Posts Tagged ‘HHS’
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.
It’s been three years since Obamacare was rammed down our throats, and damage is already apparent, even before it is fully implemented.
Over one-third of the 9.1 million full-time jobs among America’s diverse business franchises could be cut back or eliminated by Obamacare as small businesses struggle to maintain profitability while coughing up money to pay for Washington-mandated health care coverage, according to the International Franchise Association.
John Merline at Investors Business Daily lists other nasty features that are finally coming to light:
Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.
“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.
And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.
Cost people their jobs. The Federal Reserve’s March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses “cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
Around the same time, Gallup reported a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.
Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.
Tax the middle class. IBD reported in February that much of the $800 billion in tax hikes imposed by ObamaCare will end up hitting the middle class, including $45 billion in mandate penalties, $19 billion raised by limiting medical expense deductions, $24 billion through strict limits on flexible spending accounts, plus another $5 billion because ObamaCare bans using FSAs to buy over-the-counter drugs.
Nanci Pelosi said we had to “pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”
Well, now we know what’s in it, thanks to a photo tweeted by Senator Mitch McConnell:
The stack of regulations is 7 feet tall…so far. The regulations are still being written by bureaucrats, who do not have to submit them for a vote by the people or their representatives.
Obamacare doing less for fewer and costing more
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We tried to warn you….
First on Obamacare’s hit list…children in poverty:
Come January, many children currently enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be compulsorily moved out of their current health plans and into state-run Medicaid plans – as a result of Obamacare.
During the 2012 election campaign, Democrats denied that ObamaCare made $716 billion in cuts to Medicare in order to provide funding toward $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years.
In an announcement on Friday, however, the Obama administration revealed that it would be significantly reducing funding for Medicare, a move that one health insurance analyst said “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.”
[...] Regarding the cuts, America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) president Karen Ignagni said, “Washington cannot tax and cut Medicare Advantage this much and not expect seniors to be harmed.”
Who’s pushing grandma off a cliff, again?
Young adults are not spared the bruising mandates of Obamacare, either:
Younger, healthier people, many of whom voted for Mr. Obama in droves, will see their insurance premiums climb sharply as Obamacare demands that insurers provide them with more medical coverage than they want or need.
[...] Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc. — the nation’s third-largest health insurance company — warned at the end of 2012 that Americans will face a “premium rate shock” when the president’s tidal wave of regulations kick in next year.
Mr. Bertolini predicts unsubsidized insurance premiums will shoot up by 20 percent to 50 percent, on average.
Those numbers may be just for the lucky ones. Some consumers will see their costs double. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,” Mr. Bertolini told Bloomberg News.
In less than a year, Americans will be hit with not only higher insurance premiums, but massive tax increases:
While much of the dialogue on healthcare reform centers on the federal mandate of health coverage for all Americans – which many conservatives call the largest tax increase in U.S history – less attention is being given to the massive sales tax increase on the purchase of health insurance also implicit within the legislation that will dramatically escalate costs for employers and consumers.
[T]he tax increases that remain on the books will cost taxpayers more than $675 billion over the next ten years. Chief among these will be the sales tax on the purchase of health insurance, totaling $101.7 billion, and making it larger than all the other industry-specific taxes combined.
“The health insurance tax will add a financial burden on families and small businesses at a time when they can least afford it, and it should be repealed, ” says AHIP, a trade association representing health insurance industry providers, in today’s call for the repeal of the health insurance tax before it can take affect.
The costs and regulations are so onerous, some insurance companies are already warning they may not participate in the state exchanges at all:
Last month, the CEO of the nation’s largest health insurance company warned that he and his peers may balk at participating in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — online, government-run portals where consumers and small businesses without conventional employer-sponsored coverage may shop for policies starting next year.
[...] That’s ominous news for Obamacare. If insurers don’t participate in the law’s exchanges, then consumers who had hoped to secure affordable coverage through the new marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices. Taxpayers could be hit hard, too, as higher premiums in the exchanges will require more public spending on subsidies.
Due to rising costs, many businesses and individuals may simply choose not to buy health insurance:
[A]s ObamaCare’s official launch date approaches, even its backers are beginning to admit that the law could actually create powerful incentives for millions of people and thousands of businesses to drop their coverage, despite the mandate.
[...] ”We are very concerned,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told federal health officials at a December meeting, “if there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all.”
The cause of this rate shock is simple: ObamaCare imposes what is called “community rating” on insurance companies, effectively forcing them to charge the young and healthy more so they can charge older and sicker consumers less.
[...] ObamaCare also forbids insurance companies from turning anyone down — a reform called “guaranteed issue” — which also will provide an incentive for some to drop coverage, knowing they can get it back any time.
“Even with the tax penalty … some healthy people would avoid purchasing coverage until they are sick,” Howard Shapiro, director of public policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, told regulators .
The problem is that if the young and healthy drop coverage, the result would be what the industry calls a “death spiral.” Premiums will climb as the pool of insured gets sicker, causing still more to cancel their policies.
Of course, the plan all along has been to bankrupt insurance companies and force the creation of a single-payer system.
Ask them if they care.
Obamacare Regs Slam Middle Class Families With Fines If They Can’t Afford Insurance, Cheapest Plan Will Be $20K Per Family
That “free” healthcare they shoved down our throats is going to come as a real punch to the gut for families like mine! Our budget is strapped enough as it is, and now we’ll be slammed with thousands of dollars in fines because we’ve chosen to cash pay our providers.
We haven’t been able to afford health insurance for the past three years. I’d like to just buy catastrophic coverage like you can for other insurance (car, home), but nooooo, you HAVE to buy comprehensive for stuff you don’t want (drug detox, psychotherapy, etc.) which is more than a mortgage payment, and you’re not allowed to shop across state lines for a better deal. They take away your choices and box you in until you have NO CHOICE but to go on a government plan. And that’s EXACTLY the agenda here – they want to bankrupt the insurance industry by taking away their customers and forcing everyone onto single-payer.
This HURTS poor and middle class families, and they don’t give a damn, because they want to force us all into government healthcare. It’s infuriating!
In new, final regulations issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said that parents must pay a federal fine under Obamacare if their children or dependent spouses are uninsured for any part of the year.
[I]f a child goes without government-defined health insurance coverage for any month of the year, their parent must pay a fine to the government, regardless of whether they claim the child as a dependent or not.
The only thing that matters to the IRS is whether the parent could claim the uninsured child as a dependent.
The same rule applies for an uninsured spouse if the couple files a single tax return. If they file a joint return, both parents are liable for the fine.
[...] Uninsured adult family members use the full per-person cost of $695 per person when calculating their penalty, while uninsured children are penalized half of the adult cost – $347.50 per child. The amount of penalty parents may face will change every year after 2016, the IRS said, and parents will face a phased-in penalty between 2014 and 2016.
For 2014, parents could face a penalty of either $47.50 per child – under 18 – up to $285 total.
For 2015, the per-child penalty is $162.50 per child up to $975 total.
For 2016, the per-child penalty is $347.50 per child up to $2,085 total.
The per-person penalty is capped at $2,085 for 2016, but that cap will rise with inflation every year thereafter.
While the per-person penalty is capped each year, families can still owe more if their income is high enough because the law states that families must pay the greater of either the per-person penalty of 2.5 percent of their taxable income.
What can you do to avoid the fines? Just put that $20,000 in extra cash you have laying around to good use:
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
For middle-class families that are barely making it right now, this is going to drive millions of them into poverty and forced dependence on the welfare state. It infuriates me how many Christians supported this travesty because they bought the lie that this is “compassion!”
They waited until after the election to allow the full impact to hit. Now people are about to discover “what’s in it.”
The White House issued new rules on Wednesday regarding the individual mandate requirements of Obamacare, stressing those that allow for exemptions from the requirement to buy insurance.
The new rules sought to play down the scope of Obamacare’s unpopular individual mandate requirement, The Hill reports.
The exceptions, detailed by the Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department, were included in regulations that also outlined the process by which the IRS will calculate penalties for not having insurance, The Hill reports.
The individual mandate requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay an IRS fine. It remains one of Obamacare’s most politically unpopular provisions — and it formed the basis of the case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
HHS called the individual mandate provision a system of “shared responsibility” payments.
But the penalty for not having insurance “applies only to the limited group of taxpayers who choose to spend a substantial period of time without coverage despite having ready access to affordable coverage,” the agency said in a fact sheet provided to The Hill.
Who decides what is “ready access to affordable coverage?” Bureaucrats, of course! Busybodies who decide whether or not health insurance is “affordable” for your budget, no matter what other demands you may have on it.
What if that “affordable coverage” includes something that violates your faith, like abortion? Tough luck, honey! You’ll be forced to buy it against your conscience, because Washington has decided that your “right” to “free” healthcare supersedes your unalienable 1st Amendment rights.
Of course, the central planners aren’t as perfect and omniscient as they think they are, and already a huge “glitch” has appeared:
Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.
As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
“This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”
But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.
The affordability glitch is one of a series of problems coming into sharper focus as the law moves to full implementation.
They’ve been waiting to unleash the monster until after the election, so voters wouldn’t have a chance to feel the impact until it was too late to change their vote.
The bottled-up rules to set up President Barack Obama’s health care reform law are going to start flowing quickly right after Election Day.
But how long will that last? That depends on who wins the presidency.
The once-steady stream of regulations and rules from the Obama administration — instructions for insurance companies, hospitals and states on how to put the law in place — has slowed to a trickle in recent months in an attempt to avoid controversies before the election. Many states, too, have done little public work to avoid making the law an election issue for state officials on the ballot.
But work has been going on behind the scenes — both in the Department of Health and Human Services and at the state level. As soon as Wednesday, the gears and levers of government bureaucracy are likely to start moving at full speed again.
HHS is expected to begin to release the backlog of regulations. And the states will quickly face a Nov. 16 deadline to tell the Obama administration whether they’ll implement a health insurance exchange — a key part of the law about where consumers will purchase health insurance after 2014.
If Obama wins, that work is likely to continue through the early years of his second term. Democrats will want the law put in place as quickly as possible. They face a late 2013 deadline to have the exchanges ready to go.
And if Romney wins, the need to get the rules out may become even more urgent for Democrats. Any rules or regulations that are not final by Nov. 22 — 60 days before Romney would be sworn in — can be easily put on hold on Jan. 20.
That means the Obama administration would have a huge incentive to have as much of the health law as possible in “final” rule form within two weeks of a Romney victory. Rules and regulations that aren’t final can be more easily changed than those that are.
H/T Weasel Zippers
Tyndale Bible Publishers Forced To File Lawsuit Against HHS Mandate To Protect Their Religious Liberties
One of the nation’s largest Bible publishers is being forced to file a lawsuit against the HHS contraception mandate or go out of business, since HHS doesn’t consider companies like his “religious” enough to qualify for an exemption.
I never thought I would live to see the day when an American citizen would need an exemption in order to avoid being penalized by a law that forces them to violate their conscience.
‘Tyndale was left with no alternative but to go to court,” explains Mark D. Taylor, president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers. On the day before the first presidential debate, the company, which Taylor’s parents started when he was eleven years old, filed the 31st lawsuit over the Department of Health and Human Services’ abortion-drug, sterilization, and contraception mandate.
Tyndale publishes Bibles. But that doesn’t make it a religious endeavor. Not in the federal government’s book. Not as of August 1, anyway. That was the day that the HHS mandate — a regulation further defining the health-care legislation that then–Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was right to tell us Congress would be passing before anyone knew what it actually contained — went into effect. Family businesses like Tyndale — which happen to be run by religious folk who want to live their lives true to what they believe — don’t qualify for any kind of “accommodation” or exemption.
“The law does not give any religious-freedom exemption to faith-based operations like Tyndale,” Taylor, who is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, points out. “Instead, it imposes crushing fines on employers who are doing nothing more than following their consciences against abortion-inducing pills. The government is supposed to promote conscience protection, not attack it. The best solution is for Congress or the administration to respect the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by eliminating the abortion-pill mandate. But if they refuse to do their duty, we hope the courts will rule that the mandate is unlawful.”
Tyndale’s president, Mark Taylor, expounds on his reasons for taking up this fight at World Magazine:
I’ve always thought—in a theoretical way—that I might someday face a situation where the government was asking or telling me to do something that was counter to God’s law as I understood it. If such a situation arose, I hoped I would have the backbone to stand tall and disobey the government mandate. Well, that day seems to have come.
[...] The federal government is telling us to violate our conscience or pay fines that would put us out of business.
So we have joined a growing list of Christian organizations—both nonprofit and for-profit—who have filed lawsuits against the HHS mandate. Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in religious freedom issues, represents us. We hope and pray we will get relief from the judicial system.
The day after we filed the lawsuit, the daily reading from The One Year Bibleincluded the first chapter of Jeremiah and these verses:
“The LORD gave me this message: ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations’” (Jeremiah 1:4-5, NLT).
How’s that for biblical confirmation that the unborn baby is important in the eyes of God! After reading that passage, I felt confirmed in my responsibility to stand up against a government that is trampling on my religious liberty. May God be merciful to all of us.
HHS Mandate Takes Effect, Struggling Business Owners Hit With Fines Violating Their Religious Freedom
ObamaCare Mandate Is Worse Than You Think
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Starting today, businesses will be fined $100 per employee per day to not violate their conscience. For a business like Hercules with 265 employees, the fine will amount to $26,500 PER DAY…essentially bankrupting them.
Yesterday, on the eve of its religious-liberty-crushing mandate taking effect, President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) made an outrageous claim:
The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.
Religious liberty is a fundamental right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution, not a mere “value” whose worth is subject to devaluation by any given Administration’s policy. Regrettably, devaluation of this first principle is exactly what we’ve seen from the Obama Administration, which after a year of such lip service to religious liberty has held firmly to its original mandate despite widespread, intense, and ecumenical outcry against it.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s latest promise rings hollow and adds insult to the grievous injury that HHS is already doing to Americans who believe that religious liberty is not something that stops when one leaves a house of worship.
The anti-conscience HHS mandate is now in effect.
What happens starting today?
Today signals the beginning of a season of impossible decisions for employers who, for reasons of conscience, have not been paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization for their employees. Employers are now required to offer these services for “free”—meaning the employers pick up the cost of including these services in their health insurance plans. At the renewal of their health plan years, the HHS mandate will force employers into an untenable choice: violate their deeply held beliefs or forfeit the provision of health insurance altogether and risk steep fines.
Who are these victims of Obamacare’s trampling on faith? Family business owners who are producing jobs and growing the economy, Catholic social organizations that provide invaluable services to their communities, and evangelical colleges and universities educating the next generation, to name just a few. The Obama Administration says that business owners’ rights to religious freedom shouldn’t cross into their everyday lives, claiming that “for-profit, secular employers generally do not engage in any exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment.”
If employers don’t comply, what happens to them?
If employers don’t change their plans, they will be hit with fines—up to $100 per employee per day. But if they stop providing health coverage, Obamacare’s double whammy means that employers with more than 50 employees could instead be hit with fines for that.
For many, the level of these fines would mean going out of business. Applying the $100 per employee per day fine to Hercules Industries, for example—the family-owned business with 265 employees that is challenging the mandate in Colorado—would mean a fine of $800,000 per month—almost $10 million per year.
If Hercules were to drop its health coverage, forcing its employees into government-run exchanges under Obamacare, it would face a fine on faith of approximately $2,000 per employee per year, for a total of $530,000 per year.
What about the Administration’s “safe harbor” promised to delay the mandate’s effects?
The Administration gave a very narrow exemption from the mandate to religious houses of worship serving their own members. Among the many employers who do not meet the Administration’s narrow religious exemption, some may be able to get a one-year reprieve from the HHS mandate under the Administration’s “temporary safe-harbor” provision. Non-profit religious employers are eligible for the safe harbor only if they meet the Administration’s four-part test.
Even then, the temporary safe harbor only delays the inevitable, merely giving religious employers an extra 12 months to silence their consciences and get in line with the government’s mandate. Many religious employers and all for-profit employers do not qualify for the safe harbor and are subject to the HHS mandate starting today.
Is anyone still challenging this?
This fight is far from over. Almost 60 organizations have joined more than 20 lawsuits against the HHS mandate, including both for-profit and non-profit employers.
The first legal decision came just last Friday when a judge in Colorado issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate. The mandate will not be enforced against family-owned Hercules Industries while it has a fair hearing on the issue in court.
Is this the last of Obamacare’s mandates?
This is only the beginning of the problems that Americans will continue to see as Obamacare’s mandatory “essential benefits” package takes shape. Obamacare gave enormous power to the HHS to craft the rules of the 2,700-page health care law, and we still don’t know very many details of how it will be implemented. Conveniently, many of Obamacare’s new rules and new taxes don’t hit Americans until well after the presidential election, in 2014.
The anti-conscience mandate is a warning sign for us all of how one-size-fits-all health care requirements will trample on religious liberty as well as individual liberty. Centralization of health care is simply incompatible with freedom—religious freedom or any type of individual freedom. The only way to restore our liberties is to repeal Obamacare.
It’s a small step in the right direction!
A federal judge has given a Catholic family business a temporary injunction against the HHS mandate, exempting that family from providing no-cost contraception, sterilization, or abortifacient medicines in its employees’ health care plans.
The Newlands, a Catholic family, argued that the controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act violated their First Amendment rights by forcing them to purchase something that violates their consciences.
Attorneys for the Obama administration justified the mandate as part of the fight for sexual equality, arguing it was a necessary part of “improving the health of women and children…so that women who choose to do so can be part of the workforce on an equal playing field with men.”
But Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District of Colorado ruled on Friday that the government’s interests, which he called into question, “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.”
Judge Kane ruled that the plaintiffs could prevail on the grounds of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act alone. That law states the government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless it is to further “a compelling governmental interest” and it uses “the least restrictive means” possible to implement the law.
Judge Kane, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, instructed the Obama administration it must “demonstrate that there are no feasible less-restrictive alternatives.”
“The government need not tilt at windmills; it need only refute alternatives proposed by Plaintiffs,” he wrote in his decision.
He declined to comment on the ADF’s constitutional arguments altogether.
The Newlands own Hercules Industries, a heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) manufacturer founded in 1962. The Denver-based HVAC company now employs 265 people, and their business practices reflect their Catholic beliefs.
“The cost of freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple their business if the Obama administration ultimately has its way,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly “Alliance Defense Fund”) Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who represented the family inNewland v. Sebelius.
It is significant that Hercules Industries is a private employer. This winter the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate narrowly voted down the Blunt Amendment, which would have respected the religious liberties of private business owners.
According to the Obama administration, business owners forfeit their 1st Amendment rights the moment they leave the house and go to work.
This is what liberal “tolerance” looks like: follow their ideological orthodoxy, or find your basic unalienable rights stripped away.
The Justice Department last week presented the Newland family of Colorado–who own Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business–with what amounted to an ultimatum: Give up your religion or your business.
“Hercules Industries has ‘made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business,” the Justice Department said in a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
In response to the Justice Department’s argument that the Newlands can either give up practicing their religion or give up owning their business, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the family, said in a reply brief: “[T]o the extent the government is arguing that its mandate does not really burden the Newlands because they are free to abandon their jobs, their livelihoods, and their property so that others can take over Hercules and comply, this expulsion from business would be an extreme form of government burden.”
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its mandate that individuals must buy health insurance, this suit which seeks to protect a small business from being forced to take actions that violate the moral and religious beliefs of the family that owns it is likely to be the next major court battle over Obamacare.
At stake is whether businesses are protected by the First Amendment—the part of the Bill of Rights that guarantees not only the free exercise of religion but also freedom of speech and of the press.
[...] In their complaint against the Obama administration, which was prepared by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Newlands clearly explained why they could not comply with Sebelius’s regulation without violating their religious faith.
“The Newlands sincerely believe that the Catholic faith does not allow them to violate Catholic religious and moral teachings in their decisions operating Hercules Industries,” says the complaint. “They believe that according to the Catholic faith their operation of Hercules must be guided by ethical social principles and Catholic religious and moral teachings, that the adherence of their business practice according to such Catholic ethics and religious and moral teachings is a genuine calling from God, that their Catholic faith prohibits them to sever their religious beliefs from their daily business practice, and that their Catholic faith requires them to integrate the gifts of the spiritual life, the virtues, morals, and ethical social principles of Catholic teaching into their life and work.”
“The Catholic Church teaches that abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils,” says the complaint. “As a matter of religious faith the Newlands believe that those Catholic teachings are among the religious ethical teachings they must follow throughout their lives including in their business practice.”
The Justice Department responded by arguing that if the Newlands’ Roman Catholic faith prevented them from following the Obama administration’s command that they provide their employees with cost-sharing-free coverage for sterilizations, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, the Newlands could simply give up their business entirely.
The Justice Department further argued that people owning for-profit secular businesses do not have a First Amendment right to the free exercise religion in the way they conduct their businesses—particularly if their business is incorporated.
With freedom comes responsibility. Women who want contraceptives are free to go out and buy them or choose an insurance company who covers them. We do NOT have a right to force others to provide products and services against their conscience.
Fresh off his Supreme Court health care win, President Barack Obama isn’t backing down — particularly when it comes to the controversial contraceptive mandate. On Monday, he was interviewed by local news anchors from eight television markets across America. During a discussion with WWL-TV in New Orleans, he doubled-down on his stance on the mandate.
[...] Here’s how the dialogue unfolded when it came to contraception, as documented by Mediaite:
…WWL’s Karen Swenson brought along some questions from her viewers, as well.
“(Viewer Michael Varino) describes himself as a Catholic voter and wrote ‘What can you say about a healthcare bill that’ll mandate insurance companies to provide birth control, sterilization, etc. to employees of Catholic universities, hospitals and churches since this goes against the Catholic religion?’” Swenson said. “We know there is compromising language in place. Some say it doesn’t go far enough and that the real, the much bigger issue is religious liberty, not contraception.”
“Yeah. Well it’s absolutely true that religious liberty is critical,” the President replied, before correcting a falsehood that was embedded in the question. “That’s the reason why we exempted churches, we exempted religious institutions.
Obama went on to say that large, religiously-affiliated hospitals or universities that employ non-Catholics and that receive federal money should be covering contraception. He called the notion that a woman would be faced with bearing “the burden and the cost” simply unjust. “That’s not fair, Obama proclaimed.”
Anybody with two quarters and a gas station, drug store or grocery store within walking distance has access to birth control. If you want it so badly, PAY FOR IT YOURSELF! That’s what FREE and RESPONSIBLE people do!
Report: Bureaucrats Have Already Drafted 1,300 Pages Of Regulations For Obamacare…And They’re Not Finished
This is what out-of-control government bureaucracy looks like.
Like King George III, ObamaCare has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of IRS agents and regulators to harass our people and eat out their substance. A second revolution is needed.
We paraphrase these words from the Declaration of Independence as a reminder of what spawned this country’s independence — an oppressive governance that would give rise to the original Tea Party in Boston — and as a reminder of President Reagan’s dictum that the demise of the liberty we fought for and cherish is never more than a generation away.
The price of liberty today is eternal vigilance and the oppressiveness of ObamaCare, which got a stay of execution from the Supreme Court, is proving every day that the devil is indeed in the details. The individual mandate, ruled a constitutional tax, is only a part of the regulatory and tax iceberg we’re about to hit.
The Health and Human Services Department “was given a billion dollars (of) implementation money,” Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana notes. “That money is gone already on additional bureaucrats and (information technology) programs, computerization for the implementation.”
ObamaCare, the legislation that replaced the “We the People” of the Constitution with the insidious phrase, “the Secretary shall determine,” which appears in the bill a mind-boggling 1,563 times, is still being written.
“There’s already 13,000 pages of regulations, and they’re not even done yet,” says Rehberg.
The Orwellian-named Affordable Health Care Act is a “delegation of extensive authority from Congress to the Department of Health and Human Services and a lot of boards and commissions and bureaus throughout the bureaucracy,” adds Matt Spalding of the Heritage Foundation. “We counted about 180 or so.”
Seriously? The dangerous signs they’re getting from the attacks on religious liberty by the Obama administration aren’t setting off enough warning bells?
Charity is a Biblical command to the individual, the family, and the church – NOT the state. The church needs to recognize the distinction and reject ALL forms of Socialism as patently unscriptural.
Despite the tribulations the American Catholic Church has been suffering with the Obama administration, the Vatican continues to pursue government-enforced universal healthcare. Its ambassador to the United Nations recently issued a statement encouraging all member nations to move toward a system of universal healthcare, implemented by government.
The Vatican said the Catholic Church is “committed to universal healthcare coverage” in a release Thursday that described a speech by one of its leaders before the World Health Assembly.
Archbishop Zygmunt Zimoski told the meeting in Geneva on Wednesday that the Vatican supports Resolution WHA64.9, a measure that would urge countries to “plan the transition of their health systems to universal coverage.”
“My delegation strongly believes that … fundamental values such as equity, human rights and social justice need to become explicit policy objectives,” Zimoski said.
Unfortunately, the Church keeps turning to the public option to fulfill its social justice mission — but that’s exactly what got it into the contraception coverage mess.
Good for them! It’s about time they fought back instead of just closing their doors!
Some of the most influential Catholic institutions in the country filed suit against the Obama administration Monday over the so-called contraception mandate, in one of the biggest coordinated legal challenges to the rule to date.
Claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance,” a total of 43 plaintiffs filed a dozen separate federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the requirement. Among the organizations filing were the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and The Catholic University of America.
The groups are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months ago softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.
A statement from the University of Notre Dame said the requirement would still call on religious-affiliated groups to “facilitate” coverage “for services that violate the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
“The federal mandate requires Notre Dame and similar religious organizations to provide in their insurance plans abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching,” the statement said.
Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, said in a message to the campus that the filing “is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives.”