During Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) declared that failing to encourage people to sign up for government-mandated health insurance is downright “un-American.” Speier was referring to Congress’s refusal to fund the Obama administration’s Obamacare “outreach” efforts with taxpayer dollars (although the administration will still be running lots of taxpayer-financed pro-Obamacare propaganda ads later this summer with money that it has managed to cobble together from various sources).
It would appear that Speier’s view is shared by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who has been trying to remedy this apparent affront to our nation’s core principles by soliciting private “donations” for Obamacare implementation. She has been seeking these donations from those whose businesses she effectively has the power to make or break with a wave of her regulatory wand.
When asked during the hearing about Sebelius’s actions, which even the Washington Post calls “unusual,” Sebelius’s underling Gary Cohen testified that he saw nothing wrong with her efforts. With a straight face, Cohen — who heads up Obamacare’s newly created Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (which doesn’t sound at all Orwellian) — dismissed Sebelius’s actions as merely encouraging “public-private partnerships.”
The CCIIO head was also asked by Congressman Kerry Bentivolio (R., Mich.) — one of the few representatives who, rather refreshingly, refused to refer to Obamacare (officially named the clunky-sounding Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — or PPACA) as the “Affordable Care Act” — whether Obamacare’s centerpiece individual mandate is a tax. Amazingly, Cohen refused to grant that it is.
So, to recap on this point: First (when he was running for president), President Obama insisted that he opposed an individual mandate. Then (when he was pushing Obamacare down the throats of an unwilling citizenry), he championed an individual mandate. Then he emphatically said on national television that the individual mandate is not a tax. Then he shamelessly had his legal team argue before the Supreme Court that the mandate is a tax. Then the Court ruled that the mandate is a tax — and that, if it weren’t, the mandate would be unconstitutional because (contrary to Obama’s further claim) it exceeds Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. And now Cohen, who holds a key position in the Obamacare chain of command, refuses to grant that the mandate is a tax — even though that’s the sole thread from which its highly dubious constitutionality hangs.
One thing is clear: A newly beefed-up (courtesy of Obamacare) IRS will be enforcing the mandate and treating it like a tax, at the expense of private citizens. Just call it a “public-private partnership.” It would be “un-American” to do otherwise.
Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.
Earlier this week, a listing entitled "Parking Spaces at Democracy Blvd." appeared on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The contract was awarded on February 19th before the sequester took effect, but the timing could still prove embarrassing for the Obama administration.
Early this morning, the Hill reported that the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is relying on a private company — a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group — to play a central role in establishing and running Obamacare’s insurance “exchanges.”
Addressing a largely Catholic audience Monday night at an event sponsored by the John Carroll Society in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Timothy Dolan emphasized the non-sectarian, non-partisan—catholic with a small “c”—nature of the fight for religious liberty. “It is not some far right, extremist cause,” Dolan said, but an “American human rights issue.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a bold stand for religious freedom. In a recent statement, titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the bishops call for repeal of contraception coverage mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The clarified position sets up a dramatic confrontation with the Obama administration—and would, if the bishops prevail, help preserve the religious liberty of all Americans.
Via Ed Morrissey, here's a must-watch video of Democratic congresswoman Kathy Hochul getting tripped up at a townhall meeting by a constituent's questions about Obamacare's contraception/abortifacient mandate:
What do Americans think about the Obamacare contraception mandate? It depends how you ask the question. A new Quinnipiac poll shows, Politico reports, that a majority (54 percent to 38 percent) support the White House's so-called "accommodation" on the Department of Health and Human Services rule.
The Wall Street Journal editorializes on the latest activities of Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius has decided effectively to tell the elderly CEO of Forest Labs to get a new job. The Journal's editors write:
Politicoreports that the Obama administration’s pro-Obamacare Andy Griffith TV ad cost taxpayers $3.66 million, according to records obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services. Actually, there were at least three such ads (here, here, and here), so it’s not clear whether this was the cost for one, or for the whole batch. In this ad, Griffith says, “That new health care law sure sounds good for all of us on Medicare!”
According to Politico, President Obama will be forced to abandon his controversial nomination of Donald Berwick as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Politico reports that “Senate Democrats have given up on confirming Don Berwick as CMS administrator in the wake of a letter from 42 Republican senators opposing the nomination,” as “there's no way for Berwick to get the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate.”
If you type “Obamacare” into a search engine — whether Google, Bing, or Ask — you’ll find that the first site that appears at the top of the page is healthcare.gov. That site will tell you everything you want to know — or, rather, everything the Obama administration wants you to know (and nothing that it doesn’t want you to know) — about Obamacare. And it comes up first, before anything else, because your tax dollars are paying for it to come up first. The same is true on Yahoo!, except that Yahoo! lists a few unpaid links above the first paid link.