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Blind Date With A Pig

A guest appearance by Dale Pearce:

An Exchange? Or, Blind Date With A Pig!!

Dear Idaho State Representative,

You came to the Idaho Legislature to do good. You knew there would be rascals, bumpkins, wheeler-dealers, con-artists, and opposition-legions. You knew they would challenge you and make every effort to compromise and coerce you. You had determined to make a difference. To stand up for what was right: values, integrity and consistency.

You never imagined the amount or the intensity of pressure exerted to manipulate and compromise you. Especially by those who should have been your friends. Worst yet were the methods used to justify and then excuse the abandonment or the adherence to their oath. Don’t consider it a ‘violation’. It’s merely an ‘adjustment’. A bump in the road. Certainly not the enormous pothole your constituents are clamoring about.

You’ve had every intention of keeping that promise.. your oath. No one knows how deep that sunk into your being. Hopefully it is still there. .. “Keeping watch over all.”

Two weeks ago when SB 1042 passed out of committee, and passed on the Senate floor, you probably noticed how many of the senators felt they had to make a clarifying statement before casting their vote. They confessed they didn’t like the bill, it was flawed, and they felt coerced into voting for it. Well, sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do. (Gaacckk!)

What a legacy they’ve heaped upon their own heads. Coerced to accept a federal mandate because it was the lesser of two evils. In no way does that exemplify upholding or defending the Constitution against enemies foreign or domestic. No matter how much lipstick applied to the snout of that sow.. she’s still a pig and will always be.

When all else fails.. your oath provides safe-haven from the storms and tumult of the legislative lemmings. It may not endear you to your legislative colleagues… but remember who sent you there. You constituents didn’t put you there so you could fold, become popular, or become a team-player. They put you there so you could be their defender, their champion. So you could protect them from the ravages of Big-Gov. Even.. when it is unpopular. Perhaps I should say.. Especially.. when it is unpopular.

I ask that you not sullie your skirts with the fawning, blathering, and genuflecting of lobbyists, leadership, or leaches. The price of compromise will never bring any lasting returns or satisfaction. Those that succumb to the siren song that ‘Government Will Provide’ will one day lament: “Dang! I saddled myself, my constituents, and my posterity with unlimited debt. Where are my thirty pieces of silver, now?”

I wouldn’t wish that on any man. Choose the right, despite the myriad forces arrayed against you. Throw off their shackles and trash this ACA Insurance Exchange. Then step away from this tangled web of carnal wreckage and never look back.

Oh, yes. There will be changes made to this bill, different shades and depths of lipstick. Don’t lose sight that it is still the same old pig. Don’t allow your colleagues to push you out the door on a blind-date with that sow. She’ll leave an odor that will permeate you soul.

I’m in you corner and pulling for you.

With Appreciation,

Dale Pearce

Nampa, Idaho

15 REASONS: To Oppose Obama?s 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 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.


Reality #3 – Obama’s Bluff – the “Federal Health Exchange”

Although language for a “federal” health insurance exchange exists in Obama’s reform law, it’s essentially a bluff. The federal government never intended to create it. They don’t want to create it. They didn’t even give themselves money to create it.
The real plan is a NATIONAL exchange made up of one Federal Data Services Hub (central server) and 50 federalized website portals connected to the Federal Hub—one for each state. The Federal Hub enables massive amounts of personal data to flow from and between state and federal databases through Information Technology (IT) connections. The Obama administration hoped state governors would just build the online IT connections for them—state by state.

It’s all about the funding. The distinction in terms—state exchange vs. federal exchange—relates primarily to who funds this intrusive IT (data exchange) superstructure. A “state exchange” is the term used when the state funds the website and IT connections from state agency databases to the Federal Hub. A “federal exchange” is the term used when the federal government funds the website and IT connections between the state agency databases and the Federal Hub. If a state funds it, the state receives can use a federally-certified website portal with a state name and can create an “Exchange Board” to maintain the data flow and decide which health plans can sell insurance through the website.

Obama’s threat of a “federal exchange” was intended to drive states into building—and funding—the IT connections (“state exchanges”). So far, only 18 states and Washington, D.C. have obliged. They are building the IT connections from state agency databases to the Federal Hub which is connected to the databases of at least five federal agencies. These states are building their part of the national exchange in their corner of the U.S.

Proponents regularly claim in testimony and to the media that it’s better to have the state build a “state exchange” than to have the federal government impose a “federal exchange.” But as Texas Governor Rick Perry said in his letter to the Secretary of HHS:

“It is clear there is no such thing as a state exchange. Instead, this is a federally mandated exchange with rules dictated by Washington. As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion.” (Nov. 15, 2012, Emphasis added.)

Regardless of who funds this national superstructure for data exchange, the entire enterprise will be under federal law and beholden to thousands of pages of federal rules. It’s a national system.

Just think of it as having someone in Washington D.C. who knows all about you with the power to limit your health insurance options instead of having your personal privacy protected and a full set of insurance options from the health insurance companies in your state.