July 27, 2009
What to Ask Your Congressperson about Obamacare (Part 1 of 7)
Here's the first installment in a series of questions you might ask your member of the House of Representatives concerning H.R. 3200 - also known as Obamacare.
The two-thousand, five-hundred and forty-one (2,541) sections of the bill can be found here. The emailed version my congressman's office sent me covers 1,026 pages and is written in the typical legislative labyrinth of gobbledygook, replete with multi-layered, mind-numbing, cross references. There must be a software program called Obfuscate 2Max that cranks this stuff out.
Anyway, below is the first in a series of questions you might ask your congressperson if they're either undecided about Obamacare, or support it.
Question 1: According the Section 113(b)(1)(C)&(D), "The Commissioner (appointed by the President) in cooperation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health markets. Such study shall examine the following:
(C) The financial solvency and capital reserve levels of employers that self-insure by employer size.
(D) The risk of self-insured employers not being able to pay obligations or otherwise becoming financially insolvent."
SO, self-insuring companies will be subject to government auditing of their books to adjudicate their ability now, and in the future, to self-insure? Will that information be made available to the Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service?
Question 2: Section 102, Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage, takes into account one's current "grandfathered health insurance coverage" as long as it's in place before day 1 of year 1 (Y1) of the proposed enactment of this bill. But after that, my private plan has to fully comply with government standards, making my health insurance company essentially a puppet enterprise of the federal government.
SO, isn't my healthcare insurer likely to go out of business because (1) the government doesn't have to make a profit and, consequently doesn't have to pay taxes on profits; and, (2) my private company won't be able to sign up new clients after day one Y1 of Obamacare, unless they're my dependents? What choice in healthcare insurance will my adult children and grandchildren have? (The answer is none.)
Question 3: According to Section 123, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee will have 18 members - 9 federal employees (including the Surgeon General who chairs the committee) and 9 non-federal employees. At least one of the 18 must be a "practicing physician." Membership shall include "experts in racial and ethnic disparities." (Withstand the temptation to ask what that means for now.) This Committee identifies who is eligible for what coverage.
Then, in Section 141 entitled Health Choices Administration: Health Choices Commissioner, a Commissioner, appointed by the President, is responsible for establishing the "qualified health benefits plan standards." Those standards include "individual affordability credits."
SO, exactly how does all this, and more, not add up to a forced-rationing of healthcare? (Start the music here as the verbal dancing begins by the bill's proponents.)
Question 4: Section 152, Prohibiting Discrimination In Health Care, states in (a) that: "In General., - Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."
SO, does that mean that illegal immigrants, or even those who visit relatives who are legal residents but are not themselves legal residents, will be fully eligible for Obamacare? (If you're feeling frisky, you might ask: "Why don't we just cover all of Mexico in this plan, bill their government for the costs, and then pay the bill ourselves with foreign aid funded with more printed money?")
You pay your congressperson's salary. You deserve clear answers.
July 28, 2009
What to Ask Your Congressperson about Obamacare (Part 2 of 7)
Here's the second installment in a series of questions you can ask your member of the House of Representatives concerning H.R. 3200 - also known as Obamacare.
The entire bill can be read here. This website will help you find ways to contact your congressperson's office. If he/she is undecided or favors Obamacare, call and ask for a staff person knowledgeable about the bill. Ask your question(s) and considering entering what you hear in the comment section of the American Thinker.
Question 5: According to Section 1173A, Standardize Electronic Administrative Transactions, (inserted in the context of Section 163) Obamacare will operate under Goals For Financial And Administrative Transactions that include the ability to: "(D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;"
SO, does this mean that I'll be required to turn over access to the records of my financial assets to the federal government, and carry a national healthcare identification card?
Question 6: According to Section 164(a)(1), Reinsurance Program For Retirees, there will be "a temporary reinsurance program (in this section referred to as the ‘reinsurance program') to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees."
According to subsection (A):"The term ‘eligible employment-based plan' means a group health benefits plan that - (i) is maintained by one or more employers, former employers or employee associations, or a voluntary employees' beneficiary association, or a committee or board of individuals appointed to administer such plan, and (ii) provides health benefits to retirees."
SO, does that mean that Obamacare will subsidize the retirement plans for unions, like the UAW, and for those working for, say, community organizations like A.C.O.R.N.? And if GM and Chrysler eventually go bankrupt permanently, will Obamacare assume responsibility for paying for their health care?
Question 7: According to General Definitions (19): "The term ‘QHBP [qualified health benefits plan] offering entity' means with respect to a health benefits plan that it is (A) a group health plan...: (B) health insurance coverage..; (C) the public health insurance option...; (D) a non-Federal governmental plan...; [or] (E) a Federal government plan."
According to Section 201, Establishment Of Health Insurance Exchange, Outline Of Duties, Definitions, the Health Choices Administration will establish a Health Insurance Exchange "in order to facilitate access of individual and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option."
SO, does this mean that my current employer, who now provides me a QHBP as part of my benefits package, can exchange their QHBP for the public health insurance option with or without my input? And, why wouldn't the employer do that to cut costs? Consequently, what happens to private health insurance companies whose clients chose the government plan over the private plan? (Answer: They go out of business.)
Question 8: According to Section 204(b)(7), entitled Culturally And Linguistically Appropriate Services and Communications:"The [QHBP] entity shall provide for culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services."
SO, can you give me two specific examples of a "culturally appropriate" communication and/or health service?
Question 9: Section 205 is entitled Outreach And Enrollment Of Exchange - Eligible Individuals And Employers In Exchange - Participating Health Benefits Plan. In part, it reads "(1) Outreach. - The Commissioner shall conduct outreach activities...to inform and educate individuals and employers about the Health Insurance Exchange and Exchange-participating health benefits plan options. Such outreach shall include outreach specific to vulnerable populations, such as children, individuals with disabilities, individuals with mental illness, and individuals and individuals with other cognitive impairments."
SO, are A.C.O.R.N. and AmeriCorps possible contractors that could be paid by the federal government to sign-up people for Obamacare? And, will stimulus money be used to pay for their services?
You pay your congressperson's salary. You deserve answers.