Many are focused on the Supreme Court’s take-up of the question of the constitutionality of the individual mandate clause in Obamacare as the means to stop President Obama’s signature legislation. However, some of the law has already been funded and put into place, and, until the High Court rules- and if it rules that the individual mandate is unconstitutional- there are already clear plans to change healthcare in this country as we know it.
The fact that our doctors are all walking around from one examining room to another with laptops, rather than “charts,” lets us know that regulations for those in the healthcare field have already been in place for awhile, and that all that personal health information about us, that is being collected electronically, will likely be finding its way to the federal government soon.
Bill McCollum, former Attorney General of Florida, who led the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, wrote an editorial in Politico, in which he urges Congress to pass a bill, brought forward by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), which would essentially “freeze” the implementation of the law in its tracks, a critical move since Obamacare’s costs, including economic, quality of care, and personal privacy aspects, are catastrophic to the nation. Knowing that, even if Congress passed a “freeze,” the president would not sign it, Attorney General McCollum recommends that the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “supercommittee,” take it up as a realistic, and relatively expedient, way to cut the deficit.
In light of the fact that there will still be some time before the Supreme Court will hear the case against Obamacare, the joint committee must consider the multitude of evidence that now exists about the costs of this program. According to Attorney General McCollum, in just 2012-2013 alone, for example, Obamacare owns $50 billion in tax increases, including $20 billion in payroll tax hikes on small businesses. The law institutes 159 new federal programs, costing $19 billion, and the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will have never-before-seen power- no Congress needed- to make cuts to Medicare.
The fact is the Obama administration, under the direction of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is rolling out Obamacare in spades now in order to make it much more difficult to scale it back. We can just hear the Obama administration now: You want to stop it…now? You mean you want to waste all the money and time we’ve already spent to insure millions of people?
The Associated Press (AP) reports that DHHS has announced that the federal government is now designing a basic benefits package for millions of privately insured Americans. The package is part of guidelines recommended by the Institute of Medicine, a group of “experts” which describes itself as “independent,” but has been found to be otherwise. The article states that, until now, designing benefits has been the domain of insurers, employers and states. Obamacare, however, requires insurance companies to provide at least the federally approved package if they want to sell to small businesses, families, and individuals through new state markets set to open in 2014. Indeed, this is a pivotal move, and raises the question of whether the government should base health coverage for millions of patients on how much health services cost.
As seems to be often the case, the Obama administration says one thing and does another. Secretary Sebelius is apparently out there, attempting to calm conservatives that this is not a government takeover of healthcare, and that she will invite more time for the American people to “speak.” Yet, as she herself speaks, AP is reporting that work on the benefits package is already well under way within DHHS, and a major lobbying campaign to shape the final package is about to be initiated.
In order to ensure no one is “costing” too much in healthcare dollars, the federal government will need information about all of us. That’s where those laptops our doctors are carrying around will come in handy. Just one click, and all our private health information is off to the feds, so they can do their job of “overseeing” our healthcare.
To meet that end, a new rule proposed by the Obama administration demonstrates that concerns about privacy are well-founded. In a recent Washington Examiner op-ed, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R- Kansas) warns that Secretary Sebelius is demanding insurance companies submit detailed health care information about their patients. The congressman states that so well constructed is the secretary’s plan to obtain our private healthcare information, that three possible means of obtaining it are mapped out: 1) health insurers’ information about patients can go directly to the federal government; 2) the states may collect the healthcare information about their respective citizens; 3) health insurers’ “crunch the numbers” according to the law as provided in Obamacare.
The implications for this takeover of private health information are mind-boggling. What if you or a family member seek mental health care? Does the federal government need to know that you have had an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Does it need to know you had an affair? Does it need to know that your teen made a suicide attempt? If you are involved in any forensic matter, will the courts be more easily able to obtain your personal health information, for a case against you, now that the federal government already owns it, and it is no longer your private information? Is the federal government capable of keeping anything private? There are already many instances which reflect that it is not.
Attorney General McCollum is right on the money. Our nation cannot wait to hear the Supreme Court’s decision. We cannot even be sure of the nature of that decision. According to the Constitution, Congress is the body of elected representatives of the American people. Obamacare needs to be stopped by our elected representatives- dead in its tracks.