Tag archives: Health Care

Evangelicals and Catholics Together? You bet.

by David Christensen

July 18, 2012

You may have heard about multiple Catholic organizations suing the government over the contraceptive mandate which forces religious organizations that are not churches to provide free abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their health plans.

But this isnt just a Catholic issue, as many protestant denominations have spoken against the threat of religious freedom this mandate poses.

Today, Wheaton College, an evangelical college, joined The Catholic University of America in yet another lawsuit. Wheatons President, Dr. Philip Ryken, describes the contraceptive mandate this way:

Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a clear and present threat to our religious liberty.

To read more, see Wheatons press release.

Freedom Rising

by Robert Morrison

July 2, 2012

I was standing in the room where Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation when I heard the news. I was visiting the Lincoln Cottage with some good friends from Scottsdale, Arizona, when we got the word: The Supreme Court had upheld President Obama’s takeover of health care and John Roberts had written the majority opinion. I was shocked. My first thought: Now all Americans’ freedom is in danger. The good work of President Lincoln in jeopardy. A government of the people, by the people, for the people cannot be reconciled with an all-embracing health control regime that issues mandates.

Some conservatives are taking consolation from the thought that Roberts said no to using the Commerce Clause as a means to bind us by government edicts. This is cold consolation. If Congress can do this through its taxing power, what can it not do? All a Pelosi Congress would have to do is to define an activity, craft a penalty for Americans not engaging in that activity, and have it upheld under this precedent as a tax. How can this measure be a tax when those who wrote it, those who introduced it, those who defended it, and those who voted to pass it, all vehemently denied that it was a tax? And if it is a tax, why did it not have to originate in the House of Representatives? My copy of the Heritage Guide to the Constitution makes it clear the Founders wanted to keep “power of the purse” in people’s House as a check on the power of the more aristocratic Senate.

Is this too silly an obstacle? Is this too basic? John Roberts muffed the administering of the Oath of Office to President Obama. Might we imagine he overlooked this little detail, as well?

My friends are telling me that this volte-face by Roberts is “not as bad as Souter.” Really? I was in the room when Souter was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. I remember well looking over to pro-life friends as they shrugged their shoulders. Souter was a blank slate. This non-entity, this squirrelly recluse from the New Hampshire woods, was never a man in whom we placed any hope or confidence. And when this nowhere man was confirmed, I crossed my fingers, hoping that Gov. Sununu of the Granite State knew better than we did.

I was soon disabused, however. The Saturday after he was confirmed, my wife handed me a clipping from the Washington Post “Style” section. It said Justice David Souter had asked the clerk at the supermarket in his new Georgetown neighborhood if the can of tuna he had purchased was “dolphin safe.” Instantly, my heart sank and I knew that the fate of millions of unborn children had been sealed. Souter left Washington after twenty dismal years here, unsung and unhung.

We were assured by staunch Reaganauts that John Roberts was a committed and fearless constitutionalist. We did not expect that he would in every case rule as we would have him rule. Still, we respected his intellectual integrity. No one in 2005 dreamed that he would re-write the greatest power grab in American history in order to find it constitutional. The tortured logic of the Roberts ruling defies history and reason. And it gives every impression of having been cobbled together at the last minute in some feckless attempt to prove the Court is not partisan.

The Court should be partisan—for ordered liberty, for the rule of law, for the Constitution itself. What Roberts has achieved with this dog’s breakfast of a ruling will only hold the Court up for renewed scorn. After nearly forty years of Roe v. Wade, after the slaughter of fifty-five million innocents, one might have thought there were more important considerations in the minds of a learned jurist than the prestige of his “eminent tribunal.” Apparently not.

Many political commentators are giving Roberts credit for playing chess while we mere mortals play poker. He is being described as a clever Machiavellian who knows how to energize the conservative base for the November elections.

If that is true, why should we respect him as the honest and dispassionate “umpire” he vowed under oath that he would be? His duty was to rule whether this law could be reconciled with the Constitution we revere. He failed manifestly do to so. If any of the kudos bestowed on him as a supreme politician are true, the sense of betrayal would only be sharper. The British have a saying that applies here: “Too clever by half.”

We Americans might instead identify with Theodore Roosevelt’s keen disappointment in one of his chosen justices: “I could carve out of a banana a judge with more backbone than that!”

We have no choice now but to replace those who crafted this legislative power grab, repeal the health care takeover, and restore the Constitution as the the Great Charter that guarantees the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

On Being Taxed For Just Standing There: The Roberts Opinion on the Obama Health Care Law

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 28, 2012

Historian John Steele Gordon makes a compelling point about todays Supreme Court ruling in the Obama health care case:

Never before, that I know of, has a federal tax been placed on inactivity. If you buy something, you pay a sales tax. If you earn income, you pay an income tax. If you do business as a corporation, you pay an excise tax. Now, if you dont buy health insurance, you pay a tax on not doing so. What else then can be taxed? Not exercising? Not eating broccoli? Not agreeing with the president?

This seems a proper interpretation of what Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the decision itself. Consider some of his opinions most compelling paragraphs:

… the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congresss constitutional power to tax.

The Affordable Care Acts requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

… it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congresss power to tax.

Where does Roberts find the linchpin of his argument that the mandate is simply a constitutionally justified form of taxation? He explains:

Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes … That, according to the Government, means the mandate can be regarded as establishing a conditionnot owning health insurancethat triggers a taxthe required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congresss constitutional power to tax.

Sure, redefine the meaning of terms like mandate and tax, and the phrase under that theory becomes like the accelerator on a juggernaut. The only consequence a phrase so pregnant and looming its sort of like the old line, Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln? Accepting that only consequence is like saying we should welcome incoming nuclear ordnance. It just makes a big noise, right?

In summary, heres how Mr. Roberts logic seems to operate:

(1) The mandate is, in fact, a tax.

(2) It is a tax on something people choose not to do, as noted by Gordon above.

(3) Congress has the constitutional authority to tax people at least those whose income Congress decides is adequately high - for something they elect not to do.

This is a phenomenal moment in constitutional interpretation: Now Congress has the power to tax a specific kind of volitional inactivity. This is amazing coming from a self-professed originalist like Mr. Roberts.

Those who believe the Constitution actually means what it says know that the taxing power of Congress extends only to those things (the Enumerated Powers) over which the legislative branch of the federal government has authority. How does something people decide not to do conceivably find its way into the Constitutions limited and specific list of federal duties?

As Gordon observes, the extension of this argument is both unlimited and frightening. If I choose not to exercise, will Congress force me to pay higher taxes because Im not doing enough to sustain my health? If I dont fly in airplanes, will I be taxed for failing to do my part for the American aeronautical industry? If I dont wear brightly-colored shirts, will I be taxed because I am insufficiently supportive of the U.S. vegetable dye industry?

However absurd such scenarios might now seem, their plausibility is strengthened by a Court that has decided that Congress possesses the constitutional authority to tax choices that involve conscientious disengagement from a particular form of conduct.

Abraham Lincoln once noted that we cannot escape history. Indeed. And when the history of this court and of our time generally is written, the new federal power - delivered with a whats the big deal? tone in the Chief Justices opinion - will be an inescapable chapter in the story of libertys diminution.

Last-Minute Switch on ObamaCare Ruling?

by Cathy Ruse

June 28, 2012

Having just sped through Scalia’s dissent, a legal friend of mine observes that it is somewhat unusual. It reads like a majority opinion. Ninety-five percent of it is devoid of any criticism of the majority’s opinion, reasoning, etc. The only criticism of the majority opinion is in a few short paragraphs at the end. Almost as if it were appended at the last minute. Typically, a dissent will critique the errors of the majority opinion point-by-point throughout. That is not the case here.

Was the Scalia opinion written as the majority opinion? Opinions are written and then circulated for changes. There would be no reason for Scalia to write a “majority opinion” unless his view had the votes to succeed and he had been assigned to be the author. Could it be that the case was going to come down the other way until Roberts, or someone else, was persuaded to change his or her vote?

Court Ruling Keeps Abortion Funding, Religious Freedom Violation, Health Care Rationing and Other troubling provisions

by David Christensen

June 28, 2012

In a surprise ruling, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, maintaining the “individual mandate” as constitutional, not under the commerce clause, but under the taxing clause.

The only part of Obamacare the Court limited was the law’s requirements on state Medicaid programs to expand or face a loss of all Medicaid funding.

So, here are the several pro-life and religious freedom problems that now stand with the Court’s blessing, and other items of concern (section references are to PPACA, P.L. 111-148):

I. The abortion subsidies and funding scheme stand (see chart of Obamacare abortion scheme for more detail)

  1. Federal subsidies for health plans that include elective abortion in state exchanges will continue. (Section 1303)
  2. The abortion fee will require every person in a plan that has abortion coverage will pay at least $12 per year even if they do not want abortion services. (Section 1303)
  3. Allowing direct funding of abortion through direct spending in community health clinics (Section 10503), and high risk pools (Section 1101).
  4. Subsidies for the government run “multi-state” plans remains even if they include elective abortion (Section 1334).
  5. There are No conscience protections against government discrimination against businesses, providers, or health insurers who refuse abortion. The limited conscience protection is from insurers against providers, but the government can discriminate against anyone who refuses to offer or refer for abortion if they chose (Section 1303).

II. Religious Freedom infringement through HHS contraception/abortifacient mandate, which narrowly restricts religious liberties to churches (Section 1001). Penalties for failure to comply could be $100 per day per employee for the employer (and insurer) who fails to offer “preventive care services”, including contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilizations free to the patient.

III. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) remains in effect, an entity that will reduce Medicare costs through rationing health care (Section 3403).

IV. OTHER ISSUES:

  1. The “individual mandate” continues as a tax on people who do not buy health insurance, whether from an employer or in the individual market (Section 1501).
  2. The mandate remains on mid-size and large employers to offer “minimum essential coverage” —- which means plans that can’t exceed 9.6% of salary, and plans cover 60% of total health care costs (they don’t have to cover all the essential benefits). If employers don’t offer these, they face penalties (Section 1511).
  3. States are required to establish exchanges or, if they chose not to, the Federal government will establish and run them in the state (Section 1311).

SCOTUS Health Care Ruling Jeopardizes Future of Liberty

by FRC Media Office

June 28, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2012

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866) 372-6397

Family Research Council Says Supreme Court Health Care Ruling Jeopardizes Future of Liberty

June 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Family Research Council (FRC) criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the entire 2010 health care law through its decision in NFIB v. Sebelius.

FRC has been at the forefront of this debate over what can only be described as a government takeover of healthcare. FRC uncovered and rallied opposition to the taxpayer funding of abortion contained in the bill and after its narrow passage continued to fight the measure in the courts. FRC’s legislative advocacy arm, FRC Action, scored the votes on the Obama health plan in its annual scorecard, and aired a national TV/radio ad campaign against the legislation.

FRC submitted an amicus brief, authored by legal counsel Ken Klukowski in Florida v. HHS, that was cited by federal district Judge Roger Vinson in his decision to strike down the entire Obama health plan as unconstitutional. FRC submitted another brief, also authored by Klukowski, in NFIB v. Sebelius cited by the National Federation of Independent Business in its brief before the Supreme Court.

Of the decision, Family Research Council Legal Counsel Ken Klukowski, J.D., made the following comments:

The Supreme Court has today given the federal government unlimited authority to use its tax power to require Americans to engage in specific commercial activity. The obvious implication is chilling: Uncle Sam can make you buy anything, at any price, for any reason,” said Klukowski. “That’s why today, the American dream gave way to a real American nightmare. President Obama’s vow about ‘fundamentally transforming the United States of America ‘ was fulfilled. The Supreme Court essentially said it cannot articulate any limiting principle on the power of the federal government.

By ruling that the law is constitutional, the Supreme Court gave the federal government the power to order private citizens to enter into contracts with private organizations and give those organizations their money. This ruling fundamentally transforms the federal government from one of limited and specified powers in the Constitution to an all-powerful central government with plenary power over every area and aspect of Americans’ lives from cradle to grave.”

Of the Supreme Court’s decision, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

Today’s Supreme Court decision will do serious harm to American families. Not only is the individual mandate a profound attack on our liberties, but it is only one section among hundreds of provisions in the law that will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate their conscience rights, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families.

The Obama administration has created, for the first time in American history, new federal regulations that toss aside the constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.

It’s now time to replace those leaders who disregarded the constitutional limitations of their authority and the deeply held religious beliefs of their constituents, voting for the government takeover of healthcare. We must repeal this abortion-funding health care law and restore the Constitution to its rightful place,” concluded Perkins.

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Demography Is Economic Destiny

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 28, 2011

The cost for businesses to buy health coverage for workers rose the most this year since 2005 and may reach $32,175 for a family in 2021, according to a survey of private and public employers. So reports Bloomberg News.

This is not news any family wants to read. The last thing our recession-bound country needs are rising health care costs, particularly when we know these costs will be augmented dramatically should the Obama health care plan go into effect.

Buried within the Bloomberg article is a story that is underreported but finally seeping-out into the mainstream press: Contributing to the rise in premiums are … fewer young and healthy people in the insurance pool. This assertion is being made by the respected insurance association president Karen Ignagni, but it is verified by cold data. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the following:

… by the end of the 2004 to 2014 period, most of the baby boomers will have turned fifty-five. Consequently, the age fifty-five and older segment of the labor force is expected to grow most rapidly, increasing by 11.3 million, or 49.1 percent. Because of the aging of the American population, this segment of the labor force will increase at almost five times the rate of the overall labor force (10 percent). The numbers of those twenty-five to fifty-four years of age in the labor force will grow by only 3.4 percent, a significantly lower growth than in the previous decade (8.8 percent). The growth rate of the youth labor force, workers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, will actually decrease between 2004 and 2014 by 0.5 percent.

What does this blizzard of mathematical factoids mean? Simply that we have a shrinking number of people entering the laborforce, one that cannot sustain our so-called entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and that is too small to infuse the insurance pool with enough youth and health to keep it fiscally viable.

My colleagues Pat Fagan, Henry Potrykus and I have explained this in detail in Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage. We argue that our current economic slowdown, coupled with the increased numbers of dependent citizens, makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained. It cannot be. This reality arises from two facts: 1) We have proportionately fewer children … (and) up to 20 percent of these children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family.

Whats the bottom line? Husbands and wives need to have more children and truly parent those children if our economy is going to thrive. However substantial our technology-driven productivity gains, they will not compensate for a steadily declining supply of capable, teachable young men and women.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of population growth, referred to as the average annual percent change, is projected to decrease during the next six decades by about 50 percent, from 1.10 between 1990 and 1995 to 0.54 between 2040 and 2050. The decrease in the rate of growth is predominantly due to the aging of the population and, consequently, a dramatic increase in the number of deaths. In other words, we will have a larger population, but the rate of growth will slow to the point that existing citizens will live longer, not because of the size of our families.

For more on the crisis of Americas population and how it is grounded in the erosion of the family unit, visit the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at http://www.marri.frc.org/. Families are more critical to our nations economy, more than education or technology. As families fail, so fails our country.

ObamaCare: The Facts On Abortion

by Krystle Gabele

October 28, 2010

Check out this new video from the Population Research Institute showing a factual explanation of how President Obama’s health care plan will expand abortion coverage in the United States.

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