House Republican efforts to push the American Health Care Reform Act (HR-3121) were denounced by leading Democrats as “unfair” and “unpatriotic.” The bill would fully repeal Obamacare, allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines, permit small businesses to pool resources so they can bargain for better deals, modify malpractice rules, expand access to health savings accounts, give individuals the same tax break on insurance that corporations enjoy, and provide funding to help insure those with pre-existing conditions.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the GOP bill “a stab in the back. These opportunists are using the failures of the Affordable Care Act as an excuse to inflict their own plan on America.”
The “fatal flaw” in the GOP's approach as Sebelius sees it is “the siren lure of personal choice. If we examine the details of their plan we find that it relies on individuals to secure the kind of coverage they think they need. Under the GOP plan, there is no mandate for the types of coverages that our experts have determined every policy must have. There's no free birth control. Women would be forced to pay for it out of their own pockets. People could dodge the responsibility to fund abortions by alleging moral scruples against it. It's just unfair.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) called the bill “disgusting and unpatriotic. Instead of rallying behind the President in this time of trouble they're trying to use the setbacks to his visionary health transformation as a window of opportunity to take the country in a completely different direction.”
Reid characterized the GOP bill as “an exercise in futility. No matter what the House may pass I can assure you that it will not get a hearing in the Senate. Their only option is to work with us to try to make the President's plan succeed.”
The types of legislative adjustments to Obamacare that Reid said he would be willing to consider include “measures to increase funding for its implementation, a stiffening of the penalties for noncompliance, or a means for automatically enrolling everyone into a comprehensive Medicare/Medicaid program.”
In related news, the Obama Administration announced that it was amending the Affordable Care Act, yet again, to push back the date for small businesses to comply with the law. “There was concern that requiring these businesses to conform with the statutory deadlines during an election year would add unnecessary confusion to what already looks to be a very contentious political situation,” Press Secretary Jay Carney explained. “Voters will have enough to contend with on the health care issue without adding this log to the fire.”
Kerry Defends Deal with Iran
Amidst concerns that the US may have yielded too much in order to reach an agreement with Iran, US Secretary of State John Kerry stridently defended his achievement saying “we drove a hard bargain.”
“First, let me point out that this is the first agreement this country has reached with Iran since the Shah was overthrown in 1979,” Kerry boasted. “This is more than the five Administrations between then and the current Obama Administration have been able to accomplish.”
“Second, the amount that we have to pay Iran to refrain from developing a nuclear weapon is very reasonable,” Kerry argued. “In my mind, there is no upper limit to what we should be willing to pay to avoid a nuclear war. The fact that Iran settled for a mere $8 billion is an unbelievably low price.”
“Third, at a moment when many Americans are disturbed and disgruntled over the misfortunes attending the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, this agreement is a real morale booster for the average person,” Kerry contended. “Polls are showing that three-fourths of those surveyed support this deal.”
Fear that Iran cannot be trusted was brushed aside by the Secretary. “The leaders of Iran gave me their solemn word,” Kerry said. “Even in the event that this proves to be unreliable, the first victim of an Iranian attack will almost surely be Israel. So, in that regard, we'd still have a 'trip wire' before we had to face hostile action.”
AG May File Suit against Abortion Drug Manufacturer
A recent warning by the manufacturer of Norlevo, a morning-after abortifacient, that the drug won't prevent pregnancy in women weighing over 176 pounds and may be unreliable for women over 165 pounds inspired US Attorney General Eric Holder to threaten to sue the manufacturers of this and similar drugs.
“It is important that all be treated equally,” Holder declared. “To market a medicine that works for some, but not for others is, ipso facto, discriminatory, and thus, illegal.”
Holder said he isn't buying the argument that inherent differences between individuals inevitably means that the responses to medications are not uniform from person to person. “We are a country dedicated to the concept of equal rights,” Holder maintained. “The equal right to medical care is undermined if therapies are devised that have unequal results for different people.”
The fact that the average weight of women in the United States is 166 pounds seemed to add fuel to Holder's anger. “What this manufacturer is saying is that the average woman in America cannot rely upon their product,” Holder observed. “This means, that in essence, their remedy is only fit for a thin elite of this country's female population. This is so wrong that it cannot go uncorrected.”
The Attorney General acknowledged that he was “loath to issue a cease-and-desist order, since continued access to abortion for thinner women is a vital component of the President's vision for the future. However, holding the company liable for every unwanted birth by the users of its product may be the only equitable solution.”
Under the “consent agreement” Holder's agency is drafting, manufacturers of morning-after abortifacients would be required to reimburse every woman who uses their product the estimated $250,000 lifetime cost of raising a child in America if they later became pregnant.
IRS Tightens Regs on “Anti-Government” Speech
Concerned that “excessive opposition is impeding the Administration's ability to govern the country,” the IRS has moved to tighten regulations on “right-leaning” political “education” organizations.
“The notion that anyone can organize to speak out against government policy and still get the same exemptions from taxes that those working to help the government is wrong-headed,” said Mark Mazur, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy. “People should all be pulling together to help propel the ship of state toward the attainment of the greater common good. Those rowing with us deserve preferential tax treatment. Those rowing against us do not. It's as simple as that.”
Mazur dismissed objections from Karl Rove, former adviser to President George W. Bush and current head of the Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategy, that the new regulations aim at stifling free speech. “Mr. Rove and his kind are still free to say whatever they want,” Mazur contended. “But there is no obligation on the government to abet these right deviationists by allowing them to be funded with tax-free donations.”
Administration Confident of Victory over Hobby Lobby
News that the US Supreme Court has decided to accept the case involving Hobby Lobby's objection to being forced to fund abortions in the health insurance policies it provides for its employees failed to faze the Obama Administration.
“The idea that individual conscience or religious beliefs can override the collective decisions of the American people is flawed thinking,” US Attorney General Eric Holder said. “We don't allow pacifists to refrain from paying the costs of the wars their government chooses to fight. We don't even allow them to refuse to personally participate in combat operations if we deem it necessary. Granted, we may place them on the battlefield as unarmed participants in a support roll, but we don't excuse them from assisting in the war effort.”
“If the Courts uphold taxing pacifists and sending them into battle, the lesser obligation imposed on anti-abortionists clearly must be upheld,” Holder continued. “Unlike war, whether abortion takes a human life is a matter upon which many people disagree. And unlike war, the anti-abortionist isn't being sent into the operating room with orders to assist the doctor. So, we're pretty confident that the lawyers for Hobby Lobby have raised a false hope for their clients. The idiosyncratic beliefs of the few cannot be permitted to outweigh the policy decisions of the majority.”
Arizona Immigration Activists Oppose Proof of Citizenship to Vote
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett's plan to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote in his state was assailed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“There is no need for this,” MALDEF attorney Nina Perales insisted. “The US Supreme Court has already ruled that federal law trumps state law on this issue.”
Federal law merely requires that those registering to vote attest that they are citizens. They are not required to provide any documentary proof.
“Mr. Bennett's suspicion that people could falsely swear denigrates the integrity of every Latino,” Perales complained. “Not everyone should be treated as if they are as untrustworthy as the one who promised we could keep our health insurance if we liked it.”