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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

September 18, 2013


ACTION ALERT: On Friday, House Republicans will hold a vote to fully defund Obamacare. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (#202-224-3121) today and ask to speak to your Representative to express your support.
 

 


Truth about Obamacare Premiums

Is it truth or is it fiction? Two days ago the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) came out with an ASPE Issue Brief titled, "Fifty-Six Percent of the Uninsured Could Pay $100 or Less per Month for Coverage in 2014."

 

Let's look beyond the headline.

 

  1. As the HHS brief notes, this $100 or less is not the cost of the coverage. This is what the individual will pay after Medicaid or taxpayer-funded federal subsidies (advanced premium tax credits) are used to pay the majority of the cost. In other words, the $100 or less is after taxpayers kick in thousands of dollars on behalf of the individual.

 

  1. The $100 or less is per person, not per family, so some families could still be paying hundreds of dollars per month for limited "narrow network" government  coverage that violates their personal privacy and exposes them to fraud and identity theft.

 

  1. The only place these "$100 or less" prices may be available - if reality matches hype - is in the government exchange for Obamacare coverage because that's the only place federal premium subsidies will be available. If the uninsured try to buy private insurance (only available outside the Exchange), the cost will be much higher because there are no federal subsidies.

 

  1. A lawsuit filed by Oklahoma's Attorney General has been allowed to move forward against the IRS issuing a regulation that says federal premium subsidies will be provided to people enrolling in the federal exchange (healthcare.gov) in the 33 states that have no state exchange. Obamacare only allows premium subsidies to be issued in exchanges set up by states. If the lawsuit is successful, these "100 or less" prices will only be available in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

 

Furthermore, most of the uninsured won't pay anything anyway. HHS says the majority ... Continue Reading

 

 




 




News to Know:

New HIPAA Rule Offers You Control with Cash

As of Sept. 23, a new HIPAA provision takes effect that will actually let individuals control their medical record privacy. The provision will allow patients who pay for a treatment out of pocket to limit access to any data about receipt of that treatment - including blocking access by his or her health insurer. According to Matt Fisher, chair of the Health Law Group at law firm Mirick O'Connell, under the new HIPAA rule, "the patient can request that services or items provided, that they paid for out of pocket in full, that access to that information be restricted to
specific individual or providers."



Enrolling in the Exchanges? Get Ready for Homework

Signing up for health insurance through online exchanges will not be as easy as promised. It may seem a lot more like homework. Individuals enrolling will need thorough and accurate income information for their households, as well as an understanding of how health insurance works. The process requires verification of identity, citizenship and income, and individuals must sign "under penalty of perjury" regarding the accuracy of all information. The exchange process was advertised as being as easy as Travelocity. In reality: not quite. This is the government.



Trader Joe's Obamacare Problem

For years, Trader Joe's has long offered health care coverage to part-time employees. Now, because of Obamacare, the company is cutting benefits for all employees working less than 30 hours a week. "With low-wage workers eligible for tax subsidies to buy health insurance next year, the company has calculated that offering medical coverage to part-timers who work 18 hours or more is no longer worth the cost," reports an article from The Huffington Post. Trader Joe's is just one the many companies that have to cut benefits for employees in order to compensate for the rising costs faced by Obamacare.



Exchange Security Approved, Questions Remain

On September 6, the Obamacare data system that will collect piles of personal information - the Federal Data Services Hub - was certified as secure by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This was a month after the HHS Inspector General (IG) reported security testing and certification would likely take at least until September 30 due to CMS missing many deadlines. But suddenly - five days before a Congressional hearing on Hub data security - CMS pronounced the Hub's data system secure and ready to go. The government's self-certification of data security has not be verified. The IG does not intend to verify CMS's security claims - a job the IG should have done before issuing their August report.



The Clawback is Coming

The Feds intend to have their cake and eat it too. First, they got a law passed that mandates interoperable electronic medical records (EMRs) or threatens to cut Medicare payments to any doctor, or hospital that refuses to set one up (ARRA 2009). They offer upwards of $27 billion in incentive payments to help fund the initial set-up costs. But to make sure doctors use EMRs the way the Feds want them used - for data sharing with government - "incentive payments" are available only they use EMRs in a " meaningful" way. Now the Feds say if Medicare auditors find any errors, except simple typos, hospitals and doctors will have to return all the money. In short, now that EMRs are set up, the government wants the money back. This is a clawback. Those who never set up an EMR have even more reason to refuse to do so. EMRs are expensive, intrusive, and give the feds and insurers control over treatment decisions.



FUNDED: National Health Data Network

The ACA's Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), has approved a $9 million proposal by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute to serve as the coordinating center for the new National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network - a system of 8 health system-based Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRN) and up to 18 Patient-Powered Research Networks - that will compile patient data from around the country for controversial comparative effectiveness research (CER) on medical treatments. An earlier PCORI funding announcement defined an "ideal CDRN" as one that has the "capacity to embed research activity within functioning healthcare systems without disrupting the business of providing health care."  This likely means outside access to patient electronic medical records. Will there be consent? Look below.



Watered-Down Patient Consent?
 

From the April 23, 2013 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Funding Announcement for CDRNs:

 

"The ability to conduct research embedded within healthcare delivery settings requires streamlined, unobtrusive approaches to recruiting patient participants and obtaining informed consent. Complex consenting requirements can slow clinical care, raise undue concern on the part of patients, interfere with clinician-patient relationships, and render CER [comparative effectiveness research] impossible to conduct or to be fatally biased. Human subjects protection policies, including those for informed consent, that have been designed to protect subjects in trials of unapproved therapies (including drugs, devices, or procedures) may present insuperable barriers to the conduct of CER. Most CER studies present few, if any, risks beyond those of seeking clinical care, because they are studies of currently used approaches. Thus, a reduction in the complexity of oversight and of the complexity of informed consent requirements is appropriate as well as essential." [Emphasis added.] ( p. 18-19)

 

In short, they don't want to fully inform research subjects. The real risk is how your data could be used to devise rationale and policies for health care rationing. Read every consent form and choose carefully whether to sign on the dotted line.



Obamacare will Violate Federal Privacy Act

Former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Michael J. Astrue released testimony on Sept. 11, stating that he does not believe the health insurance exchange Hub is truly secure. In his testimony, Astrue was highly critical of HHS, declaring that they will be violating the Privacy Act by allowing people to make insurance decisions for family members without written consent. In fact, the IRS and SSA had made that very appeal to the Office of Budget and Management, but it was dismissed. Astrue also said the recent HHS IG report on the Exchanges contained less than five pages of analysis and relied solely on interviews and documents, not their own examination or testing of system security.



Is Your Data Public Property?

The Minnesota Health Commissioner suggests health data may be public property. Big Data, the term used to refer to the massive amounts of data and information being created, compiled and stored, has emerged as a driving force in society. Under the permissive sharing authorized by HIPAA without patient consent, the use of Big Data has enabled the decoding of DNA, tracking and prevention of disease and monitoring of patient conditions and health. Outside access to medical records has led to the erosion of privacy. CCHF asks: Will privacy be a thing of the past or will citizens and state lawmakers restore privacy rights by undoing HIPAA and enacting written consent requirements for access and sharing?



Young Adults Get Raw Deal with Obamacare

The Obama administration is spending millions to persuade young Americans to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The reason the White House is trying so hard: because it's a bad deal. Under the ACA, health insurance will be more expensive than it is now for millions of Americans, and will rely on payments from young healthy adults to support the plans, the operations of the government exchanges, and care for the sick and elderly. Essentially, young adults will be paying for a service they may not need to prop up a system destined to fail. Obamacare may offer the young new opportunities for coverage, but the coverage will be a rip-off.



Obamacare Contract Costs Triple

In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded a $10.8 million contract to cloud computing company Terremark to store the cost, coverage and performance data for insurance plans in the federal exchange (healthccare.gov). However, after multiple modifications, the contract has grown to $35.5 million, tripling in just over two years' time. This is just one of the many companies the government is using to build the infrastructure of Obamacare. Exchanges, the centerpiece of Obamacare, are expensive. HHS expects to spend $4 billion. Already more than $2 billion has been granted to states to build state exchanges, and HHS has requested $1.5 billion more. The Affordable Care Act isn't looking so affordable.



Welcome to the Wellness Protest!

Penn State faculty members are objecting to a new university wellness plan, calling it coercive and invasive. Penn State introduced the "Take Care of Your Health" plan this summer, sparking protest from university staff and faculty. It requires nonunion employees - note the discrimination - to get checkups and medical tests, and to complete a health risk questionnaire that asks about non-health related items such as work difficulties and divorces. If employees refuse, $100 per month will be deducted from their pay. Obamacare has more than $1 billion of wellness funding. As just one example, small businesses get $200 million in grants between 2011 and 2015 (Sections 4402/10408). Grantees must report progress and outcomes to the government.

 




Quote of the Week:



 

"The problem is that it really could work because if younger, healthier people don't participate, then costs will skyrocket and Obamacare will fail. Period." - email from Mark Crain, MoveOn.org Civic Action regarding the various campaigns, including CCHF's, to "torpedo Obamacare," August 30, 2013.

 




Stat of the Week:

37 million - people who now receive employer sponsored coverage who would be "better off" with Obamacare exchange coverage, according to study published by Health Affairs.

 

 




News Release of the Week:

Deadline? What Deadline?

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Americans have been frightened into thinking they have just a few weeks to make decisions about coverage before they have to begin enrolling in Obamacare exchanges to avoid the individual mandate's tax-penalty. But the truth is that the October 1 deadline is a scam and a scare tactic to drive citizens into the flawed and intrusive government exchanges.

Twila Brase, patient advocate and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, is calling for Americans to ignore the phony October 1 "deadline," and warning them that their personal data is at risk for abuse, fraud and identity theft. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

We're Building a Boycott

We are building a boycott list. Businesses that back Obamacare are coming out of the closet. This gives you the opportunity to boycott them. Those who have dared to raise their Obamacare banners for all the world to see include three pharmacy chains: CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. Then there are the Baltimore Ravens football team and D.C. United, Washington D.C.ʼs professional soccer team. 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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