(A version of the following article originally appeared in Northwest Connection, vol 6 (no. 68), under the title “CCOs: Not just Wrong but Evil”.)
In late July, I made a guest appearance on the Jeff Kropf Radio Show (KUIK-1360am) to talk about the Coordinated Care Organizations that were to officially kicked off on August 1. Jeff had asked me to come on to talk about SB1580, which officially birthed CCOs. During that appearance, I said, “This is an evil bill.”
I’ll stand by that statement. And I think by the end of this article, you just might agree with me.
You may have seen something recently that was circulating on Facebook—a form straight from the Oregon Health Authority that allows a child as young as 15 to be sterilized without parental permission or even their knowledge.
As shocking as it is, this isn’t new. Back in 1995, the age of “informed consent” for sterilization was set at 18. Sometime over the next six years, it was changed and by the 2001 version of the Oregon statutes, the age of consent was dropped to 15 (ORS 436.225).
As of this writing, we haven’t been able to determine when, why, or how this was changed but apparently our leaders came to believe this sort of permanent, life-altering decision was something a 15-year-old can make. And do it without parental knowledge.
What it does reveal, however, is the mindset behind those in the Oregon Health Authority and their attitude toward life, parent-child relationships, parental rights vs. minor rights, and human sexuality.
Combined with the CCOs, it’s reflective of top-down, do-as-you’re-told, authoritarian thinking with the State firmly in charge. The exact opposite of what our Founding Fathers intended. It’s about gaining more power over more of our lives with the expansion of the Oregon Health Authority (and don’t you just love the blatant overtones of communism in that agency name?).
And make no mistake about it: that is their intention. The CCOs start with Medicaid recipients, move to swallow Medicare, then on to public employees, teachers, and the rest of us. In fact, the Public Employee Benefits Board recently announced they were looking for a new provider—one that would fit with the CCO model—and severing ties with Providence, which had previously used the model of allowing you to choose your plan and your doctor (Statesman-Journal, August 23, 2012).
Not anymore. Now it’s what the State dictates. This includes greatly expanding mental health. Keep this in mind, because mental health is a major focus of all of this healthcare expansion. But it begs the question: who is determining mental health? Can they say, “Gee, as a Catholic, you’re pretty rigid and judgmental—you need to be more tolerant”?
In 1938, Austria voted to join Germany—and by 99.7% of voters. From the outside looking in, Germany seemed ideal—especially for Austria, which was still suffering high unemployment and a stagnated economy due to the Worldwide Depression. But in Germany, nearly everyone had a job and everyone had access to healthcare. So they voted to unify with Germany.
And then one of the first things the Germans did was to take over the schools and drive a wedge between children and parents. Kids spent more and more time at schools, with more and more of their life revolving around the state-controlled schools, so they saw them as a home away from home.
And all children were forced to go off to Nazi Youth Camps. Except these weren’t about earning merit badges; it was state-sponsored indoctrination. Girl and boy camps were located close to one another and they were given plenty of opportunity, both formal and informally, to mingle. Many of the girls came home pregnant.
Why? Because the State knew that breaking that last taboo of innocence makes them less likely to respect the authority of their parents. Kids now see themselves as adults. And by extension the State provides access to all the good things in life, including jobs, health care, and opportunity itself. Parents and parental relationships mean less and less until it means nothing more than its sentimental value.
I mention all this because the ability of a 15-year-old to sterilize themselves is really just the tip of the iceberg. The Oregon Health Authority is currently and actively pushing to move into schools and have already laid massive plans to do so.
And as part of this push, they’re developing an army of organizations, agencies, and plans that will come between parents and children. Agencies like the CCOs, Healthy Kids, Healthy Kids Learn Better, and the Oregon School Based Health Care Network (SBHCN), to name just a few, and resources like Minor Rights and the Oregon Youth Sexual Plan.
To do all this, they’re working in close partnership with groups like W.I.S.E. (Working to Institute Sexuality Education) and Planned Parenthood.
Minor Rights is an interesting trek through the OHA mindset. The “resource” for educators lays out the rights minors have. That in itself is revealing, changing the dynamic between parent and child. The law protects you. You have rights. Everything we talk about is confidential—it’s the law—you don’t have to tell your parents anything.
Do you see how this immediately severs the child-parent relationship?
The vast majority of this little document is focused on children’s rights with little if any consideration for the rights of parents to be involved and to know what the hell State-sanctioned “providers” are telling your children.
In fact they have are specifically blocked parents from accessing information through a neat little maneuver. Normally, parents do have rights under the FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Except Oregon has maneuvered to place the School-Based Health Centers under HIPAA rules, which makes it far harder, if not impossible, to obtain disclosure.
That’s right. You can put your child on the bus in the morning and you have not a clue and barely any rights to know what happens to them when they get there.
In the Oregon Youth Sexual Plan, one of the strategies is to develop a “state-level coordination of youth sexual health promotion” (emphasis mine). “Develop” (meaning the state will train them) “and involve youth leaders… by engaging underrepresented group such as… lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning.” And this shocking statement: “Educate faith community leaders as ‘youth sexual health’ advocates.”
And then there’s also this from the OYSP: “Advocate and educate Legislature for universal health care.” Which pairs nicely with this from the School-Based Health Centers Network: “Ask your legislator to support the inclusion of SBHC’s in Oregon’s new CCO model.”
Why? Perhaps because CCOs are not beholden to public disclosure laws. And it’s a clear attempt to merge the Department of Education with the OHA. More power, and more direct control and influence over an even larger part of the population.
So is the CCO bill evil? For me, it’s hard to think that it isn’t. Not just because of what it most clearly is—the takeover of healthcare, putting more elements of society under government control, and removal of free-market principles—but because of what it can become. Remember, when you give control of your health to the government, they have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure you cost the government as little money as possible. They can order you not to drink, not to smoke; to lose weight and even to force mental health counseling you. Own a gun? You can expect that “right” to be open for interpretation. And all of this opens the door for denial of service to our elderly and to indoctrination of our youth.
And don’t forget, we no longer have a state superintendent of schools. We gave that power to the governor.
Who also happens to directly control the Health Authority.