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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

April 17, 2013



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You, Obamacare and the IRS

Next year, Obamacare goes viral. And not in a good way. Full-force Obamacare will infect your life like no law in the past, present, or likely the future. You'll feel the ill effects on your employment, your income, your insurance, your doctor, your health, your family, your choices and your medical and personal privacy.

IRS intrusions are coming. The IRS has spent $488 million to implement Obamacare, with a whopping $405 million of it on information technology (IT) for tracking and enforcement of the insurance mandate. The IRS can be overly aggressive. It is currently facing a class action lawsuit for the theft of 60 million medical records from 10 million patients by 15 IRS agents. Despite having a search warrant solely for financial data, the agents seized the medical records, which included records of several California state judges.

Now Obama wants 1,000 new IRS implementation workers, plus an additional $350 million to implement the law. This includes $305 million for IT systems that will issue federal subsidies in Obama's government exchanges. In addition, he seeks $44.4 million and 283 more IRS workers to educate taxpayers about the complexities of the law (Politico Pro, 4/10/13), including:

  • The IRS will use the tax form you just filed on Monday as a yardstick to determine whether you can receive a taxpayer-funded federal subsidy for Obamacare coverage - available only through state-based Obamacare exchanges.
  • You will be penalized for any month you are not insured, starting January 1, 2014.
  • If you get a federal premium subsidy, you'll have to report to the IRS if anything changes your income status (e.g. you get married, get a job, get a raise, etc.).
  • If you get a federal subsidy but your income goes up during the year, you may have to pay it back to the IRS. This is called a "clawback."
  • You'll have to report your insurance status to the IRS for compliance with the tax-penalty mandate.
  • If you have employer-sponsored coverage, the W-2 you submit to the IRS will include a code "DD" in Box 12.
  • Insurers will send you a special form to submit to the IRS with your tax return.
  • If you're exempt under one of the nine exemptions from the insurance mandate (4) or from the tax-penalty (5), you'll have to prove it to the IRS or pay a tax-penalty.

Initial tremors have begun. Three years ago, President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress moved heaven and earth to shift the tectonic plates of freedom that have been our sure foundation. The American Medical Association and labor unions hailed their courage. But now, reality is setting in and the Richter scale is beginning to jump wildly. The AMA is warning of a physician shortage. And just  yesterday, a labor union called for repeal of Obamacare. Sen. Max Baucus, who expressed elation after the 2010 vote, now predicts a "huge train wreck."

Unlike the tepid sequester, Obamacare will actually hurt people -- and their pocketbooks. Lots of people. Lots of pocketbooks.

Sticker shock is imminent. At the AHIP Exchange Conference I attended in March, one speaker said, "We've never had a program that imposed this level of cost on low income people." Federal premium subsidies for Obamacare (I call it "Medicaid for the middle class") were supposed to reduce the financial pain, but the cost of coverage may still feel quite unaffordable, and states are scrambling to try to figure out how to help people pay for it. Furthermore, subsidies  are only available through state-based ACA exchanges and 33 states have wisely refused to set up or fund these federal takeover centers.

This national IT superstructure of networked state-funded and federally-funded Exchanges may not function. Already the Small Business version has been delayed one year, leaving businesses with higher costs and no insurance choices.  At the AHIP Exchange conference I attended in March, Christine Ferguson, director of Rhode Island's exchange admitted,
 

"None of us are sleeping. None of us are comfortable. None of us are in a good place...None of you would undertake something in this time frame."

Democrats are getting angry. U.S. Senators have lashed out at HHS Secretary Sebelius in committee hearings. She boldly claims the government Exchanges will be ready by October 1, 2013, but few believe her. Liberal Time magazine reporter Joe Klein writes, "we are now seeing weekly examples of this Administration's inability to govern... Obamacare will fail if he doesn't start paying more attention to the details of implementation...Sooner or later, the Democrats may come to understand that making it run efficiently is the prerequisite for maintaining power."

So take heart. Don't give up. The fact that Obamacare tremors and political turmoil are beginning to spread nationwide means the Obama administration can no longer pull the wool over anyone's eyes with fuzzy promises of  "hope and change." Reality is setting in.

Here's something good to remember: we are Americans. In the face of disaster, we fearlessly jump in and fix things. We will fix Obamacare by repealing it. We will go even further. We will fix health care by cutting out the regulators, bureaucrats, mandates, and myriad other third-party profiteers and overseers -- and replacing them with mission-minded, market-based, patient-centric, compassionate care solutions, such as CCHF's "5C" health care solution.

But until then, we must "fix" Obamacare by helping it to fail -- rapidly. Its Achilles' heel is the Exchange, its implementation center.  Without sufficient enrollees, it is financially unsustainable. Enrollment is scheduled to begin in 5½ months. Refuse to use the Exchange, and help others to do the same.

Donate generously today to support our efforts to fuel the resistance needed to win this great cause!

Faithfully working with you for freedom,

Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder


 




News to Know:

 

EXCHANGES: Medicaid for the Middle Class


CCHF has long called Obama's exchange coverage, "Medicaid for the middle class." Now it turns out that we're not the only ones. In an interview with Reuters, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, says exchanges are best understood as "a second Medicaid program." 

For clarity sake, let's talk about this as "Traditional Medicaid" (TM) and "Middle-Class Medicaid" (MCM). TM is government coverage for the poor enacted in 1965. MCM is Obamacare at a sliding fee scale for the lower and middle class enacted in 2010. Enrollment in TM, according to Reuters news service, increased from 33.3 million in 2000 to 54.6 million in 2010. During the same time, employer-sponsored coverage decreased from 69.2% of Americans under 65 to just 58.6%. 

Employers will have new reasons to drop coverage if Obama's exchanges become operational.  The tax deductions employers currently receive to offer health insurance --  $260 billion nationwide in 2010 -- are lower than the federal tax subsidies for MCM, which are expected to exceed  $1 Trillion. In addition, for states that refuse to expand TM to 138% of poverty guidelines (currently $32,499 for a family of four), MCM subsidies to that group of individuals are expected to be about $9,000 per person, compared to $6,000 for TM. Obamacare coverage is not private insurance. It's Medicaid.


Behold Big Government

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT or ONC, for short) is building a national computerized medical records system, called the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The NHIN has been described as a "network of networks," the linking of state health information exchanges (HIEs) across the country. Obama's HHS budget for 2014 includes $77 million for the initiative, plus 191 new full-time workers. The Office of the Chief Privacy Officer is a sham. HIPAA's "privacy rule" allows nationwide sharing without patient consent ( 2.2 million entities have access). The only good thing about HIPAA: it requires stronger state privacy laws to supersede the federal rule. TAKE ACTION: State legislators should require state HIEs to get written informed consent before sharing patient data outside the clinical setting and outside the state borders.


 

 

Really? No One Anticipated??

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, "the ACA is probably the  most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress...up to this point it's just beyond comprehension." Sebelius responded, "Probably no one fully anticipated when you have a law that phases in over time, how much confusion that creates for a lot of people."

Not true. Many people talked at length about it prior to enactment. Sebelius protests, "It's a big lift, and I would say it's a job that  no one has ever done in this country before -- not to put too fine a point on it." Speaking at Harvard, Sebelius elaborated, "There was some hope that once the Supreme Court ruled in July and then once an election occurred, there would be a sense that this is the law of the land: Let's get on board. Let's make this work. And yet we find ourselves still having  state by state political battles." Sebelius is whining, but states should be congratulated for reclaiming state's rights -- and encouraged to stay the course.


The Inevitable Rise in Costs

In 1965, actuaries predicted Medicare would cost $9 billion by 1990. However, the real cost was $66 billion, 165% higher than chief actuary Robert J. Myers's estimate. In 1994, Myers published an analysis of his own estimate in an article titled, "How Bad Were the Original Actuarial Estimates for Medicare's Hospital Insurance Program?" (Medicare's Midlife Crisis, Sue Blevins). So it goes with Obamacare. The following CCHF chart shows the continued increase in the Obamacare Exchange costs and cost estimates (and it's not even implemented yet):

 

The Power of a Blogger's Pen

On April 10, Mike Holden posted an  "open letter to UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley about my family's canceled COBRA insurance." In short, he had entered an incorrect account number on the UHG website to pay his monthly health insurance bill. The company sent an email saying, "Your payment has been received." He went on his merry way. The next month, the website wouldn't let him pay his bill.

During a phone call with UHG he found out the previous payment hadn't gone through. He also found out they'd sent him a warning letter 11 days later, which was only three days before UHG terminated his family's coverage. To make matters worse, the letter went to his old address. UHG refused to reinstate coverage.  So he wrote UHG a letter and posted it on his blog, where it became very public. On April 12, he posted this: "Great news! We've been reinstated by United Healthcare. Thank you to all who shared our story and to those who made the decision to reverse this. My wife and I appreciate all the support!"

 




Quotes of the Week:

Bernie Marcus, retired Home Depot co-founder and founder of Job Creators Alliance, gave an exclusive interview to Newsmax TV at the Job Creators Alliance conference, April 14, 2013. The following pointed quotes are all his:




"If I cover you, I don't know if I'm going to survive. - regarding what he says small businesses are going to have to tell their employees.

"Obamacare is going to kill off the small businesses. There's no question about it. If they're thrown out of their medical plans now, where they're covered in a good medical plan and thrown under the bus, they're going to be destroyed. If, in fact, they don't stay as full-time employees but go to part-time employees, they're going to be destroyed. People have to understand that the villain is not their employer; the villain is the U.S. government...Obamacare is the capper. That's the bullet to the temple. 

"They're the screwed generation," -- regarding today's young people and the deficit "they'll never pay off." 

"The Democratic party is not in favor, and not working for, the small businesses. I don't think Republicans, many Republicans, really work hard for it either. I think they all think in terms of their own entitlement..."  

"I think by 2016, the dynamics of this whole country are going to change, and I think that things are going to get so bad that we're going to look for somebody who has some bright ideas, who is different. And I think the American people want real leadership. There are a couple of people there [reporter's list of GOP choices] that are very very bright, but are they going to be good enough because it's a sliding scale. We're going down so fast that it's going to take a really bright, articulate, dynamic world-changer to change it. And we won't know who that is until time gets near because we don't know what we're going to be facing. The next three years are going to be terrible. They're going to be awful. Not going to get any better.  -- responding to reporter's question about who would be best GOP candidate in 2016.




Stats of the Week:

570,000 - Californians with individual plans today who will be eligible for taxpayer-funded federal subsidies on Obama's government Exchange (WSJ, 3/29/13).

$909 million - federal exchange grants received by California, which is still expecting "rate and market disruption" come October 1, 2013.

$77 million  - requested by Obama's 2014 HHS budget to implement a national electronic health record (EHR) system, plus  191 FTEs.

63,000 - physician shortage by 2015.

98 - deaths from "alarm fatigue" experienced by hospital staff listening to steady stream of medical device alarms.

40 - percent of people purchasing individual insurance who will not have access to premium subsidies.




News Release of the Week:

Federal Government Puts Pressure on Insurance Commissioner's Association; Seeks to Eliminate Small Business Health Insurance Options

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) is voicing concern and criticism for proposed changes to stop-loss models of health insurance that small businesses can use to provide employee coverage. Rather than pay premiums to a health insurance company, many businesses instead use a self-insurance model, creating a fund to pay for minor and non-catastrophic employee health services and reserving actual insurance claims for major medical issues that exceed $20,000 - the current NAIC threshold that claims must meet before stop-loss insurance kicks in. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Will 700 Chimps Live Large at Taxpayer Expense

Nearly 700 chimpanzees are owned or supported by NIH [National Institutes of Health]. In 2000, total spending for a Sanctuary System for Surplus Chimps was capped at $30 million. The cap will be reached next year. Obamaʼs budget removes the cap permanently. 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...

President Obama's brain map project is hardly the next Human Genome, The Guardian (UK), April 2, 2013.

The History of Healthcare Interoperability, HIT Consultant, April 11, 2013.

Statement of Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS on The President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Before the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House, April 12, 2013.

As America Ages, Shortage of Help Hits Nursing Homes, The Wall Street Journal, April 15.

ONC Names [Joe] Bormel Director of Health Outcomes, BNA Bloomberg (subscription only), -- a new position is established in the Health IT office (within the Office of the Chief Medical Officer), "to enhance our ability to represent clinicians and the need to focus on what's important to them (and their patients) in all the work that we do," says  spokesman for the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC).

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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