We need you to act immediately. HB 4111, the appropriation of $30.6 million in federal "bribe" money will be voted on in the House of Representatives tomorrow, February 28, at high noon. This money is to be used for implementation of a Michigan health care exchange "partnership."
As stated by Americans for Prosperity: "Health care exchanges were created by the president's flawed health care law and serve to pile thousands of pages of rules and regulations while transferring control to health care bureaucrats in Washington. These bloated bureaucracies drive up the cost of insurance on hardworking families and raise taxes on businesses.
Hypocrisy on this issue in the Michigan Legislature is led by Governor Snyder who on one hand says the feds need to get their budget under control, but then on the other hand seizes every last dollar of federal money possible. Even worse, the implementation of Obamacare in Michigan will hurt hardworking families."
Why does the governor and the legislature feel so compelled to grab this $31 million? With a state budget of over $50 billion, $31 million is a rounding error. If we ever needed to set up the technology for implementing any kind of health care program, we could surely find the dollars for it.
Unfortunately however, the governor and the Speaker are going ahead with this plan, in spite of the fact that most Michiganders and the vast majority of Republicans oppose this plan. Because the votes are not there in the GOP caucus to pass the bill, the Speaker will put the bill on the floor and let 51 Democrats join him to pass it. He'll only need four of his 58 caucus members on board to win.
It is time RIGHT NOW melt the email and phone lines in Lansing. Call and email the Speaker's office, your state rep. and the governor. Tell them you are opposed to the $30.6 million federal "gift" to fund the Obamacare exchange partnership. Be respectful and to the point. Your phone message only needs to include your name, address, and your opposition to HB 4111. More details about this issue are below.
Several conservative organizations have put the legislature and the governor on notice: this is a "scored" vote which will be taken into consideration when it is time to find candidates in the primary election.
The battle and debate over where our country and where our state is heading regarding health care is one of the most important issues we will address. We have a responsibility to protect the rights and autonomy of Michigan as provided in our Constitutions. Additionally, we have an equal obligation to not simply be obstructionists but offer real, actionable alternatives whenever possible.
Some of you have seen previous versions of what is outlined below. This is intended to get us thinking about how we can offer real alternatives AND be respectful of what, indeed, is the law of the land. We have only begun to scratch the surface of the tools and options we have available to us to both secure the rights of our state AND be proactive in proposing solutions that would be in the best interest of our fellow citizens.
Here are some suggested steps:We should not take any steps to enable the implementation of Obamacare such as acceptance of the $31M supplemental to implement the Federally Facilitated exchange (FFE).
If we need additional funds to address our current deficiencies in IT capabilities that would be necessary for us to interface with the FFE, then the Governor and pertinent agency representatives should make their case for additional funds to accelerate the projects to which $50M was appropriated during our last budget.
We should establish that NO taxpayer money, especially Michigan taxpayer money, should be used for "planning" for implementation of Obamacare. If we upgrade IT systems, we do so to accomplish OUR goals and objectives.
We should design our systems to not only interface with the FFE specified performance criteria but we should also plan to be prepared to provide similar access to private sector developed marketplaces or exchanges.
We should plan to submit an application to the federal government for waivers to allow for plans hosted on multiple private sector exchanges to qualify for government subsidies as long as these private sector developments are void of conflict of interest with health or health plan providers.
We should limit our state's participation in any government-run exchange to only those categories typically addressed by government: eligibility and processing for Medicare, Medicaid, VA services, etc.
We should actively consider legislation that asserts and protects our rights, as provided in our Constitutions, with regards to things like: who can advise and sell health plans (certification), prohibit limiting private entities from being required to exclusively sell on a government exchange, identify existing insurance agents as fully capable to serve in their current capacity and also serve as navigators, establish that ANY health plan or insurance sold or marketed in Michigan must still be subject to approval by our long standing insurance standards and regulations, etc.
Advocate for specific waivers to HHS such as:
No provision of federal law or regulation shall preclude the implementation of a state partnership featuring a public information portal pertaining to government assistance eligibility supplemented by one or more private exchanges that are able to convey government assistance eligibility information including transactional information to their customers.
No provision of federal law or regulation shall preclude the ability of the states from authorizing health insurance plans in accordance with state standards from being offered on one or more private exchanges. These state standards may or may not meet the minimum essential benefits threshold defined by the federal government.
Some of these would be easy to defend. Others would likely simply provide us a leverage point in the event they are challenged by the Feds. Just remember: our country has more than 100 years of laws and rulings clearly establishing that States have dominion over insurance sold and marketed within their domains.
The reasons for taking these positions are as follows:
To acknowledge that the law requires us to interface with an FFE
To maximize Michigan's autonomy as we comply with FFE interface requirements
To minimize the impact of the ACA upon hardworking Michigan taxpayers
To maximize the quality of healthcare offered to our citizens
To maximize choice in the healthcare options offered to our citizens
To protect the ability for the private sector to invest and innovate in our health care industry
Additionally, we should aggressively advocate for waivers to further establish Michigan's autonomy while a respectful opposition with thoughtful and lawful suggested alternatives....making chicken soup out of chicken poop.
We need to change direction and get rid of government entitlement programs. After 67 Trillion taken in DC, why would we keep doing the same thing. Privately owned, HSA/IRA with local investment an option, passed on inheritance. It will create competition and end politics of it: