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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

March 9, 2012

Letter from CCHF's President

What is health insurance? Time to figure it out before we lose it. Obamacare makes real insurance all but illegal. More on that later. John Goodman at NCPA asks, "Why would anyone in his right mind buy the $1,000 deductible plan?" And Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. at The Wall Street Journal ponders, "Suppose insurance became insurance again."  Indeed.

Most people have prepaid health care, a third-party financing mechanism for all medical costs -- routine, minor and catastrophic. Prepaid health care is provided by managed care organizations, otherwise known as HMOs or "health plans."

What if we paid for our food this way? What if there were Food Management Organizations (FMOs). Imagine the impact on cost, choice and confidentiality if you paid the FMO to buy your groceries. Paul Harvey once talked about this in a brilliant radio essay we've just put online.

Essentially, once you give the FMO your dollars, you feel entitled. But you just handed the FMO the power to decide what you eat. For instance, your weekly New York Strip steak requests might get a ground beef substitute. Eventually, FMO officials decide to use their financial power to limit the items grocers stock on shelves. If that doesn't work, they buy the whole grocery store. Then the FMO raises food prices and further reduces supplies, keeping more of your cash for themselves. Where will you buy food the FMO refuses to stock?

This transformation is exactly what's happening in health care. Congress gave us the HMO ("health plan") and forced employers to offer it, and Obamacare gives the entire system to the HMOs, and creates a new HMO, called the ACO. HMOs are calling all the shots. My article, published in the Congressional Record of the U.S. House, explains how and why this transformation away from real insurance happened: "Blame Congress for HMOs."

The most affordable and best health security is your dollars in your pocket...combined with a real health insurance policy (preferably a defined contribution plan) for medical catastrophes. I'll explain more next week about the impending ACO.

Now on to the news...

News to Know:

Obamacare's "State" Exchange Ruse:

CCHF has produced a new "picture" of Obama's plan for so-called "State" Health Insurance Exchanges. In short, there are no "state" exchanges. There is only one National Exchange with 50 state PORTALS (websites), and one federal PORTAL for states that refuse to set up a state portal. The development and use of each portal will be under federal control (law and regulations). The system is not a marketplace. It's an information technology system with data sharing, money transfers, and federal monitoring, regulation and enforcement through SSA, DHS, IRS, HHS and DOJ.

The National Governor's Association has sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius asking for exchanges to be a "federal-state partnership." This means Obama's original plan of a national exchange, which was in the original U.S. House bill, is in the works. The National Exchange still masquerades as 50 state exchanges, but there is one Federal Data Services Hub through which all data will flow. There is also the requirement that all States follow the same federal regulations (the word "require" is used 811 times in first set of proposed regs). Which of the 811 requirements does the State not have to follow?? The proposed regs say there are still more regs to come. See our new diagrams:  National ExchangeEnactment Status Nationwide

Nothing to Jump and Shout About:

On Monday, HHS released a report claiming that Obamacare has eliminated "lifetime limits on coverage" for more than 105 million Americans. There are two reasons to not get overly excited. First, the PPACA allows annual and lifetime limits to be placed "on specific covered benefits that are not essential health benefits" under the law (Sec 2711). The Secretary of HHS decides what is and is not essential. Second, in case you missed it, Galen Institute did an excellent report in December on the "Radical Restructuring" of health insurance in America. In short, insurance companies are dropping people from coverage left and right due to Obamacare. How valuable is the elimination of lifetime coverage limits when you have no insurance?

The Obama Administration has also trumpeted their Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. They "projected that more than 50,000 people had signed up across the country by the end of the year." Two things they hope you don't remember. One, to get more people to sign up, they had to cut the program's premiums by up to 40%. Two, before Obamacare passed, they predicted that 375,000 people would join the program in 2010. People must not be desperate enough to buy insurance. The 50,000 people are just 13% of the 375,000 prediction. The program is set to expire December 31, 2013.

The Entitlement Mindset:

Some winners of the Michigan Lottery continue to receive state welfare benefits. You'll have to watch the video to believe it. One winner interviewed by reporters thought the State would cut her off after she won $1,000,000, but since they didn't, she thinks it's okay to keep taking the $200 monthly for food because she has no income, bills to pay and two houses (one paid for with cash after her win)....and a new car. Got that??

Useless "Quality" Report Cards:

The data industry and government regulators must not be pleased. A study in Health Affairs says "Medicare's seven-year public reporting initiative for hospitals, Hospital Compare, had no impact on reducing death rates for two key health conditions..." Seven years. Lots of patient data. NO impact. "Hospital Compare was created to help Medicare patients rank or judge hospitals and other health care providers based on standards of care," says Health Affairs. It didn't work.

Why? As I testified to state legislators during a recent Minnesota House health policy hearing, people use trusted sources to decide where to go. And even if people could understand Hospital Compare's data and believed it were true, most people can't choose doctors or hospitals outside of their assigned HMO/health plan network. Furthermore, the data is suspect, as demonstrated by the recent dust-up on report cards in Minnesota. This reporting system costs millions and wastes time. So why do it? The real purpose is control of doctors. Officials plan to use the data to determine compliance with government treatment standards and "outcome measures", and issue financial bonuses or penalties. This is called "pay for performance."

Obama to Discard "Snowflake Babies" Program:  

First mandatory contraception coverage. Now, the Obama administration is seeking to defund the Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign in its next budget. The $2 million appropriation to fund the program did not appear in Obama's budget request. "Snowflake Babies" are the "extra" frozen human embryos produced by in-vitro fertilization. Couples can adopt these "snowflake babies." Hannah Strege, the first of these frozen embryos, was born in December 1998, according to The Washington Times article.

Obama Ignores Medicare Law:

President Obama has again ignored a legal requirement to respond with a legislative proposal to a warning issued by Medicare's Trustees. In a letter to the President, Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressman Paul Ryan said, "The law requires you to submit a legislative proposal to Congress following a warning by the Medicare Trustees triggered by a determination in two consecutive years that general revenues will account for more than 45 percent of Medicare's outlays for the current fiscal year or any of the next six fiscal years."

The law requires that the President submit a plan within 15 days of submitting his budget. This is the fourth straight year that the President has refused to comply with the law. Democrats are not interested in dealing with Medicare because it would be "giving away the biggest advantage" they have, reports Chris Jacobs at the Republican Policy Committee.

Action Items:

The Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies invites you to a Conference

Obamacare in the Supreme Court

Friday, March 23, 2012
10:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m

F. A. Hayek Auditorium • Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

For more information or to register, click here

Are you opposed to the Federal government making medical choices for you?  Come to Washington, DC on March 24 and be a part of the Road to Repeal Rally.

Saturday, March 24, 2012
Hosted by the Tea Party Patriots



Americans for Prosperity invites you to a

Hands Off My Health Care Rally

The United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.
March 27th at 1:00PM

For more information or to register, click here

Featured Health Freedom Minute:

$100/day Contraception Fines

What will happen if employers refuse to comply with Obamaʼs contraception mandate? The Congressional Research Service has a very serious answer. They said insurers and employers that do not comply with the mandate could face federal fines of $100 per day per employee. If an employer has 100 employees, thatʼs $10,000 a day. Under the rule individuals could also sue their employers.     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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