This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program aired on 1/15/2020. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Well, last night, the six remaining Democrat presidential front runner candidates appeared in their last debate prior to the upcoming, and believe it or not, it’s right around the corner, the Super Tuesday, March 3rd primary elections. And substantive discussions, I’m going to put it that way, substantive discussions were almost nonexistent in that setting with summary headlines across the spectrum of news out there reading such things as this, which tends to highlight why there wasn’t a whole lot of substance. For instance, this one, Elizabeth Warren refuses to shake the hand of Bernie Sanders. Big news, right? Here’s another one. CNN moderator evidences an assumption that Bernie is lying about women. Here’s another one, Critics cry foul in that they say the debate was rigged and stacked against Bernie. Here’s another one, I’m summarizing this one, in the end, most are saying that nothing happened that placed any one of the candidates substantively ahead of another. Now, this one was a headline from a notable CNN Democrat commentator, Van Jones. He made this comment, “Nothing I saw tonight would be able to take Donald Trump out.” That’s very significant. Another headline said, this Democrat debate number seven, final face off before Iowa caucuses becomes a dull night of the living dead.
Sam Rohrer: Amazing. Well, in addition to being dull and tired and I’m going to say childish and woefully short of any substantive leadership potential, the 2020 Democrat presidential campaigns will continue to fall short of any ability to inspire. Instead, I think we’re only going to see a continual attacking of our president and a seeking to find other issues with which to distract the American citizenry.
Sam Rohrer: And that’s why the focus will now move to the U.S. Senate, which will be picking up the trial of the bogus House impeachment proceedings, which Nancy Pelosi made official today by moving over Chairmen Nadler and Schiff as the leaders of the House case against the president. That now moves to the Senate and I’m going to say we’re going to find a lot of surprises that are going to occur. They’re both good and I think bad. And what should be the focus of major debate being the issues, the real issues of the day, the fact that we do have enemies that are forming, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, as an example. There’s not going to be very much talking about that. There’s not going to be very little talking about the financial debt that’s burgeoning across the world and increasing by the day on a momentous fashion here in the United States. There’s just nothing going to be mentioned about these key things and that’s sad.
Sam Rohrer: Today, however, on this program, we’re going to focus our attention not those two issues, but we’re going to go to the important issue of healthcare and more importantly, our monthly health freedom update with Twila Brase who is the president and co-founder of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, which you can find at cchfreedom.org and she’s also our standing in the gap today go-to person on matters of health care and the fight for healthcare freedom.
Sam Rohrer: Today our theme is this healthcare freedom update wins, concerns, and continuing struggles. And with that lengthy introduction today I’m going to welcome you to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer and I’ll be accompanied by Gary Dull and Dave Kistler. And, of course, as I just mentioned, Twila Brase.
Sam Rohrer: And with that, let me welcome you right now to the program, Twila. Thanks for being with us.
Twila Brase: Well, thanks so much, Sam. Glad to be here.
Sam Rohrer: I’m glad that you are there as well and Twila, let me get right into this first, I didn’t listen to much of the debate last night as I thought that it was shallow and not worth a whole lot of my time to tell you the truth. But do you know if anything was even mentioned about healthcare last night that is worth mentioning today, right now as we kick off this program on healthcare?
Twila Brase: Well, I think probably what’s worth mentioning is that healthcare was not the issue that came right out of the box, which it usually has been. It didn’t come until about halfway through the debate and that’s interesting because, of course, they’re all trying to get the Iowa caucus votes and the leading issue for people of Iowa still remains healthcare. And so there are probably people that tuned out by the time that they actually arrived at the issue.
Twila Brase: Then when it comes to what was actually said, I guess the things that I’ll say is that Elizabeth Warren, who’s been a real champion of Medicare For All, a government run healthcare program for all of us, she avoided even using those words and only talked about improving Obamacare. And then Senator Amy Klobuchar, she called Medicare For All a pipe dream and said it would be very, very pricey and she sort of went after the whole business.
Twila Brase: So there were some things, but I think the most interesting thing is that it didn’t start until halfway through when all the people who are voting and they want their vote, it’s really their top issue. I think that’s perhaps the most interesting piece.
Sam Rohrer: Twila it’s a delight to have you on the program today. I know we’re going to get into some of the concerns and struggles with a national healthcare debate and there’s nobody better than you to talk about that. But before we do that, when you were with us last, you brought up, you at least mentioned, a brewing legislative battle in the United States Senate surrounding what is being referred to as baby DNA. And I know in this case there has been an important win. So I’d love for you to share with us what came out of the Senate with respect to this. And I know you worked with Senator Rand Paul to achieve quite a significant victory.
Twila Brase: Yes. Well, it’s kind of an interesting victory because there is a bill, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, which is a funding bill for the state government newborn screening programs in all 50 states and Washington DC. And the funding authorization went away last September and so the bill to fund it came out in June with the idea, of course, that it would be passed by September before the authorization ceased. However, because of our efforts to get parent consent requirements for the use of newborn DNA attached to that bill, that bill has gone nowhere. And so we’ve entered 2020. The state newborn screening programs have no authorization to get federal funding. And the opponents of parent consent just absolutely do not want parent consent attached to that bill. But Senator Rand Paul wants it greatly and so we’ve been working with him just to get that on there. Because five years ago when we got it on there, it was temporary. And then essentially we were lied to about the fact that they said that this parent consent requirement would go into federal rules about research and then it didn’t.
Twila Brase: And so now I think that Senator Paul’s office is probably thinking, okay, well last time we listened to you, we thought you were telling the truth. And this time we’re going to put parent consent in law permanently. So this is parent consent for the use of the newborn DNA, which is collected from the heel of every newborn and tested by state health departments and many of those state health departments are storing that DNA.
Sam Rohrer: All right and Twila, that’s great. A great win.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap. I’m Sam Rohrer accompanied today by Gary Dull and Dave Kistler and our special guest, Twila Brase. She is president and co-founder of Citizens Council for Health Freedom which you can find, and I encourage you to visit their website at cchfreedom.org or their Facebook at Facebook.com/CCHFreedom.
Sam Rohrer: When the president took office in 2017, he attempted to seek a complete repeal of Obamacare, which as Americans know was the socialist and the Obama attempt to put into place the changes to destroy our free enterprise-based American healthcare system. That was a goal. And they wanted to replace it with a fully government-run system of healthcare rationing and control. And along with that I’m going to submit to reward their cronies and friends with lucrative contracts by sticking middlemen in the process between the patient and the doc and those actually delivering the healthcare that people want.
Sam Rohrer: We know at that point that neither the Democrats or even Republican leadership wanted to repeal Obamacare and they opposed that for various reasons. So the Trump administration has been forced to seek what I’m gonna call incremental gains and whittle away at this horrendous law.
Sam Rohrer: Well, a partial victory was achieved back in December, as a result of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that, in essence, ruled against the Obamacare individual insurance mandate as unconstitutional. Responding to that, the Democrat House of Representative led by Nancy Pelosi and the group of socialists around her and a group of Democratic states, they engaged, filed a lawsuit, and they have sought the U.S. Supreme Court to engage and step into this and overturn this lower court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal ruling. The Trump administration responded by going to the Supreme Court asking them to delay doing such.
Sam Rohrer: Well, we’re going to get more information on this now and the significance of it as we talk now to Twila. Twila, first off, refresh us just a bit with the significance of that Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which declared that the individual insurance mandate portion of Obamacare was in fact unconstitutional. And I’m going to put it in this context. On this program last month when you were with us, we acknowledged that this was a good decision, but you said as part of your organization that while good, it didn’t go far enough. Recap this decision if you could and why the Democrat House is so urgent and trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse it.
Twila Brase: So this court ruling from the appeals court follows on the heels of a ruling about 13 months ago, December of 2018, which said that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that therefore the entire law is invalid. And that’s because nothing in the Affordable Care Act says that if something is found inside the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional, that that little thing can be severed from the whole law and the rest of the law can stand. That’s what a lot of laws do. They have what’s called a severability clause that means that the whole thing doesn’t have to fall when you find one unconstitutional thing. They just rip that thing out and then they let the law stand. But that isn’t the case with the Affordable Care Act. And so the judge ruled the entire law invalid.
Twila Brase: So then it went to the appeals court and then this past December, last month, they ruled that indeed the individual mandate is unconstitutional. So they said, “Yes, that’s true. It is.” And then they sent it back, back to the court that ruled the whole law invalid and said, “See if any of the law can stand. See if there’s anything that can be saved.” That’s essentially what they did.
Twila Brase: And the reason why the Democrats are very unhappy about this is that they know that this will delay the entire process. It means that it will never get to the Supreme Court before the 2020 election. And we’re pretty certain they want to use this to try to stop President Trump from becoming reelected and Republicans all across the country. And so they are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hurry. To just basically tell the lower courts that, “Nope, we’ll take the case from here. You don’t have to do anything. We’ll take it from here and we’ll rule on it by June.” That’s what the Democrats want the Court to say, but most people think that that’s not likely. And that’s not likely to happen before the election.
Sam Rohrer: But Twila, the Trump administration did communicate with the Supreme Court, correct? About this lawsuit. And why is their intervention important for this issue and for the cause of those seeking healthcare freedom in America today?
Twila Brase: Well, it’s important because, well, the Supreme Court said, “Okay, we’ve got this request from the Democrats. So President Trump and your administration, what do you have? What do you want to tell us in response to this request that we rush this forward?” And so President Trump and his administration said, “We don’t see any reason to expedite this. There’s no reason that this has to be in any kind of a hurry.” And that’s really important because if you understand the politics of this, this is not about whether Obamacare is good, bad, or will be ruled one way or the other. This is all about the election. That’s why the Democrats want it rushed. And that’s probably why President Trump wants to make sure that that doesn’t happen.
Dave Kistler: Well, Twila, then that brings up this question, what’s likely to happen? I mean, is the Supreme Court going to get involved before the November elections and rule on this?
Twila Brase: Well, if you look at the makeup of the Supreme Court, you are a little wondering because the chief justice is the one who ruled badly on the Affordable Care Act back in 2012 and said that the individual mandate was constitutional because he qualified it as a tax and he’s still there. And we don’t really know how Gorsuch would rule and we don’t really know how Kavanaugh would rule, right? And so I feel like it’s uncertain. They need four justices to move it forward. so they’d have to take a vote. And so I think everybody is kind of wondering. It’s very uncertain, but I’m hopeful that they will not let politics rule the day here and they will just keep the procedure going as the procedure goes.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. Twila, following up on what Dave, just then asked you, I mean you made, I think, a very key statement. This is about unfortunately politics. And as we were saying before the program and even in the beginning, the focus on issues, the real substance of the issues, is just not a part of the debate here.
Sam Rohrer: As Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both pushed the Medicare for All, which is basically a government-run system type of a thing. They are going to try and you referred to it, they’re going to try and move this lawsuit and what they’ve done, into this debate. But if the Court chooses not to evaluate this decision by the lower court, does it help or hurt the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warrens pursuit of a greater government-run health system? How do you think it plays into that strategy of theirs?
Twila Brase: I think it kind of takes the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, off the table. It’s sitting out there, but there’s been no major decisions. They can talk about how courts that were heavier with Republicans ruled it unconstitutional. They can talk about that, but they don’t have a final ruling. And so it’s not something they can necessarily hang their hat on.
Twila Brase: And so when the Democrats, part of their thing that they said to the U.S. Supreme Court is, “the courts have recreated uncertainty” and they’re talking about uncertainty regarding the law and going forward and such. That’s what they intimated, right? But they’re probably also talking about uncertainty as to how this will impact anything that happens at a political sense. And they would just like to have a certain ruling and then be able to as they go into the 2020 election, be able to say whatever as a result of that ruling.
Twila Brase: So that’s why we’re really hoping that the delay continues, even though we would have liked it all to be struck and all to be gone, right? It’s always going to end up at the Supreme Court, but it would be good not to play into the politics of it and just let it happen.
Sam Rohrer: Yeah. Okay. Well, we’re going to go into the next segment and talk about privacy issues and we’re going to talk about that. Don’t go there, but is there any other piece of legislation happening nationally that is important in any way relative to the matter of healthcare freedom that you want to mention?
Twila Brase: Yes. The surprise medical billing legislation, which I know that a lot of your listeners are probably thinking they hate the idea of a surprise medical bill, but the idea that Congress would prohibit surprise medical bills means that Congress would impose price controls on all doctors in the country. And so this is happening on a bipartisan basis. It’s Lamar Alexander’s bill in the Senate and now I’m just forgetting who’s it is in the House, but both Democrats and Republicans are proposing some sort of price controls, which is a really bad idea. And what we advised them when we were in DC talking to them is if you want to do something, don’t do price controls. Do false advertising. So if you want to prohibit false advertising, so if you can’t say that a hospital is fully in network, unless it’s really in network. And everything has to be negotiated before you can say it’s in network.
Sam Rohrer: Well, Twila, okay, we’re just going to hold it right there.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap. We are at our midpoint in the program and our focus today is our health freedom update and we do this monthly. Our special guest is Twila Brase. She is the president and the co-founder of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, doing a very, very important work and watching out for those pieces of legislation and regulations and all of those things that pertain to something that is very important to all of us and that is our health care. Our relationship with our doctors and nurses and insurance companies and all of the things we need a watchdog there to be looking out for our constitutional and freedom-related issues and Twila is in the front of that. And so we are thankful for what they are doing.
Sam Rohrer: I mentioned on the other side of the break that we were going to talk now a little bit about HIPAA and we’ll explain that. You recognize that name. It has to do with patient privacy, but the struggle for maintaining the privacy of our patient data is a real challenge.
Sam Rohrer: The ability to seek and get quality health care when it is needed is a true blessing. And we’ve had it in this country. Most of the people around the world don’t have access to it and because of the nature of the kind of government they have, they never will. In the United States because of our Judeo-Christian world view of life, our considerations of the fact that each life is valuable and the fact that the Judeo-Christian worldview brings with it compassion and concern for the care of the physical and spiritual needs of other people, that is in part why the U.S. healthcare system became the envy of the world and the standard setter for what healthcare could in fact be.
Sam Rohrer: But the attack against it that we’ve been seeing coming from socialized government or socialist and Marxist mentality individuals who favor bureaucracy and a system of rationing and all of that, it’s under assault and that’s why it’s so important that there are people there looking out for it and for maintaining that freedom. That’s what the Citizens Council for Healthcare Freedom is doing in the fight and why we feel important to bring this out.
Sam Rohrer: But not only is the access to healthcare and good care essential, so is the protection of the data, the information that’s generated when you go to the doc and he says, “I’m going to put you on this prescription, I’m going to diagnose you with this issue”, and all that information is collected. The privacy of that is a major issue.
Sam Rohrer: Twila, December 6th, I have a letter before me. You signed the letter addressed to Roger Severino, I believe his name. He’s the Director of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and in part you wrote this, “Thank you for your work to protect parent rights, freedom of conscious rights for healthcare workers, and religious freedom rights.” And you went on to say, “As president of Citizens Council for Healthcare Freedom, I am writing with a request that you also protect patient rights, specifically related to data sharing agreement between a company named Ascension and Google.” And you said according to recent reports, your office has opened up an investigation. Now I want to ask you because a lot of people have no idea about Ascension or Google or why they are related to this. What is the concern about Ascension and Google, Twila, to which you alluded that is so important as we understand the idea of patient data privacy?
Twila Brase: So Ascension is a healthcare system that is located or has facilities in 21 states. And they have the medical records of 50 million people which they have shared with Google. So they have given them to Google. They are now in the Google cloud and Google is proceeding to data mine those records. It has names, addresses, diseases, doctors, medications, everything you could think of in the electronic medical record is now in the cloud, in Google’s cloud.
Twila Brase: And so this is an agreement between Ascension and Google, which Ascension is going to use to pull more of the data together, but Google is going to use to generate a brand new business for themselves so that they can offer to others because they’re going to build a brand new data mining, artificial intelligence kind of a system that they hope to sell to others.
Twila Brase: And all of this is permitted by law because of HIPAA. So you know we have long said and you have long heard me say that HIPAA is not a privacy rule. It is a data sharing rule. And so this is all permitted under the healthcare operations part of HIPAA, which allows the hospitals and the clinics to share data for 65 different activities that have nothing to do with taking care of the patient. And this is all done through a business associate agreement, which is also under HIPAA. So it’s all legal and we were in talking to members of Congress and we even had a Democrat staffer say, “We know it’s legal. Now we have figured out what to do about it.” And the thing to do about it is for Director Severino to change the rule and bring back patient consent requirements that have been gone ever since we got HIPAA.
Sam Rohrer: Did Director Severino actually say in his response to you or did you get a response from him first of all? And then secondly, did he say in that response that he’s going to try to correct that? And then just one other after note, if I may, does your book on Big Brother in the Exam Room talk about this? Is that something that would be advantageous to our listeners?
Twila Brase: So I’ll answer your first question first, which is that no, we didn’t get a response, but we also didn’t expect a response. We have met with Director Severino before. We’ve had phone conversations and it’s always whenever there’s an investigation or whenever there is a pending rule, they cannot say anything to us. But they are happy to take information from us. But they will outright say that “we’re in the middle of whatever and so we cannot actually answer any of your questions”. So therefore we didn’t expect a response but we were just feeding into Severino’s office our perspective of what has to change here.
Twila Brase: And then your question about Big Brother in the Exam Room, which is at Bigbrotherintheexamroom.com. So we don’t talk about Ascension Google because this had not yet been made news. But we do talk about how HIPAA is not a privacy rule. We talk about how the founder of the biggest electronic health records system in this country, how she has said that “We need to know everything about you. We need to know what you eat and how long you sleep and what your social conditions are because all of it impacts your health.” So I talk all about that in the book and it’s an eye opener. People, even doctors, physicians tell me, “Oh, I use electronic health records and I didn’t even know half of this.” So it’s an eyeopener and a way to protect yourself in the exam room as we work to protect people through regulations and law that will bring back their right of consent.
Dave Kistler: Twila, I know in the next segment we’re going to talk a little bit about potential damage to patients and we’ll discuss that I know then, but I want to ask you this, in your letter you cite some privacy limitations that are needed, and these are not necessarily your words, but basically to prevent corruption, graft and financial abuse because patient data has become a valuable commodity, a 21st-century gold mine. It’s used for profit seeking, healthcare rationing and other things as well. So how much of a problem is the financial abuse component about which you are concerned? How much of that is being abused already?
Twila Brase: Well, as I said, really, it is gold. It’s looked at as gold and HIPAA says everybody can have it. And you, the person whose data it is, don’t get any part of that gold and any control over who takes it from you. And so it’s rampant. And one of the best examples I just like to share is that United Health Group has a division called Optum Insights and Optum Insights in 2017, their revenue and all they do is data, health data. That’s all they do. Their revenue was $8.1 billion. That’s just one company.
Sam Rohrer: That’s hard to believe. We only have about a minute left. But explain what do they do if all they do is data? What are they doing? What are they doing with it?
Twila Brase: Yes, that’s a very good question. So, one of the things that they’re doing is they’re creating treatment protocols using the data and they can make assessments that say, “Well, for 80% of the people this works according to the data that we have and so this is the treatment protocol. And this is the treatment protocol we, as United Health Group, are going to decide that doctors have to follow taking care of patients.” Even though the doctor knows something would be better for the patient. And if the doctor chooses something better for the patient, they may be docked financially for doing something outside of this. So this is a way of rationing care using the patient’s data, the doctor’s treatment data, against them.
Sam Rohrer: That’s what I was going to ask you. They’re making their money by stealing quality care from patients who need it. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got to get this. This is very, very, very important to understand.
Sam Rohrer: As we move into the final segment right now, we are going to end this program in prayer because we always do that and we try never not to do that. Let’s put it that way. Because of the importance of the things that we bring forward.
Sam Rohrer: But we talked about this issue of healthcare privacy in the last segment and Twila Brase, she shared one example of one health related insurance type entity that is making billions of dollars and all they do is access your information, my information and make it available. Well, who knows what, but there are a number of things that happened to it. And many times I talk to a lot of younger people in particular who say, “Well, so what if government has this information on me?” Or “so what if they are listening to what I talk about on my iPhone? So what if Siri and others on our smartphones are listening in? Oh, they already know everything already anyways.” To which I say, “Not good. We’ve gotten ourselves in a really bad predicament when we think that.”
Sam Rohrer: But Twila I’d like you to take just a couple of moments right now, you’re talking about patient privacy. Give us some examples, just a few, if you could, that highlight why every American citizen should be very concerned about legal protections that protect the privacy of their healthcare decisions, their action and the communications that happened between their doctor and themselves.
Twila Brase: Yes. So first just in your comment about the young people, they have an unfortunate presumption of beneficence in the government and they also have an assumption that government has all this information, which government actually doesn’t, but they are building this trove of data. And so I don’t know how that’s happening, I mean that they’re just thinking everything is the government’s already and that the government is good and will always be good.
Twila Brase: Okay. So some specific things that are happening around the country. Every state has a prescription monitoring program and so certain medications, even like Sudafed, go into that prescription monitoring program. The government, depending on which state it is, can do what they want with that information. Some are more limited, some are more broad, but a lot of other state prescription monitoring programs can reach into the monitoring programs of other states. So if you go to Florida and get a medication, Florida can go into Pennsylvania’s prescription monitoring program and see what kind of medications you have had that are more controlled substances. So that’s one.
Sam Rohrer: Okay, but-
Twila Brase: And there’s no consent for that.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. But I’ve got to follow up with you on that because you say that’s an issue, but what is the practical aspect? Who cares?
Twila Brase: Oh, I see. So what happens between you and your doctor in the prescriptions, the medications that you get, some of the states are allowing the police to have access. Some would like researchers to have access to look at then other information about you as well, like in the electronic health record to see what kind of person are you that is taking this kind of medication. Or it’s going to clamp down on your physician’s ability to give you the pain medications that you need. And so the physicians have become afraid to treat your pain. They are really afraid of going to prison and so they’re not treating people’s pain like they should treat people’s pain. This is what’s happening out of the entire monitoring program.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. I’ll tell you what, so I’m just going to say right now, because I want to go to prayer, but basically, just confirm what I’m hearing. On one hand you raised one aspect that says that if a person is getting a drug in Florida and they’re getting something in Pennsylvania and it’s linked, somebody from local police to other agencies of government could look at that and make the case that you are somehow inferior, dependent. You’ve got some deficiency. Somehow that aspect could be used against a person in that kind of a way. Is that correct?
Twila Brase: Yes. But even more importantly, by looking at the doctor’s prescribing patterns, that the doctors will be targeted.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. So that would be other things so that it could then be the doctor could be penalized for doing too much. The downside is the patient does not perhaps get the kind of treatment that they need to get because the doctor has been scared off because of access to this information.
Twila Brase: Yes, because government has decided what too much is, not the patient and the doctor.
Sam Rohrer: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, all I’m doing right now by asking Twila that, I know she has a whole lot more, but that’s just one example. The unfettered access to your information can be reviewed and some faceless bureaucrat somewhere in the system can make a case against you or against your doctor in this case, both of which can be harmful and absolutely untrue, but can limit your access to healthcare, can intimidate your doctor from talking with you or giving you what you need or actually make a case because of something that you may be on as being somewhat dependent on a controlled substance as they would call it or whatever. You get the idea. That is what unfettered access to data can do and that’s why healthcare patients’ privacy data there is so very, very, very important.
Sam Rohrer: Twila, we’re going to move to prayer right now, but thank you so much for what you are doing in helping to defend each of us in that regard.
Sam Rohrer: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us and Twila, thank you for being with us as well. And ladies and gentlemen, visit her website, CCHfreedom.org. CCHfreedom.org. And go to our site, pick it up on StandintheGapmedia.org, this archive and all of our radio and TV programs and send it along to a friend. Let them also know what we do.