Women Speak Out: ObamaCare Mandate Tramples on Religious Liberty
Forbes reports that the administration has increased the budget for exchange subsidies in ObamaCare by $111 billion. "For the years in which the two exchange budgets overlap—2014 through 2021—the White House states that it expects to spend $111 billion more in its new budget than it said a year ago. In 2021 alone, the difference between the two budgets is almost $20 billion, implying that exchange spending will be up by over $200 billion in the decade following 2021."
In the Wall Street Journal, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. outlines how ObamaCare further underscores the regressive nature of health care. "Context is everything. Barack Obama says his mandate is about extending health care to the uninsured. But look closely. It's also partly about forcing the young, healthy and otherwise uninclined to overpay for health insurance so the money can be used to pay for heavy users of the health-care system. [...]Let's step back. ObamaCare is a specific instance of a broader truth about America's health-care policy: It's grossly regressive. The giant tax subsidy for employer-provided health insurance is most rewarding to those in the highest brackets. Medicare is regressive: It transfers money from working people, with few assets, to the elderly, who own most of America's wealth. Even Medicaid, the program for the poor, is morphing into a program for helping the middle class shield its assets from long-term care bills."
The Heritage Foundation and National Review Institute hosted a panel discussion earlier this week titled, "Women Speak Out: ObamaCare Tramples Religious Liberty." "Hadley Heath did not represent a religious institution, but the secular Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) an organization devoted to free markets and limited government. Heath said the issue transcends religious liberty and 'strikes directly at who we are as a country.' 'The Left wants to make this a women’s health issue and the Right wants to make this a religious issue,' she said. 'Well, in truth, it’s an American issue.' A policy analyst at IWF, Heath said the mandate most importantly infringes upon personal liberty. She described the regulation as 'anti-Constitution, anti-choice and anti-competition.'"
White House Quietly Increases Budget for ObamaCare's Exchange Subsidies by $111 Billion
I’ve written extensively about how the most fiscally dangerous aspect of ObamaCare is its creation of a new entitlement for subsidized private insurance, through the law’s state-based exchanges. If employers dump many of their workers onto the exchanges, as numerous independent analyses suggest is likely, taxpayers may need to spend as much as $200 billion a year extra on these exchange subsidies. It turns out that the Obama Administration agrees that initial spending estimates are too low. The White House’s fiscal year 2013 budget adds $111 billion in exchange spending between 2014 and 2021, with even more spending to come in future years.
ObamaCare's individual mandate, it turns out, is no more popular with the public than it is with the GOP hopefuls. A USA Today poll this week finds that 72% of voters believe the mandate to be unconstitutional. Only fools and angels, then, might tread forth to defend a now-embarrassing history of conservative support for the unpopular mandate.
In response to Democrats’ complaints about "Where are the women?" in the debate over whether health insurance companies can be forced by the government to offer contraceptives and abortion drugs, the Heritage Foundation hosted an all-female panel to denounce the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate on Monday. “So where are the women? Here we are!” said Maggie Karner, in reference to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) question from Feb. 16.
Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum—a group that has no religious stake in the debate but sees in the erosion of our first freedom an implicit attack on all our liberties—explained: The new health law simply expands government’s role too far. This will be destructive for our constitutional design for government, for individual choice in the marketplace, and for the marketplace of ideas.
Anyone who hasn’t heard the women’s voices speaking out against the ObamaCare anti-conscience mandate over the past few weeks hasn’t been listening very well. Yesterday, to make sure they’re heard, women from diverse backgrounds gathered at Heritage to join their voices with countless others in dispelling the myths about mandate and denouncing the Administration’s most recent assault on liberty.
Religious liberty has become an early casualty in ObamaCare’s collision course with liberty. ObamaCare’s anti-conscience mandate forces employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization -– regardless of religious or moral objections to such services.
Yesterday afternoon, some of the most thoughtful ones were at the Heritage Foundation, as Kate O’Beirne, president of the National Review Institute, and I hosted an event called “Women Speak Out: ObamaCare Tramples Religious Liberty.” (Watch the archived program here.)
Liberals seem to laugh off claims that the massive expansion of government power advanced in ObamaCare could ever be abused. They think it's swell to force people to buy government-approved health insurance and to mandate that insurance packages must include liberal must-haves, like the now much-ballyhooed “free” reproductive services. They like these things! What enlightened person could object to such obvious, for-our-own-good decrees from our benevolent masters in Washington?
The heated battle over insurance coverage for contraception is shifting to Capitol Hill, with the Senate due to vote Thursday on a measure to let employers opt out of covering any health treatment they find morally objectionable. The "conscience exemption" provision, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), would allow employers to omit health-insurance coverage for services that violate their religious or moral convictions. The proposal was prompted by a new rule from the Obama administration that requires health plans to cover contraception without charging employees a co-payment.
The Senate on Tuesday headed toward a showdown over President Obama’s policy requiring health insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, even as Republicans appeared to be divided over the wisdom of pressing for a vote any time soon. Senate Republican leaders sought an immediate vote on legislation to overturn the president’s policy and allow a broad exemption for certain insurers and employers that have religious or moral objections to such coverage.
So what, exactly, is the “or else” in the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate? House Republicans asked the Congressional Research Service to look into it, and now they’re blasting out the answer they got. According to the research service, insurers and employers that do not comply with the contraception coverage rule could face federal fines of $100 per day per employee.
House Republicans launch their effort to repeal the healthcare reform law's cost-cutting board on Wednesday with a markup in the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee. The bipartisan bill — 17 Democrats have co-sponsored it — is expected to sail through, with even ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) planning to vote in favor, according to CQ HealthBeat.
Tomorrow, the Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up legislation to repeal ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB is a dangerous mechanism that puts the power to limit seniors’ treatment options and access to care in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, essentially ending Medicare as we know it. Despite the enormity of IPAB’s power and its influence on Medicare beneficiaries, its members are not accountable to the American people, unlike Congress
President Obama is doubling down on one of the most dangerous provisions in his 2010 health overhaul law. In his proposed budget, he plans to give even greater powers to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel created by the new health law to contain Medicare spending. The IPAB is one of the most egregious parts of ObamaCare because it puts rationing of care on auto pilot.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll offers some sobering numbers about President Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. The Affordable Care Act is broadly unpopular among registered voters, the poll finds, with half calling its passage a "bad thing" and 42 percent a "good thing." In 12 crucial swing states, the numbers are worse: 53 percent "bad" versus 38 percent "good." Also, 72 percent of all polled adults believe the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, including 56 percent of Democrats.
At the Volokh Conspiracy, Randy Barnett highlights a new USA Today/Gallup poll which finds that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. As the Gallup description reports, “Americans overwhelmingly believe the ‘individual mandate,’ as it is often called, is unconstitutional, by a margin of 72% to 20%.”
Today, the House Judiciary Committee held a full committee hearing to investigate the Obama administration’s unprecedented overreach through the latest ObamaCare mandate’s assault on religious liberty. Asma Uddin, an attorney with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, testified at the hearing on the administration’s insulting disregard for the right to religious freedom.
Showing no regard for the First Amendment, President Obama continues to stand his ground on the abortion pill mandate he imposed on all Americans on Feb. 10. The mandate requires all employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage to their employees that includes “preventive services,” which the Obama administration defines to include ”contraceptive” drugs, abortion drugs, and sterilization, along with education and counseling for the same—all of which must be provided free of charge.
The ex-head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops compares the administration take on freedom of worship to the Soviet Union's and says its contraceptive mandate will force church hospitals to close. On the first Sunday of Lent, Chicago's Francis Cardinal George issued his version of the letter issued by the USCCB he recently led.
Before ObamaCare became the law of the land, members of Congress could not escape the question: Does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate? Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) responded that constitutional questions were not serious questions.
As Bloomberg reported in September of last year, "Sixty percent of employers said they offered medical benefits this year, a decrease from 69 percent in 2010." Yet today, in testimony on Capitol Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that ObamaCare is not the reason there's been a drop in employer-sponsored health care coverage.
Years after Jacques Roy started filing paperwork that would have made his practice the busiest Medicare provider in the U.S., authorities say they’ve found most of his work was a lie. They accused Roy on Tuesday of “selling his signature” to collect Medicare and Medicaid payments for work that was never done or wasn’t necessary. Others charged in the scheme are accused of fraudulently signing up patients or offering them cash, free groceries or food stamps to give their names and a number used to bill Medicare.
Federal agents on Tuesday arrested a Dallas-area doctor accused of bilking Medicare of $350 million over a five-year period, in what the government called the largest Medicare fraud scheme by dollar value linked to a single physician. According to documents filed by the Justice Department in Dallas federal court, 54-year-old Dr. Jacques Roy carried out the fraud with the help of his office manager and home health-care agencies.