About Me

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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee and on the Finance Ways and Means Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hagar the Horrible


State Wants Medical Records Database WSMV

Opponents: Gov't Shouldn't Get Involved In Individuals' Health
Reported By Cara Kumari

"The purpose here is to build as broad a set of population health data as possible so that we can really improve quality of care and efof care in Tennessee," said Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz.


http://www.wsmv.com/health/19593168/detail.html

Cap-and-Trade article in the Tennessean

Please see my article in the Tennessean on cap-and-trade -
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009905280319

"This energy policy to reduce carbon emissions is neither upfront nor affordable. Cap and trade is a complex and confusing scheme that will do little to help the environment."

Eagle Forum wants to help you fight state attack on your medical privacy

http://www.tneagleforum.org/custpage.cfm/frm/40436/sec_id/40436

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tennessee Center for Policy Research on Claims Database

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research has issued a fascinating analysis of the All Payer Claims Database and issued their analysis for review.


State Wants to Collect Private Healthcare Data

"Costs to Consumers & Insurers – The legislation’s current fiscal note is less than $200,000 but this only takes the cost to the state government into account.

Furthermore, even the fiscal note is a gross under-estimate. In Minnesota, where similar legislation passed, the cost of the program exceeded $4 million in less than 4 years. Insurance companies are likely to incur great costs when forced to conform to an electronic form as prepared by the NCQA.

These costs are likely to be passed along, eventually, to consumers. Thus the stated goal of “improving…affordability of patient health care and health care coverage” is thwarted from the start."

All Claims Payer Database Commentary

Blue Collar Muse doesn't like All Claims Payer Database either -

"Of all the Orwellian nightmares people have suggested you be concerned about, it would be difficult to find one more universally despised than the idea one’s medical records are available to the state. "

See full article here http://conservablogs.com/bluecollarmuse/2009/05/26/tn-hb2289-gives-goverment-access-to-private-medical-information/

HJR108 PASSES HOUSE

HJR 108 passed the Tennessee House tonight!

Thank you for your support.


The Resolution now moves to the Senate where Senator Jamie Woodson will carry the bill.

The vote was 85 Ayes, 2 Noes, 3 present not voting and 9 not voting.

Rep. Susan Lynn

Monday, May 25, 2009

All Payer Claims Database - Update 2

The All Payer Claims Database seeks to establish a comprehensive database for the private healthcare transactions of every Tennessean by forcing insurance companies to turn their claims data over to the state through the passage of HB2289.

But wait, this is your privately paid for information! The state is not entitled to this information. Yet, the Administration hopes to convince state legislators that the state has a rational state interest to review your private healthcare data.

The bill lists several reasons but truly each are items you should, and do, privately determine for yourself.

As the Administration tries to comfort state legislators with assuring words stating that your identity will not be disclosed. An important question remains, disclosed by whom? All though the bill it sounds as if the state will know your identity. But the state protests that it will comply with all HIPAA Privacy Rules concerning your Private Health Information (PHI).

So are we to assume that the insurance companies cannot turn your identity or PHI over to the state? No we should not. That is because while HIPAA’s privacy rules protect your PHI from disclosure for private use, HIPAA rules allow disclosure without authorization for several other purposes.

That’s right; your private health information can be disclosed without your consent to public health authorities and health oversight agencies for the prevention or control of disease, injury, or disability, and for oversight activities authorized by law.

So when the state says it will comply with HIPAA Privacy Rules you should answer back - Big Deal!

Please remember, you have the right to self determination, and that is largely why our founding fathers broke away from Great Britain and formed our great nation. The peoples' natural rights - their right to self determination was being abridged by an overbearing government.

Be jealous of your privacy and defend it. Our forefathers and many more since died for your right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Do not give up so easily that for which they paid so dear a price.

I know I will never stop defending your rights but your voice will help make a difference - http://www.capitol.tn.gov/.

Thousands of records 'lost' by NHS

Thousands of personal medical records have been lost by the NHS in the UK.

An article published yesterday tells how "A total of 140 security breaches were reported within the NHS between January and April this year."


Additional related articles can be found here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

ALEC: Cap & Trade - A New Tax on Energy

...For example, a recent study by CRA International for the National Black Chamber of Commerce concluded the legislation would cost the U.S. economy $350 billion and 2.3 million to 2.7 million jobs each year from now to 2030. This is a net loss meaning they took into account all the “green” jobs the bill promises to create. To read that study, click here.

Read ALEC brief.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All Payer Claims Database update

Tennessee state government wants to get into the healthcare business big time! There is pending legislation to collect all of the data on your privately paid for healthcare transactions.

The Governor’s administration is pushing HB2289. As amended the bill claims that the state government needs your information to;

“Improve the accessibility and affordability of patient health care and health care coverage”

“Identify health and health care needs and inform on health and health care policy”

“Determine the capacity and distribution of existing health care resources”

“Evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs on improving patient outcomes”

“Review costs among various treatment settings, providers, and approaches”

“Provide publicly available information on health care providers’ quality of care”

The plan is to mandate that your insurance company transmit all of your healthcare transactions to the state. You will be assigned a unique encrypted patient identifier by your insurance company. This identifier will be used by the state to track all of your healthcare transactions so that they can evaluate you according to the criteria listed above. Your doctor will also receive a unique healthcare provider identifier; but he or she will be fully identifiable.

What if you should want to opt-out? Well, you can’t. We tried very hard in the House Government Operations Committee this week to make that possible for you and your doctor but we were defeated on a party line vote. Should your insurance company refuse to comply with handing over your information it will receive a $100.00 per day fine from the state.

I want you to understand the breadth and the enormity of this plan. I asked just one of the major health insurance companies in Tennessee how many claims they process. 32,000 per hour; or 256,000 per day was the answer.

So I ask you to consider; why does the state of Tennessee need that much data, and that much detail about your healthcare transactions?

I asked a few public policy groups to take a look at the legislation. They responded with alarm. Some of their comments are that “…this is an avenue to centralized control over medical decisions...and the building of a brand new expensive bureaucracy that will use the data to issue reports to further secure their control over medical decision-making.” And, “Whoa. This bill is very scary. Not only is there no opt-out provision, but looking at claims data is the way to implement price controls.”

From what I’ve been able to learn several states have recently instituted similar databases and several more are considering bills at this time. Most all use a company called the Maine Health Information Center which is affiliated with the National Claims Data Management System. These are non-profit organizations set up to accept and analyze massive amounts of healthcare data.

Recently a similar plan was instituted in Minnesota. The cost was $1.2 million for the databasing of claims data on all Minnesotans for just the first 18 months. Additional costs for analyzing the data are $3.0 million dollars per year.

Yet the state of Tennessee claims that this bill will cost Tennessee little more than $200,000 per year. Perhaps that is because the bulk of the cost is borne by your insurance company.

I fail to see how legislators mandating insurance companies to turn over your healthcare transactions to the state cannot violate the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution; unreasonable searches and seizures. Surely, passage of this legislation would constitute a seizure by the state of Tennessee of private, and privately paid for detailed information for which the state has no business having and for which they have no compelling, rational or legitimate use.

Outgoing administrations often start thinking of their next job early. Perhaps the Governor and some of his cabinet members have big plans in the ever growing healthcare information field.

I hope that you are concerned about this bill because your voice does make a difference. This is one bill that should go away. Please take the time to contact your legislator to learn more and to express your feelings about this legislation; http://www.capitol.tn.gov/.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Word of the day

Thank you to Tom Lee for our word of the day as the Chair always tries to avoid this activity in Government Operations -

kerfuffle

Part of Speech: n
Definition: disorder, commotion; also written curfuffle, kafuffle, gefuffle

Sunday, May 17, 2009

All Payer Claims Database

What is the All Payer Claims Database? That is the name of the system the Governor’s administration wants to put in place to collect all of the data on your healthcare transactions - whether you are private pay, insurance pay, Medicare or Medicaid.

The government claims it needs your information to;

“Improve the accessibility and affordability of patient health care and health care coverage”

“Identify health and health care needs and inform on health and health care policy”

“Determine the capacity and distribution of existing health care resources”

“Evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs on improving patient outcomes”

“Review costs among various treatment settings, providers, and approaches”

“Provide publicly available information on health care providers’ quality of care”

I asked a few public policy groups to take a look at the legislation. They responded with alarm. Some of their comments are that “…this is an avenue to centralized control over medical decisions...and the building of a brand new expensive bureaucracy that will use the data to issue reports to further secure their control over medical decision-making.” And, “Whoa. This bill is very scary. Not only is there no opt-out provision, but looking at claims data is the way to implement price controls.”

The administration claims through all of this your identity will be safe because the government will give you a unique encrypted patient identifier. Your doctor will receive a unique health care provider identifier as well. But wait, if the government is giving you the identifier wouldn’t that mean they know who you are or else how can they give it to you…and why?

What if you should want to opt-out? Well, you can’t. And should your doctor refuse to comply with giving over your information he or she will receive a $100.00 per day fine from the state.

Recently a similar plan was instituted in Minnesota. The cost was $1.2 million for the databasing of claims data on all Minnesotans for just the first 18 months. Additional costs for analyzing the data are $3.0 million dollars per year. The next phase of educating physicians was another $100,000+, and about $45,000 per year in expenses for the state’s health dept. Of course the cost to the doctors for sending the data has never been calculated.

But the state claims that this bill will cost little more than $10,000 per year.

I hope that you are concerned about this bill because your voice does make a difference. This is one bill that should go away. We do not need to collect such data, and some believe that such collection may violate the Fourth Amendment.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Brushing up on energy schemes

There are several energy schemes with which we need to acquaint ourselves because of their potential damage to our pocketbooks.

Just imagine the suffering your family and your budget would face if they were all put into effect.

Legislation in the federal and state government is trying to accomplish this right now.

They are plans that violate good business ethics and economic fairness. We need to be aware of these schemes and the damage they will do. Sadly, our own American government is trying to impose them.

Renewable Portfolio Standards
Require increased production of energy from renewable sources. These sources are not necessarily less expensive or more efficient than other sources.

RES Credit Trading Programs
Renewable energy credits are tradable environmental commodities which represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource1. Many power generating companies don't or can't readily use renewable sources of energy to produce power for their customers. Therefore, under this scheme, they will have to purchase the credits from power companies that do use renewable sources so that they can prove to the federal government that renewable sources were used. Obviously, this added cost whose only legitimate effect is to make power more expensive for customers.

Cap & Trade
Is a regulatory scheme used to control pollution by placing a cap on large manufacturers’ emissions. Should they stay under their assigned cap they can trade (or sell) the unused portion of their cap to another manufacturer that has exceeded their assigned cap. This does virtually nothing to decrease pollution, or encourage increased production, but it obviously increases manufacturing costs.

Decoupling Mechanisms
Refers to the disassociation of a utility's profits from the actual volume of a customers' usage. Instead a given rate of return is aligned with revenue targets; rates are annually adjusted based on these targets. The point is to disconnect the utility's desire for net revenue from sales volume. Most customers expect to be charged for the volume of fuel they use, plus average fixed costs and a fair profit. Decoupling destroys the formula used for years which is most fair to consumers.

Utility Conservation Programs
Utilities are incentivized to sell less product by encouraging energy conservation among their customers. They are rewarded for the decrease in product sales volume due to the conservation efforts with annual price increases to make up for their lost net revenue. Fair market practices dictate that if a consumer conserves they should receive the benefit for their conservation efforts. Under this scheme the utility receives a rate increase for any conservation efforts whether aided by the utility or accomplished by the customer.

RINs Trading Programs
Renewable Identification Numbers are assigned to batches of fuel that have been blended with ethanol. Oil companies use the RINs numbers to prove to the federal government that they are meeting the federal mandates for ethanol blending. Small retailers want the state to prevent the oil companies from restricting their ability to blend. This is because when the retailers do the blending themselves they are given possession of the RINs number. The small retailers then sell the number back to the oil companies because they need the number to prove to the federal government that the fuel was indeed blended. This transaction costs up to 12 cents per gallon. Guess who really pays for this? You, the consumer.

Automobile Carbon Taxes
Next on the horizon is the idea to tax you for your car's emissions. I don't have a lot of information on this yet but look out for this as well.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tea Party Photos







I just received some Tea Party photos from the Nashville party.






Friday, May 01, 2009

Label me

So I don’t like the idea of local governments enacting menu labeling...

I received an email from a friend who was not happy to learn that I am the sponsor of a bill to clarify that local governments may not enact menu labeling; a growing trend where government requires restaurants to provide patrons information on the nutritional content of their offerings.

Supporters of menu labeling love the idea because they feel it will surely cure the “obesity epidemic”; even though American society has grown heavier not slimmer since other food labeling laws have come into effect.

Objectors say they see menu labeling as more of the nanny-state government movement. Further, it creates a burden on citizens (business owners) that is far too great. Modifying menus or ingredients becomes inflexible due to the expense of changing menu board, menu and drive through signage; additionally utilizing a lab to determine the nutritional content of offerings is exceedingly expensive. It is consumers that will pay these costs through higher prices.

Many question if the added expense is actually useful enough to pay for. Isn’t it common knowledge that if starchy potatoes fried in oil can make you fat then supersized starchy potatoes fried in oil will probably make you, well, fatter?

However, my friend’s email, and my bill, raise a whole new issue. She feels that local governments are closest to the people and are more inclined to understand what laws they need therefore I should not be trying to stop them from employing such an ordinance if they want to do so.

It is very important to understand that the only reason local governments exist is because the state has granted them a Charter to exist. A Charter is like a Constitution and grants local governments permission to govern themselves through ordinances within the range of their Chartered powers.

To be clear, Local government ordinances cannot circumvent state law. For instance, local governments cannot make their own criminal laws; it would violate equal protection of the law for there to be varying penalties for murder in different counties or communities.

Local governments can fill a void in state law if there is no state law on the subject in effect, and the ordinance is inside of the powers specified in their Charter.

In time the state sometimes finds it necessary to take action and impose an overriding state law to replace a selection of dissimilar ordinances on the same issue. For example, the state may find that varying ordinances among the local governments are too numerous, too differentiated, and in need of standardization due to a compelling, a rational or a legitimate burden created for citizens to comply with. Local menu labeling ordinances are a good example of this.

If a requirement for menu labeling is ever put in place I hope people can agree that it is truly a measure that would be best imposed broadly, perhaps by the federal government, because even the variance among the states creates too great a compliance burden for citizens.

Harvard University was one of the first to require menu labeling. They have abandoned the project due to complaints that it aggravated students' eating disorders. If you want to read more about the Food Police there is a very good article by the Consumer Rights League. I recently had Jim Terry from Consumer Rights speak at my task force at ALEC.

Yep, you can officially "label me" as one of those that is not in favor of government instituted menu labeling on any level for many reasons.