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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

October 3, 2012

President's Commentary

Federal health care takeover dollars are flying out the door. Before the Supreme Court ruling, more than  $1 billion had been awarded for Obama's insurance exchanges, the state-based federal takeover centers. On August 23, HHS awarded eight states with more than  $765 million in additional exchange establishment grants. On September 27, HHS awarded D.C. and five states  $223.7 million  That makes almost $2 billion for exchange grants so far. There could be more this year, and on tap for 2013 is $868 in grants, plus more in 2014.

Two top Republicans are not happy. Congressman Fred Upton and Senator Chuck Grassley  wrote to HHS Secretary Sebelius saying, "unlimited money is flowing from your agency to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges with little or no restrictions and accountability...Furthermore, HHS has failed to provide substantive guidance to States on how the money is to be used." They asked HHS to provide answers to three questions by Friday, October 5.

Last week we sent CCHF's written testimony -- primarily our  15 reasons to oppose Obama's Exchanges -- to the House Congressional Health Subcommittee committee that held a hearing on Exchanges on September 12. After I spoke at the Eagle Forum Council on September 21, Phyllis Schlafly told me my  presentation was the "most helpful speech on a subject we needed. It was perfect and so important." And at the request of various women activists from around the country at the forum, CCHF has now offered  model legislation for citizens and state legislators to use to stop the Exchange in their state.

The Exchanges are the  Achilles' heel of Obamacare. States have the power to stop Obamacare by refusing to establish a state-based exchange and refusing to share any information, including Medicaid data, with any kind of a federal exchange. Stopping Obamacare is as easy as refusing to cooperate. In an article I'm quoted in, Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates in Virginia,  says

"The ACA cannot be implemented without an insurance exchange in each state. It's a go or it's a no-go. It's that simple."

Citizens can't count on Romney to stop or repeal Obamacare. Romney has already admitted he's not planning to get rid of all of Obamacare. He signed the first Exchange into law in America, the Massachusetts Connector. This week, attorney Bill Butler calls Obama's Exchange a "lobster trap." 

On Monday the Minnesota health care reform and exchange advisory task forces met to discuss progress on the unauthorized Minnesota exchange. No law allows it. I came forward to give public comments countering their plans, and Minnesota state Representative Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), who once authored an Exchange bill we defeated, discussed his recent letter of 70 questions he wants the commissioner heading up the Exchange to answer.

Will you help stop Obamacare by making an immediate tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more? This is "make or break" time. States are trying to decide what to do. CCHF has been so successful in recognizing and responding to the challenge of government-run health care that we need to add another member to our team to keep up with the demand. To build our team, CCHF must raise at least $65,000. Please give today to stop Obamacare.

Also, plan on attending our  November 15 Dinner Fundraising Event with Stephen Moore, senior economics writer at The Wall Street Journal! It'll be a great event for a great cause!

 Now on to the news. . .




News to Know:

National Patient ID System

A health IT group has again  asked Congress to establish a national patient identification system. They want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to do a report. As InformationWeek Healthcare reports, "The idea of national patient identifier has been off the Congressional table since at least 1999, when an omnibus appropriations law banned it." That was Congressman Ron Paul's fine work. The Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) is not pushing for a single ID number. They want Congress "to weigh the options for 'optimized patient-data matching across systems,' using advanced algorithms to reliably identify people while protecting their privacy." According to the report, such a system "might combine a numerical identifier with biometrics and probabilistic matching methods." Biometrics can include your DNA. Read  CCHF's report on National Patient ID.

Aging Toward a Crisis

A paragraph from the  draft of a new report emphasizes the impact of aging on our future: the end of our prosperous living standards. "Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population," reports that "If people continue to retire as they do now, population aging means that there will be proportionately fewer people working to support more and more people who are not working. This means that a larger fraction of national output will be diverted to expenditures by the nonworking older population. This diversion will be even larger because there has been a large increase in consumption per older person relative to younger adults, owing in part to rapidly rising public and private expenditures on health care for the elderly...All else equal, this diversion of output to the elderly will make it more difficult to raise living standards."

Two powerful graphics from the report illustrate the how much of our production (Gross Domestic Product) could be consumed by our debt, and how long the elderly may need to work in the future:





"Stimulus" Key to Obamacare

A highly  insightful interview has been published with a former Washington Post reporter (now TIME magazine correspondent) who has written a book about the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("stimulus"), calling it "The New New Deal." Michael Grunwald says that the Recovery Act is one of the "most ambitious and least understood" pieces of legislation in American history. A central pillar of the $800 billion Act is the computerization of medical records via the $27 billion Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act within the ARRA. 

Grunwald mentions how people would have laughed at the idea of spending $27 billion to impose EMRs, but he says it could be done, "if you have 60. Sometimes getting 60 votes is ugly...But if you can do it...you can really make big change." That big change is the federal takeover of health care. As he says when asked if the Obama administration saw this as a way of laying the groundwork for health reform: "Absolutely. In fact, [HHS] Secretary Sebelius specifically said that to me. She said she considered the stimulus, and especially health IT, as the foundation for Obamacare."

He says Zeke Emanuel (brother of Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel), who was at the Office of Management and Budget run by another health IT fan Peter Orszag, "was initially annoyed that if we wimped out on meaningful use [forcing doctors to use EMRs and regularly report "meaningful use" of them]...there was no way we were going to get everyone on an electronic health record by 2015...And now he's at peace with it. He realizes, 'OK, so maybe it will be 2017. It's fine.'"

$1.8 Trillion Cost of Regulations

As you may recall, President Obama promised to minimize regulations. On May 10, 2012, he signed the "Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens"  executive order. However, Wayne Crews, a vice president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has tallied the cost. According to The Washington Examiner, "Current federal regulations plus those coming under Obamacare will cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion annually, more than twenty times the $88 billion the administration estimates." 

The cost of complying with regulations from the Health and Human Services Department is $184 billion a year before all the Obamacare regulations are even written. Congressman Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee reports that nearly  80 million hours  will be required to comply with the current slate of Obamacare rules (more to come!). In that time, he says, "The Empire State building, which took 7 million man-hours to build, could be constructed 11 times."

Where Art Thou, RomneyCare? 

POLITICO Pro (9/30) calls it "one of the greatest stories never told." In the midst of the election, the flaws of RomneyCare aren't being discussed. Romney passed a revolutionary health reform plan that promised universal coverage, that didn't reduce costs and that depended on federal financial support. Obama borrowed the plan and with 60 Democratic votes (and no GOP votes) put it into place across the nation. But because of the election dynamics, nobody is talking about the failures of RomneyCare: it didn't control costs, it increased emergency room use by 6%, and it's more difficult to see a doctor. Only 50% of primary care doctors are taking new patients, down from 70% in 2007, a year after RomneyCare became law. There are few incentives to talk about the cost problem because the solutions "are never very politically palatable," says Drew Altman, CEO of Kaiser Family Foundation. Look for RomneyCare to emerge in tonight's first presidential debate.




Quotes of the Week:

"New tools provided by the health care law authorized CMS to stop Medicare payments upon suspicion of fraud and to mine data to detect it in the first place." - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a threatening letter to hospitals and health care systems that acknowledges federal intrusions. The American Hospital Assn. says they were just following HHS instructions.

 

 


"[D]o we need to tell seniors they need to go on the private health insurance market in the future? I think that is something that's really not acceptable." - Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on the issue of allowing seniors to buy their own private insurance, Politico Pro, Sept. 28, 2012.
 

 

 


"[E]ven patients with health insurance are having trouble getting timely access to their primary care physicians. When their medical conditions worsen, they seek emergency care. What will happen when millions more people will be added to the Medicaid rolls?" - Dr. David Seaberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in a  press release asking a question the Obama administration did not address prior to expanding coverage to 30 million people in Obamacare, Sept. 24, 2012.




Stats of the Week:

$27.9B - the "lifetime burden" of Obamacare regulations...so far.
$61B - the cost of complying with "major" regulations in 2009.
$160B - the cost of complying with "major" regulations in 2010.

10.38 billion - hours of federal paperwork per year due to regulations.
177,999 - number of full-time employees needed to comply with federal regulations.
21.3 million - hours needed to comply with Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion.
69 - percent of small business owners who say Obama's regulations hurt business.

8,000 - doctors who left Great Britain since 2008 to practice elsewhere.
10 - percent of doctors that have fled Canada for the U.S.
55 - percent of doctors that would vote for Romney.




News Release of the Week:

Reclaiming Your Baby's DNA: First-of-Its-Kind Repository Enables New Breaches in Patient Privacy and Parental Rights

ST. PAUL, Minn. - In yet another federal over-reach that breaches parental rights, the Newborn Screening Translational Research Network (NBSTRN) announced last week that it had developed a centralized, virtual, web-based repository of newborns' DNA, obtained through dried blood spots. DNA samples are collected from infants at birth and often saved, stored, and used for research without the knowledge or consent of an infant's parents.

The issues surrounding this move are many and the bio-ethical implications unclear, according to the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF). First, and perhaps most critical, are the privacy breaches and the potential for unethical or morally objectionable use. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Citizen Spy Network for Healthcare?

The Obama administration wants citizens to file reports on their doctors and hospitals. This new "consumer reporting system for patient safety" is ridiculous. First, it will cause unnecessary fear of doctors and hospitals. Second, most states already require hospitals to report safety issues. 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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