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‘Obamacare’ Closer to Supreme Court Review After Administration Declines to Appeal Latest Ruling September 28, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

The Obama administration has decided not to ask a federal appeals court in Atlanta for further review of a ruling striking down the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

The administration’s decision makes it more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear a case on the health care overhaul in the court’s term starting next month, and render its verdict on the law in the midst of the 2012 presidential election campaign.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler disclosed the administration’s decision. She declined to elaborate on next moves.

The Atlanta circuit ruling sided with 26 states that had sued to stop the law from taking effect. In another case, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld the individual mandate in June.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., rejected two lawsuits on technical grounds. In one, it ruled that the penalty for not buying insurance amounts to a tax and that a tax can’t be challenged before it’s collected. In the other, the panel said the plaintiff, the state of Virginia, lacked legal standing to file its lawsuit.

In a ruling in August, a divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta concluded Congress overstepped its authority when lawmakers passed the individual mandate provision that requires people to buy health insurance. The administration could have asked the full 11th circuit court to hear the case, potentially delaying high court review.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the fourth appeals court to deal with a case over the law, heard oral arguments last Friday but hasn’t issued a ruling.

The Supreme Court is widely expected to have the final say on the law, especially now that the appeals courts that have considered the law have disagreed, and one of them has struck down a key provision.

The real question has been over timing, which has political as well as legal ramifications.

In order to hear and decide the case by late June, when the court wraps up its work until resuming in October, the justices would have to act by January to accept and schedule an appeal.

It typically takes a couple of months or more from the time an appeal is filed at the court until the justices decide whether or not to hear it.

In arguments leading up to the appeals court decision in Atlanta, the Obama administration said the legislative branch was using a “quintessential” power — its constitutional ability to regulate interstate commerce, including the health care industry — when it passed the overhaul law. Administration officials said at the time they were confident the 11th Circuit ruling would not stand.

In that August ruling, Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull said that lawmakers cannot require residents to “enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

In a lengthy dissent, Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus accused the majority of ignoring the “undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries.” He wrote that Congress generally has the constitutional authority to create rules regulating large areas of the national economy.

Why Did Unionized Companies Get so Many Obamacare Waivers? September 14, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

If you need evidence of the turmoil created by Barack Obama’s socialist health care overhaul, you could certainly look at the myriad of legal challenges currently working their way through the courts. (A date with the Supreme Court is a certainty.) Or you could look at the massive influx of applications from unions and companies scrambling to get out from under the law’s oppressive requirements by obtaining waivers from the Obama administration.

The Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced an arbitrary September 2011 cutoff for waiver applications, but right up to this deadline these exemptions continue to proliferate. According to The Hill, 106 new waivers were granted in July, bringing the total to 1,472 unions and companies that have been granted exemptions from Obamacare. And yet, the Obama administration continues to be super secretive regarding just how these waiver applications are evaluated.

But here’s one thing we do know. Approximately 50% of the waivers granted cover employees of unions even though union workers represent about 12% of the total workforce according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics!

Why are unions seemingly getting a disproportionate number of waivers? That’s just one of many questions at the center of a Judicial Watch investigation.

Recently, for example, we obtained 3,497 pages of Obamacare documents from the Obama HHS pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on January 4, 2011.

The records include internal HHS email correspondence and strategic documents, as well as email communications with Medicare and Medicaid, and with unions and companies applying for waivers. The records also include preliminary drafts and multiple versions of the health care plan itself, along with comments from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other agencies with concerns and suggestions for revising the plan.

The majority of the email communications relate to the waivers granted by HHS exempting companies and unions from the minimum annual cap on the amount payable to an individual in benefits. (Many companies argue these caps will force them to either drop coverage or raise premiums.) The Obamacare waivers enable these companies and unions to keep their existing plans in place until January 1, 2014, when covered expenses will no longer be limited by a cap. (Just wait and see the chaos that occurs should Obamacare somehow withstand judicial scrutiny and become the law of the land.)

In a general sense, Judicial Watch simply wants to know the criteria by which a company or union is granted one of these waivers. We want to know who got them and who didn’t. We want to know what conditions mandate approval and which mandate rejection. But HHS is mum on these questions. This first batch of 3,500 pages is, believe it or not, just the tip of the iceberg of the thousands of other documents the “transparent” Obama administration continues to withhold from us in contemptuous violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Which is an especially troubling problem considering the fact that Big Labor seems to be getting big favors from HHS in the form of these waivers.

You may recall Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from HHS regarding closed-door health care meetings between Big Labor and Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle.

The documents include a list of all of the labor union leaders who attended a meeting with President Obama, along with brief biographical information on each participant. The list included: Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO; Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Jim Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among other Big Labor leaders.

What assurances did the Obama administration give to labor leaders in exchange for their support of the plan? The documents we previously uncovered suggest that the key provisions of the Obamacare law were written solely to address the concerns of union interests. (And now we see Big Labor getting 50% of the waiver haul.)

Speaking over Labor Day Weekend, at a rally for organized labor attended by Barack Obama, Hoffa attacked the Tea Party and urged attendees to get out the vote for Democrats: “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 bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”

So the unions appear to be getting what they want, a reprieve from Obamacare. And the Obama campaign is getting what it wants, union cash and support. And where does this leave the rest of America? In the dark. The Obama administration continues to push forward with Obamacare under a veil of secrecy, especially the details of these Obamacare waivers.

Waiving the law for 3.4 million Americans is unfair and an affront to the rule of law. And it seems corrupt when political supporters in Big Labor are getting a disproportionate number of waivers from Obamacare. Unions helped write Obamacare and then get exempted from it! And now Big Labor is paying back these waiver favors with campaign support for Barack Obama. Judicial Watch is committed to bringing as much transparency as possible to the thoroughly corrupt Obamacare, especially this ongoing abuse of the “waiver” process.

Source by Tom Fitton

Hope ‘n’ Change: Another Court Defeat for ObamaCare August 27, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recently ruled as unconstitutional ObamaCare’s mandate for all Americans to carry health insurance. This is the biggest defeat for the law so far, and it affirms a January ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson of Florida in a case brought by 26 state attorneys general. The Obama administration’s appeal of Vinson’s ruling maintained that the government can compel everyone to purchase health insurance because of its power to regulate interstate commerce. This view was soundly rejected by 11th Circuit Court Judges Joel Dubina and Frank Hall, appointed by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, respectively. Dubina and Hall wrote in their 207-page opinion that such reasoning suggests the government has the power to regulate every part of a person’s life because all persons influence interstate commerce by virtue of their existence.

The decision conflicts with the Sixth Circuit’s complete affirmation of ObamaCare in June, further assuring that the Supreme Court will make the final call. It won’t be a matter of just ruling ObamaCare constitutional or striking it down in total. The 11th Circuit decision introduced the concept of “severability.” While they agreed with Vinson on the mandate, Dubina and Hall decided that the mandate could be removed from the law while leaving the rest of its provisions intact. Vinson ruled the entire ObamaCare law as unconstitutional, believing that the mandate is too integral to the law to be removed and still leave the remaining provisions functional. Insurance companies would be compelled to accept all potential new customers, but people would have no incentive to buy insurance until they’re sick. The market would be turned upside down, and costs would necessarily skyrocket.

Despite this latest legal setback, ObamaCare continues to chug along with the Department of Health and Human Services granting another 106 waivers in July. Many of the 1,472 waivers will now last until 2014, whereas they were originally set to expire a year from their issuance. The latest batch will last three years. There is still no explanation forthcoming of the process of accepting or rejecting applicants, although the disproportionate number of unions and public sector groups already in the pool does suggest one important criterion.

Source – The Patriot Post

The ‘Regretful Obama Voter’ Speaks July 12, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Interesting converstion between Bob Parks &  Jodi Carroll

JODI CARROLL: I was asked to give a speech to a group of people last summer through my connections with Docs 4 Patient Care. I took it upon myself at that time to bring my recorder to get it recorded. Then last December, I was asked again to give the speech, so again I brought my recorder and then I just downloaded my speech onto YouTube to share with others.

BOB: When I first saw this video, it brought back memories of my left-to-right conversion. However, I didn’t get an opportunity to “come out” as publicly as Jodi Carroll. Jodi, before we get into specifics, how did the video idea happen?

Bob Parks has over 20 years in print journalism, television and radio. Bob started his career in 1987 as a Navy journalist for his carrier publications. After a brief investigative reporter stint with the Guam Tribune, Bob progressed into television as a graphic designer for the Fox Broadcasting Company in Hollywood.

He became an online columnist in 2002 for Men’s News Daily, and has since written for the New Media Journal, New Media Alliance, The Washington Times, ChronWatch, the Canada Free Press, Family Security Matters, and Accuracy In Media. Bob has also appeared as a guest on numerous talk radio programs, as well as on C-SPAN, CNN, and Fox News. Bob Parks served as the Vice-chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, ran for the chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party in 2007, ran for state representative in the Massachusetts legislature in 2008, is currently Executive Director of New Media Alliance Television (nmatv.com) produced, wrote, and edited the cable access program Black & Right.

BOB: I read some of the comments on the YouTube video and while some of them were encouraging, some were a little mean and I’m thinking “They don’t even know you”. Thus I decided to contact you.

JODI: Thank you, that is an insightful and respectable approach.

BOB: I take it until recently you were “born” a liberal…?

JODI: Well, I was born to really cherish freedom. I have always been called a “free spirit” by those who know me well. For a long time, I believed that freedom was what liberalism was all about.

I am disappointed to find out that is not the case. While I am reluctant to use labels for myself these days, as I have learned that labels tend to push us into a position where we shut down any thoughts/ideas that do not fit our label, I have to say that I feel a political label that might best fit me is Libertarian, because it seems to honor individuality and true freedom the most. But I am a bit reluctant to assign myself to that, even if I feel it reflects me the best.

BOB: That’s cool. As you (for lack of a better phrase) leaned left, I’m assuming you hung around left-leaning people. What did you think about conservatives and/or Republicans. I’m sure we weren’t liked very much in that company.

JODI: Yes, I was educated at a very liberal university in a very liberal setting. Strangely, in retrospect, I am not sure a lot of those people are truly any more liberal than I am right now, they just haven’t figured out yet that liberalism isn’t really about freedom.

I like to believe that I have always been willing to vote Republican, and in retrospect I think I have always been a fiscal conservative to some degree. But I was not a fan of George W. Bush strictly from a social issues standpoint. That time period pushed me further to the left, I am sorry to say. That being said, I touted GWB during his tenure for his management of the economy, up until stimulus checks.

Now, I have a great deal more respect for both conservatives, conservativism, and George W Bush (I miss him!!). But, for full disclosure, prior to my political tsunami, I thought conservatives and Republicans were the ones who were really dishonest about facts and wanting suppress my freedoms. I have found, however, that conservatives and Republicans are much more honest and liberalism really does not function well when reality and facts are ubiquitous.

BOB: I’m trying to be respectful of your time so forgive me if I try and extract some specifics. How did you think, outside of the traditional reproductive issues, Republicans wanted to suppress your freedoms?

JODI: There are really only two issues that I felt they wanted to suppress my freedoms, and that is reproductive decision making and whom I should partner with. The abortion issue is one I do struggle with because I see very, very valid arguments from both sides. I understand why conservatives think it is murder and murder is unacceptable by any society. But I also understand how others do not see death as a the worst that can happen to a being and for those who believe in reincarnation letting an unborn life go before it is born seems humane to them, not cruel.

I know both sides can argue their side well, and I cannot truly disagree with either side. I do not disagree with conservatives on this issue, and I do not disagree with liberals…. I want them both to be free to exercise their own beliefs. The other issue is whether or not I am free to marry 10 women if we wanted to. I feel consenting adults should have that freedom. If my husband and I are recognized with certain legal rights because we are married, I just feel that I should be able to have those same rights if I chose to union in the same manner with 10 consenting women.

I know, many are gasping in horror, but that is what freedom is – guiding our own choices so we can pursue our own happiness. It is not for me to judge other people’s decisions/beliefs, unless they directly impose upon the freedom/rights of others.

BOB: Yeah, you sound like a Libertarian but I won’t hold that against you. I would like to invite you to continue this at another time when we can concentrate on your last two responses.

You ever been to a Tea Party?

JODI: I would be happy to continue, and thank you for not holding my Libertarianism against me. We have more common ground than not.

Yes, both of my speeches were at Tea Party events. I am hoping to give my speech again at Tea Party events in the future once the 2012 election heats up. I have met several Libertarians and many Independents at the Tea Party events. As long as they stick to the fiscal conservative issues and do not try to squeeze me out because we might disagree on some social issues, I am a fan ;-)

But, one last point on the abortion issue, never would I support any public funding of abortion, not ever and not even a little bit. I believe it should be a personal choice with some limits – but like most choices, the consequences of those choices should fall strictly upon the chooser, not society as a whole. I look forward to speaking again in the future.

BOB: Second to last question for today: You earlier said the left was kinda dishonest. What were some of the misconceptions immediately busted upon getting to know conservatives?

JODI: My transition didn’t happen because I realized conservatives were honest, it happened because I realized liberals were not. It was not an easy transition, it was emotionally painful and I fought on some deep level. I fought it because I could not believe that people I trusted (liberal media) could possibly be dishonest.

It started as I began to hear Obama push the first stimulus with, what appeared to be, pork spending, yet he had campaigned against it. I began to distrust him. Then he began to speak about health care and I knew he/they were lying about the results of the WHO study, because I know health care. So, in a nutshell, it really started for me because, for once, I knew the subject of hot debate really well so it was easy for me to know who was lying. Before, I didn’t really know subjects all that deeply, so being misled by the mainstream media was easy.

I didn’t start turning toward conservatives until I started turning away from liberals, realizing they were so dishonest. Once I started to really research more facts, I realized that, all this time, conservatives were the ones who were more honest and more educated about the facts. As I said earlier, it was really a political tsunami for me, it was painful and hard to go through. It is hard to believe that all the while you believed you were intelligent, yet allowed yourself to be grossly misled.

Now, I check all the facts, myself. And as I do, I generally find that conservatives are bringing the real facts and realities to the table, even if we disagree on non-fact issues like abortion and homosexual unions.

BOB: As a nurse, I’d really like to get into specifics of the health care bill and unions, but let me end with this: how have you been treated by your liberal friends now that you’ve achieved traitor status?

JODI: Liberals in general tend to use emotional weaponry as their tool, and that is exactly what I receive. When I try to present rational facts, I do not receive facts in return. I receive emotional verbal assaults designed to make me feel unkind and inhumane.

I have learned, the hard way, not to argue with most of them because they are not interested in facts/realities, they are only interested in pushing emotional buttons because they believe that is what wins the argument. I have to say, however, that I do have some people who are similar to the way I was, a liberal but not averse to facts/realities and they are truly waking up, like I did. As I have found facts and I push those facts onto them, they struggle to dispute them and are also transitioning a bit.

The liberals who think facts do not matter, I have learned, are not people I can have a rational dialogue with so I no longer try. They think I am a mean and unkind person, and that has to be okay with me. To each his own. :-)

BOB: Jodi Carroll, thank you for your time, welcome to the team (and I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of that), we’ll continue this, and please feel free to drop by and join in our many conversations.

JODI: Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure as well. I am happy to be a part of the team, and I hope we are a winning team because I love the United States of America deeply and believe strongly in the freedom it was founded upon. I look forward to continuing our conversation and would be happy to join the many conservations. If I happen to give my speech again, I will assuredly let you know

White House to end ObamaCare waiver program June 20, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Surprise…

Yes, that waiver program. The one for which they had no statutory authorization to begin with.

I don’t get it. Why would they want to end a politically toxic, deeply corrupt program just as Republican candidates are starting to hit the trail in earnest?

Political considerations were “absolutely not” part of the decision, said Steve Larsen, head of a section of the Health and Human Services department that oversees President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22. Approvals or renewals received by the deadline will be good through 2013. Starting in 2014, the main coverage provisions of the health care law will take effect, and such waivers will no longer be needed…

A conservative policy expert who has been critical of the program wasn’t buying the technical explanation.

“It looks like they finally figured out they were in a public relations hole and decided to stop digging,” said Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation think tank.

I lost track of the waiver issue sometime after the thousandth waiver was granted, which as I recall was around the time Anthony Weiner was thinking of asking for one for all of New York City. Did we ever find out what criteria HHS uses to approve or deny a waiver request, or is it still Sebelius’s little secret? Hopefully we’ll learn more: Since the program will be active until late September, there’s still plenty of time for more House oversight hearings on the issue.

Maybe now that Weiner’s a private citizen again, they can call him to testify?