Although this has been covered previously here at US Conservative Politics & Perspectives, the mainstream press still seems confused regarding the obscure language of the "Administrative Simplification" section of the original ObamaCare legislation, making it necessary to revisit the bill, refute the media's false conclusions and re-assert the claims made by this bill's opponents regarding some of its more overreaching aspects.
Let's hope it's confusion, anyway; because if not, that means at least two major news networks -- both well-known for their liberal bias -- are acting as outright shills for President Barack Obama's administration.
There is no doubt that certain arguments against the legislation are unfounded. For example, the so-called "death panels" to which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin referred recently are actually amendments to Title XVII of the Medicare portion of the Social Security Act, outlining reimbursement provisions for services associated with end-of-life-counseling.
Nevertheless, the language is unclear enough to create fear and loathing that is legitimate. Recalling that this is falling under the category of "Definition of Services" and "Medical and Other Services" in Medicare, it raises the questioned about why this language was included at all. There's really only one reason that makes sense. Consults every five years are going to be required (mandatory) if patients want to receive Medicare reimbursement for associated services, and when end-of-life decisions become imminent, more consultations will be required if reimbursements are to be made regarding end-of-life treatment. It may not mean "death panels," but the language is obscure enough to raise the question about the participatory nature of the consults. The bottom line: if they're not mandatory, why are these consults included in the bill at all?
Back to the bank account stuff.
This article at CNN.com uses the news network's so-called "truth-squad" to dispel the notion that the House bill provides the federal government with real-time access to the bank accounts of "individuals." Their verdict (False. The provision cited doesn't affect individuals, but companies involved in medical billing.),is reckless in its misinformation.
For the sake of clarity, it is important to note that this part of the bill updates Title XI of the Social Security Act, and once again cite the page number, section and subsection of the ObamaCare plan that spells this out. It is called "Administrative Simplification" (Section 163) and Subsection 1173A of this measure, "Standardize Electronic Transactions" has a provision (a)(2)(B) that ensures that this new governmental power:
"be authoritative, permitting no additions or constraints for electronic transactions ..." (C) "be comprehensive, efficient and robust, requiring minimal augmentation by paper transactions or clarification by further communications;" and, finally, (D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;" ... (E) "enable, where feasible, near real-time adjudication of claims ..." (Emphasis added)
According to President Barack Obama, there are several versions of the bill now in existence. If this is indeed the case, (so far, I've only been able to find and read one) it is possible that this language has been clarified to strike out all references to the individual. As it stands, however, the language in the current version of the House bill clearly indicates that the authority of the government pertains to "individuals" not providers, physicians or insurers.
In fact, this is so clearly defined in the bill, that on page 64, the language for "operating rules" (which regulate the "using and processing [of] transactions") is changed in a related section to add the phrase "on behalf of an individual." Combine the two, and you have the government paying for services on behalf of an individual from the individual's account.
The most disturbing aspect of this part of the bill, as I've mentioned before is the lack of language outlining any sort of authorization on the part of the individual.
In my previous post (linked to above), I mentioned that the Democrats and Obama would scoff off any notion of the federal government dipping into individual's accounts without permission. This is indeed what has happened. If the bill had some sort of measure in it that explicitly describes the authorization process, perhaps conservatives wouldn't feel quite so paranoid about what this legislation has in store for them.
Obama and Congressional Democrats would be wise to scrap this version of the health insurance reform plan and start over from scratch, this time working incrementally with conservative Republicans on some basic reforms that include changes in tort law and the promotion of competition across the health care industry as the foundations for change.
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