The delivery trucks of Ohio-based Freshway Foods bear signs stating, “It’s not a choice, it’s a child,” as a way to publicly promote the owners’ pro-life views to the public. It wasn’t too surprising, then, that the company and it’s owners, Francis and Philip Gilardi, would be opposed to the Obamacare’s requirement that the health coverage for their nearly 400 full-time workers include abortifacients.
The American Center for Law and Justice helped the Gilardi’s challenge the mandate, arguing that the mandate violated their religious liberties. Today, the D.C. Circuit Court agreed and handed down a ruling that the requirement “trammels” the expression of religious freedom. In the majority opinion the judges ask, “What exactly is the government trying to ameliorate?” (more…)
While many Americans are struggling to navigate healthcare.gov and some are fighting against the Affordable Care Act’s threat to religious liberty, an estimated 100,000 people are exempt from the legislation as members of a health care sharing ministry (HCSM); these organizations offer the opportunity for individuals with similar beliefs to share their health care costs.
HCSMs are not insurance companies, but nonprofit religious organizations that receive no government funding. Andrea Miller, the medical director for Medi-Share, one HCSM in the U.S., explained in a recent interview with NPR how the ministry works: (more…)
A new provision under Obamacare will fine tax-exempt hospitals via the Internal Revenue Service:
A new provision in Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, which takes effect under Obamacare, sets new standards of review and installs new financial penalties for tax-exempt charitable hospitals, which devote a minimum amount of their expenses to treat uninsured poor people. Approximately 60 percent of American hospitals are currently nonprofit.
The Thomas More Society stated today in a press release that they are working with Catholic Vote Defense League in a fight to seek “constitutional protection of religious freedom.” Specifically, they have filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court for the case, Autocam Vs. Sebelius. They are petitioning
the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ recent decision, denying the claims of Autocam, an international automotive manufacturer, and its owners, that Obamacare’s so-called “HHS mandate” abridges their federal constitutional and statutory rights to the free exercise of their religious faith as well as other legal rights. John Kennedy, CEO of Michigan-based family-owned company, Autocam, joined the company as well as its other family owners to urge the Justices to rule that the government has no right to require that Autocam purchase group insurance coverage, providing its employees with morally objectionable contraceptives, including abortifacients (e.g., the so-called abortion pill, Plan B, and “Ella”), and sterilization.
See the press release here. The official petition to the Supreme Court states that “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot mean one thing in one part of the United States and something entirely different in another. This Court’s attention is required to sort out the important legal questions HHS Mandate under RFRA.”
Read the case here. See recent posts about Autocam and their case on the Powerblog.
According to Fox News, Debbie and Larry Underkoffler, owners of North Georgia Staffing, are considering paying government-imposed penalties rather than offering Obamacare to temporary employees. The couple offers excellent health care to their full-time staff, but with hundreds of temporary employees, the cost of offering health insurance could sink their business.
[U]nder ObamaCare, the Georgia company now faces a tough choice — cover all of its temporary workers as well, or pay a hefty fine.
Aside from its full-time staff, the company also manages about 400 temporary workers, and is hoping to add another 200 in the next year. Those employees can buy into a separate health insurance program North Georgia Staffing signed up with. Under new ObamaCare rules, many of those “temps” will count toward the Underkoffler’s full-time staff. Larry Underkoffler calculates their full-time employee count will instantly surge from 18 to around 200. They will go from boutique operation to “major employer” overnight. (more…)
As everyone from political pundits to late-night talk show hosts have pointed out, HealthCare.gov, the flagship technology portion of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), went live a couple of weeks ago — and was a complete failure.
A very, very expensive failure.
Andrew Couts points out that taxpayers “seem to have forked up more than $500 million of the federal purse to build the digital equivalent of a rock.”
Clouts puts that figure in perspective by comparing it to other websites:
Facebook, which received its first investment in June 2004, operated for a full six years before surpassing the $500 million mark in June 2010. Twitter, created in 2006, managed to get by with only $360.17 million in total funding until a $400 million boost in 2011. Instagram ginned up just $57.5 million in funding before Facebook bought it for (a staggering) $1 billion last year. And LinkedIn and Spotify, meanwhile, have only raised, respectively, $200 million and $288 million.
Why did the government spend a half-billion on the equivalent of a 404-page? Because of crony capitalism. Mike Masnick lists the political cronies who were hired to build the site despite having a “long history of screwed up giant IT projects”: (more…)
Tomorrow is the big day for Obamacare, despite the fact that even the Obama Administration admits it’s “glitchy.” The president is cheerleading the program, reminding us that he’s been right all along:
Reforming health care will help the economy over the long-term,” by curing health-care costs and free individuals to start small companies, he said.
Through his speech, Obama ridiculed critics of his plan, which imposes far-reaching federal requirements on one-sixth of the nation’s economy. (more…)
There is little doubt that we will see more Sen. Ted Cruz like broadsides against Washington’s power structure. Obamacare might be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to ceding power to Washington. A point that was made Ad nauseum during Cruz’s 20 hour plus talk fest on the Senate floor is that what he did matters little. Nothing would change from a legislative or a procedural standpoint. While I think that’s true for the short term, the credibility of the Republican leadership in the Senate may have taken a fatal blow. To see what that means for those fighting for conservatism and limited government check out Matt Walsh’s excellent post on National Review Online.
It was a definitive moment for the triumph of principle and that imagery matters not just to liberalism or the statist but for conservatism too. Every battle against collectivism doesn’t require an immediate victory but it does require a victory for principle. Most Americans know the federal government is broken. They sense there is something fundamentally wrong with the political leadership and the direction of the country. Despite America’s culture of escapism through entertainment, there are still millions of people paying attention. They don’t want to become what Alexis de Tocqueville warned in Democracy in America, as nothing more than “a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Political infighting and procedure aside, the larger point is an important one. We are increasingly arriving at the point where we will see more and more public show downs against the federal government by those constituencies that know it is broken, out of touch, and corrupt. The result of more and more centralization and federal control over our lives inevitably exacts push back.
Walsh’s point at NRO is that the Republican leadership in the Senate is just the first victim of the grassroots broadside. It will be interesting to see how the battle over power plays out and the biggest obstacle indeed is the secularism of society. Secular cultures demand centralization and planning in their futile attempt to perfect society. And while the federal government continues to expand in its already bloated form, it does so with great risk. More and more people will take notice and the bigger it is, the harder the entrenched power structure could come crashing down.
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat and ambitious civil servant, made a nine-month journey throughout America. The result was Democracy in America, a monumental study of the life and institutions of the evolving nation.
According to Investor’s Business Daily, over 300 businesses are cutting employee hours and jobs to avoid Obamacare. If employers restrict employee work hours to 30 per week, then they avoid Obamacare mandates for health insurance. Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily says, “Data also point to a record low workweek in low-wage industries.”
Casinos are one industry that exemply these cuts. In Grantville, Penn., the Hollywood Casino has told part-time workers they are now limited to no more than 30 hours a week. Gene Barr of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry had this to say:
Government has decided that you as a business will pay this if you meet a certain size. They’ve put these conditions on and of course companies will have to work around and with those conditions in order to make sure they can stay as a successful business. Businesses have to take the steps they can to keep themselves profitable and keep the people that are now employed employed.
NRO’s Mark Steyn minces no words when it comes to his distaste for Obamacare: “a hierarchy of privileges,” he calls it, along with “crappy” and “inefficient.”
First, Steyn points out that it’s doubtful anyone has read the “comprehensive” health care act: it’s a thousand pages long. As he says, the problem with something so “comprehensive” is that “when everything’s in it, nothing’s in it.” But worst of all, it means whatever the government wants it to mean:
The Affordable Care Act means whatever President Obama says it means on any particular day of the week. Whether it applies to you this year, next year, or not at all depends on the whim of the sovereign, and whether your CEO golfs with him on Martha’s Vineyard. A few weeks back, the president unilaterally suspended the law’s employer mandate. Under the U.S. Constitution, he doesn’t have the power to do this, but judging from the American people’s massive shrug of indifference he might as well unilaterally suspend the Constitution, too. Obamacare is not a law, in the sense that all persons are equal before it, but a hierarchy of privilege; for example, senators value their emir-sized entourages and don’t want them to quit, so it is necessary to provide the flunkies who negotiated and drafted the Affordable Care Act an exemption from the legislation they imposed on the citizenry. Once again, the opt-out is not legal.