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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

June 19, 2013


Who is More Heartless?

Do you have a heart or a brain? You've heard it said, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart. If you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain." Apparently a version of this statement was first uttered by a mid-nineteenth century French historian and statesman, François Guizot. I thought Winston Churchill said it, but even the Churchill Centre says there's no record of such.

Whether you're a liberal or conservative, François' statement may make you smile. But that doesn't make it true. In fact, having a brain and a heart are not diametrically opposed. Having a heart doesn't preclude thinking. Having a brain doesn't preclude feeling. Just ask the scarecrow and the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.

Furthermore, the statement asserts blanket characteristics of liberalism and conservatism that are patently false. Consider the following questions:

  • Who is more heartless? The one who teaches a poor person to fish or the one who fishes for them, making them dependent on the whims and schedules of fishermen?
  • Who is more heartless? The one who helps the poor earn an honest living, or the one who keeps the poor dependent on cash forcefully taken from their hard-working neighbor?
  • Who is more heartless? The one who promises health care but won't pay doctors enough to care for them, or the one who provides charity care to the poor using doctors, clinics, hospitals and staff who freely donate their services?

Anyone with a brain can see who really has a heart.

This all came to mind because of an interesting paper discussed in The Wall Street Journal that was also sent to me by its author, Barbara Oakley. She defines "pathological altruism" as . . .

Continue Reading. . .


News to Know:

The Dangerous Theory about Obamacare

Today's front page of The Wall Street Journal discusses how the Exchanges are falling behind. Some theorize that Obamacare will collapse upon itself so Republicans need not put too much effort into derailing it.  But Ramesh Ponnuru calls this a "dangerous" theory in his latest editorial.  He argues the entire law must be repealed or rewritten: "Because the law is unlikely to work, because it cannot be meaningfully improved while keeping its basic design, and because it remains unpopular, Republicans would be mad to acquiesce to it...Opponents of Obamacare should plan instead for the likelihood that in its first years of full operation the law will fail in undramatic and unspectacular ways." But these difficulties will not lead to the end of Obamacare. Ponnuru calls on Republicans to act now by taking six steps.

Embrace Cash-for-Care Doctors

Some doctors, like Doug Nunamaker of Atlas M.D., are finding ways around the reduced payments and expensive red tape of government and insurers by switching to a direct cash payment system from patient to doctor. Some doctors see patients on a fee-for-service basis charging for every visit or service. Other doctors conduct a concierge business with monthly flat fees ranging from $10 to $100. Some give patients 24/7 access, including phone and email. As an example of how the cost of care can come down to the patient's pocketbook, Dr. Nunamaker offers a cholesterol test for $3 instead of the typical $90. Or $400 for an MRI instead of $2,000.  Grab one of these doctors while you still have the chance to secure a real patient advocate.

Brain Drain Feared As Obamacare Nears

Capitol Hill soon may have some job openings!  When Obamacare exchanges open for enrollment on October 1, many Capitol Hill staffers fear they will be pushed out of their desirable plans and onto the Exchange. Unlike other employees, they expect to lose employer dollars that subsidize the cost of these rich federal benefit plans. Most of these well-paid federal employees, like private sector employees, will not qualify for subsidies or tax breaks under Obamacare so their health care costs are expected to skyrocket. Many staffers are thinking of retiring early so they can keep their rich benefit plans. Members of Congress are worried they'll loss their most experienced staff.

The Coming Onslaught of Obamacare Marketing

October  1st marks the day Obama's government health insurance exchanges will open for enrollment.  The pro-Obamacare organization, Enroll America, is starting to make a large push with its " Get Enrolled America" campaign, which will begin June 22nd to get the word out over the final 100 days before enrollment begins.  Former Obama staffers created and run the organization.  As we've heard frequently in these pages, if Obama & Co. cannot get young, healthy people to join the exchanges, they will fail, so be prepared for an onslaught of marketing intended to drive them into Obamacare!

Meet the Obamacare Troops

Another group formed from Obama's campaign, Organizing for Action, is springing to action, hiring more than 800 volunteers and increasing its organizing capacity by 500% in order to tout both Obamacare and immigration reform.  Executive Director Jon Carson wrote in a memo last week: "Those districts [targeted with advertising] include both persuadable Members of Congress who we believe we can bring on board with our immigration efforts, and Members who we know to be supporters of reform from competitive districts that will need a show of ground support to ensure they vote for final passage."

Targeted Groups Show Little Interest

Usually good products sell themselves, so it is no wonder a barrage of advertising and marketing is unfolding as the October 1st rollout of the Obamacare exchanges nears. Still, one of the first town hall meetings across America attracted an older sicker audience, not the young and healthy they wanted to reach in an attempt to persuade them to enroll in government exchange coverage. Minimal interest from the young and healthy will continue to be a challenge for the Obama Administration - an audience we can hope continues to elude the administration's grasp.

More Republican Governors Fold Under Obamacare Pressure

As we mentioned last week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was making a push to implement Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in her state. Unfortunately, she succeeded. The bill has now passed the Senate. Meanwhile, Ohio's GOP Governor John Kasich says he'll never give up on expanding Medicaid and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Rick Snyder, another Republican, is trying to expand Medicaid in his state with federal funds from Obamacare. As Snyder sought counsel of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, his former base of supporters lambasted him this week for "going over the heads of the people to a federal bureaucrat who relishes her position of lone arbiter of life and death."

Employers Looking For Obamacare Escape Hatch

When New York enacted reforms in its insurance market that vastly increases premiums, the market collapsed because healthy individuals chose not to be insured. But Freelancers, an organization for uninsured sole proprietors, was exempt from the costly regulations due to a "small group" designation given by the legislature.  This designation is about to expire which Freelancers estimates will result in a monthly increase of $138/member. Freelancers is scrambling to keep the designation so it can continue to self-fund and keep away from Obamacare mandates and taxes. Other businesses in America are also looking at the self-funding option as a way to escape the devastation of Obamacare.

Organs "For Sale"

What happens when Obamacare rationing sets in? The court ruling which allowed Sarah Murnaghan to receive an organ transplant after being moved from the child to the adult waiting list suggests one possibility: Media campaigns. Daniel Wikler, medical ethics expert at Harvard poses an important question: "If the distribution of organs becomes subject to the success of individual publicity campaigns, with organs going to those who hire the best PR firms and lawyers, who on the waiting list would remain confident that their priority would be decided on the merits? And who would agree to donate organs to a system supposedly based on rational, humane, and fair selection criteria but that would actually be determined by the assets of the highest bidder?"

Your DNA is Your Property - Sometimes 

The Supreme Court ruled on two cases this week seemingly contradicting one another.  In Association for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics Inc., the court decided genes cannot be patented. They are not a creation, but belong to an individual.  However, on Monday, the court ruled in a separate case that police can take DNA samples at the time of arrest without a warrant.  As Justice Scalia wrote in his dissent, this ruling violates the Fourth Amendment granting freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures of bodies or property, paving a slippery slope for an even larger and more intrusive police state.  

Will a "Snowden of Health IT" Emerge?

Obamacare is setting up a huge government database, filled with private data on individuals, employees, employers, Obamacare navigators and in-person assisters, insurance agents and brokers, and others. It will be ripe for a major reveal in the future.  Referring to the NSA leaker, Deven McGraw, Director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, says, "We haven't heard of the Edward Snowden of health IT, at least as of yet...Is the capacity there for that to happen? Oh, sure. With any employee who manages data within any organization, there's a possibility they could go rogue." Fully 52% of IT professionals said they know how to get around controls for access to information. Usually the perpetrator is long gone and has sold your information by the time the theft is found.  Read more here...


Who's Sharing Your Medical Records?

State Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are expanding state-level health information exchanges (SLHIE) and looking for more participants -- including financial institutions. The public should be asking their legislators. Exactly what would be the function of a bank on an exchange of health data? State legislators should be asking themselves: would the public approve of their banks having access to their private health data?  A survey finds a whopping 80% of state CIOs have no data governance structure in place to manage access to data in the health information exchanges. The following chart lists some of the groups in the state health information exchanges (page 22 of the survey):

Quote of the Week:




"We're seeing really a caste system of compensation where folks who are doing outreach and enrolling people in our public programs are getting less than half of the compensation that organizations will get for enrolling people in private coverage" - Sarah Greenfield, TakeAction MN on $70 paid for enrolling people in commercial plans versus $25 for enrolling people in Medicaid, MPR, June 17, 2013.


Stat of the Week:

$111.6 billion - estimated cost of federal taxpayer-funded health insurance exchange subsidies, Medicaid and CHIP in the Senate immigration bill, S. 744, which includes a total of $258.9 billion in entitlement benefit programs, including food stamps (CBO, p. 24).

News Release of the Week:

Health Care Surveillance:  HIPAA - The Grand Deception

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Citizens' Council for Health Freedom wants Americans to know of yet another government intrusion into their private health information.

It's the HIPAA privacy rule - and there's a grand deception behind it.

"People think that the HIPAA privacy rule protects privacy, but it's just the opposite," says Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF. "The rule allows millions of people and organizations to access your private health information. Before HIPAA was implemented, doctors couldn't share patients' medical information without a specific law, a court order or written consent. That would have been illegal. But today, because of HIPAA, your personal medical information can be broadly shared without your consent. And it's only gotten worse with the enactment of HITECH in the stimulus bill and Obamacare."

Continue reading



Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Forget the "Collapse on its Own" Obamacare Theory

National Reviewʼs Ramesh Ponurru says D.C. Conservatives and Republicans are embracing a dangerous theory that Obamacare will collapse of its own weight. He says "Republicans will have to do more than just wait for it to go away" and more than theyʼve done already. Considering all the Republican leaders around the country publicly or covertly expanding Medicaid or implementing Obamaʼs exchange, thisis true. Only six or seven GOP-led states are saying No and No.

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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