Category archives: Health Care

Obama Health Care Ignores Private Sector Realities

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 26, 2010

According to Reuters, White House Secretary Robert Gibbs is unconcerned with the reports today by two leading American manufacturers that the newly enacted Democratic health system legislation will hit them hard financially.

John Deere and Caterpillar report a combined anticipated earnings loss of $250 million given the new tax provisions of President Obama’s just-imposed regime of federal health care management. This will affect their ability to hire, promote and provide benefits. It will affect the cost of the goods they sell and their ability to compete in domestic and international markets. It will hurt their ability to work with subcontractors and pay for retirement benefits.

In fact, Business Week notes the business consultancy of Towers Watson estimates a loss of $14 billion in corporate profits due to the Obama health regime-change (“Obama Taxs $14 Billion Charge Starts at Caterpillar,” March 25, 2010).

But, hey - to Robert Gibbs, all of this is worth one modest shrugging of his shoulders. Here’s what he said on Air Force One when asked about the hit Deere and Cat will have to take due to his boss’s new medical system overhaul:

So basically, they get a subsidy and what amounts to two deductions. They get the subsidy that’s not counted as income, then they get to write off the spending. This bill, our bill, simply closes the loophole.

Similarly, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke responded, “The rules…and a lot of the regulations on how this will affect large businesses haven’t even been published yet. So for them to come out, I think, is premature and irresponsible.”

I see: The Obama people are just closing tax “loopholes,” but it’s irresponsible for companies to estimate what the de facto taxes will cost them. How silly - a company ponders the affects of a tax hike and it’s irresponsible for letting its investors know its cost estimates. Guess I missed that lucid economic principle somewhere along the way.

Ask the families of people who are about to lose their jobs because President Obama and his congressional allies couldn’t care less about the private sector. Many of the President’s senior aides and appointees (including Mr. Gibbs) have never held jobs in the open market. They have never actually created a job, met a payroll, worried about opening a new store or burned the midnight oil experimenting with a new product.

In showing contempt for individual and corporate taxpayers, Robert Gibbs and Gary Locke reveal the true heart of the current Administration: Elitist, dismissive, arrogant and fundamentally ignorant of the American system of entrepreneurship, enterprise and market-based competition.

The High Costs of the Democratic Health Plan

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 24, 2010

Congressman Paul Ryan, a respected Wisconsin Republican and self-described “numbers guy,” writes the following in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Premiums in the individual market would rise from 10% to 13% for families. Our debt and deficit crisis —— driven by $76 trillion in unfunded liabilities —— would accelerate from the creation of a brand new entitlement and an increase in the federal deficit by $662 billion, when the true costs are factored in. National health expenditures will increase by an additional $222 billion over the next decade, according the president’s own chief actuary, and $2.4 trillion in the decade after the new entitlement is up and running.

Ryan himself calls these “mind-numbing numbers,” but their vastness only emphasizes how serious they are. To bring it down to family level, what the Obama-Democratic plan means is that you and your loved ones will obtain poorer quality of care at higher cost. Medical innovations generated by private sector research will contract as companies have fewer financial resources with which to make them. Market-driven competition will decline as the number of insurance companies shrinks due to heavy new mandates and regulations. The ripple effect on the broader economy will mean that there will be fewer jobs in the private-sector as companies lay-off employees to pay for both higher taxes and cost of newly imposed health insurance rules.

The world works in a certain way. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The world turns from east to west. And the more centralized political power becomes and the greater the mandates and costs imposed on those governed, the less freedom and prosperity there will be.

These propositions are axiomatic because they are immutable. And it is difficult to believe that whatever their protestations, President Obama and his allies —- intelligent men and women, all —- did not understand them very well from before the start of their health care “reform” campaign.

Less quality, high cost health care. Fewer jobs. Lost freedom. That’s change I’d rather not believe in, but it’s here. And conservatives will keep fighting it as long as our liberty endures.

FRC Action Responds to the Health Care Vote

by JP Duffy

March 22, 2010

From FRC Action’s press release:

Washington, D.C.- Today the House of Representatives passed the Senate health care bill with a multitude of abortion funding provisions and passed the reconciliation bill to increase funding for one abortion funding program. Neither contained conscience protections previously approved by the House.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins responded with the following comments:

Passage of this partisan government takeover of health care with all of its Medicare cuts, tax increases, a continued marriage penalty, individual mandates, and abortion funding shows the extreme leftist orientation of this Congress.

The American people, regardless of their view of its legality, should not be forced to pay for someone’s abortion. Those who voted for this legislation cannot legitimately claim to be even neutral on the issue of abortion. This legislation accomplishes this abortion mandate in spades.

Read the whole release here.

Abortions Are Not Healthy, Amnesty International

by Family Research Council

March 19, 2010

Amnesty International released a report today on Maternal Mortality in the United States. I was enthusiastic to see a subheading for a right to life until a little further into the report I read that abortion (the procedure that destroys innocent little lives) was included as part of a womans right to life.

From page 14 of the report:

The right to life is protected in a number of international human rights treaties including the ICCPR, which states that every human being has the inherent right to life and that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their right to life…the need to employ a broad interpretation of the right to life, which includes public health measures, and has called on states to reduce preventable maternal mortality, including by ensuring access to family planning and abortion, as part of their obligation to protect the right to life under the ICCPR.33 Like all human rights, the right to life must also be guaranteed without discrimination.

Sadly, Amnesty International defies their own words by discriminating against those who are in the womb.

To put the right to life issue in context, approximately 12 million women die worldwide each year from complications in childbirth (i.e., maternal mortality). In comparison, approximately 42 million children are denied the inherent right to life through abortion every year worldwide.

Additionally, according to the WHO, Maternal Mortality is not listed among the top ten health causes of death anywhere in the world - in developing or developed countries.

While we can all agree that expectant mothers should have access to good health care, the issue of maternal mortality should not be a cover for abortion.

ObamaCare: The Greatest Civics Lesson

by Robert Morrison

March 19, 2010

War is Gods way of teaching Americans history, goes a cynical old European taunt. I dont agree with that, entirely. But they have a point. Who among us knew where Fallujah was before 2003? Or where Kandahar was before 2001? Who among us does not know where Gettysburg is and what it means. Or, at least, what it used to mean.

Living through history has a way of making an impact on our lives. We are living through a great moment in our history. Glenn Beck regales Americans nightly with stories and quotes from the Founding Fathers. Its as if this eager, emotional fellow has just discovered them. Hes that enthusiastic. Legal writer Mark Levin holds forth nightly as well. His book, Liberty and Tyranny, rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists. Its an essential primer in the theory and practice of limited government.

Liberals are, predictably, horrified by the likes of Beck and Levin. But they would have been horrified by Thomas Paine, too. Paine was a hard-drinking, failed tax collector and corset maker from England who came to America with no money and even fewer prospects. His book, Common Sense, sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It electrified the American colonists and helped mightily to move them to demand independence. His Excellency General George Washington had Common Sense distributed to his ragged soldiers.

John Adams powerfully reasoned arguments persuaded many in Congress. Thomas Jeffersons immortal prose inspired all who loved liberty and language—then and now. But it was Paine who set the grassroots on fire.

The great threat of ObamaCare to Americans life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness cannot be overestimated. It holds the menace of financial collapse for the Great Republic —- with trillions in unfunded mandates. It is precisely what C.S. Lewis described when he spoke of worldly peoples reaction to obvious problems. When the ship is about to founder, they yell: Take on more water!

In a country conceived in liberty, a nation that believes all men are created equal, ObamaCare would fund the engines of death, the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. It would give the official government seal of approval to abortion facilities —- these latter-day tophets —- all over the country. The Obama administration has resisted the Stupak Amendment and every other effort to restrict coverage for abortion.

These heady days remind me of the last great fight we had on Capitol Hill. Back in 1994, H.R. 6, a monster federal education bill, was being debated. Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) had had quietly slipped into its thousands of pages an innocent-looking amendment. In New Jersey, Carolee Adams, a mother and homeschooler, recognized the threat to homeschooling in the Miller Amendment. It could very likely make homeschooling illegal. Carolee, a former Fortune 500 corporate vice president, is a formidable lady. She was not to be head-patted by congressmen or patronized by liberal Hill staffers. Carolee sounded the alarm. Dr. Dobson brought the Home School Legal Defense Associations fearless advocate, Mike Farris, onto his broadcast and, together, they ignited the grassroots.

Then, as now, phone calls poured into the Capitol Hill switchboard. In just eight days, there were three million calls registered in Congress. Many Members of Congress in those pre-cellphone days could not even reach their own offices!

Give them whatever they want, some of these powerful committee chairman said, just tell them to stop calling! The final vote against Congressman Millers amendment was 434-1. Give the Democrat his due, Mr. Miller voted for the Miller Amendment.

I was fielding phone calls at the FRC offices during that eight-day blitz. Many a parent would call me to clarify what their congressmans office had told them. One young mother, homeschooling several very little children, put me through my paces. Whats a conference committee? Whats a committee of the whole? Whats an open rule? Whats the Union calendar?

What does reconciliation mean?

For almost an hour, as the sun sank over the capital, I answered every one of this worried Moms questions. She had gotten to the point where she wasnt trusting anybody. Finally, she sighed.

Okay, youve been honest with me. Ill tell my group of mothers to keep calling our congressman. Then, with some little embarrassment, she said: I have to admit, I was never very good at this civics stuff when I was in high school.

I told her I was never very good at teaching civics when I worked in a high school. What we learned then was that theres nothing like a fight —- a fight for your family, a fight for your country, a fight for your fundamental American liberties—to teach us all.

So, Mr. President, thank you. You have done a great deal to educate all Americans about their government. Anyone who thinks the American people wont know what deem and pass means now, and how it violates Art. I, Sec. 7 of the Constitution is deluding himself. And if this thing passes by schemin and deemin, we just might see some of those deemin Congressmen voted out!

The Quotable Stupak on Health Care and Abortion

by Cathy Ruse

March 10, 2010

Youve gotta love Bart Stupak, the brave Democrat from Michigan who is standing athwart the Obama-Abortion-Care Juggernaut, yelling, Stop!

Here are some choice quotes (to use a pun) from Representative Stupak from a recent interview with the Weekly Standard:

When the reporter mentioned speculation that Stupak was ready to cave and vote for a health care bill that would force taxpayers to fund abortion, his response was clear: “Obviously they dont know me,” he said. If I didnt cave in November, why would I do it now after all the crap Ive been through?”

President Obamas attempt to get Stupaks vote is both ridiculous and revealing: Apparently the President invited Stupak to the Russian opera last week. (This is reminiscent of candidate Nelson Rockefeller at the working mans bar ordering beers all around and a Courvoisier for himself.) The Weekly Standard writes: Asked if he was a big fan of the opera, Stupak, who represents a district encompassing the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, laughed and said: No, Im not a fan of opera, especially not Russian opera because I wouldn’t understand a thing.

Stupak isnt afraid to call out his own Party, saying that White House officials are “trying to get face time with members to convince them to vote for a bill that no one has seen in writing.”

Calling Planned Parenthoods Bluff

by Family Research Council

March 4, 2010

Yesterday, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement including the following: If the current Senate language introduced by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is maintained, it would result in the most significant restriction in access to abortion coverage in the nearly 35 years since the U.S. Congress first adopted the Hyde Amendment…For that reason, Planned Parenthood opposed the Nelson provision when it was proposed and continues to oppose it.

This statement makes me wonder if Ms. Richards and I are looking at different bills. To set the record straight, the Senate bill goes beyond current law restricting government funding of abortion and plans that include abortion.

In Section 1303, the bill allows tax credit subsidies for plans that include abortion and leaves an abortion surcharge in place. It then maintains the proposal to create a multi-state plan that includes abortion in Sec. 1334. Lastly, the Obama proposal would increase the Senate bill funding from $7 billion to $11 billion for community health centers in Sec. 10503 without any abortion funding restrictions.

The sad reality, in the words of FRC president Tony Perkins is that If this bill becomes law, this Congress will oversee the largest ever expansion of abortion on demand at taxpayer expense.

Planned Parenthoods claim that the bill is more restrictive of abortion funding than current law is disingenuously inaccurate. However, if Planned Parenthood truly does want to maintain current policy since the 1970s under the Hyde amendment, then weve found common ground, and can agree that inclusion of the Stupak amendment to maintain the status quo on government abortion funding is the best way forward.

Amidst the Rubble, Planned Parenthood Looks Out for Itself

by Family Research Council

January 20, 2010

During this moment in history when human beings, trapped under concrete slabs are calling out to be rescued; a day in which people who have miraculously survived the Haiti earthquake do not have enough water to continue living; during a time when the UN and US are sending thousands of security personnel for fear of riots and a deteriorating security situation, International Planned Parenthood, the worlds largest abortion provider, is opportunistically responding to this humanitarian crisis by collecting donations for Sexual & Reproductive Health Services for the people of Haiti.

Note the following immediate health needs in Haiti, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): search and rescue of survivors trapped underneath rubble; treatment of people with major trauma injuries; preventing the infection of wounds; provision of clean water and sanitation. Somehow abortion services did not make the list. Planned Parenthood will objectify and manipulate any person or situation to advance their agenda.

As Haiti begins to recover and grieve one of the most deadly catastrophes ever (possibly 200,000 lives lost), and as the United States approaches the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22 —- a moment when 50,000,000 aborted children will be remembered —- let us be clear that abortion is not health care. Not here in the United States, and not overseas.

[Editor’s Note: Here are some organizations which are offering real help to Haiti]

A New Welfare Program in the Obama Healthcare Bill

by Chris Gacek

January 13, 2010

According to a Washington Times news account by Cheryl Wetzstein in Washington Times (1/12/2010), the Obama healthcare bill will contain $1 billion over five years for a new federal welfare program. It is a maternal home-visit service in which a volunteering mother with a new baby will receive, for up to two years, nurse visits once or twice a month to help the younger mother cope with the daily demands of a growing child. Wetzstein adds, This maternal home-visit service is on its way to becoming a massive federal program….

President Obama touted the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), during the campaign. NFP was devised by in the late 1970s by psychologist David Olds, now a professor at the University of Colorado, Denver. True to his word, Obama is pushing this program now.

In an accompanying analysis piece, Wetzsteins focuses her only fire on the lack of attention paid to fathers by the program. Howerver, there are other concerns. The first that struck me was this: so what happens when the poor, at-risk, poorly educated mother doesnt do what the friendly nurse instructs? What if she doesnt stop smoking, for example? How close is the link between the visiting nurses and social services enforcement division in your local community? These nurses have to be filing reports on their student moms and evaluating them. Are there jurisdictions in which NFP visits have led to mothers losing custodial rights over their children?

Intimations of various degrees of governmental intrusion come in the news article: The House bill also stipulates that home-visiting professionals will, when appropriate, provide referrals to other programs serving children and families. For example, the House bill apparently contains the goal of increasing birth intervals between pregnancies. (Aside: the wife of a colleague with a newborn was recently lectured by her ob/gyn about birth spacing when she indicated that she wanted to soon have another child.)

So, lets say a woman becomes pregnant at a time that doesnt comport with the latest social science models optimal birth spacing. Pro-life advocates like E. Christian Brugger, an ethicist and senior fellow at Culture of Life Foundation, worry that there will be referrals to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providing institutions.

James Harden, president and chief executive of CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Rochester, N.Y., observes:

Increasing birth intervals is a very loaded phrase, and where it goes in the future, no one can know, Mr. Harden said. What is the birth interval? Is it two years between children? Three years between children? Five years between two children? From my perspective, [increasing] birth intervals relates to a backdoor approach to population control.

Anyone who thinks Harden is exaggerating, in my opinion, does not understand the manner in which bureaucracies slowly gain more and more power. Finally, how long will it be before all new families have to have an initial screening from the friendly nurses and the very friendly public health officials.

Wetzstein quotes an NFP spokesman, Julian Kesner, as strongly disputing Hardens idea. Kesner states there has been no documented situation in which a nurse has told a mother to get pregnant or not to get pregnant, he said. Thats good to hear.

However, direct commands arent the only way control can be exerted by governments. Financial carrots and sticks, anyone? The bigger point is that there are numerous deep ethical matters that go into the decisions to form families and have children. Contrary to what the public health community would have us believe, these are not value neutral decisions. Nobody has elected the public healthers to impose these values, nor will they receive much scrutiny.

On the contrary, a good case can be made that with the massive retirements coming from the Baby Boom, our country would be better off reducing spacing between children not increasing the spacing. Where is the public debate on this? Notice and comment periods?

Finally, it seems clear that this program is designed to enmesh the mother and her baby into the welfare system through referrals. Is that a good thing?

In closing, before we create another massive federal welfare bureaucracy it seems that much more needs to be learned about all the various facets of this program and how NFP works in practice where the rubber meets the road.