The Health Care Plan That Promises to Protect Your Religious Beliefs

With open enrollment for Obamacare now open, one health care organization is encouraging people to purchase insurance coverage that respects their conscience and religious beliefs.

CMF CURO, a Catholic living health care ministry offered by the Christ Medicus Foundation, gives customers coverage consistent with Catholic teachings, according to its website.

The organization hosted a panel Wednesday in the District of Columbia metro area featuring representatives from both the legal and medical profession.

“It’s open enrollment and millions of Americans will be making decisions for themselves about what health care program to choose,” said Louis Brown, director of CMF CURO. “We are here today to urge people of goodwill to make health care choices that respect life and human dignity.”

Brown said that it is the group’s goal for Americans across the country to choose plans “consistent with the culture of life.”

>>> Catholic Health Care Sharing Ministry Looks to Expand With Advent of New Obamacare Enrollment

While the Obamacare mandate is viewed in many respects as a negative presence in the health care industry, moderator Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large for National Review Online, said that it has strengthened the resolve of what health care is, specifically Catholic health care.

“One of the blessings of the Obamacare mandate is that it has forced us to look at the question, ‘What is Catholic health care now?’” Lopez said.

Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, the president for the Catholic Medical Association, said that Obamacare has essentially done the opposite of what it promised to do.

“Forty-six percent of uninsured adults say that they tried to get coverage, but could not afford it,” Ruppersberger said. “The miss-insurance of America is a universal phenomenon. This crisis is affecting the parent-physician relationship.”

According to Ruppersberger, he believes the Catholic Church is well-equipped to have a massive impact in the health care market.

“The Catholic Church is the largest provider of health care outside of the U.S.,” Ruppersberger said. “The [Catholic] Church manages 26 percent of the world’s health care.”

The challenge, according to Ruppersberger, is to create new incentives that work for families and individuals so that they can make decisions based on their conscience.

Ruppersberger believes there are six primary tenets to achieving this goal:

  • First is individual ownership of insurance. Ruppersberger said that customized plans help individuals get exactly what they want and cut out unnecessary fluff.
  • Second is freedom from health insurance mandates. Due to the fact that so many are losing coverage because of Obamacare, freedom from mandates allows people to keep plans that are consistent with their needs and desires.
  • Third is the ability to choose private health care policies. Ruppersberger referenced the fact that congressmen are able to choose their own health care plans.
  • Fourth is the usage of health care savings accounts, which can allow individuals to save money for a time when they may experience a medical emergency.
  • Fifth is the protection of conscience rights. Ruppersberger said that health care providers should never be forced to violate their conscience when caring for a patient.
  • Sixth, and finally, Ruppersberger said he would support experimenting in diocesan, or explicitly Catholic, insurance plans. He would even consider developing a national health care plan that would respect the conscience rights of people of faith.

Dr. Marguerite Duane, a board-certified family physician and adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University, said she believes the crisis in the health care community stems from the fact that the industry is grossly overpriced.

“Most of our health care costs don’t actually cover health care,” Duane said. “It covers the administrative bureaucracy within health care.”

The solution to this problem, according to Duane, is to offer the option of a direct primary care program that “restores the physician-patient relationship.”

Direct primary care, Duane said, removes red tape and makes the doctor-patient relationship extraordinarily efficient.

“When you actually spend time with your patients and get bureaucracy out of the waiting room … direct primary care works for everyone. It can be affordable,” Duane said.

Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said he believes the issues of physician-assisted suicide play a significant role in the health care debate.

“In states where physician-assisted suicide is legal,” Bowman said, “patients with terminal illnesses are forced to see doctors who think death and life are options.”

Due to the high stakes of a new Congress taking over after the election, Brown, the CMF CURO director, emphasized that the health care debate is critically important regarding matters of religious freedom.

“We are losing our religious freedom at an amazing speed,” Brown said. “The issue of religious freedom is so important because it determines who people really are. As Americans, we are a people of freedom and a people of life … religious freedom is the first freedom.”

The post The Health Care Plan That Promises to Protect Your Religious Beliefs appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Taxpayer Subsidies Won’t Fix Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act has a serious “affordability” problem.

For President Barack Obama, the latest round of insurance cost hikes once again undercut his iconic—and repetitive—promise: Obamacare would not only control, but actually reduce (by $2,500 annually) the “typical” family’s health care costs. Recent liberal policy proposals would make the health care cost problem even worse.

In fact, the 2017 premium rate shock—health insurance exchange premiums jumping by 25 percent on average nationwide—is only part of a bigger emerging story. The higher exchange premiums generate heavier taxpayer subsidies.

It’s true, of course, that heavy taxpayer subsidies insulate eligible enrollees from the impact of the rising costs. But these premium subsidies do nothing to alter the underlying dynamics driving those costs upward. It’s not that they just hide or paper over the cost increases, they fuel them.

>>> Obamacare Premiums Will Rise by Double Digits Next Year

If one wants more of anything, including higher health care costs, just subsidize it.

For people enrolled in the health care exchanges, with annual incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line (between $11,770 and $47,080), the taxpayer subsidies will pick up a progressively larger share of the insurance premium costs as one goes down the income scale.

For a person enrolled in the exchange with an income that exceeds $29,425, there is no taxpayer premium subsidy; not surprisingly these folks have avoided the costly exchanges like the plague.

Likewise, the projected 2017 exchange deductibles are breathtaking. For the lowest-cost bronze plan, a single person will face an average deductible of $6,000 and a family will face a deductible of $12,393. For a silver plan, the standard plan in the exchanges, the average deductible is $3,572 for a single person, and $7,474 for family coverage. If a single person has an annual income above 250 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,425, there is no cost-sharing subsidy.

Instead of eliminating Obamacare provisions that drive health care cost increases, such as the excessive mandates and insurance regulations, the administration’s allies are proposing radical remedies that will fuel even higher health care costs.

These proposals will guarantee even bigger health care subsidies, higher taxes, and heavier spending. In other words, ignore the law’s design flaws. And forget about cost control altogether: Just throw more taxpayer money at higher health insurance costs.

Exhibit A: A liberal state reform. Minnesota’s Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, says the Obamacare exchange plans are “no longer affordable,” and so he wants the state’s taxpayers to subsidize Minnesota’s exchange enrollees. The additional cost to Minnesota taxpayers would be about $313 million.

Exhibit B: A liberal federal reform. On top of the Affordable Care Act’s generous insurance premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, Hillary Clinton would add a third subsidy to offset out-of-pocket medical costs that exceed 5 percent of a person’s income.

The new subsidy would be worth $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a family. Analysts with the Commonwealth Fund, a prominent liberal think tank, note that the proposed subsidy would be available to anybody with a private health plan, inside or outside of the exchange.

They report that the proposed subsidy would apply to 177.5 million people, increase overall insurance coverage by 10 million people, and add an estimated $90 billion to the deficit in 2018.

>>> Americans Face Fewer Obamacare Choices, Higher Premiums in 2017

The next administration and Congress must clean up this mess. Liberals in Congress can depend upon an impressive army of “progressive” health policy experts, working diligently in social science laboratories the length and breadth of the land.

But don’t expect anything new and different, innovative or imaginative. It will be more of the same, stale stuff: another big government health plan, bigger subsidies, tougher mandates, more regulations on doctors and patients, and, of course, higher taxes and heavier spending to be financed by working families.

Conservatives in Congress have their work cut out of them. But they can do something very different: replace the Affordable Care Act with genuine consumer-driven markets, junk the complex subsidy scheme with a streamlined system of individual tax relief for health insurance, and lay the groundwork for a health care economy where individuals and families control the dollars and decisions in the system.

That would be real change, nothing short of revolutionary.

The post Taxpayer Subsidies Won’t Fix Obamacare appeared first on The Daily Signal.

7 Times Democrats Admitted the Truth About Obamacare

What do former President Bill Clinton and filmmaker Michael Moore have in common?

They, along with a host of other Democrats, have had moments of honesty about Obamacare.

From the law’s chief architect to elected officials such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., here are seven times Democrats admitted the truth about Obamacare.

The post 7 Times Democrats Admitted the Truth About Obamacare appeared first on The Daily Signal.