Posts Tagged ‘Conflict of Interest’
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.
Another government agency caught abusing their power against helpless citizens. These scandals just keep piling up, and ALL involve innocent, average Americans being deliberately targeted and victimized by their own government. Still think this is the land of the free?
The EPA is already accused of targeting conservative groups while showing preferential treatment to left-wing wacko environmentalist groups.
Now, like the IRS, it appears that they have been leaking innocent citizens’ personal information to a radical left-wing groups that specialize in finding people to target and making their lives a living hell:
The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged Tuesday that it released personal information on potentially thousands of farmers and ranchers to environmental groups, following concerns from congressional Republicans and agriculture groups that the release could endanger their safety.
[...] The information on livestock and produce farmers was sought through a Freedom of Information Act request by the groups Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pew Charitable Trust. They were given information on roughly 80,000 farmers and ranchers.
Pew returned the original information, per the agency’s request Thursday, according to documents obtained by Fox.
The agency acknowledged the information included individual names, email addresses, phone numbers and personal addresses.
Since when does the FOIA include people’s home addresses and phone numbers?
Earth Justice’s basic reason for existence is to try to sue into oblivion any industrial development that they don’t like; and a large part of their strategy is to find someone to target, then find something that they can target them with (like, for example, the Clean Water Act). But you’re saying Moe, the family farmers aren’t subject to the CWA! …And perhaps that is true. But there’s a whole bunch of regulations that those farmers are subject to – and their personal information has just been given to a bunch of hardcore progressive lawyers who capitalize the word ‘people.’ In other words; if you don’t think that the EPA has put small farmers and ranchers at increased risk of punitive lawfare by partisan activists, well. I would almost envy you that private world of yours, except that I suspect that there isn’t quite enough oxygen in it.
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.
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.
Sestak, Solyndra, Pigford, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone records, HHS soliciting funds, and now the revelation of EPA double standards.
With this administration it’s just one lawless scandal after another. When will the American people finally say ENOUGH!?
The IRS may not be the only federal agency singling out conservative groups. Records suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for environmental groups to file Freedom of Information Act requests than conservative organizations.
According to EPA records obtained by the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, since January 2012 the agency has granted fee waivers for 75 out of 82 Freedom of Information Act Requests sent by major environmental groups, denying only seven of them — meaning green groups saw their fees waived 92 percent of the time.
At the same time, the EPA frequently denied fee waivers to conservative groups. EPA records show that the agency rejected or ignored 21 out of 26 fee waiver requests from such conservative groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Energy Research, and Judicial Watch — an 81 percent rejection rate.
[...] “This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI senior fellow Chris Horner, author of “The Liberal War on Transparency.”
Horner described the EPA’s actions as “a clear pattern of favoritism for allied groups and “a concerted campaign to make life more difficult for those deemed unfriendly.”
This kind of favoritism springs from a worldview. The EPA that authored this bias was the same EPA led by Lisa Jackson. She left office last year amid her own scandal involving the use of personal, secret email accounts to conduct agency business — the “Richard Windsor” scandal.
It’s time to ask a serious question. In light of the IRS targeting conservatives and the EPA denying conservatives at the same time, do liberals even believe that conservatives are due fair treatment under the law?
The EPA has become an unaccountable, tyrannical weapon wielded by unelected bureaucrats to abuse unconstitutional powers to advance their agenda.
It’s time for the EPA to be abolished, along with every other agency that doesn’t fall under the specific, enumerated powers granted in the constitution to the federal government.
It’s all in the family.
1973: reporters investigate All the President’s Men. 2013: reporters are All the President’s Men.
You knew the mainstream media was biased, but this is incredible. It was revealed todaythat CBS News President David Rhodes’ brother is Obama Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, who was instrumental in rewriting the Benghazi talking points. But it gets worse. It is now learned that ABC President Ben Sherwood’s sister, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is a Special Assistant to Barack Obama on national security affairs. But even this isn’t it! CNN’s deputy bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is the wife of Tom Nides, who until February was Hillary Clinton’s deputy.
It doesn’t stop there, either. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is married to Claire Shipman, who works for ABC News.
Could it be that Obama appointed relatives of the press to his administration in order to make the media more reluctant to damage it with accurate reporting?
Could it be that the lack of reporting on Benghazi and other scandals – especially prior to the election – had something to do with this?
How did we get to the point where we not only murder innocent children, but use tax dollars to pay the hit men?
“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
President Obama offered a defiant defense of government funding for Planned Parenthood Friday and urged the group’s members to help his administration sign up more women for benefits under his besieged health-care law.
The first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama accused conservative politicians of trying to “roll back the clock” on abortion rights and health-care services for women.
“They’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health,” Mr. Obama told the group’s annual convention in Washington. “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear, they’re talking about telling many of those women, ‘You’re own your own.’
That is a bold-faced lie. Pro-life groups do more to support and provide services for women in crisis pregnancies than anyone else. And those services don’t involve murdering a child and scarring a woman for life!
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Mr. Obama should have reproached Planned Parenthood officials for not doing more to stop the alleged violations at the clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Planned Parenthood officials in Philadelphia said they encouraged patients who complained to them about the clinic to report it to state authorities.
“President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight, and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Instead, the president decried efforts across the country to limit women’s access to abortion services.
As he ended his speech, Obama blasphemously called on God to “bless” the largest child murder organization in the country.
“As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” said Obama. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”
Murdering children is NOT health care, and the choice to kill a child is NOT a choice about one’s one health, but to end the life of another human being.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” ~ Isaiah 5:20
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, referred to blacks as “human weeds” and “reckless breeders.” Ironic the first black president is the first president to speak to a child killing organization founded by a racist who targeted blacks. KKK should be applauding Obama’s speech today, for they had the same goals as Sanger.
Planned Parenthood is one of Obama’s biggest fans. They poured millions of dollars and volunteer hours into his re-election campaign, and have been rewarded handsomely for their support.
Obama has directed millions in federal taxpayer dollars into their coffers, sending his Justice Department to sue any state that tries to block taxpayer funding of abortion.
He is forcing all employers – even those with religious objections – to purchase insurance policies that include abortions. And Obamacare is on the verge of creating an enormous boom in business to the abortion industry, which they are preparing for by building enormous new abortion clinics.
Is it any wonder they invited him to be the keynote speaker at their annual fundraiser dinner?
It bears repeating that Obama strongly opposed the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which would have required doctors to assist babies born as a result of a failed abortion. How about his opposition to a bill that would have prevented partial-birth abortion?
If Obama wanted to make abortion rare, would he be such a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and its notorious abortion industry? No one could be more in bed with that organization than Obama, who is planning on attending the organization’s fundraising gala this coming Thursday.
Obama and the pro-abortion left don’t want to call attention to the grisly practices of Gosnell for a number of reasons. You can disguise the practice of abortion with euphemisms, such as “they snipped the baby’s spinal cord,” but in the end, we are talking about the intentional killing of human life, and it follows that a facility so morally corrupt as to routinely engage in that despicable practice might not dot and cross all its other ethical i’s” and t’s.
If Obama or the leftist media were to shine a disinfecting light on the Gosnell trial, it might lead to a public discussion on abortion and an inquiry into how widespread such abuses are. The less attention the left permits to be drawn to this the better.
But there are additional sinister reasons Obama and his liberal media cohorts have suppressed the news on this story, knowing as they do just how horrendous Gosnell’s clinic was.
The pro-abortion left ridicules and condemns Second Amendment advocates for being paranoid purists in opposing all restrictions on gun rights, but in the purist and paranoia categories, they make gun advocates look like pikers.
Abortion is the left’s holy grail; it is liberals’ sacred ritual, about which nothing negative may be uttered for fear that it might lead to even the slightest infringement on it. Likewise, the abortion lobby simply will not countenance any restriction on abortion or any negative light to be cast on any abortion practice or clinic for fear that it could lead to a slippery slope whereby abortion might actually become significantly rarer. That would be a big setback for the lucrative abortion industry and for the campaign blood money it generates for supporting politicians.
Sorry, peasants. If you’re just an average citizen wanting a tour of the “People’s House” for your duly elected public servants, you’re out of luck.
If you’re a big donor to Obama’s revamped campaign arm, “Organizing For Action,” however, we’ll be happy to grant you a front row seat to the King Obama.
Once, only nobles were granted an audience with the King.
In America, we’ve prided ourselves on abandoning those privileges of class some 237 years ago, following that little uprising in the 13 colonies.
And we again congratulated ourselves at 12:01 pm Eastern Time on January 20, 2009, just moments after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and as he committed to making his administration the most transparent and open in history.
But more than four years later it is time to ask questions. The most transparent administration ever? The most transparently political, yes. The most open government? If you have the money to buy access, yes.
Since last weekend, Mr and Mrs Regular Citizen have been denied the access people used to be granted to tour the White House, purportedly because of the clampdown on federal spending since the “sequester” that imposed cuts across the board.
These tours, most recently guided by volunteers though monitored by paid Secret Service staff, have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams, the first White House residents, personally hosted receptions for the public.
And their cancellation is an austerity measure that saves a pittance, while more frivolous taxpayer funding for items like the White House dog walker continues.
Meanwhile, noble Americans can buy time with the president for a suggested donation of $500,000 to his new campaign group, Organising for Action.
Yes, the announcement offering access to the president for cold, hard cash was made openly and with total transparency. But it was also made without shame.
It’s the third version of Obama’s original monster campaign machine, Obama for America, which then morphed into a re-election campaign machine, Organising for America, on the third day of his first term.
It has now re-launched again as Organising for Action (OFA) – a non-profit, tax-exempt group headed by his former campaign advisers. Apparently no longer “for America”, the group might just as well be called Organising for Obama’s Agenda.
Its mission: to support the president in his attempt to achieve enactment of gun control, environmental policies and immigration reform.
OK, I made that last one up. But in a state with billions in unfunded liabilities, business-strangling environmental regulations, and an overtaxed, overburdened private sector, unicorn rides are about as realistic as any of their other demands.
The state’s largest public-sector union released a list of its bargaining demands on Thursday, and a few of them venture outside the traditional parameters of bargaining.
The Service Employees International Union Local 503 is asking the state to restore financial cuts it has made in recent years by dropping furlough days, boosting wages, granting a cost-of-living adjustment between 2 percent and 6 percent in each year of the contract, and adding vacation days.
Know anybody in the private sector who has gotten a sweet deal like that since the Great Recession began four years ago? Yeah, neither do I. Why should they get perks that the struggling taxpayers who pay their salaries don’t get?
The doctors shortages are already on their way, starting with obstetricians.
Pregnant women in one southwestern Pennsylvania town will soon need to look elsewhere to deliver their babies, after a local hospital announced it will end the practice in March — blaming ObamaCare in part for the decision.
The Windber Medical Center will stop delivering babies after March 31 because its obstetricians are either leaving or refocusing their practices, and because hospital officials believe they can’t afford it based on projected reimbursements under looming federal health care reforms.
So these doctors busted their butts through years of medical school and racked up thousands of dollars in student debt in order to acquire the skills and expertise they have, and the Obama administration wants to underpay them to “save costs” for their utopian health care scheme.
Haven’t we learned ANYTHING from doctor shortages and two-year waiting lists in every country with established socialized medicine?
Consider this story from the UK, courtesy of their National Health Service: ”The babies born in hospital corridors: Bed shortage forces 4,000 mothers to give birth in lifts, offices and hospital toilets.”
Would you expect anything less?
Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.
In all, more than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion. Congress routinely renews the tax package, attracting intense lobbying _ and campaign donations _ from businesses and trade groups that say the tax breaks help them prosper and create jobs.
[...] Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the package is filled with “special-interest handouts” that make it difficult for him to justify his vote in favor of it.
“It’s hard to think of anything that could feed the cynicism of the American people more than larding up must-pass emergency legislation with giveaways to special interests and campaign contributors,” McCain said.
This is EXACTLY what Obamacare was designed to do: systematically eliminate competition to the Welfare State. They want to drive away all choices and competition except that which can be taken over by their soon-to-be single-payer system.
When government gets bigger, big business typically benefits at the expense of smaller competitors, consumers, and taxpayers. Obamacare is demonstrating this rule.
Bloomberg reports today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals. The article notes about consoldation:
Simon Gisby, a principal in the life science and health care practice at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC in New York, said the trend fits with changes starting to take place under the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed by the Obama administration to overhaul health care.
This consolidation means higher costs, the article explains. Some academic studies have confirmed that hospital consolidation means higher costs, and at least one has pinned some of the blame on Obama’s Affordable Care Act:
hospitals are able to extract higher private payments when they hold more market power…. Now provisions of the ACA are encouraging further consolidation of hospitals and physicians, and the final antitrust review regulations from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have eliminated the proposed mandatory review of certain prospective ACOs.
News reports also point towards Obamacare causing provider consolidation — that is, small practices selling out to bigger hospitals.
The election may be over, but they already have the foot soldiers on the ground ready to go for the next fight.
Labor leaders said they plan to mobilize their members in the coming weeks to press Republicans to support the extension of tax cuts for middle income families. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, said labor needs to remain “as engaged as we were in the election throughout the rest of this year to make sure we get the Republican House to say yes to tax cuts for the middle class.”
You think the current power grabs are bad? Just wait and see what happens if he’s re-elected and no longer accountable to the voters.
First President Obama said “the private sector is doing fine.” Then he lectured business owners, “you didn’t build that.” Now he wants to extend the government’s auto-industry takeover across the board. Mr. Obama simply cannot understand how the economy can function without government’s firm guiding hand.
At a campaign stop in Pueblo, Colo., on Wednesday, Mr. Obama touted the alleged success of his government-backed takeover of two-thirds of the domestic car business. “The American auto industry has come roaring back,” he said. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.”
The Obama administration ritually flaunts the General Motors bailout as its model of success, but “government motors” is actually a cautionary tale. The bailout cost taxpayers around $100 billion, which means the government coughed up around $780,000 for every American GM job that Mr. Obama claims he “saved.” The feds hold 500 million shares ofGM stock, which has plummeted almost 45 percent since its initial public offering.
Believing in GM’s resurgence is only possible through creative accounting. GM counts a car as “sold” when it arrives at a dealership, not when it is in the hands of a consumer. The increased “sales” the administration brags about are surplus cars sitting in dealer lots, a practice known as “channel stuffing.” In a healthy economy, dealers have approximately a two-month inventory on hand; GM now has over double that. So long as GM pumps out cars that are “bought” by dealers, Mr. Obama can continue to claim things are looking up. Of cars that are actually driven off the lot, many are being bought by the majority stockholder: the government. In June, government purchases of GMcars went up 79 percent. This is a Ponzi scheme, not an economy.