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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

April 24, 2013


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Millions of Dollars to Market Obamacare

Obama's sales pitch is coming - and you're paying for it.  The Obama administration has inked an $8 million  public relations contract to promote the health insurance exchange, which Sen. Max Baucus calls "the single most important provision of the ACA." According to an HHS official, PR firm Weber Shandwick will use "a range of communications tactics, with a emphasis on paid media and digital outreach" to raise public awareness of the exchanges. Politico says they'll be targeting "the young and healthy" for enrollment.

HHS spent even more last year. In 2012, HHS signed a $3.1 million contract with the same company, plus a $20 million contract with another firm, according to The Hill's Healthwatch. The most recent contract includes an option for HHS to spend even more based on Weber Shandwick's performance.

This is just the beginning. In his 2014 budget, President Obama asks for $554 million for "Marketplace-related Consumer Information and Outreach," reports Marilyn Tavenner, candidate for director of CMS, in her 113-page letter to the U.S. Senate's questions about Obamacare implementation. The marketing strategies will be diverse. For example, Minnesota's contract calls for a "comprehensive plan that will permeate Exchange information to all corners of the state and to every citizen." Its tactics include:

            • Publications                          • Events/Promotions

            • Direct Mail                            • Town Halls

            • E-Mail                                   • Webinars

            • Media Relations                    • Traveling Exhibit

            • Advertising                            • Presentations

            • Interactive/Digital - Web Site, Social Media, Multimedia, Mobile Applications

Taxpayer-funded promoters will be in every state. They're called "Navigators," government-trained insurance guidance counselors or organizations that will draw people into the Exchange -- the government's lobster trap, where once you're in you may never get out. HHS is providing $54 million in navigator grants for the 33 states that have refused to set up and fund a state-based federal Exchange. That's not much. New York is preparing to spend $27 million per year for navigators. Navigator grants won't be released until August 15 -- just six weeks before Exchange enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.

HHS fixed a legal snag -- by regulation. By law, navigators cannot be funded by federal Exchange "establishment grants." So presto, chango! HHS wrote their own rule and devised a new not-in-the-law category of exchange workers called "in-person assistors" who can receive "establishment" dollars. These individuals will do the work of navigators until sufficient Exchange user fees (3.5% tax on premiums) are collected to pay the navigators. The fact that HHS has virtually no money for Obama's on-the-ground marketing force shows how poorly the law was put together.

The fear is palpable. U.S. Senator Max Baucus, who shepherded the bill through the U.S. Senate and last week famously predicted a "huge train wreck," is not confident about enrollment-readiness. He grilled HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on how many people would be on the ground helping people enroll, which states they'd be in and when they'd begin working this summer: "You need data. You've never given any data. You're just giving concepts." Just yesterday, Senator Baucus announced his plans to retire rather than face re-election.

CCHF is working to make sure the Exchange fails. The administration's biggest worry is that no one will enroll. But that's our greatest hope. Please donate to the campaign we're building to discourage the young and healthy from enrolling in Obamacare's lobster trap. Once they're in the Exchange, they may never get out -- perhaps for generations to come.

Stopping the Exchange can be done, but we need your help! Please donate generously!

For freedom's cause,

Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder


 




News to Know:

Another Half-Trillion Dollar Cut?

President Obama took a half-trillion dollars from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. To meet the May 28 debt ceiling expiration, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who led the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, want to cut another half-trillion dollars ($585 billion) from health care, with at least $180 billion from Medicare. The plan would reduce subsidies for higher-income seniors and cut payments to providers. It will also cap out-of-pocket spending for seniors. A 1997 law already prohibits seniors from paying cash for care denied...unless their doctor does not participate in Medicare. This is why Medicare doesn't need a rescue plan. Senior citizens, Baby boomers, GenX, the Millennials, and everyone else need an escape plan.

Break the Law, Says CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been using taxpayer dollars to fund unauthorized lobbying activities.  Since 2009, Congress has appropriated $373 million to the CDC's Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program. After a nineteen month investigation by Cause of Action, a non-partisan anti-fraud group, their report reveals that "at least seven communities that received CPPW funds violated federal law, as well as CDC guidelines, by using taxpayer dollars to lobby for higher taxes and new local laws." The report "reveals how the CDC permitted and even encouraged CPPW grantees in Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and California to violate federal law" (four specific laws) and use taxpayer dollars to lobby. What other states have violations?
 

Better Vision for Charity

Mr. Jes Tarp, a former pastor and professor, is CEO of Florida-based Aslan Global Management, managing more than 30,000 acres of farmland in Ukraine and Mozambique. He says, "I became convinced that business, not charity, was the real hope of the poor" and that "business has more to offer. It allows you to build an economic foundation." Rob Smith, who leads an orphanage in South Africa, got a new vision of charity in 2006. He saw a young man who had graduated from the orphanage's high school sitting idle, possibly drunk, with nothing to do in a land with 70% unemployment. Rob created Earthwise Ventures, a for-profit business that ferries passenger on Lake Victoria. It employs 30 people, generated $400,000 in 2012 and is on the road to profitability.

"Reveal All" HIX Application<

CCHF has worked its way through the massive 21-page federal Obamacare Exchange application and created a five-page condensed CCHF document -- a chart that shows the vast array of information being asked of applicants. It's also clear that some questions are probing research questions, such as asking the applicant if they think health insurance will not be affordable next year. Clarifying the federal control of all so-called "state" Exchanges, all applications for coverage must be sent to the federal government in Washington, D.C. for approval or denial.

Gun Ownership vs. HIPAA

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a notice of proposed rulemaking to ease HIPAA privacy restrictions allowing states to report certain medical (e.g. mental health) data to the federal gun-purchase background check database. This complies with one of Obama's 23 Executive Orders on firearms. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is checked before a gun dealer sells a firearm to an individual. HHS would like to expressly permit reporting "relevant information" to NICS. HHS promises "patient confidentiality as well as public health and safety." Not possible. Confidentiality is compromised the instant data is shared. Proposed rule not yet available for public comments online.

 




Quotes of the Week:



"Arguably, the single most important provision of the ACA was the creation of health insurance Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges). These marketplaces, where individuals can compare and shop for health insurance, need to work seamlessly come 2014 if the law is to be considered a success." - U.S. Senator Max Baucus, question #1 to Marilyn B. Tavenner, candidate for CMS Administrator, April 9, 2013.









"The CMS [Marketplace Data Warehouse and Analytics System (MIDAS)]...acts as the perpetual central repository for capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information on health insurance coverage. Current and historical data will be used to monitor, forecast, trend, analyze and report on the new information that the Affordable Care Act authorizes federal agencies to collect." - CMS Capital Asset Summary, March 25, 2013.









"Thus, it appears that your plans to use funds outside of the HIRIF [Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund] to finance implementation of the FFEs [federally-facilitated exchanges] are inconsistent with the law." - letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius from Congressmen and Chairmen Darrell Issa, James Lankford, and Jim Jordan.




Stats of the Week:

9 - years of Obamacare implementation (Check out colorful timeline).

$450 million - Health Insurance Exchange user fees expected to be collected in 2014.

4.5 - percent higher for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island premiums due to Obamacare (AISHealth, April 22, 2013).

$393.7 million - amount CMS has spent on the federally facilitated exchange and the federal data services hub.

$59M - 6-year contract awarded by CMS to IDL Solutions in November 2011 to design, build, operate and maintain the Marketplace Data Warehouse and Analytics System (MIDAS) to analyze all data collected from Obama's health insurance exchanges.

$229 billion - cost of welfare payments between 1970 and 1996 that could be attributed to the breakdown of marriage, per left-leaning Brookings Institute.




News Release of the Week:

CCHF Says: Electronic Medical Records Compromise Patient Safety and Privacy

Provides a List of the 10 Things to Know about Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) is drawing attention to the significant safety and privacy concerns of the mandate within Obamacare that requires doctors and hospitals to have federally-certified electronic health records or face financial penalties in 2015. Continue reading

 




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Obamacare Train Wreck Coming

Obamacare is beginning to unravel. Last Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, said he fears a "huge train wreck" because the public doesnʼt understand it. The next day, Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, wrote Baucus saying, "No one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law than you." 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...

Roofer Union Calls for Repeal of Obama Health Law, The Wall Street Journal, April 16.

Smoking Is a 'Preexisting Condition,' National Review Online, April 10.

Insurers to exchange: You're not my regulator, LifeHealthPro, April 23.

Health Savings Accounts on the Obamacare Exchanges: Early Warning Signs for HSAs - and the Exchanges, Medical Progress Today, April 19.

Cracking the Code of Life (PBS transcript), NOVA, April 17, 2001 - how scientists want to use DNA to cure conditions and prevent the birth of children with genetic disorders.

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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