I was going to review the research that I have completed regarding the Australian health care system. However, one of my favorite contributors to my research team, Kate Tillman, RN, MA, pointed out a topic which I must cover to continue the education process and show us all the strategy laid out for us but hidden from the “idiots” of the voting public (see Gruber’s statements). So, let us review the recent news for those of us who are concerned with the changes in health care and others who should be interested.
President Barack Obama set the stage late Thursday for yet another bitter battle in Congress by sending the Senate an after-hours nomination of a healthcare executive with huge conflict of interest problems to head the government agency running Obamacare.
As Peter Cooney points out in his review of Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the Obamacare healthcare program, who has been nominated as head of the agency, the White House said on last Thursday.
Slavitt, who joined CMS last year to oversee the once-troubled HealthCare.gov website, has been the acting administrator since March following the resignation of Marilyn Tavenner as head of the agency that also manages the Medicare and Medicaid government healthcare programs.
He was previously an executive at a government contractor working on the HealthCare.gov site and a leader of the rescue team that turned it around after a botched rollout.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Slavitt’s nomination would receive “thorough consideration” in the Republican-led chamber.
But McConnell added: “It has long been clear that no one can successfully manage a law as unworkable as Obamacare. The sole focus of CMS should be to look out for our nation’s seniors and the many vulnerable Americans who use these programs, without the distraction of Obamacare.”
Families USA, a consumer health group that supports Obamacare, welcomed the nomination, saying in a statement that Slavitt “played a remarkably successful role in overseeing the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act and played a heroic role in the successful re-launch of HealthCare.gov.”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a federation of health insurers, said Slavitt “has demonstrated the strong leadership skills necessary to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”
Richard Pollock and Katherine Tillman in their emails to me pointed out correctly that this is very important! Indeed it is and we all need to take a breath and digest the long-term effect on the health care system. Slavitt’s confirmation would be very foolish. He comes directly from UnitedHealth/Optum and Goldman Sachs. The nomination itself is a brazen move by the administration and could take US to single payer socialist system very quickly. Remember what a socialist system does to your rights of freedom of speech and choice!
Too many UnitedHealth/Optum operatives are now part of HHS hierarchy and have ties to the Clinton’s going back to HillaryCare!
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch promptly issued statements previewing the battle royale to come as Slavitt’s nomination goes forward in the Senate, assuming it does. Their statements made clear that, whenever it starts, the debate will be as much about Obamacare as Slavitt’s fitness for the position.
“The head of the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid should be focused on what the American people expect him to do: administer these important programs, not allow his attention to be diverted instead to the implementation of some gigantic, unworkable health care law that hurts hardworking Americans,” McConnell said.
“While Andy Slavitt’s nomination will receive thorough consideration in the Senate, it has long been clear that no one can successfully manage a law as unworkable as Obamacare. The sole focus of CMS should be to look out for our nation’s seniors and the many vulnerable Americans who use these programs, without the distraction of Obamacare,” McConnell said. McConnell is a Kentucky Republican.
Hatch was somewhat more direct, pointing to Slavitt’s career as a top executive at United Health Group, one of the healthcare industry’s biggest firms and one that has a giant stake in how the Obamacare program is administered.
“Mr. Slavitt’s conflicted history in the medical services industry has produced mixed results and raised a number of serious concerns. As such, he will be expected to demonstrate that he is up to the challenge and capable of successfully leading the agency through the monumental tasks that lie ahead,” Hatch said.
“Most importantly, Mr. Slavitt will need to answer a number of tough questions regarding his former employer and their relationship with the agency,” the Utah Republican added.
Hatch statement is weak at best and he has not followed up on Senate concerns regarding the waiver granted to Slavitt. Remember, Hatch led the way to the Burwell confirmation. Burwell is an active Clinton operative. She hired Slavitt immediately after becoming Secretary of HHS!
Also, let me and my contributors point out, that both Burwell and Slavitt are supported by Center for American Progress!(Soros)!
More important may be an article earlier this year in the Daily Caller, which reported exclusively “when Andy Slavitt reported for work as deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last June 10, he pocketed at least $4.8 million in tax-free income from major health-care companies. Isn’t this conflict of interest and isn’t that illegal or at least unethical???
“That’s according to financial disclosure forms obtained by The Daily Caller, now published for the first time. On June 27, he sold additional stock he personally held, raising his total windfall from the health industry to $7.2 million. United Health Group was Slavitt’s most recent private sector employer.”
Kate Tillman, RN, MA (Health Care Analyst) in her email to Jane Orient, M.D. the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians, and in her research reported to me that after she finished reading Chapter Nine of “The First Lady: A Comprehensive View by the Flaherty’s” and after writing a background paper that is current and very much related to the topic and persons from the early Clinton Task Force on health care, that she finds it difficult to understand why the connections have not been made public. Kate, remember the Gruber statement and you will understand. But I digress.
She and I both believe that more information gathering is necessary and Kate was hoping that Ms. Orient will try to push for a full investigation of the ACA implementation, federal and state, that may have been thwarted to benefit United HealthGroup/Optum/QSSI/AARP. Prior to this administration and the unconstitutional changes and actions to the matter perhaps this would be considered a conspiracy theory. However, conspiracies are no longer so far-fetched in 2015.
- Ms. Clinton never gave up her ambition to design the Universal Health Care Plan and has been developing and implementing that plan, but hiding in plain sight since 1993. The Clinton team in place under the present administration demonstrates an effort to partner with the Center for American Progress and the Clintons to put in place a progressive health care plan.
- Lois Quam developed Optum, largest subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group in anticipation of HRCs nomination. It has grown at an enormous rate and now drives implementation through healthcare.gov and the exchanges; tracking and coding; health care delivery systems; how research will be used for algorithmic decision-making and profit; and the decimation of the health care system. Jonathan Gruber and Ezekiel Emanuel both openly promoted Optum.
- The “disaster” of the healthcare.gov website served as a delay and distraction to allow the ”packing” of the hierarchy of HHS with former Clinton activists.
- Quam was appointed by Obama to head the newly formed Global Health Initiative under HRC State Department and was there, 2009-2012, during a strategic time for the Clinton Foundation. I cannot find the required Report to Congress under the State Department for those years that is specific to Quam’s activities and spending. Of interest is the same name and interests as the Clinton Global Initiative. The emails should have been retained by the Department of State.
More discussion of this health care system as well as those around the world is planned in the coming weeks. I also have a few posts reserved for Ms. Hilary and her heath care plan and potential future designs.
An article from the Center for Public Integrity written by Sue Ogrocki reviews the Supreme Court ruling, which came out in favor of the Obama administration and should mean that 6.4 million people wouldn’t lose subsidies that helped them afford health insurance. Wait a minute, I thought that the numbers announced by President Obama were 11-14 million people who were signed up for the ACA and would possibly receive subsidies.
But the historic ruling in King v. Burwell may be far from the last word on health overhaul.
Bills to advance or cripple the law in statehouses didn’t come to a halt in the months that lawmakers awaited the Supreme Court decision. They may well smolder for months or years.
“I think we should continue to do everything we can to opt out of Obamacare,” said Mike Ritze, a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and staunch foe of the law.
The court’s decision in King v. Burwell was anxiously awaited by both backers and supporters of the Affordable Care Act, who agreed that a decision invalidating the subsidies would have created chaos for Obamacare.
Plaintiffs in a case in Virginia, where four residents argued that they should not be forced to buy health insurance and shouldn’t receive tax credits under the law. Their argument rested on wording in the law that was vague on whether the tax credits applied to residents of states using a federal insurance marketplace, or “exchange,” rather than an exchange established specifically by a state; 34 states are using the federal exchange. But the justices ruled in a 6-3 decision that siding with the plaintiffs might well destroy insurance markets.
“The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the [Affordable Care] Act to operate in this manner,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.
But in statehouses around the country, fighting over the act will likely continue. The Center for Public Integrity reported on the heated war over Obamacare in state legislatures earlier this year, finding more than 700 health overhaul-related bills introduced during 2014 or carried over from 2013 in states where legislatures allow that.
Five states — California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York and Washington — saw 50 or more health bills each, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The NCSL has tracked more than 170 new state bills filed in 2015 relating to health issues, including some direct assaults on the Affordable Care Act.
Whether some diehard opponents will stand down amid greater public acceptance of the law isn’t clear. One who says he won’t is Ritze, an osteopathic physician who chairs the Oklahoma House Public Health Committee.
“We’ll continue to introduce bills and legislation to take bites out of the ACA,” said Ritze.
The National Academy for State Health Policy, an independent group, has taken notice of bills to create exchanges or to junk them.
As of June, 11 states are considering bills to now establish their own exchanges or designate the federal exchange as the state’s own. On the flip side, lawmakers in 10 states introduced bills this year to block creation of an exchange or to scrap one that’s in place, according to the academy. Here’s a state-by-state list tracking the bills. How states might link up to the federal site isn’t entirely clear at this point.
Some bills are the handiwork of political groups that push agendas on a range of hot-button topics across the country.
The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council works to “advance limited government, free markets and federalism at the state level.” It has long championed “model” bills that gum up enforcement of the health reform law.
It’s liberal foil is the State Innovation Exchange, that sees itself as the “legislative wing of the progressive movement.”
The Tenth Amendment Center, which considers Obamacare unconstitutional, wants to see legislators pull levers of state government in ways that will obstruct the law. One such step is to threaten to revoke the licenses of insurance agents who agree to sell Obamacare policies. Another tactic is to enact laws that tie the hands of state insurance department officials, who are largely responsible for regulating health coverage.
“The federal government needs states to be complicit to pull this off,” the group says on its website.
The ACA’s backers tend to dismiss these sorts of bills as fringe politics or gimmicks that will ultimately be struck into oblivion by the courts. But the impact of multiple legal tussles over Obamacare isn’t known. Some states have recently taken the first steps down that trail.
In April, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed HB2643, which prevents the state “from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with the Affordable Care Act.”
Ritze, the Oklahoma lawmaker, cited a recent bill in his state that tightens oversight of Obamacare “navigators,” who help walk uninsured people through the complexity of picking a plan and signing up. ACA supporters have attacked these bills as thinly veiled ploys by insurance agents to scare off competition.
The Oklahoma bill, SB 236, for instance would require criminal background checks for navigators and require them to register with the state. It was signed into law in April.
According to Ritze, navigators “were not giving consistent answers” when people had questions about insurance policies. “We felt they should be certified or have some oversight,” he said.
In Montana, SB 350 became law in April and will also require licensing of navigators.
The great unknown
Tracking how much is being spent in the states to lobby lawmakers to pass these sorts of bills can’t be done with any certainty, said Denise Roth Barber, managing director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics in Helena, Montana.
Barber said half the states don’t require companies and lobbyists to report money that is paid to lobbyists.
As we can see there are a number of bills to neutralize the ACA. Whether they will be successful no one knows, but I’m going to predict will not affect the future of the health care system. I am still concerned at the strategies of the GOP. They should have a well researched either modification of the ACA or an alternate plan that will work better than the ACA.
It seems that Kate and I and a few others are the only interested parties that want to improve the health care system and don’t concern us with the politics. We see the future and we are worried and interested in the real change.
How many of the American working public can afford the increasing cost of premiums, increasing deductibles and out of pocket costs……..as well as the potential increase in taxes which have to eventually be utilized to fund ACA, Medicare and Medicaid and the exchange health care systems?
But maybe we will find the working solutions as we explore the other health care systems that can be applied here in the U.S.
Onward to explore the health care system in Australia next week!