Akin Calls Administration on Propaganda Website
July 28, 2010
From Congressman Akin’s Web Site:
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Todd Akin (MO-2), today sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius expressing opposition to partisan ideological content on the official HealthCare.gov website. Fifty-three other members of the House of Representatives joined Akin in signing the letter.
Akin’s letter cites examples of bias in the HealthCare.gov website and calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to “act as a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and remove all factual inaccuracies, misleading statements, and subjective one-sided information, while adding essential consumer education information, whether positive or not.”
The PDF of the letter is here. The text of the letter to Sec. Sebelius is below.
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July 28, 2010
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
We are writing to express our opposition to the content, or lack thereof, that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has placed on HealthCare.gov, the new web portal established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
While we have supported similar web portal proposals to be used as consumer information and transparency tools, we never envisioned it as a way to use taxpayer funds to promote political ideology masquerading as “facts.” We take issue with the Administration’s claim during a meeting with Republican staff on July 7, 2010, that the content chosen for the web portal was simply for “consumer education,” as so far the information presented is all one-sided. We are concerned that HHS is misusing its regulatory powers to influence the debate, and we believe it is not HHS’ proper role to limit information to only what the Administration sees as positive benefits of PPACA, while leaving out key information that will have dramatic effects on the lives of Americans.
We provide the following examples as evidence of our claim:
Ø The banner at the top of every page says “health care is getting better,” which is a purely subjective statement.
Ø Information about Medicare Advantage plans is noticeably absent. The only information listed under “Find Insurance Options” is information on Medigap plans (like the kind AARP offers), Medicaid, state-based options, and local facilities that provide “reduced priced care”. American seniors who want to learn “more about insurance for benefits that are not covered by Medicare” deserve to know all of their options.
Ø The warning label that pops up for insurance searches in 45 states says, “A quick note about individual insurance: Unless you live in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, or Maine, be aware that the current marketplace creates several challenges for the consumer.” The five states listed are those with guaranteed-issue laws. The statement is certainly biased against states (and insurers) that do not mandate guaranteed-issue. While it is true that coverage may not be guaranteed through the individual insurance market, the webpages that contain this statement fail to contain any follow up statements about other available options in these states or why the state has chosen to not mandate guaranteed-issue.
Ø Under the timeline provided by the Administration, there is a graphic of a briefcase overflowing with money, labeled “Stopping Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies” accompanied by a slide titled “Addressing Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage.” Not only is the graphic biased and over the top in its vilification of insurers, but it also fails to be accompanied by information from CMS’ Actuary warning that more than half of seniors will lose access to their Medicare Advantage plans due to over $200 billion in cuts under PPACA.
Ø The website claims, under the “Strengthening Medicare” tab “The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2029, a 12-year extension…” This statement is completely false, as these new Medicare cuts are not being used to improve the program’s solvency, but instead are being used to offset the massive new entitlement spending and government programs. According to CMS’ Actuary, “in practice, the improved HI financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from the respective accounting conventions.” The truth is either you’re extending the life of Medicare or you’re paying for the bill. You can’t claim both and CBO agrees.
Items that were noticeably left off the HealthCare.gov web portal but certainly fall under the definition of “consumer education” include:
Ø No references to tax increases (among other negative aspects of PPACA) on the timeline.
Ø No warning that consumers should stay away from high-costs plans or be subject to the “Cadillac Tax.”
Ø No mention that there will not be enough funding for the new high risk pools to run through 2014 – as both CBO and CMS’ Actuary have found.,
Ø No warning under the “Understand the New Law” tab that over 51% of employees will be in plans without “grandfathered” status, as employers will be forced to change their plans to comply with PPACA.
Ø No information about private entities that offer assistance in picking a personalized plan, such as certified state-licensed independent insurance agents and brokers.
Ø No information about providers that still take Medicaid and/or Medicare.
Ø No information about, or restrictions being placed on, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), etc. through PPACA.
Therefore, we respectfully request that HHS act as a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and remove all factual inaccuracies, misleading statements, and subjective one-sided information, while adding essential consumer education information, whether positive or not.
We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to your prompt response.
We knew it wasn’t true, so when will liberals actually hold Obama accountable for his lies???
OK, So It’s Not True
Jennifer Rubin – 06.26.2010 – 8:30 AM
Over the last year or so, Obama has repeated dozens — perhaps hundreds — of times that his health-care ”reform” would allow you to keep your existing insurance plan. It’s quite apparent now that this was false. Time magazine is the latest to report:
Now that regulations about existing employer-sponsored plans have been issued, it’s becoming clear that many of the 160 million Americans with job-based coverage will not, in fact, be able to keep what they currently have.
Republican critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act point to the Obama Administration’s own estimates that by 2013, 39% to 69% of employer plans will be subject to new regulations and not grandfathered in, or exempted from the new rules. House minority leader John Boehner issued a press release about the new regulations with the headline “New ObamaCare Tagline Should Be ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, Too Bad.’ “
While the reporter feels compelled to call GOP rhetoric “overheated,” she readily concedes that conservative critics have the facts on their side:
The truth is that employer-based plans, which many assumed would easily be categorized as grandfathered, will be subject to the full regulatory thrust of the new law if they are altered in ways that are standard practice in the industry. Plans that increase the percentage of costs patients must pay out of pocket — known as co-insurance — lose their grandfathered status. The same is true for plans that significantly decrease the percentage that employers contribute to premiums or those that significantly increase deductibles or co-payments. An employer that switches health-insurance providers also loses its grandfathered status. These kinds of changes are common year to year in the current marketplace, since employers are constantly looking for ways to limit their expenses in the face of rising costs.
The “keep your plan” hooey was as deceptive as the claim that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. In short, ObamaCare was sold under false pretenses. In contract law, such a deal would be rescinded. In politics, the solution is for lawmakers to explain that the bill doesn’t do what it promised and repeal it so that they can start over. And what if Obama decides to veto the repeal of his handiwork? Well, there will be an election in 2012 and a campaign to debate just how misleading were Obama’s assurances.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
How very interesting…
N.Y. Times columnist: Death panels will save ‘a lot of money’
Paul Krugman tells ‘Roundtable’ economists agree it’s ‘going to be major’
Posted: March 30, 2010
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
Left-leaning New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman says the so-called “death panels” established by President Obama’s trillion-dollar nationalized health-care plan will end up saving “a lot of money” for the government.
The comments from Krugman, who also writes on the New York Times blogs, came during a discussion of “Obamacare” on the ABC News Sunday program “This Week.”
“People on the right, they’re simultaneously screaming, ‘They’re going to send all the old people to death panels,’ and ‘It’s not going to save any money,'” he said.
Another panelist interjected, “Death panels would save money,” to which Krugman responded:
The advisory panel which has the ability to make more or less binding judgments on saying this particular expensive treatment actually doesn’t do any good medically and so we are not going to pay for it. That is actually going to save quite a lot of money. We don’t know how much yet. The CBO gives it very little credit but, but most, most of the health care economists I talk to think that’s going be a really, uh a really major cost saving.
The video has been posted on the Conservatives4Palin website, and it was Palin who was among the first to denounce the “death panel” concept in the Democrats’ government-run health care plan. That’s the idea that appointed government officials who under the plan will have access to medical records will determine if a treatment will be provided to a needy patient. Theoretically, that could be a death sentence for a patient denied a treatment.
In the United Kingdom and other nations where such government procedures already are in place, the survival rates for such afflictions as breast cancer or prostate cancer are lower than in the U.S. Critics say it is partly because of denial or delay of treatment. WND columnist Jane Chastain wrote about the issue shortly before the congressional vote.
“This bill sets up an Independent Medicare Advisory Board, which is to recommend cuts for the sole purpose of limiting the amount of resources going to Medicare patients. Some have called it a ‘Death Panel,'” she wrote.
“You may think this is harsh, but if this bill passes, many seniors will die prematurely because the recommendations of these unelected bureaucrats will go into effect. Congress is not required to act on them!”
“Obama … wants Granny to believe that she will be able to receive that operation or treatment that could save or extend her life. Nothing could be further from the truth! There is a reverse incentive in this bill that actually penalizes Granny’s primary-care physician if he or she is in the top 10 percent of doctors who refer patients to specialists. This puts a wedge between Granny and the doctor she trusts to act in her best interest.”
Richard Poe, a New York Times best-selling author, documented in a previous report for WND how the government’s plan to cut health-care costs will, in effect, cut health care itself for some.
“The only question is whose” health care will be cut, Poe wrote. “The numbers make clear that most of these cuts will have to come at the expense of those who need health care the most – the elderly, the disabled and the gravely ill.”
He cited Obama’s acknowledgement that “older, sicker societies pay more on health care than younger, healthier ones.”
“He is right,” Poe wrote. “According to a 2006 study by the Department of Health and Human Services, five percent of the U.S. population accounts for nearly 50 percent of health care spending in America. Who are those five percent? Most are people over 65 years of age with serious, chronic illnesses.
“By contrast, the study notes, half of the U.S. population ‘spends little or nothing on health care… with annual medical spending below $664 per person.’ These, of course, are mostly healthy young people – people without serious, chronic illnesses,” Poe wrote.
“Obviously, Obama will not meet his cost-cutting targets by reducing care to healthy young people. They are already spending next to nothing. It is the old, the dying and the chronically ill whose health care he will cut. The numbers make this clear,” Poe said.
Some of the “old, the dying and the chronically ill” appear to be catching on. According to a report from Fox News, an estimated 60,000 members of AARP, which endorsed “Obamacare,” have turned in their cards and canceled their memberships in recent weeks.
Poe elaborated on his concerns about the president’s plan.
“How will Obama cut costs? His June 13 radio speech gave some hints. Obama said his plan would provide ‘incentives’ to doctors to ‘avoid unnecessary hospital stays, treatments and tests that drive up costs,'” Poe wrote.
“And what sort of treatment does Obama consider ‘unnecessary?’ In an ABC News special June 24, he implied medical treatment might be wasted on elderly people with grave illnesses, citing his own grandmother as an example,” he said.
Obama concluded, “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”
Poe also documented how such health care limits already are being used overseas, including the U.K., where “British elders are routinely denied treatment for cancer, heart disease and other deadly illnesses.”
Further, “death” boards already are operating in Oregon, where officials with the state Health Plan agreed to refuse a patient life-extending cancer drugs but volunteered to pay for her to commit suicide.
He reported Barbara Wagner of Springfield, Ore., was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005. Chemotherapy and radiation put her cancer into remission. But the cancer returned in May 2008.
Wagner’s doctor prescribed Tarceva, a pill which slows cancer growth. There was a good chance it might extend her life by a few weeks or even months.
At age 64, Wagner had two sons, three daughters, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Every moment she could spend with her loved ones was precious, he noted.
But Oregon’s health officials nixed the plan. Her Tarceva treatment would cost $4,000 per month. Wagner was going to die anyway, so why waste the money?
Wagner received a letter stating that the Oregon Health Plan would not approve any treatment for her “that is meant to prolong life, or change the course of the disease. …” However, if Wagner opted for physician-assisted suicide, Oregon would be happy to pick up the tab, said the letter.
Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon and costs only about $50.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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