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Grand Theft Healthcare

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 at 7:50 AM


Grand Theft Healthcare

by Stephen Lendman

Healthcare is about prioritizing health. Medical professionals say it's about maintaining, restoring and preserving it.

It's doing it through illness and disease prevention. It's obeying Hippocratic Oath principles. It's a sworn duty to heal.

It's about rendering treatments effectively. It's doing it responsibly. It's doing no harm.

Obamacare is polar opposite. Numerous previous articles explained. Marketplace medicine doesn't work.

Obamacare is a healthcare rationing scheme. It's a boon to predatory providers. It enriches insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains. It does so at the expense of proper care.

Bottom line priorities matter most. Healthcare industry crooks designed things this way. Obamacare is rife with disturbing inequities.

It's one of the greatest ever corporate scams. It's second only to Wall Street grand theft. It's a wealth transference scheme. More on this below.

Obamacare doesn't protect. It leaves millions uninsured. It leaves most others way underinsured.

It's unaffordable coverage. Millions of households have to pay 40% or more out-of-pocket. It's for co-pays and deductibles. It's on top of costly premiums.

US healthcare is by far the world's most expensive. It's double the cost in other developed countries. Virtually nothing is done to constrain annual price hikes.

Obamacare makes America's poor pay most, says Paul Craig Roberts. It makes them "reimburse Obamacare for the cost of their medical expenses."

Their home and other assets can be confiscated. Doing so is called estate recovery. It's not in Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. It's part of the 1993 Omnibus Reconciliation Act (OBRA).

It applies to Medicaid recipients. OBRA requires all states getting Medicare funding seek recovery from deceased Medicaid patients.

As Roberts explains, it's for "medical services received in a nursing home or other long-term care institution, home-and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services regardless of age."

It lets states recover Medicaid costs "at age 55 or older." They can do so through probate from bank accounts, other funds, and property.

As Roberts states, "even if you have a will, your heirs are chopped liver." Exceptions are too few to matter.

Obamacare determines who's "tossed" into Medicaid and who's not. It's no free lunch. It's a potential delayed ripoff.

It's a posthumous one. It affects deceased Medicaid recipients with assets. It's a "pernicious death tax," says Roberts. It affects America's most vulnerable.

Imagine harming them during struggling years. Imagine turning rest in peace into a convenient illusion.

Imagine a wealth transference scheme masquerading as healthcare. Imagine using it commit grand theft. Imagine denying proper treatment at the same time.

Imagine deception writ large. Estate recovery isn't an unintended Obamacare consequence, explains Roberts.

Congressional committees designed things this way. They did so in league with Obama. Millions of Americans are impoverished. Millions more border on destitution. They don't know what's potentially coming.

Obamacare mocks a fundamental human right. It does so to benefit bottom line priorities. It does it in more ways than people imagine.

It's a mandatory shakedown. Special interests alone benefit. It's corporate welfare writ large.

It mandates everyone buy coverage even if they can't afford it. Doing so makes neighborhood loan sharks look respectable by comparison.

ACA is whatever Obama says from day to day. Last year, he delayed a significant consumer protection. It limits out-of-pocket costs. They include co-pays and deductibles.

He delayed limitations until 2015. It lets insurers set higher limits. Some costs have none. It's a boon for higher profits. It's a consumer ripoff.

Obama acted secretly. He did so in a maze of legal/bureaucratic/mumbo jumbo language. It went largely unnoticed for months.

His latest diktat affects businesses with from 50 - 99 employees.

They have until 2016 to provide coverage for full-time workers before federal penalties for failure to comply kick in.

It's two years longer than originally touted. Perhaps he'll offer more grace time ahead. Maybe he'll give them as much time as they want.

Companies with 100 or more employees have a different type one-year grace period. Instead of requiring they provide 95% of coverage for full-time workers by 2015, it's now 70% to avoid being fined.

Manipulating Obamacare advantageously for business is one of its most outrageous practices.

Consumer ripoffs were written into the law. Diktat revisions add new ones. Maybe more secret ones exist yet to be revealed.

Consumers are denied concessions. Coverage is mandatory. Household without it face penalties. In 2014, it's per person up to 1% of family income, whichever is greater.

Fines increase sevenfold over the next two years. In 2016, it's 5 per person up to 2.5% of income, whichever is greater.

Exemptions apply for individuals and families without coverage less than three months a year.

Undocumented aliens are excluded. So are prisoners, members of recognized Native American tribes, and people with income deemed too low.

If lowest-cost coverage exceeds 8% of household income, obtaining it isn't required. Certain religious sects are exempt. So is belonging to a recognized health-sharing ministry.

Obama granted hundreds of companies, organizations and Congress exemptions. One-year time frames may become two, three or longer.

Perhaps exemptions will be permanent. Privileged favorites get what ordinary Americans are denied.

Congressional members and staffs get healthcare through Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) coverage. It affords dozens of options. It lets them choose what's best for them.

It subsidizes 70% of premiums. It does so tax free. For an additional fee, congressional members (excluding family members) can get special on-site Washington area military hospital Attending Physician treatment.

Obamacare's Section 1312 says the following:

"(T)he only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are, (1) created under (ACA); or (2) offered through an exchange established under this act."

At the same time, congressional members, their families and staffs qualify for tax-exempt subsidies. They're afforded special benefits denied ordinary Americans.

Inequities define Obamacare. What better argument for single-payer fairness. Universal coverage alone works.

Healthcare is a human right. Everyone needing care should get it. Affordability shouldn't be an issue. Obamacare sacrifices health on the alter of corporate profits.

The latest employer mandate delay suggests more special benefits for business ahead. Tens of millions of ordinary Americans are adversely affected.

Obamacare calls anyone working 30 hours or more full-time. Businesses failing to provide coverage face fines up to ,000 per employee.

They game the system to avoid it. They prioritize hiring temporary or part-time workers. They avoid full-time ones as much as possible.

They cut benefits to the bone. Employees are increasingly on their to pay for what used to be company-provided.

Obamacare sticker shock awaits them. Millions can't afford what they have to buy. Employers get one waiver after another.

Republicans seized on the latest announcement. It's unfair to have two-track policies. What business gets adversely affects most people.

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R. MI) said:

"If unilateral delays were an Olympic sport, the White House would sweep the gold, silver and bronze."

"The White House is in full panic mode, and rather than putting politics ahead of the public, it is time for fairness for all."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) said:

"The White House seems to have a new exemption from its failed law for different groups each month."

"It's time to extend that exemption to families and individuals - not just businesses."

House Speaker John Boehner (R. OH) accused Obama of "rewriting (ACA) on a whim."

"If (he) doesn't believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to?"

ACA originally made employer mandate provisions effective January 1. It's when most Americans must have coverage.

Companies with more than 50 employees must provide coverage for individuals working 30 or more hours a week.

Insurance must cover core benefits. It must be affordable. It's defined as premiums costing no more than 9.5% of employees' income.

Companies can't force workers to obtain coverage. They're not fined for those refusing to do so.

Many details remain unclear. Exactly what benefits companies have to provide needs explaining.

Obama complicates things by shifting the goal posts. What else does he have in mind? What other surprises await consumers?

Administration officials said they'll issue separate rules in coming weeks. They'll cover how employers must report their workers' coverage status.

Obama's new postponement says more about a giant corporate scam. Workers without coverage are adversely affected.

Delaying what companies are supposed to provide denies what employees deserve to have.

It bears repeating. Single-payer universal coverage alone works. Medicare without strings for all. Everyone in. No one left out.

Healthcare is a fundamental human right. It's high time Washington treated it that way. All Americans deserve no less.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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