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Open the door! Government home visits are here!

ObamaCare or Affordable Care Act Home Visits

Recently while working on an article about mental health care and the Affordable Care Act, we were provided with some new information about the mandatory home visits we touched on. First of all, we would like to thank the individuals who supplied us with this information, and would like to share some of this information with our visitors.

While we do not know whether or not the Affordable Care Act will work, it has certainly gotten off to an extremely embarrassing start with over 600 million dollars wasted on a website (healthcare.gov) that was outsourced to a company in Canada – the software is full of dirty code, has many security flaws, is built on a poor foundation, and was put together on programming code that is over ten years old. The IRS, who is in charge of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has somehow managed to “lose” more than 67 million dollars that was supposed to facilitate the roll-out of the program. All of this and no one has been held accountable thus far. With this many issues an people discovering things are not quite what they were promised, we believe that it is essential to point out a few facts about the mandatory home visits provision contained within the Affordable Care Act.

Written into the law is a shell for a program that is called the "Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program" – the name is misleading as the home health visits are not just for babies, young children, and expectant mothers. The person in charge of this particular aspect of the Affordable Care Act is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will ultimately make all decisions regarding home visits and the interventions that individuals and families will have to implement and follow.

Keep in mind this subject is very controversial. We have been told that not only is this being kept out of the public’s eye; it may also be postponed until the middle of 2015. Some organizations including Politifact.com, have strongly denied that this is anything more than a voluntary program for home visits that can be requested by families. However, information we have received, leads us to believe that it is far more than that.

WHO WILL BE SUBJECT TO HOME VISITS?

  • Under the Affordable Care Act, an "eligible family" includes any woman who is pregnant and the father (if available), and/or any parent or primary caregiver of the child (a primary caregiver can be any relative of the child or maybe even the childcare provider). Nowhere in the law does it state that eligible families will only be those receiving Medicaid and/or any other public assistance. Quite literally, the definition of an eligible family will include anyone who has a child or children.

ARE ANY "ELIGIBLE" FAMILIES TARGETED FOR THESE VISITS?

  • Yes, certain groups of individuals and families are targeted for home visits. Currently, the list of targeted eligible families includes those that have children with developmental delays and/or disabilities, users of tobacco products, children with low student achievement, and families who are serving in the armed forces.

WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS, INCLUDING MY RIGHT TO PRIVACY?

  • These visits to eligible families are not only to families on some type of public assistance program. They are not part of a voluntary program where a parent asks for help through home visits. They are not required under law in the Affordable Care Act to be announced. The law does not even detail exactly what is and is not a "voluntary home visit". As the law is written, a home visit will be what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her bureaucrats say it is. According to Kent Masterson Brown, constitutional attorney and expert on the Affordable Care Act, "There are absolutely no objective standards in the statute for the protection of the eligible families being visited." This also means that our inherent right to privacy within our own home, what we do there, and how we raise our children is not being respected.

WILL I BE ABLE TO REFUSE HOME VISITS AND/OR DENY ENTRY TO MY HOME?

  • Currently, under the law, it appears that families will not be able to refuse the home visits or deny entry to their homes. The visits are not voluntary, and there is no information contained within the Affordable Care Act that protects families and allows them to refuse the home visits. There is also nothing within the statue that states what, if any, penalty or consequences, a family will be subjected to for refusing the home visits. Again, the specifics regarding the home visits and what will happen to families who refuse them are not written into the law, and will be whatever the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius decides they will be.

WHO WILL CARRY OUT THE HOME VISITS AND HOW LONG WILL I HAVE THESE VISITS FOR?

  • The current statutes under the Affordable Care Act have not established any standards for who will make the home visits. The only requirement is that the agency that carries out the home visits "employs well-trained and competent staff…such as nurses, social workers, educators, child development specialists, or other well-trained and competent staff." The specific standards as to "well-trained" and "competent" have not been defined – it is entirely up to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to determine.
  • If while conducting the home visits, the agent and/or agency fails to demonstrate "improvement" with respect to the eligible families being visited, the law calls for the submission of a "corrective action plan" to "improve the outcomes." This plan must be approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will then monitor the implementation of the plan. There is no information in the Affordable Care Act that states either a length of time or frequency of the home visits that a family will be subjected to.

If you look closely at the Affordable Care Act, as well as other decisions made by the Obama administration, you will see they have a specific goal in mind of transforming communities – many of the provisions within the Affordable Care Act are directed at how and from whom we get our healthcare (which doctors we can and cannot see, which medications we can and cannot take), how we raise our children, how we educate our children, what we eat, how we live, how and where we work, and many other things.

Looking at the home visitation program, it appears to us that this is just another way that the government is going to use to insinuate itself into our lives and dictate to us what we can and cannot do and how we should or should not do things. Do we really want the government deciding for us how we should raise and care for our children? Does the government live with us and work with our children on a daily basis? Do they know why we have made and continue to make the decisions we make on how we raise our children and what type of health care they receive?

We agree with many others that the wording of the new section is very loose and appears to open the door to many future issues. According to Kent Masterson Brown, " No matter what its proponents say it is, the home visitation program will be used by the Federal government for whatever ends it determines."

 
   
   
   
   

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