Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Obamacare blocks patients paying for treatment

Care can be denied 'even if patient is willing,' able to cover costs

A new report by the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics at National Right to Life warns that one of the Obamacare provisions that ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Americans would discover if Congress passed the bill is that some seniors will not be allowed to spend as much as they wish on their health care.

The extreme position was revealed in a special report by the NRLC titled “The Affordable Care Act and Health Care Access in the United States,” which analyzes four fundamental policy areas of Obamacare.

It finds several ways that the federal health care law “will drastically limit access to life-saving medical treatment under the law.”

“These four areas include: the ‘excess benefit’ tax coming into effect in 2018, the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges, present limits on senior citizens’ ability to use their own money for health insurance, and federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016.”

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said that “for pro-life Americans concerned about the impact on innocent life – both born and unborn – the policies of Obamacare couldn’t be worse.”

“Americans are just as concerned with the law’s impact on our ability to access life-saving medical treatment for ourselves, our family members, and our loved ones as with Obamacare’s funding of abortions. Obamacare is bad medicine for America,” she said.

Pelosi famously said Congress should pass the law so Americans could find out what was in it, and its unpleasant surprises have been shocking citizens ever since.

The study finds, for example, that the “Independent Payment Advisory Board,” which starting next January is supposed to make “recommendations to slow the growth in national health expenditures,” will set “quality and efficiency” standards for hospitals and demand that doctors meet government minimums in order to contract with any qualified health insurance plan.

“Essentially, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers can be told by Washington just what diagnostic tests and medical care are considered to meet ‘quality and efficiency’ standards. These standards will be enforced not just for health care paid for by federally funded programs like Medicare, but also for health care paid for by private citizens and by the health insurance they or their employers purchase,” the study explains.

“These standards are specifically designed to limit the funds that Americans may choose to spend on health care so that they cannot keep up with the rate of medical inflation. Treatment that a doctor and patient deem needed or advisable to save the patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health, but which runs afoul of the imposed standards, can be denied, even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it,” the study warns.

The study says that means that Washington “bureaucrats” will set a national standard for care “that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives.”

“On its face, the law maintains that this limitation does not amount to ‘rationing.’ Indeed, the [law] states, ‘The proposal [by the IPAB] shall not include any recommendations to ration health care.’ … However, the law never actually defines what it means by the word ‘ration.’

“Obamacare authorizes federal bureaucrats to impose limits on what life-saving medical treatments Americans are allowed to get. It may not call this ‘rationing.’ But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t,” the report says.

The report addresses several other limits on life-saving care in Obamacare, including the 40 percent excise tax on some employer-paid premiums.

“Consequently, insurance companies will be forced to impose increasingly severe restraints on policy-holders’ access to medical diagnosis and treatment – limits that will make it hard to get often-expensive treatments essential to combating life-threatening illnesses.”

Third, “Under Obamacare, consumers using the exchanges may only choose plans offered by insurers who do not allow their customers to spend what government bureaucrats deem an ‘excessive or unjustified’ amount for their health insurance – regardless of whether the insurers offer such plans.”

And fourth, there are provisions “allowing Washington bureaucrats to prevent [senior citizens] from making up the Medicare shortfall with their own funds by limiting their right to spend their own money to obtain insurance less likely to limit treatments that could save their lives.”

Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center, said Obamacare “authorizes Washington bureaucrats to create one uniform, national standard of care that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives.”

“We are convinced most Americans do not believe that the government should limit the right of Americans to use their own money for health care necessary to save their lives. Yet, that is exactly what Obamacare does,” he said.

In the study, Dr. Marc Siegel warns that Obamacare is threatening the future of health care and, consequently, the lives of Americans.

“The kind of insurance that is growing under Obamacare’s fertilizer is the exact kind that was jeopardizing the quality of health care in the first place: the kind that pays for seeing a doctor when you are well, but where guidelines and regulations predominate and choice is restricted when you are seriously ill,” he said.

“How can quality of care not be affected if the antibiotic or statin drug or MRI scan I feel you need isn’t covered under your plan?”

Obamacare’s limits on Americans’ health care often is done through trickery, the report says.

The law says Health and Human Services can “negotiate” premiums to be charged by private Medicare plans, but the government had no power to impose a premium price control on private fee-for-service plans.

“Thus, under the law before Obamacare, senior citizens could choose, if they wished, to add extra money of their own on top of the government payment in order to get health insurance less likely to ration, and Washington bureaucrats could not limit their right to do this,” the report says.

But that’s changed. Obamacare has a new provision that says: “Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring the secretary to accept any or every bid submitted by an MA organization under this subsection.”

“This means,” says the report, “that the pre-existing law that effectively forbade the secretary to exclude a private fee-for-service plan on the basis that CMS considers its premiums to be too high has been trumped by the new ability of the secretary to reject ‘any or every’ premium bid submitted by a private fee-for-service plan.

“Thus, under Obamacare, Washington bureaucrats are given the authority to limit – or even eliminate – senior citizens’ ability, if they choose, to spend their own money on health insurance less likely to ration.”



Government medicine


The NAACP's Fomenters of Fear

They just can't help themselves — and their agenda-driven media enablers never, ever learn

This week, the NAACP made national front-page headlines with a local press release demanding that the feds investigate the hanging death of a local man in Port Gibson, Miss. Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, immediately invoked the specter of a "hate crime." In response, the Obama Justice Department flooded the zone with a whopping 30 federal agents.

News outlets grabbed the bait. USA Today asked ominously: "Was it a lynching?" The discovery of ex-con Otis Byrd's body swinging from a tree by a bed sheet "brought back unpleasant memories of America's violent, racially charged past," the paper's video reporter asserted. Voice of America similarly intoned: "Mississippi hanging death raises lynching specter." The Los Angeles Times leaped into the fray with: "Why this story haunts the nation."

Whoa there, teeth-gnashing Nellies. Didn't we just recently witness the implosion of an NAACP-incited non-hate crime with the same exact narrative? Why, yes. Yes, we did.

As I reported in January, the group was here in my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs hyping a so-called "bombing" at the city's chapter office. Local, state and federal NAACP leaders, amplified by political and media sympathizers, claimed the alleged hate crime "remind(ed) me of another period" (Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis); "undermines years of progress" (Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee); "harkens to bad old days" (MSNBC); and "evokes memories of civil rights strife" (Time magazine).

But the allegedly racist perpetrator of the "NAACP bombing" turned out to be a disgruntled client of a now-deceased tax accountant who once worked in the same office complex. The financially troubled suspect had unsuccessfully tried to contact the tax preparer for years to obtain past tax returns. But unbeknownst to the "bomber," who set off a pathetic improvised explosive device on the opposite side of the NAACP office, the accountant had been sent to prison for bilking other clients — and had passed away several years ago.

Confirming what only a few of us in the media dared to theorize out loud, race had absolutely nothing to do with the wildly inflated and cynically exploited incident in Colorado Springs. Zip, zero, nada.

None of this appears to have chastened the journalists who reflexively empower the NAACP agitators who reflexively cry racism. Just weeks after the not-NAACP bombing, here they are stoking fears of a probably-not-racist-not-lynching. Despite law enforcement reports that Byrd's hands were unbound, despite warnings from the local sheriff (who happens to be black) not to jump to conclusions, and despite the very real possibility that Byrd committed suicide, the papers and airwaves disseminated Blame Whitey and Blame Righty talking points without thinking twice.

The incident indeed "brought back memories" for me — memories of the embarrassing 1996 media malpractice of former USA Today reporter Gary Fields, who manufactured a purported epidemic of racist church-burnings in the South with 61 hysterical stories. A typical and familiar headline: "Arson at Black Church Echoes Bigotry of the Past." The NAACP jumped onboard and demanded that then-Attorney General Janet Reno investigate. President Clinton fanned the flames; panels were formed; federal spending programs were passed. But a year later, Fields' own paper was forced to admit that "analysis of the 64 fires since 1995 shows only four can be conclusively shown to be racially motivated."

Several of the crimes had been committed by black suspects; a significant number of the black churches were in fact white churches; and the Chicken Littles had obscured numerous complex motives including mental illness, vandalism and concealment of theft.

Same old, same old. Then, as now, for publicity and profit, the race hustlers stoke the very societal divisiveness they claim to abhor — and knee-jerk journalists suffering institutional amnesia aid and abet them.



There are crooks everywhere

With a critical vote on a tax-incentive package looming, Indianapolis-based Angie's List has been hit with another class-action lawsuit, the company's third in four years.  And unlike past allegations, this complaint cuts to the heart of the company's chief selling point: the trustworthiness of its consumer reviews.

Filed March 11 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the lawsuit alleges that Angie's, an online consumer review service, manipulates company ratings that are sold to its subscribers as impartial user reviews.

It does so, the lawsuit claims, by giving paid advertisers preferential treatment, such as boosting their visibility on the site and suppressing negative reviews.

"Angie's List does not help members find the 'best' service provider, but rather the one who paid the most money to Angie's List," the complaint says. "This certainly is not 'always placing the interests of the consumer first,' " as the company says in its public filings.

Debra DeCourcy, an Angie's spokeswoman, said it is company policy not to comment on pending litigation. The company's lawyers have not yet filed a response in court.

The lawsuit was brought by Pennsylvania resident Janell Moore, an Angie's member since 2012, according to court documents. Moore says she relied on Angie's reviews in 2014 to hire a remodeling contractor who didn't finish the work and refused to refund her $4,000.

According to the lawsuit, when she tried to file a negative review, she learned from an Angie's employee that other subscribers had given the contractor bad reviews as well — only they didn't show up on the site. The suit claims that's because Angie's suppresses bad reviews of paid advertisers by hiding them or not counting them toward the companies' A-F rating.

Advertising has become a substantial source of revenue for the company, dwarfing that of subscriptions, according to its annual reports. The company made $241.9 million from service providers in 2014 vs. $73.1 million from members.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Pelosi famously said Congress should pass the law so Americans could find out what was in it, and its unpleasant surprises have been shocking citizens ever since."

Nancy Pelosi isn't the worst politician to infest Washington D. C. since the establishment of the District. She'd have to top Mitchell Palmer and Preston Brooks (both, by no coincidence whatsoever, also Democrats), but she IS endemic of the kind of elitist, arrogant, condescending swine that run the place.

May God reward her according to her merits.