Tag Archives: Kathleen Sebelius

#ObamaCare Exchanges Recklessly, Often Unlawfully, Throwing Taxpayer Money At Health Insurance Companies

Michael Cannon at Cato:

This is part of a deliberateconsistent strategy by the Obama administration to throw money at individual voters and key health care industry groups—lawfully or not—to buy support for this consistently unpopular law.

More: ObamaCare Exchanges Recklessly, Often Unlawfully, Throwing Taxpayer Money At Health Insurance Companies | Cato @ Liberty.

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Is Obamacare’s Fatal Flaw Taking Effect?

Paul Hsieh, MD writes:

The past month hasn’t been good for supporters of the Obamacare health law. One leading advocate, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), admitted that the implementation would be a “train wreck.” A recent study of Oregon health outcomes cast doubt on the benefits of expanding government health care, such that even the left-leaning Slate called it “bad news for ObamaCare.” The American public remains deeply skeptical of the law. In response, the federal government has been mounting a big public relations campaign to sell Americans on the alleged benefits of Obamacare.

More: PJ Media » Is Obamacare’s Fatal Flaw Taking Effect?.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Doesnt Understand What Insurance Is

Megan McArdle at the Daily Beast:

Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of HHS, thinks that catastrophic insurance isn’t really insurance at all.

At a White House briefing Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said some of what passes for health insurance today is so skimpy it can’t be compared to the comprehensive coverage available under the law. “Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus,” she said. “They’re really mortgage protection, not health insurance.”

She said this in response to a report from the American Society of Actuaries arguing that premiums are going to rise by 32% when Obamacare kicks in, as coverage gets more generous and more sick people join the insurance market.  Sebelius’ response is apparently that catastrophic insurance isn’t really insurance at all–which is exactly backwards. Catastrophic coverage is “true insurance”.  Coverage of routine, predictable services is not insurance at all; it’s a spectacularly inefficient prepayment plan.

More: Health and Human Services Secretary Doesnt Understand What Insurance Is – The Daily Beast.

via. Heartland Institute, Consumer Power Report #366.

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ObamaCare: Economic control becomes political control

In an article last year about how ObamaCare’s empowers the Department of Health and Human Services to control insurance companies, Michael Cannon quotes economist Russ Roberts:

Economist Russ Roberts recently explained one of the main themes of Friedrich Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom: “When the state has the final say on the economy, the political opposition needs the permission of the state to act, speak and write. Economic control becomes political control.” One need not agree with all of Hayek’s conclusions to see how Obamacare is threatening political freedom.

via Obamacare Silences Health Insurers | Michael F. Cannon | Cato Institute: Commentary.

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Colorado’s health insurance exchange: controlled by Feds, limited choice

From the Citizen’ Council for Health Freedom:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its first set of proposed regulations on the American Health Benefits Exchanges required under President Obama’s health “reform” law. The deadline for public comments is September 28, 2011. In its announcement on the proposed rules, HHS officials claimed that exchanges:

  • are state-based competitive marketplaces;
  • will offer individuals and small businesses the same affordable insurance choices as members of Congress; and
  • will provide Americans clout.

However, the claim that exchanges are “state-based” is countered by 811 uses of the word “require” in the first set of proposed regulations …

Trumpeting the advent of the exchanges, the administration said Monday that they would “give Americans the same insurance choices as members of Congress.” However, in response to questions after a news conference on Monday, health officials acknowledged that this claim was not necessarily correct.

Under the rules, an employer may allow employees to choose any health plan at a given level of coverage. But an exchange may also allow an employer to limit its workers to one or two health plans – far fewer than the number available to members of Congress and other federal workers.

The claim that exchanges are competitive “marketplaces” with choice and clout is also challenged by the fact that the law outlaws catastrophic major medical insurance and limits insurance options in the exchanges to managed-care plans.

Read more, with references: Countering HHS Doublespeak on Health Insurance Exchanges.

See also: State Health Insurance Exchanges Will Impose Federal Control

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Colorado Democrats celebrate socialized birth control & breast pumps

A recent press release by Rick Palacio, Chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party states:

Soon, the Department of Health and Human Services will require all new insurance plans to cover birth control, breast pumps for new mothers, counseling on domestic violence, and many other essentials. Women will not be charged co-pays, thanks to these rules that were required by the Affordable Care Act.

It’s easy to get discouraged by the grinding nature of debates in Washington. But Monday’s news reminds us that our hard-earned victories reverberate for years, and they improve tens of millions of lives. Despite the inevitable frustrations, we continue our fights because our causes are worth the effort. …

One victory at a time can change lives. One single part of Health Care Reform means huge protections for women’s health.

Here’s the details from what’s perhaps one of the scariest domain names ever: Healthcare.gov.

What if government taxed everyone to pay for breast pumps and birth control, regardless of if you use them?  This is a socialist financing scheme, which currently exists for government run schools.  The Health & Human Services’ mandate on all new health plans (“insurance”) to cover breast pumps and birth control is just one example of how the 2010 health control act turns insurance companies into a vehicle for socialized medicine.

Also note that breast pumps and birth control fall way outside the realm of what real insurance is supposed to be.  For homeowners insurance and car insurance, you never want to make a claim. That means something undesirable happened.  You’re insured against undesired events. Sure, becoming pregnant can be undesired, but (rape aside) can only happen if you choose to be sexually active.

In this sense, birth control is itself a type of insurance, but to mandate that all health plans cover it is like mandating that all health plans allow policy holders to buy condoms.  Why stop there?

How about requiring all health plans to cover protective expenditures like bike helmets and new brakes on your car?

Also note that Mr. Palacio considers birth control and breast pumps to be “essential.” This is odd given that most discussion of universal politically controlled coverage that Democrats want assumes that all medical care is a life-or-death emergency.

The bigger point is that insurers should be free to sell health plans that cover such items, but not be forced to.  What should be the penalty for selling such illegal plans that don’t have these mandates? Companies in MA were fined for doing so, even though certainly some customers wanted the plans free of costly mandates.

(Via Ari Armstrong)

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Flexibility in implementing health care “reform” limited to more authoritarian control

Cato’s Michael Cannon writes:

[T]he president announced last week he is willing to give states more flexibility to implement [ObamaCare, HR 3590]. …

If you think that means the president was himself exhibiting flexibility, you would be wrong.  Despite the rhetoric about compromise, what the president actually did was offer states the option of replacing his law with a single-payer health care system three years earlier than his law allows. …

Any waiver process that amends federal laws on a state-by-state basis … will inherently favor big-government proposals over free-market reforms. … Since a free market caters to consumers’ preferences, which may deviate from the government’s performance metrics, it would be far more difficult to get free-market approaches approved or renewed.

Constitutional constraints would also block free-market reforms. Any effort to reduce health care costs using market forces would have to reform the federal tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance and the Medicare program’s method of subsidizing coverage. Altering the payroll-tax treatment of health insurance in some states but not others would run afoul of Article I, Section 8: …

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has written that ObamaCare gives states “incredible freedom” to implement the law. We now know what she meant: states are free to coerce their residents even more than ObamaCare requires. What’s incredible is that she calls that freedom.

Read the whole article: So This Is Freedom? They Must Be Joking. – Kaiser Health News.

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