Category archives: Health Care

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.): ‘There is a law prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, but it is being done anyway’

by Bethany Brock

December 6, 2013

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to respond to the on-demand abortions found in Obamacare exchange healthcare plans in spite of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.

The president made a promise that he would adhere to the Hyde principle, and that means that you do not fund even a plan that includes abortion,” said the Representative.

Federal funding of Obamacare for healthcare plans that include abortions overrides the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), an amendment that Smith helped pass in 1983. FEHB states that the Office of Personal Management (OPM) cannot administer any plan that includes abortion, except in very limited cases. 

OPM has no choice but to obey the clear letter of the law.  That’s not what they’ve done,” Smith said.

There are 112 Obamacare plans that are offered to all of our Congressional staff in Washington and across the country and to members of Congress. Ninety percent of them, 103 of those plans out of 112, fund abortion on demand.”

Smith explained, “Those federal tax dollars will be going into forms of subsidies that will be buying these plans that include abortion on demand. It is outrageous in the extreme. There is a law prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, but it is being done anyway.”

He continued, “It is very difficult when you have a lawless president, executive branch, attorney general, and a justice department that is absolutely willing and complacent in the lawlessness to enforce federal statutes.

I’ve been in Congress 33 years and have never felt that our executive branch was out of control like this.” Smith said that even in past administrations there was always a sense that the rule of law was being adhered to. “Not so with these folk in the White House and our President. They do whatever they want. They break the law with impunity and this is a classic example.”

Smith recently introduced H.R. 7, a bill that proposes to completely remove abortion from Obamacare exchange plans and to repeal Obamacare. “We need to pass that and stay with that until it is the law of the land. I believe strongly and have voted repeatedly with the Republican leadership to repeal Obamacare itself.”

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

Is Obamazon Fixed? Depends on what the meaning of is is.

by Stephan Hilbelink and Robert Morrison

December 3, 2013

OK. It may seem a bit of a stretch to call the Healthcare.gov website Obamazon. But it isn’t our stretch. It’s his. The president himself said the system needs to work just like ordering an item on Amazon.com.

Well, despite all the hallooing from the administration over the weekend, it does not seem that Obamazon is quite at the level of Amazon. Not by a long shot.

When we hit “order” on Amazon, we get this really neat email back. Usually within five minutes.

It’s an email that tells us our order has been received, our payment is being charged to our credit card, and the item(s) we ordered is enroute to our home, or the other address we designated for shipment. They not only send the email, they provide a confirmation number so that we can track the delivery. Amazon has this neat feature called “Where’s my stuff?” that allows the purchaser to determine where in the delivery pipeline his or her order is at any given time.

Most important of all: our purchases with Amazon are secure. We can be assured that we will not get any emails from commercial competitors or, say, from the State of Delaware dunning us for any additional payments. It’s clear that Amazon would have been out of business in a week if it had failed to provide for the security of customer’s personal data.

The failure to assure the citizens’ security in Obamazon is not simply a “glitch.” It’s a fatal flaw. It raises alarming questions about the entire ObamaCare project.

How could anyone not build subscriber security into the website? How could they even think of designing a system with such a critical matter unattended to?

By requiring millions of Americans to provide some of their most sensitive personal data to the government, via the Obamazon website, and by failing to take care that that data is protected, the Obama administration has failed yet again to earn Americans’ trust.

What they are saying to the millions of Americans who are compelled by law to enroll: If you like your identity, you can keep it.

Supreme Court to Review Cases Challenging the HHS Mandate on Religious Liberty Grounds

by Emily Minick

November 26, 2013

Today Family Research Council (FRC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released the results of a new poll conducted to determine how Americans feel about Obamacare and the HHS mandate. The results of the survey show that 59 percent of likely voters “oppose the mandate requiring the coverage of preventive care services for women which includes all FDA approved contraceptives, including drugs that can destroy a human embryo, and sterilization services without a direct cost to the patient.”

These poll results are extremely relevant given the Supreme Court today decided to hear two cases this session challenging the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds. The Supreme Court granted cert to Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, respectively.

Several Congressional and Senate Members also released statements today on the Supreme Court’s decision and the new poll released by FRC and ADF:

Rep. Diane Black along with Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski and Rep. Joe Pitts

Rep. Chris Smith

Senator Roy Blunt

Rep. John Fleming

Rep. John Boehner

The HHS mandate’s assault on religious freedom is still a great concern to many Americans. Congress must also act to protect individuals and businesses who do not want to violate their moral beliefs in order to purchase healthcare in this country.

McKinsey analysis shows HealthCare.gov is a case study in bad management, not bad web development

by Stephan Hilbelink

November 21, 2013

Newly released documents reveal that the Obama administration had private consultants from McKinsey & Co. perform an evaluation of the HealthCare.gov website’s progress in late March. McKinsey’s analysis wasn’t good and the Health and Human Services Department and White House knew of the issues back then. But six lessons revealed in the document risk getting lost in the politics of the website’s rollout. More than a pawn in a Republican vs. Democrat chess game, HealthCare.gov is a case study for all future web development clients on how to not build a website. Here are six reasons why, from Page 5 of the McKinsey analysis:

Evolving requirement: HHS was ill prepared to hand their vendors the requirements and information needed to build HealthCare.gov. HHS was still giving developers its requirements during the site design and construction phase, and even after. This means the designers and developers had to create and recreate graphics and code with every new requirement that the HHS handed them. They had no consistent road map with which to work.

Multiple definitions of success: There was no universal, cohesive definition of what the final HealthCare.gov website was to be when it launched. This should have been one of the easier decisions for HHS and the White House to make since they knew that the website wasn’t fully operational.

Significant dependency on external contractors: HealthCare.gov had at least four major contractors: CGI Federal, QSSI, Serco and Equifax. That means HHS was listening to at least four opinions on how things should be done. In actuality, CGI Federal should have been the final decision maker on functionality. Additionally, since contractors also hire out to other contractors on big projects, there could possibly have been eight-plus entities working on this site at once. This many entities working on the same project can easily break it down.

Parallel “stacking” of all phases: There is a reason designer and developers require all content and information before starting the design phase of a website. Designers need that information to make the wireframes, interface and navigation optimal while developers need it to map out the best programming path. Both need all the necessary information beforehand to guarantee they choose the best industry practices to build the website’s components. Poor planning and preparation by a client can kill a project. Poor planning significantly reduces productivity and often drastically increases costs.

Insufficient time and scope of end-to-end testing: So HHS had a website cobbled together by numerous contractors with different visions of success and no clear end goal. Add in that HHS was still giving its contractors additional requirements for the site well past the planning stage. Welcome to a testing nightmare. The contractors likely weren’t testing the site because HHS was still feeding them information, which would mean they would have to retest all over again after implementing the new requirements. Because of these add-ons, testing became an afterthought.

Launch at full volume: McKinsey’s analysts knew HealthCare.gov would be a disaster back in March and thought it a fool’s errand to try launching the full website, especially after seeing the development nightmare. They even point out specific problem areas to HHS and the White House on page 15 of their presentation, and call for an end to scope creep – those additional requirements – until version 2.0.

McKinsey’s analysts noted that CGI Federal was trying to make things work as of the end of March, but obviously CGI Federal’s efforts weren’t enough. CGI isn’t responsible for that though: A lack of client planning will always kill a product.

This website’s failure falls on the shoulders of HHS and the White House. They had two full years to plan this site but they failed miserably to do basic planning and research to make the initial launch a success. It is clear through this assessment that the current administration created this horrific mess themselves and their contractors have little responsibility for this technology train wreck.

Stephan Hilbelink is a website designer and developer with the Family Research Council.

Medal of Freedom, Life of Darkness

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 20, 2013

Among those who have just received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama is Gloria Steinem, who has done as much for advancing abortion-on-demand as any single person in the last half century.

In an interview with The Washington Post, she said, “Approximately one in three women in this country needs an abortion at some time in her life”. Aside from the dubiousness of this statistic, note that she uses the term “needs.”

Needs? Laura Enriquez has written convincingly on abortion as a preferential, not medically necessary, condition. What is clear is that what passes for “need” in the world of Ms. Steinem is actually the desire of a woman in a difficult or inconvenient situation to end a pregnancy.

This is not to say that women make such decisions lightly. Rather, human nature (male and female) being what it is, if a legal option is presented by which one can alleviate something hard, it defies the experience of recorded history that most people will not take it. The roughly 55 million unborn children aborted since 1973 within the 50 states are a grim but irrefutable evidence of that claim.

Here is what Steinem has said about the abortion she had 57 years ago:

It [abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! I think the person who said: “Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament” was right. Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn’t going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive. But still, I didn’t tell anyone. Because I knew that out there it wasn’t [positive].

Consider her almost unspeakably painful assertion, that “taking responsibility for (one’s) own life” includes taking a life that is not your own. Commentary about such a proposition would be superfluous.

Ms. Steinem has received our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. Yet she remains trapped in her own blindness, a state in which there is no freedom whatever. Christians should pray that in her waning years, she would come to know the true freedom that a forgiving and loving Savior alone can offer.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins: ‘This President is Losing Credibility Day by Day’

by Bethany Brock

November 14, 2013

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to give an update on Obamacare:

We didn’t believe that this law was going to be helpful or that promises would be kept.  We knew healthcare was going to get more expensive and people were going to have fewer benefits.”

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released the number of people who have registered for an Obamacare exchange health insurance plan. The current number of those enlisted is far lower than the administration’s projected numbers.

We could easily have a market-based competitive model [of healthcare] that brings in the private sector so that these health insurance  plans could be something that people want to buy and might be able to afford.”

Shimkus said the problem with Obamacare is that people cannot tell what services are provided by the various health care policies, even though policies are required by law to list the services provided. One service people are particularly concerned about is whether plans they buy cover abortion.

If you go to the plans and they don’t say that, then you’ve got some adamant pro-life constituents of mine trying to go on an exchange plan, but they don’t know if their money is going to cover abortion or abortion services, which they do not want their money to go to,” Shimkus said.

He added, “According to polling, this president is losing credibility day by day. When you lose credibility or trust of the American people, you are in real trouble. It’s embarrassing for the chief executive of this country to be equivocating and misdirecting and redefining issues.”

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

Congressman Phil Roe: An Obamacare Alternative

by FRC

November 13, 2013

Family Research Council (FRC) hosted U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) today for a webcast lecture to present an overview of the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) comprehensive alternative to Obamacare.

Rep. Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee. He earned a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Austin Peay State University and went on to earn a Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee. Upon graduation, he served two years in the United States Army Medical Corps. Rep. Roe practiced medicine as an OB/GYN for 31 years and is a member of the Physicians’ Caucus and the Health Caucus. Rep. Roe serves on two congressional committees, Education and the Workforce and Veterans’ Affairs.

Watch the video from the lecture.

Bill Clinton, Honor, and Obamacare

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 13, 2013

Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got.” - Bill Clinton

Honor” is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Bill Clinton. It is thus not wholly without irony that the proclaimer of, “I did not have sex with that woman” talks about public moral obligation.

Substantively, Clinton has a point. The President made, repetitively, two promises: That those who want to keep their current health insurance could do so, and that they could also retain their current physicians.

One of three things happened: (1) The President lied. (2) His advisors misled him and sent him out with incorrect information. (3) The President didn’t take the time to read and grasp what was in his own mammoth proposal.

If the third option is correct, this makes Mr. Obama far from unique. Many Washington politicians don’t know the details of the bills about which they vote. They rely on aides to give them succinct summaries or quickly read “vote justification” sheets handed to them by leadership staff as they enter the House or Senate chambers.

This is troubling, but also understandable: The size and scope of the federal government and its laws and regulations is almost incomprehensible, and massive legislative tomes, many of which are written in technical legal language, frequently are too long and too dense for careful review prior to the time set to vote on them.

Yet this is a different case. The President of the United States put forward two essential un-truths about his signature domestic policy achievement, one that he touted as “a new season for America.” If anyone should have understood his law, he should have.

I take no pleasure in accusing Mr. Obama of either deliberate lying or disturbing inattention. It’s worth noting that such traits cut across party lines, political convictions, and status of office. Mr. Obama would not be unique among politicians or presidents in persistently telling a falsehood or trusting unwisely in the reassurances of unelected advisors. But this makes him no less responsible for his misrepresentations.

Christians should not gloat over Mr. Obama’s failures. We should, instead, pray for our President and for the other national leaders who now must sort through the devastation the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is wreaking.

The new season Mr. Obama promised is indeed upon us. The chill is penetrating to the national core.

NYC Mayor-Elect Reveals Radical Abortion Agenda

by Anna Higgins

November 8, 2013

New York City, one of the world’s abortion capitals, this week elected a new mayor with a dangerously radical abortion agenda. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has openly declared war on non-profit Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) while promising unwavering support for abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

According to LifeSite News, de Blasio, “has promised to partner with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to help them expand their business in the city. He says he plans to help abortionists find neighborhoods that lack convenient clinic access and provide them with ‘city sponsored’ space to set up shop.” In conjunction with his commitment to increase the number of abortion facilities in New York, he proposes requiring doctors trained in city hospitals to train to perform abortion, all while closing the doors of PRCs.

De Blasio calls crisis pregnancy centers ‘sham’ clinics. In his view, their refusal to perform abortions means they do not offer ‘legitimate health care.’ He has pledged to continue the city’s appeal of a court order striking down a law aimed at closing down such centers.”

In the event the court appeal fails, de Blasio says, he stands ready to ‘craft new regulations to prevent [crisis pregnancy] centers from masquerading as legitimate health care providers’.”

Pregnancy care centers, far from being a “sham,” are typically the only place women in crisis pregnancies can go to get accurate information about their pregnancy and available options. According to Family Research Council’s own publication, A Passion to Serve, in

2010, Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) served over 2.3 million people with pregnancy tests, counseling, referrals, ultrasounds, education, and material needs. These services saved communities a conservative estimate of $100million.

The new mayor’s plans not only put his ignorance on display, they reveal the fact that he is not interested in a woman’s “right to choose,” but rather, that he supports only the abortion “choice.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md): Obamacare Causing Real Pain for American Families

by Bethany Brock

November 5, 2013

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” and provided information about the latest developments of Obamacare:

A lot of American middle class families are being hurt by this plan. Even if the [Healthcare.gov] website works perfectly, you still wouldn’t be able to keep your plan. It would still be 41 percent more than the plan you have now, and you probably wouldn’t get to keep your doctor.  Even if the website worked perfectly, this is not about a website. This is about a basic change of the way you get your health care- putting a government bureaucrat in between you and your physician and that is not the way you want your health care delivered.”

The Manhattan Institute has released a current survey of the cost of all new healthcare exchange plans offered around the country. Harris points out that healthcare rates have increased an average of 41 percent. “Families are hard pressed to pay their health insurance bills now, much less 41 percent more,” Harris said.

Harris said Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) filed a bill in the Senate that will allow Americans to keep their current insurance if they want to. The House will be voting on this bill next week.

I hope the President has a change of heart because he’s causing some real pain in American families right now,” Harris concluded. Click here to listen to the entire interview

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