Obamacare is a dangerous takeover of health care sector by the Federal Government and corporations that will drive up prices and use rationing to prolong patient suffering and increase patient deaths. One of the most important elements is the state run “Exchange” where those seeking federally subsidized health insurance would go to get health insurance. The good news is that the states are not required to set up the exchanges and the Federal government can do it on their own. This is the perfect opportunity to use the Federalism model set up by our founders to stop Obamacare from ruining health care in Florida. It is also a great way to protect individuals, employers and taxpayers from high-cost Obamacare mandates, fines and taxes according to the Cato Institutes Michael Cannon. The Governor and other Florida political leaders should be contacted and told “No State Based Health Exchange”. The message that Federal government should and is getting from the states is this: “You want to take over health care, do it on your own”! The map of the country here shows the “green states” that have refused to set up a state exchange so far. The purple ones are setting them up and the blues are undecided. With Governor Scott considering “Compromising” on Obamacare, it is time to contact him and let him know: stand strong!
Contact key Florida elected officials and tell them “No State Obamacare Exchange!”
Obamacare is set up to give federal checks to people who seek insurance through these exchanges and ONLY through these exchanges. Thus, if there is no state-based exchange, there will be no federal subsidy check for health insurance. That will save enormous amounts of money and prevent a worsening debt crisis for America and also help individuals avoid the individual mandate tax penalty. It will also force states to create market-based reforms that will drive down health care costs so that a Federal subsidy check is not required. The Federal government can create the exchange, but under the law the subsidies are ONLY available through state-run exchanges. Further, the Federal government does not have the money that is required to run the exchanges and Congress has not authorized the same. The state’s taxpayers, if the state exchanges are set up, will be on the hook for $10-$100 million per year to establish and run the exchanges.
Further the state can avoid the $2,000 per employee penalty for employers who do not provide insurance to its employees. This penalty is only authorized if the state sets up the exchange, not the federal government. Stopping this employer penalty will keep employers from shifting full time workers to part time status to avoid the penalty. It will prevent them from avoiding hiring more than 50 workers to stop the penalty as well. Further, Michael Cannon of the Cato institute states that Florida law prevents state employees from participating in any exchange that would compel citizens to be subject to such mandates and penalties (the Sun Beam Times is still researching this law).
The experience in other states is instructive for Florida at this point. California is establishing a state-run exchange and as a result their health insurance premiums are estimated to increase 13-25%. The Governor of Virginia, two days after Obama’s re-election, stated that Virginia will not set up a state exchange and will let the Federal government shoulder the burden. Missouri will also defer to a Federal exchange and West Virginia also appears to be on the verge of refusing a state-based exchange. There is a reason that the feds have extended the deadline from 11/16 to 12/14 for the state exchange blue print applications. Reality is trumping grandiose federal visions and the states are saying “no thanks”!
Floridians can take a stand today and contact Governor Scott and the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate and tell them “No state exchange”; no compromise on Obamacare for political purposes. Email the Florida Governor, Email the Florida Senate President, Email the Florida Speaker. Here is a site with resources for action on “no to state exchanges”: http://www.aapsonline.org/index.php/site/article/tell_your_governer_to_say_no_to_obamacare_exchange/
More Info from that site.
A list of contact information for all 50 state governors can be found here:
Sample letter sent to governors: http://www.cchfreedom.org/files/files/LetterToGovernorDayton%281%29.pdf
Webinar Video: Why States Should Oppose ObamaCare Exchanges, featuring Michael Cannon of Cato, Twila Brase of CCHF, Nick Dranias & Brian Schlomach of the Goldwater Institute, hosted by Ralph Weber of MediBid.
According to Michael Cannon of Cato:
“Operating an Obamacare exchange would be illegal in 14 states. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia have enacted either statutes or constitutional amendments (or both) forbidding state employees to participate in an essential exchange function: implementing Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates.”
15 REASONS: Oppose Obamaʼs Health Insurance Exchanges
1. Exchanges are Federal Takeover Centers, not marketplaces. The federal government controls the health plans and the benefits—and oversees patient care. Exchanges will also become single-seller bureaucracies where only government- approved health plans are sold and no real “market” exists. It is expected that all people in the future will be required to buy insurance from the Exchange. (see #5)
2. States will lose. State-run exchanges will hide the federal takeover; enable federal access to state-held data on citizens, patients and providers; and shift the annual
$10 million – $100 million cost of operating the exchange to State taxpayers.
3. State-run Exchanges are not required. That would be commandeering of the state by the federal government. Obama’s health care law acknowledges this fact by having a fallback plan for creation of a Federal Exchange—but no money to do it. They’ve asked for ~$750 million, but Congress has thus far refused.
4. All Exchanges are Federal Exchanges. State-run Exchanges must follow the federal law and all federal rules. They are required to report annually to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and are under control of HHS.
5. State-run Exchanges are part of a National Exchange. State exchanges are 50 state-named website portals of a national system. They are extensions of the federal government into each state through the “Federal Data Services Hub,” which will receive and share private data. Data entered online to buy insurance is sent for verification through the Federal Data Services Hub (“Hub”) to at least
five federal agencies, and compared with myriad state databases and data systems
made accessible to the Hub by state government.
6. The Exchange is a national registration and enforcement tool. The National Exchange (with 50 website portals) will register the insurance status of every citizen and allow the IRS to enforce the penalty-tax for refusing to buy health insurance. The purpose is universal coverage — national health care. Registration takes place through purchase of insurance or online registration of an exemption.
7. The Exchange will create an unprecedented tracking system. Whether they pay taxes to the Federal government or not, everyone must annually register with the IRS either on their own through the Exchange or through their employer. State governments are already considering how to “pre-populate” the exchange using other databases such as state taxpayers, voting registration, and vital statistics.
8. The Exchange will enable Obamacare fines. Employers face significant fines if even one of their employees buys health insurance on a state-based Exchange.
9. The Exchanges will expand Medicaid and build middle-class dependency. All persons and families up to 400% of federal poverty levels (FPL) will be enrolled into Medicaid (up to 138% FPL) or be able to receive a taxpayer-funded premium subsidy to buy health insurance. In 2012, 400% FPL is $44,680 for an individual and $92,200 for a family of four.
10. “Federally-facilitated exchanges” are a facade meant to deceive. The FFE will have a state name (i.e. Iowa Exchange) but operations will be conducted by the federal government—leaving the public in the dark about the federal takeover.
11. Redistribution of Wealth to Health Plans. Fully 98% of the new spending under the federal health reform law goes directly to health plans approved by the government to offer health insurance on the Exchanges. Approximately $1 trillion will be transferred from taxpayers to health plans through federal premium subsidies offered on the Exchanges and through the expansion of Medicaid through the Exchanges. (Bloomberg.com http://bit.ly/NRxw7P and http://bit.ly/TCoVt9)
12. The “Clawback.” Individuals signing up for insurance on an Exchange must estimate annual income for the coming year. If it’s between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL), federal premium subsidies are available to help cover the cost. However, if the income is greater or family status has changed, the IRS can ask for all or part of the subsidy to be repaid. Thus, “If you received a subsidy based on a prediction that your income was 350% FPL and it later turns out your income is $1 above 400% FPL—you have to pay 100% of the premium subsidy back,” according to Inside Health Insurance Exchanges (Aug 2011).
13. Risk Scoring of Individuals. Under the Obamacare Exchange “risk adjustment” regulation, states are required to analyze data and calculate individual risk scores on all persons: “Individual risk score means a relative measure of predicted health care costs for a particular enrollee that is the result of a risk adjustment model.”
14. Gaming the System. Health plans with the sickest enrollees receive more health care dollars. According to an expert cited in LDI Health Economist, “If an insurer is able to work [the risk adjustment system] in combination with subsidies, which are also complex, then that carrier may be able to enroll a lot of people who kind of ‘look’ sick and are subsidized and also get bonus risk-adjustment payment on top of that. An insurer may be able to make a killing by working both sides.”
15. Sicker Patients on Paper. “Risk adjustment” dollars will travel on state-based “risk corridors” from Exchange health plans with low risk enrollees to Exchange health plans with high risk enrollees. Experts quoted in LDI Health Economist report, “the entire country is going to get a lot sicker on paper” and “an insurer will have an incentive to give people the absolutely most thorough physical of their lives when they join because if there is even a trace of conditions like cancer or diabetes…the insurer may be able to get more risk adjustment money.”
Lawmakers can stop the federal takeover. State legislatures and governors must refuse to create or accept any Exchange and return Exchange funds to the federal government. Congress must not fund a Federal Exchange, must defund Exchanges and repeal the law.