DEMOCRATS CONTINUE TO SHRED OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: Nation’s Top Hospitals Opt Out of Obamacare

Guest post by Tori Richards

The Obama administration has been claiming that insurance companies will be competing for your dollars under the Affordable Care Act, but apparently they haven’t surveyed the nation’s top hospitals.

Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare.

“This doesn’t surprise me,” said Gail Wilensky, Medicare director for the first Bush administration and senior fellow for Project HOPE. “There has been an incredible amount of focus on the premium cost and subsidy, and precious little focus on what you get for your money.”

Regulations driven by the Obama White House indeed have made insurance more affordable – if, like Kathleen Sebelius, you’re looking only at price. But responding to Obamacare caps on premiums, many insurers will, in turn, simply offer top-tier doctors and hospitals far less cash for services rendered.

Watchdog.org looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014. We contacted each hospital to determine their contracts and talked to several insurance companies, as well.

The result of our investigation: Many top hospitals are simply opting out of Obamacare.

Chances are the individual plan you purchased outside Obamacare would allow you to go to these facilities. For example, fourth-ranked Cleveland Clinic accepts dozens of insurance plans if you buy one on your own. But go through Obamacare and you have just one choice: Medical Mutual of Ohio.

And that’s not because their exchanges don’t offer options. Both Ohio and California have a dozen insurance companies on their exchanges, yet two of the states’ premier hospitals — Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — have only one company in their respective networks.

A few, like No. 1-rated Johns Hopkins in Maryland, are mandated under state law to accept all insurance companies. Other than that, the hospital with the largest number of insurance companies is University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland with just four. Fully 11 of the 18 hospitals had just one or two carriers.

“Many companies have selectively entered the exchanges because they are concerned that (the exchanges) will be dominated by risky, high-using populations who wanted insurance (before Obamacare) and couldn’t afford it,” said Wilsensky, who is also on the board of directors of UnitedHealth. “They are pressed to narrow their networks to stay within the premiums.”

Consumers, too, will struggle with the new system. Many exchanges don’t even list the insurance companies on their web sites. Some that do, like California, don’t provide names of doctors or hospitals.

The price differences among hospitals “can be pretty profound,” said Joe Mondy, spokesman for Cigna insurance. “When you are doing a cost comparison with doctors, you should look up the quality of the hospital as well. Hospital ‘Y’ could be great at pediatrics and not great at surgery.”

Insurers operating in the exchanges apparently are hesitant to talk about the trade-off between price and quality. Two of the nation’s largest insurers — Wellpoint and Aetna — refused to respond to a dozen calls and emails placed during the course of a week.

Wellpoint and Aetna’s decision to not educate the public on its choices doesn’t sit well with two experts.

“There is no reason to keep that quiet. It’s not going to be a good secret for very long when people want to use the plans,” Wilensky said.

“In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are included in their Obamacare exchange plans,” said Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the think tank Foundation for Government Accountability. “These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it.”

All of this represents a larger problem with the Affordable Care Act, said Archambault, who has studied the law extensively.

“It reflects deeper issues in implementation,” he said. “Some hospitals and doctors don’t even know if they are in the network.”

Just look at Seattle Children’s Hospital, which ranks No. 11 on the U.S. News & World Report best pediatric hospital list. When Obamacare rolled out, the hospital found itself with just two out of seven insurance companies on Washington’s exchange. The hospital sued the state’s Office of Insurance on Oct. 4 for “failure to ensure adequate network coverage.”

“Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in King County and the preeminent provider of many pediatric specialty services in the Northwest,” a hospital news release said. “ Some of these specialized services not available elsewhere in our area or region include acute cancer care, level IV neonatal intensive care and heart, liver and intestinal transplantation.”

And for doctors in Texas, “Basically, we don’t know,” said Stephen Brotherton, president of the Texas Medical Association. “We can’t find out. At this point, it’s part of the various unknowns with the marketplace. There are ways you can be on plans and not even realize it.”

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in U.S. News & World Report.

Contact Tori Richards at tori@watchdog.org or on twitter @newswriter2.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Secretary of State John Kerry Just Signed United Nations Arms Treaty That Could Dismantle the Second Amendment

Guest post by Investors Business Daily

Second Amendment: The Senate is unlikely to ratify a United Nations arms treaty signed by John Kerry, but gun control zealots will use it as justification for “common sense” infringements on our constitutional right.

The secretary of state signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday despite repeated indications that it would be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate. One warning was a letter from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., that said the treaty would be rejected just like “other U.N.-sponsored treaties which threaten our country’s sovereignty.”

Inhofe reminded Kerry that the pact would “collect dust alongside the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Kyoto Protocol, to name a few, which have all been rejected by the U.S. Senate and the American people.”

Earlier this year, Inhofe introduced an amendment to a budget proposal that would prevent the U.S. from entering into the U.N. arms treaty in order to uphold the Second Amendment. His amendment passed 53-46.

So why sign a treaty that the Senate won’t ratify into law and which some argue won’t affect domestic gun rights anyway?

Because it will give the president cover to do on gun control what he does so well on other issues — ignore Congress, the Constitution and we the people so he can govern by regulation and executive order.

The treaty will also give state and local governments an argument to restrict gun rights at the local level, despite the recent electoral smack down of two anti-gun legislators in Colorado. It will, as well, provide the courts, which are increasingly prone to take foreign laws and treaties as relevant, with leverage against the Second Amendment.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and it might be time for gun rights supporters to be vigilant. This treaty matters. Article 5 of the Arms Trade Treaty requires signatories to set up a “National Control List.” Country leaders who sign the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list,” which sounds suspiciously like national gun registration.

The text of the treaty also “encourages” nations to “apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms,” causing gun rights advocates to fear that regulators will seek to limit not just so-called assault weapon ownership, but handguns and hunting rifles as well.

Trade in weapons under the treaty is to be refused to “unauthorized end use, including to individuals and groups who would commit terrorist acts.” We have noted that a paper from the U.N.’s Coordinating Action on Small Arms says that arms have been “misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade therefore be regulated in ways that would …. minimize the misuse of legally owned weapons.”

Would defending your home against intruders, or U.S. laws permitting concealed carry, be considered a “misuse”?

As the Heritage Foundation notes, imported firearms, considered part of the “arms trade” to be regulated, constitute about 35% of the new firearms market in the U.S.

“Under the guise of adopting what it deems to be ‘appropriate measures,’ an administration could restrict imports by redefining what qualifies as a ‘sporting’ firearm — the definition of which is left completely to the discretion of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” Heritage reports.

As we’ve said before, the U.S. is one of few countries that has anything like a Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers enshrined the right to bear arms in recognition of it being the ultimate bulwark against tyrannical government. The fact that an organization full of tyrants, dictators, thugs and gross human rights violators wants to control small arms worldwide is hardly a surprise.

Somehow, assurances that this treaty won’t violate our constitutional protections — from an administration that constantly tries to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights — does not reassure us.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily

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Doug Ross @ Journal

World Citizen Asks United Nations to Disarm America: “The World Cannot Stand Idly By”

world-citizen

(Pictured: Henry Porter, World Citizen)

In his latest article, London Observer writer Henry Porter denigrates American gun owners by calling us insane and requests the assistance of the United Nations to “disarm the irrational rustics.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many world citizens, as well as about 52% of Americans who participated in a recent Huffington Post poll.

Via Kurt Nimmo of Infowars:

Outside of the United States, where the idea of self-ownership and the natural right of self-defense is at best a dismal concept, members of the corporatized media are calling for armed intervention to put an end to the Second Amendment.

“But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention?” writes Henry Porter of the London Observer. “As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.”

Mr. Porter proudly notes that Britons long ago dispensed with English Common Law – apparently including its precedent, the Magna Carta – and insists that the right to bear arms is an antiquated idea akin to holding slaves.

“Half the country is sane and rational while the other half simply doesn’t grasp the inconsistencies and historic lunacy of its position, which springs from the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and is derived from English common law and our 1689 Bill of Rights,” he writes. “We dispensed with these rights long ago, but American gun owners cleave to them with the tenacity that previous generations fought to continue slavery.”

Maybe the United Nations can be sent in to disarm the irrational rustics. “This has reached the point where it has ceased to be a domestic issue. The world cannot stand idly by.”

If Mr. Porter had it his way he’d deploy a United Nations force of armed military personnel to the United States for the sole purpose of disarming law abiding Americans.

What Mr. Porter apparently doesn’t understand is that the Second Amendment is the very backstop for people like him, who would violate the natural laws of self preservation and property rights by use of force.

Rather than claiming that we fight for our right to bear arms with the tenacity of slave owners, I like to think we fight for this right with the same tenacity that we fought British imperial rule in the late 1700′s. But Mr. Porter didn’t want to make that analogy, for obvious reasons.

Mr. Porter, I will be the very first American to surrender my weapon to you… from my cold dead heads.

My good friend and Army veteran Ed Thomas who has spent many months in a war zone, and who is also the editor of The Daily Sheeple, has a similar message, and one he recently tattooed on his arm expressly for the purpose of informing people like Mr. Porter and other world citizens who have any skewed ideas about how easy such a gun grab might be:

ed-molon-labe

 Come and Take It, Mr. Porter.


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