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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

September 12, 2012



President's Commentary

What were they thinking? Today, the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing on Obamacare's government health insurance exchanges (federal takeover centers). They selected five testifiers, and only one is likely to oppose the exchanges. That's why your help is needed.

The public comment DEADLINE is September 26. There are just 2 weeks for you to tell the U.S. House committee what you think about the federal takeover of health care using health insurance exchanges. Written public testimony -- however brief -- will be accepted until Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. EASTERN.

How do you like their testifiers? The first is Michael Consedine, Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner who  claims a state-based Exchange allows states to "control their own destiny." This is incorrect. Then there's Neil Trautwein, VP of the National Retail Foundation, who has said he  hopes the Exchange regulations provide the necessary motivation for states to create and implement Exchanges.

Daniel Durham, Executive VP at America's Health Insurance Plans,  wants regulations that "encourage fully state-initiated Exchanges or state Exchanges working in partnership with federal agencies..." And Heather Howard directs the State Health Reform Assistance Network which is " focused on setting up insurance exchanges," and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an single payer advocate.

However, James Blumstein will probably  oppose Obama's federal takeover centers. He has said Obamacare does not allow the federal government to issue premium subsidies through the Federal Exchange. He says the law only allows state-run exchanges to issue subsidies. The IRS wrote regulations saying otherwise, probably because states have refused to build exchanges (see  diagram). Blumstein expects lawsuits from employers who are fined under the law when employees use the exchange.

CCHF will be providing written testimony -- and  you can too. The deadline for your input (testimony) is Wednesday, September 26, 

Testify by email.  There are a  few simple requirements for written testimony. The NAME of the hearing is "Implementation of Health Insurance Exchanges and Related Provisions." The DATE is of the hearing is Sept 12, 2012. What to do:  

  1. Include the required personal data in the body of the email.
  2. Use the correct email address:  waysandmeans.submissions@mail.house.gov
  3. Address it to Chairman Wally Herger, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health
  4. ATTACH your testimony as a WORD document
  5. Click SEND.
  6. Do it before 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sept 26, 2012.

Tell them Exchanges are Government-Run Health Care.  By saying NO to the Exchanges, they Say No To:  Federal government controls (law/rules); National tracking system of insurance status;  Intrusive data-sharing through the  Federal Data Services Hub (CCHF  diagram);  National  registration system for IRS enforcement of the individual mandate; Federal control over health plan choices; Federal interference in the state insurance market and individual medical decision-making; $10M - $100M annual operating costs for states; Elimination of the entire health insurance agent industry; Federal control of health care in the 50 states; National health care. 

Ask them to defund the exchanges, recall all unspent federal exchange dollars, and repeal the law. If you need any more reasons for your opposition, check out our  report or the bullet points in our press release below. Please individualize your testimony and send it in by September 26.

Now on to the news . . .

 




News to Know:

Romney's Comments Cause Fury

On  NBC's Meet the Press, Mitt Romney told David Gregory that there are some health reforms he would support: "I'm not getting rid of all of health-care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like..." Conservatives weren't happy.

Grace-Marie Turner at the Galen Institute calls concerned conservatives "alarmists who think that means he won't repeal Obamacare."  She says they  "need to calm down." Although I greatly admire Ms. Turner's work, here we disagree. Supporting such mandates promises to increase the cost for health care. Furthermore, mandating that people with pre-existing conditions get coverage  eliminates health insurance and makes insurers into simple third party payers of health care. That's universal coverage; national health care. If Obamacare was repealed in its entirety except the ban on preexisting conditions exclusions, we'd have national health care. Citizens are right to be concerned. Pre-existing conditions need creative solutions, like our proposal of individually-owned life insurance from birth (or pre-birth) or the proposal called "health status insurance." Take a look.

RULE-FREE: National Medical Records System

In a surprise, federal officials  will not write regulations to govern a  national health information network (NHIN). In May, the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) asked for public comments. We  suggested you write some. Last week, after receiving your feedback and  "intense industry pushback," ONC announced it will not issue any rules.

But bureaucrats can never just walk away. Instead of regulations, ONC will "look to guide the health information exchange marketplace through the creation of a framework of principals and good practice models for specific exchange challenges." As defined by ONC,  the NHIN is "a set of services, standards, and policies that enable the secure exchange of health information over the Internet." It is where and how  2.2 million entities will get access to your private medical data. The real question is: Did you know the NHIN is being built or that the HIPAA "privacy" rule allows it?

Breaking the Bank

The U.S. Supreme Court gave states the right to say no to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion mandate. A  new report by The Heritage Foundation with state-by-state charts shows how expensive Medicaid expansion could be. For example, Ohio could "see increased spending the the first five years by $407 million and an increase on the budget by around $1 billion total by 2022 in one scenario." In another, "costs increase to $2.5 billion in the first five years." Under Obamacare, Medicaid is expanded to people with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG). In 2012, this is $15,415 for an individual or $31,809 for a family of four. The Medicaid expansion increases federal spending by  $642 billion. That's your money.

"Unconscionable" to Opt Out?

On Monday, as reported by POLITICO, a coalition of leaders from various religious organizations claimed that expanding Medicaid is the moral thing to do. "The obligation to care for the health of the poor is among this country's fundamental values," said Rev. Linda Hanna Willing, executive director of Faithful Reform in Healthcare. Re. Jennifer Butler, executive director of Faith in Public Life, said it is "unconscionable that politicians would even consider refusing to accept it." How is it that these faithful folks have forgotten the call to individual charity and embraced federal pickpocketing? The group of 100 such religious leaders issued a  statement.

DNA Discovery Underscores Human Life

DNA just got more fascinating than ever. Studies now find that there is no "junk DNA." As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Human Genome Project identified 20,000 genes, which is less than 2% of the human genome. In 2003, Encode began working to analyze the remaining 98%, which "was thought to be a biological desert." It's not. They discovered it to be "teaming with action." Almost 80% is biologically active, a surprise to researchers. 

In addition, "large stretches of DNA that appeared to serve no functional purpose in fact contain about 400,000 regulators, known as enhancers, that help activate or silence genes, even though they sit far from the genes themselves."  The data they discovered could be printed on a wall that is about 52 1/2 feet high and 18 miles long. The Journal notes, "The unexpected level of activity seen in the genomic hinterlands may also help explain what makes us human. Compared with other species, the human genome has about 30 times as much 'junk DNA.'" So much for those chimpanzee comparisons.




Stats of the Week:

$15,000 - price for a hip or knee replacement in one place

$100,000 - price for a hip or knee replacement in another place

111 - number of surgeries on price list at Surgery Center of Oklahoma

$21,500 - highest price listed at Surgery Center of Oklahoma

$1,100 - lowest price listed at Surgery Center of Oklahoma




News Release of the Week:

CCHF to Present Written Testimony to U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Opposing State Health Exchange Implementation

ST. PAUL, Minn. - On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means and its subcommittee on health will hold a hearing to learn more about the state implementation of health insurance exchanges. The Committee outlined in a hearing advisory that, without final guidelines from the Obama Administration on such issues as mandated benefits packages, expected enrollee costs, and other exchange-related information, uncertainty "threatens to saddle stakeholders with higher costs and also increases the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

The Citizens' Council on Health Freedom supports this measure and urges the committee to consider the implications on state budgets and patient privacy of continuing to force state health exchange implementation on the states, especially without necessary guidance from the Administration. With live testimony limited to a small number of invited witnesses, Twila Brase, President of the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, will submit written testimony in opposition of exchanges, citing the damage to doctor-patient relationships and subsequent delivery of care, the huge burden on state budgets, the imposition of federal control, and the unprecedented intrusion on privacy that state exchanges enable. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Educate Your Neighbors on Exchanges

Most people have no idea what Obamaʼs health insurance exchange is. That must change. And I need your help. The exchange has been called the heart of health care reform. Any state that installs a state exchange installs the centerpiece of Obamacare. Every exchange is under federal control. 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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