intrusive profiling?



Paging Dr. Google

Google's new mobile fitness app, Google Fit, competes with Apple's HealthKit and Samsung's Sami. Verizon just announced Verizon Virtual Visits, a new technology that connects patients with doctors for simple ailments. These products have digital health experts excited but should raise questions such as privacy of health data collected, type of data sold to data brokers, financial incentives for app developers, and whether the products will be regulated as a medical device.



Royal Waste of Money

States have received over a half-billion dollars ($564 million) from the 2009 Recovery Act (plus additional state matching funds and regional outreach dollars) to set up state Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) - which are different than Obamacare's Health Insurance Exchanges. HIEs allow easy sharing of electronic health records (EHRs). But federal HIE funding has ended, some states don't have HIEs and many existing ones are in danger of "collapsing."  Fully "90% of hospitals have not exchanged a single patient record with the state data systems." (Info from Politico Pro eHealth and graphic from Dell Services Report)



Anti-Privacy Group Wants Your Medical Records

The Health IT Now Coalition wants electronic health record vendors such as Epic investigated if their systems limit electronic sharing of patient health information nationwide. Reacting to a RAND study that features a case study on EHRs, the large coalition of health care providers, payers, employers and patient groups asks HHS to decertify EHRs that "demand extra modules and expenses to share data." In other words, "Open patient data to the online world or we will shut you down."



Hospitals Tracking Your Behavior 24/7

An alarming story in Bloomberg News explains how some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data from public records and consumer spending to identify "high risk" patients in the community. Carolinas HealthCare Systems places data into predictive models that assign risk scores to patients (Image is part of Obamacare's risk-scoring/risk-adjustment equations). Privacy advocates said they are concerned that "big data's expansion into medical care will hurt the doctor-patient relationship and threaten privacy."


 

"Climate Change" to Increase Hospital Prices?

The U.S. public health care system must address climate change, says Dr. Al Sommer, a Johns Hopkins University researcher. Dr. Sommer's report urges health care executives to help lead the discussion on climate change's impact on hospitals. "Healthcare systems understand they have to prepare, but paying for the preparation is another matter entirely," Sommer said. Following the report's suggestions could significantly increase American's health care costs.



Scoring Doctors Increases Costs

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein say some doctors are unnecessarily prescribing opioid pain relievers just to improve their patient satisfaction survey scores, which are used to determine Medicare payments to hospitals. The senators wrote to CMS asking for an explanation of the practice, which began under Obamacare. They cited an example of a doctor who said the patient survey was the motivation for prescribing a strong cancer pain drug to treat a toothache!




Quote of the Week:

 

"What I think it's going to lead to, if it hasn't already, is an arms race between the criminal element and the people trying to protect health data...I think the health data stewards are probably a little behind in the race. The criminal elements are incredibly sophisticated." -- Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association and chief medical officer at the health technology firm CSC speaking about the growth of electronic medical records (Politico Pro eHealth, July 2, 2014)


 




Stat of the Week:

36 percent = Estimated number of "fake" followers of President Obama's total 43 million Twitter account followers.  Another 48 percent are likely inactive followers. That likely means the president has only 6.9 million (16%) real followers.

 

 




News Release of the Week:

Hobby Lobby Victory Impacts Health Care

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Hobby Lobby's U.S. Supreme Court victory this morning is a win for business owners of closely held corporations and shows the limitations of the controversial Obamacare individual mandate.

As a result of the 5-4 decision, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and other businesses, such as sole proprietorships, whose leaders disagree with certain forms of birth control will not be forced to pay for the questionable methods for their employees. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Declare Your Freedom from Obamacare

The Declaration states,"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to
abolish it."

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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