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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

September 5, 2012

  • President's Commentary
  • Ten Stayed Home
  • Is Physical Inactivity a Medical Diagnosis?
  • Obamacare Privacy Lawsuit Dismissed
  • What Democrats Promise
  • Obamacare's State-Based "Death Panels"
  • Stats of the Week
  • News Release of the Week
  • Featured Health Freedom Minute

President's Commentary

Democratic strategists say, "Embrace Obamacare." At last night's convention they did. In fact, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said, "Obamacare is a badge of honor." A September 4  memo from liberal strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville includes a section titled "Embrace Obamacare" which says:

"With a new focus on how the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more affordable, Obama ought to educate on the ability to buy affordable coverage, not being hit by big increases or being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition (now abolished), the tax credits to make insurance affordable for small business, and more. The focus is always affordability and making changes to make health care more affordable.

"We know from the bi-partisan survey we conducted jointly with Resurgent Republic for NPR that Democrats can easily go head-to-head when they emphasize affordability but also that they have a powerful message when they note that reform is mostly paid for by raising taxes on those earning over $200,000 a year. When they know that, it diminishes the conservative attack on Medicare. 

"And above all, when Republicans say they want to go to Washington to repeal Obamacare, they are promising to go there to refight health care and tie up the system in partisan gridlock. That is the last thing voters want. Rather than a wedge issue, this debate takes the Democrats up to around 55 percent."

If your conscience isn't part of the equation, apparently it's okay to tell tales. Most of Obamacare's 21 new or expanded taxes will be paid by anyone who buys insurance or purchases health care. Taxes are always paid by the little guy - if not directly, indirectly in higher costs, lost wages or lost access. Insurance and health care costs are also going up, not down. A survey of employers released last week found that employers believe on average health care  costs will rise by 6.2%, out-of-pocket costs will increase by 33.2% and paycheck deductions will rise by 9.3%. (h/t Chris Jacobs, JEC)

A Nevada patient's bill for an echocardiogram  rose from $373 to $1,605 when the physician practice was purchased by the hospital system. The hospital was able to charge it as an "inpatient" service with no change in location. Obamacare envisions all doctors under hospitals in a new structure called an  ACO. Insurers are also  merging to deal with the law's caps on profits and increased regulatory costs. This means less competition and higher costs.

Where's the Exchange? The memo never mentions the health insurance exchanges or its related tax credits and premium subsidies. The law says these new taxpayer-funded entitlements to help cover higher premiums under the law are only available in state-run exchanges, not the federal exchange. This stipulation was meant to coerce states into building and paying for state-run exchanges ($10M - $100M per year).  But at least 28 states have refused to build or install these federal takeover centers. The strategists may not wish to highlight this nationwide show of resistance.

The strategist's memo virtually skips Medicare, but includes several other interesting statements:

  • "This is a close presidential race where President Obama and the Democrats still need a good convention to get momentum..."
  • "[T]he real economy is so difficult that it gives Romney and the Republicans an audience on spending and budgets, even when the country views them with disdain."
  • "[The national] survey results are tough; the President fell to 6 points behind Romney and Democrats 9 points behind Republicans on who would do a better job on the economy...the president was barely winning big economic arguments."
  • "One of the reasons the Democratic coalition has been growing over the long-term has been the country's growing tolerance of diversity, openness to immigration, support for rights, expanded roles for women, and caution about religious fundamentalism."

Much could be said to counter the final bullet above, but I wonder what kind of "rights" they mean. Obamacare, which they are asking the President to embrace, is ushering our Right to Freedom right out the door.

Please take a moment to  donate today to CCHF's efforts to stop Obama's federal takeover centers. For example, at the request of Michigan activists, we have created a  petition to Michigan's governor asking him not to install the Exchange. I'll also soon speak on Exchanges to state-based activists at the  Eagle Forum Council 2012. Please assist this critical effort!

Now on to the news . . .

News to Know:

Ten Stayed Home

The ten Democrats identified by the National Republican Campaign Committee as vulnerable on Obamacare have opted to skip the 2012 Democratic National Convention. According to POLITICO, they are "so vulnerable that they opted to stay home and campaign this week rather than come to their party's convention. So vulnerable that most of them wouldn't even talk about the health law by phone." The National RNC has an entire page on the 10 they call the  "ObamaCare Democrats." Photos and all.

Is Physical Inactivity a Medical Diagnosis?

A physiologist at the Mayo Clinic argues that one way to deal with a sedentary public is to make physical inactivity a mainstream medical diagnosis. He'd call it  "deconditioning." Michael Joyner says 30 percent of the responsibility to fight inactivity should fall on the medical community: "Physicians need to interact with patients about being active, and they need to write prescriptions for exercise." According to  NPR, he looks to indoor smoking bans and drunken driving laws as the model for tackling lack of physical exercise. Americans may not take so kindly to policing at such an intimate level.

Obamacare Privacy Lawsuit Dismissed

On Aug 23, a federal district court  dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of individuals who alleged that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance violated their right to privacy. It also alleged that the law deprives them of their autonomy in making certain types of individual decisions. The judge claimed the plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence regarding the data to be shared or the protections to be implemented. The ruling says the issue is "nothing more than a hypothetical controversy over bare speculation (Walters v. Holder, S.D. Miss.). The case may be appealed. If so, the plaintiffs might want to see how much data may be available to the health insurance exchange according to Minnesota's contract with an exchange contractor. The Fund for Personal Liberty has an  update on the case.

What Democrats Promise

The Democratic National  Platform mentions the Affordable Care Act eight times in their platform. More interestingly, they mention "middle class" 42 times -- clearly the focus of the platform. They also discuss "the new health care law" and "the health care law." They state, "We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise...Over the determined opposition of Republicans, we enacted landmark reforms that are already helping millions of Americans, and more benefits will come soon." The platform conveniently left out the new taxes, mandates, bureaucracies, and intrusions. The platform also declares, "[T]he Affordable Care Act is not the end of efforts to improve health care for all Americans."

Obamacare's State-Based "Death Panels"

Meet the state-based "death panels."  Belbury Review explains how Obamacare will provide $1 billion for "care transitions," a community-organizing project that will restructure health care delivery for rationing...even without the Obamacare IPAB "death panel." Under Obamacare, these new Community-Based Care Transitions Programs (CBCT) "furnish improved care transition services to high-risk Medicare beneficiaries" -- those who have "a diagnosis of multiple chronic conditions or other risk factors associated with a hospital readmission or substandard transition into post-hospitalization care" including cognitive impairment, depression, a history of multiple readmissions, or "any other chronic disease or risk factor as determined by the Secretary." (Sec. 3026)

The government will use each states' Medicare  QIO as the CBCT organization for redistribution of health care. The CBCT, a coalition of rationophiles (lovers of rationing), will get paid by the federal government, and decide how to divvy out the dollars. Joanne Lynn, who collaborated with Donald Berwick, Obama's recess-appointee head of Medicare and self-admitted lover-of-rationing, says, "for every patient in our target population, we will be paid a certain amount, and then we will figure out, within ourselves, the patients that need a whole lot of services, and the patients who need less."  

How will they legitimize end-of-life rationing? Through  POLST - a process that includes  training people how to get patients to say no to end of life care, and a  form to lock-in the patient's decision. Lynn admits that developing these coalitions across the country will be tricky: "You need to build a level of trust, and then you need to govern by consensus, probably, for a while; and then...

Stats of the Week:

$690,400 - Payment to Leavitt Partners to create Obamacare exchange in Mississippi

$16,000,000,000,000 - the U.S. National Debt hit $16T yesterday.

U.S. Dept of HHS poll of 5,352 Americans found:

44% - Americans who rely on SAVINGS during tough times.
21% - Americans who rely on FAMILY during tough times.
20% - Americans who rely on CREDIT CARDS/LOANS during tough times.
15% - Americans who rely on GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE during tough times.




News Release of the Week:

Are the Feds Forcing Citizens to Accept Medicare?

ST. PAUL, Minn. - On August 24, 2012, a group of plaintiffs petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case, which alleges that the federal government is forcing citizens to accept Medicare Part A coverage, sometimes against their will. Using a rule-making manual called POMS - which stands for Program Operations Manual System - the Federal Government insists that any citizen who voluntarily turns down Medicare benefits must also be denied Social Security benefits earned throughout their lifetime of work, and that any Social Security benefits received must be paid back to the government upon denial of Medicare.

The primary problem is clear: the POMS was implemented without any administrative due process, including public review and comment. The result is the implementation of a rule that once again compels Americans to join a government program - Medicare - whether or not they want or need it, with the fear of losing a rightfully paid-into benefit if they decline. Continue reading

Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Christie Straight-Talkin' Entitlements

The Republican convention is over. If you didnʼt hear it, the speech by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might surprise you. Christie is known for his pointed comments and he did not disappoint last Tuesday. He aimed squarely at Medicare. He said Republicans would tell seniors "the truth about our overburdened entitlements." 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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