Retired Republican Bill Frist Makes The Case For State Exchanges Under Obamacare

[Editor's Note: With the re-election of President Obama securing the future of his signature health care law, implementation of State Exchanges under the Patient Protection Act has returned to the national media spotlight. They got a lot wrong when this was first under debate; will they continue to do a disservice to the public by not explaining the importance of this part of the new health care law? We hope not, but we aren't confident, so we're re-publishing this earlier post wherein we break down — let's call them what they are — the lies the current Republicans in the House are spreading, the truth about how this program works, and how to talk about it when the subject comes up. Let us know if you have any questions in the Comments section below.]

"Helping more Americans find and compare the private insurance they need and can afford should be an easy principle both political parties agree on." ~ Former Republican Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist

With all the noise and screaming, and the 33 (or is it 34, or maybe 40 by now?) votes by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Patient Protection Act, and the irresponsibly dismal media coverage of this critical issue to all of us; you, a member of the People of the United States of America, have been prevented from learning the truth about how the Patient Protection Act will actually benefit not only you, but your state and everyone else in it, as well.

Bill Frist is not only the former majority leader in the Senate during George W. Bush's presidency, he also has his share of bona fides in understanding how the U.S. health care system operates. Frist is a Harvard-graduated cardio-thoracic surgeon, having specialized in health care policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

And he wrote an impassioned op-ed, imploring us to actively work to support the implementation of the state insurance exchanges that the Patient Protecton Act is making available in every state.

We bring you both the truth about these exchanges as explained by Dr. Frist, and the absurd letter that 73 Republicans in Congress sent to the National Governors Association that is made up entirely of lies about what the exchanges are, how they'll work, and what they mean for health care administration across the country. ...

billfrist.pngFormer Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist op-ed: 'Why both parties should embrace [the Patient Protection Act]'s state exchanges'
Published at The Week
July 18, 2012
  congressionalrepublicans.pngCurrent Republican Members of Congress
In a letter to the National Governors Association
June 29, 2012
  WWPTeam157high.pngThe Winning Words Project Team
 

Bill Frist explains:

Originally a Republican idea, the state insurance exchanges mandated under the [Patient Protection Act (PPA)] will offer a menu of private insurance plans to pick and choose from, all with a required set of minimum benefits, to those without employer-sponsored health insurance.

 

His former colleagues say:

As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation.

 

The Winning Words Project reminds you:

You know what "a  menu of PRIVATE INSURANCE PLANS to pick and choose from" is and isn't. Don't let them deceive you with political talking points designed to gin up rejection of this law.

Bill Frist explains:

These exchanges are expected to bring health insurance to an additional 16 million Americans. Unlike the Medicaid expansion, these Americans will gain private insurance, and can choose the plan that's right for them.

 

His former colleagues spin:

Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the president's discredited health care law. (Emphasis ours.)

 

The Winning Words Project reminds you:

We know we've pointed this hypocrisy out before, but we implore to to ask yourself why Republicans are so vehemently opposed to a Republican idea that they would encourage state governors to oppose it now that it's been implemented? Can you come up with an answer that would satisfy the question, "what is in the best interest of the people of the United States of America, not the best interest of party politics?"

Bill Frist explains:

[W]e have largely ignored what is perhaps the most innovative, market-driven, and ultimately constructive part of the law: State exchanges. ...

The exchanges should facilitate competition among private insurers as they design new benefit packages and cut prices to stay ahead of the game. ... Helping more Americans find and compare the private insurance they need and can afford should be an easy principle both political parties agree on.

As a doctor, I strongly believe that people without health insurance die sooner. Sure, they can eventually go to an emergency room. But it is often too late. They wait longer to get a breast lump checked out. They wait until their nagging cough turns into a fulminant pneumonia. They skip preventive care and then show up to the ER with severe, costly, late-stage symptoms that are harder and more expensive to treat.

 

His pandering former colleagues claim:

These expensive,

 

The Winning Words Project reminds you:

A claim unsupported by any facts. Note Dr. Frist's assessment of the higher costs to states whose constituents lack health insurance coverage, as well.

 

complex,

 

If you're a state Insurance Commissioner skilled in this field—and every state has one!—creating a plan for an appropriate exchange that will meet your state's needs is a piece of cake. It's what we elect these people to do!

 

and intrusive exchanges

 

Let us ask you, would you feel intruded upon if your state sent you a letter which outlined a new way for you to examine newly-created private insurance policies that offered you "a broad array of tailored options and varying prices"? We didn't think so.

 

pose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies,

 

This is impossible. Once again, the state exchanges are to set up private insurance companies to provide a new array of policies to small businesses and individuals from which to buy insurance.

 

with no certainty of a limit of total enrollment numbers.

 

It is the goal to have more people covered by private insurance because it lowers costs for everyone across the board, including states!

Bill Frist explains:

Originally a Republican idea, the state insurance exchanges mandated under the [Patient Protection Act (PPA)] will offer a menu of private insurance plans to pick and choose from, all with a required set of minimum benefits, to those without employer-sponsored health insurance.

 

His pandering former colleagues conflate:

The law's employer mandate assesses penalties - up to $3,000 per employee - only to businesses who don't satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive "premium assistance" through the exchanges. The clear language of the statute only permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize such a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place. (Emphasis theirs.)

 

The Winning Words Project calls them out: 

Do you see what's wrong with this picture? the exchanges are for people without employer-sponsored health insurance. That includes the sole-propietor who works from home, people who are unemployed, as well as those working for businesses that are exempt under the law, such as small businesses that employ fewer than 50 people. Finally people who fall into these categories won't be shut out of the health insurance market, but can buy in at rates that are similarly competitive with what the big boys are offered!

So ask yourself, what does the employer penalty have to do with the exchanges that are strictly for people without employer-paid coverage? In case it isn't obvious: NOTHING. But our Republican members of congress are intentionally conflating the two for the sole purpose of deceiving you and your state's governor. How do you feel about that?

Bill Frist warns:

While the exchanges must be fully operational by January 1, 2014, they are also required to submit a blueprint for approval by mid-November of this year, which will indicate if they plan to run their own exchange or will participate in a federal-state partnership. While almost all of the states have at least planned for an exchange, roughly half took a wait-and-see approach as they awaited the Supreme Court ruling.

 

 

 

His former colleagues would have you believe:

Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange regulations will only result in wasted state resources ...

 

 

The Winning Words Project calls them out:

Dear Congressional Republicans, this part is already done in most states, and in the rest, planning is already under way. Also, as we previously called your attention to the existence of: State Insurance Commissioners. This is what we elect them to do! This is nothing more than a straw man so it'll look like you have something to knock down, when in reality, there's no "there" there.

 

A reminder from Bill Frist:

The exchanges should facilitate competition among private insurers as they design new benefit packages and cut prices to stay ahead of the game. While I'm slow to favor a mandate, these exchanges will offer those who can benefit from insurance a broad array of tailored options and varying prices that should help them find it. Helping more Americans find and compare the private insurance they need and can afford should be an easy principle both political parties agree on.

 

Another lie from his former colleagues:

... and higher premiums for your constituents.

 

The Winning Words Project dispels this one, too:

Republicans have been arguing for years that competition drives down costs, and Democrats completely agree, which is why Democrats included the ability for each state to implement their own private insurance exchanges to help lower rates for each state's constituents. When did the Republicans' math change on this issue? You know this unfounded claim isn't true, so don't fall for it.

Bill Frist extolls the exchange's flexibility:

[State exchanges] represent the federalist ideal of states as "laboratories for democracy." We are seeing 50 states each designing a model that is right for them, empowered to take into account their individual cultures, politics, economies, and demographics. While much planning has yet to be done, we are already seeing a huge range in state models. I love the diversity and the innovation.

Want a more conservative, small-business focused exchange that bans abortion coverage in all its plans? Try Utah and its state exchange, originally founded under Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Think that President Obama missed a huge opportunity to steer the nation towards a single payer system? Try Vermont, which plans to ultimately transform its state exchange into a single payer system, Green Mountain Care, that will offer coverage to all state residents.

I see little advantage for states to default to the federally designed, one-size-fits-all exchange when they can design and run their own. 

 

His former colleagues continue to make stuff up:

Join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American.

Let's work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests.

Pretty clearly, these guys could use one of these:

fireextinguisher2.png

 

The Winning Words Project again:

The state exchanges are the exact opposite of this absurd claim. Opposite.

And we shouldn't need to point out that these state exchanges are already providing a health care system that is of, for, and by the people—former Senate Majority Leader Frist has already eloquently done that work for us, and as he details, that's the whole point of them in the first place!

stateflags.png


Senator Frist closes his piece with the following appeal:

I urge everyone — citizens, small businesses, health industry stakeholders, churches, large employers — to actively participate in shaping your exchange so that it reflects your state's values, economy, and common sense.

Simply put, state exchanges represent a distinctly American opportunity to improve our local communities and at the same time help our nation avert a major crisis. Let's take the plunge.

Here is a list of members of congress who signed the letter:

House

Bachmann, Jordan, Paul, Roe, Wilson, Duncan, Akin, Hensarling, Garrett, Mulvaney, Walsh, Walberg, Stearns, Ross, Gowdy, Emerson, Franks, Buchson, Rokita, Broun, Boustany, Huelskamp, Scalise, Amash, Olson, Canseco, Price, Blackburn, King (IA), Adams, DesJarlais, Landry, Gingrey, Lankford, Miller (FL), Guthrie, Manzullo, Bono Mack, Ellmers, Pitts, Benishek, Calvert, McClintock, Jenkins, Gohmert, Flores, Bilbray, Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Buerkle, Denham, Lungren, Harris, West, Long, Westmoreland, Fleischmann, Aderholt, Poe, Labrador, Neugebauer, Pompeo

Senate

DeMint, Lee, Johnson (WI), Coburn, Graham, Vitter, Paul, Cornyn, Sessions, Rubio, Toomey and Shelby

Please contact your representative in congress and tell them you've changed your mind—you support the establishment of a health insurance exchange in your state. And if your representative is among the signatories to the above letter, tell them you want them to rescind their signature and call on your governor to submit a blueprint before the deadline so that you have a say in how health care is managed in your state.

And don't forget to CALL YOUR GOVERNOR and tell them that for the sake of your state's ability to control its own health care outcome, to dispose of this letter in the "round file" where it belongs.

How to talk about state health insurance exchanges:

  • State insurance exchanges are of the people, by the people and for the people of each state individually; they have nothing to do with the federal government.
  • State insurance exchanges are made up of private insurers who will have to compete with each other to provide the best-priced premiums to attract customers.
  • State insurance exchanges empower you to create a program that meets your distinct needs.
  • State insurance exchanges represent a distinctly American opportunity to improve our local communities and at the same time help our nation avert a major crisis.

Now read, BEWARE: The Lies Are Flying Around The Patient Protection Act and learn more ways you're being deceived about this law. »

 

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@whirrll retweeted @jillwklausen 2012-10-03 20:13:17 -0700
Bill Frist put the LIE to Romney's absurd 10th Amendment claim re the PPACA http://t.co/LjVTy4V9
@pudcast245 retweeted @jillwklausen 2012-10-03 19:21:09 -0700
Bill Frist put the LIE to Romney's absurd 10th Amendment claim re the PPACA http://t.co/LjVTy4V9
@GilTPolitics tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-26 05:42:20 -0700
Interesting! MT @thepatrioticlib: Retired GOP Bill Frist Proves Republicans Are Lying About Health Care Reform http://t.co/31PPs6sQ #ACA
@ThePatrioticLib tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-26 05:34:31 -0700
Retired Republican Bill Frist Proves Currently-Serving Republicans Are Lying To You About Health Care Reform http://t.co/cOtpAyAg #ACA #ctl
@nilsie tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-25 07:37:06 -0700
RT @cog_pol: Retired Republican Bill Frist calls out the lies of currently-serving Repubs about the PPA - http://t.co/POpudXJu
@PatsyRoussel tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 14:55:52 -0700
Retired Republican Bill Frist Proves Currently-Serving Republicans Are Lying To You About The PPA http://t.co/comGZf4s via @sharethis
@DianeSnavely retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 11:08:54 -0700
.@idrefugee WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@ArrogantDemon retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 10:53:54 -0700
.@idrefugee WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@lawyermomIowa tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 10:50:09 -0700
RT @winningwordspro: WOW! Repub Bill Frist PLEADING w/us to call r legislators 2 support Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/fDgtrxAA
@savedgijoe retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 10:29:12 -0700
.@weywerdsun WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@word_34 tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 10:21:34 -0700
RT @winningwordspro: WOW! Repub Bill Frist PLEADING w/us to call r legislators 2 support Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/fDgtrxAA
@billjonesphoto tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 10:08:32 -0700
Retired Republican Bill Frist Proves Currently-Serving Republicans Are Lying To You About The PPA http://t.co/KWkhNDU4 via @sharethis
@KingsCupRun27 tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 09:59:27 -0700
RT @winningwordspro: WOW! Repub Bill Frist PLEADING w/us to call r legislators 2 support Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/fDgtrxAA
@faircher tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 09:53:54 -0700
Retired Republican Bill Frist Proves Currently-Serving Republicans Are Lying To You About The PPA http://t.co/Gc0Z7vv5 via @sharethis
@dreamweaver43 retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 09:50:25 -0700
.@weywerdsun WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@weywerdSun retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 09:50:06 -0700
.@weywerdsun WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@pcm73 retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 09:49:10 -0700
.@dvnix Holy smokes, Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@Deb4Obama retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 09:48:19 -0700
.@weywerdsun WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@wizard1953 retweeted @WinningWordsPro 2012-07-24 09:44:39 -0700
.@weywerdsun WOW! Repub Bill Frist is PLEADING w/us to call our legislators to support the Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/uqc0gXva
@paulzink tweeted link to this page. 2012-07-24 09:44:18 -0700
RT @winningwordspro: WOW! Repub Bill Frist PLEADING w/us to call r legislators 2 support Patient Protection Act! http://t.co/fDgtrxAA
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