Hollywood’s Hysterical “Cancer Screening” Lie for Obama – Michelle Malkin – [page]

Hollywood’s Hysterical “Cancer Screening” Lie for Obama – Michelle Malkin – Townhall.com.

Hollywood's Hysterical

The Hollywood Women for Obama Club wants you to vote with your “lady parts.” I want the women of America to vote with their lady smarts. The latest ad from a trio of Tinsel Town actresses spreads one of the stupidest lies about Mitt Romney this election cycle. Fantasyland needs a fact check.

According to starlets Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington, the GOP presidential ticket wants to “end” funding for “cancer screenings.” If you and your reproductive organs don’t vote for Obama, the doe-eyed celebrities ominously imply, people will DIE, DIE, DIE!

This scare-mongering falsehood has been repeated endlessly by Planned Parenthood and the Obama campaign itself. An official Obama for America ad released in August accuses Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, of backing measures to “allow employers to deny women access to cancer screenings.” It also is being used by demagogic Democrats in key Senate races (in Montana, for example).

This much is true: Romney and Ryan do indeed support ending all federal taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood’s billion-dollar empire. One-third of the budget of the nation’s largest abortion provider, which masquerades as a comprehensive health care provider, comes from government.

But here’s what the famous femmes don’t tell you: Planned Parenthood does not provide women with mammograms. PP’s “women’s health” mantle is a sham. An undercover investigation of 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, conducted by pro-life group Live Action, confirmed that the abortion provider does not perform breast cancer screenings. “We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona admitted. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kan., acknowledged: “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

But don’t just take Live Action’s word for it. In June 2012, the Obama Health and Human Services Department responded to a request for information about how many Planned Parenthood clinics were certified to operate mammogram facilities. “Our search did not find any documents pertinent to your request,” HHS told the Alliance Defense Fund.

Got that? Fraudulent Hollywood harridans and their hero in the White House have been deliberately deceiving women into thinking that eliminating Planned Parenthood subsidies would mean a catastrophic end to affordable cancer screening services. But the abortion provider’s purported “referral services” to outside mammogram facilities are negligible — especially given the widespread availability of free and low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening services across the country supported by both private and public grants.

Wait, that’s not all. In the real world, it’s the Obama administration, not Republicans, who have actively presided over and promoted a drop in cancer screenings for both men and women over the past four years. You can thank Democratic crusaders for health care rationing in the White House. They want all the glory of championing socialized medicine, but cut and run from the consequences at election time.

Under Obamacare, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) will be empowered to determine which health care services are “medically appropriate.” For nearly three decades, the federal panel of primary care physicians and epidemiologists has issued nonbinding guidelines and A-F ratings of recommended medical procedures. But as Forbes columnist Dr. Paul Hsieh explains:

ObamaCare links insurance coverage of preventive medical services to their USPSTF rating. … (U)nder ObamaCare, Medicare payment decisions will become increasingly controlled by the new Independent Payment Advisory Board, explicitly created to reduce Medicare spending. … To reduce costs, many private insurers will likely drop coverage for “C” and “D” rated services. Hence under ObamaCare, the USPSTF guidelines will likely become the de facto standards for both government and private health insurance coverage.”

And that means dropping coverage for the very services Scar-Jo and her femme friends are accusing the GOP of threatening.

Note: The USPSTF is the same review panel that advised cutting back on routine ovarian cancer screenings last month, recommended fewer prostate cancer screening tests in May 2012, and proposed mammogram restrictions for women over age 50 in 2009.

In fact, the Mayo Clinic reported this summer that mammogram screenings for women in their 40s have declined nearly 6 percent since the Obama panel announced its decision in 2009. “Comparing mammography rates before and after publication of the new guidelines,” the Mayo Clinic wrote, “researchers found that the recommendations were associated with a 5.72 percent decrease in the mammography rate for women ages 40-49. Over a year, nearly 54,000 fewer mammograms were performed in this age group.”

It’s no surprise the Hollywood “cancer screening” horror ad script was written by left-wing actor/director Rob Reiner of “All in the Family” and Archie Bunker fame. These Obama-promoting meatheads and their hysterical handmaidens inhabit a manufactured world impervious to facts and fiscal realities.

 

Nanny state report: NC school officials confiscate preschooler’s homemade lunch – The Daily Caller

Nanny state report: NC School Officials confiscate Preschooler’s Homemade Lunch | The Daily Caller.

Matthew Boyle

A North Carolina elementary school forced a preschool student to eat cafeteria chicken nuggets for lunch on Jan. 30 after officials reportedly determined that her homemade meal wasn’t up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standards for healthfulness, according to a report from the Carolina Journal.

The newspaper reported that the four-year-old girl brought a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice in her packed lunch from home. That meal didn’t meet with approval from the government agent who was on site inspecting kids’ lunches that day.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Development and Early Education requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs must meet USDA guidelines. Meals, the guidelines say, must include one serving each of meat, milk and grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables. Those guidelines apply to home-packed lunches as well as cafeteria meals.

The Carolina Journal reported that the girl and her mother wish to remain anonymous to avoid public scrutiny, but she did write to her state representative to complain about it.

“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told a reporter. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”

The story has sparked national outrage against bureaucrats and politicians who aim to force food standards and health initiatives into place through legislation and regulatory action. North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Rob Lockwood told The Daily Caller it’s the latest example of why government “intrusion” isn’t helping anyone.

“More parental inclusion, less government intrusion would go a long way to solving our nation’s woes,” Lockwood said in an email. “Today is not a strong day for big-government, nanny-state enthusiasts.”

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PERRY: When I am president … – Washington Times

PERRY: When I am president … – Washington Times.

By Gov. Rick PerryThe Washington Times

Washington is broken and must be completely overhauled to get America working again.

The tinkering technocrats think Washington can be fixed with a pair of tweezers. I, on the other hand, think it will require a president with the courage to take a sledgehammer to the three pillars of big government: overspending, overtaxation and overregulation.

Upon taking the oath of office, I will take immediate executive action to begin dismantling the Washington establishment so we can rebuild the American economy from the foundation up.

First, I will issue an executive order prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from any further implementation of Obamacare until we can fully repeal this unconstitutional government mandate, which, if it stands, will diminish our health care and kill jobs.

Second, I will order federal agencies to begin opening American energy fields for exploration and development, which will kick-start economic growth, reduce our dependence on energy from hostile foreign sources and eventually create 1.2 million jobs across every sector of the economy. I also will work with Congress to ensure that new revenue generated from energy production on federal lands is used to pay down the national debt.

Third, I will impose an immediate moratorium on all pending federal regulations, during which government agencies must audit every measure passed since 2008 to determine its necessity and impact on job creation. Those measures that kill jobs will be repealed.

And fourth, I will deploy thousands of National Guard personnel to secure our southern border until we can provide the permanent increase in manpower, technology and fencing needed to protect the American homeland in the long run. If I am elected, Washington will no longer abdicate its constitutional responsibility to secure the border or force states to fend for themselves.

In addition to exercising executive authority during the first 100 days of my presidency, I also will lay out a sweeping legislative agenda that will fundamentally change the way Washington works.

My Cut, Balance and Grow plan will jolt our economy back to life by cutting taxes and spending, balancing the budget by 2020 and growing private-sector jobs.

With a 20 percent flat tax that will enable Americans to file their tax returns on a postcard, we will end the Internal Revenue Service as we know it.

My-flat tax proposal will derail the gravy train of lobbyists and lawyers feeding at the government trough by eliminating the loopholes and carve-outs that the biggest companies with the most lobbyists exploit to avoid paying any taxes whatsoever. My plan not only will level the playing field for small businesses, it will cut the corporate tax to make American employers of all sizes more competitive in the global marketplace and encourage job growth at home.

My plan also will force government to live within its means by cutting billions of dollars from discretionary spending, capping spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and putting Congress on track to balance the budget by 2020.

Despite all the promises of reform, earmarks remain a congressional addiction. My plan will make Congress kick the habit cold turkey. Throughout my presidency, I will veto any budget that contains earmarks. The same goes for bailouts.

I am confident we can make progress on all of these reforms in the first 100 days. But ultimately, the status quo will never change until voters take back Washington.

As the federal government grows and grows, the ruling elites in Washington are insulated from the economic mess they created. Consider just two examples: While home prices have continued to slump in virtually every other region of the country over the past year, Washington bureaucrats have seen their homes increase in value, thanks in part to a surge in government spending.

And according to a Bloomberg analysis, Washington is now America’s richest metropolitan area on a per capita basis, surpassing even Silicon Valley. While millions of Americans have lost jobs since 2009, the average federal worker in our nation’s capital has seen his pay increase to more than $126,000 per year, including benefits.

This is simply obscene. As president, I will fight for an across-the-board pay freeze for Congress and all federal employees, excluding the military and public-safety workers, until the budget gets balanced.

There is a massive reality gap between the American people and the ruling elites in Washington. Our next president must have the courage to close it.

America cannot afford four more years of a president who continues on the course to economic ruin or a Republican alternative who simply tinkers with the status quo while the Washington establishment brazenly continues its spendthrift ways.

If I am elected, I will take a wrecking ball to the Washington establishment so we can get America working again.

Gov. Rick Perry is a Texas Republican and candidate for president.

Obamacare will put patients’ records at risk | Examiner Editorial | Opinion | Washington Examiner

Obamacare will put patients’ records at risk | Examiner Editorial | Opinion | Washington Examiner.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t kidding a few years ago when she said Congress had to pass Obamacare so the rest of the country could discover what was in it. Ever since then a steady stream of bad news has emerged as people pored over the 2,700 pages of Obamacare legalese. Just last week Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., found a new shocker that ought to be especially worrisome to anybody who cares about protecting the privacy of their medical records. As part of its implementation of Obamacare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a new federal regulation to require private health insurance companies to give the government all of the health records of every person they insure. The rule is shrouded in the usual bureaucratese, but, as Huelskamp pointed out in a Washington Examiner op-ed, “abstract terms are used to distract from the real objectives of this idea: no matter which ‘option’ is chosen, government bureaucrats would have access to the health records of every American — including you.”HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims the government must have the records in order to evaluate the performance of health insurers. Aside from the absurdity of having federal health bureaucrats judge the job performance of anybody else, the proposal raises a gigantic red flag: Federal and state governments have proven repeatedly in recent years that they are all but incapable of fully protecting sensitive records of individuals.

Remember this headline, “Personal info of 26.5 million veterans lost?” It happened in 2006 when a federal data analyst took a computer disc home containing the Social Security numbers of the veterans. It was lost when the bureaucrat’s home was burglarized. Or how about the incident in 2007 when a disk containing the Medicaid records for 2.9 million Georgians disappeared? In 2009, it was Medicaid claims data for 68,000 Californians. Last year, the Medicaid records of more than 280,000 Pennsylvanians were compromised when a couple of flash drives went missing.

No matter how strenuously and often President Obama and Sebelius promise things will be different when the Washington bureaucracy gets its hands on your health records, it’s impossible to think there won’t be similar episodes in the future. The difference will be the magnitude of people affected and the inability of the victims to do anything about it. As Huelskamp observed, “What happens to the federal government if it loses a laptop full of patient data or business information? What recourse do individual citizens have against an inept bureaucrat who leaves the computer unlocked? Imagine a WikiLeaks-size disclosure of every American’s health histories. The results could be devastating, embarrassing — even Orwellian.”

The Kansas congressman wants Congress to withdraw funding for the proposed regulation. That certainly should be done as soon as possible, but the more important point is this: There would be no need for such incremental defunding actions if Obamacare were no longer on the books.

Morning Bell: The Latest Obamacare Implosion:Heritage.org

The Department of Health and Human Services he...

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Morning Bell: The Latest Obamacare Implosion: Heritage.org

Inefficient programs that don’t solve problems and are passed against the will of the American people seem to be the Obama Administration’s forte. Now their high-minded aspirations of a health care revolution are quickly unraveling as fatal glitches in Obamacare become apparent.

Next up for implosion? The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, otherwise known as the “CLASS Act,” which creates a government-run long term care insurance program too costly to sustain. At a time when entitlement programs in America have spun out of control, liberal proponents of Obamacare were pushing a new one that had no hope of staying afloat. Now, they are trying hide the fact that they were wrong as another bungling layer of Obamacare is exposed.

From its creation, the CLASS Act was completely unsustainable as written into law. The problem? Due to the effects of adverse selection, the program would charge high premiums that would deter less risky individuals from participating. Indeed, participating in the CLASS program would only appeal to those in poor health expecting to need long-term care in the future, further escalating premiums.

Due to its design, it was clear to Medicare actuaries and even liberal Members of Congress that CLASS would fail before it began. Like so many other aspects of the struggling Obamacare law, this one’s flaws are abundantly clear. Brian Blase explains why the CLASS Act is broken and how its ill-conceived design would lead to its inevitable collapse or bailout:

The main problem is that the program’s design will result in a badly skewed pool of participants … This means healthy individuals are less likely to participate because they do not receive credit in the form of a lower premium, like they would if they purchased [long-term-care] insurance in the private market. Instead, CLASS participants are likely to be disabled individuals who are able to work part-time and individuals who anticipate future [long-term-care] needs.

Moreover, the adverse selection problem is exacerbated because individuals earning below the poverty line are subjected to only a $5 monthly premium, and less healthy people are much more likely to be below the poverty line. The artificially low premium for them means that premiums will have to be much higher for others, which will diminish overall enrollment in the program and worsen its long-run solvency. The poor design of CLASS almost guarantees that the program will collapse or need a bailout.

Last week, Heritage reported on internal emails sent prior to Obamacare’s passage warning the Obama Administration of CLASS’s impending disaster. While former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and friends were frantically shoving the 3,000 page health care bill through Congress, they were ignoring vital information about a program that was actuarially unsound and completely unworkable. In fact, as Heritage’s Lachlan Markay reported, federal health experts told them via email that CLASS would result in an “insurance death spiral.” Congress passed it anyway.

Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius has since stated that CLASS is “totally unsustainable” and “financially unsound.”  The Department claimed it could solve these problems using its administrative authority, but the only way CLASS could possibly survive would be via a taxpayer bailout, varying premiums according health status, or by mandating worker participation–none of which are acceptable options. It’s time to admit they are fighting a losing battle.

Bob Yee, chief actuary for the Health and Human Services office that administers the CLASS Act, recently left the office after being told his services weren’t needed. He told The Wall Street Journal that other office staffers were being reassigned.

HHS is subsequently denying that they are killing the CLASS Act despite no longer having any employees working in its office. It’s likely that the Administration has finally come to the realization that CLASS is beyond help.

A bicameral group of Republican Members of Congress are demanding answers in an oversight letter sent to HHS requesting information on their latest moves and what they knew about CLASS before Obamacare became law. Given CLASS’ financial instability, James Capretta and Brian Riedl explain that Congress’ best move is to repeal the law instead of piling debt upon debt with yet another unsustainable entitlement:

CLASS is destined to run short of funds, creating pressure for another massive taxpayer bailout. The biggest threat to the long-term prosperity of the country is the massive unfunded liabilities for the nation’s major entitlement program. The last thing Congress should be doing is adding to the burden of future taxpayers, which is why CLASS Act repeal is the most fiscally responsible—and ethical—course to follow.

So while HHS tries to cover their tracks by claiming CLASS is still being analyzed, it’s clear that the only responsible thing for them to do is admit they were wrong in the first place and end this awful program before it’s too late. And more importantly, Congress should repeal Obamacare before the biggest implosion of all hits the American people.

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Senator Richard Shelby Attempts to Deny Obamacare Funding

Senator Richard Shelby Attempts to Deny Obamacare Funding.

By Ernest Istook

Has Congress forgotten Obamacare?  All the promises to repeal it mostly faded into the background months ago, even as the health law disrupts our economy.

Fortunately, at least one lawmaker is still trying to undo that disruption.  Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is forcing the Senate to confront the issue.  He’s sponsoring an amendment that would deny money for Obamacare during the upcoming fiscal year (which starts Oct. 1st).

The law was structured to provide $105-billion worth of automatic funding and $1.4-trillion over the next 10 years, so the money gets spent unless Congress blocks it.  Stopping the funding is exactly what Sen. Shelby is trying to do.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shelby plans to offer his amendment today as the committee considers the bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services.  His language won’t repeal Obamacare outright, but it prohibits spending any money on it for a year.

“Anyone who believes that the government will save money by spending taxpayer dollars on a new entitlement is living in a fantasy world.  In reality, our nation is already struggling to reform existing entitlements in order to preserve them . . .” Shelby said.

Congress may have gone quiet about Obamacare, but businesses haven’t forgotten it.  They can’t, because its costs and mandates are already suppressing job growth and causing many employers to plan on dropping health coverage.  Even former national Democratic chairman Howard Dean agrees with a McKinsey report projecting that almost a third of businesses will terminate their employee health plans as Obamacare becomes fully-implemented.  Instead, taxpayers would pick up much of the costs for the workers’ health care.

The massive 2,700-page health care law is deliberately designed to make defunding and dismantlement difficult. Original estimates counted that it creates 159 new government agencies, but an exact count later proved impossible due to the enormous complexity of the law.

Because the new law also attempts to bypass the normal appropriations process, even defunding it is difficult. But at least Sen. Shelby is trying.  His insistence will force his colleagues to take a stand, rather than ignoring the problem while Obamacare does its damage.

WOLF: Hey loser, get a job or else – Washington Times

WOLF: Hey loser, get a job or else – Washington Times.

If Obamacare prevails, then what’s to prevent Obamajobs?

By Dr. Milton R. Wolf

Liberals assure us that we need not fear the Obamacare individual mandate. It’s simply a way to ensure that individuals behave responsibly, they say. Fine, if it’s such a great idea, then let’s mandate that every individual be responsible and get a job. Unemployment problem solved.

At the core of every policy decision is a fundamental question: Can Americans be trusted to be free? We like the word freedom, but we use it so loosely and even in such contradictory ways that it risks losing its meaning.

Liberals say that man is not free until he is free from want and so the government must guarantee his comforts – everything from housing to health care, cellphones to sustenance. But this notion inherently contradicts itself. For the government to provide for all wants, or even just the important ones – and our leaders know the difference – they must plunder the property of other would-be free Americans. Worse yet, by attaching strings to every giveaway, they plunder the liberty of those on whom they lavish their largess. This notion of freedom destroys freedom. So a better definition must exist.

Freedom is man’s power to exercise his own faculties as he chooses as long as he prohibits no other man from doing the same. Law exists to ensure that no man takes another man’s life – other than in self-defense – or deprives him of his liberty or property. If it is wrong for one man to plunder, then surely it is equally wrong for a group of 20 men to plunder. And if it’s wrong for 20 men to plunder, then it’s equally wrong for 100 million men to plunder – even if they have codified it into law.

Consider, then, the Obamacare individual mandate. It is perhaps the most egregious use of government force in our lifetime, if not our nation’s history. It makes a mockery of American freedom. You cannot be trusted to determine your own health insurance needs, your governing betters declare, so they will take that liberty from you, as well as a good measure of your property. As government-run health care continues its inexorable decay, many of you will ultimately pay with your lives.

President Obama to his credit, you may recall, actually campaigned against the abomination that is the individual mandate. “I mean, if a mandate was the solution,” declared Mr. Obama as a candidate in 2008, “we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.” Yet once ensconced in power, he could not resist that intoxicating compulsion to demand his subjects’ obedience, to bend men’s wills like a potter molds clay.

Where must rulers like this go to find their solace? Surrounding themselves with mere mortals as we who cannot be trusted to choose health insurance, light bulbs or even lemonade vendors without government intervention, it must be enormously burdensome to be in sole possession of the enlightenment to guide each man’s destiny. Is there a mountaintop high enough? A gilded castle large enough? The irony, of course – and I wonder if he realizes it – is that these same people whose decisions Mr. Obama so distrusts are the very ones who decided to make him into a president.

In his brilliant satire, Dr. Paul Hsieh, the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine, an advocacy group for free-market health care reform, suggests that the same heavy-handed principles of Obamacare be applied to Mr. Obama’s new jobs program (“Let’s Model ObamaJobs After ObamaCare!” Pajamas Media, Sept. 7). Impose a “hiring mandate.” Impose fines on companies that don’t provide jobs. Implement price controls. Institute more public-private partnership. In short, let the government take over.

Dr. Hsieh, a diagnostic radiologist, understands that government health care is about government, not health care. So, too, is the president’s government jobs program.

“My singular focus is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages,” declared Mr. Obama on the 961st day of his presidency. Rather than embracing American freedom, however, this president feels free to micromanage your company. He knows better than you whom you should hire. How else can you explain his proposed tax credits for companies that hire the people of his choosing? Nice token.

Meanwhile, sitting in the gallery as an honored guest of the president was the crony corporatist Jeffrey Immelt, the General Electric Co.’s chief executive officer, whose well-connected company earned $14.2 billion in profits last year but legally paid nothing in taxes – zip, zilch, zero – as in the total number of jobs Mr. Obama’s America created last month. Mr. Immelt must have had a good laugh at the bread crumbs this president was offering the common folk.

Once again, our government is poised to bribe Americans – with their own confiscated money – to do their rulers’ bidding. This isn’t Mr. Obama’s invention, of course, or even a phenomenon limited to Democrats. Republicans, too, have perpetrated their own carrot-and-stick attempts to manipulate would-be-free Americans’ behavior. We may be sympathetic to the rulers’ stated goals and even be the recipients of their rewards, but something of liberty dies with each attempt to coerce a free man, especially when it comes with false promises of prosperity, be they jobs or health care.

American sovereignty must reside in its people, not its government, lest we violate that radical 18th-century, self-evident idea that all men are created equal. Otherwise, we surrender our freedom to enlightened poseurs whose ideas are anathema to liberty and common sense.

I mean, if a mandate is the solution for health care, why not solve unemployment by mandating everybody get a job? You’ve got to be firm with these people. Right, Mr. President?

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a cousin of President Obama‘s. He blogs at MiltonWolf.com.

Documents suggest health care tailored to benefit labor

Documents suggest health care tailored to benefit labor.

‘Unions helped write the Obamacare law, then get exempted from it’

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WND

Documents obtained from the Obama administration suggest that not only did organized labor have a heavy influence in writing Obamacare, the contested massive takeover by the government of health care decision-making nationwide, but then those same labor groups obtained exemptions so they wouldn’t be subject to its rules.

That’s according to a report from Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.


Graphic of Obamacare posted by House Speaker John Boehner

Officials there today announced they have obtained access to 3,497 pages of documents from Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services about the development of the law that is known as Obamacare.

It had to resort to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed Dec. 30, 2010, in order to obtain the information for the American public.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the paperwork reveals some of the manipulations that have gone on over the law that essentially requires, under threat of financial and other penalties, that people purchase the health insurance that the government determines is best for them.

“This first batch of documents has the gory bureaucratic details of the Obamacare mess,” Fitton said. “The Obama administration has tried to keep its government takeover of health care veiled in secrecy, especially the details of these waivers. Waiving the law for 3.4 million Americans is unfair and an affront to the rule of law.”

The waivers are special exemptions granted mostly to labor unions by the Obama administration that means they don’t have to submit to requirements of the federal law, requirements to which others not favored with exemptions must submit to and pay for.

“It seems corrupt when political supporters in Big Labor are getting a disproportionate number of waivers from Obamacare. Unions helped write the Obamacare law, and then get exempted from it! Now Big Labor is paying back these waiver favors with campaign support for Barack Obama,” Fitton said. “Judicial Watch is committed to bringing as much transparency as possible to Obamacare, especially this ongoing abuse of the ‘waiver’ process.”

He noted the enthusiasm exhibited by labor leader Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters over the Labor Day weekend.

At a rally that was attended by Barack Obama, he blasted the tea party members – those who want a restoration of a limited government in Washington and a return to the rule of the Constitution.

He demanded that attendees get out the vote for Obama, saying, “President Obama, this is your army … Everybody here has got to vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these sons of b—-es out and give America back to America where we belong.”

The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch include internal HHS e-mails and strategy documentation and administration communications with unions and companies seeking special privileges from Obama.

“The majority of the communications related to the granting of waivers by the secretary of HSS exempting companies and unions from the minimum annual cap on the amount payable to an individual in benefits,” the report said. “Such waivers enable companies and unions to keep their existing plans in place until Jan. 1, 2014.”

The documentation, according to Judicial Watch, reveals 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers, covering 3.4 million people. More than half of those are union workers.

“Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members account for only about 12 percent of the total workforce,” the report said.

Previously, the organization obtained HHS data revealing closed-door meetings about health care between numerous union officials and Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others.

Among those attending were Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Andy Stern of Service Employees International Union and Hoffa.

“The documents suggest that the key provisions of the Obamacare law were written solely to address the concerns of unions,” the Judicial Watch report said.

The Obamacare law has been targeted by a flood of lawsuits since the president signed it more than a year ago. Court rulings, however, so far have differed, with some courts believing that it is constitutional and others declaring it unconstitutional. It is expected to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, which to affirm it would have to agree that the government has the authority to order a person sitting in his or her own home to buy a health insurance product specified by the government because not to do so would impact “interstate commerce.”

In one of the decisions in the saga of Obamacare released just today, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rule on the constitutionality of the law, concluding instead that the state of Virginia couldn’t pursue a case because the “individual mandate” – which requires all citizens under threat of penalty to purchase health insurance – applies to individuals, not a state.

“From the beginning everyone knew that the final frontier in the battle over Obamacare would be the United States Supreme Court,” said a statement from Liberty Counsel.

The American Center for Law and Justice said the 4th Circuit ruling was disappointing.

But chief counsel Jay Sekulow said the decision “does nothing to change the legal track of Obamacare – a constitutionally flawed law that ultimately will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Ilya Shapiro, of the Cato Institute, said now there is “no reason for the Supreme Court to delay its review.”

“It’s’ time to finally put an end to the uncertainty over the fate of [Obama’s] most economically damaging piece of legislation,” Shapiro said.

The 4th Circuit also dismissed a second lawsuit from Liberty University for the same reason, although the university has pointed out that it will subject to penalties in the law, too.

Two of the judges who made a majority for the 4th Circuit decision owe their lifetime appointments to Obama.

Rebellion by states could be hazardous to health care overhaul – Washington Times

Rebellion by states could be hazardous to health care overhaul – Washington Times.

Nearly a year and a half after President Obama signed his landmark health care overhaul into law, the growing rebellion in the states — being fought out in courts and state legislatures — shows few signs of easing.

This year alone, 13 states have enacted laws trying to exempt their residents from major provisions of the health care law, while more than half have filed or joined lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality.

Some states are hedging their bets by taking preliminary steps to implement the law while refusing federal funds and mandates as the high-stakes political battle over the health care plan continues to play out.

All told, 17 states have enacted laws rejecting parts of the Affordable Care Act, according to a report by the National Council of State Legislatures.

“These are political moves,” said Wake Forest University law professor Mark Hall, an analyst on health care policy who thinks that challenging the federal law through legislation is a bad idea. “The Constitution couldn’t be clearer that the federal law is the supreme law of the land. The only question is whether the federal law is valid.”

Geographically and politically, the list of states enacting legislation against the measure offers few surprises. They generally are located away from the coasts and both legislative chambers are led by Republicans, with the exception of Virginia and Louisiana, where Democrats control the Senate.

The most common objection to the measure is seen by many as the linchpin of the whole law — a mandate on individuals to either buy health insurance or face a fine. Fifteen states have enacted legislation resisting that mandate in some way.

Some states have gone as far as modifying their own constitutions. In November, voters in Arizona and Oklahoma approved constitutional amendments outlawing the individual mandate. Similar amendments are on the November 2012 ballots in Alabama, Florida, Montana and Wyoming. All of the states but Wyoming also include in their amendments language targeting the law’s requirement that larger employers offer coverage.

Four states — Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas — have approved interstate “compacts” that would exempt them from the law altogether, in the unlikely event the alliances were approved by a majority in Congress. It’s a matter of dispute whether or not the compacts would require a signature from the president to go into effect.

“A lot of governors are sitting back, saying, ‘We’re going to do what we think we have to do minimally, but we’re still kind of waiting to see what the requirements are,’ ” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said in an interview this month. With state Republicans firmly opposed, Mrs. Fallin declined a $54 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in April to help implement the law.

In May, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, signed legislation explicitly rejecting mandates under the Obama law, despite an opinion from the state attorney general that the state could not enact a law that, in effect, nullifies a federal law.

In New Hampshire, the only Northeastern state to enact legislation against the Affordable Care Act, legislators established an oversight committee whose approval is required for implementing any federal health care legislation. The measure didn’t require a signature by Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat.

Public opinion seems to mirror the state-based revolt, despite assurances made last year by Joel Benenson, a pollster for Mr. Obama, that growing numbers of voters would support the law once they became familiar with it. In a recent Rasmussen poll, 55 percent supported repeal — the same percentage that supported repeal just after the law was enacted. Opposition to repealing the law has risen slightly since then.

Still, the future of the state laws is doubtful. Legal analysts have sharply divided predictions on how the Supreme Court will rule when one or more of the lower-court cases reaches the high court. The high-stakes decision is expected to be made well before the November 2012 elections.

Many states face a Catch-22 as they fight to kill a law they are required to implement in the coming years, and the clock is ticking. State governments are 16 months away from the deadline included in the text of the Affordable Care Act to either show adequate progress toward setting up an “exchange” to help provide health insurance or face the prospect of the federal government stepping in and doing it for them. In Idaho, for example, opposition is particularly intense among state legislators, but Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, announced Monday that he would apply for $40 million in federal grant money by the Sept. 30 deadline to help set up the mandated insurance exchange.

“If we don’t apply for the grant, [then] the federal government will come in and establish and impose upon us an insurance exchange,” he told reporters.

Enacting legislation that contradicts the measures officials must put into place is counterproductive, said Wake Forest’s Mr. Hall, who thinks the health care battles should be fought in courtrooms, not in state legislative chambers.

“If they’re just going to wash their hands of the whole thing, they’re basically inviting the federal government to come in and do it for them,” he said.

Mr. Hall called the legislative efforts a “spirited assertion of state rights” — and not much more than that. “It reminds me of governors who stood at the doors of their state universities and refused to accept the civil rights laws,” he said.

Some opponents of the Affordable Care Act say states have the power to substantially hinder implementation.

“What we would like them to do is simply ignore the whole thing,” said Michael Maharrey, a spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center.

He said he would like to see states respond in much the same way they did to the Real ID Act of 2005, which required states to follow federal guidelines in issuing driver’s licenses. Half the states enacted legislation against participation, and all had applied for or received extensions by the 2008 deadline.

“Here we are almost six years later and it’s still not fully implemented, because states just won’t do it,” Mr. Maharrey said.

Many states took almost immediate legal action against the federal health care law. Virginia and Florida filed lawsuits against the act just days after it was approved in March 2010. Since then, 25 states have signed on to Florida’s challenge, and Oklahoma filed suit on its own in January.

Not every state challenging the bill is also pursuing legislation against the Affordable Care Act. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, has joined the Florida lawsuit, which is not supported by the Democrat-led legislature and governor.

Most state legislatures that have passed opposing measures didn’t take action until this year, although 40 states considered a variety of legislation as the health care law was debated in 2009 and then passed in 2010. The Arizona Legislature led the way in opposing the individual mandate when, in June 2009, it became the first state to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

“What makes Arizona stand out a little bit was that their proposal became an example or model for quite a few other states,” said Richard Cauchi, health care director for the National Council of State Legislatures. “A number of states filed bills using identical or similar language.”

If a law doesn’t work, waive it away? – The Boston Globe

If a law doesn’t work, waive it away? – The Boston Globe.

By John E. Sununu

AT ONE point during recent debt negotiations, President Obama laid down a list of “untouchable” budget items. Topping that list was anything having to do with implementing or enforcing the Health Care Reform Act. Ironically, the hard line came only after the Department of Health and Human Services regulators had issued waivers exempting 1,400 companies from the harsh effects of ObamaCare.

Everyone knows that regulators write the rules. But the real power comes with the power to tell states, industries, or, as in this case, individual companies that they don’t have to comply.

At about the same time, HHS began shutting down the waiver program – an action it announced on a Friday afternoon, the customary way to bury bad news in Washington. Companies now face a September deadline to apply for protection. After that, they’re out of luck. According to the administration, without the special treatment, health care premiums for 3 million workers would have gone up by 10 percent or more. A note to social engineers of all parties: If you have to protect 3 million people from a brand-new law, it probably wasn’t very well written in the first place.

That this was an unintended consequence is clear from the fact that the law never contemplated a need for waivers in the first place. In a stroke of bureaucratic magic, HHS simply granted itself the power, and started dispensing the passes. Only when independent groups started pressing for transparency did things begin to shut down.

The broader lesson here is that the constant need for special waivers is symptomatic of poorly written public policy. It’s a signal that the cost of compliance is unreasonably high; the benefits are hard to measure; and either legislators or regulators have failed to do their homework.

The waiver process exposes another deeper danger as well: the arbitrary application of government power. The ability to absolve companies of regulatory obligations creates uncertainty, even fear, in the business community. Companies are left to hope, beg, and plead for special treatment, often because their competitors have already received a free pass. That’s the plight of 150,000 workers whose employers were denied the ObamaCare pass.

Consider the administration’s recent proposal to raise fuel efficiency standards to 56 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s more than twice the current standard – intimidating enough for staggering automakers with no current technology to meet the goal. As a kicker, the Department of Energy will re-evaluate the current fuel economy target in 2020, and either ease the rules or toughen them based on how far the industry has “progressed.” That comes perilously close to a threat.

For the foreseeable future, the automakers, whom taxpayers have already bailed out twice, will tread in fear. Their researchers will present new “green technologies,” their regulatory-compliance teams will curry favor with federal transportation officials, and their executives will look for opportunities to say nice things about the administration. Not because it will improve productivity or produce better cars, but because carmakers fear the wrath of an arbitrary federal hand.

At the EPA, the administrator pushes ahead with revisions to smog regulations even though standards were just toughened three years ago. The threat to tighten the rule by as much as 20 percent has states and cities on edge. Failure to comply with the smog standard triggers expensive steps for mitigation, with the EPA holding the power to issue waivers to those who find their favor.

This unpleasant practice is partly the fault of legislators for giving so much discretionary power to regulators – some appointed, some just career government employees. Sure, it might take more time for Congress to negotiate clear standards and write them into the law, but the end product is likely to be less controversial and more fairly applied.

Politicians also have a love affair with the “small business exemption.” Too much paperwork? Too heavy a burden? Not enough time? Just exempt small businesses from the rule. It sounds so pro-growth. Instead it’s an admission that the costs of a regulation just can’t be justified.

Big firms can bury the cost of compliance deep in their financials; but cost-benefit calculations don’t change when a firm moves from 99 to 100 employees. If it’s a sensible regulation for protecting safety, health, or the environment, then everyone should comply. If not, please go back to the drawing board. Trying to waive away the damage of a bad law is public policy – and politics – at its very worst.

John E. Sununu, a regular Globe contributor, is a former US senator from New Hampshire.