Friday, June 29, 2012

Kentucky regulators hunting more Christians

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has now received responses from two Christian health sharing companies under investigation for operating as illegal insurance companies. A state official this morning described the late responses as incomplete and said he would send follow-up questions  early next week.

The two companies, Christian Healthcare Ministries and Samaritan Ministries, can't win a cat-and-mouse game with state insurance regulators. Changing Kentucky law to better follow our constitutional protection against arbitrary government power is the only way for this health insurance alternative to escape black market status in Kentucky.

Just letting these companies off the hook is no solution. In fact, doing so would only make the situation worse by increasing the sense of uncertainty in an environment with no fixed rules.

Christians should band together quickly to ensure Kentuckians have unfettered access to greater choices as ObamaCare destroys the more traditional ones. Non-Christians clearly have a stake in this too. They should push state government to restrict the definition of "insurance" in state law to better allow for the creation of a vibrant market in alternative financial products for them as well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beshear wants Tea Party rematch

Back on May 7, Governor Steve Beshear's ObamaCare road show started in Frankfort. It ended abruptly the same day when a crowd of tea partiers showed up to ask questions about this government takeover of health care.

Governor Beshear's Health Cabinet Secretary Audrey Haynes told CN2's Ryan Alessi today they are going to give it another shot.

Stay tuned for updates. It will be on their turf again, on their terms. But they still can't answer the tough questions.

What's that in Mitt Romney's punch bowl?

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney might want to talk at length, clearly and forcefully, about the Supreme Court's ObamaCare ruling. Especially given that this is still on his campaign web site under the heading "Courts and the Constitution."

Justice Roberts' vote to uphold ObamaCare can be explained, but that's not the end of the story.

I think Romney's biggest problem isn't with the constitutionality of ObamaCare, which he has already addressed substantially. His problem is in the philosophical details of any kind of government takeover of healthcare and in the implementation of this one through health care "exchanges," a heinous bureaucracy capable of doing much more damage than even the individual mandate.

Federal funding has already been distributed to the states to set up these exchanges, of which Romney has gone on record in support. Don't think the Obama campaign will fail to let that detail slip out a few times before November.

Beshear burns us in ObamaCare fire

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is about to announce his executive order throwing the Bluegrass State into ObamaCare via a health insurance exchange.

Avoiding a state-run exchange is the surest option left to prevent the Affordable Care Act from bankrupting us with unfunded mandates. Despite what Beshear will say, federal law explicitly allows states to opt out of setting up an exchange. The law also clearly gives the federal government control of so-called state health insurance exchanges, so the line he will give us about maintaining local control should be ignored.

Make sure you get your legislative candidates on the record for or against ObamaCare. In Jessamine County, House Democratic Caucus Leader Bob Damron is for ObamaCare and his Republican opponent Matt Lockett is opposed to it.

Kentucky Christian health story takes off

ObamaCare survived the U.S. Supreme Court, so now the focus turns to ways for citizens to survive in the brave new world of federally-controlled health care.

Religious-based health sharing should be the first stop for a lot of us.

Unfortunately, the states are not ready for this. And the Christian health sharing groups aren't either.

Kentucky must immediately change its Insurance Code to allow health sharing groups to help Kentuckians escape ObamaCare. No state does a good job of allowing this to happen, but Kentucky is unique in its hostility toward health sharers and in its constitutional protections that should allow them to escape our arbitrary laws prohibiting them from helping us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Kentucky versus Christians" escalates

Two illegal Kentucky health insurance companies failed today to respond to a state Department of Insurance inquiry about their activities. Letters dated June 12, 2012 from the Public Protection Cabinet required an explanation or justification to be made to the Commonwealth of Kentucky by today.

At issue is the marketing of health sharing plans by Christian HealthCare Ministries and Samaritan Ministries in conflict with state law. Both entities fail to meet the extremely narrow "Religious Publications Exemption" in Kentucky's Insurance Code that would allow them to operate here. This Code also defines "insurance" so broadly as to make nearly anyone fall under its jurisdiction.

The Commonwealth has been battling a third health sharing group, Christian Care Medi-Share for more than a decade. Their case has come to an odd standstill.

Given that health insurance consumers' interests would be better served by more competing firms in an open and transparent marketplace, a solution would be to expand the "Religious Publications Exemption" to allow any church or religious organization to act as an unregulated health insurer.

A better solution would be to change the definition of "insurance" in state law from anyone engaged in shifting risk to anyone who voluntarily signs up with the Insurance Department to be regulated as an insurance company.

That way, we could have two insurance markets: one with direct government oversight and one without in order to maximize consumer choice and also to gauge the efficacy of alternative regulatory schemes.

The Public Protection Cabinet is expected to send out a second round of letters tomorrow, demanding a response and threatening fines and further legal action.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Extreme Frankfort inaction leaves us hanging

Wednesday marks eleven months since Kentucky's last official action on the rights of Kentuckians to protect themselves from excessive healthcare regulation in the case of Christian Care Medi-Share. This unacceptable delay wastes precious healthcare dollars we can not afford to throw away.

July 27, 2011 was the day Kentucky's Department of Insurance filed a contempt of court motion against Christian Care Medi-Share for operating in the state despite a March 1, 2011 Franklin Circuit Judge's permanent injunction against their continued operation here.

Medi-Share is still actively operating in Kentucky and falsely telling potential members there is no legal issue preventing them from doing so. The Kentucky Department of Insurance continues to ignore other such organizations operating in similar violation of state law. Continued official silence in this matter fails to serve the public interest regarding the pursuit of reasonable health coverage just as government is moving swiftly to otherwise limit our choices.

Please call Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate at 502-564-8382 and ask him to rule on the contempt motion in Commonwealth v. Reinhold without further delay.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

What's your health regulation tax?

A full analysis to compare health insurance policies usually involves looking at premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, maximum coverage amounts and exclusions.

One very important element in the cost of health insurance that doesn't usually come up is the cost of regulation. The point seems moot because we think of health coverages all being regulated the same way, so there is no reason to consider what those costs are.

But there is more to the story.

No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on ObamaCare, the nearly certain shake-up in the health insurance market that results may send you hunting for a new way to pay for your medical needs. If you are a Christian, you might want to take a long look at Christian health sharing plans.

And that's where the cost of regulation comes into the equation in a big way.

Christian health sharing plans (Christian Care Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries to name three) don't fall completely under state regulation. Also, they are mostly exempt from regulation under the Affordable Care Act -- the part of the law most likely to survive even if the individual mandate is thrown out.

The relative lack of government regulation results in dramatically lower pricing for the sharing plans. That's not to say that they are automatically superior to government-approved plans, though. And this distinction is extremely important.

State regulators across the country, probably without exception, hate Christian health sharing organizations and have taken pains to keep us from flocking to them. I'd love to be proven wrong on this point, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Every state law I have seen that mentions them takes pains to limit the ability of health sharing organizations to operate to their full potential. The standard approach requires them to state explicitly that there is no promise claims will be paid. That could seem pretty scary, but really only if you haven't done much research into health sharing plans or government-regulated plans.

"Regular" health insurance is just a one year contract. That should be horrifying for anyone on one as well as motivating for anyone who learns health sharing plans are not limited as to their terms.

The lack of legal support for health sharing plans is the only thing really holding them back. Kentucky's schizophrenic approach to them may be worse than any state's in the nation, but they all appear to be pretty bad.

Christian health sharing organizations are alternatives to health insurance that are barely, if at all, legally permissible in Kentucky. The problem has much more to do with bad law than with the organizations and their health plans.

A bill to expand the Religious Publications Exemption to the Kentucky Insurance Code would be a big help. Specifically, striking all of KRS 304.1-120(7) except for (c) would get the government off the backs of these good organizations and allow a strong self-regulating market to develop to benefit Christians all over Kentucky who would otherwise be victimized by the coming exploding costs in government-regulated health insurance.

What amounts to a "health regulation tax" really just benefits government health regulators. We can't afford their taxes anymore.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Judge to rule against Kentucky Christians

A Kentucky judge is about to send thousands of Christians scrambling for new health coverage when he finds a religious health sharing group in contempt of a court order.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said through a spokesperson that his ruling on a Department of Insurance motion to find Christian Care Medishare in contempt of court will come soon.

Wingate has no choice but to rule against Kentucky Christians under state law and despite an exemption for such groups in the federal ObamaCare law.

The solution to this mess is to change Kentucky law in favor of health care freedom right away.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Indiana could have Christian health problem, too

Christian health sharing organizations, exempt from ObamaCare, have put on a full-court press across the country in recent years to gain exemption from regulation by state governments.

Effective July 1, Indiana joins a collection of mostly conservative states who have taken legal steps to secure the rights of Christians to gain private healthcare regardless of federal government actions.

Kentucky has completely missed this opportunity so far, possibly because health sharing lobbyists mistakenly thought they had already changed Kentucky law.

But Indiana Christians may be operating under a false sense of security. You can look at the language of the new Indiana law here.

A court could very easily rule that any of the major health sharing organizations violates Sections 4 or 5 of the law if the organization takes possession of any member sharing funds at any point or if the court views penalties against failure to make timely payment between members as a form of breach of contract and, therefore, part of a failed "promise to pay" that puts the organization back under Indiana Department of Insurance regulation.

Christians really are going to have to look beyond little legislative tweaks and narrow exemptions if they really want to protect their health care freedoms at the state level.

Kentucky can lead on this issue by calling a special legislative session and changing the definition of "insurance" to include only companies that are registered as such with the Department of Insurance.

Health sharing group responds, but still incorrectly

The fight for health care freedom in Kentucky still faces odd resistance from marketers of the closest thing to Liberty-oriented health coverage available to Kentuckians.

It's time for that to stop.

As of yesterday, the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries had posted on their web site false information justifying their exemption from Kentucky state insurance regulation. Today, the information is changed but it is still false.

The statute referenced above is the Religious Publications Exemption which would exclude health sharing organizations from regulation if they did not in any way act as a financial intermediary between customers and health care providers. The organizations I have looked at all function as intermediaries.

Again, the problem is with the law. Kentucky's definition of insurance is so overly broad it essentially means whatever insurance regulators want it to mean. This exemption is so narrow as to apply to only extremely small organizations. In fact, if your church ever pays medical bills for needy members, it could be shut down by state government under current law.

Additionally, Kentucky has a unique constitutional provision that turns this whole mess on its head potentially for the benefit of all Americans. Section 2 of the Kentucky Bill of Rights prohibits government at any level from exercising arbitrary power.

Kentucky's Insurance Code is the poster child for arbitrary power because it is authorized to exercise control over people without clearly defined limits on the scope of that power.

Fixing this problem involves a simple approach which would serve Liberty for Kentuckians right away and then spread like wildfire over the rest of the country. The approach involves decriminalizing the selling of "unauthorized" insurance in the state. 

Look at it this way: the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been burning public resources for a decade trying to chase Christian Care Medi-Share out of the state. Today the company still operates here and the Department of Insurance is still claiming to care about consumer protection.

Let the legislature define "insurance" to mean only companies who voluntarily request government regulation. Some actually might. The big insurers have grown accustomed to the government protection; let them have it if they wish. 

But a shadow economy in insurance need not be a black market. We could have a "free" market to go alongside the "government" market and let the people decide which works better. Kentucky's Constitution specifically creates this opportunity for us, we just have to invoke it.

Alliance of Health Sharing Ministries, that means you. Your member organization, Christian Care Medi-Share is already in a legal battle for its ability to serve customers in this state. Stop screwing around with your web site and come to their aid with the Kentucky Constitution as the only weapon you need.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A 9 year old mistake in Christian health debate

Resistance from Christian health sharing organizations has stymied what should be easy collaboration to battle Kentucky's unconstitutional insurance regulatory regime.

I just figured out what the problem is.

The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries reports on its web site that Kentucky passed a law in 2003 to allow health sharing entities to act as a conduit for funds. Such a change in the law might clear up a major problem regulators and the Kentucky Supreme Court have with these organizations.

The only problem with this is the bill failed to pass. Never even got a floor vote in the House, where it originated.

This mistake appears to be what is causing the Christian health sharing organizations to think they are on solid ground in Kentucky. They would do well to check the facts and reconsider their failing strategy right away. It's an embarrassing screw up, to be sure, but the best solution is to join in and fight against the flawed reasoning of insurance regulation.

Given the substantial uniformity of state insurance regulation, making Kentucky a focal point for reform could yield fantastic results.

The ObamaCare U.S. Supreme Court decision coming any day now is really just the beginning of the health care freedom battle in America. Getting with the program, therefore, presents a very powerful opportunity for marketers of Christian health sharing programs.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sen. Mike Lee swings too hard for Romney

An old lawyer saying counsels counselors to bang on the law if they don’t have good facts, to bang on the facts if they don’t have good law and to bang on the table if they have neither good law nor good facts.
Senator Mike Lee is an old lawyer, trying to defend Gov. Mitt Romney’s pick of Gov. Mike Leavitt to head his White House transition team should he be elected president in November. And Senator Lee is definitely banging on the table.
Asked last week to explain how a man who spent the last couple of years making a fortune encouraging states to implement ObamaCare on the flimsy (and incorrect) reasoning that “local control” is an option under the law is now going to help lead the way on dismantling it, Sen. Lee turned to the famous straw man argument.
Lee dismissed worries about the fact that Leavitt was profiting from the implementation of President Obama’s health care law.
“If the rule were, you cannot be considered a conservative, or even palatable to any conservatives under any circumstances if you have operated in or especially made a profit in any area that isn’t 100 percent governed by free market, no one would qualify,” Lee said. “The truth is there are so many things, especially in the post-Obamacare world, where the market isn’t really free.”
Please. We aren’t talking about judging Gov. Leavitt a conservative or even talking at all about government-supported profit, much less demanding a complete absence of it. We are talking about measuring Leavitt’s credibility in the role of bolstering the already shaky credibility of a Republican nominee on the top issue that gives would-be supporters pause.
Banging on the table at a moment like this serves only to hold Romney back in a race he should be walking away with.
Red State has already asked nicely once.

Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Christians begins

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has acknowledged receipt of complaints against two Christian health sharing organizations for illegally selling health insurance to citizens of the Commonwealth.

The organizations are Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries. The Department demanded, on Monday June 11, a response from them within two weeks.

Such religious-based health sharing organizations are exempt from ObamaCare mandates, sparing their members at least some of the negative effects of the federal law euphemistically dubbed by Congress the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

At issue is Kentucky law, which defines insurance as "a contract whereby one undertakes to pay or indemnify another as to loss from certain specified contingencies or perils called 'risks.'" This means essentially that most human interactions could constitute "insurance" and invite regulation under the state's insurance code.

An example I have been using is that if I sell you an umbrella on a cloudy day, I could be considered your insurance company under state law. It sounds ridiculous, but it applies to a law that is so overly broad as to be hazardous to our liberties.

A "religious publications exemption" found in state law has been cited as a way for these religious health sharing organizations to escape state regulation. But the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in 2010 (Commonwealth v. Reinhold) that "the (sharing organization) must be set up so that one subscriber sends the money for assistance to the other subscriber without the money passing through an intermediary."

Both organizations fail on this point, though Samaritan in most cases at least usually operates merely as an information source linking financial needs with payors and suggesting payments.

So, in the eyes of the law, both sharing organizations are insurance companies and should -- again, under the law -- be regulated. Given Kentucky's overzealous regulatory regime, that means shutting them down.

The point of this exercise is that insurance regulation has proven in dramatic fashion to be at least counter-productive by providing an illusion of consumer protection as well as an impossible to miss negative impact on pricing of services. Before we fall for giving near-total control of our health care system to federal and state governments, we should take a closer look at how such control is and has been handled in Frankfort.

If we do that, we ought to agree to dismantle insurance regulation altogether.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let's rock the health care debate

Kentucky has a history of being notoriously bad on health insurance issues. We now have an interesting opportunity to push back in a big way, but need some national help to do it.

In 1994, after the failure of HillaryCare, Kentucky destroyed its individual health insurance market by requiring insurers to accept all applications regardless of health status. Dozens of health insurance companies immediately left the state, leaving only one. The legislature subsequently restored some sanity to the marketplace, but some big problems remain.

Enter ObamaCare.

A small corner of the ObamaCare debate has escaped the national spotlight. That corner is occupied by religious-based health sharing organizations, which are exempt from the so-called Affordable Care Act.

Three such organizations, Christian Care Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries are at the center of a very quiet debate running right to the heart of what is wrong with the idea of government regulating health care.

In 2002, Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Christian Care Medi-Share, alleging that the company fit the state’s definition of an insurance company and needed to be regulated as such. This effectively destroys the company’s ability to operate in the state because their ability to avoid the state’s crazy quilt of mandates and their much lower premiums are what could make them a better choice for some consumers.

To their credit, Medi-Share refused to just go away quietly. They won exemptions in court while the state kept appealing. In 2010, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled against Medi-Share and the state moved then to remove them from Kentucky.

To their credit, again, Medi-Share refused to leave. And this is where it gets really interesting.

Perhaps realizing they don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the Affordable Care Act — actually worse than ObamaCare! — just as the fire gets really hot, Kentucky has stopped fighting to remove Medi-Share. They still tell callers to the Department of Insurance consumer information line that Medi-Share is operating illegally and shouldn’t be trusted to serve citizens’ health care financing needs, but there has been no official action against the company for almost a year.

And the sad truth is that, given the way the state law is written, Kentucky is on solid ground in persecuting the Christians who seek refuge from federal overreach through Medi-Share.

And that’s where the other Christian health sharing companies enter the story. A Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman told me almost three weeks ago that further action against Medi-Share was imminent and that while Samaritan and Christian Healthcare had previously been investigated and found to be properly operating outside the bounds of state insurance regulation, they would be investigated again.

There has been no apparent official action since then. And the truth is Samaritan and Christian Healthcare also operate in conflict with Kentucky law.

Arbitrary application of the law is prohibited by Kentucky’s Constitution. State regulators have created a chilling effect on consumers and Christian health sharing organizations with their actions. The proper action is to enforce the law universally or to repeal it and allow this opportunity for health freedom to flourish.

Kentucky needs to repeal this worse-than-ObamaCare provision in state law by redefining “insurance” in KRS Chapter 304 to exclude health sharing organizations and we need to do it this summer in special session to prevent further harm to Kentucky Christians.

And if, in doing so, we expand those freedoms beyond just Christians, then so much the better. But to do any of this, we need to draw national attention to this fight. Please spread the word as widely as you can.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Score one for NFIB, sort of

A newly released state government survey on ObamaCare implementation in Kentucky shows widespread confusion and apathy even among Governor Beshear's hand-picked "stakeholders" about how the state should proceed with its key decision in the process, whether or not to set up a state-run health insurance exchange.

The results are so staggeringly bad they should give anyone looking at this issue without much prior understanding serious reservations about allowing Frankfort politicians to proceed with what will surely be a disaster.

In the report, titled Stakeholder Perspectives on Health Benefit Exchanges, surveys were sent out to 45 groups and individuals the Governor wanted to weigh in on ObamaCare. Of the 45, only 24 responded to any of the questions on the survey. Question number one asked if Kentucky should set up an exchange. Only 18 stakeholders answered that. Fifteen said yes. Most of those stated flatly that they wanted Kentucky to enable ObamaCare in the state by setting up an exchange without giving any reason for their answer. Most disappointing, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, which should know better, did elaborate. The KAM stated "Kentucky should operate its own Exchange to keep the governance close to home."

This position represents a fundamental misunderstanding about the structure of ObamaCare. State-run exchanges will only remain state-run at all as long as their actions please the federal government. Also, the Kentucky Farm Bureau apparently answered some of the survey questions, but took a pass on this one. Both KAM and KFB should know better than this.

The National Federation of Independent Business answered the question in unique fashion:
"Kentucky should hang back and watch the effects of Exchange development in other states. Draw contingencies for a variety of structures, but wait until the last possible moment to choose a path."

I don't know what is so hard about issuing a definitive "no" to a concept as bad as this, but at least the NFIB came close.

Why Kentucky Republicans folded on ObamaCare

A Beshear Administration report released over the weekend contains clear support for setting up an ObamaCare state-run health insurance exchange in Kentucky from such groups as Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the state's Medical Association, Hospital Association, Optometrists Association, Manufacturers Association and Association of Chiropractors.

These organizations and the politicians they own are far more concerned with power and the massive flow of tax dollars into their preferred pockets than they are with citizens' rights, finances or ability to gain access to medical care.

Refusing to set up a state-run exchange is critical to avoiding the ravages of ObamaCare, even if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional later this month by the U.S. Supreme Court. Other states whose officials claim opposition to ObamaCare while quietly implementing it are starting to get noticed. Let's hope more people lend their voices to shutting down all implementation activities in Kentucky.

A special session of the legislature this summer to get this right is not too much to ask.

Beshear administration officials have been sitting on this report for nearly a year.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Forcing Steve Beshear to fish or cut bait

This afternoon complaints were filed with the Kentucky Insurance Department against two Christian health cost sharing organizations for operating in the state as illegal health insurance companies.

I filed the complaints and wanted to explain to you why.

Governor Steve Beshear is arbitrarily opposing a single Christian health cost sharing organization, Christian Care Medi-Share, for working to protect innocent Kentucky Christians from the ill effects of insurance regulation at the federal and state levels. To be fair, the state lawsuit against Medi-Share was initiated by the Paul Patton Administration in 2002 and the 2010 Kentucky Supreme Court ruling is on very solid ground in its ruling that Medi-Share was functioning in the state in violation of state law.

But that's where the case gets complicated. Medi-Share has not only asserted that the company should not be regulated as insurance, they have continued up to now to provide services and even advertise for new members on Christian radio.

The Beshear Administration had knowledge of Medi-Share's activities then and filed a July 27, 2011 motion for a contempt of court ruling with the Franklin Circuit Court. Since then the state has moved carefully so as not to draw attention to the case, however employees at the Kentucky Department of Insurance continue to tell citizens asking about the program that Medi-Share is not operating legally, implying that it should be avoided.

Meanwhile, other companies operating similarly to Medi-Share have not escaped the Governor's notice but have escaped any legal action.

Two weeks ago, a Department of Insurance spokeswoman told me two other companies -- Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries -- had been examined and found to not be violating state law as Medi-Share has been, but that further review would be taken to see if they were still operating in accordance with state law. In the two weeks following that conversation, no such review appears to have taken place.

Based on the wording of the law and the opinion of the Supreme Court supporting the law and the state's action, both Samaritan and Christian Healthcare should not be allowed to operate in the state either. More on that here.

By operating quietly and not following up but telling interested callers to avoid Medi-Share, the Beshear is creating a chilling effect on the operations of Christian Care Medi-Share. The motive appears to be to damage the ability of some Kentucky Christians to escape the mandates of insurance regulation at the state and federal levels without attracting much attention to the effort.

And that is why I filed the complaints. Whether ObamaCare survives this month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling or not, consumers' needs to protect themselves against overzealous government regulation of healthcare will likely only grow. Christian health sharing programs such as these present a form of that protection. Forcing them to operate halfway in and out of the shadows serves only to exacerbate the chaos caused by government dictates in our health care decisions.

The Beshear administration and all of state government need to be dragged out in public and forced to explain why they should be able to harass innocent Christians and the service providers trying to help them survive in today's hyper-regulatory environment. When they are, their arbitrary enforcement of state law in this case will surely be found unconstitutional and the arbitrary nature of the entire insurance regulation scheme in Kentucky may be as well.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Call Steve Beshear on this, please

Governor Steve Beshear's inaction in his unconstitutional abuse of power episode against Kentucky Christians has reached epic proportions, creating a hostile situation for citizens seeking to escape the mandates of ObamaCare.

Beshear has left consumers in the lurch for nearly a year by refusing to enforce or renounce the court ruling in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Reinhold. Of course the legislature has been no help either, but it's Beshear's court case.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky won its case against Christian Care Medi-Share, a religious based health cost sharing program, back in August 2010. The ruling, that the program should be regulated as an insurance company, effectively ran Medi-Share out of the state since coming into compliance with existing state insurance laws and regulations would eliminate any purpose for the program.

Medi-Share has continued to operate in Kentucky in violation of the law as have other similar cost sharing programs. Something has to give and it is the Governor's responsibility to see that it does. Beshear doesn't want to get caught attacking Christians before an election and taking away what little health freedom they have left.

But it is clear he wants to attack Christians and take away what little health freedom they have left. Otherwise, he wouldn't leave us all hanging so long waiting for a resolution on this issue. Beshear needs to come clean and either act to allow Christians to work around the already arbitrary and capricious state insurance regulations or admit that he wants the ability to control your health care decisions and doesn't want to hear you complaining about it.

Please call Governor Beshear at 502-564-2611 and tell him to either move to shut Christian Care Medi-Share down or to get out of their way and let them serve the health care needs of Kentucky Christians.

Certificate of Need: Kentucky's "Big Gulp" ban

Kentucky law requires health care providers to ask permission of Kentucky politicians in order to expand or offer new medical services. Big Medical, which funds powerful Frankfort politicians' campaigns, likes it that way so we get bipartisan nonsensical defenses of this approach, called Certificate of Need, every time someone asks.

We need to keep asking because Big Medical is running away with the game, regardless of what the Supreme Court rules later this month on the mother of all Big Medical bills, ObamaCare.

Every time you see hospitals and medical practices consolidate, you are seeing the end result of this over-regulation. Oh, and the higher prices less competition provides as well.

Essentially under Kentucky law, we are doing something much like Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York is doing to his citizens who like soft drinks. Only with a much higher price tag.

New Yorkers who want a 64 ounce Double Big Gulp of Mountain Dew now go to 7-11 and walk out with one cup. Under Bloomberg's intervention, the same gulper will need to buy four 16 ounce Mountain Dews for the same sugar and caffeine buzz, certainly at a higher price.

Under certificate of need, just as advancing technology could provide us innovations in healthcare in one big "cup," we are being forced out the door juggling four of them to make some politician happy.

If you live in Kentucky and hate the idea of Mayor Bloomberg's nanny state nonsense, please understand that we already have that and worse in Kentucky healthcare because of our certificate of need laws.

It's ironic but telling that Kentucky has been ushering in ObamaCare through its Department of Certificate of Need.

Maybe that has something to do with why Kentucky Republicans have been so squishy on ObamaCare.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Steve Beshear violating KY Constitution

Governor Steve Beshear's Department of Insurance is arbitrarily applying the state's insurance laws to persecute hundreds of Kentucky Christians attempting to escape the ravages of ObamaCare. 

He should have to leave us all alone or take on all of us together, at one time.

At issue is Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Reinhold, a case in which the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2010 ruled that Christian Care Ministry's Medi-Share program is an illegal insurance company that should not be allowed to operate in the state.

Despite the ruling, Medi-Share has continued to operate in Kentucky without interruption. The Kentucky Department of Insurance is aware of this fact, but has done nothing about it.

This inaction represents arbitrary application of Chapter 304 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. Arbitrary power is denied the state government by Section 2 of the Kentucky Bill of Rights.

This arbitrary action undoubtedly creates a chilling effect for Kentucky Christians seeking to exercise what little health care freedom remains under the ObamaCare law. The "Affordable Care Act" specifically exempts religious-based health care sharing ministries from its mandates.

Kentuckians calling the Department of Insurance seeking guidance on Christian Care Medi-Share are informed that the organization is under a court order not to operate in the state. Given that Christian Care Medi-Share is the biggest advertiser among the sharing organizations in Kentucky, this information must have a negative impact on those seeking this route to protect themselves from federal dictates.

Kentuckians eager to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn ObamaCare this month need to be aware that their state government is already moving past ObamaCare and not in a way that protects their rights.

As it turns out, there are other sharing organizations and their relationship to the state is noteworthy as well.  A Department of Insurance spokeswoman indicated two other such organizations were on the radar screen for further examination: Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries.

Both of these organizations would clearly receive the same ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court that Medi-Share did in Commonwealth v. Reinhold because they "transfer risk" and because they receive funds from members and pay them out for the benefit of other members.

We can look at this one of two ways. Either we should be grateful to Governor Beshear and his Department of Insurance for (sort of) protecting us from non-profit organizations with long track records of serving the health care cost needs of their members more efficiently than government-approved health "insurance" companies do or we should immediately move to repeal any state laws preventing us from taking advantage of one of the very few available exemptions from ObamaCare before it is too late.

I'm for the latter approach. How about you?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A different Supreme Court health care case

Lexington attorney Kent Masterson Brown has just now exhausted all other appeals in a lawsuit against the federal government to allow Medicare recipients to opt out of government health insurance, so he is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Most people surely don't realize that the federal government has started forcing people to accept Medicare. Don't bother looking for it in federal law; it isn't there.

More about this very soon. Click here for some background on the story.

The case is Brian Hall et al., v. Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Will Kentucky hire Michael Leavitt?

New Mexico is one of the states with Republican leadership who have drunk the pro-ObamaCare KoolAid claim that states have to go ahead and set up an ObamaCare health insurance exchange or the federal government will come in and do it for them.

News flash: the federal government will control the exchanges even in the states that set them up. The only real flexibility will belong to the states that refuse to play along.

Mitt Romney's chief of staff, Michael Leavitt is a huge ObamaCare profiteer who is convincing Republican state officials even in state's suing to overturn ObamaCare to go ahead and set up ObamaCare.

I can't imagine why anyone with the ability to read the bill and the regulations that go with it would believe that the federal government will allow them to run an exchange in conflict with federal desires. It is a dangerous and false assumption and the Republicans who go along with this are hitting for the wrong team. Don't believe me: read this.

New Mexico just paid Michael Leavitt one million dollars to set up their ObamaCare exchange. Kentucky leaders Steve Beshear, Greg Stumbo and David Williams as well as heads of the Department of Insurance, Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Deparment of Certificate of Need should immediately divulge any communications they have had with Michael Leavitt or any working with his firm Leavitt Partners since the Affordable Care Act became law.

Kentucky has no business playing this very expensive game. It will bankrupt us faster and we are already on the fast track. We must reject this nonsense vigorously, return what federal money we have already received and take immediate action to tie Governor Beshear's hands against the possibility of enacting ObamaCare via an executive order.

The salient point not to be missed is Beshear has been talking for years about moving us to the left on healthcare. After the Supreme Court ruling will be very chaotic regardless of the ruling and we are not ready for that. Too many of our official Republicans are still playing CYA games or worse. It's a luxury we can't afford.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Obama got your toaster, wants your bread

You may recall last year Illinois Senator Dick Durbin making banking reforms worse by dictating debit card fees banks can charge retailers.
While perhaps not noticing the subsequent price-shifting by banks and the increases by retailers to make up for the ObamaCard nonsense from 2011, you need to be warned that the 2012 version promises to be decidedly more prominent.

Barack Obama wants your credit cards. Oh, it will be couched in the now-predictable populist language of Occupy Wall Street vulgarians, but make no mistake that fixing bank fees on credit cards isn't about sticking it to The Man or helping you with more affordable bank services.

Any shortage in fees banks experience due to congressional price fixing deals will only be extracted from consumers' wallets by other means, just like last time. And the times before that.

So later this summer when you hear Obama stooge Dick Durbin talking about trimming bankers' sails, please understand that it is you who will be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Please encourage your representatives to tell Durbin/Obama to stick to throwing little old ladies off cliffs to make the numbers "work" on his healthcare nonsense and to stop diversifying his efforts by meddling with our credit cards.