Legatus, Largest Catholic Business Organization Obtains Preliminary Injunction in HHS Mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders, obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the Federal Government in its case challenging the HHS Mandate.  Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan entered the Order granting the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for a preliminary injunction on Friday afternoon, December 20, 2013.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Legatus on May 7, 2012.  “Legatus” is the Latin word for “ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives.  It was founded in 1987 by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.  Legatus currently has over 4,000 members in 31 states.

Erin Mersino, the TMLC’s lead attorney handling the Legatus case, has been spearheading the Law Center’s challenges to the HHS Mandate in eleven cases thus far.

When the lawsuit was originally filed Judge Cleland refused to enter an Injunction because Legatus was a non-profit organization and protected by the safe harbor provisions. Also, the Government represented that it was in the process of adopting rules that would accommodate organizations like Legatus.  The judge stated, however, that should the Government act in a way that was inimical to the rights of Legatus, it could again approach the Court.

The safe harbor provision protecting Legatus from the provisions of the HHS Mandate expires on January 1, 2014.  TMLC re-filed its motion for a Preliminary Injunction after the Government adopted its accommodation rules on the grounds those rules still required Legatus to facilitate insurance coverage for processes it feels are contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

In granting TMLC’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the Court found that even with the new rules adopted by the Government concerning religious accommodations, Legatus will likely show at trial that the HHS Mandate “substantially burdens the observance of the tenets of Catholicism.”  Further, the Court found that there were many other ways to achieve the Government’s interest to increase free contraception without restricting the religious liberty of Legatus.  Accordingly, the Court found that the government has not made a convincing argument showing the HHS Mandate is advancing a compelling government interest by the least restrictive means.

The Court noted that it had hoped that the government would not “act . . . in a way inimical to the rights Legatus seeks to protect.”  The court commented that it had “been unduly hopeful.”

Click here to read Judge Cleland’s entire opinion

ABOUT LEGATUS

In the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Church and His Vicar on earth, Legatus is an international organization of practicing Catholic laymen and laywomen, comprised of CEOs, Presidents, Managing Partners and Business Owners, with their spouses, from the business community and professional enterprises. Legatus Mission: To study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

Renowned as a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center’s mission is to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America.  In courtrooms throughout our Nation, Law Center lawyers fight for the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, the sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense. The Law Center does not charge for its legal services, and relies on tax-deductible donations from concerned patriotic Americans and charitable foundations.

Government Largess is the Opiate of the People

I attended a round-table presentation given by a local doctor on expanding Medicare to cover ever more Americans. A member of the group during the discussion asked everyone around that table about their personal health care coverage. Everyone said the federal government was at least in part subsidizing their coverage.

I want to use the example of Social Security to explain how we have all become addicted to government largess. With our addiction government control over us has increased to the point that today many are dependent on federal largess to maintain their health, happiness and well being.

Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” I submit to you that, “Government largess is the opiate of the people.”

Government is defined as a “system of ruling or controlling”. Largesse is defined as, “the liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior.” Therefore, government largess is ruling or controlling by the liberal giving to inferiors (the governed).

Let me provide a brief historical perspective on how we got here.

We the people began to learn about government largesse 104 years ago with the founding of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society in New York City on September 12, 1905 in Peck’s Restaurant. An organizational meeting was held and Jack London was elected President with Upton Sinclair as First Vice President. The ISS was established to, “throw light [in America] on the world-wide movement of industrial democracy known as socialism.” Their motto was “production for use, not for profit.”

Production for use, not for profit is the prime goal of government largess.

So how could socialists begin distributing government largesse? First they had to gain unfettered control of production.

On February 3, 1913 Congress passed and the states ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to our Constitution. Congress grabbed control of production via the federal income tax. We taxed our productivity by tapping every American’s wages. With the millions, then billions, and now trillions of dollars that Congress collected, they could entice or even force the strongest American to take the government largesse drug.

Then on April 8, 1913 Congress passed and the states ratified the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution which transferred U.S. Senator Selection from each state’s legislature to popular election by the people of each state.

These two events made it much easier to collect and distribute government largesse as now Senators were no longer loyal to their state legislatures or primarily concerned with state sovereignty. Now U.S. Senators, along with U.S. Representatives, saw the value of spreading the government largesse drug amongst the people in return for votes.

During the Great Depression Congress created the first opiate for the masses and named it Social Security. It was to be a social insurance program run by government, in other words guaranteed government largess for life.

The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt. He and Congress said this new drug would keep those unemployed, retirees and the poor financially secure. He called it the New Deal. All we needed to do was just pay in and all would be well.

In 1937 the United States Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Butler validated the Social Security Act and stated that, “Congress could, in its future discretion, spend that money [collected from the income tax] for whatever Congress then judged to be the general welfare of the country. The Court held that Congress has no constitutional power to earmark or segregate certain kinds of tax proceeds for certain purposes, whether the purposes be farm-price supports, foreign aid or social security payments.” All taxes went into the general fund.

Testifying before the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives in 1952, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration said—“The present trust fund is not quite large enough to pay off the benefits of existing beneficiaries”—those already on the receiving end, in other words. In 1955 chief actuary believed that it would take $35 billion just to pay the people “now receiving benefits”.

In 1935 under the Social Security program the Congress included the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Act (AFDC).

During the late 1950s many states realized that this act, while created to help widows with children, was being used to subsidize women having children with men they were not married to. Louisiana alone took 23,000 women off the AFDC act rolls based upon their immoral behavior.

In 1960 Arthur Flemming, then head of the Department of Health and Human Services under President Dwight David Eisenhower and a key architect of Social Security, issued an administrative ruling that states could not deny eligibility for income assistance through the AFDC act on the grounds that a home was “unsuitable” because the woman’s children were illegitimate.

In 1968, the United States Supreme Court’s “Man-in-the-House” rule struck down the practice of states declaring a home unsuitable (i.e., an immoral environment) if there was a man in the house not married to the mother. Thus, out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation were legitimized. In very short order, the number of women on welfare tripled and child poverty climbed dramatically. The assault on the family was on and Congress and the Supreme Court were co-pushers of this new government largesse drug called AFDC.

In effect the federal government became the pimp, the homes of single mothers became the brothels and the fathers became the Johns. The children begotten by these women became the next generation of addicts. Just as a baby born to a mother doing crack is addicted to cocaine, so too are these children born with a lifetime addiction to the onerous and destructive drug – government largess.

Then Congress added a new ingredient to the powerful Social Security drug called Medicare on July 30, 1965.

Congress created Medicare as a single-payer health care system. Medicare was for those over 65 years old and was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson called it part of his Great Society program. Congress immediately got more addicts to begin taking this drug.

At the same time Congress added a second even more powerful ingredient to this drug called Medicaid. This new ingredient brought into being an entirely new distribution system – all of the states of the union. Even though this new program violated state sovereignty it was passed anyway, in no small part because Senators were no longer accountable to the State Legislatures but rather committed to pushing government largess.

The states were now helping pay for and distribute this powerful and expensive designer drug. The drug was offered to low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Congress now had more people on the Social Security drug than ever before. Congress had turned a corner – addiction to government largesse was now imbedded in our society.

But Congress was not finished for it kept looking for more clients until we now know that the estimated unfunded liabilities for these four drugs are:

Social Security – $10.7 trillion

Medicare Parts A and B – $68 trillion

Medicare Part D – $17.2 trillion (created in just 3 years)

Our addiction to government largess will cost our children and grandchildren an estimated $95.9 trillion dollars. Ladies and gentlemen, the gross domestic product of the entire world in 2007 was $61 trillion.

I repeat my premise that government largess is the true opiate of the people.

I close with the following quote from a May 26, 1955 Herald-Tribune News Service article:

“Seven Amish bishops appealed to Congress today to exempt members of their church from receiving any benefits of the Social Security program. They are willing to continue paying Social Security taxes, however . . . . The bishops made it clear that no elder of the church would think, today, of applying for Social Security or any other government benefits. They want the law changed, they said, to “remove temptation” from their children and grandchildren.”

Watch this video: Government Gone Wild Seminar: Cradle to Grave

FL Senator Rubio and Rep. Buchanan get Special Obamacare Subsidy

(CNSNews.com) – Under Obamacare — as it is being implemented under a regulation issued by the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — a middle-aged member of Congress who earns an annual salary of $174,000 from the taxpayers, and who has a wife and children, will get a $10,000 subsidy from the taxpayers (over and above his $174,000 salary) to buy a health insurance plan that a regular citizen making almost $80,000 less than the congressman will not get.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, included language mandating that members of Congress and their staff buy their now-mandated health insurance plans through a government exchange.

The laws says: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).” (See Section 1312(d) of the law)

Americans in the private sector who buy health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges only get a federal subsidy (a tax credit) if their income/family situation is below 400% of poverty, the ceiling for which is $94,200 for a family of four.

If they surpass that 400% level, then no subsidy.  Theoretically, a family bringing in $174,000, like a member of Congress, would have to have 12 children dependents to even be eligible for a subsidy under the Obamacare rules. (See Federal Poverty Guidelines.pdf )

Read more.

Based on this ruling Florida Senator Marco Rubio and many of the Florida Congressional delegation members, led by Rep. Vern Buchanan and Alcee Hastings, will receive  this subsidy.

The 6 Things You Need to Know About The Human Care Complex

This is the first in a series of columns on America’s human care system. With the Affordable Healthcare Act now the law of the land, it is time to understand six things: the who, what, where, when, why and how we got here.

In 1976, the great critic of 20th-century society, Ivan Illich, wrote: “Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn’t organized to serve human health, but only itself, an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.”

In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned America about a growing government-industrial complex.

During his farewell speech Eisenhower warned, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [Emphasis mine]

Since 1961 the military-industrial complex has been surpassed by the political power of the government/human care complex.

Eisenhower said, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.” [Emphasis mine]

The human care “scientific technological elite” is now in the hands of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The NIH human care system, in some cases, is not about improving health. The NIH human care system may ultimately result in increased cases of pain, suffering and death.

Since passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, there has been a battle raging over the control of human care. The battle is between the producers and consumers of human care — or as Illich and others have described it: sickness or  illness care. There are a growing number of consumers being cared for by the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems. Estimates are that ten thousand Americans daily are entering the federal human care system.

A growing number of doctors and think tanks are recognizing that the human care system is not designed to make people healthy; rather, it is designed to grow and be sustained by ever more illness care. This is accomplished via human care standards called “protocols.”  The illness care providers are ultimately responsible for human care medical guidelines becoming protocols.

The human care system has become a government/industrial complex controlling over 17% of America’s GDP. In comparison, the military is less than 4% of GDP.

Patients believe human care providers are acting in their best interests.

However, like any other producer of products or services, the human care system is focused on keeping competition down, increasing scarcity of services with the objective of keeping costs and thereby profits high. The human care system is by definition a cartel. A cartel is defined as, “A combination of independent business organizations formed to regulate production, pricing, and marketing of goods by the members.”

Add to the “human care cartel” government at every level and you have a powerful force, which few are willing to confront.

Dr. Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, looked at the human care system in her landmark study, “Is US health really the best in the world?”, published in the July 2000 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Starfield came to the following conclusions:

Every year in the US there are:

  • 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
  • 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
  • 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
  • 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
  • 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
  • The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.

According to Dr. Starfield, “This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.”

In 2010 Dr. G.R. Greenwell, MD, FACSM, began examining the US human care system. According to Dr. Greenwell, “Chronic noncontagious illnesses such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis  and hypertension have been continually increasing since the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) was established in 1976.”

“From 1976 to 1987 the number of diabetics in the United States increased by 25%. In 1995 the methodology for decreasing the incidence and severity of diabetes by more than 58% was demonstrated. Since that time the ODPHP has failed to require demonstrations and research projects to utilize that methodology in order to receive grants or funding. Consequently the percentage of people living in the USA suffering with diabetes has increased over 107% since 1995. The number of people in the United States with diabetes has increased 138% since 1995,” notes Dr. Greenwell.

Dr. Greenwell reports, “In 2006, approximately 65,700 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on people with diabetes. During the first 10 years of the War on Terror the total number of lower limb amputations of active-duty armed forces personnel was only 1,621.”

Dr. Greenwell points out, “The number of lower limb amputations due to diabetes and vascular disease during 2006 was 109,500. It’s been proven that if an optimum aerobic exercise program had been included in the treatment of these patients, approximately 80% of these amputations would have been precluded from becoming necessary (see page 8 of the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet).”

The human care cartel is more dangerous than any other cartel because taken to its ultimate end it can contribute to the pain, suffering and deaths of those to whom it purports to serve.

Part II will look at the who and what is behind America’s human care system.

RELATED LINK: The National Council for Aging Care’s information regarding Health and Well Being

Florida set to accept Medicaid expansion money? But at what price?

Section 2001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands eligibility for Medicaid. Florida is one of the twenty-five states opting not to expand Medicaid as President Obama wanted and the Affordable Care Act originally envisaged. The supreme court upheld the personal mandate, the most controversial aspect of the healthcare reform bill, but ruled that states could not be required to expand Medicaid. However, that may all change.

Sarah Boseley writing for The Guardian reports, “Secret conversations are taking place in Florida between healthcare stakeholders and the legislature that will most likely lead to the Republican-controlled state accepting Medicaid expansion money, according to senior figures in the health industry.”

Boseley quotes Patrick Geraghty, President and CEO of Florida Blue, who has been involved in discussions in the state and nationally, “We believe strongly that we ought to be taking that funding. The money should be used to support change and innovation in healthcare systems. For our state it’s $51 [billion] over 10 years. That’s a lot of investment in transformation.”

“States can access the federal funds either if they expand the public Medicaid programme or, as permitted under the legislation, if they come up with an alternative way to fund expanded coverage. To qualify for Medicaid expansion money, however, an alternative system must be granted a waiver by federal authorities. Geraghty said she believed Florida would ‘do the right thing’ and undertake an expansion,” notes Boseley.

Donna Shalala, secretary for health and human services under Bill Clinton and now president of the University of Miami, said, “Governor Rick Scott has already said he would take the Medicaid expansion money for three years. I think the senate has some people that are prepared to play and are prepared to shape some kind of a framework for taking the Medicaid money.”

Whenever a state takes federal funding there are always strings attached and questions about program sustainability. Tarren Bragdon from the Heritage Foundation notes, “The old Rick Scott knew why Medicaid expansion is a dangerous idea: an already bankrupt federal government couldn’t possibly keep its funding promise to cover states’ expansion costs, Medicaid is already failing patients and taxpayers and expanding it would stretch the safety net even more, and the states that previously expanded Medicaid are now facing nightmarish consequences.”

According to Florida Legal Services, Inc., “Currently, the federal government covers approximately 58% of all Medicaid costs in Florida. This percentage is referred to as the federal matching rate or “FMAP.” In contrast to 58% FMAP for the current Medicaid population, the PPACA requires the federal government to cover 100% of costs associated with the newly eligible Medicaid Expansion population from 2014 to 2016. The FMAP for the expansion population gradually tapers down to 90% in 2020 and remains at 90% FMAP thereafter.5 These federal matching rates are mandated by federal law and cannot be altered without an Act of Congress. Further, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have clarified that states can withdraw from covering the expansion population at any time.”

Bragdon states, “Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Florida is projected to cost taxpayers anywhere from $3.7 billion to $19.5 billion annually, FHCP [Florida Health Care Plans] will cost Florida just $237 million a year to provide coverage for an estimated 115,000 uninsured Floridians.” Do the math.

Any expansion of Medicaid will, in the long term, increase the costs to all Florida taxpayers. Proponents of expanding Medicaid in Florida cite “caring for the needy” and a “take the money” to make up for state budget shortfalls. If Medicaid is expanded in Florida it would add one million new enrollees to those already on Medicaid. That would be up to one out of 17 Floridians would become dependent on federal and state Medicaid funds.

So why the big push now? Well, after all 2014 is an election year in Florida and that is potentially one million votes for the party in power, or is it?

Bragdon warns, “When Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) gave Medicaid expansion a metaphorical bear hug last February, he flip-flopped on a years-long record of opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Many argue that the grassroots army he built during his national anti-Obamacare tour in 2009 provided him the jolt of support he needed to win a close race for governor in 2010. But with his expansion flip-flop, it’s unlikely that army will fight passionately for him again.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Health Care Report from the States: Florida Medicaid Expansion

Ignore the rumors: No deals on Medicaid

Reforming Florida’s Medicaid Drug Program

Florida: Rubio warns taxpayers on the hook to bail out insurance companies for Obamacare enrollees

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

As of November 2nd, 2013, Florida has the highest number of enrollees in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with 3,571 having selected a plan. Florida is one of thirty-six states with a fully or partially run federal insurance exchange. In Florida 123,870 submitted complete applications with 93,456 eligible to enroll in a plan. Texas is second with 108,410 applicants, 80,960 eligible and 2,991 who selected a plan.

But there is a problem with who will pay for the coverage.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) writes, “Buried deep in the Department of Health and Human Services’ press release that accompanied the president’s Nov. 14 speech was this sentence: ‘Though this transitional policy was not anticipated by health insurance issuers when setting rates for 2014, the risk corridor program should help ameliorate unanticipated changes in premium revenue. We intend to explore ways to modify the risk corridor program final rules to provide additional assistance.’”

“Risk corridors are generally used to mitigate an insurer’s pricing risk. Under ObamaCare, risk corridors were established for the law’s first three years as a safety-net for insurers who experience financial losses. While risk corridors can protect taxpayers when they are budget-neutral, ObamaCare’s risk corridors are designed in such an open-ended manner that the president’s action now exposes taxpayers to a bailout of the health-insurance industry if and when the law fails,” notes Rubio.

Rubio raises a red flag noting, “Subsequent regulatory rulings have made [it] clear that the administration views this risk-corridor authority as a blank check, requiring no further consultation or approval by Congress. A final rule handed down in March by HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states: ‘Regardless of the balance of payments and receipts, HHS will remit payments as required under section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act.’”

On November 14th, the American Academy of Actuaries issued a press release saying that President Obama’s plan to reverse health-insurance cancellations “could lead to negative consequences for consumers, health insurers, and the federal government.” More specifically, the academy said, “Costs to the federal government could increase as higher-than-expected average medical claims are more likely to trigger risk corridor payments.”

Rubio concludes with, “It is a damning indictment of ObamaCare’s viability when the president’s only response to people losing their health insurance plans entails putting them on the hook for bailing out insurance companies. The American people are already being directly hurt by ObamaCare’s early failures, and it is unconscionable that they be expected to bail out companies when more failures emerge.”

RELATED COLUMNS:

Jessica Sanford, one of Barack Obama’s obamacare ‘success stories,’ will have no insurance

Healthcare.gov site advertising SQL injection attacks

Americans Don’t Think Health Care is Government Responsibility

No. 2 House Dem: Obamacare Attempt to Change ‘Value System in Our Country’ (+video)

Senator Rubio supports the House plan to defund Obamacare

defundrallycruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at Defund Obamacare rally.

The Washington Post reports, “House Republican leaders announced Wednesday morning that they would take a risky double-barreled attack on President Obama’s health-care law, making it the cornerstone fight over government funding due to expire Sept. 30 and the effort to lift the Treasury’s borrowing authority.

Paul Kane, Ed O’Keefe and Zachary A. Goldfarb from the WP state, “Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), flanked by his leadership team, told reporters that the stopgap government funding bill that they will advance Friday would yield to conservative demands of including a rider to block funding for the law commonly known as Obamacare.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding the announcement:

“The American people have made clear they want Washington to keep the government open but also need protection from ObamaCare’s harmful effects. Today’s announcement would accomplish what the American people have been asking of Congress.

“A solution is within sight in order to avert another crisis of Washington’s creation. President Obama and his allies in Congress should abandon their threats of shutting down the government and instead work with Republicans to pass this proposal that would keep government open while preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to inflict ObamaCare’s damage on people’s jobs, incomes, current health plans and doctor relationships.”

As previously reported on WDW – FL, this plan has been pushed by conservative groups like Heritage Action. Jim DeMint, President of the Heritage Foundation, said at a defund Obamacare event it Tampa that Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010 and retained the majority in 2012 on the promise of repealing Obamacare. Either Republicans keep their promise or go home and explain why they lied.

DeMint noted that repealing Obamacare is not enough. The House has had numerous votes to repeal the law, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term. Those who oppose Obamacare, he said, cannot wait another three and a half years to “begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund using ‘must-pass’ spending bills.”

DeMint said time and again, it is now or never. Apparently the people’s House is listening.

Rubio noted, “The president’s basically looking for a political win and I guess his political people have told him that this is a political win: shut down the government and blame the Republicans. The problem is that’s not the Republican position.”

EDITORS NOTE: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) can be defunded by attaching a legislative rider to a “must pass” bill (e.g. debt limit, annual spending bill or continuing resolution to fund the government) that:

  1. Prohibits any funds from being spent on any activities to implement or enforce Obamacare;
  2. Rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation; and
  3. Turns off the exchange subsidy and new Medicaid spending that are on auto-pilot.

FL Middle school quiz asks – “What Kind Of Party Animal Are You?”

Dr. Fran Adams, Superintendent of Indian River County School District

“I was contacted tonight by a group of parents wanting answers. This quiz (survey) below was given to Ms. [Megan] Kendrick’s 7th grade Pre-AP Civics class last week at Storm Grove Middle School in Indian River County,” writes Laura Zorc, SE FL State Coordinator for Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC).

The What Kind of Party Animal Are You? quiz states: “Take this quiz to get a sense of which party, the Republican or the Democrat, is the better fit for you. Remember, you do not have to pick a party – you may remain Independent. You may also change your party.”

Question #1: “I would support a government increase of my taxes if the money were used to pay for expanded health and social programs.”

Question #2: “I think the government should impose stricter limits on access to guns.”

Question #3: “I believe organized prayer should be kept out of schools. Having students pray is a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Question #4: “I would support drilling for oil in a wildlife refuge to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Question #5: “I believe that looking out for U.S. interests abroad must come first, even if that means the U.S. takes action without the approval of the United Nations or our allies.”

Question #6: “I believe if you have nothing to hide, theres no reason to worry about government surveillance. It would not bother me if my government listened in on my personal phone calls as long as the surveillance was helping to catch terrorists.”

Question #7: “I believe the government should relax regulations on immigration and find a way for law-abiding illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally and pay taxes.”

NOTE: The answer choices for each question are – Agree (one point), Not Sure (two points), Disagree (three points).

According to Jennifer Idlette-Williams, Principal of Storm Grove Middle School, “The survey What Kind of Party Animal Are You? came from page 14 of the Junior Scholastic Magazine, which is a state approved resource for Florida’s mandatory Civics state curriculum. All three of the Civics teachers at Storm Grove use the survey, and other Indian River middle schools have used it. No grades were attached to the survey and no names were linked to the survey. There was no parental opt out for taking the survey as it is part of the state approved curricula.” Principal Idette-Williams noted, “Students could create their own political party animal. One student created a frog, which can live in the water or on land. This student would be comfortable with both parties.”

What kind of a party animal are you

Quiz used in Civics class. For a larger view click on the image.

According to Zorc, “The students were told that they could not take this Quiz/Survey home, they had to complete [it] at school. One student felt that they must consult with ‘his or her’ parent and did not feel comfortable filling it out. In other words the student had to ‘smuggle it out’ as described to me. (NOTE: Child is afraid of getting in trouble and we will can not disclose identity of child)”

Zorc states, “After you read this quiz/survey, as a parent you will be appalled by material being taught. Parents are outraged at the way the questions are presented.” See teacher’s weekly agenda to notice that this assignment is Common Core State Standards aligned.

“Parents want an explanation to why a ‘civics’ (a study of the theoretical practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties…) curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards is being taught? The FL DOE had been emphatic that CCSS is only going to be taught in English Language Arts and Math only. Secondly, parents want to know ‘who’ approved this curriculum material being taught?” asks Zorc. According to the school principal the FLDOE approved the use of this material.

Parents, concerned citizens and members of FPACC plan to attend the September 24th Indian River County School Board meeting to ask that this material be removed from the public school district curriculum.

EDITORS NOTE: WDW – FL has calls into the school district and school board requesting information including who authorized the use of this quiz, what other schools have used it and how is the data from the quiz used. We are awaiting a reply and will post an update.

Florida considering adoption of national “sexuality” education standards

To download a copy of the National Sexuality Education Standards click on the image.

Governor Scott and interim Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart just finished hosting a summit on education in Clearwater, FL. Governor Scott called the summit but did not attend it. According to NorthEscambia.com, “The discussions largely focused on high-level ideas and few specific recommendations, such as whether the state should bail out of a consortium of states developing new tests for the nationwide “common core” standards now being implemented in Florida classrooms.”

One of the Common Core standards not discussed was the “National Sexuality Education Standards – Core Content and Skills, K-12“.

Even the birds and the bees will now have national standards under Common Core. “Sexuality” is code for “gender identity”.

Here are some quotes from the National Sexuality Education Standards:

On page 12: “By the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to: Use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy.”

On page 14: “By the end of 5th grade, students should be able to: Describe male and female reproductive systems including body parts and their functions. Identify medically-accurate information about female and male reproductive anatomy. Define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender.”

Page 9 under “Guiding Values and Principles”:

“Instruction by qualified sexuality education teachers is essential for student achievement … Students need opportunities to engage in cooperative and active learning strategies, and sufficient time must be allocated for students to practice skills relating to sexuality education.”

To highlight this principle: Students need “multiple opportunities and a variety of assessment strategies” to determine their achievement of the sexuality education standards and performance.

Will public school children be graded on their sexual performance? It appears this requirement is necessary to measure the “practice of skills relating to sexuality education”.

According to Cheryl Etters, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Education, “The Florida State Board of Education voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in July 2010. The Florida Department of Education strongly supports the full implementation of CCSS in the 2014-15 school year and is focused on providing local districts the support needed for a successful transition to Common Core.”

South Dakotans Against Common Core reports:

And before you say it is not a part of Common Core, because it is “A Special Publication of the Journal of School Health,” please go to page 6 where it says, “The National Sexuality Education Standards were further informed by the work of the CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)3; existing state and international education standards that include sexual health content; the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade; and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, recently adopted by most states.”

And before you say, “We won’t allow it in our schools. We will go to the school board.” Local control is gone. On page 6, “Specifically, the National Sexuality Education Standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexuality education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic.” The whole idea behind Common Core is to create universal standards.

SDACC looked at who was on the advisory committee that developed these sexuality education standards. They found members included:

Robert McGarry, Ed.D., Director of Training and Curriculum Development Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). To learn more about GLSEN click here.

Nora Gelperin, recipient of the national 2010 Mary Lee Tatum Award from the Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education.

Deb Hauser from Advocates for Youth who speaks nationally and internationally about young people’s rights to “honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities.”

Cynthia Lam, Teen Editorial Staff for Sex, Etc. According to Lam’s bio, “She has written many interesting articles, but her favorite was “It Won’t Fall Off,” a story that debunks myths about masturbation.”

The education summit has been characterized as providing political cover for Governor Scott to adopt Common Core State Standards for Florida. These standards will include the sexualization of our youngest and most vulnerable.

As Milton Friedman wrote, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” What will be results of nationalizing sexuality?

RELATED:

At Scott’s Education Summit, A Common Core Counter-Revolt At Table 1

Support for Common Core Standards Continues to Crumble in RPOF

EDITORS NOTE: WDW – FL received the below email from Chrissy Blevio, Florida Stop Common Core Coalition:

While appreciative that Governor Scott convened this summit on critical education issues and hopeful that some meaningful discussion and airing of concerns about the Common Core standards system would ensue, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC) is deeply disappointed in the results.

“The outcome on the issue of the Common Core standards themselves was pre-determined,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and co-founder of FSCCC.  “Continued implementation of the standards was assumed.  No meaningful discussion of the merits or lack thereof of the standards themselves was allowed to take place. Any attempt to discuss concerns about rigor, content of the federally funded and supervised model curriculum and text examples aligned with these standards, psychological manipulation and testing as described in federal documents, or any other concern was immediately shut down.  Lacking the ability or desire to meaningfully and respectfully discuss and work towards solutions to these critical concerns, prominent officials at this summit resorted to ad hominem attacks calling the citizens and taxpayers of this state with concerns ‘crazies’  and  ‘radicals.’  Sadly this whole exercise was a massive waste of time and taxpayer funds.”

A more detailed list of concerns will be forthcoming. Our recommendations for dealing with this issue are available here.

RELATED:

Obama: Sex Ed for Kindergartners ‘Is the Right Thing to Do’ | CNS News

CPS Mandates Sexual, Health Education For Kindergarten – CBS Chicago

Conservatives keep turning up the heat on Common Core in Florida

4th Grade Students Taught: “Government Is Like Your Family”, Provides For You

Message to “defund Obamacare” resonated with Florida grassroots

Jim DeMint speaks at the “Defund Obamacare” town hall tour in Tampa on August 21, 2013. Photo courtesy of Eve Edelheit, Tampa Bay Times staff.

Heritage Foundation President and former Senator Jim DeMint and Raphael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz, came to Tampa, Florida to bring their message that now is the time to defund the Affordable Care Act. The Heritage Action for America sponsored event was over booked. Tampa was the third stop on a nine city tour. Over 850 signed up for the event, with only 550 seats available.

Raphael Cruz gave the invocation and was greeted with a standing ovation when he was introduced by Karen Jaroch, Tampa Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action, as the father of Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz ended the event with a stirring call to action.

Senator DeMint then took the stage to a standing ovation. DeMint looked over a packed house of diverse concerned citizens, who traveled from across the state of Florida. DeMint then said in his soft southern voice, “We had you wait in line to get into this event so you can get used to standing in line to get medical care under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. With the over 550 people jammed into this hall you now know what your doctor’s waiting room will look like very soon.” These comments were like throwing raw meat to the grassroots activists in the audience.

Senator DeMint then went into detail on how the Affordable Care Act can be defunded. DeMint explained defunding Obamacare means attaching a legislative rider to a “must pass” bill (e.g. debt limit, annual spending bill or continuing resolution to fund the government) that 1) prohibits any funds from being spent on any activities to implement or enforce Obamacare; 2) rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation; and 3) turns off the exchange subsidy and new Medicaid spending that are on auto-pilot.

DeMint was then joined by Mike Needham, Chief Executive Officer for Heritage Action for America, to answer questions. The issue of what is the urgency to defund Obama care now was raised. According to DeMint and Needham on January 1, 2014, Obamacare’s new main entitlements – the Medicaid expansion and the exchange subsidies – are scheduled to take effect. Open enrollment for both programs begins on October 1, 2013, at the start of the new fiscal year. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government will spend $48 billion in 2014 and nearly $1.8 trillion through 2023 on these new entitlement programs. Also on January 1, Americans will be forced by their government to buy a product, health insurance, for the first time in history. Individuals and families who don’t comply will be penalized by tax penalties administered through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

One Floridian asked Senator DeMint isn’t is mean to not provide the funding for healthcare. Senator DeMint replied that it is mean for the President to promise Americans that they can keep their current insurance and doctors under Obamacare. It is mean for the President to say that health insurance premiums will go down $2,000 when in fact they will go up over $2,000 or more in some states. It is mean for the President to say everyone will receive better health care when we know from the experiences of Canada and England that socialized medicine leads to rationing and poor care, even to patients dying for lack of attention..

The question of some House Republicans supporting the repeal of Obamacare but not defunding it came up.

DeMint noted that some fear if they take a stand on Obamacare it will hurt them in the 2014 elections. He then pointed out that same tactic of “first do no harm” lost Republicans the US Senate and White House twice. DeMint noted that when he was in the Senate, and since he has become President of the Heritage Foundation, he experienced a Republican leadership that will “cut the legs out from under any who oppose them”.

DeMint said that Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010 and retained the majority in 2012 on the promise of repealing Obamacare. Either Republicans keep their promise or go home and explain why they lied. DeMint noted that repealing Obamacare is not enough. The House has had numerous votes to repeal the law, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term. Those who oppose Obamacare, he said, cannot wait another three and a half years to ” begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund using ‘must-pass’ spending bills.” DeMint said time and again, it is now or never.

The Tampa Bay Times PolitiFact blog took exception to four of the things Senator DeMint said during his presentation. However, DeMint’s message clearly resonated with the audience. The devil is always in the details.

ABOUT HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA:

RELATED:

Congressman Mark Meadows : Letter Encouraging House Leadership to Defund Obamacare

Should We Delay or Defund Obamacare?

Alert: Feds to spend $8 million in Florida to sell Obamacare

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports it has 46 awards totaling $8,052,533 to sell the Affordable Healthcare Act in Florida.

The DHHS website states, “Florida has 48 health centers with 410 sites that served 1,136,458 patients last year, 43.65 percent of them uninsured. With their Outreach and Enrollment funding, the health centers listed below expect to hire 163 new workers, who will assist 158,160 people with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage.”

This is government promoting government.

Below is a list of the healthcare centers which received awards:

Health Center City Award Amount
BANYAN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC. Miami $62,146
BOND COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC. Tallahassee $138,189
BORINQUEN HEALTH CARE CENTER, INC. Miami $258,243
BREVARD HEALTH ALLIANCE INC., THE Melbourne $152,401
BROWARD COMMUNITY AND FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS, INC. Hollywood $124,835
CAMILLUS HEALTH CONCERN, INC. Miami $94,926
CENTRAL FLORIDA FAMILY HEALTH CENTER, INC. Sanford $297,546
CENTRAL FLORIDA HEALTH CARE, INC. Avon Park $184,081
CITRUS HEALTH NETWORK, INC. Hialeah $131,831
COLLIER HEALTH SERVICES, INC. Immokalee $176,623
COMMUNITY AIDS RESOURCE Miami $87,809
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS OF PINELLAS, INC. Saint Petersburg $205,102
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS, INC. Winter Garden $298,063
COMMUNITY HEALTH OF SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. Cutler Bay $603,291
ESCAMBIA COMMUNITY CLINICS, INC. Pensacola $173,884
FAMILY HEALTH CENTER OF COLUMBIA COUNTY, INC. Lake City $87,028
FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, INC. Fort Myers $237,882
FLORIDA COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC. West Palm Beach $173,653
GENESIS COMMUNITY HEALTH, INC. Boynton Beach $64,918
HEALTH CARE DISTRICT OF PALM BEACH COUNTY Lake Worth $409,878
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Port St. Joe $81,880
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Tallahassee $76,534
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Jacksonville $173,939
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Lake Butler $71,727
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Spring Hill $105,662
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Sarasota $171,544
HEALTH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF Kissimmee $166,877
HEALTH CARE CENTER FOR THE HOMELESS, INC. Orlando $168,637
HEART OF FLORIDA HEALTH CENTER, INC. Ocala $121,414
JESSIE TRICE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC. Miami $265,635
MANATEE COUNTY RURAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC. Parrish $394,379
MIAMI BEACH COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC. Miami $209,480
NORTH BROWARD HOSPITAL DISTRICT Fort Lauderdale $93,353
NORTH FLORIDA MEDICAL CENTERS, INC. Tallahassee $162,719
NORTHEAST FLORIDA Pierson $121,524
PANCARE OF FLORIDA, INC. Panama City $95,971
PINELLAS, COUNTY OF Clearwater $75,434
PREMIER COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE GROUP, INC. Dade City $138,189
PROJECT HEALTH, INC. Sumterville $106,938
RURAL HEALTH CARE, INC. Palatka $176,205
RURAL HEALTH NETWORK OF MONROE COUNTY FLORIDA, INC. Key West $61,970
SUNCOAST COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS, INC. Ruskin $253,040
TAMPA FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS, INC. Tampa $398,284
THE SULZBACHER I M CENTER FOR Jacksonville $105,783
TREASURE COAST COMMUNITY HEALTH, INC. Fellsmere $134,987
TRENTON MEDICAL CENTER Trenton $158,099

Florida Federal Judge Bans Enforcement of HHS Mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that this past Monday, Federal District Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich of the Middle District of Florida granted its Motion for a Preliminary Injunction barring enforcement of the HHS Mandate.  The motion for a Preliminary Injunction was filed by TMLC on behalf of Plaintiffs Thomas R. Beckwith and his family’s company, Beckwith Electric.

The government claimed that once a business owner chooses to enter into the marketplace or incorporate his business, he surrenders his right to exercise his religious beliefs.

However, Judge Kovachevich’s 37-page decision which mentioned Thomas R. Beckwith’s unique family history—Beckwith’s ancestors arrived on the shores of America in 1626 to escape religious persecution from England — ended with a powerful statement on religious freedom:

 “The First Amendment, and its statutory corollary the RFRA, endow upon the citizens of the United States the unalienable right to exercise religion, and that right is not relinquished by efforts to engage in free enterprise under the corporate form. No legislative, executive, or judicial officer shall corrupt the Framers’ initial expression, through their enactment of laws, enforcement of those laws, or more importantly, their interpretation of those laws. And any action that debases, or cheapens, the intrinsic value of the tenet of religious tolerance that is entrenched in the Constitution cannot stand.” (Emphasis added)

Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead attorney representing Beckwith, commented, “Tom Beckwith was fighting the Federal Government for the freedom to practice his Southern Baptist faith.  The HHS Mandate would have forced him to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in violation of his religious beliefs or face up to $6 million in annual penalties. Kovachevich’s ruling halts enforcement of the HHS mandate until a final decision is reached in this case.”

 Click here to read Judge Kovachevich’s entire opinion.

Judge Kovachevich’s ruling is the first injunction against the HHS Mandate granted in the State of Florida.  It also marks the twenty-second injunction against the HHS Mandate granted by Federal Courts on religious freedom grounds across the country. The Government is expected to appeal the ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Thomas More Law Center was assisted by local counsel Paul Pizzo and Scott Richards of the firm Fowler White Boggs, P.A. located in Tampa, Florida.

The Attorney General of the State of Florida filed a friend of the court brief in support of the Thomas More Law Center, as did several other Christian organizations, including the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER:

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

HHS Tweet: We are committed to improving the well-being of “LGBT individuals”

The Department of Health and Human Services on June 19, 2013 posted the below on its official Twitter account:

HHS.govVerified account‏@HHSGov

We are committed to improving the health and well-being

of all Americans, including #LGBT individuals. http://go.usa.gov/bymQ 

The Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Florida Department of Health, in 2007 issued a report titled “Man Up: The Crisis of HIV/AIDS Among Florida’s Men“. The report states, “The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to impact individuals in Florida and throughout the United States. Men, women, young, old, black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor, gay, bisexual, lesbian, or straight — no group is wholly exempt from contracting HIV. In Florida, 1 in 209 white men, compared to 1 in 44 black men and 1 in 117 Hispanic men are living with HIV/AIDS (reported cases). Males account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Florida.” [Emphasis added]

The Bureau of HIV/AIDS in 2012 reports, “At the end of 2010, 95,335 Florida residents were known to be living with HIV/AIDS. In 2010, 5,022 adults and 20 young (age <13) Floridians were newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Florida. Florida ranked second among states in the estimated number of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cases diagnosed in 2009 (most recent year available for US data). That year, a total of 4,799 (14% of total US) AIDS cases were diagnosed in New York, followed by 4,392 (13%) in Florida and 3,760 (11%) in California. Cumulatively, Florida ranks third behind New York and California.” [Emphasis added]

The 2012-2014 Florida Jurisdictional HIV Prevention Plan reports, “Racial and ethnic minorities in Florida are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Minorities account for 70% of Florida’s HIV epidemic, but only account for 40% of the state’s population. Florida ranked second among states in the estimated number of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases diagnosed in 2009 (most recent year available for US data). That year, a total of 4,799 (14% of total US) AIDS cases were diagnosed in New York, followed by 4,392 (13%) in Florida and 3,760 (11%) in California … In 2010, at least one AIDS case was reported in all but eight [of 67 counties] counties. [Emphasis added]

Man Up reports:

Men should begin engaging in frank discussions about the seriousness of HIV/AIDS and include women and adolescents in the discussions.

“All over the world, on average, men have more sex partners than women, which places them and their sex partners at increased risk. HIV is more easily transmitted sexually from men to women than vice versa, which has caused increasing rates of HIV infection among women.

There are sound reasons why men should be fully involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As leaders, protectors, providers, husbands, grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers and friends, men have much to offer. The time is now to start seeing men not as the problem, but as part of the solution. Safer and more responsible behavior should be encouraged. It is time for men to put an end to a disease that is 100% preventable. It is time for men to “man up” and start protecting their wives, significant others, partners, family, friends and communities. Dialogue must begin to occur among men, women and their partners. We must begin to break the silence in our homes, our schools and our places of prayer, work and play.

Perhaps the single most important preventive measure is for people to know their own HIV status. If they are uninfected, this knowledge helps them protect themselves; if they are infected, the information helps them to protect their partners and to seek care and treatment for themselves.

In Florida, the Bureau of HIV/AIDS, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed reliable estimates of HIV incidence for the state in 2006. Adult men (13+ years) accounted for 72% (approximately 3,990) of new infections, and women accounted for 28% (1,560) of new infections, for a total of 5,550 new infections in 2006. Nationally, 56,500 new infections occurred in 2006. The HIV incidence rate equals the number of new infections divided by the population. The rate enables direct comparison of the incidence in two or more groups, regardless of population size. In 2006, the HIV incidence rate per 100,000 population was 53.7 among Florida men and 20.0 among Florida women. The rate among men was 2.7 times that of women (53.7 divided by 20.0).” [Emphasis added]

Brian Camenker, founder of MassResistance.org, is concerned the “health and well-being” of LGBT men is getting worse not better. He fears that men are not becoming more responsible and accountable but rather are a growing part of the problem. They are becoming in ever larger numbers “players”.

Camenker writes, “Besides “gay marriage,” a major goal of the homosexual [LGBT] movement is normalizing “transgenderism” throughout society, including changing our basic foundations such as the family structure. Make no mistake: This movement is well organized and focused. We all see it through the intense lobbying to push “non-discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity” through legislatures and court rulings. It’s also pushed hard in schools, large corporations and government bureaucracies. On the federal level, the Obama administration has brought it into most top federal agencies.” [Emphasis added]

Camenker is the author of “What same-sex “marriage’ has done to Massachusetts“.

If the Department of Health and Human Services is truly interested in improving the “health and well-being of LGBT individuals”, perhaps it needs to “man up”?

Obamacare’s Negative Impact on Florida’s Seniors

Column courtesy of the Heritage Foundation.

The Medicare program that provides health insurance to seniors faces a dire financial future. And Obamacare is making it worse.

Medicare’s Part A trust fund is projected to be insolvent by 2026 and the total program has a long-term unfunded obligation of more than $35 trillion. This means the government has made $35 trillion worth of benefit promises to current and future seniors that are not yet paid for — a staggering amount that is more than double the nation’s total current debt.

Despite the fact that the Medicare trustees have been warning of this financing disaster for many years, President Obama’s massive health care law makes the matter much worse, not better.

VIDEO: Ann Lorenz, who has Parkinson’s disease, worries about Medicare’s future:

Ignore the political rhetoric of keeping Medicare “as we know it.” Obamacare has already made significant changes to Medicare, namely through provider reimbursement reductions and the creation of an unelected board of bureaucrats, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Here are three examples of Obamacare’s impact:

1) Huge payment reductions that reduce access to care. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare will reduce Medicare reimbursements by $716 billion over 10 years. These cuts will hit Part A providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and hospices, along with Medicare Advantage plans. The trustees predict that if Congress allows these cuts to go into effect, 15 percent of Medicare providers would go in the red by 2019, 25 percent by 2030, and 40 percent by 2050.

This will absolutely impact seniors’ ability to access medical care. As the trustees explain: “Providers could not sustain continuing negative margins and would have to withdraw from serving Medicare beneficiaries or (if total facility margins remained positive) shift substantial portions of Medicare costs to their non-Medicare, non-Medicaid payers.” (Emphasis added.)

2) Medicare “savings” are spent on other parts of Obamacare. Obamacare’s Medicare “savings” and increased Medicare payroll tax are often touted as increasing the solvency of the Part A trust fund, but that simply is not true. The money is counted as paying for new entitlement spending in Obamacare.

As CBO plainly states, “CBO has been asked whether the reductions in projected Part A outlays and increases in projected [hospital insurance] revenues under the legislation can provide additional resources to pay future Medicare benefits while simultaneously providing resources to pay for new programs outside of Medicare. Our answer is basically no.”

3) The ominous and looming power of IPAB. The board will consist of 15 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, charged with meeting a newly created budget target in Medicare. When Medicare spending surpasses the target, IPAB will have to make recommendations to lower Medicare spending. The trustees project the much-hated IPAB will need to step up and make recommendations for the first time in 2016.

Obama’s Medicare agenda falls far short of what is necessary to put the program on a sustainable path, and his law’s negative impact on seniors is yet another reason the law must be repealed in its entirety before its most egregious provisions (Medicaid expansion and exchange subsidies) begin in 2014.

RELATED COLUMNS:

SHOCK: Two-Thirds May Not Insure Under Obamacare…
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Is Gov. Rick Scott abusing his executive powers?

Republicans have been quick to point out that President Obama’s recess appointments bypass the US Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent. Courts have ruled against President Obama calling some appointments “unconstitutional“. But what happens when a Republican does the same thing?

Governor Rick Scott is coming under fire for recent “recess” appointments.

Scott recently made 42 appointments to boards and commissions throughout the state. Among them was Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, who Scott reappointed for a term beginning May 16, 2013, and ending at the pleasure of the Governor. Health News Florida reports, “Dr. John Armstrong will continue to lead the Department of Health, thanks to a reappointment by Gov. Rick Scott. As the Associated Press reports, Florida Senators, particularly state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, wanted Armstrong out.”

Governor Scott can reappoint one time. If the Senate does not confirm them at the next session, they must vacate their positions.

Two other appointments have also drawn the ire of the Florida Senate. Katie Sanders from the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “Senators approved a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointees on Thursday [May 2, 2013] and are slated to do more today. However, a few notable names will not make the cut. Unconfirmed appointments include state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, Florida A&M trustee (and former Pinellas County school board member) Glenn Gilzean, and the entire Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees.”

Armstrong fell out of favor with senators when he failed to show up for a confirmation hearing, Latvala said. ‘There were some issues with some members of the Legislature and the way he interacted with them. It’s a little behavior management’,” Sanders reports.

Is there a double standard when it comes to recess appointments?