Healthcare update 11

January 30, 2010

Health Policy Update: The Battle [Behind Closed Doors] Continues. You may have noticed that White House officials have started talking a lot about banking reform and economic recovery. There’s a reason for that: the unpopularity of government-run health care.

Don’t Be Fooled! NCPA President Dr. John Goodman was exactly right in his recent Health Alert when he wrote, “Democrats will not try to go into the fall election empty-handed.” On Capitol Hill, health care negotiations continue unabated. Consider the following:

  • Fact #1: The Senate Doesn’t Have to Vote Again on Health Care. The Senate approved government-run health in its now-infamous Christmas Eve vote. The only thing preventing government-run health care is the Pelosi-led House of Representatives.
  • Fact #2: House Moderates Want Safety. Voter ire has moderate House Democrats fearful. While at the moment they want to stop talking about health care, at some point House moderates will have to decide whether to pass legislation and defend it before the voters or abandon it and apologize for the colossal waste of time. Pelosi will make the case to House moderates that the safest course is to show strength, not contrition.
  • Fact #3: House Liberals Want Change. Months of delay have liberal House Democrats feeling betrayed. Despite Senate foot-dragging, they know that they’re closer than ever before to realizing the dream of government-run health care. Pelosi will make the case to House liberals that the wisest course is to cut a deal with the Senate.
  • Fact #4: The Senate Can Pass a Clean-Up Measure with 51 Votes. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid holds an ace up his sleeve: a reconciliation vote. If the House passes the Senate version of government-run health care, the Senate could subsequently pass separate, modifying legislation with only 51 votes. All it takes for that plan to work is Pelosi convincing House moderates that it’s safe and House liberals that it’s wise.

LET’S FINISH THE FIGHT! We’ve come along way together in the last eight months and for the first time we’ve got a fighting chance to stop government-run health care. We didn’t start this fight, but now it’s time for us to finish it. Here’s how:

  • The First Punch: Contact the Stupak Supporters. Sixty-four House Democrats supported the Stupak (abortion) amendment – legislation that doesn’t exist in the Senate version and is unlikely to make it through on reconciliation. As such, these House members might vote against government-run health care if convinced.
  • The Shot to the Body: Write the Disloyal Opposition. Sixteen House Democrats opposed the overall bill but voted for it on partisan lines. They’re ripe for well-placed letters, phone calls, emails and member visits.
  • The Knock-Out Blow: Collar the Blue Dogs. Eleven House Democrats are self-described moderates. While they supported the bill during Round 1, Round 15 is getting close-and they may be ready for a change we can believe in.
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If you only know… it will scare you, too!

December 18, 2009

If you just know…it will scare you!

Some details of the Health care bill:

  • The Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost.
  • An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill — composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members — will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program.
  • Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients’ access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production.
  • It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns.
  • And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.
  • Section 6301 of the Reid bill creates new comparative effectiveness research (CER) programs.
  • CER panels have been used as rationing commissions in other countries such as the United Kingdom, where 15,000 cancer patients die prematurely every year according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network.
  • CER panels here could effectively dictate coverage options and ration care for plans that participate in the state insurance exchanges created by the bill.
  • The Reid bill depends on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in no fewer than 14 places.
  • This task force was responsible for advising women under 50 to not undergo annual mammograms.
  • The administration claims the task force recommendations do not carry the force of law, but the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713.
  • The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans “shall provide coverage for” services approved by the task force.
  • This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients.
  • When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care.

Source: Dr. Tom Coburn, “The Health Bill Is Scary; Government guidelines would likely have forbidden the test I used to discover Sheila’s cancer,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514404574588842779569168.html

The mandates in the Health care bill:

Insurance coverage mandates refer to the restrictions each state sets on which type of policy can be sold legally within that market.  For example, fourteen states now require all insurance plans sold to cover infertility treatments, regardless of the patient’s need or desire for these services.  Other states ban the sale of insurance plans unless they include coverage for massage therapy, obesity surgery, pastoral care, and wigs.

Needle-phobic consumers cannot buy plans without acupuncture coverage, and teetotalers must pay for plans that include inpatient drug rehabilitation, says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

What effect do mandates have on the cost of health insurance?

  • According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, just 12 of the most common insurance mandates currently in place raise premium rates by as much as 30 percent.
  • The State of California forces over 50 such mandates on the employer-provided (group) insurance market, but not on individual plans; consequently, it costs three times more for California employers to offer insurance than if a plan is privately purchased.

In mandate-heavy states, consumers are denied the option of buying low-cost, basic health insurance plans to cover major illness or injury.  They cannot choose to save money by paying out of pocket for ten-dollar pneumococcus pneumonia vaccines and ninety-dollar mammograms, thereby reserving health insurance for significant expenses, explains Halderman.

In those states, insurance is not insurance at all — it is expensive, prepaid health care.  In other words, when Hummers and Ferraris are the only vehicles sold, people on Toyota budgets can’t afford transportation, says Halderman.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

The possibility of losing your health savings account:

For an individual government mandate to compel the purchase of health insurance, another government requirement for something called “guaranteed issue” must first be enacted.  “Guaranteed issue” forces every insurance company to sell health insurance to every applicant regardless of age, health history, lifestyle or risk factors. 

In theory, this appears sound.  If health insurance companies can’t “just say no” to high-risk applicants, no one will be left without access to coverage.  Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences trumps this logic.  Under guaranteed issue mandates, “access to coverage” becomes “access to higher premiums,” says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

For example:

  • In New Jersey and Massachusetts, unlike in California, laws were passed to force every insurance carrier to sell plans to every individual applicant; individual insurance premiums in New Jersey and Massachusetts are three times higher than those in California.
  • Washington State tried guaranteed issue, but with no way to mitigate risk, insurance carriers in the state suffered severe financial losses related to high-risk patients; they then exited the individual market; no individual health insurance plans were accessible to Washington residents at any price.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton was not a New Yorker in 1993, the year New York State forced guaranteed issue on the health insurance market; as a result, rates for a third of all those insured increased by 20 percent to 59 percent, causing 500,000 New Yorkers to cancel their health insurance plans.

The Heritage Foundation published a 1998 study evaluating the 16 states in which the most aggressive health insurance mandates and regulations were passed between 1990 and 1994.  The goal of these individual, employer and insurance industry mandates-including individual mandates, guaranteed issue and price fixing of premiums-was to increase access to coverage and decrease the uninsured population in a given state.  The effects were than compared with the 34 states that had not enacted such regulations:

  • The two groups of states shared nearly equivalent rates of uninsured residents before the reforms.
  • But by 1996, the sixteen states with the most aggressive reforms (including New Jersey, New York and Washington) experienced a growth rate in their uninsured population eight times higher than the 34 states without such mandates.
  • Additionally, the percentage of the population covered by private or individual insurance declined.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16


Healthcare Update 10

December 9, 2009

If Democrats Win, Seniors Lose! As reported in the New York Times, included in the Democrats’ $460 billion of Medicare cuts is $43 billion in cuts to nursing care and therapy for homebound Medicare beneficiaries. This is critical help which is needed for the health and welfare of our parents and grandparents – to be taken away by the government!

California Model, Rationing of Care! One of the principle problems with government-run health care is that the government is the customer, not you. As a result, health care coverage will be limited to what the government bureaucrats decide, not what you as the patient needs.

This Los Angeles Times article reveals just how quickly health care bureaucrats can sacrifice patient care. In cash-strapped California, public health officials announced this week that the state’s government-provided mammogram program, “Every Woman Counts” for low-income women will no longer screen women below age 50. This is what we will be facing in health care, the government will tell us what is allowed.

Officials from the California Department of Public Health claim that the incidence of breast cancer is relatively low in women less than 50. This may be true, but what if you are in that “relatively low” number? We are talking about your life! In California, the government’s budgetary concerns, not patient’s health, is the determining factor for quality and access to health care. Under ObamaCare government-run health care, budgetary priorities rather than a patient’s health determine whether you get the health care you need.

Call Your Senator, Toll-Free! Communicate your displeasure with what they are doing? In less than five minutes, you can be on the phone with your Senator’s office, communicating your opposition to government-run health care.

Just follow this Action Army link, enter your information on the right-hand part of the screen and click TAKE ACTION!

You will see a TOLL-FREE NUMBER to reach YOUR elected representatives and a PASSWORD.

Dial the number on a touch-tone phone, enter the password and you’ll be connected as quickly as you can say Free Our Health Care NOW!

Your Senators Work for You! Believe it or not, Senators get job performance reviews: they’re called elections. For this one-third of the Senators and for every member of the House of Representatives, Election Day is less than eleven short months away.

You have an important part to play in the health care debate: letting your voice be heard. Through the Free Our Health Care Now! Action Army website, communicating with your Senators is easy and convenient. Whether through an email or a phone call, please use this website as a way of letting your elected representatives know that you oppose government-run health care and plan on expressing your dissatisfaction at the polls in the upcoming election.

Senator McCain to AARP Members: It’s Time to Cut the Card. Fighting against Medicare cuts, Senator John McCain recently proposed an amendment which would protect senior citizen benefits from the drastic cuts proposed by Congressional Democrats. McCain implored his fellow senators to “preserve the solemn obligations we have made to our seniors.” However, to McCain’s surprise, the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) opposed the McCain Amendment and, remaining true to its strange bedfellows, supported drastic cuts for seniors.

In a scathing assault on AARP’s infidelity, Senator McCain pointed to numerous AARP statements from the past renouncing Medicare cuts, including one as recently as just a few years ago. Clearly disappointed, McCain concluded by saying, “Take your AARP card, cut it in half and send it back. They’ve betrayed you.” Click here to see video of the speech.

The NCPA maintains a wealth of educational and resource material including better alternatives to government-run health care:

John Goodman’s Health Care Plan:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/health_plan112007.pdf

Health Care Solutions:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Health_Care_Solutions_072909.pdf

Five Steps to a Better Health Care System:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Five_Steps_to_a_Better_Health_Care_System_Web.pdf

Dr. John Goodman’s Blog – Current, up-to date information on the debate:
www.john-goodman-blog.com

Heartland Institute’s Health Care Solutions:
http://www.chcchoices.org


Healthcare Update 9 – Affect on student coverage

December 1, 2009

HOW WILL HEALTH CARE REFORM AFFECT STUDENT COVERAGE?

If the health care overhaul passes, it might affect college students’ access to parental plans, employment and individual rates or an uninsured tax if colleges choose to mandate insurance coverage, says the Commonwealth Times.

According to Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Proposals for the bill would attempt to overcharge young individuals’ rates to cost-subsidize older individuals’ rates.
  • In the individual market, where many students get coverage, rates for people with pre-existing conditions, who tend to be older, would get lower premiums.
  • Under the existing proposals, underrides for pre-existing conditions would not be permitted while limited adjustments for age would be allowed.

“A young person — maybe 20 or 22 — would be charged half of what someone 60 years old would be charged,” Herrick said.  “Of course if you don’t pay it, there’d be a fine … What (some Congress members) are talking about now is 2.5 percent of your income.”

Some members of Congress want to have tight banding for age, no underriding for (pre-existing conditions) and have some type of individual mandate where you would be required to have coverage, says Herrick.

How the individual mandate might affect students is uncertain.  The policy could be implemented through an employer mandate, says Herrick.

“Obviously (if) you’re a full-time student it may not affect you,” says Herrick.  “But it might make it harder to get that part-time job if an employer sees the chance that they might have to pay thousands of dollars more in health coverage or a fine for someone working part time.”

Source: Erica Terrini and Jillian Quattlebaum, “Health care reform affects student coverage, provides options,” Commonwealth Times, November 20, 2009.

For text:

http://media.www.commonwealthtimes.com/media/storage/paper634/news/2009/11/19/News/Health.Care.Reform.Affects.Student.Coverage.Provides.Options-3837559.shtml

For more on Health Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16


Healthcare Update 7

November 11, 2009

Want to hear a little good news? Thanks to the efforts of Policy Patriots just like you, we’ve sent more than 210,000 letters to Congress in the last three weeks against government run health care. In this public policy war of attrition, a sustained campaign – in the form of hundreds of thousands of letters and a petition supported by 1.34 million Americans – is what will ultimately win the fight against government-run health care. Thanks for your continued support and let’s keep up the fight!

Poll Deaf. If you feel ignored by the House of Representatives, you’re not alone. A Rasmussen Reports poll this week reaffirmed that more Americans oppose (52%) health care legislation than favor (45%) it. Nevertheless, as last Saturday’s legislative spectacle attests, Speaker Pelosi is still singing the health care tune.

Go Directly to Jail. As you know, in the 1,990-page bill that squeaked (220-215) out of the House on Saturday there’s plenty of bad policy to fill this letter (and several more). What you may not know is that failing to comply with the new requirements in this legislation could land you in jail – for up to five years!

The most appalling effect of the Affordable Health Care for America Act is the extent of control which the federal government would exercise over individual health care decisions. The legislation requires you to purchase health insurance, whether you need it or want it, and dictates the parameters of your policy. What’s more, failure to purchase insurance would result in a slew of fines and, as this letter from the Joint Committee on Taxation makes clear, failure to pay the fines would result in criminal penalties including “a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

AARP: Abandoning Seniors, Advancing AARP. In apparent disregard for the interests of senior citizens, the AARP supported the House health care bill, including the following provisions:

  • $500 billion in overall budget cuts for Medicare.
  • $170 billion in budget cuts for Medicare Advantage-the program’s entire budget-leaving 12 million American seniors with fewer health care options.
  • A 20% cut in doctor’s pay, forcing doctors to take on more patients and spend less time with each person in their care.

Why would the AARP endorse legislation which so clearly hurts the interests of senior citizens? You decide! For facts on how you will be affected by this legislation, click on this link to get the facts.

FIGHT BACK! The next stop on the runaway train known as ObamaCare is the floor of the United States Senate. Help us derail Ms. Pelosi’s health care legislation by writing your Senators. The American people deserve better than what’s coming down the tracks and you can help put a stop to it. Click on the link below and send a letter to Congress telling them to JUST SAY NO to health care legislation.

http://www.capitolconnect.com/freeourhealthcarenow/

Already sent a letter? No problem – a new letter is on the website, ready for your signature!

The NCPA maintains a wealth of educational and resource material including better alternatives to government-run health care:

John Goodman’s Health Care Plan:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/health_plan112007.pdf

Health Care Solutions:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Health_Care_Solutions_072909.pdf

Five Steps to a Better Health Care System:
http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Five_Steps_to_a_Better_Health_Care_System_Web.pdf

Dr. John Goodman’s Blog – Current, up-to date information on the debate:
www.john-goodman-blog.com

Heartland Institute’s Health Care Solutions:
http://www.chcchoices.org

Thank you again for your support of the “Free Our Health Care NOW!” and for fighting against government-run health care. This is a fight worth fighting and a fight we can win!

www.ncpa.org


Healthcare Update 5 – “THE WORST BILL EVER” (WSJ)

November 3, 2009

THE WORST BILL EVER

In a rational political world, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 1,990-page health care reform bill released last Thursday would have been derailed months ago.  With spending and debt already at record peacetime levels, the bill creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time.  Taxes will need to rise precipitously, even as ObamaCare so dramatically expands government control of health care that eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics, says the Wall Street Journal.

The spending surge:

  • The Congressional Budget Office figures the House program will cost $1.055 trillion over a decade, which while far above the $829 billion net cost that Pelosi fed to credulous reporters is still a low-ball estimate.
  • Most of the money goes into government-run “exchanges” where people earning between 150 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level — that is, up to about $96,000 for a family of four in 2016 — could buy coverage at heavily subsidized rates, tied to income.
  • The government would pay for 93 percent of insurance costs for a family making $42,000, 72 percent for another making $78,000, and so forth.

At least at first, these benefits would be offered only to those whose employers don’t provide insurance or work for small businesses with 100 or fewer workers.  The taxpayer costs would be far higher if not for this “firewall” — which is sure to cave in when people see the deal their neighbors are getting on “free” health care.   Pelosi knows this, like everyone else in Washington, says the Journal.

Even so, the House disguises hundreds of billions of dollars in additional costs with budget gimmicks, says the Journal:

  • It “pays for” about six years of program with a decade of revenue, with the heaviest costs concentrated in the second five years.
  • The House also pretends Medicare payments to doctors will be cut by 21.5 percent next year and deeper after that, “saving” about $250 billion.
  • ObamaCare will be lucky to cost under $2 trillion over 10 years; it will grow more after that.

Source: Editorial, “The Worst Bill Ever,” Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2009.

For text:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703399204574505423751140690.html

For more on Health Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

From: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=18625&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DPD


Hypocrisy…. Part 4

August 20, 2009

UPDATE: Obama’s backdoor deal with Big Pharma. The hypocrisy is candidate Obama vilifying the Big Pharma lobbyist during the campaign. And now, to help pass his ObamaCare he has struck a secret deal with the same Big Pharma lobbyist that he vilified.

 

The hypocrisy of Obama is unending. I have a number of previous blogs documenting his appointments of tax cheats/evaders into his administration. The biggest ones are Treasury Secretary/head of IRS Geithner and Sebelius the Heath and Human Secretary. Isn’t that appalling? The head of the country’s tax collection agency is a tax cheat himself. After Obama took office, he issued a strict ethics rule but turn around and issued waivers so he could appoint lobbyists.

The latest story about the corruption and hypocrisy of this administration is the windfall profits of two firms that worked for the Obama campaign. These two firms were hired to do the work of promoting ObamaCare one of them was founded by his chief of staff David Axelrod. Obama’s campaign manager and Axelrod’s son still work for that company. The kicker is that the Big Pharma lobby is financing this ObamaCare campaign. I thought Obama is for change and not beholden to any particular interests/lobbying group. While Obama and the Democrats are demonizing the Big Insurance, they are in bed with Big Pharma. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090819/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_health_care_consultants)

Another one of Obama’s early actions as POTUS was to reverse the abortion-funding policy. By reversing this policy, Obama has funneled U.S tax dollar overseas that will surely increase the access to abortions thus killing more innocent babies. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/23/obama.abortion/index.html)

And now he is saying (to save his dying ObamaCare), “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death”. (http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0809/We_are_Gods_partners_in_matters_of_life_and_death.html?showall)

In one hand, he funnels money for the  killing of innocent babies, on the other hand, he profess to value life. 

The hypocrisy of this man is stunning.