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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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News from Representative Gruenhagen 02-14-2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share with you a column I submitted to our local papers about the negative impacts ObamaCare will have on our local governments and our world-class health care system in Minnesota. I welcome your thoughts and feedback. 

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Valentine's Day, and a wonderful weekend.

Take care,

Glenn

Obamacare Will Lead to Less Healthcare and Higher Premiums

I read with interest the letter by a former constituent on the consequences of Obamacare to their family’s private health insurance policy. The $3600 premium increase per year in their private insurance plan is just the beginning.  

As an insurance agent and a state representative, I have numerous examples like his of people who are struggling as a result of huge premium increases and very high deductibles. 

Recently, it was reported that a small community in our district has also faced the consequences of Obamacare.  This city was informed that their current group premiums (for their city employees) of $65,576 would increase by $42,949 to a total of $108,525, effective January 1, 2014.  This is a 65% increase in just one year.  Eventually, these premium increases will need to be passed on to citizens in the form of higher taxes or reduced city services.

This particular city council decided to renew their group health insurance, effective December 1, 2013, and switch carriers in order to keep their group health insurance premiums under control for one year.  However, at the next year's renewal in December 2014 the city will have to deal with the full brunt of the Obamacare mandates, taxes and costs. This will happen all across the nation, hurting schools, counties, cities, small and large businesses and ultimately costing jobs. 

Some of this increase is due to higher taxes, regulations and mandates on our healthcare industry, but a significant percentage of these higher costs will go to fund the federal and state bureaucracies that will micromanage our healthcare system. Under the new healthcare law, there are over 159 newly created federal bureaucracies and boards as well as numerous new state agencies, costing billions of tax dollars and also driving up your health insurance premiums. 

Another concern is that Obamacare will reduce reimbursement to doctors and hospitals while spending billions on bloated government bureaucracy. 

To illustrate, we can look at how medical costs will be billed under Obamacare. Currently under Medicare and private health insurance there are about 18,000 billing CPT codes.  These codes provide your insurance company and Medicare with the justification for treatment by your medical doctors.  Under the new Obamacare regulations, the number of CPT billing codes has increased to a whopping 140,000.  

The end result of this huge increase in codes is not the expansion of coverage, but instead, government bureaucrats—whose primary goal is to reduce healthcare costs—will now micromanage the care and treatments patients receive, rather than your doctor (hence, the concern of rationing).  Numerous doctors across the nation are now refusing to accept Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance and will only accept cash payments in order to avoid being micromanaged by bureaucrats. 

My hope is that citizens will come to realize that government is the primary cause of higher health insurance premiums over the last 50 years, as I documented in my book, “Health Care in Crisis, is Government the Solution or the Problem?”

For years, conservatives in the Republican Party have supported private market reforms that will reduce costs, expand health care access for all citizens and provide insurance coverage for the uninsured, creating better health care outcomes for patients. These reforms would free the doctor to again practice medicine rather than being micromanaged by the government and insurance bureaucrats. 

I am a member of the State Republican Healthcare Task Force working to develop and implement alternatives to ObamaCare.  For more information please visit these websites: The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and Doctors4TruthInHealthcare.org

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