One “Fishy” Email Is Why I Got Involved

One “fishy” email is why I joined this forum and started this blog:

 Last week I thought the health care debate was just another politics as usual thing until a friend emailed me about what the healthcare bill actually says.

 Reading the email I thought – this can’t be true – the American public would never allow this amount of government intrusion into their private lives – my friend is just forwarding an email without knowing the facts. But this didn’t make sense, he’s someone who I trust and respect – I’ve gotten bogus, made up emails before but never from him.

 So I decided to look through the text of the bill for myself and check a few points – I could not believe it – what my trusted friend was saying was true.  I thought, no wonder the democrats didn’t want this thing being read and if they pull this one off, it will be the most far reaching government intrusion into the lives of private citizens in US history.

 I scrolled through the bill and learned it was not just about “reading the bill”.  Many references were to other laws and regulations we already have. I knew from my personal experience in writing specifications for private industry, the changing of one word can change the entire meaning of what’s written and I suspect when it comes to government regulations, the changing an “or” to an “and” could cost billions.

 I also knew that one person was not responsible for writing the bill and that like other bills, it was the work of many special interest groups willing to contribute to political campaigns in exchange for (wink wink) well, you know.  I thought it would be nice to know who the special interests were, what they wrote and what’s in it for them. But that’s the subject of another post: Make the Behind the Scenes Health Care Reform Documents Public.

 Besides knowing who was responsible for writing the bill, I also wanted to know who would be responsible under the bill after it became law. So I searched the .pdf document for the word “duties” (you can do this for yourself) and again, I couldn’t believe what I found out for myself.  Here’s what I found:

 A new Health Benefits Advisory Committee would be formed made up of:

 The Surgeon General – appointed by the Obama;

(A) 9 (non-Federal employee) members appointed by Obama;

(B) 9 members appointed by Comptroller General who is – appointed by Obama;

(C) Additional (Federal employee) members (up to eight) – appointed by Obama.

 A new executive branch agency (under Obama) would be created called the Health Choices Administration headed by a Health Choices Commissioner that is (you guessed it) – appointed by Obama.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner shall establish its own plan standards, establish and operate the Health Insurance Exchange, determine the eligibility and administrate individual affordability credits and more.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner would also determine the frequency of and conduct audits (of plans that compete with the Government Plan it oversees) and determine the amount of the audit fees it charges and charge those fees to the competing audited plans.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner would collect data to determine how well itself is doing and “may” share data with the Obama appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner would issue sanctions against those not in compliance with the standards it sets (for plans that may compete with the Government Plan it oversees).

 The Obama appointed Commissioner would provide the standard definitions for medical and other words used in health insurance coverage.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner would issue its own regulations to carry out its own duties.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner shall “consult with” (definition: to ask the advice or opinion of) others in carrying out Commissioner’s duties.

 The Obama appointed Commissioner shall appoint a Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman to receive complaints from individuals regarding the Plan overseen by itself.

 There shall be a “Special Inspector General” to oversee and “protect the integrity of” the Health Insurance Exchange, as well as the health and welfare of participants in the Exchange that is also Obama appointed.

 The Obama appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services would appoint an ombudsman for the public health insurance option.

 The Obama appointed Secretary would also establish a new Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

 The Center would be overseen by a new commission appointed by  the Obama appointed Secretary.

 The Center would be overseen by a new commission appointed by  the Obama appointed Secretary.

 Of course the Center and Commission would be subject to periodic audit by the Obama appointed Comptroller General.

 The Commission may appoint an Executive Director (subject to the approval of the Obama appointed Secretary).

 All people are directly or indirectly appointed by Obama.

 I put all the above into an email together with footnotes referencing where the text was in the bill.  I was going to email my friend but first I wanted to email it to myself to see how it was formatted and read, but after I sent it, I didn’t receive it. A half hour went by and still no email. I sent it again – nothing.

 I am not a “big brother”, conspiracy type but I thought maybe the number of times Obama was mentioned caused my email to be intercepted or something. So I took all the same info and made it into a .jpg photo, attached it to a new email, sent it and it went right through.  The original text emails finally arrived one hour and fifteen minutes and an hour and a half later.

 I dismissed the above as a glitch or maybe it was a national security red flag type of thing – so what, whatever.  Now with the White House collecting “fishy” emails, I wonder what’s up.

 Anyway I’ve called my representatives only to hear the same canned answers. I’ve seen people’s honest concerns ignored – all to push something through that if people knew how it affects them, they would not want it.  I have talked to my democratic friends and they don’t even want it. Many are learning that the hope and change that they thought they voted for – is not what they’re getting. 

 Words like transparency and eliminating conflicts of interest are just words if they are not structurally part of the process. Transparency is not crafting behind the scenes legislation involving special interests without letting the public in on what it is and how it will affect them.  Transparency is not ignoring citizens questions by calling them angry mobs or paid political operatives of the insurance industry.  Eliminating conflicts of interest, doesn’t mean including the words in the bill itself while structuring it so that one person appoints everybody; or that the person in charge of running the government plan also oversees and has the power to regulate and sanction private plans; or the person to receive complaints from citizens about the government plan is actually hired by and reports to the same person running the government plan.  This is crazy.

 I don’t believe the answer to our health care and insurance problems is to rework the whole thing and put it under government control or the appointments of one person, I don’t care if that person is republican or democrat. Fix what’s broken and leave the rest alone. Hopefully the fishy email I sent to my trusted friend will find its way to the White House and genuine citizen concerns are no longer ignored.

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