Category archives: Health Care

Mr. President, Leadership is Not an Option

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 5, 2010

Franklin Roosevelt is not a hero of mine. Arguably the father of today’s big government and a president who never let the Constitution get in the way of his political agenda, FDR summoned a weird confection of Leftists, liberals and disaffected, vulnerable citizens to obtain election to the presidency no less than four times.

His legacy has led to serious problems in the courts, the economy and the way Americans understand their federal government. Yet there is still much to admire about the Democratic Roosevelt - the way he heartened Americans with his optimism, the masterful manner in which he spoke to the hopes and fears of ordinary people, and even his unabashed invocation of the God of the Bible in times of national need.

FDR was also nothing if not decisive. He did not dawdle in times of crisis. For better or ill, he acted. People knew that they had a leader in the White House.

Knowing he was nearing death, he jettisoned starry-eyed Vice President Henry Wallace for sharp, crisp and purposeful Harry Truman. When we entered World War II, he shelved the New Deal and put his full energies into winning the conflict, even appointing Republicans as secretaries of War and Navy. And when eight German spies were found in the U.S., they were not tried in civil court. They were taken before a military tribunal appointed by FDR himself; six were hung, one imprisoned for life, and the eighth sentenced to 30 years. The time between when the spies landed and the hangings: less than two months.

Mr. Roosevelt’s most recent successor could learn a thing or two from him. Barack Obama took three months to decide on adding to America’s troop level in Afghanistan. It took him three days to reassure a shaken public that his national security team would work to better safeguard the country from terrorist attacks.

On health care, the President seems content with getting something —- anything —- as long as it is slapped with rubric of reform and contains federal funding for abortion. He has not led in crafting the legislation. He has led only in demanding a finished product, and then too often, and when legislative deadlines have been missed, he has done nothing about it.

There have been moments when Mr. Obama seems to understand he is not a global citizen or a national academic-in-chief. When, early last year, he ordered American sharpshooters to kill the pirates who had seized U.S. sailors, he rightly won plaudits, including from my organization, the Family Research Council. But these moments have been more incidental and dramatic than consistent and dependable.

In the name of caution, he dallies. For the sake of consideration, he procrastinates. On behalf of prudence, he dissolves into quietude.

One thing is sure,” said FDR. “We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment.” Is this a perfect way of addressing crises? Certainly not, especially if the “something” that is done is animated by emotion and directed by panic. But upon obtaining the best counsel possible, the job of a President is to act quickly and firmly when urgency requires it.

Time is a luxury upon which the security of the United States cannot wait. Al-Qaeda, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the tyrants of North Korea and their assorted allies in the international fellowship of evil know this. Do you, Mr. President?

FRC Statement on the Christmas Eve Passage of the Health Care ‘Reform’ Bill

by JP Duffy

December 24, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 24, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy, (202) 679-6800

Washington D.C.- This morning the United State Senate voted 60-39 in favor of final passage of HR 3590, the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

Today’s Christmas Eve vote may signal the end of the debate in the Senate, but it’s far from the end of the debate at large. Since Senator Reid’s bad bill is substantially different from the House’s bad bill, the lower chamber will have to vote on the plan again. The Senate bill’s massive funding for elective abortions and the construction of abortion facilities are among the most radical differences. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted in an interview that the Senate health care bill will force ‘everybody’ in the exchange to pay an abortion premium. The so-called Nelson ‘compromise’ ensures that everyone will pay for abortion—no matter how the funds are divided up.

According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans—by a huge three to one margin—are overwhelmingly opposed to using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. Seventy-two percent of the country is now firmly on the side of Congressman Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) solution to ban the government’s financial involvement in the deadly procedure. House and Senate conferees would do well to heed that warning when they come together to iron out their differences with the final bill, else this bill could collapse because of it.

Disagreement over abortion funding is one of the many reasons this fight is far from over. Both House and Senate versions of the bill are seriously flawed. Both bills still allow rationing of health care for seniors, raise health costs for families, mandate that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, offer counsel about assisted suicide in some states, do not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seek to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen’s lives. Additionally, the bills would place a crushing debt on both current and future generations.”

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Senator Landrieu Closes Office: Constituents Turned Away at the Door, Callers Reach Only Busy Signals

by JP Duffy

December 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 22, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy, (866) FRC-NEWS

Senator Landrieu Closes Office: Constituents Turned Away at the Door, Callers Reach Only Busy Signals

FRC’s Tony Perkins Calls Closure the “Height of Arrogance”

Baton Rouge, LA - This afternoon, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins attempted to deliver a letter to Senator Mary Landrieu’s Baton Rouge office only to be told by a federal marshal that her offices were “closed for the holidays.” Over 150 concerned citizens joined Perkins at a rally in front of Senator Landrieu’s office to urge the Senator to oppose the government takeover of health care.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

We were stunned to learn why so many phone calls have been unanswered and met with continuous busy signals: As the Senate debates one of the most far reaching pieces of legislation in history, Senator Mary Landrieu has closed her office and her ears to Louisianans.

Senator Landrieu sent press aides to offer the Senator’s spin on the health care bill but she did not make a staffer available to receive letters or answer phone calls. Senator Landrieu knows that almost two-thirds of Louisiana voters oppose the health care overhaul. However, refusing to take their phone calls is insulting and the height of arrogance. Americans are outraged at the conduct of the Majority in the United States Senate and they should be.

If Senator Landrieu’s office had been open, she would have heard a clear message that Louisianans want her to stop this abominable health care bill that will force every American to support Planned Parenthood in the killing of unborn children, saddle families with higher insurance premiums, raise our taxes and deny our parents and grandparents the essential health care they need.”

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Cancer Declines, But Not if Robert Reich Can Help It

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 9, 2009

The National Cancer Institute today issued its Annual Report to the Nation on cancer, and it has some good news for all Americans this Christmas season: Rates of new diagnoses and rates of death from all cancers combined declined significantly in the most recent time period for men and women overall and for most racial and ethnic populations in the United States, according to a report from leading health and cancer organizations.”

The report goes on to state that Cancer deaths decreased 1.6 percent per year from 2001 to 2006.

Its a pretty safe bet that just about everyone reading this has lost someone to cancer or knows someone fighting the disease. In its many varieties from adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular system) to colorectal cancer the disease is indiscriminate in when and whom it strikes. Cancer is one of pains best friends, and deaths greatest allies.

So, todays report should encourage all of us. You can read it at the link above to learn more about why the decline has occurred. But thats not why Im writing about it.

If the Democratic health care plan becomes law, it is safe to assume that the sheer weight of its costs will prohibit further private-sector health research and development. Many medical firms undertake cancer research projects and seek to develop treatments to arrest and even cure the various forms of cancer.

How many of these, and how many federally-funded anti-cancer programs, will collapse as health care research dollars become scarcer?

Consider the words of former Clinton Labor Secretary and leading Democratic intellectual Robert Reich in a speech he gave at UC-Berkeley in 2007:

This is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what a candidate should say … We’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die. (Robert Reich Reveals Brutal Health Care Truths; MSM Snores, Wall Street Journal blog, by P.J. Gladnick, Media Research Center, Oct. 13, 2009)

Without continued market-driven research and adequate federal funding, todays good news about cancer will become little more than a cherished memory. And such funding and research will, as Robert Reich suggests, decline if Uncle Sam manages and rations health care.

Senate Votes to Proceed with Abortion Funding Debacle

by JP Duffy

November 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Washington, D.C.- Tonight, in a partisan vote, the U.S. Senate voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s version of the government takeover of health care. Among the several objectionable items included in this bill; like the public option, employer and individual mandates, is the government funding for elective abortion, which is the most onerous and morally objectionable. Additionally the bill provides subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortion. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include elective abortion in the public option and subsidize health plans in the government run exchange that cover elective abortion.

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

Forcing Americans to buy government approved health care insurance is arguably unconstitutional. Forcing Americans to fund abortion within the government plan is without question unconscionable. Disregarding the conscience concerns of the vast majority of Americans, the U.S. Senate, voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s new health care takeover bill. Recent polls including a CNN poll released last week shows more than 60% of Americans are opposed to the bill’s provisions that would create the largest expansion of abortion since the 1970s.

Instead of including the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts amendment passed in the House to prevent this government expansion of abortion, Senator Reid included a watered down version of the Capps provision which would flood the coffers of the abortion industry. The Senate should instead adopt the Stupak-Pitts language which would maintain the status quo first established over 30 years ago. Additionally, the Reid bill undermines conscience protections for pro-life health plans and doctors.

It was disappointing to see pro-life Senators Bill Nelson (D-NE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) vote to advance a bill that will vastly expand abortion in America with federal dollars. The burden to protect taxpayers and the unborn from a massive expansion of abortion, as provided for in this bill, now rest upon the shoulders of Senators Nelson and Casey. It is imperative that they stand on principle. ”

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Stupak-Pitts Amendment Speaks Truth to Power

by Chris Gacek

November 20, 2009

There is much gnashing of teeth by abortion supporters over the inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the Speaker Nancy Pelosi health care bill H.R. 3962. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, and Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, succeeded in amending H.R. 3962 so that no government funds can be used to pay for abortion. Claims that Stupak-Pitts is out of line with current law or that it is unconstitutional are simply false.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment (Stupak-Pitts) combines two principles. First, it contains the core principle of the Hyde Amendment that the government not encourage abortion through direct funding or subsidization of the cost of plans that cover elective abortion. Second, Stupak-Pitts refuses to accept deceptive schemes in which funds deposited into a common pot are claimed to be separate. Stupak-Pitts recognizes the obvious truth that money is fungible. Hence, Stupak does not swallow the deception that government subsidized insurance policies covering abortion do not involve the government in the promotion or encouragement of abortion through subsidies.

Anyone with an ounce of foresight on the Left should have seen this coming. The current principle in federal law a la Hyde is that the United States government does not pay for abortions (with exceptions of mothers life, rape and incest) or pay for the cost of any plan that covers abortion. This principle even carries over to the private plans purchased by government employees. Now, if, as the Democrats want, the government is going to dominate, micro-regulate, and subsidize the nations health care system both government run and privately insured then the question of how the Hyde principle will apply to these new programs arises immediately.

The answer is that Hydes logic runs the gamut of all the new health care expenditures and programs. Therefore, Stupak-Pitts carries Hyde forward and refuses to buy into the accounting gimmicks that would give the Democrats cover for funding abortions. Speaker Pelosi had a choice. She could either allow a vote on Stupaks amendment, or she could accept the defeat of her health care bill. She chose to allow a vote on Stupak-Pitts, and her side lost. To strip Stupak-Pitts from the bill now would be highly dishonest, and, if Stupak-Pitts can count votes, it will lead to the defeat of Obama-Pelosi health care in the House.

As for the claims that Stupak-Pitts is unconstitutional, they are wrong as well.

The major constitutional point here is that the Congress is given wide discretion in deciding how to spend money and fund or not fund certain activities. This is true even if the activity in question rests on the exercise of a constitutional right. The old saw is that merely because there is freedom of the press, the government doesnt have to buy a writer a printing press, paper, and ink. The abortion-promoting members of Congress need to tell us why the government should buy them their equivalent of a printing press.

The argument that Stupak-Pitts violates Establishment Clause principles is absurd. Stupak-Pitts establishes no church or a favored religious organization. It apparently came as a shock to Lynn Woolsey and Diana DeGette that Catholics are allowed to vote and petition their government. While considering whether to import Guy Fawkes Day to the American calendar, they and their acolytes have issued various threats and slanders against the Papists. Such claims probably wont sway Justice Kennedy. Furthermore, you dont have to be a Christian to be pro-life. Even atheists can read ultra-sounds. Ask Bernard Nathanson, a physician and founder of the modern abortion movement whose viewing of fetal ultrasounds led him to reject abortion.

A series of liberal activist constitutional claims are also made against Stupak-Pitts. Equal Protection Clause. Substantive Due Process. Privacy. All the usual suspects. In other words, the gamut of the Were liberals and we dont like this law, so its unconstitutional arguments. Unfortunately for the Stupak opponents, each of these claims could be made against the Hyde Amendment, and the 1980 decision upholding the Hyde Amendment, Harris v. McRae, has stood for 30 years. Furthermore, the public has held constant in its disapproval of government endorsement and promotion of abortion since Hydes first enactment.

Of course, all these arguments are academic in some sense. What matters these days is the amount of raw judicial power that can be exercised by the Supreme Courts judicial activists and policy makers. Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor will vote to overturn Hyde & Stupak. It boils down to Justice Kennedy - - again. Aint life grand in a judicial oligarchy?

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