Tag archives: Obamacare

Independence Day on Cook’s Point

by Robert Morrison

July 6, 2012

[caption id=”attachment_8278” align=”alignright” width=”224”] American, Maryland and Gadsden flags on Cook’s Point[/caption]

I hadn’t really expected to see the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag flying at an Independence Day celebration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But I knew this would be a special celebration. Peter and Margarete wanted to include a reading of the entire Declaration of Independence at their gathering of family, friends and neighbors. The Chesapeake Bay breezes, very warm, ruffled and flourished the American,Maryland and Gadsden flags on Cook’s Point.

The waters of the bay invited, but we were warned of jellyfish beneath the cooling waves. A boat ride may be better than a swim today. Maryland is just beginning its Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Two hundred years ago, it was stinging British warships that posed a greater danger than jellyfish in these waters. You cannot go anywhere these days, it seems, without pointed reminders of the country’s heritage.

We began our July 4th observance with prayer. A priest reminded us of the rare privilege we have in this country to pray publicly and how this right is the basis for our civil liberty, as well. Then, we all faced the flagstaff as the Star-Spangled Banner was played.

Following this, our hosts’ 13-year-old daughter stood atop a picnic table and read the first two stirring paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

She read with the enthusiasm and conviction that only a bright teenager can bring to this venerable 236-year-old document.

I had the honor of reading the middle part, everything from “…pursuit of happiness” to “…let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

My portion of the Declaration included that line stating that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I cannot help but consider the process of passing Obamacare when we talk about consent of the governed.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the White House rammed through the Senate a bill that did not include protections from abortion coverage—on Christmas Eve, 2009. This in a country that Gallup tells us is increasingly pro-life. (51%-41% in the latest survey.)

Then, they spoke of having to go to a conference committee of the House and Senate to reconcile the different versions of the bill. That was because the House of Representatives in November 09 had passed Obamacare with the famous pro-life Stupak Amendment. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) joined with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) to attach a pro-life provision to the Obamacare measure that passed the House.

Earlier, on November 7, 2009, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed the House by a vote of 240-194. It was the highest vote cast on any measure related to the overhaul of health care. If you were seeking consensus, if you yearned for bi-partisanship, if you cared about the consent of the governed, you must look to this historic vote.

The Senate might have taken up the House-passed version, and passed it, with its pro-life provisions. Or, it might have gone to a conference committee, reconciled the two versions and then re-passed the result.

But the Senate had passed a milestone with the Jan. 2010 special election in Massachusetts. Republican Scott Brown had been elected promising to be “#41” —a decisive vote to stop Obamacare from passing. In that famously liberal state, in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Massachusetts voters emphatically did not give their consent to Obamacare.

Faced with the possibility of the Senate’s having to swallow the House version, with the Stupak Amendment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pledged to go down the chimney, around the gate, over the wall; in short, to do whatever was necessary to steamroll the bill through. Stupak and most of his pro-life Democratic House colleagues were pressured and arm-twisted into swallowing an Executive Order from President Obama. They were gulled into believing this measure from the most pro-abortion president in history would protect Americans from having to pay for abortions. It wasn’t a fig leaf; it wasn’t even a bay leaf to hide their nakedness.

Dozens of those faux-life Democrats went down to defeat the following November as voters gave a “shellacking” to the president’s party. But not before the whipped and tricked House Members voted through the Senate version of the health care bill, 219-212. It was a hair’s breadth victory, but it met the Pelosi test of doing anything to jam and sham it through.

It was to this dog’s breakfast of a process that Chief Justice Roberts gave his blessing in his infamous ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius late last month. Then, continuing a wholly dishonorable tradition, the Chief absconded to the island fortress of Malta. He left the country perhaps to avoid having to answer any questions about his tortured reasoning and its suspect timing.

The American people at every point had rejected this bill. They had voted in an avowed opponent in the nation’s most liberal state. They had voted out scores of Obamacare backers in the House. And yet, Chief Justice Roberts genuflected to this bizarre legislation as evidence of his judicial restraint. He tells us he is constrained to respect this abuse of power, this rape of the representative process, as the prerogative of the legislative and executive branches.

One of the classic political science texts on Congress is called The Dance of Legislation. This bill might more properly be called the St. Vitus Dance of Legislation. And the four-Justice minority pointed out that if this is a tax, then tax bills have to originate in the House of Representatives (Art. 1, Sec. 7, Clause 1).

The pretzel pundits in many an elite journal are tying themselves in knots trying to see a silver lining in the dark cloud Chief Justice Roberts pulled over us.

He labeled the Individual Mandate a tax, they say, thus making it harder for this administration, or any liberal successors to do anything worse.

If you allow them to keep this scaffold in place, why do they need anything worse? Roberts’ ruling merely takes away one rope. Just as then-Speaker Pelosi swore back in 2010, they will find another rope.

Let’s understand what Obamacare is: It is the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. It is the basis for the HHS Mandate against hospitals, schools and para-church ministries. The HHS Mandate is the gravest threat to religious freedom in our nation’s history. It will force all of these private and religious groups, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to provide coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs. If they can Mandate abortion drugs now, why not Mandate abortion procedures and sex-change operations after election day? Then, as we’ve all overheard, Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world may see an even more “flexible” administration.

I believe the Roberts Ruling and the media reaction to it reflects a bottomless, Inside-the-Beltway cynicism. The best example of cynicism I’ve read comes not from Washington but from Paris. In 1815, France’s Foreign Minister Talleyrand waited impatiently for the Russian Minister to meet him. When the Russian failed to show up on time, Talleyrand tapped his foot in irritation. Told that the Russian had collapsed and died in his carriage en route to the meeting, Talleyrand stroked his chin pensively and said: “I wonder why he did that.” That’s how I read the pretzel pundits.

Chief Justice Roberts may actually come back to the Constitution when the many lawsuits against Sec. Sebelius’ HHS Mandate get to the Supreme Court. Let us pray he does. But that is no reason to go silent now. If his outrageous ruling of June 28th was a mere maneuver intended to give him more latitude later, that ignoble tactic can only work if conservatives help him out by raising a hue and cry against his unprincipled opinion. We must beat the drums of opposition to this appalling decision.

After he was confirmed in 2005, reporters asked Chief Justice Roberts if he would wear the three gold stripes that the late Chief Justice had added to his robes as a badge of rank. “I think I’ll have to earn them,” Roberts said with becoming modesty then. Now, unfortunately, it is the liberals and the pretzel pundits who are sewing on those gold stripes.

As the sun set over the Chesapeake, I was encouraged by the faith and courage of the good people I met on July 4th on Cook’s Point. Our beloved Declaration was crafted with such folks, the “good people of these colonies,” in mind.

After our reading of the Declaration, I pored over the names of those intrepid Signers of 236 years ago. Two names stood out:New Jersey’s Rev. John Witherspoon andMaryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian pastor, a leader among hundreds of clergy in the “Black Regiment” of preachers who rallied to Freedom’s cause. Charles Carroll lived in my home town of Annapolis. A wealthy landowner, he was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration. Witherspoon and Carroll pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Can we do any less? In that Catholic-Protestant alliance our nation was forged. In such a strong faith coalition, it may yet be saved.

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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Obamacare at the Supreme Court: An Analysis by Ken Klukowski

by Family Research Council

April 2, 2012

For a complete look at last week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the 2010 healthcare law, see Ken Klukowski’s columns at Breitbart.com below. Klukowski, the director ofFRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, was present in the Court for each day’s proceedings. He authoredFRC’s amicus briefs in the various Obamacare lawsuits.

Day 1: Whether the Court has jurisdiction to decide the case

http://bit.ly/Hj2jmK

Day 2: Whether the individual mandate is unconstitutional

http://bit.ly/Hhu4iO

Day 3, morning: Whether the entire law must be struck down (Severability)

http://bit.ly/HgCrWZ

Day 3, afternoon: Whether Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional

http://bit.ly/H4lZK2

Inside courtroom perspective during argument watching the legal left freak out

http://bit.ly/H2NXHq

Obamacare: More Bad News for Families?

by Chris Gacek

November 3, 2011

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, economist and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, concluded a recent column on Obamacare: Yes, health care will be affordable for low-income Americans but only if theyre unmarried. Her column doesnt appear to have received a great deal of attention, but Furchtgott-Roth was describing one line of analysis from an October 27th hearing conducted by the House Committee on Government Reform. The hearing was entitled Examining Obamacares Hidden Marriage Penalty and Its Impact on the Deficit. The details are a bit complicated, so I recommend reading the Furchtgott-Roth article. (A committee staff report is also available.) Suffice it to say that there is much to learn about Obamacare as Mrs. Pelosi once told us.

State of Health Insurance Abortion Coverage in the States

by Family Research Council

April 27, 2011

An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortion. When asked specifically if they supported or opposed the use of public funds to provide coverage for abortion in health insurance plans created by Obamacare, 72% of Americans were in opposition! Only 23% percent supported publicly funded abortion coverage in insurance plans, and 5% did not know (Quinnipiac 2009).

In an effort to reflect the will of the people, 9 state governments have passed laws (and at least 16 more have pending legislation) prohibiting the coverage of abortion in any of the state insurance exchange programs instituted by Obamacare.

Several states have gone beyond this and restricted or proposed legislation restricting abortion coverage in all health insurance plans (public and private) except through the optional purchase of a rider.

In addition, several states which have not completely restricted abortion coverage in all insurance plans have restricted it in state-funded (read: taxpayer-funded) insurance plans.

The following map will give you a clear picture of the state of abortion coverage in insurance across the states:

= AL (SB183, SB202 and HB 558), AR (SB113), FL (H97 and S1414), GA (SB4 and SB29), IA (HF576, HSB57, and SF38), IN (SB116), KS (HB2292, HB2377), MI (HB4143 and HB4147), (MT SB176), NE (LB22 and LB132), NJ (A3085), OH (HB79), OR (HB3600), PA (SB3), SC (H3406 and S102), TX (HB552, HB636, HB1816, HB3112, HB3419 and SB404)

= AL (SB201, SB281 and HB557), IN (SB241), KS (HB2292, HB2377), MI (HB4143 and HB4147), MN (Only state-funded insurance: HF201, SF103), NE (LB22), OR (HB3600), SC (H3406), TX (SB404)

Update On Obamacare and Womens Preventive Services

by Family Research Council

March 14, 2011

Since November, 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), contracted through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has hosted three expert committee meetings in Washington, D.C., to discuss and make decisions regarding the Mikulski Amendment mandate on specific womens preventive services to be included with no cost-sharing in Obamacare. The final meeting was this past Wednesday, March 9th.

Meeting attendees have included the committee a largely pro-abortion group who for the most part actively work in the field of reproductive health, a senior staffer from U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulskis (D-MD) office, HHS representatives, invited panelists, and other interested groups. Attendance was approximately 50-75 people, depending on the session.

Invited presenters included the following pro-abortion groups and/or representatives: the Guttmacher Institute; John Santelli, the National Womens Law Center, National Womens Health Network, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Sara Rosenbaum, who recently represented the pro-abortion side in the committee hearings on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Protect Life Act. No pro-life advocates were invited to present at any workshop, despite asking for formal presentation time. By far the topic that received the greatest amount of attention was contraception coverage; inclusion of contraception for no co-pay was suggested by most invited speakers.

Each meeting allowed opportunity for public comment. Family Research Council, which I had the privilege of representing, joined with other pro-life, pro-family groups at each of the three sessions to request that embryocidal contraceptives, including Plan B which can cause an abortion prior to implantation, and the more recently approved drug, ella, which can cause an abortion after implantation, not be included in the recommended list for no co-pay. We pled that the conscience rights of insurance issuers, participants and providers be respected in matters related to life. For a more in-depth look at FRC comments, see here.

The committee recommendation process will be complete, with recommendations provided to HHS, at the latest by August, 2011.

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