Tag Archives: Obamacare

ObamaCare Catch-22: Crushing Fines for Religious Entities in Mandate

By Bridget Johnson

Under President Obama’s healthcare law, the HHS can levy $100 per employee, per day against institutions that won’t comply with the mandate.

Therefore, religious employers with hundreds of employees could be fined millions of dollars each year. A 50-employee institution, for example, would face a penalty of $1,825,000 each year.

“ObamaCare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), sponsor of the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act. — Read More

Great Victory For Children: U.S. Supreme Court Upholding Obamacare

Eight of the nation’s leading child health and advocacy organizations reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling today to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld a law that invests in children’s health from the ground up,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP. “The Academy endorsed the Affordable Care Act because it addresses the same ‘A-B-C’ goals that are entrenched in our mission and in our 82 years of child health advocacy: providing all children in this country with Access to health care services, age-appropriate Benefits to meet their unique needs, and high-quality, affordable health care Coverage.”

“Today’s decision is a clear victory for children of all ages, races and incomes in America,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “I am delighted the Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, but I am deeply concerned by the limitation of the expansion that could exclude millions of poor parents. Together we need to work until all children and parents and everyone in America are guaranteed access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling means children – especially chronic and complex patients that children’s hospitals specialize in treating – will continue benefitting from Affordable Care Act provisions including those that prohibit annual and lifetime caps on coverage,” said Mark Wietecha, President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association. “Children’s hospitals are innovating care delivery for this special-needs population through such models as medical homes with funding from CMMI and through other collaboratives. This care not only improves pediatric outcomes but takes costs out of the system – a goal shared by Congress and the Obama Administration.”

“Today’s ruling is a significant win for kids. State and federal officials can now get on with the urgent business of effectively and assertively implementing the Affordable Care Act so that more kids can have access to the health care they need. We urge policymakers to act quickly and make the right implementation choices so the Affordable Care Act can continue making progress covering uninsured kids, protecting millions of kids and parents from abusive insurance practices, and delivering quality care for kids from head to toe,” said First Focus President Bruce Lesley.

“While today’s decision is great news for our nation’s children and families, we remain concerned that the Court left open the possibility that the lowest income parents and other adults could be left behind. Now the responsibility for ensuring this is indeed a victory for all rests squarely on the shoulders of the states,” said Joan Alker and Jocelyn Guyer, Co-Executive Directors of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families.

“This decision represents a landmark victory for pregnant women, infants and families. The Affordable Care Act will extend the benefits of health coverage to millions of women, children and families who would otherwise face every illness as a potential catastrophe. This law will give more pregnant women access to prenatal, maternity and postnatal care; more children the ability to obtain lifesaving vaccines and services to ensure their healthy development; and more families the financial security of knowing that they have adequate insurance. The Affordable Care Act will require that every health plan offer care for maternity coverage, in contrast to today’s individual market, where only 13 percent of plans cover maternity care,” said Jennifer L. Howse, PhD, President of the March of Dimes.

“We’re very pleased the Supreme Court upheld the entire Affordable Care Act,” said National Family Voices Executive Director Sophie Arao-Nguyen. “The law is a great step forward in protecting and improving the health of all children, including children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities. Today’s ruling means these vulnerable children will continue to enjoy the critical protections afforded by the law, such as bans on pre-existing condition exclusions, lifetime limits, and all annual limits on insurance coverage as of 2014. We’re grateful young adults can still be covered under their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26, and also that as of 2014, former foster children will be covered under Medicaid up to age 26. However, we’re disappointed the Court weakened the expansion of Medicaid to cover additional low-income adults. Family Voices will continue to join with our partners in each state to advocate for state coverage of this population.”

“Children have been some of the biggest winners in the health reform law, and now millions of American families can breathe easier knowing that care will be accessible and affordable,” said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children. “With the fate of health reform now clear, every state should proceed with implantation of the law, full speed ahead. A number of states have been dragging their feet when it comes to establishing the new insurance markets for health plans, but now they must start laying the groundwork if the law is to benefit everyone by 2014.”

[Notice, however, how many of the above institutions will further benefit from the federal mandated health care
provision. It’s true many poor children will probably benefit from “taxing” the middle class to pay for the health care for the poor. Nevertheless, government coerced purchasing in the name of taxation without representation is a breach of the fundamental rights of the middle class. It is shame “poor children” are used for such divisive political shenanigans. But, one has to admit the democratic party can get the job done.]

Overturning Wickard Key to Ending Obamacare, All Other Unconstitutional Uses of the Comm

By Daniel Downs

The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare. In many ways, the Court will decide the future of American liberty. The Justices will determine whether federal bureaucrats can dictate the purchase of consumer services and goods. The Court will also determine whether Congress and the President can continue increasing government programs and ever-increasing debt burden on American workers, business, investors, and families. In a recent program, Glen Beck compared the number of new agencies created by FDR’s New Deal to the astronomical increase of federal agencies created under Obamacare (see Beck’s video). Liberty Legal Foundation is challenging this issue and related tax code and debt escalation that will incur to the American people. More importantly, the Foundation will attempt to convince the Supreme Court to overturn the source of the problem. That problem is Wickard v Filburn that essentially handed Congress unfettered powers to enlarge federal authority over all aspects of our individual and corporate lives under the Commerce Clause as well as to ever increase the national debt.

As you can see in the chart below, the Wickard ruling opened the floodgates to federal regulations, new federal agencies, astronomical increases of new federal tax codes, federal spending, and federal debt.

The options to force Congress to limit its continued bureaucratic growth are few. One is get Congress to pass law regulating its own creation of debt producing regulations. However, the long debated balance budget legislation and tax reform along the lines of the Fair Tax or flat tax proposal have consistently been voted down. Even if Congress forced itself to balance the budget, its unaccountable growth of power and spending would merely be slowed. Congress still would not have to seek the approval of the citizens its members supposedly represent, which leads to the unlikely passage of an amendment to the Constitution to make Congress seek voter approval for debt increasing legislation. The best solution to reigning in Congress’s seemingly uncontrollable efforts to regulate our daily lives and spending too much of our money is to change how the Congress, the Executive branch and the Court has interpreted the Commerce Clause.

Let’s hope and pray that the argument to be presented by Liberty Legal Foundation lawyers convince the Supreme Court to overturn Wickard.

To learn more about Liberty Legal Foundation’s suit against Obamacare, go to http://libertylegalfoundation.org.

Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Declare Individual Mandate Provision of Obama Administration’s Healthcare Reform Unconstitutional

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The Rutherford Institute has filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that will determine whether the major overhaul of the nation’s healthcare financing system adopted by Congress in 2010 will survive. The Institute’s brief in U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services v. State of Florida asks the Court to strike down the “Individual Mandate” provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which requires almost all Americans to purchase health insurance, as an unwarranted and unprecedented exercise of power by the federal government. Arguing that by enacting the Individual Mandate “Congress has intruded on individuals’ rights to make private decisions about their own health and in the process has disrupted the federal-state balance” of power, Rutherford Institute attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that the Individual Mandate is an improper exercise by Congress of its authority to regulate interstate commerce.

The brief in U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services v. State of Florida is available here.

“No American should be penalized for choosing not to have health insurance,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The Individual Mandate provision of the Obama Administration’s Healthcare Reform legislation is an unprecedented exercise of federal power in a field that has historically been a province of the states.”

After taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama embarked on a legislative initiative to overhaul the nation’s health care system, resulting in the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. An integral part of the legislation is the Individual Mandate which commands that, with limited exceptions, all individuals within the United States ensure that they and their dependents are covered by a minimum level of health insurance each month. Individuals who fail to comply with the Individual Mandate are subject to penalty which is statutorily set at $695 per person, including those for whom the noncompliant person is responsible. The Act provides that Congress enact the Individual Mandate under its power to regulate “interstate commerce” as set forth in Article I, § 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Shortly after its enactment, Florida and 12 other states filed a lawsuit challenging various aspects of the Act, including the Individual Mandate, arguing that Congress had exceeded its power under the Interstate Commerce Clause. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the states’ claim that the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional and constituted an unprecedented exercise of authority by Congress in requiring persons to purchase a product for the remainder of their lives.

In their amicus brief, Rutherford Institute attorneys ask the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the appeals court’s decision, arguing that a ruling upholding the Individual Mandate “has implications not only as to the freedom of citizens to decide how to provide for their health care, but more broadly on the federalism embodied in the United States Constitution that is meant to preserve liberty by preventing the concentration of power in the national government.” The Institute’s brief points out that the Courts have traditionally recognized that the Constitution permits states to make general health and welfare decisions for the public good, and that the Individual Mandate is contrary to this rule and not a “necessary and proper” exercise of Congressional authority.

Alfred W. Putnam, Jr. and other attorneys with the law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP, of Philadelphia assisted The Rutherford Institute in drafting and filing the amicus brief.

Pro-Life Leaders Slam White House ‘Compromise’ On Birth Control Mandate

The White House announced today that, instead of forcing religious employers to pay for birth control, it will force insurance companies to offer the drugs free of charge to all women, no matter where they work. The plan, touted as a concession to freedom of religion and conscience, was immediately denounced by pro-life Rep. Chris Smith. “The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else,” said Smith. “The White House Fact Sheet is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction,” Smith continued. “It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.”

Source: Life Site News, Feb. 10, 2012.

Ohio Senate Approves Opt Out of Abortion Coverage in Obamacare

(COLUMBUS, OH) – The Ohio Senate added to what has already been a historic pro-life year by approving HB 79, legislation designed to protect pro-life taxpayers from paying for abortion via Obamacare. This legislation now heads to pro-life Governor John Kasich’s desk for his signature. With today’s passage in the Ohio Senate, HB 79 will be the seventh pro-life measure enacted in the state of Ohio in 2011.

“As we move closer to national health care, it was critical for Ohio to take advantage of the federal opt out provision,” said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. “This legislation ensures that Ohioans who support life don’t have to pay for someone else’s elective abortions.”

House Bill 79 would exclude abortion coverage from the State Exchange which Ohio must create as required by the new federal health care law. The federal law includes a provision allowing states to opt out, making it possible for this legislation to protect the conscience rights of pro-life taxpayers.

“Ohio is committed to realizing a culture of life in our state and has become an example for the nation,” said Gonidakis. “That is evident through the unprecedented slate of pro-life legislation that has moved through the legislature this year alone. We are blessed for the unwavering pro-life leadership of Senate President Tom Niehaus, Speaker Bill Batchelder and Governor John Kasich,” said Gonidakis.

Ohio Right to Life is grateful to Senator Keith Faber, Senator Kevin Bacon, Senate President Tom Niehaus, and bill sponsors State Representatives Joe Uecker and Danny Bubp for standing up for pro-life Ohioans through House Bill 79.

Collective Bargaining versus Obamacare

By David Zanotti, CEO, The American Policy Roundtable

Partisans and pundits heralded the 2011 Ohio election as a “bell weather indicator” of the 2012 election to come. Ohio voters may have thrown the pundits a bit of a surprise. On Election night Ohio voters threw out Issue 2, a collective bargaining reform bill but at the same time issued a resounding rebuke to Obamacare.

Issue 2 was a referendum against a statute passed by the legislature. Big labor gathered and paid for the petition drive and the ballot campaign. The collective bargaining statute they were protesting was 300-pages long. Ohio voters have a long tradition of voting “No” on any measure that is not clearly presented and well understood. People did not know what was in the statute. Both sides amplified this voter confusion by spending millions on negative commercials. The issue was doomed from the start and the Republicans walked into this defeat with an amazing lack of clarity. In spite of all the above, 39% of voters supported the collective bargaining reforms in Issue 2. A clear 61% rejected Issue 2 and sent it resounding defeat.

Issue 3 was a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by citizen petition. It was a referendum on Obamacare seeking to exempt Ohioans from mandatory nationalized health care. Granted this is a symbolic approach given that federal law trumps state laws and Ohio is not exactly a bastion of states rights advocacy. The fact the measure passed is remarkable in such a pro-union turnout model, especially since the pro-Issue 3 campaign had no money to spend. That Issue 3 passed with a higher majority (66% for) than the defeat of Issue 2 (61%) is even more substantive. In other words, there was a 5% greater animosity toward Obamacare in the Ohio electorate than the animus toward Governor Kasich’s collective bargaining reforms. In this off election year where union turnout dominated the day, Issue 3 passed in all 88 Ohio counties.

Said another way, 34% of Ohio voters favored Obamacare while 39% of Ohioans favored the collective bargaining reforms. Thus, the pro-union, anti-Kasich turnout on November 8, 2011 is even more distrusting of the current nationalized health care plan than collective bargaining reforms.

Governor Kasich and his allies got their clocks cleaned on Issue 2 on November 8th. If this election is an indicator of things to come, however, the 2012 election may actually become a referendum on Obamacare. Not even the pro-union crowd in Ohio seems to like that idea.

David Zanotti serves as CEO of The American Policy Roundtable an independent, non-profit, non-partisan education and research organization that has been active in Ohio public policy and ballot issues since 1980.

Issue 3, Why Vote Yes?

Issue 3 seeks to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and types of coverage by an amendment to our state Constitution. Issue 3 aims at preventing the democratic party’s socialist version of health care reform from being forced on the citizens of Ohio. As proven in Europe and Canada, compulsory health care increases the overall cost of health care while reducing the quality of care. Those costs have contributed to the severity of the economic turmoil in the Europe.

The compelling case argued for the Obamacare is its claim that no one with an existing medical condition can be denied coverage and that the millions of poor Americans and their children will gain access to adequate health care. Those are two benefits touted by the media and all other proponents of Obamacare.

Obamacare law is supposed to prevention bankruptcy due to catastrophic illness and it will help small business provide health insurance to its employees.

It is also true that Obamacare will cost business more money to implement Obamacare. It will penalize individuals for not signing up for health care and small businesses for meeting the laws imposed of them. Physicians and other health care professionals support Issue 3 for similar reason–it will cost them too much financially and professionally. It will benefit insurance companies by increasing revenues to compensate for insuring people with preexisting illnesses. However, wealthier Americans will pay more for health care in order to compensate for the higher costs incurred by doctors, other health practitioners, and by government. Government-run health care will require more people and resources to run completely socialist health care system. Consequently, Obamacare will require more taxpayers funding. As Obama and his party associates in Congress have made clear, the wealthy are the taxpayers of choice.

Because of bureaucratic inefficiencies, corruption, high costs, fewer quality health professionals and the like, waiting long periods for treatment is common. That is why similar health care system in Canada and Europe are known for “rationing” services to the elderly and disabled. The same is expected under Obamacare, or rationed care.

On principles of inherent human rights alone, a Yes vote is necessary to preserve the enjoyment of what freedom we have left. With regard to efficiency and economy, a Yes vote will ensure government bureaucracy doesn’t destroy the quality of health care we already have.

Health care certainly needs improved, but Obama’s version will not provide it.

Obamacare Suggests Government Knows Best – Not the Consumer

By Mary Taylor
Ohio Lt. Gov. and Insurance Director

Obamacare is so complex that only a few of its impacts have been widely publicized. In fact, many of the law’s far reaching mandates and requirements are still being defined by Washington bureaucrats. But as you look closer at some of its lesser known provisions, one thing becomes clear: the authors of Obamacare are more concerned with a government takeover of health care and less worried about you the consumer and the increasing cost of health insurance because of this law’s mandates. Here are just three of the major market changes – among many – that all Ohioans should understand.

First, the law’s heavy-handed mandates force insurance companies to include coverage for many benefits and services you may not want. Say for example, you do not have any children. Under Obamacare, you would still have to carry insurance that covers pediatric, maternity and newborn care even though you do not need it. Such mandates remove consumerism from the process and replace it with a one-size-fits-all approach. By requiring consumers to buy services they do not want or need, costs will rise significantly.

Second, Obamacare limits the deductible amount a consumer can choose to pay each year. Today, similar to car or home insurance, health insurance can be purchased with high deductibles or low deductibles impacting the monthly premium you pay. Obamacare limits high deductible plans leaving consumers with fewer choices. These restrictions, however, have not yet been clearly defined by Washington bureaucrats who could make them even worse.

Third, Obamacare squeezes the rating rules for insurance carriers in Ohio forcing some to pay higher premiums. This means you will no longer pay premiums for health insurance based on your choices and lifestyle as much as you do today. For example, insurance companies can currently rate an individual on a wide array of factors such as health status, occupation, and tobacco use. Because there are so many factors, there is more competition among insurance companies resulting in more options and lower costs for consumers.

But when Obamacare is fully implemented there will be only four rating factors permitted under law. Those are age, family status, geographic location and tobacco use. By narrowing the playing field, consumers will have less control over their health care costs based on the decisions they make compared to today’s laws. And because choices are no longer rewarded, insurance companies will be forced to treat everyone the same resulting in skyrocketing premiums for many low-risk, health conscious consumers.

Simply put, these changes all have one theme in common – government knows best. In other words you the consumer do not know how to buy insurance for yourself; you need the government to tell you what you must purchase. There is no consumer-driven, market-based approach when Obamacare is fully implemented. Choices will be limited, mandates will be increased and costs will continue to rise but at a much faster pace. The intent behind the law seems clear. Obamacare is government telling you what you must have – it is not a solution that provides you with the health care options that you want and need.

Mary Taylor is Ohio’s 65th Lieutenant Governor. She was sworn into office on January 10, 2011, the same day Governor John R. Kasich named her to serve as the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance and to lead CSI Ohio: The Common Sense Initiative to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies.

Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment (Video)

Ohioans stand up for Healthcare Freedom. Hear their reasons why. Vote Yes on Issue 3.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88NInjzUP58&w=420&h=345]