Obamacare controls families, education, homes, and guns

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New healthcare extends beyond health

New healthcare extends beyond health

Consider scenario one.  You work part-time at a local grocery.  You arrive home to find police and a community healthcare worker at your door.  They want to talk about your son, who’s in first grade.  You panic.  Was there an accident at school?  The police handcuff you.  They escort you to the station.  They arrest you and charge you with child neglect.

Scenario two, the arraignment.  Your charges are: 
Exposure to hazards, specifically guns or other weapons.
Failure to provide adequate supervision, resulting in injuries.
Failure to provide educational support.
Failure to provide emotional support. 

Your family meets the ACA criteria for families at risk for negative outcomes, under the Affordable Care Act – Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.  You have one child in elementary school.  Your son has failing grades.  Your spouse is on active duty in the military.  You receive supplemental nutritional assistance.  You live in a community with high rates of unemployment and crime.  Recently, you took your son to an emergency room for sports injuries.  In addition, your spouse purchased guns legally and registered them. 

Under ACA, maternal visitations were intended for families receiving public assistance who met specific criteria.  Congress also awarded the Secretary of HHS the discretionary power to modify eligibility guidelines.  In HHS grant guidelines, the Secretary has redefined the eligibility to all at-risk families, not just those on public assistance.  The age range for children in the early programs was prenatal to six months.  HHS extended that range to eight-year-olds. 

Where do the firearms charges originate?  The Secretary also redefines “at-risk” guidelines to include families with children exposed to hazards.  These hazards include guns and other weapons in the home, stairs, small objects, electrical cords, and lack of proper safety restraints.  Children living in homes with such hazards are considered neglected.  When the presence of weapons in the home constitutes punishable child neglect, parents may have to choose between their constitutional rights and their children.  Such intimidation suggests gun control.

Still, HHS and home visitation advocates claim that family engagement is voluntary.  Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown disagrees.  In an interview with Freedom Outpost, reporter Joshua Cook quoted Brown: 

The eligible entity [organization] receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks.  A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to ‘intervention’ in ‘school readiness’ and ‘social-emotional developmental indicators.’ A farm family may be subject to ‘intervention’ in order to ‘prevent child injuries.’ The sky is the limit.  Intervention may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.

In 2010, the ACA allotted $101.25 billion in mandatory spending, which did not require Congressional approval for disbursement.  Around $25 billion was earmarked for community based healthcare and prevention in underserved areas.  ACA provided $1.5 billion in grants to implement the home visitation portion of the program over a five-year period.  For 2014, HHS awarded $400 million in discretionary grants awarded to nearly 900 public and private “entities” for that purpose. 

From ACA has sprung a need for “community healthcare workers.”  These are the field agents who perform home visitations and screenings of targeted families.  To determine which families should be targeted, HHS also provided those entities access to massive banks of data collected on all American residents.  These workers identify problems within the families through administrative records provided before the visits, and by observations and questionnaires presented during the visit.  Every detail must be reported. 

Prerequisites for these positions may be only a high school diploma or equivalent, and some experience with welfare clients.  Some positions require drug testing.  None appear to request criminal background checks or security clearances.  Yet, HHS provides these workers access to sensitive data like health records, finances, criminal records, children’s school records, family relationships, licenses, and registrations.  From these databases, workers may set goals for families and benchmarks for improvements.  Results much be measurable and reported to provide evidence of effectiveness.   

In addition, HHS also suggests that entities receiving funds through the maternal visitation grants develop “fiscal leveraging strategies to enhance program sustainability” beyond the initial grant period.  HHS suggests that sustainability can be improved by targeting eligible families through interactions with other agencies in the public health system. 

HHS writes that ACA “has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Federal, State, and local agencies, through their collaborative efforts, to effect changes that will improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations by addressing child development within the framework of life course development and a socio-ecological perspective.”  Furthermore, the Healthy People 2020 initiative demands this interaction to sustain its own vision of a “public health system.” 

ACA provides HHS massive resources to accomplish that purpose, without additional approval from congress.  Under ACA, HHS is empowered to define and regulate healthcare and assume responsibility for American children.  In turn, HHS has collected and shared personal, health, financial, and educational data on all Americans with state and local governments, private and public health organizations, and research groups across the USA.  All this has evolved from a bill to provide Americans with affordable health insurance. 

Sources and Links: 

Affordable Health Care for America Act; aka Obamacare, maternal healthcare provisions, 111_ahcaa.pdf, pages 1045-1046, 1422-1427http://obamacarefacts.com/affordable-care-act.pdf

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Frances Stotter

Frances Stotter

Freelance writer and former educator. Topics of interest include education policy, information privacy, government, health, dietary sodium issues, and humor. Reports on these issues may be found at http://allvoices.com/users/francesstotter
Frances Stotter

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