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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

July 17, 2013


 

Labor Unions in Panic over Obamacare

Union bosses are not happy about Obamacare. Last week, the leaders of three major U.S. unions, including James P. Hoffa of the Teamsters, sent a scathing open letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leaders in Congress.  They warn that if the law does not change, Obamacare will "destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans."

Clearly they feel betrayed. Here is the first paragraph of their letter:

"When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class."


They claim that the unions put boots on the ground to secure the Democrat's vision of affordable health care, but "Now this vision has come back to haunt us." It's such a great letter, that I have included it below.

That's not all. A few months ago, labor unions, including the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO, suddenly did the math on the coming cost of insurance premiums under Obamacare and didn't like the high prices they discovered.  So they asked Congress to expand federal taxpayer-funded premium subsidies to employer-sponsored coverage received solely by lower-income workers in labor unions.

In short, they are seeking special treatment to raid the pockets of taxpayers who would get no subsidies to pay for the price hikes. Current ACA law says premium subsidies are solely for those in the state-established government exchanges. The unions worry that unionized employers, to reduce costs, will drop current insurance plans and force them into the narrow network policies of the government exchanges. They should have been thinking about this in 2009 before the law was passed.

Let's recall the labor union love fest with Obamacare in 2009.

In July 2009, the Teamsters announced a vigorous campaign for health care reform, including a website (teamstersforhealthcarereformnow.com - no longer active) and events during Congress' August recess. Teamsters President James Hoffa then said something quite different than today.

Continue Reading . . .



 




News to Know:

Oklahoma surgical center pricing beats competition

Surgery Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City was founded on the principle of price honesty, and the truth about surgery costs is shocking. About four years ago, Surgery Center of Oklahoma started posting guaranteed, all-inclusive price quotes with astonishing results. Procedures that cost between $20,000 and $30,000 elsewhere cost $4,000 to $5,000 at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Founder Dr. Steven Lantier says, "when we first started we thought we were about half the price of the hospitals...Then we found out we're a sixth to an eighth of what their prices are. I can't believe the average person can afford health care at [those] prices."



Coffee, airplanes and porta-potties: Obamacare targeting young adults

Promotion of Obamacare is in full swing, and advocates nation-wide are using any methods they can to ensure young and healthy Americans enroll in the exchanges. In Connecticut, Obamacare will be promoted using airplanes flying banners above beaches. Oregon is considering using branded coffee cups to appeal to latte-loving twentysomethings, and Washington is interested in sponsoring portable toilets to be used at concerts and music festivals. All these efforts are being made in hopes of securing the enrollment of young and healthy Americans who will fund the system, through $100+ monthly premiums, without heavily utilizing it.



"Dead" woman wakes up before organs harvested

According to a recently released report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, errors by New York hospital staff played a significant role in a 2009 incident in which a presumed-dead woman awoke moments before her organs were to be harvested. According to the report, doctors recommended very specific treatments for Colleen Burns that were never followed. These errors resulted in misdiagnosis and the decision of the family to remove life-support, though she did not meet criteria for withdrawal of care. No charges were ever filed against the hospital, though they were fined $6,000.



White House knows Obamacare will not work

The Obama administration has known for months that Obamacare cannot be implemented as planned. Plans to cut provisions began as far back as March in an effort to decrease the workload and guarantee the Exchange systems will be ready by the Oct. 1 launch. Many consultants say the "seamless user experience" originally envisioned under the ACA is no longer possible. The administration's focus is now no longer on the full ACA vision, but simply on getting its centerpiece, the government Exchanges, operational by Oct. 1.



Obama using delays to aid ailing exchanges

Exchange are getting executive "first aid." Fearing under-enrollment in the government Exchanges, the administration has decided to make "sacrificial lambs" of nearly 6.9 million uninsured workers. On July 3, it was revealed that the Obama administration will not enforce the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act until 2015, requiring many of these uninsured workers to enroll in Obamacare Exchanges or face penalties for lack of coverage. The change is being billed as a minor "tweak." However, this "tweak" will affect 10 million workers and add an additional $60 billion to the cost of Obamacare in 2014. Meanwhile, CMS chief Tavenner today testified that she was notified June 24 or 25 about the employer mandate (which was announced July 2 at 6:00 p.m. in Treasury and White House blog posts), but that she was not consulted about doing it, which the chairman called a "major shift."



Obamacare exemptions

Under Obamacare, all citizens are required to purchase health insurance or face penalty. However, the law does offer nine exemptions from either the mandate (4) or the penalty (5) should an individual not be covered by private insurance, Exchange coverage, of other government program. These exemption include:

  1. Religious conscience exemption
  2. Individuals not lawfully present in the U.S.
  3. Individuals who cannot afford coverage
  4. Individuals in health sharing organizations

CCHF has the exemptions online. Find them all here.



EMRs prohibit good patient care


More hospitals are having problems with electronic medical records systems, and health care professionals are speaking out. In over 100 reports submitted by RN's at clinics in northern California, nurses cite various issues with a new electronic system, known as EPIC, that prevent patients from receiving timely and attentive care. "We often feel as though we are caring for a computer, not a patient," says Thorlid Urdal, an RN from Berkeley. Oakland RN Mike Hill adds that the system, "does not enhance my ability to chart, instead it takes time away from the bedside and my patients, preventing me from providing the absolute best care that they and I expect from me as a nurse."



Does Medicaid improve health or insurers pocketbooks?

Does having Medicaid actually improve health? A recent study out of Oregon says it does not. But Medicaid does improve the finances of insurers. According to a study by Bloomberg Government, repeal of Obamacare would cost insurers over $1 trillion between 2013 and 2020. This is double the combined annual revenue of America's five largest banks. The $1 trillion is a transfer of dollars from American taxpayers, through the Exchanges, to insurers. Bloomberg analyst Matt Barry says, "It kind of makes you scratch your head a bit to wonder why insurers initially opposed this."



Obamacare increases physician shortage

Though millions of newly insured Americans will be gaining coverage under the ACA, the number of physicians is not increasing accordingly, making the provider gap more substantial. Newly covered patients will likely find it difficult to access timely care. Some states are working to address the imminent shortfall of doctors before the ACA is implemented in 2014. Solutions include loan repayment programs to doctors that agree to work in underserved areas or expanding the service and prescription capabilities of nurse practitioners, optometrists and psychologists.



Washington state premiums to rise. Rate shock coming

Rate shock - the unpleasant spike in health insurance prices facilitated by Obamacare - is inevitable for most states. However, in some states rate shock shouldn't happen. For example, Washington state insurance markets are already heavily regulated, meaning insurers must cover everyone and that carriers must charge similar rates across all ages. Despite this, Obamacare will still increase health insurance premiums in Washington by 34 to 80 percent on average. The elderly will see a 59 percent increase on average while young people, Obamacare's primary target audience, will face the steepest rate hikes.



Exchange construction zone: More work ahead

The road to building Minnesota's health insurance exchange is paved with inflated costs and empty promises. Rather than use an in-state tech contractor to assist with building the government exchange, MNsure is spending $46 million of federal funding on Maximus, a Virginia based company that has a hand in building at least five other state exchanges. MNsure has also stated that, contrary to initial promises, some low-income workers will be automatically assigned to health plans with no free choice while other promised features like the ability to compare hospitals and doctors will not be initially available.




Quote of the Week:

"Insurers can't help the demands on the benefits they will have to cover - it will absolutely be more expensive. It's like going to buy a car with every accessory in the books - heated seats, fancy wheels, satellite radio, and saying you can't charge more for it." - Grace-Marie Turner, founder of Galen Institute, Fox News, 7/11/2013

 

 




Stats of the Week:

$14.6 billion - total Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program payments to 291,325 doctors and eligible professionals to purchase, implement and meaningfully use EHRs as of the end of April 2013.

10,000 - number of doctors ( 17%) that have left the meaningful use incentive payment program because they thought it too complicated and time-consuming. (BNA, July 9, 2013)

 




News Release of the Week:

Employer Mandate Delay Forces Public into Government Health Exchanges

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - As the Obama administration struggles to find the resources to build a system of government-run health Exchanges, America surmises about why the administration would delay the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act for a full year, while keeping the mandate that, individuals must have insurance. Twila Brase suspects that the truth goes to the very survival of Obamacare. Continue reading

 

 

 




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Obamacare Failure #3 Verification

Today Iʼll talk about Obamacare implementation failure number three. This is the failure to verify the individualʼs income and their access to employer sponsored insurance. Both verifications are required by law for government exchange coverage. In addition, if an individual has access to affordable insurance, they cannot enroll in government exchange coverage. 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
Email: info@cchfreedom.org
www.cchfreedom.org



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