A Website That Doesn’t Allow Change

Once you sign up for ObamaCare on the website, you are locked into your current marital status, family size, and profile forever–there is no way to make adjustments if a new baby arrives in your family, if a family member dies, or if you lose or change your job. You cannot edit your profile once your insurer is chosen.

Breitbart.com is reporting the following today:

The Associated Press is out with a report this morning that pregnant women have an entirely new set of headaches to expect from their ACA-triggered coverage, namely, that HealthCare.gov is not designed to accept any changes in status that would include or exclude a person from coverage. When a baby is born, there is no way for parents to notify the federal government that the baby now exists and needs coverage.

There is also no way to notify the federal government of marriage or divorce, of a death in the family, or of a new job or loss of a job.

The website allows one to open a profile, but not to edit it once an insurer is chosen. All of these changes could potentially affect those insured or open new options for coverage from different insurers or types of insurance. They may also result in higher premiums or more expensive coverage. These would all be options and possibilities if HealthCare.gov had any way of editing one’s information on the page.

What a mess.

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Quote Of The Week

Reported at Townhall.com and other places:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, “The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place. I have had frequent conversations with the president and I have committed to him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that,”

Also from the Townhall article:

An online (unscientific) CNBC poll shows 85 percent of people think Sebelius should be fired:

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Maybe I’ve missed something here, but I thought Kathleen Sebelius worked for the American people.

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Does Anyone In Washington Actually Take Responsiblity For Their Actions?

The roll out of ObamaCare has been less than wonderful. The problems with the website are monumental, and very few people have actually enrolled in the exchanges.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that that 202,586 individuals had successfully signed up for a journey to Mars and 51,000 have actually signed up for ObamaCare. So far, no one in Alaska has signed up and 712 people in Vermont have signed up.

Obviously, ObamaCare is going to fall somewhat short of its goal of signing up 500,000 individuals per month, starting with Oct. 1.

On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold hearings to find out why ObamaCare is such a miserable failure. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has stated that she has a scheduling conflict and will not be able to testify at those hearings.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The department is also refusing to make available lower-level officials who might detail the source or sources of this debacle. Ducking an investigation with spin is one thing. Responding with a wall of silence to the invitation of a duly elected congressional body probing the use of more than half a billion taxpayer dollars is another. This Obama crowd is something else.

…Eventually Mrs. Sebelius will have to make a real accounting of this government failure to someone other than the TV comic Jon Stewart, and perhaps she can also explain why the people who can’t build a working website also deserve the power to reorganize one-sixth of the U.S. economy. For now, the Administration that styles itself as the most transparent in history won’t reveal the truth—perhaps because it is afraid of what the public will find.

ObamaCare is a nightmare. It has cost Americans full-time jobs and caused their insurance rates to increase drastically. We need to remember who supported this debacle and vote accordingly next year.

 

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It Would Have Been Nice If He Had Mentioned This A Few Years Ago

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported a quote from Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Senator Rockefeller was one of the creators of the Affordable Care Act. He is reported to have said that ObamaCare is “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “is just beyond comprehension.”

The article reports:

Rockefeller said he is concerned that early missteps with implementing the healthcare overhaul may cascade into confusion and chaos. The law, said Rockefeller, is “so complicated and if it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”

Just for the record, Senator, the nonpartisan Society of Actuaries recently released a report stating that one ObamaCare is fully enacted, medical claims costs will increase an average of 32%. I assume that figure is based on the assumption that the law is done right the first time.

To add to the picture, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently stated that “no one fully anticipated” all the complexities of ObamaCare.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Congress is preparing to pass a gun-control bill that also has not been read by the people voting on it.

Has anyone thought about passing a bill requiring Congress to read bills before they pass them?

At some point we really do need to learn from our past mistakes.

 

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The Mess In The Middle East Explained

Yesterday Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at PJMedia that beautifully sums up what is happening in the Middle East and the thought processes responsible for these events. The article lists five points that explain the situation. Please follow the link above to read the entire article, but I will attempt to summarize it here.

In debunking the myth that a video caused the current uprisings, Mr. Hanson states:

The opportunities for Muslims in the Middle East to be outraged at the West in general and the U.S. in particular are legion. You, Mr. Obama, the most powerful of all Americans, must remember that these totems are mere tools of an al-Qaeda, a Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic Jihad — or whatever the particular aggrieved party calls itself this week. They are no more than crude pretexts to direct fury among their ignorant and impoverished masses at opportune times against the United States, and thereby gain power.

In that regard, each time we castigate a Rushdie, a Danish cartoonist, a U.S. soldier, or a nut like Terry Jones, we simply play into the hands of the Islamists. The latter are thrilled when American grandees look weak, desperate, and only too eager to fall over themselves in undermining their own singular Constitution and distancing themselves from their own values. Far better it would be to say, one time — and only one time: “We cherish and protect freedom of expression and abhor censorship and violence; if that bothers you, it bothers you.” End of story.

In describing the sources of Islamic anger, Mr. Hanson points to the concept of scapegoating. Leaders of Islamic countries continually blame the west and the Israelis for their poverty. The fact that the leaders of these countries are getting rich while their people starve is an inconvenient fact that the leaders are hoping the people won’t notice.

Mr. Hanson points out that agreeing with Islamists that we are the cause (or source) for their problems or anger simply encourages them to double down on scapegoating us. He sums up President Obama’s policies:

The entire subtext of Obama’s outreach narratives (made explicitly in his al Arabiya interview) is that his own unique pedigree and worldview have exempted him from American pathologies and thus culpability for them. In the alternate brain chemistry of the Obamites, there is no contradiction between worldwide Islamist vows to kill our diplomats or burn embassies and Obama’s much-vaunted boasts of restoring American popularity abroad. The derangement goes like this: those who hate America are mistakenly still mad at the old Bush America and have not yet evolved to duly appreciate the new Obama America. In other words, the vestiges of right-wing extremism still confuses those abroad, who have not yet caught on that America is on their side.

We have seen how successful that idea is.

Mr. Hanson concludes:

With the implosion of the Middle East comes the end of the mythic foreign policy of Barack Obama. Just as Russia was not reset and our enemies did not become friends, so, too, the fantasy that Barack Obama’s name, race, and lineage, when coupled with leftist politics, would win over our Middle East never arrived. All that failed — failed not just for America, but for the Nobel laureate himself. In that regard, Obama’s entire four-year project has failed: $5 trillion of borrowed stimulus did not jump-start the economy; only more federal debt and bankruptcy followed “solar and wind and millions of green jobs,” as vast new finds of oil and gas on public lands were ignored, while gas hit $4 a gallon. The problem for supporters of Obamacare is not to implement, but how to junk, this boondoggle without loss of face. Government Motors and the Volt went nowhere, and appointees like Eric Holder, Kathleen Sebelius, Timothy Geithner, and Janet Napolitano proved embarrassments. Now we are left with the Federal Reserve desperately printing money before the election.

There was human frenzy in 2008 that entranced millions, and now we will be paying for the wages of that madness for quite some time.

Some things to remember when you vote in November.

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The Next Step In Obamacare

On August 1, business owners must change their health insurance offerings to include abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization services.

Heritage.org reports today:

But for many employers, offering the types of services required under the HHS mandate violates their consciences. It conflicts with their deeply held religious beliefs. And the government is telling them that doesn’t matter—what’s more, it’s telling them that their beliefs are inconsequential, and they must pay.

Just last Friday, a judge in Colorado gave one business’s owners the first glimmer of hope that their religious freedom may survive this attack.

On Saturday I reported the story of Hercules Industries (rightwinggranny.com). The owners of the company went to court because the mandate to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization services violated their religious beliefs. The court has halted the implementation of that part of Obamacare that would violate the religious beliefs of the company’s owners until the  court case is settled.

The article at Heritage.org reports:

How did it come to this? During the legislative battle over Obamacare, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously said that Congress would need to pass the law to see what was in it. She was right about one thing: Obamacare as it passed was not fully formed. The law gave unprecedented new powers to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fill in countless details, directing the ways Obamacare would affect all Americans. With this law, Congress handed over immeasurable authority to HHS. And Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been hard at work trying to convince Americans that this is all in their best interest.

There is no reason to believe it will end here, which is why it is vital to halt this attack on religious freedom as quickly as possible. As Ludvigson explains, this first HHS mandate “raises significant questions about what more Obamacare will require on other matters of deeply personal religious and moral significance, such as prenatal care, end-of-life issues, and parental authority for minors’ health decisions.”

More than 50 plaintiffs—for-profit and non-profit alike—have gone to court against the HHS mandate. In winning an injunction that prevents the mandate’s enforcement on its business while the case goes to trial, Hercules has demonstrated the strength of the religious liberty challenge to Obamacare.

If we value our religious freedom as Americans, we need to vote for people in November who will repeal Obamacare.

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Losing Our First Amendment Rights

Townhall.com posted an article today about Hercules Industries, a Colorado-based corporation, a business owned and operated by the Newland family, that manufactures heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment.

The article reports:

The Newlands believe the morality the Catholic faith teaches them must animate their lives not only within the walls of the churches they attend, but literally everywhere else, as well — in the way they deal with their families, their neighbors and, yes, their business.

The Newlands sued to protect their free exercise of religion in this regard because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation, under the Obamacare law, that requires virtually all health care plans to cover — without cost-sharing — sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.

Unfortunately, the family lost the lawsuit. The article reports:

In response to the Newlands’ complaint that ordering them to violate the teachings of the Catholic Church in the way they run their business is a violation of their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, the Obama administration told the federal court that a private business has no protection under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause — especially if the business is incorporated.

“The First Amendment Complaint does not allege that the company is affiliated with a formally religious entity such as a church,” said the Justice Department. “Nor does it allege that the company employs persons of a particular faith. In short, Hercules Industries is plainly a for-profit, secular employer.”

“By definition,” said the Justice Department, “a secular employer does not engage in any ‘exercise of religion.'”

“It is well established that a corporation and its owners are wholly separate entities, and the Court should not permit the Newlands to eliminate that legal separation to impose their personal religious beliefs on the corporate entity or its employees,” said the Justice Department.

The message here is very simple. You are free to practice your religion in your church. The government will no longer allow you to exercise your beliefs anywhere outside of that church building. This is a far cry from the early days of America when churches were routinely meeting in the Senate and House of Representatives and public prayer by elected officials was accepted and expected. The attack on the First Amendment rights of religious people is one of the main characteristics of Obamacare. Obamacare needs to go away as quickly as possible!

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The Two Bright Spots In The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Obamacare

Thank you, Justice Roberts, for energizing the conservatives in the 2012 election. I think even non-conservatives may begin to see what a nightmare Obamacare is as the lawsuits against the recent policies implemented by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius continue.

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an article on-line about today’s decision. Included in the article are the following paragraphs:

However, the ruling may give more leeway to states that don’t want to cooperate with the law by letting them avoid punishment for refusing to expand Medicaid.

Currently, states and the federal government split the costs of Medicaid, which provides health insurance for the poor. Under the health-care law, the federal government is set to pick up most of the cost of expanding Medicaid, but states would eventually have to chip in part. If states refused to pay their part, the law allowed the federal government to threaten to withdraw all Medicaid funding.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that such a threat would amount to a “gun to the head” and effectively let Washington commandeer state spending. He said that kind of coercion was unconstitutional. But the remedy he adopted was relatively modest: He said the federal government could expand Medicaid so long as it didn’t threaten states with the withdrawal of all Medicaid funding.

The chief justice added that that the problem with the Medicaid language “does not require striking down other portions” of the law.

Twenty-six states filed suit the day Mr. Obama signed the health-care bill into law in March 2010. Lower courts issued conflicting rulings on whether the law’s insurance mandate was constitutional.

No matter what the decision was, this fight was not going to be over. The decision reached simply assures that the fight will continue at least until November. The Supreme Court did not bow to public pressure on this issue, but we need to remember that a strong majority of Americans do not like Obamacare. If those people vote in November, Obamacare as it now stands will be over.

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Why Did The Obama Administration Pick This Fight And What Is It Really About ?

There are three sources for this article–one posted at Hot Air yesterday, one at the American Thinker and one at the Washington Post last week.

Last week 43 Catholic institutions filed lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services charging that the ObamaCare abortion pill mandate violates their free exercise of religion rights. 

The Washington Post points out that respect for religious beliefs has always been part of America:

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “no provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.”

Indeed, even before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution in 1775 exempting pacifists from military enlistment:

As there are some people, who, from religious principles, cannot bear arms in any case, this Congress intend no violence to their consciences, but earnestly recommend it to them, to contribute liberally in this time of universal calamity, to the relief of their distressed brethren in the several colonies, and to do all other services to their oppressed Country, which they can consistently with their religious principles.

The Catholic church has been clear and consistent in their opposition to abortion (which is what this is really about) and birth control (being used by the press as a distraction). The Obama Administration understood that when they drafted the mandate requiring the church to carry insurance that paid for both abortion and birth control.

The American Thinker points out the attempt in the law to change the definition of a religious organization:

It makes perfect sense, then, that our primary source of irony is not the free exercise clause, but progressive establishment clause dogma.  For starters, the standard HHS uses to distinguish “secular” from “religious” organizational missions would never pass muster in an establishment clause setting.  According to HHS, it’s the organization’s service to, or employment of, non-Catholics that counts, not its affiliation with the Catholic Church or its devotion to Catholic values.  Kathleen Sebelius might as well have grabbed sixty years of progressive establishment clause dogma by the tongue and flicked it inside out.  The Court’s progressives have spent decades beating it into our heads that precious little — if any — evidence of faith is required to establish a purpose to advance religion — but under the HHS mandate, the “secular” mission magically trumps church affiliation the moment a non-Catholic surgeon is hired or operates on a non-Catholic patient.

This is a total power grab by the Obama Administration. It is an effort to redefine the church as limited to the building where worship services occur. Under the definition of a religious institution in this bill, Jesus’ ministry would not have qualified as religious because he spoke to and helped people of different religious backgrounds. If this law is allowed to stand, it represents a threat to all people of faith–not just Catholics.

 

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Sometimes I Just Wonder Why People Do Things

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ invitation to speak at Georgetown University

The article reports:

Georgetown University Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh did not respond to an inquiry from CNSNews.com. However, she gave a statement to the Cardinal Newman Society, pointing out that Sebelius was not giving a commencement address at Georgetown’s graduation but was speaking at an “annual student and faculty awards event.”

“Secretary Sebelius is not speaking at Georgetown’s commencement,” said Pugh. “She is speaking at Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s annual student and faculty awards event.”

The detail of exactly where at the University Ms. Sebelius is speaking is not the problem–the problem is Ms. Sebelius’ actions regarding the Catholic Church’s right to practice its religious beliefs.

The article at CNS News explains why Ms. Sebelius is controversial:

Sebelius’s regulation–in combination with the individual insurance mandate in Obamacare–requires that virtually all individual Americans must purchase health care plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. The only employers that would be exempt from covering these items in their health-care plans are non-profit “religious” organizations that meet four criteria: 1) their purpose is to inculcate religious values, 2) they primarily hire people of their own religion, 3) they primarily serve people of their own religion, and 4) they are organized under the section of the Internal Revenue Code specifically used by churches.

This narrow exemption does not extend to Catholic universities, schools, hospitals and charitable organizations.

This allows for an unprecedented intrusion into religious organizations by the government, in addition to taking away the concept of the ‘conscience clause’ from those organizations. This regulation is in direct violation of the First Amendment. It is not only an attack on the Catholic Church, it is a warning to all people of faith that the government has no intention of honoring the First Amendment and respecting their beliefs.

I have no idea why Georgetown University invited Ms. Sebelius to speak. The invitation seriously undermines their image as a Catholic University.

 

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About This Surcharge Thing…

There are so many twists and turns written into Obamacare that it is hard to follow all of them. Somehow I suspect it was designed that way. Based on what I have seen in the past month or so, it seems that Congress passed a skeleton of a law (if 2700 pages can be considered a skeleton) and then asked Kathleen Sibelius (Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)) to write the law for them. I will admit that I don’t much care for her writing.

David French posted an article at the website of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) recently that puts some of the recent debate on contraception and abortion in focus. Mr. French cites three basic aspects of Obamacare and how those aspects impact federal funding of abortion.

1. Under Obamacare everyone is required to purchase healthcare insurance.

2. Under Obamacare the government will determine exactly which insurance coverage is acceptable and exactly what health issues will be covered.

3. HHS is proposing a $1 abortion surcharge for people purchasing certain insurance policies if they want those policies to cover abortion.

The article at the ACLJ reports:

According to early reports, individuals enrolled in those plans would not be able to opt out of the surcharge alone and would only be informed of its existence during enrollment. If you opt out of the surcharge, you would have to opt out of your plan entirely and may not be able to find a suitable replacement.

We have lost the freedom to decide on our own healthcare coverage. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare, but there are no guarantees that it will. If Obamacare stands, the right of free exercise of religion and the free exercise of religious beliefs will be taken away from those Americans who believe abortion is wrong and goes against the teachings of their religion.

 

 

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The Cost Of Taking The Politically Incorrect Stand

 

 

Big Government posted an article yesterday about a program in Texas to aid low-income women that has been defunded by the Obama Administration. Remember that this is happening at a time when the Republicans are accused of waging a ‘war on women.’ Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), stated Friday that a Texas health program for low-income women will no longer receive federal funding because Planned Parenthood has been banned from the program.

The article reports:

Two weeks ago, Texas state officials announced plans to prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides health screenings and contraceptive services. The state has made the decision to exclude clinics from the program that are affiliated with abortion providers, even though the clinics themselves do not provide abortions.

Ms. Sebelius said that the federal government, which has covered about 90% of the cost of the program, will gradually end the program over the next few months. “The waiver will not be extended,” she said. “We’ve put them on notice.”

Federal requirements stipulate that the state is not permitted to exclude qualified providers from the women’s program, and Texas has not received a waiver from those regulations.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has made the appropriate response, “We’re going to fund this program. Listen, we’ll find the money. The state is committed to this program…This program is not going away.”

Governor Perry has directed his state’s secretary of the Health and Human Services Commission to work with the Texas legislature to locate funding for the program. Approximately 130,000 women are enrolled in the program.

Planned Parenthood is a major source of funding for Democrat Party campaigns. Much of the money they make on Medicaid patients eventually finds its way into Democrat campaign coffers. That is one of the things that makes the battle about Planned Parenthood and anything that threatens their income so intense–you are not only taking on Planned Parenthood–you are taking on the funding of the Democrat Party.

The article concludes:

Yet, speaking of her warning to the state that their law would end funding for the program, the secretary said, “”They knew … they are not allowed to deny women the right to choose.”

First, when did something being “illegal” ever stop this administration before?

Second, is Kathleen Sebelius really hoping we haven’t noticed that, while she is telling us “it is illegal to spend any federal money on abortion,” the Obama administration is also forcing the Catholic Church and other religious groups to provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees, free of charge?

It is illegal for federal funds to be used to pay for abortions directly, but the millions of dollars the federal government gives to Planned Parenthood provide the infrastructure so that abortion is a profitable business for Planned Parenthood. Thank you, Rick Perry, for taking a stand against this.

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Devaluing The Family For Political Purposes

The two-parent family with children has always been the backbone of American society. There seems to be something of an effort to change that by the Obama Administration. CNS News reported yesterday on one way to save money on healthcare.

The article reported:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel Thursday that a reduction in the number of human beings born in the United States will compensate employers and insurers for the cost of complying with  the new HHS mandate that will require all health-care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.

A website entitled The New Economic Reality cites the consequences of a declining birth rate. A declining birthrate does NOT create prosperity.

The website reports:

Question: What role did declining birth rates play in the current economic crisis?

 Answer: Economist Harry S. Dent notes that 70% of GNP in the U.S. is consumer-driven. As the Baby Boomers aged, they began spending less, moving to smaller homes and planning for their retirement. Gen-X can’t fill the gap of the decline of spending by 81 million baby-boomers. This contributed to the slump in the housing market – when Boomers began selling rather than buying, there was a glut on the market and home sales began to decline. “Demographic Winter” predicted the financial crash of 2008 to within 18 months. The “Demographic Bomb” forecasts worse in store for our economy.  At any given time only 15% of homes on the market are new construction, while 85% are used homes.  As the baby-boom generation ages, the coming decades will see 60% too many homes on the market.

 Question: Can the economic impact of declining birth rates be seen outside the United States?

 Answer: Yes, in Japan, which has a birth rate of 1.25. Of the 10 nations with the lowest birth rates today, Japan is the only one outside of Europe. It also has the highest ratio elderly to children in the world. As the rising sun sets, where will the next generation of consumers and producers come from?  While much of the industrialized world saw their economies grow in the 1990s, from 1990 to 2005, Japan’s stock market fell 80%.

Between 1990 and 2005. Its real estate market lost 60% of its value.

A declining birthrate may help the cost of insurance, but it sure won’t help a failing economy!

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He Who Conrols The Language Controls The Debate

Andrew McCarthy posted an article today at The Corner at National Review about the recent mandate issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding health insurance, contraception, and abortion. Mr. McCarthy points out that conservatives are letting the left control the language and thus the debate, a fact which obscures what is actually taking place.

The left has stated that religious organizations want to deny coverage for birth control. That is not the issue. Birth control is unbelievably cheap in this country–it doesn’t need to be free. The issue is whether the state has the power to make people who are morally or religiously opposed to abortion or birth control pay for abortion and birth control for the people who use those services.

Mr. McCarthy further points out:

Second, how dare the administration propose compromises and safe-harbors for “religious organizations”? I imagine they dare because the usual useful idiots (see, e.g., Michael Gerson, cited in Ramesh’s post Tuesday) are, as ever, warning conservatives not to “overreach” — this time, for exemptions that extend beyond corporate religious entities. The Bill of Rights, however, protects individual liberty from abusive government action. The First Amendment does not merely protect the religious liberty of groups of people who formally organize as a religious enterprise. It protects the individual believer, who has as much right as the Archdiocese of New York to resist government compulsion that violates his conscience. Under the Left’s First Amendment, we’re supposed to be deferential to every Saudi alien Islamic supremacist whack-job who wants to replace the Constitution with sharia, but an American citizen who personally objects to abortifacients should pipe down and pay up unless he’s the CEO of Catholic Charities? I don’t think so. 

This is a religious freedom issue–not a contraception issue.

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The Letter

CNS News reported yesterday that Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 153 other House of Representative members sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking that she suspend a controversial rule that mandates that all insurance providers cover contraception for free.

This is the link to a copy of the letter with all the signatures, scalise.house.gov.

The letter begins:

“As pro-life Members of Congress, we are writing to voice our strong opposition to your final decision on the rule for mandatory contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacients coverage in the individual and group health insurance market,” the February 6 letter said.

The letter concludes:

In your response to this letter, we request that you provide us specific details on the process followed in the reading and evaluating of the public comments submitted. Additionally, in light of the concerns mentioned, we respectfully request that you suspend the final rule until you can ensure that both employers and individuals are afforded their constitutionally protected conscience rights.”

The problem with conscience rights should not be a surprise to anyone who followed the debate on Obamacare. The surprise is that this ruling came in a year when President Obama is running for re-election. I don’t know if he didn’t understand the uproar it would cause or if he planned to use the mandate to energize his liberal base. Either way, I think it is encouraging that 154 Representatives of both political parties signed the letter.

The article at CNS News concludes:

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said that the mandate would force people of faith to violate their consciences and the teachings of their church, violating their First Amendment rights.

“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience,” Dolan said in a video message released Jan. 23.

“This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”

Obamacare is an assault on both the U. S. Constitution and American people of faith. Hopefully it will be struck down by the Supreme Court later this year. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not an elected official, and this mandate was not passed by Congress. I think it is time to look at who is currently writing the laws in America.

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A Backlash From The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has come out strongly in protest of the recent ruling announced by Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on January 20.

As I previously reported (rightwinggranny.com):

The Health and Human Services Department recently announced it will require all employers (with few exceptions) to provide health insurance to their employees which includes subsidized contraception, sterilization and coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

This meant that religious institutions, like Catholic colleges and hospitals, or other Christian institutions would  be compelled to violate their conscience by cooperating with that which they believe to be wrong. Currently many of these institutions purchase health-insurance plans which do not provide free coverage of these services. 

This ruling matters to you even if you are not Catholic–everyone’s freedom to practice (or not practice) the religion of their choice is now under attack.

CNS News reported today that Representative Nancy Pelosi has stated:

Pelosi: “First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”

The Catholic Church has released a statement stating:

“In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing do). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

“We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

Nothing this political happens by accident. I can’t help but wonder what the motive of the Obama Administration is in starting this fight at this time. I know that many Catholics do not agree with their Church on the subject of birth control, but many Catholics share the Church’s believe on abortion. This needs to be watched–there may be more coming that will impact other people of faith.

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Limiting Religious Freedom In The United States

On Sunday the Daily Caller posted an article about The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. This 60-year old Roman Catholic College of over 2,400 students is being required by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dispense abortion-producing drugs and pay for sterilizations, both of which are strictly proscribed by the Catholic faith. Unfortunately, this is not the only incidence of this sort of behavior on the part of the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

Writer Charlotte Allen wrote of the “Persecution of Belmont Abbey” by the Obama administration in 2009. There, too, liberal zealots were demanding that the Catholic school, founded in 1876, provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations or face federal sanctions. This, according to the institution’s president, could lead to closing down the historic little college.

The article further reports:

Chai Feldblum is a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s law school. Georgetown is the oldest Catholic university in the country. Ironically, Feldblum is also a homosexual legal activist. She was Barack Obama’s choice for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She told a panel at Family Research Council that if it came to a clash between what she calls gay rights and religious liberty, religious liberty must give way. In other words: “Be Amish, or be quiet.”

Why are we having this discussions now? Simple. America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. There was, up until about the 1960’s, a moral consensus in this country. We have lost that moral consensus. Now before you decide that I am anti-gay or whatever else, let me explain. I don’t care what anyone does in the privacy of their own home. I don’t care what rules anyone chooses to govern their life. I do care when their rules overflow on to my rights. Just as medical clinics have the right to prescribe whatever medical treatments they choose, a religious medical clinic also has the right to refuse procedures that are against its religious beliefs. Just because Chai Feldblum has the right to be gay (which she does), does not mean that she has the right to override the religious freedom of others. When gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, the Catholic adoption agencies were driven from the state because it was against their religion to adopt children out to gay couples. Their rights were infringed on in the name of granting other people rights. We need to be careful in granting various groups rights that we don’t infringe on the rights of people in groups whose rights are also protected by our constitution.

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More Unintended Consequences Of Obamacare

Today’s New York Daily News posted an article on “The unaffordable Affordable Care Act.” The Daily News cites research by the nonprofit group The Kaiser Family Foundation which shows:

“…premiums have risen steeply under the law – with the annual premium for family coverage through an employer reaching $15,073 in 2011, an increase of 9% over the previous year. Or as Politico put it: Premiums are now costing families as much as a new car.”

The article points out that some aspects of Obamacare have already taken effect, but that the supposed ‘cost cutting’ aspects of the bill will not go into effect until 2014. Some of the parts of the bill already in effect include covering kids 26 years old and under, accepting patients with no preconditions and eliminating annual caps. All of these things logically drive up the cost for insurance companies, an increase that they logically pass on to their customers.

The 9% increase is not a random number. The Daily News reports:

Back in May, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a final rule that would allow the administration to “establish procedures for federal and state insurance experts to scrutinize premiums” starting in September of this year. Managed care companies were told they would have to justify any rate increases above 10%. Translation: They’d be put on the political hot seat.

Why are health insurance premiums going up? Anticipation of what is to come under the new law. The article reports:

Insurers pushed up costs, not only to cover anticipating an influx of new and possibly sick patience (and lack of revenue from healthy patients signing up), but also to avoid getting audited by the Obama administration before the review period kicks in.

Obamacare needs to be repealed. But it needs to be replaced with something that includes tort reform, portability across state lines, and takes the government out of the equation.

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No CLASS In Obamacare

Kathleen Sebelius

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line reported that the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a part of Obamacare that played a major part in getting the bill through Congress, may never come into existence. The Class Act is described in the article as:

an optional, government-backed, long-term care insurance program that would pay a daily or monthly benefit to enrolled subscribers if they become unable to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing, meal preparation, and personal grooming. 

Because taxpayers had to pay into the program for five years before they were ‘vested,’ the money collected during that first five years was calculated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as $70 billion in deficit reduction.

The article reports:

Now, two years later, no one disputes that the Obama administration’s assurances about the viability of the CLASS Act were false. In fact, in February of this year, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress that the program is “totally unsustainable” in its current form. So much for the $70 billion in “deficit reduction” that was an rationale for adoption of Obamacare!

It was all done with smoke and mirrors–let’s repeal the whole Obamacare thing!

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Has Washington Lost Its Mind ?

Kathleen Sebelius alternate HHS portrait

Image via Wikipedia

CNS News is reporting today that the Health and Human Services Department has announced that it plans to spend $700 million building, expanding, and improving community health centers across the U.S.

The funding will also expand the infrastructure for Obamacare.

The article reports:

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These funds will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country.”

Most of the taxpayer money — $600 million – will be spent on existing health centers for longer-term projects including facility expansion and hiring more employees to serve more patients. The remainder, around $100 million, will be spent on shorter-term projects addressing “immediate facility needs.”

What part of “we’re broke” do these people not understand?

The article further reports:

The $700 million announced on Friday is just the beginning: Over the next five years, the Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding for the operation, expansion and construction of community health centers across the country. 

In 2010, community health centers employed more than 131,000 staff, including 9,600 physicians, 6,400 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,400 nurses, 9,500 dental staff, 4,200 behavioral health staff, and more than 12,000 case managers and health education, outreach, and transportation staff.  The centers currently serve nearly 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

It is a good thing to provide medical care to people who may not be able to afford it. I agree with the concept. I just wonder if there is not a much more economical way to do it. The $700 million announced today is truly spending we cannot currently afford. Let’s look at places we can cut in order to provide these services. I am sure we can find some.
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