47 Weeks until Prez Elections – Dec. 21, 2011

Articles of interest

Lots of good reading on your time off
This from one of my D4PC brothers below:
PPACA, aka ObamaCare, is a health care and fiscal catastrophe. The Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (an insultingly inappropriate name) and its 150 new boards and agencies will bureaucratize, regulate, and ration American health care to the great detriment of patients, the profession of medicine, and our country. It creates another unfunded entitlement program that will cost $trillions. This government takeover of health care is the final nail putting us in the coffin of the European welfare state.
Governor Corbett’s recent and minimally publicized decision to move ahead with PA federally approved health insurance exchange only legitimizes this terrible law. Below is a synopsis of a testimony by Michael Cannon of the Cato institute outlining how moving ahead with exchanges will serve to further entrench ObamaCare.

• First, creating an exchange lends a veneer of legitimacy to the law. The Obama administration heralds the creation of each new exchange as proof that the law is gaining acceptance, and heralds states accepting the federal grants available under the law in the same manner.

• Second, declaring the law unconstitutional but then accepting the funding it offers and creating an exchange undermines the credibility of state officials seeking to overturn the law and also undermines the lawsuits themselves.

• Third, to create an exchange is to create a taxpayer-funded lobbying group dedicated to fighting repeal. An exchange’s employees would owe their power and their paychecks to this law.

• Fourth, both Congress and the courts are less likely to eliminate actual government bureaucracies that have assembled dedicated constituencies than they are to eliminate theoretical ones.

• Fifth, many knowledgeable observers believe few exchanges, state or federal, will be operational by 2014. If states like Missouri create their own exchanges, they will begin handing out billions of taxpayer dollars sooner than if the federal government creates them. Creating a state-run exchange will hasten the day when the private insurance companies that receive those subsidies plow much of the money back into fighting repeal.

• Sixth, and perhaps most important, due to a recently discovered glitch in the statute, the new health care law only authorizes premium assistance in state-run exchanges — not federal exchanges. States thus have the collective power to deny the Obama administration the legal authority to dispense more than a half-trillion dollars in new entitlement spending, to expose the full cost of the law’s mandates and government price controls, as well as to enforce the law’s employer mandate — simply by not creating exchanges. If Missouri joins other states in refusing to create an exchange, it can essentially force Congress to reconsider the law. If Missouri instead creates an exchange, it will increase the federal deficit and debt, hide the full cost of the health care law, expose Missouri employers to penalties and reduce the likelihood of repeal.

Some argue that it is better for a state to set up its own compliant exchange and thereby have more control over the final product than if the feds set it up. In fact, there is no such lee way. From a WSJ editorial on the exchanges:

HHS, unsurprisingly, envisions the exchanges as 50 (or more) new regulatory agencies designed to let politics run health markets, while letting Washington give orders to the states. The word “require” appears 811 times in the 244-page rule and its 103-page supplement. “Must” shows up 580 times—and this is merely HHS’s first batch of exchange mandates. Speaking of unknowing, try to decipher this passage: “The intent of this proposed rule is to afford States substantial discretion in the design and operation of an Exchange. Greater standardization is proposed where required by the statute or where there are compelling practical, efficiency or consumer protection reasons.” Guess which of the impulses in those contradictory sentences won out?

There is only ONE exchange, the federal exchange. The guidelines are set by Sebelius and rule. Once a state uses those guidelines and puts together the exchange in their state, it is further reviewed by Sebelius to see if it is in alignment with the one exchange blueprint. If not, changes have to be made until it is. Nor will the feds be eager to step in with their own exchanges. Not only do they lack the capacity; due to goof-ups in the law, they lack even the authority to create and operate the exchanges. Specifically, the PPACA fails to provide funding for federal exchanges, and even more seriously, it doesn’t authorize payment through them of the insurance subsidies at the heart of Obamacare.

Lastly, you don’t need a federal or state bureaucracy to promote free market insurance sales. Decreasing mandates and regulations, and allowing group associations and across state line sales would drive costs down, improve service, and increase options that best fit an individual. We all have done pretty well with our Geico or other auto insurance policies without a federal exchange for auto insurance. This HC exchange in fact does just the opposite. There are so many regulations and mandates, only the largest insurance players would remain. No wonder big insurance has lobbied to move forward.

We need to push hard to stop going any further with the exchanges. I believe grass roots group would rally around this effort once they understand its ramifications. Those members could put big pressure on their state reps. Docs4PC could arrange for a bunch of us in white coats to go meet with the Governor’s HC policy person as well as the HC committees in the house and senate. I welcome other strategy thoughts.

We cannot take this lying down. This is a line in the sand moment!


Watch the hook…Keep changing the bait!


Click here: Heartland Institute Comments on Michigan Rejection of Federal Funds for Health Exchanges | Heartland Institute

Click here: Health Policy Tracker by CQ Roll Call
The best State Exchange Tracker out there and finally


Keep the faith
Stay engaged
Bonus Holiday and NY edition next week

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