In a Constitution Subcommittee hearing, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) questioned Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Perez, over the Administration’s commitment to 1st Amendment rights. Franks’ questions were prompted by a Daily Caller article from late last year in which Perez was quoted as warmly embracing the proposals of Islamist advocates in a meeting at George Washington University, among them a request for “a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.”
Perez reportedly ended the meeting with an enthusiastic closing speech and was quoted as saying, “I sat here the entire time, taking notes…I have some very concrete thoughts … in the aftermath of this.”
In yesterday’s hearing, Chairman Franks asked Perez to affirm that the Administration would “never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” Perez refused.
By Steven Ertelt
A federal court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.
The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business.
The decision only applies to the company, and the court emphasized the ruling did not apply nationwide.
Since Hercules Industries would be required to begin offering the new coverage when its self-insured plan renews on November 1, Alliance Defending Freedom has requested a preliminary injunction that could prevent the government from enforcing the mandate against the company by August 1, the date when the company would need to begin the process of making changes to its plan.
As is the case with many religious groups or employers, the mandate could subject the Newlands to millions of dollars in fines per year if they don’t abide by its requirements.
“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman after the decision.
Bowman added, “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. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living. Americans don’t want politicians and bureaucrats deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”
The pro-abortion ACLU has criticized the ruling, saying, “This is not religious freedom, this is discrimination. Real religious liberty gives everyone the right to make their own decisions about their own health, including whether and when to use birth control. It doesn’t give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others.”
But the The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, also a pro-life legal group involved in the case, says the decision could spell the eventual overturning of the mandate itself.
“Judge Kane’s ruling today in favor of a religious for-profit plaintiff challenging the coercive HHS mandate got the law right. Religious liberty rights don’t stop at the store-front door,” said Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “This decision portends the demise of the current Administration’s attempts to drive religious activity from the public square and confine it within the four walls of a church.”
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty led the charge filing the first lawsuits against the HHS mandate representing five clients: Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Ave Maria University, and Wheaton College. There are currently over 20 lawsuits pending around the country against the HHS mandate.
In his order, Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado said that the government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion. As the Tenth Circuit has noted, ‘there is a strong public interest in the free exercise of religion even where that interest may conflict with [another statutory scheme]….’ Accordingly, the public interest favors entry of an injunction in this case.”
Bowman said Judge Kane explained that the government’s “harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights.”
According to the brief Alliance Defending Freedom filed along with the motion requesting the injunction, “the mandate disregards religious conscience rights that are enshrined in federal statutory and constitutional law.” It also violates the First Amendment “due to its massive inapplicability and its discrimination among religions,” the brief explains.
Federal judges have dismissed two other lawsuits filed against the mandate.
In the second case, Judge James E. Boasberg of the D.C. Federal Court threw out the lawsuit Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, the first plaintiff to file suit against the mandate, filed earlier this year. Judge Boasberg said he dismissed the lawsuit because the Obama administration is revising the initial rule it release forcing religious groups to pay for the drugs that violate their conscience and beliefs.
He wrote that he favored “deferring review until the agency’s position on exemptions to the contraceptive-coverage requirement is settled.”
After the first case was dismissed, Kyle Duncan, general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, attorneys for plaintiffs, said the decision turns on technicalities and doesn’t decide the merits of the dispute.
Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic university, said before the decision he thought the Obama administrations argument will not stand up in court.
“It doesn’t argue that the mandate is legal; it doesn’t argue that the mandate is constitutional,” Goodrich said. “Instead, it begs the court to ignore the lawsuit because the government plans to change the mandate at some unspecified date in the future.”
“Apparently, the administration has decided that the mandate, as written and finalized, is constitutionally indefensible,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty “Its only hope is to ask the court to look the other way based on an empty promise to possibly change the rules in the future.”
In its legal papers, the Obama administration did not defend the constitutionality of the mandate, but said the lawsuit should be thrown out because the administration plans to revise the mandate to make it on insurance companies to pay for coverage rather than employers, who will still have to make referrals.
Obama’s February 10 “accommodation” came under increasing fire on numerous fronts. A diverse coalition of over 300 scholars and religious leaders have called the maneuver “unacceptable,” because it still forces many religious organizations to violate their core religious beliefs. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also denounced it.
The panel that put together the mandate has been condemned for only having pro-abortion members even though polling shows Americans are opposed to the mandate.
By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Though it would seem that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s opinion that marriage is an institution between one man and one woman is protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment, mayors in three cities have vowed to punish this heresy.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he “will do everything in my power to prevent such a vile establishment from setting up shop in my city. Mr. Cathy’s values are not Chicago’s values.”
In addition to Cathy’s views on marriage, Emanuel also found the restaurant’s policy of closing on Sunday’s problematic, calling it “an unacceptable ‘holier than thou attitude.’ People need to eat on Sundays. Restaurants should be open to serve them. Besides, Sundays aren’t sacred to other religions. Jews revere Saturdays, Muslims Fridays. By setting aside only Sundays, Mr. Cathy is discriminating against other faiths.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee warned the restaurant to “not even think about trying to open an outlet in our city.” Lee rebuffed criticism that penalizing a business for exercising freedom of speech was beyond his authority. “The Constitution says Congress shall make no law prohibiting freedom of speech,” Lee pointed out. “It doesn’t say anything about mayors or city councils taking action to prevent the spread of heinous beliefs.”
Boston Mayor Tom Menino backed off from his promise to block any Chick-fil-A franchises from setting up shop in the city. “It appears that I have no say over who can and can’t operate a business here,” Menino acknowledged. “However, it appears we can regulate businesses. Let’s see how these purveyors of hate like having city inspectors hound them on a daily basis.”
Menino’s strong stance against Chick-fil-A is a stark contrast to his assisting the Islamic Society of Boston’s establishment of a mosque in the city. This came despite the Islamic Society of Boston’s Imam Yusef al-Qaradawi’s insistence that homosexuals be put to death. “That’s a freedom of religion issue,” Menino said. “As I understand it, the Quran explicitly commands that homosexuals be put to death. There is no language in the Christian Bible that explicitly says they can’t marry. Anyway, Chick-fil-A is a business, not a church. It has no freedom of speech or religion rights per se.”
In related news, the US Department of Justice rejected Hercules Industries objections to being forced to cover abortions in the company’s self-insurance plan. “Freedom of religion is an individual right, not a business right,” the DOJ wrote in its decision. “The business owners may choose to believe whatever they want, but as a business they must comply with the rules laid out by the Department of Health and Human Services. If the business owners feel these rules violate their beliefs they always have the option of exiting the market.”
Mainstream Media Accepts Government’s Right to Censor News
A recent New York Times article admitted that it, along with other major “news” outlets, allows the White House to censor what it publishes. The basic protocol is for the media to submit a draft of a proposed piece to the White House for review prior to publication. The White House then edits the piece and returns it.
“It can be irksome at times,” Times reporter Jeremy Peters admitted. “But what choice do we have? If we don’t cooperate we’ll be cut off from access. And for what? It’s not as if we aren’t 100% behind the Administration on virtually ever issue. It’s better to think of it as the kind of guidance a child gets from a parent. We may not like it, but in the long run we realize it’s in our best interest.”
Axelrod Decries GOP Negative Campaign
Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod accused the GOP of running ads that “cast a negative pall over the campaign.” Axelrod said he had a particular beef over the use of the “you didn’t build that” quote.
“The GOP is playing on the egotism and greed of every small businessman in America,” Axelrod complained. “These self-centered twits congratulate themselves on their brilliance and hard work, but the fact of the matter is that the President is right on this issue.”
“The business owner may think ‘I took the risk,’ or ‘I put in the 14-hour days’ and conclude that he deserves the profit,” Axelrod elaborated. “What he overlooks is that the government allows him the freedom to take risk and to work hard when it could just as easily take everything he has, as many governments throughout history have done. Every atom used by every business was in existence long before it opened its doors. Therefore, everything a business makes is built from the common inheritance of humankind. All the President is trying to do is ensure that the benefits of this common inheritance are fairly distributed.”
Axelrod dismissed recent polls showing that business owners prefer Romney to Obama by a two-to-one margin. “Romney may capture the constituency of the greedy, but we’re far ahead with the constituency of the needy,” he boasted. “Our figures show that among the far larger cohort of those on food stamps the President enjoys a ten-to-one margin of support.”
Pelosi Says Pope Unqualified to Have an Opinion on Abortion
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) demanded that Pope Benedict XVI “stop meddling in America’s health care debate.”
“It’s a question of experience and perspective,” Pelosi asserted. “I’ve had five children. I know what it’s like to bring a child into the world. And so has every woman who’s given birth. It’s pure Hell.”
“On the other hand, there’s never been a female Pope,” Pelosi pointed out. “No Pope has every had to suffer the pains of child birth. So, with the Pope lacking this crucial life experience, why should we consider his views on abortion sacrosanct when it is quite clear that he doesn’t have the qualifications to hold a meaningful opinion?”
In Pelosi’s view, “the decision on whether health insurance should be required to cover abortions is one that ought to be reserved to those capable of appreciating its impact. To paraphrase one of our greatest presidents, it should be a the decision of the women, by the women, and for the women.”
Administration Defends Siccing Auditors on Political Opponents
Reports that Romney donors may be subject to special audits by federal agencies were brushed off as “no big deal” by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this past week. One targeted businessman, Frank VanderSloot, says that since donating a million dollars to presidential candidate Mitt Romney he has been notified by both the IRS and the Department of Labor that they will be looking into his records.
“I don’t know what VanderSloot is so worked up about,” Geithner said. “Using federal agencies to put some heat on those opposing the President has a long tradition in American politics. FDR did it. LBJ did it. Nixon did it. You can’t blame President Obama for exploiting every asset he has to protect himself from his enemies.”
VanderSloot’s confidence that his company will pass the audits didn’t faze Geithner. “Either way, he still has to endure the burdens of compliance,” Geithner observed. “That’s extra time and money coming out of his pocket. It also serves as an example to others who might be contemplating aligning themselves with those trying to oust the President from office.”
Massacre Spawns Demands for Gun Control
The massacre of a dozen movie-goers in Colorado has sparked another spate of liberal demands for gun control.
University of Colorado Professor Chad Kautzer has launched an online petition aimed at banning “concealed carry laws.” While acknowledging that such a ban might not have stopped James Holmes from shooting 70 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Kautzer insisted that “the ability to add an illegal possession of a firearm charge to the list of offenses for which he will be prosecuted would have a deterrent effect.”
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that police should go on strike until everyone in America surrenders their guns to the government. “Atrocities like this wouldn’t happen if the police were the only ones that had guns,” Bloomberg argued. “I know some will characterize that as a veritable ‘police state,’ but you have to admit that police states don’t suffer from these kinds of crimes.”
Democrats Vote against Bill They Sponsored
Eight Democratic co-sponsors of the “Audit the Fed” bill ended up voting against the measure. The unusual move was explained by Representative Pete Stark (D-Calif): “Look, this bill was Ron Paul’s idea. We never expected the GOP leadership to allow it to come to a vote. I mean, it’s one thing to try to pose as a champion of open government. It’s another thing entirely to actually implement it.”
President Gains Another Endorsement
Ailing Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez urged American voters to reelect President Obama. “After all I’ve been through with the cancer and chemo, it would really give me a boost to see this great man reelected,” Chavez said. “”It’s also the only way to ensure that America’s march toward a truly progressive future remains uninterrupted.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and do not change the context. Thank you.
We wonder if folks are just plain tired of President Obama and all his scandals and lies. He commits more of them than most people can keep track of.
Are the voters just fatigued with it all and anxious to vote him out in November and be done with him?
That’s the way it looks.
Seldom has there ever been a more flawed presidential candidate, or a worse performance by a first-term president. David Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and others have written incredibly detailed books exposing his corruption and weaknesses.
Most of Obama’s statements are downright lies. Whatever he says … believe the opposite and you’ll find the truth.
It’s all too much for the average person to keep up with or to keep up the heat and the opposition.
At least Mitt Romney has been gaining ground and putting some distance between himself and Obama this past week. If only the election were today and we could send Obama on his merry way out of Washington. Out of our lives. Out of our pocketbooks. Out of our personal affairs.
One thing is for sure. The Democrats are going to cheat like never before to try to steal this election. Watch out, battleground states, you’ll have plenty of political hanky panky going on in your respective back yards.
Obama is the most anti-business president we have ever had. His harsh HHS mandate could put countless employers out of business and swell the employment lines with the resulting net job loss. And where is the Left-Stream Media? Worrying about Ann Romney’s horsemanship. We could face the mother of all depressions if Obama survives November and the HHS mandates survive dozens of court challenges.
We know you’re all tired of it all. But we’ve got 3 months to go. This is gut-check time. Pour it on! Spread the truth and keep up the heat on this failed, flawed president. We can’t let him get away with Fast & Furious, his other scandals and the risk of economic disaster. Get the job done! Quit quibbling about Romney; get behind him and save us. Save the free enterprise system!
Declare your independence from socialism and rid it from our sight.
State Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) announces on Facebook a peaceful resolution with State Senate candidate Rich Crandell, who previously threatened her future education legislation and who made up a story about his daughter being harassed by the Bartons:
“I am pleased to tell you that earlier this week I received a sincere apology from Sen. Rich Crandall and, I have accepted it with the spirit in which it was offered.”
The Arizona Conservative is endorsing Rep. John Fillmore over Crandell in the Legislative District 16 Senate race.
By Steve Ertelt
Arizona residents must continue having their taxpayer funds going to the Planned Parenthood abortion business while the lawsuit it filed earlier this week continues. In order to defend the law, the state needs a few weeks to compile its defense and attorneys for the state and abortion business agreed with the judge to allow that and to give Planned Parenthood time to respond.
According to one news report, “David Cole, the state’s solicitor general, told U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake on Thursday that the state wants more time to respond to the lawsuit by Planned Parenthood challenging HB 2800. More to the point, Cole said having to respond before Aug. 2, the day the law is set to take effect, would create difficulties. Attorney Daniel Pasternak who is representing Planned Parenthood said he has no problem with giving the state more time — as long as his client was not harmed in the interim.”
“So the attorneys worked out a schedule where Arizona gets until the end of August to file its response, with Planned Parenthood then given three more weeks to respond. Wake will then hear arguments on Oct. 5,” the newspaper continued.
That means taxpayer funds will continue to flow through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, to the abortion business until further notice.
The Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act of Arizona (HB 2800) de-funded abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood of state family planning money. The bill is based on model legislation developed by the SBA List and the Alliance Defending Freedom, and prioritizes family planning funds away from abortion-centered businesses like Planned Parenthood to entities that provide women with comprehensive health care.
The measure prohibits the state or any local government from using public money to contract with an organization that includes abortions.
The Susan B. Anthony List slammed the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, seeking to block the state of Arizona from enacting the law.
“Arizona taxpayers have spoken through their elected representatives – they do not want their tax dollars going to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which performs more than 330,000 abortions a year,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act is pro-woman legislation that recognizes that women deserve access to comprehensive health care, not abortion. We are confident that the will of the people not to fund the abortion industry will prevail in court.”
Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom Steven Aden added: “The precious tax dollars of the people of Arizona should not be funneled to abortionists, especially during tough economic times. The members of the Arizona Legislature have worded a bill that allows them to be good stewards of the people’s money in this regard. It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood would oppose that in light of their ongoing thirst for taxpayer dollars.”
When she signed the bill into law, Brewer said in a statement: “This is a common-sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly. By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion.”
Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, was upset by the signing of the bill to get the state out of funding the abortion business. He was upset that brewer signed the bill at an event sponsored by a pro-life women’s group, the Susan B. Anthony List.
“I think it’s also instructive that the place that the governor would sign this is at a political rally — it might be an elegant political rally, but it is a 100 percent political event, and that speaks volumes about what this legislation was about from day one,” he said.
In 2011, eight states successfully defunded Planned Parenthood of more than $61.7 million — including Texas, New Hampshire, and Indiana. Ohio, Iowa, and Oklahoma have taken on Planned Parenthood’s tax funding, in addition to Arizona, this year.
Today’s horrific murders in Colorado can be described more accurately as a cultural issue than political.
But that hasn’t stopped the left-stream media — namely ABC News — from rushing to judgement and mistakenly fingering the killer as a member of the Tea Party. Even the left-wing Huffington Post criticized ABC for that mean-spirited blunder. Another man by the same name is actually a Tea Party member — not the Colorado killer.
Our nation is suffering from a severe cultural deficiency: a disrespect for human life, which has been cheapened by schools and colleges, the media, and by government.
Human life must be protected from conception to natural death. We must teach people from early ages on that life is precious. We must shift our nation from a culture of death to a culture of life.
No one is guaranteed a perfect or pain-free life, and no one has a moral right to take life from others, whether they are healthy movie-goers, preborn children, or disabled persons. All are made in God’s image and deserve the right to live.
The coverup is often worse than the original crime.
You can’t ask the late President Richard Nixon if that’s true. But you can ask Arizona State Senator Rich Crandall (Republican-Mesa).
Crandall’s daughter was caught red-handed taking down the campaign sign of his August primary opponent, conservative John Fillmore, in Mesa last Thursday. State Rep. Brenda Barton (Republican-Payson) was driving through an intersection on her way back from a doctor’s appointment with her husband Bruce when they spotted the illegal removal of the Fillmore sign. They pulled up to speak with Crandall’s daughter and her female friend, informing them of the improper activity they were involved in. The women put the Fillmore sign back up, and the Bartons left the scene. Bruce Barton captured photos at the scene.
But then Crandall phoned Rep. Barton and, as Rep. Barton explains:
Within minutes Senator Crandall phoned me on my cell and inquired, “… are you driving around East Mesa today?” His demeanor was quite friendly and after some small talk he inquired as to the signs repeating the story the young woman had told me earlier. I informed him that he should take the matter up with Representative Fillmore. He made some more small talk about my election and the health of a mutual acquaintance and the conversation ended. I found this unusual since I had not identified myself by name to the two young women. I thought nothing more of this incident.
Rep. Barton said later that afternoon she returned a call to a reporter from the Capitol Times, who had phoned her to inquire about “…that sign issue between Fillmore and Crandall.” Crandall was quoted lying to the Arizona Capitol Times, fabricating falsehoods.
I learned through this interview that Senator Crandall had alleged I had “abused his daughter … sworn, shouted and cursed” at his daughter (I did not know one of the young women was his daughter) and alleged that I had been following them that day and it was a “set up.” Let me assure you, those who have known me at the Capitol are well aware that yelling, shouting, swearing and cursing are not part of my behavior or social style. Besides, why would anyone yell at or curse these two young women who were obviously only following someone’s instructions?
During a Phoenix press conference today, Rep. Barton explained that she followed up with a phone call to Senator Crandall and left him a voicemail stating “his allegations were patently false and that I wished for a public retraction and apology.”
Sen. Crandall followed up by leaving Rep. Barton a disturbing and angry, threatening voicemail of his own, audible below:
Crandall is chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Rep. Barton is vice-chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. The coercive threat was clear, and Rep. Barton today announced plans to file an Ethics Complaint in about two days, with the Senate Secretary requesting a hearing of the Senate Ethics Committee to determine if Senator Crandall violated rules of disorderly conduct or any other ethics category. Furthermore, she said:
Ladies and gentlemen, the bottom line is twofold: A member of the Arizona Senate and Chairman of the Education Committee should not put petty revenge above the good of the people by killing potentially good legislation for Arizona’s school children. Education is a cause Senator Crandall professes to champion and yet he clearly demonstrated that it goes under the bus when it comes to settling his personal scores and that he’ll use his position of trust to do just that. This alone should grounds for his dismissal from Chairmanship of any Committee. Instructing his daughter to commit an infraction of the law and then using his position to make threats, bully and thwart good legislation is clearly behavior not to be tolerated in the Arizona Legislature. This is no longer an issue over sign placement. This is not about a dad defending his daughter. Senator Crandell in his own words told his daughter and friend to do the wrong thing. Making up prevaricated stories to change the focus of the real issue to making me the subject of misdeeds. Then attempting to threaten and bully me into submission, will not be tolerated.
Rep. Barton also said Sen. Crandall spoke down to her in attempt “to intimidate and bully” her “into silence or compliance. Senator Crandall and I are equal; yet he feels he can speak to me in a demeaning and humiliating manner. This is something women have faced for many years. I do not know what decade Senator Crandall fell out of, but in 2012 that behavior is no longer tolerated – and certainly not by this woman.
Sen. Crandall contacted Arizona Capitol Times and claimed:
“This is all just a campaign tactic. It is very, very clear that Fillmore will stoop to anything to win our election. I’m disappointed at that.”
Rep. Fillmore has already filed a criminal complaint against the women who removed his sign.
Sen., Crandall keeps digging a deeper hole as he told the Arizona Capitol Times …
“(Fillmore is a) lying SOB, trying to make a story where there isn’t one. For him to attack my daughter and her friend is just low.”
The Arizona Conservative has previously endorsed Fillmore over Crandall for the Legislative District 16 Senate seat. Crandall has in the past conducted fundraising with Democrats, and his voting record is not up to conservative standards. This incident and Crandall’s behavior prove that he is not deserving of election to public office. He would put his personal anger ahead of what is best for Arizona’s school children, and that kind of selfishness and vindictiveness has no place in public policy.
We have also endorsed Rep. Barton for re-election because she has a long and strong record of integrity.
By Dr. Jane Orient
July 13, 2012
As soon as the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, people started celebrating that their worries soon would be over.
The front page of my local newspaper reported on a 31-year-old with metastatic colon cancer who had hit the $300,000 maximum payout on his insurance. This possibility had not occurred to him when he bought his insurance plan.
Did he get care? Well, yes, but he had to raise money between chemotherapy treatments. This was exhausting and very difficult for a person who was so weak and sick. Now all Obama-compliant health insurance will have to provide coverage with no lifetime maximum, so everyone will have to pay higher premiums.
A caller to a talk-radio show rejoiced that he could now get insurance for his baby, who was born with a rare heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot. Open-heart surgery to correct this defect is widely available, and this baby almost certainly will be able to receive a state-of-the-art procedure.
The catch is that the family will have to pay for it. Charity, high-risk pools and special programs for congenital heart disease are some ways to help. The Obamacare way is to force all insurance subscribers to pay higher premiums.
Under Obamacare, all “necessary” and “appropriate” treatment will be “covered.” Before we shout “Hallelujah!” let’s ask, “What does this mean?”
Those words are even harder to define than “tax.” They will be defined by bureaucrats with one eye on the budget and the other on population health statistics. The actual decisions will be iplemented by puppet physicians with divided loyalties. Giving too much care may jeopardize their “bonus,” their ability to meet payroll or even their jobs.
The reformers who will be in the 150-plus federal agencies write scholarly papers on how we “waste” too much money on patients in the last six months of life. Realistically, a young person with aggressive cancer has a very dim outlook. Out of love or compassion, you might be willing to spend your money to give that patient a chance. But you might not want the insurer to take money out of care that you might need yourself. The bureaucrats who are responsible for society’s money also have to protect their own their lavish salary and perks.
As for babies with disabilities, the reformers’ Complete Lives System gives them a very low priority. They cost a lot, and society hasn’t invested too much in them yet, so why not give them “comfort care”? Or why not “prevent” the problem with prenatal diagnosis and abortion? Almost 90 percent of babies with Down syndrome are culled out in this way already, drastically reducing the demand for pediatric heart surgery. Innovation is not to be expected with the new taxes on medical devices and the new focus on “wellness” research.
Nevertheless, you may ask, aren’t we still better off with more coverage?
You may be shocked to learn that the answer is no. The price of coverage is not just sending the insurer money that you otherwise might devote to your own or your family’s care.
You may unknowingly relinquish your right to get more care, or more timely care, than your insurer allows. If the insurer covers a certain treatment but denies payment in your case for lack of medical necessity” or sufficient benefit (say your cancer is too advanced or you are too old) you may not be permitted to pay for it yourself.
The same is true if the insurer only allows a payment too low to induce anyone to perform the needed treatment.
A doctor who is enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid can go to prison for accepting more than the government-determined fee or for doing what the government determines to be too many procedures, even at the allowed fee. Managed care contracts, though not yet bound by the threat of prison terms, also restrict your doctor’s ability to care for you.
“Coverage” may make you feel more secure, but it also can mean less care and poorer care despite higher cost.
Dr. Jane M. Orient practices internal medicine in Tucson, Ariz., and is executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org).