Socialized Medicine by Stealth

January 10, 2018

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Congress isn’t done socializing American medicine. Socialized medicine is “any of various systems to provide the entire population with complete medical care through government subsidization and regularization of medical and health services.”
Subsidies are part of socialism. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the only group without subsidies are the middle- and upper-class individuals who buy their own health insurance. But Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promises a vote before spring on the “Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017” to subsidize (socialize) this group too.
The bill would “stabilize” the ACA by redistributing your wages (tax dollars) to health plans. The bill includes:
  • COST-REDUCTION SUBSIDIES -- Paying health plans $18 billion in 2018/2019. Obama illegally paid these taxpayer-funded subsidies to cover copays and deductibles for lower-income enrollees.
  • REINSURANCE - Permitting states to establish taxpayer-funded “reinsurance” programs to reimburse health plans for most medical expenses between $45,000 and $250,000 of individuals who buy their own insurance.
The reinsurance programs are invisible. Enrollees think they have private insurance, but they don’t.  Both prospective reinsurance (insurers use data to identify potential high-cost individuals at enrollment and add them to a list for potential reimbursement) or retrospective reinsurance (reimbursement to health plans for enrollees who turn out to be expensive) are under cover. Enrollees don’t know the government is paying for part of their care—or that their medical claims data is shared with government to secure payment. The Senate bill re-ups the Democrats’ three-year ACA retrospective reinsurance program.
The federal government has already used ACA waivers to approve reinsurance programs in Minnesota, Maine and Alaska. For example, Minnesota will receive more than $1 billion in federal funds from 2018 to 2022 for its invisible Minnesota Premium Security Plan. (HHS letter)
Thus…health insurance is disappearing! That’s right. Through subsidies doled out left and right, the ACA eliminates much of the risk-bearing (insurance) function of health plans. As a reminder, insurance is “coverage by contract whereby one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or peril.”
Under various subsidies and ACA reinsurance programs, taxpayers indemnify (protect) health plans from the financial risk of high-cost individuals! In short, taxpayers become “insurers.” Health plans become well-paid government contractors, managing dollars, tracking data and controlling doctors.
Health plans are flush with cash. For example, “Aetna now derives half of its revenue from government plans,” reports CNBC. The top six health plans reported $6 billion in combined adjusted profits for the second quarter of 2017. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), in opposition to the Senate’s “stabilization” bill says,
“Shoveling billions of taxpayer dollars to health insurance companies that are already enjoying record-high profits is not a step in the right direction on health care reform.”
Tell Congress to stop stabilizing the ACA! Capitol Switchboard: #202-224-3121.
In freedom with you,
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder