Quality Indicators for People with Dementia

Here’s something new for pro-life Americans to be concerned with that showed up in the manager’s amendment to H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act; click here to download a copy.

A new section was added that should cause everyone to question where this so-called “health care reform bill” is heading. The new section is called “Quality Indicators for Care of People with Alzheimer’s Disease” [Sec. 1446].

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall develop quality indicators for the provision of medical services to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and plan for implementing the indicators to measure the quality of care provided for people with these conditions [Sec. 1446(a)].

Although the wording is ambiguous since this will be a plan that the secretary of Health and Human Services will be creating, it would appear that the services to be provided to patients with mental illnesses will be determined on the quality indicators that are developed. Will this mean that people with a “lesser” so-called “quality of life” be denied medical services? This is but one sign of the intended health care rationing to come if H.R. 3962 were to be enacted.

Meanwhile, an amendment was introduced by Representative John Boehner (OH) (click here to read it) in order to substitute H.R. 3962. It would strike everything after the enacting clause of H.R. 3962 and insert an entirely new bill. This amendment would codify a permanent ban on tax-payer funds from being used to fund abortions and it will codify a conscience protection clause.

The Boehner amendment would explicitly prohibit tax-payer funding of elective abortions, including any monies held in a trust fund to which tax-payer funds were deposited [Sec. 602 of Boehner amendment, amending Title 1 of the United States Code]. Additionally, the amendment would provide for conscience protection by stipulating a penalty for anyone or any entity which discriminates against an individual or any health care entity (e.g. a hospital) for their refusal to “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions” [Sec. 602 of Boehner amendment, amending Title 1 of the United States Code].

During the summer, Representative Bart Stupak (MI) and Representative Joseph Pitts (PA) submitted an amendment to H.R. 3200 that would explicitly ban usage of tax-payer funds for abortions (click here to read it). They would like to introduce the same amendment to H.R. 3962, but speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi (CA) is trying to push a “rule” so that there can be no vote on additional amendments to H.R. 3962.

Contact your representative today to tell them to support pro-life amendments and to vote NO on Speaker Pelosi’s rule that would ban a vote on pro-life amendments to H.R. 3962. You can find information on how to call your representative on the National Right to Life webpage by clicking here. This is imperative. The vote on Pelosi’s rule is expected to happen on Friday night (November 6) and the vote on the whole bill is expected to happen on Saturday night (November 7).

Biofuels and Health Care

The manager’s amendment to H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act was released last night; click here to download a copy.

After a quick review, I have not seen any changes to the parts of H.R. 3962 that deal with abortion. Therefore, tax-payer funded abortions and all the other concerns I have highlighted remain in the bill (e.g. see “Is Abortion Prohibited by H.R. 3962?“). No one knows for sure when the bill will be voted on, but now that the manager’s amendment has been introduced, the full vote can come as soon as Friday night (November 6).

But what I am really curious about is a new section added to H.R. 3962: “Second Generation Biofuel Producer Credit” [Sec. 555]. This new section will amend the Internal Revenue Code so that it covers tax credits for producers of biofuels.

Maybe it’s just me, but…shouldn’t a health care reform bill actually deal with health care reform? What in the world is a biofuel credit adjustment doing in something as important as this?

It’s not too late to contact your representative and tell them to stop the madness and work on real health insurance and tort reform. Click here to go to the National Right to Life website for more information on how to do this.

Health Plans Forced to Provide Assisted Suicide Counseling

Another little gem found in H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act involves the requirement for your health insurance plan to provide and pay for assisted suicide counseling.

Section 240 requires that all companies offering a qualified health benefits plan to “provide for the dissemination of information related to end-of-life planning to individuals seeking enrollment in Exchange-participating health benefits plans offered through the Exchange” [Sec. 240(a)(1)]. This section also explicitly states that the insurance company cannot promote suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing [Sec. 240(a)(3) and Sec. 240(d)(1)].

The problem is that this section does not “preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding advance care planning, palliative care, or end-of-life decision-making” [Sec. 240(d)(3)]. Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, does not consider their legislation to have allowed “suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.” Instead, they consider their legislation to have allowed patients to make a choice to face “death with dignity.” In fact, it is called the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, as is the Washington version passed into law last year.

Thus, your health insurance plan will now be required to promote and pay for “death with dignity” consultations in those states that have passed such legislation. Why is it that this bill is interested in promoting life-ending programs rather than life-saving or life-extending programs?

For more information on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, go to the Oregon Department of Human Services . For more information on Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, go to the Washington Department of Health.

H.R. 3962 is just plain wrong for America; it does not protect human life and our well-being at any age or any stage as it purports to do; instead it does exactly the opposite: it promotes death and the devaluation of human life.

It is imperative that you contact your senator or representative today via mail, phone calls, and emails. Go to the National Right to life for assistance with how to do this by clicking here.

[Corrected March 21, 2010]

Forced to Buy Health Insurance?

H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, includes this little gem:

Section 501 will amend Part VIII of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. If a taxpayer is not enrolled in a Health Insurance Exchange qualified health benefits plan at any time during the taxable year, then he will be charged “a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) [of the Internal Revenue Code] with respect to the taxpayer” [Sec. 501(a), amendment to Part VIII, subchapter A, chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code]. To see what 6012(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code is, click here .

Maybe it’s just me, but…it sounds dangerously “totalitarian” that my government thinks it has the right to tell me what I must buy – whether it’s a product or a service, like insurance, when it affects only me. According the US Census Bureau, 47 million Americans are uninsured; but many of those folks actually are eligible for health insurance but don’t know it through Medicaid or SCHIP and many of those folks actually choose not to have health insurance even though they can afford it. The American Spectator wrote that a Blue Cross Blue Shield study estimated that the actual number of uninsured Americans is really closer to 8.2 million; click here to see the article. More recently, the Wall Street Journal also publish an article questioning the number of uninsured Americans; click here to read the article.

Yes, we need to help those folks who truly can’t afford health insurance, but H.R. 3962 is not the answer since it includes legislation such as taxing people  (substitute the word “fine”) who don’t want to have health insurance for whatever reason; and taxing people who don’t to participate in a health plan that uses it’s conglomerate funds to pay for services that the person has moral or religious objections to.

HR 3962 – Tax Surcharge on High Income Earners

I spent most of the past four days reading and re-reading sections of H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act and have come across some surprising details. Click here to download a PDF version of the bill.

For example, Section 551 will amend Part VIII of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. If a taxpayer has a “modified adjusted gross income” that exceeds $1,000,000, he will be assessed a 5.4 percent surcharge on the amount over $1,000,000 [Sec. 551(a), amendment to Part VII, subchapter A, chapter 1, Internal Revenue Code]. And oh, by the way, this “shall not be treated as a change in a rate of tax” [Sec. 551(c)].

There is no stipulation in the bill that these funds would or would not be used for health insurance; that these funds would or would not be used to help pay for premiums to the public health insurance option for those who can’t afford it; or that these funds would or would not be used to help offset the start-up costs associated with the public option–set at $2 billion in H.R. 3962.

Maybe it’s just me, but…what in the world does this have to do with health care? And how does this help provide health insurance for those who are uninsured?

Contact your representatives today and tell them to stop HR 3962. Click here to go to the Susan B. Anthony List webpage to send a message to your elected officials.