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Crosstalk: February 22, 2018

​​What's happening with Obamacare since the House and Senate failed to repeal it? Did you know there are states that are legislatively seeking to implement individual mandates? Did you know at least one conservative governor is working to prop up Obamacare? Did you know there is a global corporation working with state and federal governments to facilitate the collection of biometric data from Americans? Did you know a former medical director of an insurance company admitted under oath that he never looked at patient's medical records when approving or denying care?

Joining Jim to look at these and other related matters was Twila Brase. Twila is the president and co-founder of Citizens Council for Health Freedom. She's a registered nurse and provides daily commentary on the Health Freedom Minute.

If Americans are led to believe cost is the driving issue concerning Obamacare, why should politicians feel pressed to change it? The mandate hasn't gone away and the penalty has been simply zeroed out. So all the language of the mandate and the penalty are still in the law. This means another Congress could come along and simply say that the penalty is now $1,500. No new law would have to be added.

Twila doesn't believe the law is going away, but the attempt at what's called 'stabilization' (propping up) of the law, is designed to lower premiums. This is meant to take the pressure off our legislators although in reality you'll still pay for this 'stabilization' through higher taxes.

Jim then asked Twila about the new White House budget that allows for 11.5 billion dollars in bailouts to health insurance companies that participate in the Obamacare insurance exchanges. It's known as 'Risk Corridors'.

Twila responded by noting that the Affordable Care Act had 3 specific redistribution programs. 'Risk Corridors' means that health plans that can prove that they have expensive payments can take money from health plans that can't prove they have as many. They force all of the health plans to provide risk data on all enrollees. Those who do the best job at making their people look more expensive or risky will get more money. In other words, he who has the best data, or can make their data look the best...wins.

Another move by the Trump administration is a proposed rule that would expand the availability of short term, limited duration plans to one year. This has the Trump administration simply restoring what was already in place prior to when the Affordable Care Act became law.

What about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (known by some as 'Death Panels')? Congress had voted to repeal these. It would have been comprised of 15 people who would be making decisions regarding what would and would not be paid for in Medicare, but those decision move into health plans all across the nation. If Medicare came to a point of fiscal instability, this board would be able to make decisions that the president and Congress couldn't stop. The only way to stop this would be to have a two-thirds majority vote, which is rare.

There were both Democrats and Republicans that didn't like this board idea and President Obama never staffed it. Interestingly, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have had the same authority. So since this board wasn't staffed, the authority for determining care would have fallen on that person's shoulders. Twila noted that either way, it's good that this board is gone because she believes that nothing should be outside the authority of elected representatives.

There's much more to learn as Twila gets you caught up on the latest news concerning Obamacare on this edition of Crosstalk.

 

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