Former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now under fire for a provision in his 2006 healthcare law commonly known as RomneyCare that allows illegal immigrants to access medical care along with other uninsured residents. Because of the law’s Health Safety Net program, poor, uninsured immigrants may receive taxpayer-subsidized care at a hospital or health clinic in Massachusetts at basically no cost, regardless of their immigration status.
The Massachusetts healthcare program yielded costs of more than $400 million last year and covered more than one million hospital and health clinic visits, but details on the number of illegal patients receiving medical care are not available, as the state does not record that specific data.
The Health Safety Net is funded through a blend of state money and hospital and insurer fees, and is redistributed to providers, which file claims for patients under the program. In building on a previous plan, Massachusetts established the Health Safety Net as an anchor for all state residents "who do not have access to affordable health coverage." People of any income level with "large medical bills that they cannot pay are also eligible" and "citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility," notes MassResources.org, an online information center for Massachusetts residents.
When it comes to healthcare, said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick, “the decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” With healthcare costs rising and Medicaid enrollment growing — and slated to increase by another 16 million beginning in 2014 — Americans are already getting an eye-opening experience in what such rationing will look like.
According to two recent USA Today articles by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News, several states, feeling the pinch of increased Medicaid enrollment and the end of federal “stimulus” spending, “are pushing Medicaid recipients into managed-care plans run by private insurers, cutting reimbursement rates to hospitals and doctors and reducing benefits.” In short, they’re rationing care.
How can this be when government-run healthcare is touted as protecting Americans from money-grubbing private insurers who would deny them necessary treatment? Galewitz explains:
The new federal health law requires states to maintain Medicaid eligibility and enrollment standards until 2014, when the expansion begins to add 16 million Americans to the program. States are still free, however, to cut optional benefits, which include drugs, vision care and visits to certain providers such as chiropractors and podiatrists.
Following Tuesday's Republican presidential debate, a number of different news sources scrambled to check the accuracy of a number of different statements made by the candidates. According to the Associated Press, some facts “took a bit of a beating” in the debate, ranging from assertions made regarding taxes to those involving Obama’s unpopular healthcare overhaul.
For example, while ObamaCare went through its usual round of scrutiny and criticism during the Republican debate in Las Vegas, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann indicated that ObamaCare has proven to be so controversial and so unpopular that even the Obama administration is beginning to rescind some of its support for the healthcare overhaul.
"Even the Obama administration chose to reject part of Obamacare.... Now the administration is arguing with itself,” said Bachmann.
While it is in fact true that there have been proposed changes to ObamaCare in an effort to provoke greater support from the American people, such as eliminating the long-term insurance program CLASS that is a part of ObamaCare, the administration has been an adamant defender of the healthcare plan overall.
Over 40 percent of all the money the administration claimed it would save by enacting ObamaCare just vanished when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cancelled the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program on Friday, October 14.
The program, which would have paid at least $50 a day for long-term in-home care for enrolled persons, was clearly in trouble when the Obama administration closed the CLASS office and requested that its budget be eliminated. Although the administration denied that CLASS was in danger, it stated: “A CLASS program will only be implemented if it is fiscally solvent, self-sustaining and consistent with the statute.”
The statute requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to certify that CLASS will be actuarially solvent for 75 years before initiating the program. Sebelius found that she could not do so, writing in a letter to Congress: “Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.”
The problem is that an enrollee has to pay (relatively low) premiums for only five years before becoming eligible for full benefits, but the benefits themselves have no time limit.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC), a federal program that administers scholarships and loan repayment programs to government-approved medical professionals, has nearly tripled in size, the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department announced Thursday. During the announcement, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared that 20 percent of Americans live in "underserved" medical areas, and that NHSC ensures these populations have access to quality healthcare services. "When you don't have access to primary care, small health problems grow into big ones. Chronic conditions that could be managed spiral out of control," asserted Sebelius. "Here in America, no one should go with[out] the care they need just because of where they live."
To obtain a scholarship or loan repayment program, a student or physician must agree to provide medical, dental, or mental health services for individuals residing in areas where medical care is not freely available. Through the program, awards are dispersed to applicants who agree to practice in these government-administered territories and adhere to specific HHS guidelines.
Thanks to a generous conglomerate of taxpayer-funded resources — ObamaCare, the 2009 stimulus bill, and HHS budget appropriations — in 2011 HHS awarded 247 scholarships, totaling $46 million, and more than 5,400 loan repayment programs, adding up to $253 million.
A recent investigation uncovered evidence that senior officials in the Obama administration unabashedly used the landmark healthcare bill of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the prototype for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, popularly referred to as ObamaCare.
Newly obtained White House records reveal that ObamaCare was modeled after RomneyCare, which was enacted in 2006 and mandates that all Massachusetts residents purchase a government-approved minimum health insurance policy. In addition, when the Obama administration was crafting the ObamaCare legislation, it even consulted the same health care experts and advisors who helped the Republican Romney administration craft its version of socialized healthcare in 2006.
You knew it was coming. First they came for the cigarettes, then Hank Williams Jr. got knocked off Monday Night Football for not being politically correct, and now they’re coming for the butter.
Denmark, on October 1, put a $1.29 per pound tax on all foods that hit 2.3 percent in saturated fats. That’s on top of a 25 percent surcharge imposed last year by Denmark’s food police on all ice cream, candy, sugar, soft drinks and chocolate.
So now it’s cupcakes being added to Denmark’s targets for hiked taxes, plus bacon, whole milk, shortening, avocados, whipped cream, sausages, sardine oil, nuts, egg yolks, meat drippings, hydrogenated oils, seeds, cheese, dried coconut, cod liver oil and skin-on ducks.
And they’re not even that fat in Denmark. The obesity rate in Denmark is 13.4 percent, lower than the European average of 15.5 percent, and way lower than the obesity rate in United States — 33.8 percent for adults and 17.5 percent for children and adolescents aged 2 through 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the renegade Catholic who is not permitted to receive communion, told a group of abortion advocates that she joined them in being "at war” with Republicans on the abortion issue. Speaking before the radically pro-abortion organization NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League), Sebelius accused Republicans of trying to “roll back” women’s rights and the “progress” they have made during the sexual revolution.
House bill H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, would end ObamaCare abortion funding and restore the conscience clause.
Genetic scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation lab claimed a major breakthrough in early October, reporting that for the first time they had used cloning techniques to produce embryonic stem cells which contain the genes of specific individuals. “The cells weren’t normal,” the Los Angeles Times explained — ”they contained three sets of chromosomes: two from the adult cell and an extra from the egg. They would not be fit for use in stem cell therapies.” Nonetheless, continued the report, the controversial creation “marked a first in stem cell research and may point the way toward treatments for diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.”
One fellow stem cell researcher, Lawrence Goldstein of the University of California-San Diego, applauded the news, telling the Washington Post: “I think it will teach us a lot of how to control the generation of all the different cell types that we would like to study and use for therapy. I think it’s a really exciting development.”
But Daniel P. Sulmasy, a professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Chicago, pointed out that the researchers were toying with human life, a troubling reality. “They have created human embryos,” Sulmasy told the Washington Post.