The Obamacare exchanges aren’t ‘marketplaces’

Twila Brase President, Citizens' Council for Health Freedom
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Words can deceive, as proponents of federal health reform know well. Calling the proposed state health insurance exchanges “marketplaces” is nothing but a veiled attempt to use free-market terms to describe a system that is anything but free.

A real marketplace is an open, competitive place to purchase a broad range of goods and services. It does not require legislation. Using the “Minnesota Insurance Marketplace” as an example, we see that Obamacare exchanges are government agencies, not marketplaces.

According to the draft of the bill to establish the Minnesota exchange, the state’s exchange will:

● limit an individual’s choice of health insurance options;

● expand government dependency by subsidizing premiums for middle-class individuals and families;

● be managed by a board of unelected political appointees who will in turn control health care decisions;

● be under federal control, since it will be subject to federal laws and regulations;

● operate by transferring vast quantities of personal data between state and federal agencies through a new centralized federal data system and 24/7 online connectivity.

How many free-market stores or websites do you shop at that operate like this?

The left-leaning Herndon Alliance reported on research that determined the best words to use to sell exchanges to the American public. The research found that the term “marketplace” was the best option, particularly with members of the public opposed to Obamacare or opposed to big government. Adoption of the word “marketplace” in place of “exchange” is now being promoted at both the state and federal level. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently changed its exchange terminology. In an effort to build support for the exchanges, the HHS eliminated the term “health insurance exchange” and replaced it with “health insurance marketplace.” These efforts to dupe the public are disingenuous.

The reality is that on state insurance exchanges available health insurance plans will be limited by a host of federal regulations; personal privacy will be violated, because the exchanges will be connected to various state agencies and a wide variety of federal agencies — including the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the IRS, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services — that will share citizens’ data without consent; the federal government will use an individual’s income, tax, employment, medical, family and citizenship data to determine eligibility for coverage and premium subsidies; and it will be impossible to purchase health insurance without federal approval.

Plus, state exchanges will cost state governments millions of dollars each year to operate, even though they’re effectively controlled by the federal government.

Government-run exchanges are not marketplaces; they are government agencies set up to impose Obamacare. In contrast, private health insurance exchanges are part of the real marketplace, selling a wide range of health insurance to the public. State exchanges are set up to expand government health care into the middle class, implement Obamacare and enforce the individual and employer mandates to purchase health insurance. Despite the new, “friendly” nomenclature, health insurance exchanges remain the linchpin to government-run healthcare and should be refused in all forms by the states.

Twila Brase is the president of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.

Twila Brase