Pro-life Dems and ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Thanks to Jill Stanek, and a hattip to Father Z,  for putting together this overview of how Democrats calling themselves pro-life voted on the Senate version of ObamaCare:

# The only pro-life Democrat to change his vote from a yes to a no due to the failure to include the Stupak-Pitts amendment was Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), …. (Lipinski is the congressman for the district in which Christ Hospital, my [Jill Stanek’s] former employer, is located. His father, Congressman Bill Lipinski, was a co-sponsor of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.)

# Other pro-life Democrats who had previously threatened to change their votes from a yes to a no, agreed to an Executive Order reiterating the Senate bill’s accounting scheme in exchange for their votes at the last minute. 20 of the Members who were urged to change their vote from a “yes” to “no” on pro-life grounds, but failed to do so are: Carney (PA), Costello (IL), Dahlkemper (PA), Donnelly (IN), Doyle (PA), Driehaus (OH), Ellsworth (IN), Hill (IN), Kanjorski (PA), Kaptur (OH), Kildee (MI), Langevin (RI), Mollohan (WV), Oberstar (MN), Ortiz (TX), Perriello (VA), Pomeroy (NC), Rahall (WV), Stupak (MI), and Wilson (OH)….

# 19 pro-life Democrats voted against the Senate bill and for the motion to recommit. They are Altmire* (PA), Barrow* (GA), Berry* (AR), Boren (OK), Bright (AL), Chandler* (KY), Childers (MS), L. Davis (TN), Holden (PA), Lipinski (IL), Marshall (GA), Matheson (UT)*, McIntyre (NC), Melancon (LA)*, Peterson (MN), Ross (AR)*, Shuler (NC), Skelton (MO), and Taylor (MS). (* denotes Members with a limited or mixed pro-life voting record.)

# Representatives Costello (IL) and Donnelly (IN) both voted for the Senate bill, but also vote for the motion to recommit.

# Representatives Artur Davis (AL), Lynch (MA), Space (OH), and Tanner (TN) voted against the Senate bill, but also voted against the motion to recommit despite having voted for a similar amendment offered last fall.

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Twenty Things You May Not Know About ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Now that ObamaCare has become law rather than just the fevered dream of leftie bloggers, it is time to begin discovering what is in it.  David Hogberg begins the process at Investor’s Business Daily.

1. You are young and don’t want health insurance? You are starting up a small business and need to minimize expenses, and one way to do that is to forego health insurance? Tough. You have to pay $750 annually for the “privilege.” (Section 1501)

2. You are young and healthy and want to pay for insurance that reflects that status? Tough. You’ll have to pay for premiums that cover not only you, but also the guy who smokes three packs a day, drink a gallon of whiskey and eats chicken fat off the floor. That’s because insurance companies will no longer be able to underwrite on the basis of a person’s health status. (Section 2701).

3. You would like to pay less in premiums by buying insurance with lifetime or annual limits on coverage? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer such policies, even if that is what customers prefer. (Section 2711).

4. Think you’d like a policy that is cheaper because it doesn’t cover preventive care or requires cost-sharing for such care? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer policies that do not cover preventive services or offer them with cost-sharing, even if that’s what the customer wants. (Section 2712).

5. You are an employer and you would like to offer coverage that doesn’t allow your employers’ slacker children to stay on the policy until age 26? Tough. (Section 2714).

6. You must buy a policy that covers ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services; chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

You’re a single guy without children? Tough, your policy must cover pediatric services. You’re a woman who can’t have children? Tough, your policy must cover maternity services. You’re a teetotaler? Tough, your policy must cover substance abuse treatment. (Add your own violation of personal freedom here.) (Section 1302).

7. Do you want a plan with lots of cost-sharing and low premiums? Well, the best you can do is a “Bronze plan,” which has benefits that provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60% of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan. Anything lower than that, tough. (Section 1302 (d) (1) (A))

8. You are an employer in the small-group insurance market and you’d like to offer policies with deductibles higher than $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families? Tough. (Section 1302 (c) (2) (A).

9. If you are a large employer (defined as at least 101 employees) and you do not want to provide health insurance to your employee, then you will pay a $750 fine per employee (It could be $2,000 to $3,000 under the reconciliation changes). Think you know how to better spend that money? Tough. (Section 1513).

10. You are an employer who offers health flexible spending arrangements and your employees want to deduct more than $2,500 from their salaries for it? Sorry, can’t do that. (Section 9005 (i)).

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Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a determined effort for universal health coverage, without abortion, in the run-up to the vote on ObamaCare.  In the end, due to the abortion language in this bill, they condemned it in its entirety.

Now I believe that our bishops had the best intentions of wanting universal health coverage, but this violates the principle of subsidiarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which said that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function.

Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans, with an overwhelming 93% saying they are satisfied with their coverage.

And those that are uninsured, can get readily available treatment for a serious illness.  Including illegal aliens.

So why the bishops haste and aggressive posturing in pushing for something everybody already has and are satisfied with?


Why Bart Stupak’s Executive Order is Meaningless

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

Why the figleaf that Bart Stupak had handed to him by Obama in the form of an executive order  is meaningless is succinctly explained by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

More to the point, though, this EO will never have any effect. As a host of actual Constitutional authorities have already made clear, any court challenge will wind up with the government forced to obey the law Congress passed and the President signed for the same reasons Obama states in this clip. Congress makes law, not the President, and when an EO conflicts with the law, it’s the law that prevails. Otherwise, the President really does become a “monarch”, as Obama states in this clip, and Congress becomes an advisory board.

Obama knows this. The Republicans know this. Hell, even Bart Stupak knows this, but he just needed an excuse to change his vote, and everyone knows it.

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A Tale of Two Votes

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

In my law practice, when my clients come to me for some legal help regarding some disaster that has occurred in their life, I often will tell them that no experience is wasted if a person learns from it.  What did we learn last night from the greatest defeated suffered by the pro-life cause since Roe v. Wade?  I think that can be summed up in two votes, both involving the Stupak amendment.

On November 7, 2009,  all but one Republican in the House voted for the Stupak amendment, realizing that by doing so they were probably ensuring that ObamaCare passed in the House.  I wrote about this vote here.  The Republicans voted for the Stupak language because Republicans are an overwhelmingly pro-life party, even though they were criticized by some on the right for paving the way for the passage of ObamaCare in the House.  They were joined by 68 Democrats.

Last night the Republicans voted to recommit the ObamaCare bill with the Stupak language.  They were defeated in that effort, with every Republican voting for it, but only 21 Democrats this time joining them.  Stupak, the author of the original amendment, voted against it and spoke against it, satisfied with the worthless executive order figleaf he was granted by Obama.

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Congressional Reality Show

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  After yesterday, I wish Congress were merely a reality show.


What We Know Now

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

As it so happened, I was in Washington DC on that National Mall as congress was voting on the mess which is our “health care reform” bill. I hadn’t been to our capitol city before, and it was a simply beautiful afternoon — one on which it was hard to believe that our elected representatives were bringing us one large step closer to a major budgetary crisis point, and Representative Stupak was busy selling out the principles everyone had imagined to be as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar for a rather paltry executive order which may (or may not) come after the fact. (Call me a cynic, but I could well imagine the EO never coming. Though in a sense, why not issue it: It would have no effect and could be repealed at any time. Still, there would be a great deal of justice and truth in Obama using the old Microsoft line, “Your mistake was in trusting us.”)

Still, though sun, green grass, and stone monuments are fresh in my mind, and the largest looming problems in my mind revolve around children wailing that they need a bathroom right now while traveling on the metro (let’s just say that didn’t end well) I don’t want to seem as if I’m discounting the importance of what we’ve just seen. And there seem to be some fairly clear conclusions we can draw:

1) Stupak had no desire to be to abortion what Joe Lieberman chose to be to foreign policy. Lieberman was hounded out of his party and continues to hold office only because of people who disagree with him on nearly every other issue admired his principled stands on Iraq, Israel, etc. If Stupak had brought down the Health Care Reform bill in defense of the unborn, he would have received similar treatment from his own party to what Lieberman has received, and he clearly didn’t want to be that person. Instead, having talking himself into a corner he really didn’t want to be in, he seized upon a fig leaf when it was offered and did what he’d clearly wanted to do all along:

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