Gov. Scott to Meet with HHS Secretary Sebelius on Medicaid

The Villages TEA Party in an email to its members states:

“FACTS: On Monday, January 7th, Governor Rick Scott will meet with HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius to discuss expanding Medicaid in the State of Florida. Economists predicted in November 2012 that the Medicaid expansion would cost $9 Billion, however the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration estimates the cost to be near $25 Billion. Those who know the Obama Care law have always said that implementing it will break the states eventually, and increasing Medicaid is a big component in this destruction. Many are already seeing the numbers inflating.”

The costs of the Medicaid expansion will impact the Florida Medicaid program.

According to StateHealthFacts.org Florida in 2010 spent over $17.3 billion on Medicaid. Medicaid costs have gone up annually. From 1990-2001 Medicaid costs in Florida went up 11.8%. Between 2001-2010 Medicaid costs increase in Florida more than doubled to 24.5%, outpacing a national average cost increase during the same period of 19.8%.

According to the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, “The federal government agreed to fund 100 percent of the cost for states to expand Medicaid for three budget years. The federal government would cover 95 percent of the costs in 2017, 94 percent of the costs in 2018, 93 percent of the costs in 2019 and 90 percent of the costs in 2020 and beyond.”

The expansion is voluntary, but the federal government said it would penalize any state (by withholding Medicaid funds) that failed to comply. That penalty was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012. The court’s ruling allows states like Florida to decline expansion without losing any current funding.

UPDATE:

Governor Scott release the following statement today:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Governor Rick Scott met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss how the state can improve cost, quality and access in healthcare for Florida families. Governor Scott said his meeting with Sec. Sebelius focused on the projected $26 billion state cost of doubling people in Florida’s Medicaid program under the president’s new healthcare law, and requesting HHS approval for the state’s long-term care and Statewide Medicaid Managed Care plans that would make healthcare more affordable.

Governor Scott said, “We had a great conversation with Sec. Sebelius today about how we can improve cost, quality and access in healthcare for Florida families. We need to know more about how the healthcare choices facing our state would affect families – many who are still struggling to get a job and make ends meet.

“I believe that Medicaid is an important healthcare safety net. Florida’s Medicaid program today provides health care to over 3.3 million Floridians and is approximately 30 percent of our state budget. The cost of Medicaid has been growing at three-and-one-half times the growth rate of the state’s general revenue, which crowds out our ability to invest in K-12 education, higher education and other priorities.

“Growing government is never free. Under the new healthcare law, Florida would nearly double the people in our Medicaid program over 10 years. AHCA estimates that this would result in a total cost to taxpayers of more than $63 billion over 10 years, including $26 billion in costs to Florida taxpayers. We also know that adding people to Medicaid will affect our state for generations to come because government growth is almost never reversed. The current fiscal cliff debate here in Washington is proof of that.

“I also asked Sec. Sebelius to approve our state’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care and long term care proposals, which are currently awaiting HHS approval. We also discussed ideas for lowering health care costs, including tax incentives for individuals to buy insurance, price incentives for healthy behaviors, and flexibility to buy personalized coverage. Our ultimate goal is to lower the cost of healthcare in Florida so all families can access the level of care they desire.”

The Human-care Complex: How It All Began

Today, January 1, 2013 Obamacare taxes hit all Americans.

This is the second in a series by Watchdog Wire to explain how we came to implement this, the most sweeping of all legislation in the history of America. To read the first column please click here.

The question to be answered is: Who and what got us to this point?

Jeanne M. Lambrew, Tom Daschle and Scott S. Greenberger in their book “Critical” published in 2006 stated, “UNTIL THE BEGINNING of the twentieth century, medical care in the United States was inexpensive because it was largely ineffective.” The authors provide no evidence for this statement but it is this progressive ideal that becomes the foundation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (HR 3590) passed by the 111th Congress commonly known as Obamacare.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote in “Critical”, “When Progressive Era [1890-1920] reformers turned their attention to workers’ health, they decided to put compulsory health insurance on the national agenda for the first time. In 1914, the American Association for Labor Legislation began drafting legislation to provide workers with free medical care, paid sick leave, and a modest death benefit. By 1917, the AALL bill had been introduced in fourteen state legislatures. The fate of the legislation foreshadowed the health insurance debates that occurred throughout the twentieth century.”

The American Association for Labor Legislation was formed to promote uniformity of labor legislation and to encourage the study of labor conditions with a view toward promoting desirable legislation. The Association was founded as a branch of the International Association for Labor Legislation. Preliminary discussions about forming the group occurred during 1905 and culminated in the first meeting of the Association held on February 15, 1906, in New York City.

“Physicians, fearing that any third-party payer, especially the government, would regulate doctors’ fees vigorously opposed it. They were allied with the insurance companies, which worried that government health insurance would undermine the private life insurance market. In a 1918 referendum, the measure was soundly defeated,” wrote Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

While the arguments against government health insurance remain the same the progressive movement did not let it die.

In 1918 some unions supported the bill, but others joined with employers to fight it. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), denounced the proposal as “a menace to the rights, welfare, and liberty of American workers.” According to Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger “[O]pponents of national health insurance would raise the specter of ‘socialized medicine’ to great effect.”

What happened next set the stage for the creation of the Human-care Complex.

Because people had so little money, hospital occupancy rates plummeted. In search of a steady source of revenue, hospitals began offering “prepayment” plans to certain groups, such as hospital employees, teachers, and firefighters. For a monthly fee, members were guaranteed free hospital care if they ever needed it. So began the road to human-care insurance based upon expanding access based on illness rather than health.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote, “The hospital prepayment plans endured, evolving into the Blue Cross system and becoming the model for group health insurance as we know it today. One crucial feature of the plans was that they were employment-based—that is, they were offered to groups of workers large enough to spread out the cost of caring for the sick or injured. Still spooked by the prospect of government-sponsored health insurance, many employers accepted the Blue Cross system as a more palatable alternative.”

But just like all private sector solutions created through necessity, the government took an interest and become more directly involved in human-care via the tax codes.

“Our employment-based system solidified during World War II, when the federal government [tax] exempted ‘fringe benefits’ such as health insurance from wage and price,” noted Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

And so it grew. To attract workers, who were scarce because so many men were in the military during WW II, some employers offered them generous health coverage. The government’s decision to exempt health benefits from personal income taxes accelerated the trend. Unions bolstered the nascent insurance system by cutting their own deals with hospitals and later with the Blue Cross.

The next column will look into the expansion of the government/human-care industrial complex from 1945 to today.

Leaders in Florida Should Seize Momentum to Reject Health Insurance Exchanges

Tallahassee, Florida— Today Americans for Prosperity (AFP) the nation’s largest and most effective advocate for economic freedom released the following statement calling on state leaders to reject the state-based health insurance exchanges.

“State leaders should join the growing chorus in sending a strong message to Washington that their states will not implement these flawed health insurance exchanges,” said Slade O’Brien, Florida State Director. “Exchanges will increase prices on consumers and increase taxes on hardworking families.”

Multiple governors have announced this week that they will not create an exchange. This list now includes Mike Pence (IN), John Kasich (OH), Robert Bentley (AL), Bobby Jindal (LA), Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Perry (TX), Nikki Haley (SC), Nathan Deal (GA), Robert McDonnell (VA) and Jay Nixon (MO). AFP applauds these steps.

“It is disconcerting to see Florida’s legislative leaders urging the Governor to create a state-based health insurance exchange. AFP strongly opposes any and all attempts to create an exchange and expand Florida’s Medicaid program” O’Brien continued.

The federal government is offering unlimited grants to states to create an exchange between now and the end of 2014. All exchanges must be self-funding starting in 2015. Each governor must notify the federal government by Friday, November 16, 2012, of his or her decision whether to create a state-based health insurance exchange, defer to the federal government or partner on a hybrid-exchange.

“Federal funds are flowing freely to buy state compliance, but state budgets will take the hit in two short years,” said Nicole Kaeding, AFP state policy manager. “Creating an exchange puts state taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars every year. States should reject these bloated bureaucracies.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org

Top U.S. Policy And Industry Leaders To Gather In Miami To Discuss Health Care

CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

In the wake of the 2012 U.S. presidential and congressional elections, the University of Miami School of Business Administration will bring together some of the nation’s leading health care policy and industry leaders for a conference focused on the impact that the election results will have on health care reform and what it will mean for health care organizations and business in general.

The conference on Feb. 1, 2013, ” The Business of Health Care Post-Election ,” will be hosted by the School’s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy and will come within two weeks of the inauguration of Barack Obama for a second term as president.

“The re-election of President Obama and other election results put renewed focus on health care reform and the impact that it will have on the financing and delivery of health care as well as on the business community,” said Steven Ullmann, director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy at the UM School of Business. “This conference will provide a unique opportunity for professionals across industries to hear from many of the thought leaders who have been at the forefront of the health care debate, and to exchange ideas on what’s in store for businesses and health care organizations as a result of the election.”

Conference Speakers and Moderators Include:

  • Tom Daschle, Senior Policy Adviser, DLA Piper; Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader; and Author, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis”
  • Robert Galvin, MD, CEO, Equity Healthcare Operating Partner, The Blackstone Group; and Former Executive Director, Health Services and Chief Medical Officer, General Electric
  • Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans
  • Chris Jennings, President, Jennings Policy Strategies; Former Senior Health Care Advisor to President Bill Clinton; and Former Staff Director, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Comprehensive Health Reform Policy Project
  • Mark McClellan, MD, Director and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies, Engleberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution; Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services; and Former Senior Director, Health Care Policy under President George W. Bush
  • James T. Olsen, Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Advisory Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Moderators include Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Richard L. Clarke, former president and CEO of the Healthcare Financial Management Association; and Patrick J. Geraghty, the chairman and CEO of Florida Blue.

The conference is expected to draw those working within the industries of health care, health care delivery and health care policy and administration, as well as business leaders and other professionals in the finance, technology, legal, marketing, government and public policy, and academic sectors. The conference is presented by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Florida Blue. The early registration deadline is November 30 . More information can be found here.

About the University of Miami School of Business Administration

The University of Miami School of Business Administration is a comprehensive business school, offering undergraduate business, full-time MBA, Executive MBA, MS, Ph.D. and non-degree executive education programs. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Miami, the School is located in a major hub of international trade and commerce and acclaimed for the global orientation and diversity of its faculty, students and curriculum. More information about the University of Miami School of Business Administration can be found here.

SOURCE University of Miami School of Business Administration

CONTACT: Tracy Simon, University of Miami School of Business Administration, +1-267-679-277, tsimon@bus.miami.edu or tlsimonPR@gmail.com

Florida Doctor Sends Letter To Employees About Election

Jeffrey A. Zipper, M.D.

Jeffrey A. Zipper, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of the National Pain Institute located in Delray Beach, Florida sent the below letter to all of his employees.

Dr. Zipper received his medical degree from the University of Miami, School of Medicine in Miami, Florida where he was selected for membership in Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He finished his internship in General Surgery at North Shore University Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and completed a residency program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at State University Hospital Health Science Center of Brooklyn/Downstate Medical Center where he also served as Chief Resident in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Dr. Zipper has been in practice since 1991 and is co-founder of the National Pain Institute.

Dear Employees,

This November 6th you will be asked to cast your vote for President of the United States. Simply put, this is the most important election of our lifetimes. Our economy is on life support. This country is 16 Trillion Dollars in debt and growing. We have been running a 1.3 Trillion Dollar annual budget deficit year over year for the past 4 years! The growth and expansion of our economy has been extremely slow and people are still loosing jobs at a rate of over 300,000/month!! We are broke and indebt as a Nation!

As a small businessman and co-owner of this company; I must tell you, that if our country remains on its present economic course, we are all in deep trouble (rich or poor)! No small businessman will be willing to continue investing their hard earned money in this risky business environment. For me, this election is ALL ABOUT THE ECONOMY. What is good for NPI, is good for you and your families! What is bad for NPI, is bad for you and your families! If NPI and other small business like ours are to survive and thrive into the future; we must begin to feel optimistic again about our country’s economic future. BTW small business employ 75% of all Americans!

We have two choices for President; each of which, I will evaluate as good or bad for NPI, strictly based upon their own stated economic policy’s.

1) Tax Policy

a. President Obama will raise overall taxes on small business from 36% to 46%. In addition, he will raise taxes on capital gains income from 15% to 25%.

i. BAD FOR NPI! WHY? BECAUSE IT WILL RESULT IN LESS MONEY AVAILABLE FOR CONTINUED INVESTMENT & GROWTH IN OUR COMPANY. IT WILL ALSO RESULT IN SIGNIFICANTLY LESS FUNDS FOR EMPLOYEE ADVANCEMENT AND RETENTION. JOBS COULD BE LOST.

b. Governor Romney will reform the tax code in a revenue neutral fashion. He will cut out the tax loopholes enjoyed by actual multimillionaire’s and billionaire’s (not small businessmen)! He will then flatten the highest tax rate to 20% and the lowest rate to 10%. In addition, he will lower Corporate tax rates from 35% to 25% and eliminate capital gains taxes.

i. GOOD FOR NPI! WHY? BECAUSE IT WILL RESULT IN MORE MONEY AVAILABLE FOR CONTINUED INVESTMENT & GROWTH IN OUR COMPANY. IT WILL ALLOW MORE FUNDS FOR EMPLOYEE ADVANCEMENT AND GROWTH OF OUR WORKFORCE. THIS REFORM WILL ALSO LEAD TO RETURN OF CAPITAL INVESTMENT AND MANUFACTURING BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS WILL BE REQUIRED TO GROW OUR WAY OUT OF THIS MESS.

2) Obamacare/Medicare

a. President Obama has signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It cuts 716 Billion dollars from Medicare to fund Obamacare. It also taxes/fines small business $2,000 per employee per year and mandates each citizen to purchase healthcare insurance or pay a mandatory tax!

i. BAD FOR NPI! WHY? RESULTS IN MEDICARE CUTS WHICH MAKES UP 45% OF OUR COMPANY’S REVENUE! SMALL BUSINESS’S MAY CONSIDER TO COMPLETELY DROP HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES AND JUST PAY THE FINE/TAX. WORSE YET, SOME SMALL BUSINESS’S MAY OPT TO PROVIDE SPLIT WORK SHIFTS (PART TIME EMPLOYMENY ONLY) IN ORDER TO AVOID PAYING THE FINE/TAX. THIS WILL RESULT IN MORE WORK WITH LESS RESOURCES FOR LESS MONEY! VERY BAD FOR ALL HEALTHCARE COMPANY’S AND THEIR EMPLOYEES. BTW HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEES MAKE UP 30% OF THE AMERICAN WORKFORCE.

b. Governor Romney will repeal the Affordable Care Act. He will reform Medicare for those under age 55 years old to provide long term sustainability to the program and keep benefits as they are for those over 55 years old. He will slowly raise retirement age and cut future Medicare benefits for wealthy people who are now under 55 years old. He will also allow for the interstate sale of health insurance which will drop rates by 40% overnight! This will make health insurance much more affordable for all.

i. GOOD FOR NPI AND ECONOMY! WHY? BECAUSE IT PREVENTS ALL OF THE ABOVE FROM HAPPENING.

While I believe that President Obama is a very likable, affable person and an excellent orator! I do not believe that he possess the business acumen required, to turn this country’s economy around. For me the choice is clear! I hope you will consider supporting Governor Romney for President.

Regards,

Jeffrey A. Zipper, M.D.
Chief Executive Officer
National Pain Institute
5365 W. Atlantic Ave
Delray Beach, FL. 33484

REPORT: Child Obesity Caused by Single Parent Households

In 2010 Michele Obama made it her mission to address the “child obesity epidemic”. The goal of Mrs. Obama is to reduce child obesity from the current 20% of all children to 5% by 2030. WebMD reports, “To accomplish this, the plan makes 70 recommendations for early childhood, for parents and caregivers, for school meals and nutrition education, for access to healthy food, and for increasing physical activity.”

According to WebMD, “Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI.”

“U.S. kids haven’t always been obese. Only one in 20 children ages 2 to 19 was obese in the 1970s. But around 1980 child obesity began to rocket to today’s stratospheric level: Nearly one in three kids is overweight or obese, and nearly one in five is frankly obese,” notes WebMD.

What is the cause of this stratospheric increase in child obesity? ANSWER: Single parent households.

In July 2010 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported, “Prevalence of childhood obesity and its complications have increased world-wide. Parental status may be associated with children’s health outcomes including their eating habits, body weight and blood cholesterol.” [My emphasis]

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the years 1988–1994 provided a unique opportunity for matching parents to children enabling analyses of joint demographics, racial differences and health indicators. Specifically, the NHANES III data, 1988–1994, of 219 households with single-parents and 780 dual-parent households were analyzed as predictors for primary outcome variables of children’s Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary nutrient intakes and blood cholesterol.

The NHANES survey found:

  • Children of single-parent households were significantly more overweight than children of dual-parent households.
  • Total calorie and saturated fatty acid intakes were higher among children of single-parent households than dual-parent households.
  • On average, Black children were more overweight than children of other races.

The study results implied a strong relationship between single-parent status and excess weight in children. The NHANES survey states, “Parental involvement in the development of school- and community-based obesity prevention programs are suggested for effective health initiatives. Economic constraints and cultural preferences may be communicated directly by family involvement in these much needed public health programs.”

Mark Mather from the Population Reference Bureau reports, “In the United States, the number of children in single-mother families has risen dramatically over the past four decades, causing considerable concern among policymakers and the public. Researchers have identified the rise in single-parent families (especially mother-child families) as a major factor driving the long-term increase in child poverty in the United States.” To read the full report click here.

Data from the Sarasota County School Board shows that since President Obama took office the number of children who are classified as obese is Sarasota public schools has risen as the children progress from Grade 1 – to Grade 3 – to Grade 6. The cohort obesity numbers go down at Grade 9. For example, 15.7% of students in Grade 1 in the 2008/2009 school year were obese. In 2011/2012 school year 18.8% of students in Grade 3 were obese. An increase of 3.1% of students in grade during school year 2008/2009 18.8% were obese. In Grade 6 that cohort increased to 20.1%. The Grade 6 cohort in 2008/2009 data was 21.5% and in 2011/12 dropped to 17.6%.

Public schools do not keep data on obese children who live in single parent households. 

Many are questioning whether the First Lady is addressing the root cause of child obesity – single parent households. Some see this health initiative as expanding government control of parents and children. Setting caloric standards is the first step in setting eating limits. Limits lead to control of food sources, leading to the redistribution of calories. Should not we be focused on the rising number of single parent households?

Perhaps it would be better for the First Lady to focus on increasing the number of traditional two parent families? After all, she has a traditional family and her husband and children all have normal weights according to the BMI calculator.

JUST FOR FUN:

As an aside, Watchdog Wire looked at some well known public figures and calculated their BMI scores.

Using the BMI calculator we determined that New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who is 6′ 3″ tall and weights 236 pounds, is overweight. If Tebow gains 5 pounds he will be categorized as “Obese Class 1”. In fact the entire New York Jets offensive and defensive lines are obese.

Muscle Chemistry lists the height and weight of actors. Those in Hollywood who are overweight according to the BMI calculator include: Whoppi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Sylvester Stallone is rated as Obese Class 1.

Rep. West Receives Guardian of Small Business Award

Congressman Allen West (R-FL) received the National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business Award Thursday.

The award is presented to members of Congress who NFIB considers “champions” of small business owners. West received a perfect score of ‘100’ for his votes on 13 key NFIB supported pieces of legislation concerning issues from healthcare, energy and Federal Government regulations.

Rep. West received a perfect score from the National Federation of Independent Businesses as did sixteen other members of the Florida delegation. Republican Senate Candidate Connie Mack received a 100 percent, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz garnering a zero. Senator Bill Nelson received a score of 36 and Senator Marco Rubio a score of 100.

Here is the list of the Florida delegation by district and their NFIB scores:

1      Miller, J. 100
2      Southerland 100
3      Brown, C. 0
4      Crenshaw 100
5      Nugent 100
6      Stearns 100
7      Mica 100
8      Webster 100
9      Bilirakis 100
10    Young, C.W. “Bill” 100
11    Castor 8
12    Ross, D. 100
13    Buchanan 100
14    Mack 100
15    Posey 100
16    Rooney 100
17    Wilson, F. 0
18    Ros-Lehtinen 9
19    Deutch 0
20    Wasserman Schultz 0
21    Diaz-Balart 92
22    West, A. 100
23    Hastings, A. 8
24    Adams 100
25    Rivera 100

For a complete look at how each Member of the 112th Congress voted, click here

“Our small businesses are at the heart of keeping this economy going and I am proud to receive this award,” West said. “As I travel Dixie Highway in Palm Beach County and visit small businesses in South Florida, I see firsthand the importance of expanding opportunities and reducing burdensome regulations on our independent employers. Our small businesses represent the best of the American spirit and I will continue to be their voice on Capitol Hill.”

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised West for his commitment to American business owners.

“In the 112th Congress, Representative West proved he is willing to stand up and do big things for small business,” Danner said. “Guardian-award winners are genuine small business champions, consistently voting to promote and protect the right of small business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses.”

Congressman Allen West is a member of the House Committee on Small Business and is a member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.

The Guardian of Small Business Award is presented to lawmakers who vote with small businesses 70 percent or more of the time and demonstrate a commitment to protecting free enterprise.

National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB has 350,000 members and its mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.

Court Asked to Immediately Stop the HHS Mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it has filed an emergency motion asking that Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan stop the HHS Mandate which goes into effect on August 1, 2012. The motion was filed late yesterday afternoon.

The backdrop for the Law Center’s motion for a Temporary Restraining Order is one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s greatest statements on our fundamental rights recognized by the Bill of Rights: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

Click here to read entire motion.

Thomas More Law Center attorney, Erin Mersino, is the lead counsel in the lawsuit. Joining as co-counsel is Charles LiMandri, the Law Center’s West Coast Regional Director.

Mersino stated, “We have asked Judge Cleland to set a court hearing on our motion for the earliest possible time to prevent immediate injury to our clients’ right of conscience. Without the Court’s intervention, the HHS mandate effectively penalizes their free exercise of religion.”

The Thomas More Law Center filed its federal lawsuit on May 6, 2012 against the Obama administration on behalf of Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business leaders, and the Ann Arbor-based Weingartz Supply Company, and its president Daniel Weingartz, also a member of Legatus.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate which requires employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for abortions and contraception on the grounds that it imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “The Obama administration deliberately declared war on the Catholic Church by promulgating the HHS Mandate. And contrary to what they want you to believe, this case is not about contraception. It is about the religious freedom of Christians, in this case Catholics, to peaceably practice their faith free from government coercion. If the government succeeds in this case, the religious freedom of all Christians is in danger.”

The motion for a temporary restraining order focuses on violations of the Plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

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 currently has over 4,000 members in 73 chapters located in 31 states. It was founded in 1987 by Tom Monaghan, the former owner of Domino’s Pizza, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.

Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the of the Department of Health and Human Services; Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury; and their respective departments.

The Liar’s Tax

By Alan Caruba – The most singular aspect of Obamacare is the way Democrats, from the President on down, consistently lied about the fact that it was a tax. Interviewed by George Stephanopolos on ABC News, September 2009, Obama was asked if he rejected the criticism that it was a tax increase. “I absolutely reject that notion,” was his reply.

No need to quote the others. They all lied. It took the Supreme Court and, in particular, Chief Justice Roberts, to call Obamacare a tax in the process of eliminating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution as a justification for imposing this burden on Americans.

As CNBC’s Larry Kudlow was quick to note, “Twenty new or higher taxes across the board are bad for economic growth, bad for job hiring, bad for investors, and bad for families,” adding that when “you tax something more, you get less of it.”

Most Americans have been repeatedly told that Obamacare would ensure more care for more people, but the fact is, with or without health insurance, Americans receive health care, even if the hospital emergency room is their last resort, even if they are homeless, and even if they have no way to pay for it.

The multi-millionaire former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who told Americans that we would have to wait to know what was in Obamacare until after it was passed, reacted to the Supreme Court decision saying, “Call it what you will.” That is the equivalent of “Let them eat cake”, Marie Antoinette’s famed statement before the enraged citizens of France separated her head from her body.

Obamacare just became the single most important element of the November 6th national elections, followed by the economy. Both stink! Both are the direct result of Obama’s declared intention to “fundamentally transform America.” If he had even a schoolchild’s grasp of American history, he would know that Americans hate taxes. They declared their independence from England over the issue of taxation without representation.

What will emerge in the months between now and the elections is the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the implementation of Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, an increase of $820 billion over the initial estimate when it was first signed into law. A nation already $17 trillion in debt can hardly welcome such news, nor absorb such costs.

For most Americans, though, the realization that Obamacare contains twenty-one new taxes will likely tip the scales in November to the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, who has promised to begin the repeal of the law the first day he takes office. Yes, it is an irony that he introduced Romneycare in Massachusetts when he was Governor there, but that is not going to affect the outcome of the election.

Among the many new taxes buried in the 2000-plus pages of Obamacare, there’s a 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that observers believe would prove to be a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs an estimated 400,000.

There’s a 3.6% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends on those earning more than $250,000.

Obamacare imposes a $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new “community health assessment needs”, whatever they are.

There’s a $2.6 billion-a-year tax on drug companies. A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed.

Between now and November voters are going to be reminded that Obama promised to fix the economy and then spent the first two years getting Obamacare through Congress. No Republican voted for it and, in 2010, voters replaced some sixty representatives and senators with Republicans.

Obama promised to create jobs. Instead he gave us a multi-billion “stimulus” that utterly failed. He promised to cut the deficit in half. And he promised that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as twenty million will lose theirs.

Lies! Lies! Lies!

In a thoughtful analysis of Obamacare, two senior fellows at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution were joined by the dean of the Columbia Business School who concluded that “In upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has allowed the President and Congress to put the country’s health policy on a path that will restrict individual choices, stifle innovation and sharply increase health-care costs.”

As that sinks in, the November elections will end the tyranny of Barack Obama and his minions in Congress. If you wonder what will replace it, just ask Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WIS) who has a plan in place to reform Medicare and Medicaid. If you haven’t heard much about it, you can thank the mainstream media and its slavish adoration of the President.

It is a liar’s tax. It is a liar’s penalty. It is a liar’s plan to further bankrupt the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

FL WON’T IMPLEMENT OPTIONAL PORTIONS OF OBAMACARE

By Dr. Rich Swier – Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida will join other states in opting out of Medicaid expansion and state-run exchanges.

If  the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not repealed before January 1, 2014, Florida will implement and comply with the required sections of the act.

After reviewing the impact of the Supreme Court ruling that gave Florida the flexibility to legally opt out of implementing one of the costliest provisions of the ACA, commonly known as “ObamaCare,” Governor Rick Scott has decided two major provisions in the law are inconsistent with his mission to grow jobs for Floridians, make sure there is adequate funding for education, and to keep the cost of living as low as possible.

The Affordable Care Act does not require states to take any action before the 2012 general election, and the full law does not take effect until January 1, 2014, provided it is not repealed before that date. Governor Scott, like other state governors, has made it clear that even though Florida will opt out of implementing two major, yet optional, provisions, should there be any legal obligation to implement ObamaCare, the state will follow the law.

Florida will opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program. A second provision in ACA gives Governor Scott the flexibility to opt out of building insurance “exchanges.”

“Floridians are interested in jobs and economic growth, a quality education for their children, and keeping the cost of living low,” Governor Scott said. “Neither of these major provisions in ObamaCare will achieve those goals, and since Florida is legally allowed to opt out, that’s the right decision for our citizens.”

Florida already has health care safety net programs for those with the greatest need, including assistance for families with incomes up to 133% of the poverty line, and Florida KidCare to ensure no child goes without health care in Florida.

But even though the federal government has promised to initially pay 100% of the increase in Medicaid payments for the first three years of ObamaCare, the burden increasingly shifts to Florida taxpayers in future years. Medicaid, which has been growing for years at three-and-a-half times as fast as Florida’s general revenue, will soon grow even faster under ObamaCare, and education funding will be adversely impaired if we do not control the growth in Medicaid spending.

Another provision in ACA gives Governor Scott the flexibility to opt out of building insurance “exchanges” that will result in higher insurance premium costs – more money out of the pockets of Florida’s families and businesses. The Congressional Budget Office has said that insurance premiums available on state exchanges will rise another 10-13% under the rules of ObamaCare. In states already operating insurance exchanges set up under similar rules, health care premiums are substantially more expensive.

“The real problem with health care is that costs continue to rise. That’s why I believe we need more choice for patients, more free-market competition, increased accountability for providers, and incentives for personal responsibility,” said Governor Scott. “These are the things we can do that will hold down health care costs and make it affordable for more people. Unfortunately, ObamaCare doesn’t do any of those things. In Florida, we are focused on becoming the number one place for businesses so that Floridians have more jobs.”

The Liars Have Triumphed

By Alan Caruba – The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare confirmed that lies have triumphed over the Constitution.

It also is a reminder that the Supreme Court is a political entity and a human one. Only the Justices who dissented from the majority decision on Obamacare were willing to take the heat. The majority ruled that the individual mandate under the commerce clause was unconstitutional, but gave Obamacare life as a tax.

It was always a tax, but President Obama repeatedly told Americans that it was not until his administration’s lawyers went before the Supreme Court and admitted and argued that it was a tax. The lawyers on the Court agreed, the majority in effect saying that there is no limit to the ability of Congress to tax Americans.

As Politico.com reported: On the losing end of a 5-4 decision, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said that the entire health care reform law should have been struck down.

They wrote: “The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.”

Obamacare is a blow to state’s rights as sovereign republics.

A fellow blogger, writing under the pseudonym of J.D. Longstreet, warned that “The lesson here is — don’t play around with socialism. You cannot win. It kills its host country every time.”

Not since the Civil War and the more recent 9/11 has America faced a darker day. That day killed nearly three thousand Americans. Today, the fate of more than three hundred million Americans has been sealed. This is particular true of older Americans who, if the law is not repealed, will learn to their dismay that they cannot have essential medical care if bureaucrats conclude it is too costly. Others will die waiting to be admitted to hospitals to mitigate cancers and other life threatening diseases.

It is a death sentence for them. It is a death sentence for America.

There is the prospect that Mitt Romney may secure election to office and that the Republican Party may secure control of the Senate as well as the House. Without question Obamacare along with the economy becomes the central issue of the months leading up to Election Day.

Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare 820 days ago.

The House will vote on a full repeal of Barack Obama’s health care law during the week of July 9, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday morning. The scheduling of another repeal vote came less than an hour after the Supreme Court upheld the health care mandate.

This is, however, purely symbolic. The bill will not be taken up in the Democrat-controlled Senate. It would be vetoed if sent to Obama.

Too many with whom I have talked believe that the same Americans who elected Obama in 2008 will reelect him in 2012. He lied his way into office then and it is entirely plausible he will do so again.

America will not survive him if he is reelected. He is truly the Manchurian candidate sent to destroy America.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

A Sad Day for America

By Congressman Allen West – The United States Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by extending the power of the United States Congress to tax Americans’ behavior. This is a sad day for Americans, as they will be taxed to pay for benefits they may not need or want as part of the insurance they are forced to buy. With this decision, Congress has been granted infinite taxation power, and there are no longer any limits on what the federal government can tax its citizens to do.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will hit the middle class especially hard, as hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost as businesses try to avoid the penalties and costs created by the healthcare law. The healthcare law will cost trillions of dollars, raise costs for employers and create huge incentives for them to drop health insurance.

Benjamin Franklin did indeed state, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, Dr. Franklin never envisioned the federal government would use its power of taxation to punish people for not purchasing health care. Today, individual sovereignty in America has been defeated.

OBAMACARE RULING RESPONSES

LifeNews:

The Supreme Court has issued a 5-4 decision essentially upholding the Obamacare law that pro-life groups regard as the biggest expansion of abortion and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade. The law also drew strong opposition from the pro-life community not only over abortion, but because the legislation also promotes rationing of medical care that could lead to involuntarily denying lifesaving treatment. The Supreme Court has incorrectly ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, pro-life groups are saying. They are pointing out that the need is greater now than ever to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama and elect a pro-life Senate that will join the House in repealing the legislation.

National Organization for Women (NOW):

The Affordable Care Act specifically helps women gain access to quality, affordable health care by: requiring insurers to cover contraception and other preventive health care without co-pays; prohibiting sex-based discrimination in pricing insurance premiums; ending the odious practice of refusing coverage because of pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy); expanding Medicaid eligibility to potentially include more than 14 million low-income earners; and providing insurance premium subsidies to over 35 million people, disproportionately women, who don’t qualify for Medicaid, don’t have employer-based coverage and can’t afford insurance on their own.

National Right to Life:

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding most of the ObamaCare law is a call-to-action for the right-to-life electorate to work to elect a Congress and president this November committed to repealing ObamaCare in 2013, in order to prevent a future in which abortion insurance will be heavily subsidized by federal taxpayers and federal bureaucrats will be authorized to ration life-saving medical treatment.

Florida Governor Rick Scott 

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing. The tax question was repeatedly refuted by members of Congress who helped pass this health care takeover. The Justices have declared that the central provision of ObamaCare is a judicially mandated tax. A new tax pure and simple. This is just another burden the federal government has put on American families and small businesses.

With the national economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to implement a massive social program that injects nothing but uncertainty and doubt into our economic system. By doing so, they have put up yet another major roadblock to efforts to get people back to work and forced the government into the important relationship between patients and their doctors.

“I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid.”

Family Research Council:

Today’s Supreme Court decision will do serious harm to American families. Not only is the individual mandate a profound attack on our liberties, but it is only one section among hundreds of provisions in the law that will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate their conscience rights, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families.

The Obama administration has created, for the first time in American history, new federal regulations that toss aside the constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.

Foundation for Government Accountability

Robert’s Rules of Order are clear—”Obey or Pay is the new Washington Way.” The Supreme Court has given President Obama a gift that he will soon regret: exploding deficits, higher taxes, skyrocketing health care costs, and a massive bureaucracy that will have to ration Americans’ health care. All this is the President’s problem…for now. What was once seen as a decision for the Supreme Court is now a decision for the voters to make in November.”

American Life League:

This is indeed a sad day for the people of this once great nation where liberty has always been equated with freedom of religion, freedom from oppression, and freedom of speech. The government’s draconian healthcare law denies so many rights that the true result is yet unknown, but surely liberty has been trounced in unbelievable fashion.

Eric Scheidler, national Religious Freedom rally leader:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment. But in the end it will only increase the urgency of our protests and inspire more people to join us out onto the streets. The fight to stop the HHS Mandate will go forward with zeal — in the courts, in Congress, on the streets and on election day.

Bound4Life:

Today the Supreme Court upheld all the major provisions of Obamacare, thereby allowing and further legalizing abortion by allowing the most massive expansion of abortion in our nation since the passage of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in 1973.

Heritage Action

America’s system of checks and balances ensures the Supreme Court’s misguided decision will not be the final word on President Obama’s government takeover of the healthcare system. Although the Court failed to provide a much-needed check on federal power, we have every bit of confidence the American people and their elected representatives will.

Indeed, since the debate began in August 2009, Americans have vocally opposed President Obama’s approach to health care, which remains unaffordable and irresponsible. As such, Congress must repeal the law in its entirety.

Students for Life:

It’s an outrage that they have chosen to endorse the government’s unconstitutional ability to force all Americans to not only purchase a product they may or may not want but to subsidize abortions as well.

Human Life International:

We remain very concerned about the many serious moral failings of the health care law, which have sparked a wave of opposition rallies across the nation. Under the Affordable Care Act, abortions are free of charge, but life saving medicine and treatments require a co-pay. All Americans who are on government subsidized healthcare plans (which would be almost all Americans) will be forced to pay for abortion through a hidden surcharge that insurance companies are not even allowed to tell their customers about, except in the initial sign up process. This is how radically pro-abortion the Obama administration really is, and its ‘health care reform’ policy reflects this radical stance.

And we know that this administration has stirred up unprecedented unified opposition from the Catholic Church and many other denominations over another of the Act’s mandates, one forcing religious employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception regardless of moral or religious objection. Here again we see the radical priorities of the Obama administration, and what it really thinks of those who disagree with those priorities.

Live Action

The Supreme Court has upheld nothing more than a Ponzi scheme to expand the abortion business. If this legislation is not overturned by the next administration, Obamacare’s socialist-style diktats will be used, not to provide better or more affordable health care, but to expand Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire across the backs of American taxpayers and people of conscience — and at the expense of our religious freedoms.

Operation Rescue:

We will not comply with this socialistic and oppressive law that forces us to not only purchase insurance we may not want, but more importantly, forces us to violate our consciences and fund abortion coverage

Catholic League:

ObamaCare may have survived, but it is by no means a lock that the HHS mandate will. It is one thing to levy a tax, quite another to level the First Amendment.

Planned Parenthood:

While protecting health care reform is a huge step forward for women’s health, there is still so much more work to be done. You can double your impact to protect and promote women’s health right now by making a gift to Planned Parenthood Federation of America — all gifts up to $250,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

RUBIO: WE HAVE NOW CREATED AN IRS PROBLEM FOR MILLIONS

Interview with CNBC
Senator Marco Rubio
June 28, 2012

Rubio: We Have Now Created An IRS Problem For Millions Of Americans

Senator Marco Rubio: “Well, first of all, let’s be clear. I think it is pretty telling that, for the Obama Administration, a victory is a middle class tax increase. And that’s what this is. Not me saying it, That is what the Supreme Court said today.”

“It is important to realize that what the Supreme Court decides is not whether something is a good idea or not. What they decide is whether it’s constitutional. And the reason why they say this is constitutional is because this is a tax increase. So, for folks watching back home, here’s what this means. This now means that if you don’t buy health insurance, you are not in lawful compliance with law and the IRS can come after you and will come after you.

“We have now created an IRS problem for millions of Americans. Anyone who thinks that is good for economic growth is out of their minds.”

Rubio: Economic Reaction To A Tax Hike Will Be Negative

Senator Rubio: “Here’s the bottom line now. It is constitutional according to the Supreme Court because it is a tax increase. We have to live with the consequences of this now. There are a lot of things that are constitutional that happen to be bad ideas and this just joins the list. Because now millions of Americans will have an IRS problem beginning in 2014.

“We just came out with numbers today, less than 2 percent growth, an anemic economic growth. And you watch today the numbers on the market, you watch the economic reaction to that and it will be negative. People do not think this is good news. Creating an IRS problem for millions of Americans is not good news.”

Rubio: Obama Broke His Promise; This Is A Tax Increase

Senator Rubio: “This is a broken promise. Barack Obama said he would not be raising taxes on the middle class. This is exactly what this is. When he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC a few years ago that this was not a tax increase, he obviously didn’t know what he was talking about because his lawyers before the Supreme Court argued that it was a tax increase. And today the Supreme Court affirmed that.”

Rubio: ObamaCare Is Not The Right Approach

Senator Rubio: “We all want Americans to have more choices when it comes to health insurance. We’ve never denied, I don’t think anyone does, that we have a health insurance problem in America. But I don’t think you solve that problem by growing the debt, by taking choices away from people, by trying to force states to deficit spend in order to put people on their Medicaid rolls, and by turning the IRS into an enforcement mechanism for health insurance. That’s just not the right approach.”