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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

August 14, 2013


 

Washington DC’s Animal Farm

George Orwell must have been writing about the Obama administration and Congress. In Animal Farm, his allegorical novel against Joseph Stalin, former dictator of the Soviet Union, he quipped, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

While the entire country worries about how Obamacare will impact their lives, Congress and their staff have been exempted from its impact on cost. Under Obamacare, members of Congress and their staff lose their employer-sponsored coverage on January 1, 2014 and are forced into the Obamacare Exchange. This also means they lose their tax-free subsidies of up to $4,966.80 for self-only coverage, or $10,048.76 per year for family coverage.

All members of Congress and their staff must by law enter the government exchange to purchase coverage. Since many of them make too much money for taxpayer-funded federal subsidies, they will have to pay the entire cost, with no tax breaks.

Congress panicked this summer as this reality neared. They feared a "brain drain" as staffers threatened to retire or resign. Apparently thinking they are "more equal than others," members of Congress sought an exemption to the law -- something you and I are not going to get.

So President Obama got personally involved. And on August 1, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that they would allow the federal government to subsidize the cost of Exchange coverage for members of Congress and federal employees. A week later they released a proposed rule to exempt Congress and their staff from the law.

Using loosey-goosey language, OPM prefaced their decision with statements like:

  • OPM has determined...
  • OPM believes...
  • OPM's understanding is that...
  • We believe that it is appropriate to clarify...

OPM has decided they can change the law to match their preferred state of affairs. Before the OPM issued the proposed rule, Rep. John Larson (D-CT) said if OPM didn't solve the problem, "I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, 'Listen, this is simply not fair to these employees... They are federal employees.'"

Fair? The passage of Obamacare was not fair or right. It's not even legal under the Constitution. And a Congressional exemption from the cost and reality of Obamacare is not legal and not fair to the rest of the American public who are forced to live under it.

A proposed rule means you can send in a comment. (click here or search at regulations.gov using "Congressional Staff"). You can tell them it's illegal. You can tell them it's wrong. You can tell them Congress should follow the law they passed, not find their own escape hatch from Obamacare.

Let's have a cascade of comments. Even two sentences of opposition would be great! Make a comment now. DEADLINE is September 9, 2013.

This regulatory maneuver gives Congress even less reason to repeal the law. They've created a protective barrier from the costs and placed them on your back. Whatever the costs turn out to be, now and in the future, the federal government - YOU AND I - are going to subsidize the cost of their coverage.

Comment today, and don't forget to call your member of Congress and tell them to repeal the law for the protection of everyone.

Partnering with you for health freedom,

Twila Brase, R.N., PHN
President and Co-founder
 




 




News to Know:

CCHF Billboard Goes Up at MN State Fair

Anticipating the MNsure Exchange's promotional efforts, Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) has put up a billboard near the entrance of the Minnesota State Fair, the 12-day "Great Minnesota Get-Together" that is expected to draw more than 1.5 million people. It caught the media's attention ( KARE-TV, Star Tribune, KSTP). CCHF put up the billboard as part of our national counter campaign (refuse2enroll.org). This one encouraging Minnesotans not to enroll in MNsure, the state's exchange. "The exchange is the Achilles' heel of Obamacare," said Twila Brase, President of CCHF to the Star Tribune. "Without exchanges, Obamacare can't be implemented."  Donate to expand this counter-campaign! Help us put up another billboard or maybe advertise on a bus. As donations come in, we will expand our campaign in Minnesota or elsewhere.



Reid: Obamacare will Abolish Insurance

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says Obamacare is only the first step in a plan to bring socialized medicine to America. In an appearance on PBS Las Vegas' Nevada Week in Review, Reid said he believes that Obamacare will eventually lead to insurance being abandoned in favor of a single-payer system. This requires dismantling the insurance industry, which is what Obamacare does. It eliminates insurance (against the risk of financial loss) by forcing health plans to cover pre-existing conditions. It puts all health plans under government control. And it forbids the sale of catastrophic coverage (true insurance) to anyone 30 years or older.


 

Agencies Implement ACA Without Authorization

Republican senators are demanding the White House disclose its plans to use nearly two dozen federal agencies in implementing Obamacare. Most of the agencies have little previous involvement with the health law. In a letter drafted to White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, the senators state that up to 21 agencies in fields ranging from agriculture to education have been supporting efforts to promote Obamacare, which is "an activity outside of their missions and an expense not authorized by Congress." The senators are requesting a full account of the agencies' work and support by Aug. 14. (POLITICO Pro, Aug. 1, 2013)



NIH Creates New DNA Database

National National Institutes of Health has announced a new database for DNA sequences derived from the famous "HeLa" cells taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951 without her or her family's knowledge or consent. The "immortal" cells are often used in medical research due to their nature to indefinitely divide, but earlier this year, the cells were used to publish private genetic information about Henrietta Lacks' descendants without their consent. The magazine claimed the genome sequence revealed nothing. A scientist, who has since demonstrated that DNA can be easily reidentified, calls that assertion a " nice lie." The newly announced NIH database will give Lacks' descendants control over which researchers have access to the data for what research.



Small Businesses May Drop Family Coverage

When Obamacare is fully implemented, it could mean the loss of existing coverage for small business employees and their families. Most small business owners acknowledge that paying for coverage for workers' families is an important benefit that attracts and retains employees, but after being warned by insurance companies that premiums could rise 20 percent or more under the Affordable Care Act, owners are weighing paying for family coverage against maintaining their business.



Slippery Numbers

On July 24, Politics in Minnesota reported that MNsure would seek a $40 million federal grant. But last week, the request was increased to $55 million. The PIM article reported a MNsure staff of 40, with plans for an additional 45 - 50 staff, for a total of 85 to 90. The article also said "roughly 30 employees of the state's information technology agency" were also hired to work on the exchange for a total of  "about 120 state employees." But last week the Star Tribune reported that MNsure would have a total of 166 full-time employees from several state agencies who would work on MNsure operations. That is 46 more employees, a 38% increase -- all paid to implement Obamacare on the taxpayer's dime.



Ethics Journal: 'Newborns Not People'

An article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics argues that newborn babies are "morally irrelevant," and that parents should be allowed to kill them just as they are allowed to have an abortion. The article says that newborn babies are "potential persons" just as fetuses are, but lack a "moral right to life." The authors also argue that parents should be able to have the child killed if it is disabled. The question, then, is that if fetuses and newborns are "potential persons," who gets to define if and when they become "actual persons?"



Conn. Exchange Heads to the Beach to Sell Obamacare

Obamacare promotional efforts are only getting more concentrated. This month, Connecticut's health exchange is spreading the word about open enrollment by heading to the beach. Outreach teams from Access Health CT are visiting three state beaches to encourage citizens to participate in open enrollment. Teams plan to promote the exchange by providing "Got Covered" sunscreen and supplying handouts and information and utilizing fly-over "Get Covered" banners.



Insurers Jump the Obamacare Ship

More and more major health insurance companies are deciding not to participate in various state exchanges under Obamacare, further limiting coverage options in those states. Aetna, an insurance company with $34.2 billion in revenue has pulled out of the government's exchanges in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and California. Joining Aetna in backing out of exchanges are other major insurance providers including Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare and Humana.



Cap on Costs Drops Prices

The cost of joint replacements at California's most costly hospitals fell by nearly one-third after the state capped coverage for orthopedic surgery. In 2011, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) required workers and retirees to pay all costs above the "reference price" of $30,000 for orthopedic surgeries. After the cap was introduced, the average cost of joint replacements fell to $28,465 from $43,308.



Experts:  'If You Don't Qualify? LIE.'

Under Obamacare, those below the federal poverty level are not eligible for subsidized coverage on the government exchanges. They are only eligible for Medicaid. And if their states do not expand Medicaid to higher income levels, they may have no Obamacare coverage options. However, some "experts" say there may be a way for these uninsured to get assistance, but the strategy comes with risk and dubious legality. The uninsured could project their income to above the poverty line to qualify for exchange subsidies, and if caught chalk it up to a "miscalculation" (which has no penalties). Forbes details the incentives for fraud.



EHRs that Track Patients Daily

A new study published in BMJ Quality & Safety finds that use of electronic health records can play a role in reducing readmissions of high-risk heart patients. The report finds that using software that assesses the patients on a daily basis provides ability to provide higher quality care that cuts down readmission rates. The results suggest that using an EHR can provide real-time information that can be used to best determine how a hospital should optimize patient care, decreasing need for readmission at a later time. Where could this lead? What if the patient refused real-time monitoring? Would it be monitoring?




Quote of the Week:



"At least 42 of the 514 Affordable Care Act provisions add to or amend the Internal Revenue Code, and at least eight require the IRS to establish new operations. Collectively, these provisions represent the largest set of tax law changes in 20 years. The Affordable Care Act contains $438 billion of revenue provisions in the form of new taxes and fees." - J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Testimony at Congressional Hearing, April 19, 2012.

 




Stat of the Week:

$700 million - allocated by the federal government to promote the Obamacare exchanges. ("Guerilla Outreach...," AISHealth, August 1, 2013)

 

 




News Release of the Week:

CCHF's 'Refuse MNsure' Billboard Campaign Launches at Minnesota State Fair

Leading Health Freedom Advocacy Group Launches Campaign to Challenge Americans to Refuse to Enroll in State Exchanges

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) is urging Minnesotans to reject the government's push for enrollment into a flawed state health insurance exchange system through a billboard campaign that launched last week just outside the main entrance to the Minnesota State Fair.

Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF, through the ongoing "Refuse to Enroll" campaign is encouraging people in Minnesota and across the country to reject enrollment in the MNsure Exchange and all other state Exchanges. Throughout the month of August, the campaign will work to expose the truth about government-run state exchanges and how they intrude on privacy, increase premiums, limit doctor choice, and do not provide private insurance. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Will Obama's HIX Work

Obamaʼs national Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) system may not work. The Federal Data Services Hub will be a central server for all 50 state-based exchange websites. But to gather all sorts of data, it must also hook up to a bunch of federal agencies, a long list of health plans around the country and government agencies in all 50 states. Itʼs never been tried before. 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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