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.

 

 

July 3, 2012

Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act

OK-SAFE, Inc. – On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the “individual mandate” contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA), aka “ObamaCare”.

At least, some of the Supreme Court Justices struck down the individual mandate, others did not.

The Court’s Opinion is divided into Parts I through IV, each with a decision, with the opinions rendered via different pairing of Justices.  Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.  The dissenting opinion is where the controversial exchanges are cited.

Justice Roberts wrote that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution cannot be used to compel an individual to purchase something, whether that something is a product or a service.  This includes health insurance.

Roberts went on to render an opinion that the “penalty” described in the Affordable Care Act is in reality a “tax”.  The Court did affirm that Congress does have taxing authority under the Constitution – and taxing us is apparently what Congress aims to do.

The opinion reads, in part, “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.  Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”[1]

The U.S. Congress is now in the uncomfortable position of being caught in a very big lie about the true effect of “ObamaCare”, which was never really about caring for health.   What the Affordable Care Act has done is set out the parameters for a complex series of interconnected information technology systems; insurance exchanges (voluntary, by the way) that fundamentally redesign the insurance industry; and (apparently) set up an onerous taxing mechanism.

The Court also seems to have struck down the penalty to States that choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion program “by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.”  The Government argued that this expansion was a modification of the existing program, but Justices Roberts, Breyer and Kagan disagreed, stating that the “expansion accomplishes a shift in kind, not merely degree. The original program was designed to cover medical services for particular categories of vulnerable individuals.  Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid is transformed into a program to meet the health care needs of the entire non elderly population with income below 133 percent of the poverty level. ”[2]  (Bold and italics added throughout.)

Roberts further declared, “A State could hardly anticipate that Congress’s reservation of the right to “alter” or “amend” the Medicaid program included the power to transform it so dramatically. The Medicaid expansion thus violates the Constitution by threatening States will the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.[3]

Health Insurance Exchanges and Their Federal Subsidies

The Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito dissenting opinion contains roughly 22 mentions of the insurance exchanges.[4] The dissent links the exchanges to the federal subsidies (again, voluntary) and reads, in part, “The ACA requires each State to establish a health ­insurance “exchange.” Each exchange is a one-stop mar­ketplace for individuals and small businesses to compare community-rated health insurance and purchase the policy of their choice. The exchanges cannot operate in the manner Congress intended if the Individual Mandate, Medicaid Expansion, and insurance regulations cannot remain in force. The Act’s design is to allocate billions of federal dollars to subsidize individuals’ purchases on the exchanges.”[5]

Regarding the insurance exchanges, these are intended to plug into the health information exchange “network of networks” currently being established in the states, including Oklahoma.[6]

The dissent continues, “Individuals with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level receive tax credits to offset the cost of insurance to the individual purchaser. By 2019, 20 million of the 24 million people who will obtain insurance through an exchange are expected to receive an average federal subsidy of $6,460 per person. See CBO, Analysis of the Major Health Care Legislation Enacted in March 2010, pp. 18–19 (Mar. 30, 2011). With­out the community-rating insurance regulation, however, the average federal subsidy could be much higher; for community rating greatly lowers the enormous premiums unhealthy individuals would otherwise pay. Federal subsidies would make up much of the difference.”

“The result would be an unintended boon to insurance companies, an unintended harm to the federal fisc, and a corresponding breakdown of the “shared responsibility” between the industry and the federal budget that Congress intended. Thus, the federal subsidies must be invalidated.”

Further, “Without the federal subsidies, individuals would lose the main incentive to purchase insurance inside the exchanges, and some insurers may be unwilling to offer insurance inside of exchanges. With fewer buyers and even fewer sellers, the exchanges would not operate as Congress intended and may not operate at all.”

The insurance exchanges continue to be a problem, but despite the warnings and the evidence of their failure (Utah), proponents continue to advocate for their establishment.  Perhaps this is due to the expectation that an insurance exchange would result in “an unintended boon to insurance companies”?

OK-SAFE maintains its’ position against the establishment of an insurance exchange in Oklahoma, state-based or otherwise.

Endnotes:[1]National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, page 44. Page 50 of the pdf.

[2] Ibid, page 5

[3] Ibid, page 5

[4] Ibid. pp. 52-63 of the Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., dissenting. Pp. 178 – 189 of the pdf

[5] Ibid, page 59 of the dissent.  Page 185 of the pdf.

[6] The information exchange works via information technology (i.e. computers) systems that connect the patient, the provider and the payer, where the payer means the insurer. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, which passed in 2009, was the real health care reform law, funding the creation of an electronic health record on everyone, and the necessary information exchanges for data sharing.  Oklahoma took $8.8 million to set up Oklahoma’s exchanges.  Created in 2010, the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust, or OHIET, is busy setting this up in this state The insurance exchange detailed in PPACA fits into this “network of networks”, linking the patient, the provider, and the payer into one interconnected system.  There is only one exchange system and it i the federal system.  There is no such thing as a state-based exchange that is functionally different than the one designated in ObamaCare.  See the Model is the Message diagram at http://www.exposinghealthcareform.com

September 13, 2011

UPDATE to Action Alert – 1st Healthcare/Exchange Meeting will be aired 9/14/11

OK-SAFE, Inc.

Update to the OK-SAFE Action Alert that went out this morning – it now appears that the first meeting of the joint committee to examine the effects of healthcare reform/exchanges, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 will be aired live and viewable  online via the Oklahoma House of Representatives website.  The meeting begins at 9 am and runs until 4 pm.  See prior OK-SAFE post for the agenda.

To view online go to http://www.oklegislature.gov/, click House Video – Live on the House Floor.

This information is being provided for those not able to attend this important meeting in person.

If you would like to contact your OK legislators about this subject, go to the OK Legislature home page, then click on Legislators to find their contact information.

The phone number for the House and Senate switchboards are:

  • OK House of Representatives:  800-522-8502,  or 405-521-2711
  • OK Senate:    800-865-6490,  or 405-524-0126

 

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