ObamaCare Ruins Medicare Deliberately — But Why?

Dr. Milton Wolf, The Washington Times

“We don’t want to take away people’s health insurance,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius so graciously declared earlier this year. But then she quickly qualified that with these ominous words: “before they have some realistic other choices.”

Americans have overwhelmingly, consistently and wisely been opposed to a European-style, single-payer, government-run, socialized health care system. So how might the big- government types who are hell-bent on forcing their will upon us attempt to implement this oppressive system in America? Simple. By creating medical refugees desperate for any port in a storm. That storm is coming and, unlike global warming, it’s actually man-made.

America somehow managed to survive for 189 years without Medicare or Medicaid and, in fact, became the greatest nation in the history of humankind. Established in 1965 – a mere 46 years ago – too many politicians today lack the perspective to understand this health care altar at which they worship. Instead of reforming the system to align it with American values, they abuse it as an eternal source of giveaways to buy votes. As for the politicians of the 1960s, except for the mop tops and go-go boots, they were very much like the politicians of today: They made a lot of empty promises.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promised that Medicare would cost about $500 million a year – yes, million. He even said that if costs went higher, then he was going to look like the “worst kind of damn fool.” Just a year later, in 1966, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated thatMedicare would cost about $12 billion a year by 1990. The actual 1990 cost was $107 billion – off by an order of magnitude but close enough for government work. And that’s when costs really took off. By 2008, annual costs hit $599 billion and the program for the first time went into deficit-spending mode.

For all the Democrats’ dishonesty and reckless spending, Republicans weren’t exactly blameless either. In 2003, President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress doubled down and ushered in the largest expansion in Medicare history with their senior citizen prescription drug entitlement program. They claimed the price tag would be $400 billion for the first decade but quietly adjusted that estimate upward to $534 billion just one month after passage.

Parenthetically, just three years later, in 2006, the free market roared as a private company in Bentonville, Ark. – without a single dime of taxpayer money or the compulsion from know-it-all government bureaucrats – lowered prices of the top 331 prescription medications to just $4 per month (and later to $10 per three months), not just for seniors but for all Americans. And equally importantly, Wal-Mart did not send the bill to our children.

Today we know that LBJ and a lot of other politicians indeed are the worst kind of damn fools.

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Get Ready for ObamaCare Rationing

John Goodman, FloydReports.com

There were two recent announcements that I hope you paid attention to:

  • The American Medical Group Association, representing medical groups that provide care for roughly 1 in 3 Americans, said that 90% of its members would not participate in the new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model the Obama administration wants to impose on Medicare providers.
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, exercising new powers conferred upon her by health reform (ObamaCare), said insurers would have to justify any rate increases greater than 10%.

So what does one announcement have to do with the other? A lot. I’ll connect the dots below.

Here’s the bottom line. The administration uses the rhetoric of choice and competition and some isolated souls within it may actually think competitive pressures can reduce health care costs. But if that doesn’t work out, it’s goodbye to volunteerism and hello to another way of constraining costs: global budgets and rationing.

The core of Obama administration health reform is managed competition, instituted through a health insurance exchange. In embracing this reform, the administration is following the lead of Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and before that Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt in 1993/94. But the idea really harks back to a book written by Stanford professor Alain Enthoven in the early 1980s. Enthoven argued that the entire health care system should be patterned after the Federal Employees Health Benefits system. (See a brief history and analysis.)

Here’s the difference. Enthoven believed (and still does believe) that competition in health insurance can actually work. Mitt Romney believed that as well. Maybe Hillary Clinton did too. But almost no one in the Obama administration believes that. When is the last time you heard any federal official praising the virtues of a competitive market for any good or service?

For Obama, the purpose of the health insurance exchange is not to bring needed competition to an imperfectly competitive market. The purpose is to exert control over the industry. If you believe in competition, then you want lots of competitors. But the administration is imposing rules and regulations that are driving insurers from the market, as we have previously reported here, here and here. In fact, some careful observers believe that by the time the exchanges become operational (in 2014) there will be only one or two insurers left in most markets….

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Sebelius Tells Gay Teens Obama Admin Has “Finally Come Out of the Closet”

Penny Starr, CNSNews.com

Pam Hyde, a lesbian aide to HHS Secretary Sebelius, tells LGBT youth the Obama admin. is out and proud

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at the first “Federal LGBT Youth Summit” on Monday after being introduced by a homosexual on her staff, who said the secretary “gets us” and is “tireless” in her support of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender youth.

“Your federal government has finally come out of the closet in support of LGBT youth,” said Pam Hyde, HHS administrator for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

“It’s great to see so many young faces out there, all gay and proud,” Hyde said.

Sebelius congratulated the teens and 20-somethings for attending the summit and said the goal of the summit was to “really tackle the issues facing the LGBT youth in our country.”

The LGBT Youth Summit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and is being held at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. on June 6 and 7.

“Since President Obama took office in January 2009 he has led a commitment, shared by all those in his administration, to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have a chance to reach their full potential,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius said LGBT people have a “strong voice” and that the Obama administration hears it.

“I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration, who will stand beside you each and every step along the way,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius also said LGBT youth are more likely to experience depression, thoughts of suicide, have other emotional problems or abuse drugs or alcohol.

“We know these behaviors are not the result of who these young people are,” Sebelius said. “They are the result of what’s happening to them.”

Sebelius went on to say a federal interagency taskforce is partnering the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, Defense, Interior and Justice to come up with strategies and programs to fight bullying.

Sebelius also said the health care law signed into law by the Obama administration will encourage health care providers to address the “unique needs” of LGBT patients and will make health care workers “culturally competent” to deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.

She also said the HHS is working with the federal child welfare system to “place LGBT children in loving homes.”

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New Records Reveal How You Paid for ObamaCare Propaganda

Tom Fitton, BigGovernment.com

The American people do not support Obamacare. This much we know. So I’m willing to bet they’re going to be furious when they learn that the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to spend as much as $200 million on a propaganda campaign to convince them they’re wrong about the president’s socialist health care overhaul.

Last week Judicial Watch obtained documents from HHS that provide new details on a massive, taxpayer-funded, multimedia campaign designed to promote the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and other HHS policy initiatives (such as the anti-obesity — or food control — campaign that is a vanity project of Michelle Obama). According to the records, which we obtained through a March 23, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the total cost of this campaign, which notably targets Obama’s electoral coalition, could reach as much as $200 million over the next five years!

The following are highlights from the documents, which you can read in full here:

  • An April 27, 2010, Department of Health and Human Services Acquisition Plan entitled “National Multimedia & Education Campaign & Grassroots Outreach,” details a comprehensive five-year communications program covering a variety of HHS policy initiatives, including “health care reform.”
    •According to a section of the Acquisition Plan entitled, “Independent Government Cost Estimate,” the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) states: “ASPA is unable to provide a definitive government cost estimate. Campaigns vary is [sic] size and scope. Some campaigns involve radio, some TV, and some print. Other campaigns may involve all of those avenues plus on ground events, website, bus tours, etc.” However, “ASPA is letting this contract in order [to] produce three to four campaigns per year through the life-cycle of the contract. We are requesting a contract with a $200,000,000 maximum.”
  • According to a subsequent March 14, 2011, contract included among the documents, HHS hired The Ogilvy Group “to provide services to design, develop, and execute a multiplatform educational media campaign to promote the new website Healthcare.gov, including the new Spanish language version of the website.” The total amount of the contract awarded was: $3,998,928.
  • The Ogilvy contract “task order” describes the purpose of the Healthcare.gov website: “To accompany such a monumental piece of legislation [The Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare], the law charged the Department of Health and Human Services with the creation of a website to aide [sic] Americans about the health insurance coverage options available to them.” (U.S. Senator Charles Grassley has deemed the HHS online program “state-sponsored propaganda.”)
  • The Ogilvy contract also describes the “audiences” that will receive “targeted messaging” during the campaign: “Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Young People, Women/Mothers,” all considered key target demographics for the Obama reelection campaign.
    •According to the Ogilvy contract, HHS sought to receive “media training” in the following areas, among others: “controlling your message,” “handling hostile interviews,” “artful repetition,” “identifying loaded questions” and “being persuasive.”

And now for the really creepy part…

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Lawsuit: How Did HHS Create the ObamaCare Propaganda Commercials?

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to obtain records related to the creation and funding of advertisements pushing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 23, 2011, which marked the one year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.

On December 15, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with HHS seeking the following information: “All records concerning the creation and/or funding of advertisements on the Affordable Care Act.” On December 17, 2010, Judicial Watch received confirmation from HHS that its request was received. Judicial Watch received additional confirmation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a component of HHS, on January 14, 2011. By law, a response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request was due no later than February 14, 2011. However, to date, no documents have been produced. Moreover, HHS has failed to indicate when a response is forthcoming.

In November 2010, Judicial Watch separately obtained documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services regarding a series of three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith. The Obama Administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air the advertisements on national television in September and October 2010 to educate “Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

However, according to FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, the advertisements intentionally misinform the American people….

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