This website provides readers an historical perspective on the evolution of various healthcare laws and regulations affecting healthcare freedom and privacy.
For updated information about healthcare freedom and privacy issues, visit Citizens' Council for Health Freedom's website www.healthcarefreedom.us
Browse by Topic
Newsletter

Health Freedom Watch
July 2008

Contents:

Physicians Group Pushes Single-Payer Bill in Congress

The 15,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) has launched a blog to push for a single-payer health system in the United States.

The group's national coordinator, Dr. Quentin Young, said that “In this election year, our members felt we needed to enhance the timeliness of informed commentary on the worsening [health-care] crisis and on the only effective remedy—a single-payer plan, which would guarantee comprehensive, quality care for all” (emphasis added).

The new blog will regularly track support for H.R. 676, a single-payer bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and 90 others.

Dr. Young stressed, “Our aim is to provide a lively but well-grounded source of news and commentary on the hot topics of the day, trying to cut through some of the fog and myths that often accompany discussions of health care reform. We hope our readers will join in the dialogue.”  The blog is at http://www.pnhp.org/blog/.

Source:

[Back to Contents]


What Every American Should Know About Single-Payer H.R. 676

While well-intentioned people are pushing for single-payer health care in the U.S., it’s important to view the plan from the perspective of patients’ choice and providers’ freedom. Here are some serious consequences that would result from enactment of H.R. 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act”:

  • Mandatory Participation. Single-payer health insurance would be mandatory for everyone living in the U.S.  There is no opt-out provision for individuals and families that do not want to use the public-reimbursement system for covered health-care services (which include most medical care). 
  • Mandatory Registration.  Individuals and families would be required to fill out a United States National Health Insurance application at a health-care facility.  Anyone who sought health care but had not registered would have to do so upon seeking treatment.
  • Outlaws Private Insurance for Covered Services.  H.R. 676 states, “It is unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.”  Thus, it would be illegal not to use national health insurance for these covered services:

    • chiropractic care
    • dental care (other than cosmetic dentistry)
    • prescription drugs (brand and generic)
    • eye care (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes)
    • emergency care
    • hearing services (including hearing aids)
    • hospital/inpatient care
    • long-term care
    • medical equipment
    • mental-health services/psychotherapy
    • obstetrics/gynecologic services
    • outpatient services
    • primary care and prevention
    • substance-abuse treatment services
  • Limited Choice of Physicians and Other Clinicians. The bill reads, “Patients shall have free choice of participating physicians and other clinicians, hospitals, and inpatient care facilities” (emphasis added).  However, choice of nonparticipating physicians (private physicians) would be limited because, as noted, private insurance for covered services would be illegal. Consider the following scenario:
    • A number of frequently sought-after physicians decide not to participate in the government's health-payment system.
    • It is illegal for health insurers to sell private policies to individuals to pay for covered services.
    • Individuals won't have private coverage to pay the nonparticipating physicians (private physicians) for covered services.

It is well understood that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”  Thus the only way to guarantee true patient choice and provider freedom is to make sure that no law interferes with patients’ freedom to pay privately and with providers’ legal right to accept private payment. 

As it stands, H.R. 676 clearly restricts Americans’ liberty to manage their private health-care matters.  

##

Source: H.R. 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act” (also known as the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act”). To read the complete bill, visit the congressional legislative database http://thomas.loc.gov and search for bill number H.R. 676.

[Back to Contents]



Excerpts from H.R. 676

Unforeseen Consequence

Bill Text Excerpts

Mandatory Participation; No Opt-Out Provision

TITLE I--ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS
SEC. 101. ELIGIBILITY AND REGISTRATION.

(a) In General- All individuals residing in the United States (including any territory of the United States) are covered under the USNHI [United States National Health Insurance] Program entitling them to a universal, best quality standard of care. Each such individual shall receive a card with a unique number in the mail…. [Emphasis added]

Requirement for  Individuals/Families to Register With a Health-Care Provider; or Must Complete Application Upon Seeking Services

TITLE I--ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS
SEC. 101. ELIGIBILITY AND REGISTRATION.

(b) Registration- Individuals and families shall receive a United States National Health Insurance Card in the mail, after filling out a United States National Health Insurance application form at a health care provider….[Emphasis added.]

(c) Presumption- Individuals who present themselves for covered services from a participating provider shall be presumed to be eligible for benefits under this Act, but shall complete an application for benefits in order to receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and have payment made for such benefits. [Emphasis added.]

Prohibits Private Health Insurance for Covered Services (Most Health Care) 

TITLE I--ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS
SEC. 104. PROHIBITION AGAINST DUPLICATING COVERAGE.

(a) In General- It is unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.

(b) Construction- Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the sale of health insurance coverage for any additional benefits not covered by this Act, such as for cosmetic surgery or other services and items that are not medically necessary. [Emphasis added.]

Prohibits Private Payment for Covered Services (Most Health Care) 

TITLE I--ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS
SEC. 102. BENEFITS AND PORTABILITY.

(a) In General- The health insurance benefits under this Act cover all medically necessary services, including at least the following:

(1) Primary care and prevention.
(2) Inpatient care.
(3) Outpatient care.
(4) Emergency care.
(5) Prescription drugs.
(6) Durable medical equipment.
(7) Long term care.
(8) Mental health services.
(9) The full scope of dental services (other than cosmetic dentistry).
(10) Substance abuse treatment services.
(11) Chiropractic services.
(12) Basic vision care and vision correction (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes).
(13) Hearing services, including coverage of hearing aids.

(b) Portability- Such benefits are available through any licensed health care clinician anywhere in the United States that is legally qualified to provide the benefits.

(c) No Cost-Sharing- No deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing shall be imposed with respect to covered benefits. [Emphasis added.]

Limits Choice by Prohibiting Private Coverage for Non-participating Physicians 

TITLE I--ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS
SEC. 103. QUALIFICATION OF PARTICIPATING PROVIDERS.

(a) Requirement To Be Public or Non-Profit-

(1) IN GENERAL- No institution may be a participating provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit institution.

(2) CONVERSION OF INVESTOR-OWNED PROVIDERS- Investor-owned providers of care opting to participate shall be required to convert to not-for-profit status.

(3) COMPENSATION FOR CONVERSION- The owners of such investor-owned providers shall be compensated for the actual appraised value of converted facilities used in the delivery of care.

(4) FUNDING- There are authorized to be appropriated from the Treasury such sums as are necessary to compensate investor-owned providers as provided for under paragraph (3).

(5) REQUIREMENTS- The conversion to a not-for-profit health care system shall take place over a 15-year period, through the sale of U.S. Treasury Bonds. Payment for conversions under paragraph (3) shall not be made for loss of business profits, but may be made only for costs associated with the conversion of real property and equipment.

(b) Quality Standards-

(1) IN GENERAL- Health care delivery facilities must meet regional and State quality and licensing guidelines as a condition of participation under such program, including guidelines regarding safe staffing and quality of care.

(2) LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS- Participating clinicians must be licensed in their State of practice and meet the quality standards for their area of care. No clinician whose license is under suspension or who is under disciplinary action in any State may be a participating provider.

(c) Participation of Health Maintenance Organizations-

(1) IN GENERAL- Non-profit health maintenance organizations that actually deliver care in their own facilities and employ clinicians on a salaried basis may participate in the program and receive global budgets or capitation payments as specified in section 202.

(2) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS- Other health maintenance organizations, including those which principally contract to pay for services delivered by non-employees, shall be classified as insurance plans. Such organizations shall not be participating providers, and are subject to the regulations promulgated by reason of section 104(a) (relating to prohibition against duplicating coverage).

(d) Freedom of Choice- Patients shall have free choice of participating physicians and other clinicians, hospitals, and inpatient care facilities. [Emphasis added.]

[Note:  But how can individuals exercise their freedom of choice of non-participating physicians, if private health insurance is outlawed for covered services?]


Source: H.R. 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act” (also known as the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act”). To read the complete bill, visit the congressional legislative database http://thomas.loc.gov and search for bill number H.R. 676.

[Back to Contents]


Health Freedom Watch is published by the Insitute for Health Freedom. Editor: Sue Blevins; Assistant Editor: Deborah Grady. Copyright 2008 Institute for Health Freedom.