Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Like a bad horror movie, the monsters keep popping up

Like a bad horror movie where the monsters start popping up again just when you think the threat is over, Congressional leaders are reemerging from the "Maassachusetts Massacre" determined to push through their frightening healthcare overhaul.

What part of NO don't these politicians understand?
Here's what the AP is reporting:
Democratic congressional leaders are coalescing around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama's sweeping health care overhaul.
Their plan is to pass the Senate bill with some changes to accommodate House Democrats, senior Democratic aides said Monday. Leaders will present the idea to the rank and file this week, but it's unclear whether they have enough votes to carry it out.
Last week's victory by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts cost Democrats the 60th vote they need to maintain undisputed control of the Senate, jeopardizing the outcome of the health care bill just when Obama had brokered a final deal on most of the major issues.
"We've put so much effort into this, so much hard work, and we were so close to doing some significant things. Now we have to find the political path that brings us out. And it's not easy," the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said Monday.
The new strategy is as politically risky as it is bold.  [read more]
"Bold"? How about maniacal?
If ever there were a political suicide mission, Democrat leaders jamming the healthcare bill through now against overwhelming public opposition and the wishes of many of their own party's members would certainly fit the bill.
But they could still do it, and here's how:
  1. The House could swallow hard, pass the Senate bill as is and send it to the President to sign into law, all in a matter of days. The objections of House members--they're split on the radical new expansion of government funding to include abortion, for example--theoretically could be overcome with leadership's promises to fix their objections with subsequent legislation.
  2. Under a process known as "reconciliation," changes could be made to sections of the bill that affect taxes and government spending. Those changes could pass the Senate with a majority of just 51 senators, rather than a 60-vote majority. 
If you can't follow the technical stuff, don't worry--neither can many within Congress. What Members of Congress can understand, however, is when a constituent like you calls and says, "Vote NO on healthcare overhaul."
It's that simple.

To make your voice heard--and apparently for some legislators, you have to use a megaphone--just TELEPHONE the offices of your two U.S. Senators, and your U.S. House member. Give your name and address, and tell the lawmakers' staff persons that you wish to be recorded as "opposed to the health care legislation."
  • You can reach the offices of any member of Congress at 202-224-3121 or find their numbers here.
  • To view a pro-life scorecard showing how your U.S. Representative has voted on key pro-life issues during the current Congress, click here; for votes of your Senators, click here.
  • To view or download a letter explaining six major abortion-related problems with the Senate-passed bill, click here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Healthcare legislation: Okay, now what?

Congressional leadership, stunned by the Massachussets referendum against radical healthcare overhaul legislation, doesn't seem to know where to turn next legislatively. Here's a hint:
  • Practice bipartisanship, transparency and focus on the good of the country rather than ramming radical socialistic policies down our throats through closed-door deal-making and pork-barrel political bribes.
  • Provide a targeted safety net for poor patients instead of penalizing the rest of the country who can afford and are happy with their plans.
  • Keep government money out of abortions rather than subsidizing abortion and mandating that every region offer abortion.
  • Protect the conscience rights of medical professionals instead of forcing them to choose between following moral standards or obeying mandates to participate in unethical practices like abortion on demand.
  • Preserve the patient-physician relationship and decision-making rather than creating massive new bureaucracies and mandating care and resource decisions.
  • Institute malpractice reform rather than allowing unjustified and excessive medical malpractice lawsuits to drive good doctors out of medicine.
Many of these principles are embodied in the "Empowering Patients First Act," a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6th).
The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org), the nation's largest association of faith-based physicians, has voiced support for the conscience-protecting provisions of that bill. CMA contends that the protections are needed to avoid a potentially catastrophic loss of faith-based healthcare on which millions of poor patients depend.
More from CMA's news release:
In a letter sent to Rep. Price regarding the bill (HR 3400), CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "Lawmakers must realize that threatening or minimizing conscience protections holds the potential to create a catastrophic shortage of healthcare access, especially for poor patients. Our national polling (available online at www.Freedom2Care.org) reveals that 95 percent of faith-based physicians are prepared to leave medicine altogether rather than violate their conscientiously held ethical convictions."

Dr. Stevens wrote, "As you know, President Obama has announced plans to rescind the relatively new federal provider conscience regulation, which also provides for such a reporting mechanism. It is imperative, therefore, to enact legislation that protects conscience rights from the whims of any administration that might minimize the opportunity to address civil rights violations related to conscience."

Dr. Stevens thanked Rep. Price for recognizing the need for strong, true and broad conscience protections.

"The bill [Sec. 106 Part (d) of HR 3400] also provides a critical component of conscience protections. Many healthcare professionals encounter pressure to violate ethical codes on many issues besides abortion. HR 3400 addresses this reality by offering appropriately broad conscientious protection 'to accommodate the conscientious objection of a purchaser or an individual or institutional health care provider when a procedure is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such purchaser or provider.'"

In his letter, Dr. Stevens also noted the benefit of designating the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a reporting outlet for healthcare professionals experiencing discrimination for their conscientious stance on ethical issues.

"Besides protecting any individual or institutional health care entity from discrimination 'on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions,' the bill also provides the crucial implementation avenue needed to make such protection effective."


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surreal times in Washington, DC

These days it seems a bit more surreal than usual in Washington, DC, if that were possible.
On Tuesday night we learned that Massachusetts, of all states, is sending a fiscally conservative Republican to Congress to put the kibosh on Sen. Ted Kennedy's healthcare overhaul legacy.
On Wednesday morning, I found myself sitting in an equally surreal meeting with Nebraska Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson and pro-life leaders. Once considered a fairly reliable pro-life voter, Sen. Nelson famously betrayed the hopes of pro-life advocates by voting to move the abortion-expanding Senate healthcare overhaul bill forward, in exchange for a permanent exemption from Medicaid cost increases for Nebraska—a.k.a., the "Cornhusker Kickback".
Just 17 percent of Nebraska voters approve of Sen. Nelson's deal. That would seem convincing enough for any politician, but our meeting revealed that Sen. Nelson hasn't quite gotten the message.
Deploring Tuesday's election that promised to derail the abortion-laden train he had helped push down the tracks, Sen. Nelson actually asserted that the pro-life cause had suffered a setback.
Why? Because he himself no longer can wield leverage as a holdout 60th voter in the Senate.
Sen. Nelson inexplicably expected the pro-life leaders in the meeting to swallow the bizarre logic that although he had used his 60th vote status to push an abortion-expanding healthcare bill through the Senate, somehow the pro-life cause is worse off now because the new senator from Massachusetts will vote to kill the bill instead of passing it in exchange for political kickbacks.
For Sen. Nelson, the meeting went downhill from there.
With emotion rising, he defiantly defended himself as a man of principle and castigated pro-life leaders who criticize him but don't have to "walk in my shoes."
When challenged on his strategy and voting in the Senate healthcare debacle, Sen. Nelson incredibly insisted, ""Yes, I would do it again."
To his credit, Sen. Nelson did vow during the meeting to vote against any healthcare bill that came back to the Senate without the Stupak amendment, which bars government subsidy of abortions. The House passed the Stupak amendment, but the Senate rejected similar provisions.
The political danger remaining for Sen. Nelson, however, is that he may never get a chance to redeem his vote. The House could simply send the Senate bill as-is to the President for signature.
In any case, the Nebraska senator's years of service and dedication to the pro-life cause appear doomed to be overshadowed by one monumentally mistaken judgment.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Your invitation to Washington, DC

Come join thousands of like-minded friends and concerned citizens in Washington, DC this coming Friday, January 22.
Join the March for Life, visit  your legislators and help save lives.
  In this landmark one-day event on Capitol Hill, you will be joining thousands of families and individuals just like you who take seriously our democratic responsibility to influence our government.
This year we will band together to take to Congress one simple, unifying message: No Abortion in Health Care.
Right now, the White House and pro-abortion Members of Congress think they are on what the President has ironically but aptly called the "precipice" of passing healthcare overhaul. Politicians have been cutting billions of dollars of pork barrel, special interest deals behind closed doors in a desperate effort to push their radical agenda through.
Unless American citizens rise up in this 11th hour and make our voices heard, Congress will pass a dangerously radical healthcare bill that will:
  • subsidize abortion,
  • undermine the conscience rights of healthcare professionals,
  • and inject government bureaucrats into the physician-patient relationship.
Ready to join this exciting movement to protect our liberties and our children's future? Click on this link below to find all you need to plan your trip and make your voice heard:
http://stoptheabortionmandate.com/
You'll find here:
  • one-page action sheet summarizing the who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • E-mail and social networking (Facebook and Twitter)  message samples to help you share this information with others.
  • Sample slogans and messages, plus graphic files if you would like to bring a sign to the march.
  • Talking points
  • Congressional Office Visit Guide and  What to Ask Your Elected Officials
Thank you for responsibly standing up and making your voice heard!
For more information on healthcare overhaul, visit the Learn section of www.Freedom2Care.org

What goes on behind closed doors

Emerging from yet another closed-door negotiating session with President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stressed that healthcare overhaul legislation must pass the tests of health insurance premium "affordability" and insurance company "accountability". She missed the obvious irony that the legislative process and the legislation itself fail both tests.
Eight times during his campaign, Mr. Obama pledged a new era of accountability and transparency by promising to televise healthcare negotiation meetings on C-SPAN. Yet to date, the White House and Congressional leadership have banned cameras, media, independent observers, and any other possibilities of public accountability from their closed-door negotiations. Posers can easily slip into state dinners at the White House, but credentialed media are blocked from observing for the American people the healthcare negotiations that will impact one-sixth of our economy.
That's because behind closed mahogany doors, lawmakers have been cutting deals that bust the budget with political pork payoffs such as the nine-figure "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback"—political bribes given to secure the votes of holdout Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Now a desperate White House has bought off union bosses, in the process ballooning the healthcare bill cost by $60 billion.
Healthcare affordability can be achieved not with new socialistic taxes and draconian penalties, but with targeted government subsidies for the poor, funded by cost-saving preventive medicine, tort reform and fraud prosecution. Accountability can be achieved simply by opening the doors to these secret meetings so we the people can witness firsthand how politicians plan to spend our money.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Untangling healthcare bills on conscience rights

Wondering what's happening with conscience issues in the current healthcare bills?
With all the closed-door secretive legislating scheming, tracking any specific issue is a real challenge.
Thankfully, our friend Mary Harned, an attorney with Americans United for Life, has developed a chart that tracks life issues including conscience--in the Senate bill, the House bill, and the Hyde amendment law.
The bottom line is that even in the best case, healthcare professionals remain vulnerable to discrimination simply for following well established norms of medical ethics--norms as basic as the Hippocratic oath. Even the good Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House bill only applies to abortion.


Think about all the issues that a physician encounters, from birth control to reproductive technology to requests for lethal medications for assisted suicide, and much more. Add to that current list potential future challenges involving unethical genetic testing and risky manipulation, embryo-destructive research, transhumanism and you begin to get a feel for how challenging it is to be a life-honoring physician.
The lack of robust conscience protections in the House and Senate bills is even more concerning given the backdrop of the looming Obama administration's rescission of the only federal conscience-protecting regulation. To learn more about that regulation and battle, visit the Learn section of Freedom2Care.
Remember that life-honoring physicians aren't the only ones who stand to suffer discrimination. Forcing them out of medicine--and polling shows they're prepared to quit if pressured to compromise conscience--means that life-honoring patients will not be able to find physicians who share their convictions.
Concerned? Speak out now--with the help of these Freedom2Care resources--to let your legislators know you want strong conscience protections in law and in regulations.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Socialist approach to health care will kill the engine and strand the caboose

Lacking steam power from popular support or political consensus, Democrat House and Senate bosses are meeting clandestinely to plot to push the healthcare overhaul train to the White House station (“Obama to Congress: Pass health bill quickly,” Politics, Wednesday). 

Even if healthcare overhaul reaches that station, however, the train may not get much farther down the tracks.
That’s because economically challenged, leftist politicians intent on redistributing wealth have designed their healthcare engine to be fueled by incentive-killing taxes and penalties against businesses and entrepreneurs--the very ones we’re counting on to create new jobs and rebuild the economy.
In order to subsidize their gargantuan government takeover of health care, Robin Hood politicians see no problem in forcing healthy young people to buy insurance or in slashing the Medicare program for the elderly.
Besides the immense weight of public disapprobation, the healthcare overhaul train is also hopelessly overladen with political payoff pork, such as the $300 million “Louisiana Purchase” perk inserted to secure Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vote on the Senate healthcare bill and the “cornhusker kickback” state Medicaid expense immunity handed to holdout Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
The uninsured and poor need help, and targeted government subsidies paid for with cost-saving initiatives in preventive medicine, tort reform and fraud detection could significantly address their needs. But stealing engine-room resources provided by productive individuals and businesses will eventually cause the healthcare train to run out of steam. That short-sighted socialistic approach will leave the poor caboose stranded on the tracks.