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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

July 10, 2013


Obama’s Dangerous Delay

Obama's delay is dangerous to freedom. On July 2, at 6:00 p.m. just before the Independence Day holiday, the administration quietly stated in a blog post (of all things!) that the Obamacare employer mandate would be delayed by one year, until January 1, 2015. The U.S. Treasury put out a separate blog post. There was no press release. This understated process was meant to make the delay look like "no big deal." But it is.

The employer mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees (30 or more hrs/wk) to offer health insurance. Obamacare requires the employer mandate to be in place in the "months beginning after December 31, 2013," according to Section 1513. That is this coming January.

Can the President refuse to follow the law? Can he direct his administration to not impose the law's mandate without the consent of Congress? Can Congress change our laws without the President's signature? Despite conservative opposition to the law, the constitutional answer to all these questions is no. Thus, President Obama is engaged in unconstitutional regulatory meddling to meet his own political agenda.

What is Obama's agenda? The White House blog posting says the administration needs to do more to explain the law to employers. Others surmise that the President wants to protect Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections. Some say the computerized process for employer reporting under Obamacare is not yet ready. Still others note that the administration is already using the delay to argue for dismissal of ACA lawsuits.

This may be true, but I believe the delay is part of a much bigger, more dangerous plan.

Continue Reading . . .


News to Know:

Implementation failures: Obama's dirty dozen

Chris Jacobs of The Heritage Foundation recently highlighted 12 of Obamacare's most significant implementation errors. Here are two that stand out:

  1. "Employee free choice" repealed in 2011 - Certain workers will no longer be able to use contributions - vouchers -- from employers to opt-out of employer sponsored plans and buy their own health plan coverage on the government Exchange.
  1. Small business plan choice repealed - "Workers will not be able to choose plans from different health insurers in the small business exchanges next year." The choice option was delayed until 2015.

Read more about the other ten here.

Obamacare's big winner? UHG.

As Obamacare moves toward implementation, it appears that health insurance companies, rather than the American people, will see the most direct benefits. According to Business Insider, insurer UnitedHealth Group (UHG) could see stock increases of 40 percent over the next two years. According to financial newspaper Barron's, UHG's Optum business will keep costs of its health plans low, giving it an edge in the marketplace. UHG stock is currently up 22 percent for the year, closing at a high of $66.36 on July 1.

Brits get HIX gig

To avoid giving U.S. companies a competitive advantage through access to a vast array of non-public data in the national health insurance exchange (HIX) system and the federal data services hub, the Obama administration has awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion to a British company to help sort through insurance applications and exemption requests on the Exchange. The company, Serco, has a long history as a government contractor but has little to no experience working with HHS or government health Exchanges. It will immediately begin hiring 1,500 people.

Clinton aide hired to rollout Obamacare

On the heels of a rocky start to Obamacare's implementation, the White House has hired Chris Jennings as a health policy coordinator and strategist in hopes of saving the controversial health care program. Jennings has over 30 years of experience in health care policy and served as chief health policy adviser to Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2001. Jennings started his own lobbying firm in 2001 but has been inactive for several years which allows him to bypass restrictions on lobbyists joining the government.

From Delay to Fraud?

Obamacare supporters have characterized the one-year delay in the employer mandate on middle and large employers as "much ado about fairly little," saying the majority of employers with 50 or more employees already offer health insurance benefits. But the companies required to provide coverage under the mandate employ nearly half of America's 28 million uninsured workers. Besides making life more difficult for workers, the delay complicates eligibility determinations on the Exchange. Employers need not report access to employer-sponsored coverage - a key basis of coverage and subsidy eligibility determinations -- until 2015. This may lead to fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars.

Will employers drop coverage

With the one-year employer mandate delay comes the question of if, when and how employers will drop their insurance plans and put their workers on government Exchanges. Chris Jacobs of the Heritage Network offers the following figures:

  • The CBO estimates that unemployment will average 7.8 percent in 2014, higher than the 2010 estimate, giving firms more incentive to drop health insurance for employees because employees have fewer employment options.
  • If firms do drop health coverage, taxpayer-funded subsidies on exchanges will average $5,290 per enrollee next year, rather than the $3,970 the CBO estimated for 2014 in 2010.
  • Since Obamacare's enactment, the number of projected uninsured has increased while the projected number of individuals that retain employer coverage has decreased.

Building the perfect baby

A new technique used in In vitro fertilization allows parents to choose their embryos based on chromosomal screening of the embryo's cells for likelihood of disease and abnormalities. Scientists then select the embryos they determine have the highest chance of resulting in a healthy baby. If expanded, this technique could eventually result in parents choosing embryos based on genetic determinations of the baby's likelihood of developing diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

GOP to Sebelius: We want answers

In a June 28 letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 16 Republican lawmakers want answers regarding the Federal Data Services Hub to be used to connect state health insurance exchanges and the federal HIX with insurers, state agencies and the federal government for data-sharing. The lawmakers' most pressing concerns were that, only four months from implementation, the hub has yet to be tested and questions regarding the accessibility and privacy of information have not been answered.

Electronic medical records blamed in deaths

A Pennsylvania man has filed a lawsuit claiming that an electronic medical record error incorrectly erased one of his mother's prescriptions, resulting in her death. Though EMRs have reduced some errors, they've created others. One doctor says EMRs are good but, "they're so far from great it's astonishing." The most dangerous time for patients is immediately after the adoption of EMRs. One hospital's mortality increased to 6.6 percent during the five months after installation, from 2.8 percent during the 13 months before installation.

Cities unload retirees into Exchanges

Financially troubled cities like Detroit and cities that want to cut spending like Chicago are finding potential solutions by funneling their retirees into Obamacare's Exchanges.  To cut costs, cities like Detroit and Chicago plan to end health coverage for retirees who don't qualify for Medicare, with the philosophy that they can get insurance in the government Exchanges. With increasing benefit costs, more U.S. cities will be looking to reduce spending, and Obamacare may allow them to do so by cutting off retiree benefits and shifting the burden to taxpayers.

Quote of the Week:

"If Americans don't know how to access the new benefits and protections that they're going to receive as we implement this  law, then health care reform won't make much of a difference in their lives.   ...I'm here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out..."
- President Obama at national Planned Parenthood conference, April 26, 2013.


Stat of the Week:

8.5 million - Americans would have been unable to enroll in coverage under an exchange because they lack a bank account, according to a recent report from the firm Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., a problem that would be remedied under a new set of HHS regulations proposed June 19. (AIS Health Business Daily, July 8, 2013)


Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Exchange Hub Gets Scrutiny

Three weeks ago, Andrea Tantaros from The Five on Fox News, talked about our organizationʼs diagram of the Obamacare Exchange and its data-gathering Federal Data Services Hub. She showed to the Fox News television audience. 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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