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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rescue us from this precipice

President Obama slipped when he quipped recently that Congress is “on the precipice” of healthcare overhaul. The dictionary defines precipice as “a very steep or overhanging place; a hazardous situation; brink.”
“Precipice” is exactly how Americans view the prospect of radical healthcare overhaul, according to USA Today / Gallup polling.  Anyone who’s visited a government department of motor vehicles can imagine how government-directed healthcare decisions—which would occur under current legislation with or without the “public option”—will result in the delay and denial of their own health care.
Empowering the President’s cabinet members and other partisan bureaucrats to make sweeping decisions about what medical treatments and medicines to permit for all Americans dangerously injects the government into the exam room and the physician-patient relationship. The intrusive legislation  would even forbid senior citizens to use their own money to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare. That is, until the overhaul bankrupts Medicare.
Americans also oppose moral minefields in the legislation such as government funding of abortion and the absence of broad conscience rights for healthcare professionals, which threatens to eliminate healthcare access for poor patients by driving life-affirming physicians, hospitals and clinics out of medicine.
If anyone in Congress is still listening to the American people who are hanging on for dear life, please rescue us from this precipice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Latest Senate Bill Version Shifts U.S. Policy To Fund Abortion

Specific Problems with the Latest Senate Bill Version

  1. Violates the Hyde Amendment and the Hype principles set in all other federally administered health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, and CHIP.
  2. Preempts state laws and conflicts with some existing state laws on abortion.
  3. Conscience protections (Weldon language) are not included in the Senate version.
  4. The “so-called” firewall between federal and private funds is inconsistent with the Hyde and Stupak-Pitts Amendments.
  5. Departs from the way the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (also administered by OPM) is governed with respect to private plans covering abortion.
  6. Allows executive branch officials to require private health plans cover abortion simply by defining them as “preventive care” (the Mikulski Amendment mandates that all plans cover abortion by defining abortion as a “preventive” service).
  7. Inserts text of the Indian Health reauthorization bill (S.1790) that does not contain the Senate passed Vitter Amendment to permanently prohibit coverage of elective abortions in the federally funded Indian health programs.
What Pro-Life Experts are Saying:

  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – “The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form… The legislation will be morally unacceptable ‘unless and until’ it complies with longstanding current laws on abortion funding such as the Hyde amendment… Abortion compromise does not address core problem in Senate health bill…”
  • Democrat Representative Bart Stupak – “Not acceptable… a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage.”
  • National Right to Life Committee – “The Reid manager’s amendment is light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194. The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.”
  • Family Research Council – “It would violate the Hyde Amendment and other current laws that prevent federal funds going to pay part of the cost of health plans that include coverage of elective abortion… provisions will increase the number of abortions with government funding.”

Kill the Bill - Urgent Action Update

Urgent action item: 
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know now that you oppose this so-called compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Reid has released his Manager’s Amendment to the Senate healthcare overhaul bill. Reid's Manager's Amendment contains 383 pages of changes to his bill--changes designed to gain the 60 votes necessary to end debate and allow a vote on passage of the health care reform bill.
Bad news: News reports indicate that Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who had been holding out for a strong pro-life ban on abortion funding, now has agreed to the changes and supports the bill.
The Manager’s Amendment does NOT contain language similar to the pro-life Stupak amendment approved by the House. The Stupak amdendment clearly bans government subsidy of abortion.
Instead, the section on abortion in the Manager's Amendment (starting on page 38) adds a provision allowing states to opt out of providing abortion coverage through the exchange. The section also adds further layers of accounting requirements.
The result is the same: contrary to longstanding policy, the federal government will subsidize private health insurance plans that cover abortion. This policy change will facilitate abortion by making it more easily available.
The result: more unborn lives lost to abortion and more wounded mothers.
The Manager’s Amendment also strikes the public option and replaces it with a program similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) run by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  However, unlike the FEHBP, the Director of OPM will contract with health insurance companies to provide insurance that includes abortion.
In other words, it replaces government-run health care with ... government-run health care.
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know that you oppose this so-called compromise. Subsidizing plans that cover abortion is contrary to longstanding federal law.
What to do?
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know now  that you oppose this so-called compromise.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unraveling Legislative Legerdemain

Following is a commentary published today that I wrote for The Church Report:
""You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." –Abraham Lincoln

With over 5,000 pages of House and Senate healthcare overhaul bill text written in legal mumbo-jumbo designed to fool people, the best way to figure out what’s really behind the legislative legerdemain is to watch what happens to clear-cut amendments.
The Senate recently defeated by a 54-45 vote, for example, Democrat Senator Ben Nelson’s clear amendment to bar government funding of abortion. That revealing vote signals that pro-abortion senators fully intend their bill to launch government funding of abortion on demand.
The same is true of the rabidly pro-abortion House leadership. With teeth gritted and fists clenched, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, finally allowed a vote on a similar anti-abortion funding amendment only after Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak had secured enough Democrat commitments to block passage of the entire healthcare overhaul bill. The pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment won 240-196, while the overall bill barely passed, 220-215.
Now the relentless renegade Republican Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Ob-Gyn physician, is pulling the veil off the senate companion bill by introducing an amendment to protect conscientious medicine. Dr. Coburn’s Amendment 2967, which Senate leadership would rather keep from coming to a vote, would bar discrimination against health care professionals who decline to participate in abortions. I recently provided Senator Coburn’s staff with a raft of real-life stories of physicians and others who have faced firing, coercion and discrimination simply for following life-affirming codes of medical ethics such as the Hippocratic oath.
  Perhaps few stories of coercion are as compelling as a case currently under litigation with the aid of the Alliance Defense Fund. Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, an operating room nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was forced to assist, despite her vigorous protests, with a late-term abortion of a 22-week old unborn baby.
The nurse’s lawsuit notes, “By being forced to participate in the abortion, Mount Sinai forced Mrs. DeCarlo to witness the killing of a 22-week-old preborn child by dismemberment. Mount Sinai forced Mrs. DeCarlo to watch the doctor remove the bloody arms and legs of the child from its mother’s body with forceps … to view the bloody body parts of the 22-week-old preborn child in the specimen cup, to put saline in the cup, and to take it to the specimen area.”
Mrs. Cenzon-DeCarlo is quoted in an article by ADF attorney Matt Bowman as saying, “I still remember the baby's mangled body with twisted and torn arms, fingers, legs and feet. It felt like a horror film unfolding. I kept imagining the pain this baby must have gone through while being torn apart with the forceps. It was devastating.”
World-renowned experts such as Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand have testified in Congress and in court regarding fetal pain research, which reveals that not only do developing babies have all the architecture for feeling pain at 20 weeks (about halfway through a full-term pregnancy); they also can feel “severe and excruciating pain” at levels far beyond what adults feel.
That any government or medical system would actually force healthcare professionals to participate in such barbarity seems beyond reason. But we live in a New Age where reason is being replaced by raw political power and compulsion, and where the dictates of conscience are being replaced by the dictates of a ruling elite that has little regard for unborn life or conscience.
Despite promises of democratic transparency, the ruling elite in Congress have conspired and crafted their anti-life agenda behind closed doors. The most devious and deceptive closed-door mischief could occur during a conference when House and Senate bills would be reconciled.
Speaker Pelosi would likely side with her pro-abortion allegiances and make sure that no pro-life, pro-conscience provisions survive in the final bill version. That last-minute larceny would please the 54 senators who refused to duplicate the Stupak anti-abortion funding amendment and also President Obama, who has publicly promoted abortion as key to his healthcare plan. And they will all do so while claiming that their bill, deliberately designed to launch new and massive government funding of abortion on demand, simply keeps the abortion “status quo”.
Contact your lawmakers and write a letter to your paper, making clear that you are not fooled by legislative legerdemain and deceptive rhetoric. If we expose and derail this conspiracy before a final bill vote, we can kill this healthcare overhaul bill before it starts killing our nation’s children.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Watch new online video by docs on healthcare legislation

Two new, dynamic healthcare legislation resources are available for you to watch and listen to online:
1. For medical professionals and patients, a webcast by Christian Medical Association physicians available to watch right now:
Drs. David Stevens and Gene Rudd, leaders of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association, examine how current healthcare legislation will radically alter the physician-patient relationship and the delivery of health care. I provide an insider's view from Washington, DC on how to untangle deliberate deception and interpret the politics behind the legislation.
Click here to watch this videotaped web event now:
http://www.cmda.org/Content/NavigationMenu/IssuesEthics/Healthcare/HealthcareReform/Webcast7PrinciplesofHealthcareReform/default.htm

2. For the public: the 70+ pro-life and pro-family organizations that make up the Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition are joining together next TUESDAY NIGHT, December 15 on a nationwide webcast:

http://www.StopTheAbortionMandate.com/webcast

TIME: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific      

Register now at: http://www.StopTheAbortionMandate.com/webcast

During the live webcast, you'll hear the latest breaking news from a panel of nationally respected
leaders gathered together in Washington, D.C. Expert presenters include:

 * MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, Susan B. Anthony List
 * TONY PERKINS, Family Research Council
 * KRISTAN HAWKINS, Students for Life of America
 * CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life
 * DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee
 * KRISTEN DAY, Democrats for Life
 * WENDY WRIGHT, Concerned Women for America
 * DAVID BEREIT, 40 Days for Life
We hope you will find these two resources helpful as you take a stand and speak out on healthcare legislation. For more information, visit the Freedom2Care website at www.Freedom2Care.org and the Christian Medical Association web site at www.cmda.org.
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Freedom2Care is an ad-hoc coalition of conscience-affirming organizations, coordinated by the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association (www.joincmda.org).
Follow and share Freedom2Care on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Freedom2Care
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freedom2Care

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The doctor is not in

Crafters of healthcare overhaul legislation who think they're going to increase access for patients should think again.
If the current radical version of healthcare overhaul legislation passes, there may not be enough physicians to go around.
Consider these facts:
If healthcare overhaul passes, patients calling for a physician may be on hold a very long time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why one woman ran to the hospital when she heard about the healthcare bill

When an older woman interviewed for the USA Today news article, “New baseline of opinion on health care” found out about the Democrat healthcare plan, she “ran out and got the surgeries she needed,” explaining, “When has anything that the government does saved money?"
She shares the fears of an increasing number of Americans polled by USA Today : that government–run health care would increase cost and decrease quality. Patients also fear the delay and denial of procedures and medicine by bureaucratic bean counters.
When 53-year-old Randy Stroup of Dexter, Ore applied to Oregon's state-run health plan for help with his chemotherapy, bureaucrats sent him back a letter stating that the state would not cover his chemotherapy but would pay for the cost of an assisted suicide.
Obama health policy advisor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens,” such as “patients with dementia.”
Anyone tempted to buy the political propaganda extolling government-run health care should think about their last experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles--and then imagine their lives depending on that bureaucracy.