Healthcare “Reform”

   Not even the Constitution establishes any rights, only recognizing, as did the Declaration of Independence, a true preamble to it, that we are all "created equal . . . endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". Setting in place a "supreme law of the land" to forever protect those "unalienable Rights", which no governement can ever justly or rightly take from us, loyal Americans are called to a responsibility for the governments we empower.

 

 

Healthcare "Reform"

    Much bad information has been put forth by the socialist politicians and the liberal media about the proposed health care changes to be incorporated in HR 3200, which was unveiled on July 14, 2009. Here is a website to check many of the politicians' veracity, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/personalities, on this and other topics. As to HR 3200, read the health care bill yourself. Over 1,000 pages long, the document has wide margins, and the text takes up only about one third of each page. Health is each persons' responsibility.

    Not even the Constitution establishes any rights, only recognizing, as did the Declaration of Independence, a true preamble to it, that we are all "created equal . . . endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". Setting in place a "supreme law of the land" to forever protect those "unalienable Rights", which no governement can ever justly or rightly take from us, a heritage of sacrifice from over two centuries ago calls loyal Americans to responsibility for the governments we empower. Moreover, it was the Framers' explicit intention that government "promote the general welfare". Somewhere in our apathy, generated from our affluence, greed, and unwillingness to work and sacrifice to protect and defend that intention, we, the people have tolerated the politicans', and the unjust government resultant's substitution of the word provide for promote.

    The bill's legislative summary is available in a report published by the Democrat dominated, House Ways and Means Committee, that projects a jaundiced and prejudiced view of the bill in greater detail.

    Jennifer Tolbert, an "independent" healthcare "analyst" working at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a "nonpartisan" foundation that studies health care "reform", gives her "analysis" of many of the major health proposals, including those of the Republicans, in her analyses of the plans on the Foundation website. Unfortunately, the bias of these so-called "nonpartisans", as they choose to call themselves, are as prejudiced as the majority of the many other academics, void of reality, who find information, regardless of truth or validity, to support what they want to believe.

    The bill envisions that everyone will be required to have health insurance. People who get health insurance through work would satisfy this requirement, but government intervention and control, would hopelessly magnify the horrendous costs and inefficiency always associated with any bureaucracy. Along with the political bribery and potential corruption accompanying this bill, its major flaw is that it totally ignores the fact that there is no actuarial basis on which to build a cost-effective, outcomes and evidence based payment system. There is no question that the current money driven, unjust system needs change.
    There needs to be major tort reform; elimination of the unnecessary "administrators" and middle-men profiting from others services to those in need; elimination of unnecessary tests, procedures, etc.; establishment of fair and just compensation to true providers; etc. to name but a few areas. No person in their right mind can entrust the politicians, who vote themselves unwarranted, unjust salaries and benefits, and bureaucrats seeking to further encroach on our freedoms, to this task. One simple proof that would speak volumes about the integrity that is so obviously lacking in this issue would be for the politicians and bureaucrats to cease their lies and deceptions, stop the bribery, and scrap this monstrosity. In its place, they should enact legislation that would demand all healthcare providers – physicians, hospitals, licensed therapists and technicians, pharmacists and pharmacies, drug and device companies, insurance companies and administrators/payers, etc. to input all information relative to healthcare into a queryable database run by a publicly accountable, truly, not-for-profit organization. Overseen by volunteer representatives from the public, businesses, healthcare providers, public health experts, accountants, etc., the information from that database could not only allow cost-effective, outcomes and evidence based healthcare, its statistics could advance the quality of healthcare. Using that information, state legislatures could, if inclined to justice for all, regulate healthcare bound solely on cost-effectiveness, outcomes and evidence.

    Responsible persons who don't get insurance through work, or other groups, such as small businesses with few employees, in an idealized "reform" bill, which this one is most certainly not, would be able to get coverage through some form of healthcare exchange or pool. Such a pool would empower the government to regulate insurers, and, as proposed, potentially, on the negative side, remove the inherent safeguards of a cost-effective, competitive, free market. That said, the other blatant deception is that, though there are those who are uninsured, healthcare is already available to all those residing within our boundaries. Any person, without exception, can walk into any hospital, clinic, etc., receiving public funds in any way or form, and get appropriate care. It is certainly not the same as others, who paying for insurance and accepting their responsibility for their health, earn access to choice and time of provision of healthcare.

    Here again, the key point that employer provided insurance is already subject to this kind of regulation is never mentioned. Employer-provided insurance has to meet certain requirements to qualify it as a business expense. For example, pre-existing conditions exclusions are not allowed, and you pay the same rate as all of your co-workers.  

    Below, 15 of the claims in one widely circulated eMail are discussed. Most of this information comes from an article published by PolitiFact.com, a project of the St. Petersburg Times to help find the truth in American politics. E-mail them your thoughts at truthometer@politifact.com or message them via Twitter @politifact .

    In some variations, the eMail begins, "Subject: A few highlights from the first 500 pages of the Healthcare bill in congress. Contact your Representatives and let them know how you feel about this. We, as a country, cannot afford another 1000 page bill to go through Congress without being read. Some of the items are down right unconstitutional." Excerpts, in blue, followed by the notation of True or False, from the eMail are commented on.

Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure False Section 113  of the bill requires the Health Choices commissioner to conduct a study to make sure health reform does not unintentionally create incentives for businesses to self-insure or create adverse selection in the risk pools of insured plans. There is no mandated audit.

Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed False Section 122 outlines broad categories of benefits that must be included in an essential benefits package. It prohibits cost-sharing for preventive care and limits annual out-of-pocket spending to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family, indexed for inflation. It says nothing about rationing or limiting treatment.

Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
 in part, True Section 123 establishes a Health Benefits Advisory Committee that makes recommendations on what types of health insurance coverage will be defined as basic, enhanced, or premium. The committee will be chaired by the surgeon general, with members appointed by the president, the comptroller general, and representatives of federal agencies. This committee makes recommendations on insurance regulations, so in that sense it does set standards for benefits. But it does not make decisions about treatments for individuals.

Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
False Section 142 outlines the duties of the Health Choices commissioner, who is charged with regulating insurers. The commissioner should seek insurers to offer different types of insurance, including basic, enhanced, and premium. Individuals will be able to choose among competing insurers who are regulated via the exchange.

Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services.
False Section 152 includes a generic nondiscrimination clause, which says insurers may not discriminate with regard to "personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services." It says nothing about "non-US citizens" or immigrants, legal or otherwise. In fact, the legislation specifically states that undocumented aliens will not be eligible for credits to help them buy health insurance, in Section 246 on page 143.

Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard. in part, True Section 163 sets out goals for electronic health records. It says one goal should be real-time confirmation of which services a person qualifies for and how much they will have to pay. That could be achieved by machine-readable beneficiary cards, according to the legislative language. But the legislation does not require the cards.

Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer. in part, True One of the goals for electronic health records in Section 163 is to include features that "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation" between payment and billing. The legislative summary says the intent in the section is "to adopt standards for typical transactions" between insurance companies and health care providers. The legislation generically describes typical electronic banking transactions and does not outline any special access privileges.

Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)  False Section 164 creates a temporary reinsurance program to help employers or employee associations pay for coverage for workers ages 55 to 64. It does not mention labor unions or community organizer groups, though presumably they could qualify for subsidies like any other employee association that previously offered health insurance. The section's point, however, is to offer subsidies to employer-based insurance programs, not unions or community organizers.

Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange. True Private health care plans must conform to government rules to participate in the exchange, and this page begins an explanation of exchange rules. However, the requirement that insurance companies must conform to these government regulationsis also presented much earlier in the bill. An earlier reference is found on page 15, Section 101.

Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans) mostly True Section 203 sets rules saying that plans must offer basic plans before they can offer plans with extra benefits. These extra benefits are defined as enhanced plans and premium plans. (The unstated assumption here is that enhanced and premium plans will be more profitable for the insurance companies.) But this isn't the page number that requires health plans to participate in the exchange, but it is stated elsewhere. Technically speaking, private insurance plans are not required to participate. Rather, only insurance sold on the exchange will satisfy the mandate that people have health insurance. In effect, private health plans that want to sell to individuals will have to sell through the exchange, under the terms of the bill.

Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens. mostly True Section 204 outlines more regulations for health insurance plans in the exchange. One of the requirements is that they provide "culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services." Another part of the bill mentions that this includes "effective methods for communicating in plain language." There is no mention of citizenship status.

Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
False Section 205 says the Health Choices commissioner is charged with publicizing the options on the health care exchange. The legislation says the commissioner "may work with other appropriate entities to facilitate the dissemination of information." The bill does not mention ACORN or Americorps. The bill also says that the commissioner must publicize the "Exchange-participating health benefits plan options," which would include private insurance plans.

Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter. False This page describes people who would qualify for Medicaid, a government insurance program for people with very low incomes. It says that individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid only if they have "not elected to enroll in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan." So the auto-enrollment only happens if they have not chosen another plan.

Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed. mostly True Section 223 discusses how the government will pay doctors under the public option health insurance; paying 5 percent more than Medicare pays. Medicare alone was responsible for elevating the cost of healthcare from 5-7% of the GDP to over 20%. It's true that this section does not set out any sort of judicial review, but it specifically states that health care providers do not have to accept patients under the public option. But, as discussed below under Page 127, since ~70% of the healthcare dollar is spent on those enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid, no doctor can afford not to "participate".  The bill also says that the Health Choices commissioner has the authority "to correct for payments that are excessive or deficient," taking into account "amounts paid for similar health care providers and services under other Exchange-participating health benefits plans." There may be a broader case to be made that the government can outcompete private insurers through the public option, but this section of the plan doesn't have to do with lawsuits or judicial review.

Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages. True Section 225 discusses payments for physicians who choose to accept the public option insurance. Again, there may be a broader case to be made that the government can outcompete private insurers through the public option, but this section of the plan only applies to payments to doctors for patients who are part of the public option. The government does not set wages for doctors, but insurance companies do. Doctors are only free to decline to see Medicare patients, all with payments set by government, if they do not "participate" in Medicare. Extorted by the Obama administration with implementing already legislated MediCare reimbursement cuts amounting to over 30% in some instances, accumulated over past years, the AMA caved in.