What to Ask Your Congressperson about Obamacare (first in a series)

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
Here's the first installment in a series of questions you might ask your member of the House of Representatives concerning H.R. 3200 - also known as Obamacare.

The two-thousand, five-hundred and forty-one (2,541) sections of the bill can be found here.  The emailed version my congressman's office sent me covers 1,026 pages and is written in the typical legislative labyrinth of gobbledygook, replete with multi-layered, mind-numbing, cross references. There must be a software program called Obfuscate 2Max that cranks this stuff out.

Anyway, below is the first in a series of questions you might ask your congressperson if they're either undecided about Obamacare, or support it.

Question 1:  According the Section 113(b)(1)(C)&(D), "The Commissioner (appointed by the President) in cooperation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health markets. Such study shall examine the following:

(C) The financial solvency and capital reserve levels of employers that self-insure by employer size.

(D) The risk of self-insured employers not being able to pay obligations or otherwise becoming financially insolvent."

SO, self-insuring companies will be subject to government auditing of their books to adjudicate their ability now, and in the future, to self-insure?  Will that information be made available to the Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service?

Question 2Section 102, Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage, takes into account one's current "grandfathered health insurance coverage" as long as it's in place before day 1 of year 1 (Y1) of the proposed enactment of this bill. But after that, my private plan has to fully comply with government standards, making my health insurance company essentially a puppet enterprise of the federal government.

SO, isn't my healthcare insurer likely to go out of business because (1) the government doesn't have to make a profit and, consequently doesn't have to pay taxes on profits; and, (2) my private company won't be able to sign up new clients after day one Y1 of Obamacare, unless they're my dependents?  What choice in healthcare insurance will my adult children and grandchildren have? (The answer is none.)

Question 3According to Section 123, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee will have 18 members - 9 federal employees (including the Surgeon General who chairs the committee) and 9 non-federal employees.  At least one of the 18 must be a "practicing physician."  Membership shall include "experts in racial and ethnic disparities."  (Withstand the temptation to ask what that means for now.)  This Committee identifies who is eligible for what coverage.

Then, in Section 141 entitled Health Choices Administration: Health Choices Commissioner, a Commissioner, appointed by the President, is responsible for establishing the "qualified health benefits plan standards."  Those standards include "individual affordability credits." 

SO, exactly how does all this, and more, not add up to a forced-rationing of healthcare? (Start the music here as the verbal dancing begins by the bill's proponents.)

Question 4:  Section 152, Prohibiting Discrimination In Health Care, states in (a) that:  "In General., - Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."

SO, does that mean that illegal immigrants, or even those who visit relatives who are legal residents but are not themselves legal residents, will be fully eligible for Obamacare?  (If you're feeling frisky, you might ask: "Why don't we just cover all of Mexico in this plan, bill their government for the costs, and then pay the bill ourselves with foreign aid funded with more printed money?")

You pay your congressperson's salary. You deserve clear answers.

Watch this space for more of "What to Ask Your Congressperson about Obamacare."  
Here's the first installment in a series of questions you might ask your member of the House of Representatives concerning H.R. 3200 - also known as Obamacare.

The two-thousand, five-hundred and forty-one (2,541) sections of the bill can be found here.  The emailed version my congressman's office sent me covers 1,026 pages and is written in the typical legislative labyrinth of gobbledygook, replete with multi-layered, mind-numbing, cross references. There must be a software program called Obfuscate 2Max that cranks this stuff out.

Anyway, below is the first in a series of questions you might ask your congressperson if they're either undecided about Obamacare, or support it.

Question 1:  According the Section 113(b)(1)(C)&(D), "The Commissioner (appointed by the President) in cooperation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health markets. Such study shall examine the following:

(C) The financial solvency and capital reserve levels of employers that self-insure by employer size.

(D) The risk of self-insured employers not being able to pay obligations or otherwise becoming financially insolvent."

SO, self-insuring companies will be subject to government auditing of their books to adjudicate their ability now, and in the future, to self-insure?  Will that information be made available to the Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service?

Question 2Section 102, Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage, takes into account one's current "grandfathered health insurance coverage" as long as it's in place before day 1 of year 1 (Y1) of the proposed enactment of this bill. But after that, my private plan has to fully comply with government standards, making my health insurance company essentially a puppet enterprise of the federal government.

SO, isn't my healthcare insurer likely to go out of business because (1) the government doesn't have to make a profit and, consequently doesn't have to pay taxes on profits; and, (2) my private company won't be able to sign up new clients after day one Y1 of Obamacare, unless they're my dependents?  What choice in healthcare insurance will my adult children and grandchildren have? (The answer is none.)

Question 3According to Section 123, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee will have 18 members - 9 federal employees (including the Surgeon General who chairs the committee) and 9 non-federal employees.  At least one of the 18 must be a "practicing physician."  Membership shall include "experts in racial and ethnic disparities."  (Withstand the temptation to ask what that means for now.)  This Committee identifies who is eligible for what coverage.

Then, in Section 141 entitled Health Choices Administration: Health Choices Commissioner, a Commissioner, appointed by the President, is responsible for establishing the "qualified health benefits plan standards."  Those standards include "individual affordability credits." 

SO, exactly how does all this, and more, not add up to a forced-rationing of healthcare? (Start the music here as the verbal dancing begins by the bill's proponents.)

Question 4:  Section 152, Prohibiting Discrimination In Health Care, states in (a) that:  "In General., - Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."

SO, does that mean that illegal immigrants, or even those who visit relatives who are legal residents but are not themselves legal residents, will be fully eligible for Obamacare?  (If you're feeling frisky, you might ask: "Why don't we just cover all of Mexico in this plan, bill their government for the costs, and then pay the bill ourselves with foreign aid funded with more printed money?")

You pay your congressperson's salary. You deserve clear answers.

Watch this space for more of "What to Ask Your Congressperson about Obamacare."