OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

August 26, 2014

Fallin Narcissistic Truth Telling

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This post by Randy Brogdon at Restore Liberty OK could also be called “Fallin’s Piecemeal Implementation of Obamacare”

Governor-Mary-Fallin

Fallin Narcissistic Truth Telling

August 26, 2014

Politicians often have a narcissistic way of telling the truth.  Narcissism is “the pursuit of gratification of one’s own attributes, derived from arrogant pride.”  If the truth makes them look good they tend to blab it to anyone willing to listen.  If it shines a negative light on them, the truth is often hidden or stretched.

Governor Fallin’s recent lack of blab on a federal grant request, suggests an example of narcissistic truth telling.  Fallin recently said, “Every month we learn a new lesson about why the state of Oklahoma should stay as far away from ObamaCare as possible.”  “The law has cost millions of people their health insurance, is failing to bend the cost curve for medical care, and is constantly in danger of being thrown out by courts for being constitutionally suspect.”  (I’ll go ahead and say it, it’s unconstitutional)

I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, but, there is a but.  Oklahoma Watch inadvertently and inaccurately reported on July 31, that the state had chosen not to participate in the State Innovation Models $700 million grant program.  The inaccuracies in that report were due to the Governor’s office failure to disclose applying for the grant, even after specifically being asked about the program during the interview.

On July 18, 2014, only two weeks before the Oklahoma Watch interview, Fallin requested the maximum amount of $3 million on the grant application.  Her stated reason was, because it is a “health system innovation that makes good business sense.”  Which is it?  Is ObamaCare something to stay away from, or is it an innovation?

Rest of post here.

 

 

 

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July 22, 2014

Appeals Court Deals Major Blow to Affordable Care Act

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Some good news about the Unaffordable Care Act.

From the WSJ Blog 7/22/14:

Appeals Court Deals Major Blow to Affordable Care Actby Jacob Gershman

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a serious blow to the Obama administration’s implementation of its signature health-care law, striking down subsidies available to some consumers who purchase health coverage on insurance exchanges set up by the federal government.

WSJ’s Brent Kendall has more on the breaking legal development out of Washington:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on a 2-1 vote, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that implemented a key piece of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The regulation said subsidies for health insurance were available to qualifying middle- and low-income consumers whether they bought coverage on a state exchange or one run by the federal government.

The ruling potentially could cripple the Affordable Care Act by making subsidies unavailable in as many as 36 states where the federal government has run some or all of the insurance exchanges.

The court sided with challengers, four individuals and three employers, who argued the health law allowed subsidies only for insurance purchases made through state exchanges. The issue became an important one after the law was enacted because more than two-thirds of the states chose not to set up their own exchanges, relying on federally run exchanges instead.

 

 

June 18, 2014

Judge Swinton rules on Fallin Open Records case

Filed under: Exposing Health Care Reform — Tags: , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 12:37 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This is an update on the open records lawsuit filed against OK Gov. Fallin by The Lost Ogle and the ACLU. See our earlier post on this issue for background details.

Rather than ‘executive privilege’, “The court finds the deliberative process privilege thus may be used by the defendant to protect the content of documents withheld by the defendant.”

Royalty

From the Tulsa World, 6/17/14:

Judge rules Gov. Fallin can withhold documents on her ACA-Medicaid decision, by Barbara Hoberock

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin has the power to withhold documents from the public based on a “deliberative process” privilege, a judge ruled Tuesday.

“The court finds the deliberative process privilege is recognized under common law in Oklahoma, and it is supported by Supreme Court rule as an exception to the Oklahoma Open Records Act,” the opinion by Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton states. “The court finds the deliberative process privilege thus may be used by the defendant to protect the content of documents withheld by the defendant.”

The opinion notes the purpose of the privilege “is to ensure that subordinates within an agency will (be able) to provide the decision maker with their uninhibited opinions and recommendations without fear of later being subjected to public ridicule or criticism.”  Rest here.

From News9, 6/17/14:

Oklahoma Judge Rules Governor Mary Fallin Can Withhold Documents

OKLAHOMA CITY –

An Oklahoma County judge has upheld Gov. Mary Fallin’s legal right to withhold documents requested by news organizations under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.

District Judge Barbara Swinton handed down the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit on behalf of the satirical news website The Lost Ogle was joined with several news organizations, including The Associated Press, in a request for documents related to Fallin’s decisions to reject a state health insurance exchange and to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of low-income and uninsured Oklahomans. Rest here.

The Lost Ogle, 6/17/14, has a slightly different take on the judge’s decision:

The Judge Has Ruled in our Open Records Lawsuit…    by Patrick

Earlier today, Judge Swinton released her verdict in our Open Records lawsuit against Mary Fallin. Although we didn’t “win” the case, we didn’t necessarily “lose” it either….

1. The judge agreed with us that Mary Fallin doesn’t have the “executive privilege” to withhold the emails. That’s important

2. Deliberative Process Privilege is part of common law and comes with a catch. Judge Swinton ruled Mary Fallin has 20 days to produce a privilege log of the documents she wants to keep secret. In the log, only the content of the emails can be withheld. Basically, Fallin’s office has to put together the dates, sender, recipients of subject lines of all the secret emails. It’s a start.  Rest here.

The Lost Ogle goes on the say there is likely to be an appeal to the Supreme Court on this issue.

Good.

 

June 15, 2014

Oklahoma Judge to rule on Open Records Request

OK-SAFE, Inc. – (Background note: In mid-2010 former OK Governor Brad Henry signed the grant application for a $54 million Early Innovator grant to establish an insurance exchange in Oklahoma.  This exchange was a cornerstone of Obama Care.  In February 2011 Governor Mary Fallin accepted the grant money, after having won the 2010 election campaigning against Obama Care.

Public outrage and political push back followed.

In late April 2011 Fallin did an ‘about face’ and rejected the $54 million. Open records request by various news outlets sought the correspondence leading up to this decision.  In March 2013 Gov. Fallin’s office released 50,000 pages of documents. Missing were 100 pages of correspondence, held back claiming “executive privilege”.  The Lost Ogle and the ACLU then sued the Governor, seeking the missing documents.)

From FOI Oklahoma, June 13, 2014:

Ruling expected today on whether executive, deliberative process privileges allow Oklahoma governor to keep records secret

An Oklahoma County trial judge said Thursday she expects to rule “by the end of the week” on whether executive and deliberative process privileges permit Gov. Mary Fallin to keep records secret from the public.

Because Fallin is the first Oklahoma governor to claim these privileges, Oklahoma courts have never addressed the issue.

“I am just trying to find out how much authority I have out there to rely on,” District Judge Barbara Swinton told Fallin’s attorney during heard oral arguments Thursday.

The Lost Ogle and the ACLU of Oklahoma sued Fallin in April 2013 after she claimed these privileges allow her to keep secret 100 pages of advice from “senior executive branch officials” on the creation of a state health insurance exchange.

(Vandelay Entertainment LLC v. Fallin, Mary, No. CV-2013-763 (Okla. Co. April 9, 2013))

Fallin’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion funding affected about 250,000 Oklahomans.

The phrases “executive privilege” and “deliberate process privilege” do not exist in Oklahoma’s Constitution or in any Oklahoma statute.

Rest of post here.

We will post the judge’s decision when it becomes available.

 

January 9, 2014

STOP Obamacare Penalties NOW Rally in Bartlesville on Saturday Jan 11th!

You are invited!  This should be a most informative rally with information on legislation in the works to STOP Obamacare Penalties NOW.  Find out how you can help and be a part of the solution this legislative session!

STOP Flyer Revised - Bartlesville

DATE: January 11, 2014

TIME: 10AM – 12 NOON

PLACE:  First Floor – Room 100

 Bartlesville Public Library

 600 S. Johnstone

 Bartlesville, OK 74003

Share the flyer! (pdf format downloadable/printable below on Scribd)

View this document on Scribd

FEATURING

Senator Nathan Dahm

Insurance Commissioner Doak

Amanda Teegarden for OK-SAFE

Bob Donohoo for STOP

Congressman Bridenstine may send a rep from his office to speak on his behalf

Senator Ford, Rep Martin and Rep Sears have been invited

LaShelle Griffith will MC event

Group Sponsors:

Washington County Grassroots Prayer Team — LaShelle Griffith

OK-SAFE – Amanda Teegarden

Osage County Republican Party – Celia Lanham

R3publicans – Sandra Crosnoe

Bartians for Academic Freedom  – Joy Molina Collins

Tulsa 9.12 Project – Ronda Vuillemont-Smith

Oklahoma John Birch Society/STOP Coordinator – Bob Donohoo

Stop Obamacare Penalties Now – Charles Key

(teeshirts and buttons available at the rally for suggested donations of $15 and $1 respectively)

StopObamacarePenaltiesNOW.comStop Obamacare Penalties Now (rallies in 12 cities planned)

OKGrassroots

December 30, 2013

OK-SAFE 2013 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year from OK-SAFE!

October 28, 2013

Federal Exchange Blues – What Went Wrong with HealthCare.gov

OK-SAFE, Inc. – As predicited, the Un-Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”) insurance exchange is a mess.

The Washington Post has a created a graphic illustrating the steps a visitor must take using HealthCare.gov.   This is the website portal for the Federally-facilited Marketplace (or FFM). Marketplace was deemed less controversial than “exchange”, which became toxic due to states’ opposition to Obama Care.

wObamaCare_g

What Went Wrong With HealthCare.gov

HealthCare.gov, built by 55 contractors, is one of the most complex pieces of software ever created for the federal government. It communicates in real time with at least 112 different computer systems across the country. In the first 10 days, it received 14.6 million unique visits, according to the Obama administration.

A look at the consumer’s route through the HealthCare.gov website and the potential failure points.

Related Washington Post article here.

One thing that has become evident: UnitedHealthcare (UnitedHealth Group) has it’s fingers in a lot of Affordable Care Act pies – from policy making to health insurance products to the federal exchange IT systems (QSSI).

September 6, 2013

Insure Oklahoma to continue for another year. Changes include using federal exchange

OK-SAFE, Inc. – OK Governor Fallin today issued a press release announcing the extension of the Insure Oklahoma program for working, low-income Oklahomans.

The Insure Oklahoma program was set to expire at the end of this year. The one-year extension continues the program through 2014 and includes directing some low-income Oklahomans to use the federal insurance exchange (known as the  federal Health Insurance Marketplace.)

To meet the mandates of the (Un)Affordable Care Act, this Health Insurance Marketplace is supposed to be up and running by October 1, 2013.  There is some doubt, however, as to whether the federal system will actually be ready to go by then.  (Really?)

Click here for Governor Fallin’s Sept. 6th press release on the Insure Oklahoma extension.

IO-ex-01

 

Highlights of the changes are below:

“Though the Insure Oklahoma program was set to expire December 31, 2013, the federal government has approved a request for a one year extension with certain modifications which are outlined below. For more information, please visit www.insureoklahoma.org or call 1-888-365-3742.

·         Agreement extends Insure Oklahoma through December 31, 2014

·         No changes in Insure Oklahoma through December 31, 2013

·         No changes in Insure Oklahoma ESI plan through December 31, 2014

·         Changes in Insure Oklahoma IP plan, effective January 1, 2014

o   To qualify, income must be at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($23,550 annually for a family of four). This is a change from the current qualification level of at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($47,100 annually for a family of four). There are currently about 5,300 individuals who are at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level enrolled in the Insure Oklahoma IP.

o   IP members will have the following co-payments for services

§  Pharmacy: $4 generic prescriptions and $8 brand prescriptions (decrease from $5 and $10, respectively)

§  Inpatient Hospital Services: $50 per stay (no change)

§  Outpatient Services and Physician Visits: $4 per visit (decrease from $10 – $25 range)

§  Emergency Room Services: $30 per visit (no change)

o   Those individuals above 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace and related advance premium tax credits, which will be offered to individuals and families earning up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. There are currently about 8,000 individuals in this category currently enrolled in the Insure Oklahoma IP.”

August 28, 2013

IRS Sets Penalties for non-participation in “Obama Care” insurance reform

Filed under: Exposing Health Care Reform, OK Grassroots, OK-SAFE — Tags: , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 1:28 pm

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Another argument in favor of eliminating the IRS (aka the Infernal Revenue Service): imposing penalties for not buying a product (health insurance).

To read the HHS final rule from the federal register click here.

To read the US Dept. of Treasure Fact Sheet click here.

From Fierce HealthPayer:

IRS sets penalties for patients who skip reform coverage
By Alicia Caramenico

August 28, 2013
The Internal Revenue Service has finalized penalties for individuals who do not obtain health insurance under healthcare reform.

Under the final rules, the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining essential coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is based on the greater of either a flat dollar amount or a percentage of household income over the taxpayer’s applicable filing threshold.

The penalty for not obtaining coverage is $95 per person or 1 percent of household income in 2014 and jumps to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015. In 2016, the IRS will fine nonexempt individuals without coverage either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. After 2016, the penalty will be determined by a cost-of-living formula.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates less than 2 percent of Americans will forgo coverage and owe a shared responsibility payment, according to an IRS fact sheet released Wednesday.

Individuals have minimum essential coverage for a calendar month if they’re enrolled in or covered by a health plan for at least one day during that month, according to the final rules. The IRS noted the one-day rule will ease administrative burdens for both taxpayers and the agency.

The IRS final rules do make some exceptions to the individual mandate. Those who will not have to make a shared responsibility payment include:

Individuals who cannot afford coverage;
Taxpayers with income below the filing threshold;
Members of Indian tribes;
Individuals who suffer hardship;
Individuals who experience short coverage gaps;
Members of religious sects or divisions;
Members of a healthcare sharing ministry;
Incarcerated individuals; and
Individuals who are not lawfully present.
“These rules will ease implementation and help ensure that the payment applies only to the limited group of taxpayers who choose to spend a substantial period of time without coverage despite having ready access to affordable coverage,” the agency said in the fact sheet.

The new rules come a month after the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted to delay the individual mandate for a year. The vote largely followed party lines with 22 Democrats among the 251 votes in favor of delaying the individual mandate while 174 voted against it, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

The IRS has taken some heat this year, thanks to the revelation that agency employees singled out conservative groups for harsh tax-exemption scrutiny. The IRS scandal strengthened the Republican fight against the Affordable Care Act and their complaints of government overreach.

July 18, 2013

Why Health Care Costs So Much – Interview with Dr. G. Keith Smith

OK-SAFE, Inc. – On July 15, 2013 we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. G. Keith Smith (Anesthesiologist) of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma on America in the Balance on Truth in Focus Internet radio.

Dr G Keith Smith photo

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma was established in 1997 by two doctors (Dr. Steven Lantier and Dr. G. Keith Smith) fed up with how hospitals were treating both the patients and the surgeons.

Right away they decided they would do two things very differently:

  1. They would never take a dime of government money.  “We just decided that the federal government is not a reliable, or an honest or a trustworthy partner or payer in any capacity.  And we did not want to take the leverage that went along with taking their money.  We also increasing saw, philosophically, accepting federal money as an act of theft.” Taking money from one neighbor to give it to someone else was unacceptable to them.
  2. They would engage in what they called “price honesty.” They decided their own prices and communicated this beforehand to the patient.  “This is what we charge and mean it.”

Soon, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (SCO) became a haven for not only the uninsured, but people who lived outside of Oklahoma.  Patients from as far away as Canada come to the SCO, as well as from Massachusetts and Alaska.

Apparently this success dismayed the insurance establishment, who made multiple attempts to throw down roadblocks in their path – i.e., by steering patients away from them.

Dr. Smith provides a history of the health care system (see the Hill-Burton Act of 1946, for one), and goes into the specifics of why health care costs so much; the role “not-for-profit” hospitals play in distorting the costs of health care, and the manipulative pricing tactics employed by the insurance companies.

Those Privacy-Killing Electronic Health Records

At the bottom of the interview be sure to listen to the “The Four Buckets of Meaningful Use” audio, as a woman explains Stages 1 through 4 of the “Meaningfully Use” requirements for electronic health records.  Stages 1-4 can be summed up as, 1) adopt electronic health records technology, 2) capture data, 3) move the data, 4) report the data. All that “data” is about you, the patient, so it can be sent hither and yon, including to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).  In a nutshell, you are getting naked for more than just the doctor.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma does not use electronic health records, recognizing their inherent risks, and belongs to no “network” of information sharing about their patients.

Options?

What can we in  Oklahoma do to avoid the pitfalls of “ObamaCare”?  One recommendation Dr. Smith makes is to avoid seeing a doctor attached to a hospital.  Independent providers are still out there – these are the ones to frequent.  Toward the end of the interview Dr. Smith provides a list of other options for health care, including options if you need a hospital.

About the Surgery Center of Oklahoma

“The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a 32,535 square foot, state-of-the-art multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, owned and operated by approximately 40 of the top surgeons and anesthesiologists in central Oklahoma.Soon, the Surgery Center became a haven for uninsured and more – people from as far away as Canada started showing up at their facility.”

“It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”

Government interference in health care is the problem.  Entities like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma are the solution.

Link to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:  www.surgerycenterok.com

Address: 9500 N. Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Phone: 405-475-0678

Dr. Smith’s email: Ksmith@surgerycenterok.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Smith’s blog.

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