Tag: healthcare

Orders v Constitutional Rights: Fighting Back Against Mandate Abuse

Orders v Constitutional Rights: Fighting Back Against Mandate Abuse

Show Summary: Are politicians and others exploiting Covid-19 to push agendas? Where are our rights in the middle of this panic-demic? We talk with Southeastern Legal Foundations, Kim Hermann to find out how we defend ourselves in an era of Covid overreach. Are states liable for their orders?

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Air Dates: Aug 22nd & 23rd, 2020 | Kim Hermann, General Counsel for Southeastern Legal Foundation

Like in so many Democrat-controlled states, Oregon’s mandates and “emergency orders” have given many Oregonians pause, as we decide what are true “safety issues,” and which are actually eroding our constitutional rights. Especially when the orders consist of being locked into our homes or locked out of our favorite businesses. Or being told you have to wear masks, to the point of absurdity. (Recently, a Wyoming department even mandated people had to wear a mask, even if they were at home, alone, on a teleconference.) And all of that after the pretense of being falsely told that these orders would last only “15 days to flatten the curve.” Five months ago.

Mandates and Endless Orders

We’re told we must wear masks to enter a business. Or stand 6 feet apart. Or both. We can’t hug or shake hands. And you certainly can’t have any interaction, like churches or actually non-violent protests that might threaten the State’s power of telling us how to behave and think. Because, without exception, we are supposed to think that everything the state and our ‘dear leaders” tells us is for our own good. And cannot be questioned, opposed, or go unfollowed. Even if you believe some of these orders are immaterial, immoral, or even illegal. Not to mention unscientific. But, don’t you dare ask (or think) such things.

Where are All the Lawyers?

And what’s very interesting throughout this questionable time of panic-demic, we’ve wondered where are all the lawyers? Normally we would see a bazillion of lawsuits except now it seems many lawyers have been quiet. Why?

Well, it turns out there are some valid reasons and we discuss it on the show this weekend with Kim Hermann, General Counsel for Southeastern Legal Foundation.

Southeastern Legal Foundation: Fighting Back

This show is about defending our rights but also about taking the fight to the government that is abandoning their responsibilities—while taking away rights.

Could it be that the Left may have found the Achilles Heel to take away our constitutional rights? Just claim a health emergency? And you have no rights? Democrats who are controlling these blue states are keeping the voters powerless, as they use such hammers as OSHA. OSHA tells private businesses that if masks are not worn by their customers, OSHA will shut the business down. Is that legal? We discuss that too.

A Doctor Gets Attacked for Standing Up for Truth

Dr. Steve LaTulippe, a medical doctor in the Willamette Valley has come under attack. Why? Because he has dared to point out on social media that the mandates are causing their own set of problems. pointed out that the mask orders and other mandates are causing their own set of problems.

Developing: We’re also hearing that hospital doctors, nurses, and other workers are being told—as a condition of employment—not to talk about health problems that result from mandates and state orders. So the state orders people to wear masks and stay home. And then they’re also ordering people not to to talk about the problems that result from those orders? Got it. Totalitarianism comes to Oregon.

Standing Up to Mandate Abuse & Liability

If you’re forced to shut down, who’s liable for the lost income? Who’s liable for forcing people into masks that now have shown to cause headaches, rashes, and a host of problems. Should, or can, the state, be held liable for the problems it created?

Where are the Lawyers on this? Where are all the class-action lawsuits?

Follow our guest, Kim Hermann, on Twitter @kimmiehermann

And what about those states that haven’t followed shutdowns, such as South Dakota, which has large cities, yet their number of deaths is lower than blue states that have locked down.

Kimberly Hermann, General Counsel ​for Southeastern Legal Foundation
Kimberly Hermann, General Counsel ​for Southeastern Legal Foundation

And what about contact tracing? How does that not go against the 4th Amendment?

Or what can you do if someone from the state shows up on your doorstep, demanding a cheek swab? Or wants to put you in quarantine?

And what about mandatory vaccines?

We turn to Kim Hermann and the Southeastern Legal Foundation, to get some answers of what rights we have and what to do about the ones we want protected. Does the Constitution trump local emergency orders? Or is a governor, like Gov Kate, allowed to indiscriminately continue with emergency orders, without legislative oversight, and no determination of when the orders end, or what will happen when they do.

Fighting Back

You’ll want to hear this week’s show and the fights that SLF has already taken up on college campuses that opened the doors to using Covid reporting forms to shut down organizations they may not agree with politically. Listen to Kim explain what they’re doing to protect student’s rights, and what SLF, lawyers, and citizens can do to help fight against these blue state, and out-of-control governors.

It’s definitely time for some answers and maybe it’s time for some actions. If you’re being ordered to be silent, it’s time not to be. If your business is being threatened, it’s past time to speak up. Or all of your rights are at stake.

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Links Mentioned

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Darkness and Light: Oregon’s Free Abortions

Darkness and Light: Oregon’s Free Abortions

Show Summary: While other states are investing in infrastructure and jobs, Oregon is investing in free abortions—including late term and even for those here illegally. 100% free. No co-pay. In the wake of Oregon’s free abortions, and as dark as this is, we look for an example of some light and find one in our nation’s capitol. Then it’s back to darkness: we talk with Lisa Lettenmaier about how Oregon paying for free abortions is the start of a very slippery slope, plus some new scandals with the Nazi-esquely named Oregon Health Authority.


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Air Dates: Aug. 26 & 27, 2017 | Susan Gallucci & Lisa Lettenmaier

Oregon is once again making the national news and not for very good reasons.  Oregon’s Governor signed this terrible bill into law, opening the way to no limits, completely free abortions for all—not even  a co-pay and this includes free abortions for those here illegally. The Democrats and the Democrat Governor in creating this free-for-all abortion bill, have also determined to remove limitations on abortion , even if the baby is full term. According to one report, “Taxpayers in Oregon can theoretically be forced to foot the bill for the murder of an illegal immigrants innocent unborn child in the ninth month of pregnancy simply because the child is female or has a genetic defect like Down Syndrome.”

While other states are investing in infrastructure to create jobs and improve working conditions, Oregon is “investing” in free abortions for all. To pay for this, Oregon is forcing insurers and taxpayers to foot the bill.

But there was also a funding gap of $900 million dollars. You’ll have to tune into to hear how bureaucrats will be filling that gap in some rather scandalous ways—but exactly what I Spy Radio had predicted years ago.

It is the power of God to make miracles out of what humans consider “mistakes.” To create an incredible person whose life and importance you cannot even begin to fathom. That unique mix of genetics that cannot and will not ever be duplicated.  Instead, the Democrat leadership in Oregon believes these limitless creations should just wiped away.

But in the darkest of all corners there is light and we’re shedding that light on a program for women that is located in Washington D.C. called The Northwest Center (www.northwestcenter.net).  The Northwest Center is the largest pro-life center in our nation’s capital.  We discuss their two centers, Pregnancy and Maternity, about the welcoming environment of all women without judgment who has assisted thousands of women to take the option of allowing their babies to live.  The Northwest Center does not accept any government funding so has the freedom to focus on the individual and help her to figure out their future.  A future that doesn’t just look at the birth but to help plan years down the road.

Listen to find out how this incredible program gives life value for both parent and child and something that maybe Oregon needs to duplicate.

Oregon’s Free Abortions’ Slippery Slope

Then we turn to our insurance specialist, Lisa Lettenmaier, Owner of Health Source NW (www.healthsourcenw.com). Lisa expertly takes us through the current status of Oregon’s insurance industry and as she discusses what we’d predicted years ago about Oregon’s Health Authority and the damage it would do to the health care system.  If you’re in a government run insurance program (think Medicare and Medicaid) no longer do doctors have the power to determine what care is needed, it’s the bureaucrats who do.

But there’s a slippery slope when it comes to insurance paying for free abortions. Tune in to hear where this could all lead.

Finally, don’t miss the Health Authority’s scandal and coordinated effort to try to sabotage and punish one of its Coordinated Care Organizations for daring to ask for equal pay.  It’s the perfect example of government bureaucrats picking winners and losers.

Links Mentioned

Congress Fails Again | Obamacare Repeal and Security Oversight

Congress Fails Again | Obamacare Repeal and Security Oversight

Show Summary: You’d think with its recent record, the notion of “Congress fails again” should be no surprise. And yet they failed on their biggest campaign promise from the last seven years: Repeal Obamacare and replace it. They are also failing on oversight of the intelligence community, since it turns out Trump was right: the Obama administration was spying on him. Fortunately, we had no faith in Congress to do what it said so for this week, we look at the merits of the Obamacare replacement plans, not whether it would pass. We also take a look at the attack in London and the espionage of President Trump.

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Air Dates: March 25 & 26, 2017 | Lisa Lettenmaier & Scott McEwen

When it comes to healthcare and Obamacare, a lot of people mix the two together. You’ll hear pundits talk about “fixing Obamacare” when what they really mean is we need to fix the healthcare industry. Obamacare is how we pay for healthcare. Mostly. Because it also impacts how healthcare is administered, which impacts the amount and quality of the medical care a patient receives.

This week, we are talking about healthcare financing—in other words, Obamacare—and how it impacts insurance. We talk with Lisa Lettenmaier who discusses how we pay for healthcare, the impact it has on the healthcare industry, and how it could potentially be repaired.

We start off by discussing how the new Ryan legislation attempts to repeal Obamacare, to  get us out from under the mandates and expenses Obamacare created.  Heavy-handed government interference has changed the way we receive and pay for our healthcare but how hard is it to untie all of the tangles Obamacare has added to our healthcare industry?  We discuss the good and the bad of what is being proposed and what we should expect in the near future. Lisa walks us through a lot of the different pieces of this confusing challenge to repeal Obamacare.

In our second half, we talk with bestselling author, Scott McEwen (American Sniper), about the recent London terrorist attack and security concerns arising out of the insane PC culture that is Britain.

We also talk about Sen. Nunes’s revelations of the Trump surveillance that sounds like government agencies did in fact electronically trap private conversations among the Trump team.

If true, US government agencies used the weight and power of the government to listen in on, and spy on, a political opponent of the then-President. And don’t miss Scott’s shocking insights into why Nunes may have publically come forward with the initial information.

Move over Nixon. Obama just made you look like a regular putz.

Links Mentioned

Lisa Lettenmaier (Segments 1–3)

Scott McEwen (Segments 4–6)


Thanks Democrats! Oregon’s Train Wreck

Thanks Democrats! Oregon’s Train Wreck

Show Summary: After a decade of one-party rule (just like China!), Oregon is headed for a financial train wreck. From the disastrous Obamacare-Kitzcare deal to insurance companies fleeing the state to state agencies on a spending spree  to counties going bankrupt. And despite this, one particular segment of health care has billions in profits—at taxpayer expense.

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Air Dates: April 30 & May 1, 2016 | Lisa Lettenmaier & Scott Jorgensen

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Oregon is in a world of hurt thanks to Democrat policies. Brace yourself for the coming train wreck.

We start off by talking with Lisa Lettenmaier of Health Source NW. Lisa is our “in house” expert on the insurance industry and the broader aspects of health care. She has been following the disastrous (for consumers) roll-out of Obamacare and its ugly stepchild, Oregon’s Health Care Transformation.

Tune in to hear her shine the light on Oregon’s insurance industry and why customers can expect to see huge rate increases in the next year.  There are some parts of the healthcare industry that are benefiting from Obamacare but it’s not the insurers as they face steeper and steeper declines in revenues.  Oregon has lost two more insurers in Oregon and another one on a national level.  Listen as we unpack the reasons they are leaving the state and what’s happening behind the scenes.

Oregon and Its Free-Spending Ways

Scott Jorgensen, the chief of staff for State Senator Whitsett, then joins us to share insights into the consequences of government attempting to push policies that force expensive programs (think Medicaid without federal funding).

The Oregon Democrat Leadership’s answer is to continue to raise taxes to pay for the spending spree.  Ask most Oregon voters and they’ll tell you that by our own state constitution we’re supposed to have a balanced budget; which, to many, means we don’t spend more than we take in. Well, not under Democrat leadership. It’s “balanced” because we borrow huge amounts to make it balanced.

Tune in to hear how much every man, woman, and child—all 4 million of us—are on the hook for under this new model of funding Oregon’s government.  And guess what? It’s only going to go up. Did you know we borrow money against Oregon Lottery Revenue? Talk about a gamble!

Related Links


Show 5-25 Obamacare vs Healthcare

Show 5-25 Obamacare vs Healthcare

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Air Dates: June 20 & 21, 2015 | Grace-Marie Turner

The Supreme Court will decide soon what to do about the Obamacare subsidies, which some say are the backbone to the entire law. What will it mean for the healthcare system if Obamacare is, to use Obama’s words, “fundamentally transformed”? We talk with Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute about what the Court’s potential rulings could mean.

Obamacare advocates like to say we need to keep Obamacare because the Republicans haven’t come up with any plans to replace it. But this is a straw man arguement because a bad “comprehensive” plan is not inherently a better situation than a series of plans. It implies the healthcare system must be run by the federal government without stopping to ask whethere it should be meddling in your health care in the first place.

One aspect of Obamacare that many people haven’t heard of — including Oregonians — are School Based Health Centers. These “health clinics” are not what they seem. Like so much of the tripe pushed by the radical Left, what they claim is different, very different, than what they are. We talk with Nancy Traherne of the Rogue Vally Republican Women, which invited Mark Anderson to speak at their June 24th luncheon. (Note: If your organization would like Mark to come discuss how to fight back against SBHCs, please contact Karla Davenport for booking information.)

Links Mentioned

Show 5-15 | April 11 2015 Healthcare Checkup

Show 5-15 | April 11 2015 Healthcare Checkup

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Air Dates: April 11 & 12, 2015

We are fast approaching the 3rd year anniversary of Obamacare getting the green light from the Supreme Court. In the days leading up to that decision, Oregon’s now former-Governor Kitzhaber sweet-talked the Obama administration into funding an accelerated version of Obamacare, in his grand “health care transformation” using Coordinated Care Organizations also known as CCOs. (In Obamacare, they’re referred to as “ACOs”or “Accountable Care Organizations”.)

What has been the outcome of that closed-door deal with Obama?

Remember how the fiasco of Cover Oregon’s blown $300 million means Oregon may have to refund $300 million to the feds? It turns out we may also be on the hook for another $1.9 billion.  Yes, billion. As it turns out, the sweet-talking may have been misleading and the CCOs are not meeting Medicaid standards nor meeting stated outcomes, putting us in danger of refunding some or all of that $1.9 billion.  Tune in to hear about global budgets, lack of transparency, and Oregon’s response to the federal government about the feds concerns over the CCO model.  Be prepared because there’s a financial cliff that Oregon is about ready to jump over.


Links mentioned

  • Host Mark Anderson will be on Patti Milne’s TV Show, “People, Places, and Politics” on CCTV in Salem, Ore., discussing more about CCOs and Oregon’s health care transformation. It is currently set to air Wed. Apr 15 (6:00 pm), Thurs. Apr 16 (8:00 am), Sat. April 18 (8:00 pm), and Sun. Apr 19 (8:00 am). Here’s a link to CCTV’s schedule.
  • The Portland Business Journal article discussing Lynn Saxton’s response to CMS
  • Senator Doug Whitsett’s newsletter discussing the $1.9 billion Oregon could potentially be on the hook for — and it’s just the start
  • Sign up for Doug’s weekly newsletters (look for the link on the right-hand side to “e-Subscribe”)

Some of Mark’s Articles on CCOs

Additional Info


CCOs: Forced Compliance

CCOs: Forced Compliance

(A version of the following article originally appeared in Northwest Connection, vol 6 (no. 68), under the title “CCOs: Not just Wrong but Evil”.)

In late July, I made a guest appearance on the Jeff Kropf Radio Show (KUIK-1360am) to talk about the Coordinated Care Organizations that were to officially kicked off on August 1. Jeff had asked me to come on to talk about SB1580, which officially birthed CCOs.  During that appearance, I said, “This is an evil bill.”

I’ll stand by that statement. And I think by the end of this article, you just might agree with me.

You may have seen something recently that was circulating on Facebook—a form straight from the Oregon Health Authority that allows a child as young as 15 to be sterilized without parental permission or even their knowledge.

As shocking as it is, this isn’t new.  Back in 1995, the age of “informed consent” for sterilization was set at 18. Sometime over the next six years, it was changed and by the 2001 version of the Oregon statutes, the age of consent was dropped to 15 (ORS 436.225).

As of this writing, we haven’t been able to determine when, why, or how this was changed but apparently our leaders came to believe this sort of permanent, life-altering decision was something a 15-year-old can make. And do it without parental knowledge.

What it does reveal, however, is the mindset behind those in the Oregon Health Authority and their attitude toward life, parent-child relationships, parental rights vs. minor rights, and human sexuality.

Combined with the CCOs, it’s reflective of top-down, do-as-you’re-told, authoritarian thinking with the State firmly in charge. The exact opposite of what our Founding Fathers intended. It’s about gaining more power over more of our lives with the expansion of the Oregon Health Authority (and don’t you just love the blatant overtones of communism in that agency name?).

And make no mistake about it: that is their intention. The CCOs start with Medicaid recipients, move to swallow Medicare, then on to public employees, teachers, and the rest of us. In fact, the Public Employee Benefits Board recently announced they were looking for a new provider—one that would fit with the CCO model—and severing ties with Providence, which had previously used the model of allowing you to choose your plan and your doctor (Statesman-Journal, August 23, 2012).

Not anymore. Now it’s what the State dictates. This includes greatly expanding mental health. Keep this in mind, because mental health is a major focus of all of this healthcare expansion. But it begs the question: who is determining mental health? Can they say, “Gee, as a Catholic, you’re pretty rigid and judgmental—you need to be more tolerant”?

In 1938, Austria voted to join Germany—and by 99.7% of voters. From the outside looking in, Germany seemed ideal—especially for Austria, which was still suffering high unemployment and a stagnated economy due to the Worldwide Depression. But in Germany, nearly everyone had a job and everyone had access to healthcare. So they voted to unify with Germany.

And then one of the first things the Germans did was to take over the schools and drive a wedge between children and parents. Kids spent more and more time at schools, with more and more of their life revolving around the state-controlled schools, so they saw them as a home away from home.

And all children were forced to go off to Nazi Youth Camps. Except these weren’t about earning merit badges; it was state-sponsored indoctrination. Girl and boy camps were located close to one another and they were given plenty of opportunity, both formal and informally, to mingle. Many of the girls came home pregnant.

Why? Because the State knew that breaking that last taboo of innocence makes them less likely to respect the authority of their parents. Kids now see themselves as adults. And by extension the State provides access to all the good things in life, including jobs, health care, and opportunity itself. Parents and parental relationships mean less and less until it means nothing more than its sentimental value.

I mention all this because the ability of a 15-year-old to sterilize themselves is really just the tip of the iceberg. The Oregon Health Authority is currently and actively pushing to move into schools and have already laid massive plans to do so.

And as part of this push, they’re developing an army of organizations, agencies, and plans that will come between parents and children. Agencies like the CCOs, Healthy Kids, Healthy Kids Learn Better, and the Oregon School Based Health Care Network (SBHCN), to name just a few, and resources like Minor Rights and the Oregon Youth Sexual Plan.

To do all this, they’re working in close partnership with groups like W.I.S.E. (Working to Institute Sexuality Education) and Planned Parenthood.

Minor Rights is an interesting trek through the OHA mindset. The “resource” for educators lays out the rights minors have. That in itself is revealing, changing the dynamic between parent and child. The law protects you. You have rights. Everything we talk about is confidential—it’s the law—you don’t have to tell your parents anything.

Do you see how this immediately severs the child-parent relationship?

The vast majority of this little document is focused on children’s rights with little if any consideration for the rights of parents to be involved and to know what the hell State-sanctioned “providers” are telling your children.

In fact they have are specifically blocked parents from accessing information through a neat little maneuver. Normally, parents do have rights under the FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Except Oregon has maneuvered to place the School-Based Health Centers under HIPAA rules, which makes it far harder, if not impossible, to obtain disclosure.

That’s right. You can put your child on the bus in the morning and you have not a clue and barely any rights to know what happens to them when they get there.

In the Oregon Youth Sexual Plan, one of the strategies is to develop a “state-level coordination of youth sexual health promotion” (emphasis mine). “Develop” (meaning the state will train them) “and involve youth leaders… by engaging underrepresented group such as… lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning.” And this shocking statement: “Educate faith community leaders as ‘youth sexual health’ advocates.”

And then there’s also this from the OYSP: “Advocate and educate Legislature for universal health care.” Which pairs nicely with this from the School-Based Health Centers Network: “Ask your legislator to support the inclusion of SBHC’s in Oregon’s new CCO model.”

Why? Perhaps because CCOs are not beholden to public disclosure laws. And it’s a clear attempt to merge the Department of Education with the OHA. More power, and more direct control and influence over an even larger part of the population.

So is the CCO bill evil? For me, it’s hard to think that it isn’t. Not just because of what it most clearly is—the takeover of healthcare, putting more elements of society under government control, and removal of free-market principles—but because of what it can become. Remember, when you give control of your health to the government, they have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure you cost the government as little money as possible. They can order you not to drink, not to smoke; to lose weight and even to force mental health counseling you. Own a gun? You can expect that “right” to be open for interpretation. And all of this opens the door for denial of service to our elderly and to indoctrination of our youth.

And don’t forget, we no longer have a state superintendent of schools. We gave that power to the governor.

Who also happens to directly control the Health Authority.

CCOs: Lurching into a County Near You

CCOs: Lurching into a County Near You

Mark Anderson

(The following post originally appeared in Northwest Connection, vol 6 (no. 65), June 2012.)

A Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) is Obamacare. Or it’s not. It only affects those on Medicaid—and only those on Medicaid. Except it doesn’t. But we have to do it and we have to do it now. Or maybe we could wait a year.

About the only thing that is for certain about CCOs at this point is that there are still a lot of questions about them.

In case you missed it, and most people did, healthcare is about to radically change in Oregon, thanks to Gov. Kitzhaber’s Healthcare Transformation. The same man who ushered in the Oregon Health Plan, which after two decades is widely recognized as at least a partial failure if not an outright failure, now brings you the Oregon Healthcare Transformation. But this time, it’s sure to work.

Here’s how it all happened. The CCOs were spawned into being in 2011 by HB 3650, which established the initial framework for the creation of coordinated care organizations. Then in 2012, in the shortened session, SB 1580 gave legislative approval to the Oregon Health Authority’s proposals for CCOs. What’s surprising is that SB 1580 passed with overwhelming support from House Republicans with 23 out of 30 of them voting for it, many of whom call themselves conservative.

All of this is an accelerated version of Obamacare. Under Obamacare, CCOs are known as “ACOs” — Accountable Care Organizations.

A CCO is responsible for providing fully integrated physical health services to provide coordinated care between all aspects of healthcare. Another, simpler way to think of it is ACORN running your healthcare. That, or its Obamacare arriving early in Oregon.

A CCO is a complete overhaul of how healthcare will be administered and institutes numerous new layers of bureaucracy between a patient and their doctor.

No longer will you just see your doctor. Instead, there will be multiple layers of non-medical personnel all making decisions about your healthcare. For example, there will be a Peer Wellness Specialist to assess your needs, a Personal Health Navigator to “enable” you to make decisions, even a Home Care Commission. Somehow all of this new bureaucracy is going to save money and provide better care, even though funds that could be spent on doctors is being spent on bureaucrats.

The stated goal of all of this upheaval is to save money and to put control of administering Medicaid on the local level. To pay for all this, the governor negotiated a $1.9 billion deal paid out over five years, with an initial down payment of $620 million for fiscal year 2013—on the condition that Oregon saves 2% on its Medicaid costs. Funny thing, that. Over those five years, Oregon is likely to spend about $22–$25 billion and 2% would come to $454–$500 million. So we’re spending $1.9 billion to save $500 million? Does no one in the governor’s office have a calculator?

In part, it will “save money” by instituting a hard cap on Medicaid spending. Each CCO will be given a global budget (made up of funding from various sources) but once the money runs out, that’s it.

Recently, Marion County became the first in the state to sign an operating agreement with a CCO when two out of three Republican commissioners voted to do so. Commissioner Patti Milne was the lone holdout.

Let’s get back to some of those questions. The proponents of this adamantly say, “It’s not Obamacare.” And that’s true—sort of. Aside from the obvious-to-everyone-but- the-proponents similarities between CCOs and Obamacare, there have been numerous articles and comments by public officials, including the governor himself, that show a clear connection. Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius said of the CCOs, “We are proud to support… these efforts to coordinate care, which mirror our efforts at the national level, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

If it walks like Obamacare, quacks like Obamacare, looks like Obamacare…

But let’s look at some of the other statements by proponents of the CCO, such as, “It’s only going to affect Medicaid,” meaning it won’t affect the rest of us.

This is a curious thing to say, because on the very first page of the Agreement Marion County just signed, Paragraph B says, “CCOs will initially provide health services to Medicaid beneficiaries” (emphasis mine). Not only that but “H.B. 3650 also directs OHA to develop plans for CCOs to provide healthcare services to employees of the Public Employees’ Benefit Board and the Oregon Educators Benefit Board by contract.” Did they not read their own bill? (Again?) That, and there are plenty of publicized statements by Kitzhaber and others who all say this is designed to eventually capture all of us.

“We have to do it.” Isn’t it funny how a bill designed to give local control about healthcare doesn’t give counties an option? Aside from that, according to Sam Brentano, Marion County Commissioner, if the operating agreement doesn’t work out, “We’ll just opt out.” If that’s the case, then that invalidates his and others’ argument that counties have to do it in the first place.

“Medicaid already has a cap, so this is no big deal.” Except that’s not quite true either, because Medicaid only has a soft cap, which is how states end up with a hole in their budget when they over spend it. A true cap would prevent you from overspending that account. CCOs, however, do have a hard cap.

No less than the far-left Robert Woods Johnson Foundation says, “The total budget for each CCO would be capped at a set amount each year, a feature no other state currently offers… The idea of capping Medicaid spending is innovative and has never been approved by the federal government.”

And no one knows what happens once that money runs out. Does your grandmother simply do without?

What about liability for the counties? While Commissioner Brentano assured me signing the agreement doesn’t have any liability for the county (how does signing any agreement not incur liability?), according to the agreement, the county is a board member with “the authority to manage and conduct the [CCO]’s operations.” Not only that, the agreement puts the county in the position of a super majority. Both of those sure sound like potential liability nightmares if something goes haywire.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions beyond these. Like, what happens if the promised $1.9 billion doesn’t materialize? What’s the impact of allowing non-profit organizations the ability to participate in forprofit CCO? What will be the effect of having a taxing authority on the board of directors? Will they be forced to institute a health tax to fill the gap? Why is there a clause that seems to allow the CCO the ability to create its own insurance company? Or what happens if Obamacare is struck down?

Actually, we know the answer to that one. Oregon’s CCOs were specifically designed to continue whether or not Obamacare survives its court challenge. We are the test case.

I guess if you’re going to fall and break a hip, you better do it in the first half of the year.

© June 2012 by Mark Anderson. All Rights Reserved. Please use proper citations.