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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

February 13, 2013



Conservatives Confuse Obamacare Architect

Obamacare's architects are getting nervous. Ezekiel ("Zeke") Emanuel, a key architect of Obamacare, claims conservative opposition to exchanges is perplexing. In an article for  THE HILL, he says the ACA is the law of the land and both Houses passed it. He says the Supreme Court upheld it. And he claims, the 2012 election confirmed it. That should simply settle the matter. Why aren't conservatives falling in line?

What's really perplexing is Mr. Emanuel's perplexity.

Conservatives aren't followers. They lead -- and they read. Obamacare may be 2,700 pages, but they've been reading it. The ACA does not and cannot require states to set up state exchanges. Like the Medicaid expansion mandate, that would be unconstitutional commandeering of the state by the federal government. That is why the ACA has a fallback plan, a Federal Exchange - but they never funded it because they thought states would just build them. Wrong.

Mr. Emanuel says "conservatives should love insurance exchanges" because they "bring free-market forces to health insurance." Once again, conservatives read the law. The Department of HHS runs the entire show. As Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote, any idea of state control is an "illusion." Conservatives realize the exchange is central to Obamacare, and stopping the exchange stops Obamacare.

Emanuel claims it's illogical for conservatives to oppose exchanges because not setting up a state exchange will lead to a federal exchange. But I call this Obama's bluff ...

Continue reading...




News to Know:

Medicaid for the Middle Class

Twenty-one states  say they plan to expand Medicaid, into the middle class under Obamacare. These states are taking the federal bait and agreeing to put themselves on the hook far into the future. The U.S. government is not in the black and will not likely continue to fund the newly "entitled" at 90%. Who will pay the political price when states have to defund the program? For states that refuse, a new rule issued last week  exempt those who would have been eligible for expanded Medicaid from the individual mandate penalty.



CCHF Counters Obama's SOTU

Obama: "[T]he biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms - otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations. ..."

Brase: Modest reforms? We need bold reforms in Medicare. Furthermore, Obamacare jeopardizes the future of American freedom and prosperity, and increases our debt. The CBO recently  reported that payments for current entitlement programs and Obamacare premium subsidies "will soon be even greater than outlays for Social Security." 

Obama: "...Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs." 

Brase: There are 20 new taxes that Americans will pay directly or indirectly. The $900 billion Obamacare bill is now estimated to cost  $2.6 trillion. Medicaid will grow by 16 million unless states refuse the costly expansion. Americans will soon experience perhaps the worst "sticker shock" ever as premiums skyrocket. Costs are not slowing down.

Obama: "...We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital - they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive." 

Brase: Who defines quality of care? What if "quality of care" means following government-issued treatment or rationing protocols? His health care law installs a committee of 15 unelected bureaucrats (IPAB) to decide what services will and will not be paid for. Could such "quality" decisions become rationing decisions?

Obama: "And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep - but we must keep the promises we've already made.

Brase: Medicare is a promise that could never be kept. Now it has a $38 trillion unfunded liability and could be bankrupt by 2024. Obama should be working to rescue Americans from the trap Medicare may soon become for the many who depend upon it.

Twila's SOTU Tweets




Exchanges are IT Superstructures

Vermont paid IT giant CGI  $36 million to build its exchange, the Vermont Health Connect. The 2 year option to re-up, would bring the total to $51 million. Nevada awarded Xerox a  $72 million contract to provide the technology and services to design and build a state exchange. California gave Accenture, an Irish consulting firm  $360 million contract to build the exchange infrastructure and operate it for the next four years.

Information Technology (IT) firms in Minnesota provide an example of the vast Exchange IT structures being  built to connect state government agencies data systems with the federal government through the Federal Data Services  Hub.  Obamacare exchange-related contracts have gone to the following companies:

  • Select Computing - $403,200
  • Ambient Consulting - $102,960
  • Windsor Software - $85,344
  • Trissential - $78,000
  • Ceridian Corp - $20,000
  • Maximus, Inc (in VA) - $41.2 million

Exchange Realities 101

If you wonder what an exchange is, or need some information about the debate, look no farther. We use the Minnesota exchange bill as an example to explain the exchange  realities. Have a look:

Reality #1:  Not a Marketplace
Reality #2:  It's Not Travelocity!
Reality #3:  Obama's Bluff - the Federal Exchange
Reality #4:  National Database of Your Personal Information
Reality #5:  Powerful Board of Seven Strangers
Reality #6:  Exchange Board will Limit Insurance Choices
Reality #7:  Health Insurance Agents in Limbo




Quotes of the Week:


 

"There are five million people walking in our stores each day...We think we can play a role." - Helena Foulkes, EVP at CVS Caremark Corp discussing pharmacies signing people up for insurance/Medicaid under Obamacare, The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2013.







 

 

"Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren't hiring. Not only that; they're being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers." - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in response to President Obama's State of the Union Speech, February 12, 2013.







 

 

"How big can a company get with just 50 employees? We're about to find out." -- Paul Christiansen, entrepreneur and owner of Quorim.com on how small businesses can escape the employer mandate and fines by going "protean," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2013.




Stats of the Week:

322 - new full-time equivalent workers requested by IRS for ACA compliance

$0 - funding from HHS for 2013 IRS "new worker" (FTE) request.

856 - full-time employees for which IRS received funding in 2012.

42 - provisions in ACA that will add to or amend tax code

10,000 - decrease in IRS employees over last two years.

$424 million - IRS enforcement revenue expected by 2015




News Release of the Week:

Will Your State Remain Free?

ST. PAUL, M.N. - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' deadline for states to partner with the federal government on health insurance exchanges is Friday, February 15. For the 26 states that remain free of Obamacare's expensive and intrusive grip, the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (www.cchfreedom.org) is calling on them to remain firm in their denial of federal, state, or partnership exchanges, all of which lead to federal control of healthcare, intrusiveness into private data for citizens, and costly penalties for a wide range of employers. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Religious Liberty in Jeopardy

The Pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom. In 1789, the Bill of Rights was enacted, with the very first line of the first Amendment protecting freedom of religion. 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.




Reading Now...

"Debate Over Brain Scans and Alzheimer's," - The New York Times  - should Medicare cover them?

"A Tale of Two Angels," Annals of Internal Medicine - given the disappointing results, should federal dollars continue to encourage interoperable electronic medical records?

"$2 Billion Medicaid Program Helps Mostly Illegal Immigrants," - Kaiser Health News - program reimburses hospitals to deliver the babies of illegal immigrants.

"What's Wrong with Pay for Performance?" - John Goodman's Health Policy Blog, NCPA - discusses problems with the data and the measurement systems.

"Health care workforce panel unfunded as doctor 'crisis' looms," - POLITICO Pro, January 29, 2013 (subscription required).

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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