Countering Fake News

The major media sources are all abuzz with the fact that President Trump is denying food to senior citizens by cutting Meals on Wheels. How awful. How awful that the media is reporting something that is not true. Meals on Wheels only gets a small percentage of its funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. The cuts President Trump is making will have little or no impact on Meals on Wheels.

The Conservative Review posted an article today explaining the details:

President Donald Trump is catching hell from the media over accusations that his budget will cut off funding for Meals on Wheels as part of his proposal to eliminate funding for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs.

Most of the media’s hysterics are exaggerating the effects of the Trump proposal, or being downright dishonest about CDBGs. Examine what Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mulvaney actually said during Thursday’s press conference on the budget, in response to a question on Meals on Wheels.

“As you know, or I think you know, Meals on Wheels is not a federal program,” he began. “It’s part of that community that CDBGs — the block grants that we give to the states, and then many states make the decision to give that money to Meals on Wheels.” (emphasis added)

The article goes on to mention that the government has spent $150 billion on CDBG programs since 1970 and has no results to show for it.

The article explains the problem:

This program is ineffective because the administration of these funds is often absolutely corrupt. In 2013, the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee identified “more than $770 million in questionable costs and included recommendations for putting $739.5 million in HUD funds to better use.” The subcommittee identified CDBGs as one of HUD’s largest programs that “lack proper oversight” and are “especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.”
The article goes on to list some of the abuses in past use of CDBG money. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. President Trump is acting like a businessman–he is cutting funds to programs that do not work and moving funds to programs that show results. If we are ever to find a way out of our increasing debt, these are the steps that will be necessary. It is a shame that the mainstream media wants to continue to increase the debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

ObamaCare Is Not Doing Well

Politico posted an article today about sign-ups for ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage declined for the first time in the 2017 season and fell below the Obama administration‘s estimates for the three-month enrollment window, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 12.2 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 — a drop-off from the 12.7 million sign-ups at the close of the last open-enrollment season. The Trump administration soon after taking office scaled back enrollment outreach during the critical final week of sign-ups.

The article reminds us that roughly four out of five people who sign up for ObamaCare receive tax credits to offset their monthly premiums. Even at that, people are not rushing to sign up.

The article concludes:

The Trump administration reversed plans to scrap phone calls and other forms of outreach to encourage sign-ups in the finals days of the enrollment period after the move sparked outcry from the law’s supporters and health insurers. Officials said they were unable to pull back some HealthCare.gov radio and TV advertising that had been purchased by the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel about $4 million to $5 million in ads.

The enrollment report comes amid a spate of troubling news about health law insurance markets. Last month, Humana announced it would become the first major insurer to pull out of the market completely next year. Molina, which had an unexpected loss, said it would assess ongoing participation at a later date. Other insurers are sounding alarms.

ObamaCare needs to go away. The Republicans need to pass the bill they have passed before in order to end it. The gamesmanship that is going on now in the Republican Party is totally unacceptable.

One Disaster Under ObamaCare

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about Pamela Weldin, a Nebraska woman who has lost her health insurance four times under ObamaCare.

The article reports:

A former dental hygienist, Weldin has all the hallmarks of a consumer intended to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

She has been denied coverage in the past because of a pre-existing condition related to her career as a dental hygienist.

Additionally, Weldin qualifies for a tax credit, which she has received every year since 2014.

As a result, her premiums are low when compared to consumers who don’t qualify for financial assistance: In early 2015, Weldin purchased a plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska that cost her $232 each month.

This year, premiums for her silver-level plan with Medica are $161 per month after her tax credit.

But though Weldin has benefited from aspects of the law, she hasn’t been immune to the changes in the health insurance market that have occurred in last few years.

“I’m a person who has been denied because of pre-existing conditions,” Weldin, a Pampered Chef director, said. “I’m on Obamacare and have lost my insurance four times in three years. I understand the challenges, but it’s not sustainable.”

It gets worse:

It wasn’t until after she paid her first month’s premium, however, that Weldin learned from the insurance company that any doctor located more than 100 miles from her rural Nebraska home wasn’t in her network.

If she wanted to see her doctor in Colorado—considered out-of-network now—Weldin had to meet a $20,000 out-of-network deductible before Aetna would start covering her medical expenses.

That information, she said, wasn’t listed on HealthCare.gov when she was shopping for plans.

“$20,000 for a deductible? Are you kidding me?” Weldin said. “How is that affordable?”

If the Republican Party ever wants me to support one of their candidates again, they need to make sure ObamaCare is gone permanently by June. Otherwise they might as well be Democrats.

What Borders?

MRCTV posted an article today about the number of children who arrived in America illegally in the month of November.

The article reports:

In fact, strung out over the entire 30-day period, the Obama administration processed and turned loose an astonishing 6,623 illegal alien kids who’d recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully, averaging more than 220 kids per day. The administration released about 600 more kids in November than they did during the month of October, when 6,051 children were sent to live with sponsors in the U.S. pending their day in immigration court. FY2016 data reveals the vast majority of these children are teens claiming to be between 15 and 17 years of age.

The incoming flood of illegal aliens, including unaccompanied minors, ramped up during the final few months of FY2016 and into the first days of the new fiscal year, and has yet to slow down. While border agents have apprehended another 14,128 unaccompanied kids at the Mexican border between October and November, the administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement turned loose 12,674 UACs in that same time frame.

There are a number of problems with this other than the obvious concerns about cost and impact on American society. The children are assumed to be between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. There is very rarely any proof of their age. We need to keep in mind that in some Islamic countries children as young as seven or eight are trained for terrorist operations. We also need to consider that most of these children have not had the healthcare or vaccinations that American children receive. We could be importing diseases into our country that we previously eradicated. There are already reports of outbreaks of tuberculosis in areas of the country where these refugees have been settled.

The article further explains:

Data from the federal immigration court system shows that more than a third of these children won’t show up for their court date, including about 90 percent of those children who are ordered removed from the country. Additionally, recently released information from the Department of Health and Human Services shows the administration only conducts home studies for about six percent of the illegal alien children released, failing to follow up on the vast majority who are left to disappear into communities across the country.

This is not a workable immigration system–this is a disaster–for the children involved, for their parents, and for America.

The Trump Cabinet So Far

This chart is from The Daily Signal showing how the Trump cabinet is progressing:

cabinet-picksI guess things were not as chaotic as the press was reporting.

The article notes:

Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Nov. 18 made him the second-fastest president-elect in recent history to pick a Cabinet nominee. He added another on Nov. 23 with Besty DeVos as education secretary.

In the fourth week of the transition, Trump has named five nominees: Rep. Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, Elaine Chao at the Department of Transportation, Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, Wilbur Ross at the Commerce Department, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at the Department of Defense.

The speed of Trump’s choices is even more surprising given that Bush enjoyed the continuity of Republican government in 1988; two of Bush’s three nominations in November 1988 were holdovers from the Reagan administration. With his selection of Price and Chao, Trump is now the fastest president-elect in 40 years to fill four Cabinet roles.

Some of these choices have not met with overwhelming approval from conservatives, but we need to remember a few things. All of these picks have been successful in their areas of expertise. Theoretically, Trump is in charge and will set the agenda. I would like to ask that my conservative friends hold their fire until someone actually does something that  impacts some policy. Republicans (and sometimes conservatives) have a gift for forming circular firing squads. Let’s not form one now. Let’s stop adding to the media frenzy.  We need to give Donald Trump a chance to make the changes he believes will move the country in the right direction. We may not agree with all of those moves, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s see what happens next.

 

Using Taxpayer Money To Prop Up Health Insurance Providers

Hot Air posted a story today with the following headline, “GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money.”

The article gives a synopsis of the story:

In 2014, the industry-funded reinsurance program was supposed to provide $10 billion to insurers and $2 billion to the federal Treasury. But when total collections from insurers amounted to only $9.7 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services opted to funnel all of the money toward insurers. The agency paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims for 2014, the first year of exchange coverage, and held over the remaining $1.7 billion for future payments.

Republicans asked the GAO to weigh in on whether or not HHS had the authority to interpret section 1341 of Obamacare in such a way that it could withhold payments to the Treasury. The GAO report concludes HHS clearly does not have the authority to do so:

ObamaCare has been a disaster from the beginning and will probably totally collapse under the next President. The problem then becomes how to rebuild the damage to American healthcare that ObamaCare has done. If Hillary is elected, we will go to total government healthcare. If Trump is elected, the hope is that he will lean toward a system that favors the free market.

The article concludes:

Just to put this in perspective, there have been weeks of stories about the scandal of phony accounts at Wells Fargo bank. That’s a legitimate scandal in which bank employees created millions of unauthorized new accounts (and credit cards) in order to secure bonuses for themselves. However, the total amount set aside for refunds in that case was $5 million dollars. That’s apparently how much customers were ripped off by the shady practices at Wells Fargo. For this legitimate scandal, Wells Fargo is paying over $150 million in fines and has already fired over 5,000 employees.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration withheld $3 billion dollars belonging to taxpayers and essentially redirected it to private companies. It has not paid back the money. It has not been punished for taking it without authorization. No one at HHS has been fired. And Elizabeth Warren is not demanding HHS Secretary Burwell resign.

Will there be any accountability for HHS and the Obama administration for what amounts to the intentional misdirection of billions of taxpayer dollars to the president’s pet project? Will the media devote 1/4 of the attention to this that it has to the Wells Fargo story? We shall see but my advice is don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

I realize that this is not an exciting story, but it is an important story. Not only did HHS exceed its power, it essentially stole money from the taxpayers. This sort of behavior by government agencies needs to be dealt with severely.

 

More Bullying By The Obama Administration

The Obama Administration has shown itself to be thin-skinned in dealing with anyone who does not agree with them. They have also shown a willingness to shut down the free speech of any opposition. It is not surprising that they are also making things very difficult for groups who do not support abortion to get government grants to fight human trafficking.

Fox News reported today:

Religious groups that refuse abortion counseling no longer can get grants to help human trafficking victims unless they ensure the counseling is provided by a third party, under new guidelines by the Department of Health and Human Services.

In guidance quietly posted online in June, the agency said groups competing for grants must offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care,” which includes abortion counseling and referrals. If groups don’t offer the services, they must propose an alternative approach to remain competitive for a grant.

That has at least one anti-abortion advocate contending the new policy may violate the federal Weldon Amendment, a law saying federal money can’t be awarded if it’s being used to discriminate against healthcare entities that won’t provide or refer women for abortions.

Under President Obama, the Department of Health and Human Services has become an advocate for abortion–not an advocate for improving the health of Americans. It is time for Americans to rethink what abortion has given us–do you support the selling of baby body parts? According to Planned Parenthood, they are doing nothing wrong when they sell baby body parts. Is this what you signed on for when you said you were ‘pro choice?’

Prepare For An Exponential Increase In Government Intrusion

Yesterday The Examiner posted an article about a provision of ObamaCare that has not gotten a lot of publicity. The provision allows government agents to engage in “home health visits” for those in certain “high-risk” categories. Doesn’t sound too ominous until you look at the “high-risk” categories.

The article lists the categories:

Families where mom is not yet 21;
• Families where someone is a tobacco user;
• Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities, and
• Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.

Missing from the list given in the article is families with firearms, but that is now included in the questions your doctor is supposed to ask you.

The article explains how this program will totally invade the privacy of Americans and undermine the authority of American parents:

Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown said that despite what HHS says, the program is not “voluntary.”

“The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks,” he said. “A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to ‘intervention’ in ‘school readiness’ and ‘social-emotional developmental indicators.’ A farm family may be subject to ‘intervention’ in order to ‘prevent child injuries.’ The sky is the limit.”

Joshua Cook said that while the administration would claim the program only applies to those on Medicaid, the new law, by its own definition, has no such limitation.

“Intervention,” he added, quoting Brown, “may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.”

The Health and Human Services Department has allocated $224 million for these home visits.

This needs to be stopped before it begins.

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Statement By The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

This is the statement regarding last night’s Vice-Presidential debate issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on October 12:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf

 

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Political Whiplash

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story yesterday about one of the quickest position reversals in the history of American politics. Ever since Paul Ryan was chosen as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, we have been hearing about the plight of poor granny–destined to a future of inadequate vouchers to pay for care that she will not be able to afford. Oh, the horror of it all. Those evil vouchers. Well, not so fast.

President Obama promised, “And I will — I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.”

Hot Air reports:

But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.

The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month.

Paul Ryan’s vouchers were optional, President Obama’s are required.

Ed Morrissey points out that the plan may actually be a good plan–similar to the Medicare Advantage plan that Obamacare eliminated. The problem is, however, that the choice is taken out of the hands of the American citizen–not something we should encourage our government to do.

The article ends with an update:

Update: A couple of commenters object to my description of this as a “voucher” program — but that’s how Democrats describe Ryan’s plan, and that doesn’t have “vouchers,” either.  It’s a premium-support plan in a federal exchange of insurance plans approved by Medicare for coverage.  That’s what Medicare Advantage did too, and Obama raided it to pay for the Medicaid expansion in ObamaCare.  This plan doesn’t even have the federal exchange that Ryan envisioned, but fifty different exchanges doling out federal dollars.  Like I wrote, the plan and the experiment is worth trying, but it’s precisely the kind of push into private insurance that Obama swore the day earlier he’d never do … and he’s doing it with the poorest seniors with only an opt-out in some states rather than the opt-in that Ryan’s plan provided.  I’ll put quote marks on “voucher” in the headline, but this mechanism only differs from Ryan’s in that the exchanges get managed by the states rather than Medicare.

No wonder people don’t trust politicians.

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Somehow The Media Missed This Story

Breitbart.com is reporting today that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated that the changes that President Obama made to the work requirements in the welfare reform act passed during the Clinton administration are illegal.

The article reports:

In its Sept. 4 letter, the GAO found that Health and Human Services (HHS) should have formally submitted a letter of its intent to make the changes to Congress and the Comptroller General before any waivers can be legally issued.

The letter also said that the GAO had not determined if HHS had the legal right to even make such waivers available. The GAO is basically saying that the Obama administration is breaking the law with its waivers.

But, according to a review of the shocking news of the GAO’s determination, neither CNN, nor CBS, nor ABC have bothered to report the story.

It’s stories like these that show the need for the alternative media.

President Obama has stated that the changes in the waivers were made at the request of Republican Governors, but those governors have denied that they requested a change, stating that they only asked for clarification.

The real question here is whether or not Congress is willing to stand up to the President and uphold the Constitution.

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The Health And Human Services War Against Religion Continues

A website called Catholic Online is reporting a new aspect of Obamacare. Under Obamacare, children 15 and over in the state of Oregon will now be able to undergo sterilization without parental consent. Just for the record, children younger than 18 need parental consent to get their ears pierced.

The article states:

The “Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines” set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states: “Non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost-sharing consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year.that begins on or after August 1, 2012.All [FDA] approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

Under Oregon State Law, the state’s revised statutes (ORS) defines “informed consent” for 15-year-olds independently pursuing reproductive sterilization as being “(a) Based upon a full understanding of the nature and consequences of sterilization pursuant to information requirements set forth in ORS 436.225(1); (b) Given by an individual competent to make such a decision; and (c) Wholly voluntary and free from coercion, express or implied.”

I need to state here–I am not Catholic and I am not opposed to sterilization of an adult who makes that choice. That is not the point. What is happening here is that a major decision that will affect a child for the rest of his (or her) life is being made without parental input. That is just too much government for my taste.

 

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Another Lawsuit Regarding The Health And Human Services’ Birth Control Mandate

CNS News reported yesterday that a court in Michigan will hear arguments against the Obama Administration’s Birth Control mandate on September 26.

The article reports:

The lawsuit aims to permanently block implementation of the Health and Human Services requirement that employees and individuals to obtain insurance coverage that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-producing drugs without any cost-sharing. The HHS mandate imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception, the Law Center (the Thomas More Law Center) said in a news release.

The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of the HHS mandate because the mandate limits the rights of business owners to freely practice their religion.

The article states:

“Judge Cleland’s decision to expedite the briefing schedule and set a quick hearing date for oral arguments on our motion for a preliminary injunction against the Government was crucial,” said Thomas More Law Center attorney Erin Mersino. “It best serves our goal of protecting the religious freedoms of our clients. Without the Court’s timely intervention, the HHS mandate effectively penalizes their free exercise of religion,” he added.

The question of whether or not the HHS mandate violates the First Amendment is definitely headed to the Supreme Court. As I reported on July 28 (rightwinggranny.com), a Colorado company called Hercules Industries won a court case in the Tenth Circuit regarding the HHS mandate that companies provide birth control services in the health insurance policies.

As reported on July 28:

A federal court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

I am sure there will be much more to come on this issue.

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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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Why Obamacare Must Be Repealed

The healthcare law that Congress passed in 2010  (“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy,” said Nancy Pelosi) was essentially a skeleton of a bill to be written later by the Department of Health and Human Services. No one really knew what was in the bill because the specifics of the bill had not actually been written yet. Well, it is now a work in progress.

Hot Air reported on Thursday that federal and state officials have already drafted 13,000 pages of rules and regulations for Obamacare.

The article concludes:

180 new bureaus/boards/commissions, hundreds of new employees, billions of dollars, who knows how many new rules to comply with… the mind reels. Make no mistake about it, whatever Team Obama says — this is a massive, unprecedented expansion of federal power. Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass it to know what’s in it, and we’re still not even done figuring out what’s in it. Awesome.

And it’s not as if all of these rules and regulations are just innocent little administrative instructions, either; the Catholic Church, for instance, isn’t too pleased with the rule decreeing that insurance plans need to cover contraception, regardless of religious affiliations. What other nefarious liberty-infringing, social-engineering surprises are going to come out of this legislative Pandora’s box?

The way the law is being set up, it will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Think about that for a minute. What is the IRS’s reputation for compassion and customer service? Do we really want them handling our healthcare?

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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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Smoke And Mirrors In ObamaCare

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized its policies governing state health care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Included in these policies are the laws governing abortion coverage.

Section 1303 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires enrollees in the health care exchanges to pay a separate monthly surcharge for abortion coverage. Well, HHS has set those guidelines–the surcharge will be one dollar.

The article reports:

“Obamacare nearly collapsed under the allegations that the law would use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Because of a useless executive order, which was supposed to forbid tax dollars from paying for abortions, that swayed self-professed pro-life Members of Congress to vote for the monstrosity, the bill passed,” Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told TheDC.

“Now final rules from HHS could not be clearer: taxpayers, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, will certainly be paying for abortions,” said Hawkins.

If you value the lives of the elderly, the terminally ill, or the unborn, you need to vote Republican in November so that ObamaCare will be repealed and the lives of the people you love will be protected.

 

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Bringing The Issue Back Into Focus

CNS News reported today:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Friday to all the Catholic bishops of the United States reasserting the conviction of the Catholic Church that it will not yield to the Obama administration’s command—issued in the form of a Health and Human Services regulation implementing the president’s health-care plan–that Catholics and Catholic institutions must violate the teachings of their faith by purchasing and providing health insurance plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. 

Despite all the misdirections we have heard this week about Rush Limbaugh’s comments and contraception, this is the issue. Do Catholics, other people of faith, and various people with moral convictions have the right to live out their beliefs?

The Cardinal’s letter stated:

We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” Cardinal Dolan wrote his brother bishops.

“We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it,” he said.

“Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced,” Cardinal Dolan wrote, “we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”

In the vernacular of the day, “He gets it!”

The article further reports:

Cardinal Dolan then said that the so-called “concession” President Obama had offered in February—that he would order insurance companies working with Catholic institutions to provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to the workers at those institutions for free—did not solve the problem.

“For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry,” wrote the cardinal.

“Two, since a big part of our ministries are ‘self-insured,’ we still ask how this protects us,” he wrote.  “We’ll still have to pay and, in addition to that, we’ll still have to maintain in our policies practices which our Church has consistently taught are grave wrongs in which we cannot participate.

“And what about forcing individual believers to pay for what violates their religious freedom and conscience?” he wrote. “We can’t abandon the hard working person of faith who has a right to religious freedom.

“And three,” he said, “there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.”

This is a battle for religious freedom, and all churches need to take part. Otherwise, none of us will be free to live out our faith in the public square.

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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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The Catholic Church Stands Up For Its Rights

On Sunday the Business Insider posted a copy that was read Sunday in almost every Catholic Church in America.

This is the letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

 I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,

including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

 In so ruling, the Obama 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 to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

 We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,

only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

 And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.

 Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Alexander K. Sample                                                                                                         Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample                                                                                 Bishop of Marquette

If you are not a member of the Catholic Church you may be wondering how this matters to you. It does! First of all, this provision to require the Catholic Church to provide medical care that violates its conscience is not the result of an actual law that was passed through Congress–this was enacted by the Department of Health of Human Services–unelected people not accountable to the voters. That alone is unconstitutional. Secondly, the law violates the right of the Catholic Church to freely practice their faith. The Catholic Church provides adoption services (now eliminated in some states due to being forced to allow homosexual couples to adopt children–against the Catholic faith), hospitals and many other charities. All the employees of those organizations will be included in this law.

The attack on the Catholic Church by the Obama Administration will spread to people of other faiths who believe in the Bible. If you are one of those people, it’s time to pay attention–your right to practice your religion is about to be violated.

 

 

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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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More Healthcare Waivers

The Hill reported Friday that the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has granted another106 waivers to President Obama’s healthcare law. This brings the total number of waivers up to 1,472. The HHS has announced that it will stop granting waivers in September.

The article reports:

HHS has been approving a new batch of one-year waivers at the end of each month. The department announced it would cut off applications after September, but let companies that received one-year exemptions extend their waivers through 2014. The 106 waivers approved in July will last three years.

It seems to me that the logical thing to do at this point would be to repeal Obamacare and start over with ideas like tort reform and allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines. The idea of health insurance plans carried by an individual rather than with an employer, therefore going with a person when they changed jobs, would also be a really good idea!

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