Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category
There’s a tradition in our society that says it’s not a good idea to tell people about your pregnancy until you’re past the “safe mark” of 12 weeks, when the risk of miscarriage diminishes. The unspoken message is that miscarriage is best kept quiet. Nobody wants to know about the ones that didn’t make it. In fact, our culture barely regards them as even human. That’s why you hear statements like “thank goodness you weren’t that far along,” “don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll have another, “ or “at least you have (your older children),” as if you’d lost a dream instead of a living child. These are things people would NEVER say to parents who’d lost an older child, but because of our culture’s dismissive attitude towards unborn life, these children are viewed as less valuable. Their mothers are expected to grieve in private silence, if they are given permission to grieve at all.
For those who find themselves pregnant after losing a baby, we know there is no such thing as a “safe mark.” We know that life is fragile, and that it can just as easily be lost after 12 weeks as before. There are no guarantees. We have lost our innocence…the ability to look at that little plus sign and instantly be filled with the joyful expectation of holding that little bundle in nine months. We walk a tightrope of joy and sorrow, hope and dread, knowing that the next appointment may bring the words that we fear most: “I’m sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.”
Even though I never got to hold Autumn, Eden and Hope, they’re still my babies. I’m still their mother. The only way I know to parent them is to honor their brief lives here on earth, and acknowledge that they are real children, now waiting in heaven for me. They weren’t just blobs of tissue. They weren’t just lines on a pregnancy test. They were precious, individual souls…and so is the one I carry now.
My last three babies didn’t make it to the “safe zone” of 12 weeks. I live with the knowledge that there is a very real possibility that I won’t get to meet this baby on this side of heaven, either. My children’s lives, like my own, are in God’s hands, and I have no control over them. But whatever the outcome, I have peace that God is in control, and I WILL meet my babies someday, although perhaps not as soon as I would hope. In the meantime, I best way I know to honor their lives is simply by acknowledging their presence. By recognizing that every life matters, no matter how brief.
So for now, I will partner with God in carrying this little life as long as He allows me to, and accept each day we have together as a gift.
Just what we need in this struggling economy…added incentives to hire illegals instead of citizens.
Under the Gang of 8’s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare “exchange” subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.
Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.
Beginning in January, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered “acceptable” by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run “exchange.” The penalty can be as much as $3,000 per employee.
Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations by slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status. Since “full-time,” in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.
If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work “full-time,” an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to “part-time” status, American workers.
When I was 8 weeks pregnant, I went with some friends to a 3-hour women’s self defense seminar offered by a local Krav Maga studio. I put a name tag on my belly that said “baby” so nobody would grab me around the waist, and enjoyed every minute of it. They gave everyone a coupon for a month of free classes, but I didn’t want to push it as my pregnancy progressed.
When the studio offered a summer special on classes, I decided to take them up on it. I’ve been wanting to learn self-defense for awhile and need to get the baby weight off. Though most people I know do Zumba, my mood right now is much more towards fighting than dancing.
During my first class the instructor told me, “you’ve got a lot of aggression and fight in you.” No one has ever told me that before. I immediately knew it was coming from all the frustration of trying to fight something that can’t be conquered. The only reason I was even able to take the class was because I was no longer pregnant. No matter how hard I try, I can’t change that fact. I can’t bring my babies back. Suddenly I was slammed by a wave of grief and anger. The lump in my throat strangled me far more than my partner’s practice choke-hold.
The next day I argued with myself over what I had gotten myself into and whether I should go back. I hate it when my grief catches me off-guard in public, and was afraid of losing it in the middle of class. I forced myself to go back at the next available opportunity, knowing that if I didn’t face the fear immediately, I would find an excuse never to return.
Towards the end of my second class they did a drill where they exhausted you and then had you fight off an attacker with pure instinct and adrenaline. I was ready to give up and the instructor and two other students kept telling me I could do it. It reminded me of being in labor, when I’d be convinced I couldn’t go on and everyone around me would encourage me. But the difference was, there was a wonderful reward at the end of all that labor. And the last time I had been pushed to my limit like this, there had been no reward. Nobody to cheer me on. Just silence, and the remains of my babies to be buried. Another grief trigger. I managed to fight off my opponent but I couldn’t stop the tears once the class was over. They probably thought I was nuts.
It’s amazing how raw emotion rises to the surface when you’re pushed to the limits. The ache in my muscles is nothing compared to the aching chasm in my heart, and no amount of Advil can touch it. Right now I’m faced with two choices: keep learning to swim in this ocean of grief, or allow myself to drown in it. I’m coming to terms with the fact that sometimes the only way to heal is simply to fight through the pain.
How have we gotten to the point where government can force private companies to pay for controversial services like abortion from another private company? Whatever happened to the freedom to VOLUNTARILY decide which products and services you want to purchase, and from whom?
In a move that sends the message that her role is a powerful one, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has required health insurers to include Planned Parenthood as an “essential community provider” along with other doctors and health facilities in their networks.
Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner (WE) reports that most of Planned Parenthood’s 750 health and abortion clinics in the country will be covered by ObamaCare. Sebelius’ command means that health insurers who wish to participate in the state health care exchanges must cover services by Planned Parenthood, as well as other “essential community providers,” such as AIDS clinics, pain management facilities, and alternative medicine providers.
[...] Though ObamaCare is not, technically speaking, supposed to cover abortions, the fact that Planned Parenthood has always had significant support from Sebelius, and is already an important player in the “navigator system”–assisting insurance advisers in signing Americans up for the exchanges–is a real concern for Americans seeking limited government and those who are pro-life.
Planned Parenthood, which she deems as an “essential community provider,” is part of the long list of local organizations that insurers are required to partner with. (Others, Bedard says, include lesbian and gay centers, family planning clinics, and “holistic” centers.)“We’ve never covered these sorts of thing,” a Wisconsin provider told Bedard. He, like most health care representatives, is probably horrified at the prospect of collaborating with an organization which (when it isn’t lobbying for infanticide) is on trial for government fraud and botched abortions. Unfortunately for Americans, Sebelius — not Congress — decides what belongs in state exchanges. And if her past relationships are any indication, taxpayers are in for even more surprises when ObamaCare goes into effect January 1.
Planned Parenthood is a bully, using the power of the state to force those who disagree with their practices to buy their grisly product, anyway.
We The People have been negligent in allowing government to wield this unconstitutional power and groups like PP to manipulate it.
Dean Clancy raises some sobering questions about what will happen if the IRS is allowed to enforce Obamacare:
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for discriminatory treatment, and leaked confidential information about those groups to a left-wing outfit, ProPublica, should make us think twice about the White House’s plans to give the IRS even more authority — over our medicine cabinets.
That’s right. The IRS is being put in charge of enforcing the president’s health care law, Obamacare. The controversial law fills 2,801 pages; its various regulations, another 13,000. This mountain of paper forms a stack seven feet high, or, laid end to end, a paper trail stretching for two and a half miles. And it turns out no federal agency is given a more important role in implementing all that red tape than the IRS, the recipient of no fewer than 47 new duties and enforcement powers under the law.
Those duties include imposing tax penalties on individuals and businesses, and providing tax subsidies to millions of people who buy insurance through government “exchanges.” According to the IRS inspector general, the new health care powers and duties “represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.”
Hmm. Are we really prepared to put our health insurance system under the same agency that, as we’ve learned from the targeting scandal, took 1,138 days to approve just one non-exempt group’s tax application?
[...] If citizens who hold a disfavored political view are already being harassed with excessive paperwork requests and delays, what’s preventing politically motivated IRS bureaucrats from leaking sensitive health information to groups like ProPublica, or subjecting those with disfavored medical conditions to discriminatory audits?
[...] One of the many troubling facts to emerge from the targeting scandal has been the incredibly personal nature of the questions asked of groups applying for non-profit status. The IRS made some groups disclose all of their employees’ resumes, as well as information about the nature of personal relationships between employees. They even demanded to know the contents of a religious group’s prayers. If this level of detail is required for a rather simple business matter, determining tax-exempt status, imagine what the tax bureaucrats will do with our intimate health-related information.
Praying for Rep. Beutler and her husband, especially since she is now the target of hate mail from Lefty trolls who are reveling in her pain.
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a pro-life Republican from Washington state, recently shared the sad news about her unborn baby and a potentially fatal diagnosis.
Beutler posted a message on Facebook saying her unborn child has been diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome, a condition which prevents the child’s kidneys from developing properly and is typically fatal for the baby.
On May 1, Beutler, 34, announced that she and her husband, Daniel Beutler, were expecting their first baby this fall.
“We don’t know what the future holds for our family, but we ask for your prayers and appreciate the privacy a family needs in such circumstances,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “According to the medical information and advice we’ve received, I will be able to continue to balance the responsibilities of an expectant mother with serving as your representative in Congress.”
“Our baby has a serious medical condition called Potter’s Syndrome,” Herrera Beutler announced Monday on Facebook. “We have had a second opinion and the medical diagnosis was consistent with the initial news: there is no medical solution available to us. We are praying for a miracle.”
Unfortunately, “tolerant” leftist hatemongers have decided to unleash their venom on a suffering pregnant woman:
While many offered Beutler love and support, others took it as an opportunity to gloat or proclaim that the child should be aborted. Matthew Archbold, a writer for the National Catholic Register, collected some of the comments left at the Huffington Post and elsewhere. A few gems:
– Oh goody… and she’s GOP…. let’s all watch this one develop. Let’s see if she follows the party line ….
–Abort the baby. Wait a few months. Get pregnant again. This is not a big deal.
– Why not be proactive and get an abortion?
– Sorry, prayers won’t do a damn thing.
– She should just go to a Planned Parenthood and be done with “it”, after all, it’s not a human yet.
–I laugh at her in that her political ideology has her in a corner I would wish nobody in.
This sickening behavior – gloating over a baby’s illness and her mother’s pain – is more common than you might think.
[...] What motivates these people to abuse women who have chosen to carry to term despite a poor prenatal diagnosis? I strongly suspect that many of them have been involved in an abortion – or know they would want one in a similar situation. It angers them to see someone make a choice they didn’t have the courage to make themselves. But it’s impossible for any normal-thinking person to really know what motivates them.
Like all good sociopaths, the bullies try to shift blame on to the victims, saying they were “asking for” such treatment because of their political views. Since a pro-lifer would “force” women in her situation to give birth, she deserves to be shamed and harassed throughout her difficult pregnancy.
But anyone with a normal sense of compassion and empathy would say that’s not just irrational. It’s evil. Few things are more sociopathic than abusing a pregnant woman carrying a terminally ill child – no matter what her political affiliation.
What are your teens being taught in Oregon schools?
When I walked into this year’s Oregon Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside, Oregon, one of the first things I encountered was a table manned by three young teen boys. On the table was a collage that included many depictions of totally bare female genitalia—obviously pornographic and, one would think, illegal.
The collage included a drawing of a woman circa 1950 declaring, in the most base terms, what a woman’s private parts should smell like. It also included a drawing of a pigtailed little girl riding on a tricycle with the word “Vagina!” written above her, and another drawing of a young female child standing by a rose, with the word “Vagina” written below her on a chalkboard.
“Everyone can come inside” are the words visible along the outer edge of the piece, which appeared to be a decoupaged plate.
The boys smiled nervously as hordes of teens, who had arrived for what some described as a field trip, passed the display table. Planned Parenthood was on the steering committee of this conference.
The booth belonged to Youth for Education and Prevention of Sexual Assault (YEPSA), a supposedly teen-led initiative from Eugene, Oregon. At a booth whose stated mission was the prevention of sexual assault, I could only wonder why the teen boys would be manning a table containing graphic pictures of female genitalia, suggesting that “everyone can come inside” a pigtailed little girl on a tricycle.
With that question in mind, I checked on the Internet and found that the group puts on performances, the first of which was The Vagina Monologues. The students stated they just finished a run of a play that they wrote about the life struggles of a transgendered woman. They have a transgender education panel coming up, and they do art shows around teen sexuality and gender.
Day two of the conference found me very reluctantly attending a workshop led by YEPSA entitled “You Say Porn, I Say Porn!”
The program description did not even begin to touch the stark reality of the session. “To porn or not to porn, that is the question. YEPSA will be leading the masses through the very exciting world of pornography.” The session was held in a large room, filled with teens and adults. It started with a soft porn video commercial.
About 10 teen facilitators lined up across the front of the room and introduced themselves. They gave their names and the pronoun they prefer (“I prefer ‘she,’” “I don’t have a preference but I identify as male,” etc.). This was in keeping with a theory emphasized over and over at the conference—that gender is fluid and is determined only by the person in question and how that person feels at that particular time about his or her gender. In others words, biology has nothing to do with gender.
[...] This is just a sampling of the plan that Planned Parenthood has for our teens. Check out our website at www.stopp.org, where I will be writing for several weeks on the unbelievably inappropriate materials and scenarios that were presented at this conference.
Oregon Education Department “sexuality education expert” Brad Victor prides himself on the fact that Oregon has the “most progressive sex education laws in the nation,” and brags about how he easily slid Oregon’s explicit Administrative Rule under the radar as a consent item at the state board level. The plan is that other states will follow suit. Many are already deeply embroiled in Planned Parenthood’s sex education. Those who are not embroiled are targeted.
But as we pointed out in our last edition of The Wednesday STOPP Report, Brad Victor also demonstrated that if parents will speak out at every level, sex education can be easily derailed in a school district—even one where the programs are already firmly in place. The sooner parents start their challenges, however, the better.
Jim Sedlak’s book Parent Power!! is available free of charge on our website. It is a brilliant instructional tool that lays out the plan that parents can follow to get Planned Parenthood out of local schools. It is a plan that has been proven to work time and time again when parents follow it. Read Jim’s book today and take action!
If you want to keep tabs on what these groups are teaching Oregon’s children, check out the Facebook pages for Sex Ed in Oregon and The Adolescent Sexuality Conference. Notice which groups and pages they “like” and recommend to young people.
Every life matters.
STILL is a documentary film aimed at breaking the cycle of silence surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. STILL will examine the effects of a grief avoidant society and will tell the stories of individuals and families from all walks of life who have suffered the death of a baby during pregnancy or infancy:
Should. Shouldn’t. These are loaded words, borne of disappointed expectations. We shouldn’t be living in a world marred by sin, disease and death, but we do. No mother should have to bury her child – much less three – but I have.
I was sitting with several of my mommy friends at church, watching them nurse and entertain their infants, when I was suddenly struck with the realization that I should be nursing a two-month-old right now. But I’m not, because she’s buried under our maple tree. And suddenly I couldn’t breathe.
I’m a tummy sleeper. One of the things I hated most about being pregnant was how difficult it was to get comfortable when I couldn’t sleep on my tummy. But lately, as I curl up comfortably in bed, I weep. My belly should be getting in my way right now, but it’s not, because my babies are gone.
I keep getting maternity junk mail from companies who probably got my address when I registered to track my babies’ development online. Those accounts are deleted now, but the cheerful baby coupons keep coming to torture me, because an automated mailing list doesn’t know when a mother’s hope has turned to grief. My heart shouldn’t sink when I open my mailbox, but it does.
With my confused body trying to adjust to the loss of two pregnancies in nine months, I once again pack away my maternity clothes with the awareness that I still look pregnant, and will until I can muster the energy to lose the baby weight. I shouldn’t dread the innocent congratulations of strangers who look at my belly and wonder whether we’re having a boy this time, but I do.
There are days when I’m able to forget for awhile. When I can laugh with friends, enjoy a movie or get through my to-do list as if nothing happened. But I’m continually nagged by the feeling that I’m forgetting something, like when you walk into a room for a purpose and then can’t remember why. It’s as if I’m constantly looking for something, but don’t know what it is or where to find it. I shouldn’t be haunted by this aimless emptiness. But I am.
My moods unexpectedly swing from numbness to overwhelming sorrow, from frustration to anger, but I never know which wave I’ll have to ride next, when it will hit or what will trigger it. Some days I’m resigned, and others I rage, “Why offer me a precious gift and then yank it back, Lord? Why raise my hopes only to see them dashed? I don’t want promises or comforting words. I want my babies here in my arms! That’s how it SHOULD be!”
But in the end, I know that when I say “should,” what I’m really saying is, “If I were God…” But I’m not. And the truth is, my children ultimately aren’t mine. They’re His. Even the three tucked safely in their beds are just on loan for awhile. He is ultimately their Heavenly Father, who loves them even more than I’m capable of.
The three precious babies He took home were only here for a few weeks, and they were born immediately to a place where they’ll never have known suffering, fear or grief. That must be an extraordinary experience. Their mommy isn’t so lucky, but God knows that our sufferings here are temporary, and eternity is a long, long time to enjoy the healing and restoration of what was lost. It doesn’t feel brief or temporary right now, but in comparison with eternity, it is.
In the meantime, I just have to remember that I’m not alone, and make it through another day…
A few months ago I started reading a series of biographies from YWAM Publishing. With my own recent loss, I was particularly struck by how many of these Christian heroes had lost children. William Penn lost five of eight children with his first wife before she passed, and three of his eight children with his second wife. Of Count Zinzendorf’s twelve children, only three daughters survived. John Wesley’s mother, Susannah, outlived nine of her 19 children. Only one of Abraham Lincoln’s four sons made it to adulthood. George Washington had no children of his own, but both of his stepchildren died young. Of course, these are the children who made it at least to birth. Nobody knows how many miscarriages, if any, these families suffered, since it remains a hidden grief even to this day.
Until two years ago, I hardly knew anyone who had lost a child. Now I know several. Whether from disease, accidents, stillbirth or miscarriage, nearly every family I know has been visited by death in some way. Having now buried three of my own, I understand their grief. Its a very sobering reality to be faced with, especially in a modern culture that largely sweeps death out of sight and doesn’t really know how to deal with the grieving. We don’t dress in black and observe extended periods of mourning anymore. We expect loved ones to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives almost as soon as the funeral is over. And we definitely don’t know how to deal with the loss of children, especially the unborn. Infant mortality rates are so low in the Western world, it’s largely unexpected and comes as a great shock. While 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, it often remains a private, hidden grief. It can be very isolating to grieve while everyone else seems to be enjoying their intact families, especially if the people around you barely acknowledge that what you were carrying was even a baby at all.
The healing comes in acknowledging that every life is precious, even those we never got to meet. Every life is a miracle, no matter how short. With all the things that can go wrong, it really is amazing that any of us make it at all. That’s why, even though some may think it silly or unnecessary or morbid, we decided that it’s important to bury our unborn children with dignity.
God keep you until we meet in heaven, little ones. Mommy loves you.
Mother’s Day this year was full of joy and tears. I loved the sweet kisses, cards and handmade gifts from my three beautiful girls. I was missing Autumn, who would be almost two months old today. And the sight of blood told me that I was saying goodbye to another sweet angel baby I’d hoped to meet in December.
After several days of spotting and no progress, my husband and I decided to go get an ultrasound and got the shock of our lives: I was carrying identical twins. They had stopped developing at 7 weeks. Even through our sadness, I had to laugh at the look on Dave’s face when the ultrasound tech said “twins.” It was priceless!
Hope and Eden were born at 10:30pm on Wednesday, May 15th. They will be buried next to their sister Autumn under our Maple tree.
It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster, but I have peace that God knows what He’s doing. There hasn’t been a lot of grief in my life up until recently, so I don’t begrudge that it’s my turn. I know a lot of people who have suffered a lot worse. I know that I’m not alone. I know we live in a fallen world with broken bodies, and sometimes things just go wrong. That’s why I chose the names Eden and Hope. Eden is what we lost when sin came into the world, and it’s what God will restore someday, but in the meantime we’re stuck in this fallen world where bad things happen. But we have hope because we know it won’t always be this way. Someday everything will be set to rights. This is not the end.
God keep you until we meet in heaven. Mommy loves you.
Another day, another Obama scandal.
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
How much money is on the line in this suit? Oh, a mere $25,000 in compensatory damages. Per violation. Which adds up to “a minimum of $250 billion.”Has Congress begun those emergency sessions to shut down ObamaCare yet? What else do they need to hear?
The dam has broken, the curtain has been lifted, and the flood of scandals coming to light this week is finally beginning to open people’s eyes.
1. Benghazi. Four Americans were abandoned to die in the middle of a terrorist attack. In the aftermath the administration changed the talking points, lied about a stupid video being to blame, and spent months trying to hide the truth as they intimidated and blocked access to witnesses.
2. The IRS admits to targeting Tea Party groups. It turns out they were also targeting pro-life groups, pro-Israel groups, religious groups, and pretty much anybody who dared to criticize Obama’s policies. They were also leaking confidential information about the opposition to their political friends.
3. The Department of Justice secretly obtained months of phone records from over 100 AP reporters and sources, including Congress. Guess the Obama administration likes to keep a jealous eye on his favorite mistress.
4. HHS Secretary shakes down companies she regulates for “donations” to implement Obamacare. It’s the Chicago way.
5. The EPA applies a double standard when dealing with conservative vs. liberal groups. If you’re “green,” you’re clean. If you oppose EPA power grabs and agenda, you’re treated as an enemy.
So how is Obama trying to squirm his way out of trouble?
One unique excuse being offered by David Axelrod is that the government is simply too big for Obama to know what’s going on. Yes, you heard that right…the liberals’ favorite argument that more government is the solution to every problem has suddenly turned into an excuse for ruling class ignorance and incompetence.
Another approach has been to claim that Obama is simply a passive and aloof leader who tends to distance himself from the nitty gritties of governing, and therefore has no clue what his underlings are up to.
Obama’s consistent claim that he always finds out about these scandals the same way that we do – when they first appear on the news – has become such a running joke that even Jon Stewart tore into him over the absurdity of it all.
Whoever created this meme summed it up beautifully:
Yep. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
If they’ve already proven themselves capable of targeting conservatives with only their tax information, what will they be capable of when they have even more information on their targets?
If they’ve already illegally released conservatives’ confidential tax information, what’s to stop them from leaking dissidents’ personal health information as well?
Obamacare is not merely a massive overhaul of the health care system. It is also a substantial expansion of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the law relies on the tax collection agency to both enforce its individual mandate and administer the tax credits the law offers to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Following recent revelations that agents in multiple IRS offices, including tax officials in Washington, targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, a number of former and current Republican legislators are already counseling caution about the agency’s role in administering the law.
Concerns about the agency’s oversight of the health law are well-founded—and not only because of general concerns about the agency’s judgment.
For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”
In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.
Indeed it does not.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily is similarly concerned:
[O]bamaCare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income-tax returns must deal with and report personal health information to the IRS.
The IRS will require the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer, the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company, the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan and whether the plan was purchased in one of ObamaCare’s “exchanges.”
Heavy fines will be levied for failure to jump through all the government’s hoops.
The new tax mandates and penalties in ObamaCare will require up to 16,500 new IRS personnel to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the then-minority GOP staff of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010.
Will the IRS enforce the mandate rules impartially, or will it go after only those who support individual liberty and oppose government encroachment on it?
Will ObamaCare resisters also be considered enemies of the state?
Nice health care company you’ve got there…would be a pity if anything happened to it.
Welcome to pay-to-play health care. It’s the Chicago way.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
[...] Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens “if you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,” according to Justice Department regulations.
This has all the hallmarks of a shakedown. DrewM at Ace of Spades snarkily summarizes: “Hi I’m HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. You may recall I have tremendous discretionary power over your company and entire industry. Would you like to donate to my favorite cause? You would? Thank you so much.” Obamacare vests Sebelius with an enormous amount of regulatory power; she has the ability to make life exceedingly difficult for any company that crosses her (recall her “zero tolerance” quote). “Friendly” requests for “voluntary” donations may not seem optional for companies who sense the HHS Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. [...]
Harry Reid recently grumbled about Republicans’ refusal to pump more taxpayer money into Obamacare’s implementation phase. The GOP has stood firm against committing even one more penny to the extravagantly expensive, enduringly unpopular and logistically shambolic program. The administration’s apparent solution to this problem of their own making is to coerce private businesses into financing a bailout.
“That’s absolutely improper if not illegal. This administration will stop at nothing to get its way. It will do anything it can to silence its critics.”
Now begins the investigation into yet another Obama administration scandal:
House Republicans are starting a probe into Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius soliciting donations from companies her agency might regulate, to help sign up uninsured Americans for ObamaCare.
[T]he solicitations, through speeches and phone calls, have raised questions about whether a federal official can ask for money from groups he or she oversees.
The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee began a probe by sending a letter Monday to Sebelius and groups that she might have contacted.
The letter to Sebelius asks her to provide several pieces of information by May 27 related to the solicitations, including names of those contacted “in this unusual fundraising pitch” as well as phone logs and whether other agency officials were involved.