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Tags: Barack Obama | Hillary Clinton | Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | Women | Hillary | extremists

Obamacare Places Controls on Women

By Monday, 19 March 2012 09:55 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned this week that "extremists" want to control women, even in the U.S.

"They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies."

Obamacare places controls on women. Hillary Clinton warned that "extremists" want to control women.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
(Getty Images)
Sounds like the president's health law. Under the new law, women will lose choices and privacy they fought for decades to protect.

What your insurance covers: The Obama health law says that you must enroll in a “qualified” health plan or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. The secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) — a presidential appointee — makes the important decisions about what your plan covers.

The law doesn't guarantee that contraceptives or morning-after pills are covered. It's up to the president. That means any future president could decide not to cover them. (Sec. 1302)

The wide variety of views expressed by the current presidential candidates should alert women not to surrender their insurance choices to the discretion of one person. By compelling you to enroll in a one-size-fits-all plan, that's what the Obama health law does.

Who makes health decisions: Currently, the federal government does not interfere in how doctors treat privately insured patients. Under the Obama health law, the government will standardize medical care, affecting you even if you are in a private health plan you paid for yourself.

Sec. 1311 (h) (1) says private insurers can pay only doctors and hospitals that follow whatever federal regulations the secretary imposes in the name of health quality. Obamacare gives the secretary breathtaking power to standardize medical practice. It could mean dictating when your orthopedist recommends a hip replacement or your cardiologist prescribes a cholesterol-reducing drug.

Your doctor will record your treatments in an electronic database, and your doctors’ decisions will be overseen for compliance with federal guidelines.

Privacy: Electronic medical records create a “tell-all” relationship with every doctor you consult. See a psychiatrist? Your foot doctor will know about it. Have an abortion? Your dermatologist will see it on your record. Even the left-leaning New York Civil Liberties Union is calling for safeguards to give patients the option of keeping sensitive information out of databases.

The federal government currently has access only to the records of patients in federal programs such as Medicare. But in 2014, that will change when the secretary begins overseeing private plans. On May 31, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services made a half-hearted proposal to allow patients to request a report on who has electronically viewed their information, but after the fact.

“Free” mammograms: Flyers mailed this week boast that preventive services for women are “free” under the Obama health law. What that means is you won’t have a co-pay. But there is also no tooth fairy. The cost is included in your premium. You have no choice but to pay in full for a mammogram, whether you decide to get one or not.

Older women: It's almost always women who take responsibility for their aging parents and in-laws. And of course older women outnumber men in Medicare. For all these reasons, Medicare is a woman's issue. This week older women are being targeted with mailings reminding them that the Obama health law lowers prescription drug costs.

Closing the “donut hole” gap in prescription drug coverage is throwing seniors a crumb. It's a miniscule gain compared with the $575 billion cut in future Medicare funding over the next decade.

Most of the cuts reduce what hospitals and other institutions are paid to care for the elderly. Richard Foster, Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), told Congress that the cuts will force 15 percent of hospitals into the red, and compel others to operate in an environment of scarcity. That could mean fewer nurses on the floor and longer waits for high-tech diagnostic tests.

For decades, women’s rights groups went to the barricades to prevent government from accessing their medical records or controlling their doctors' decisions. The Obama health law does both. Women need to put partisanship aside and honestly recognize the dangers in this law.

Betsy McCaughey is president of Defend Your Healthcare and founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. She is the author of two histories of the U.S. Constitution, and is New York's former lieutenant governor. Read more reports from Betsy McCaughey — Click Here Now.

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Monday, 19 March 2012 09:55 AM
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