More than 214,000 doctors will not participate in new plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to a survey conducted this year by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a trade association comprised of multi-physician medical practices, “as many as 214,524 American physicians will not be participating in any ACA exchange products.” Reasons abound as to why, but, “chief among them is the fact that exchange plans are more likely to offer significantly lower reimbursement rates than private market plans, confusion among consumers about the obligations associated with high deductibles, and fear that patients will stop paying premiums and providers will be unable to recover their losses”
This is a staggering number, considering the Kaiser Family Foundation reported there are 893,851 active physicians working in the United States.
A CBS News poll of 1,269 adults conducted October 23-27 found that 55 percent disapprove of the ACA, while only 36 percent support it.
Enough is enough, and it’s “time for government to stop going after religious colleges and ministries and start respecting religious liberty,” according to a spokesman for a legal team that on Tuesday won yet another case against the Obama administration over its Obamacare contraception mandate.
The comment came from Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been a key part of the battle against the Obamacare requirement that employers pay for birth control, including abortion-causing drugs.
This time a federal judge in Florida has ruled that the government’s latest revisions to the mandate still “don’t do enough to protect people of faith.”
The ruling came from Judge James Moody Jr. in a suit by Ave Maria University, which charged the Obamacare requirement violates the faith on which it operates.
The university was facing millions of dollars in fines, but won an injunction “protecting its right to stay true to its beliefs,” Becket said.
It was the first order preventing the government from enforcing its demands against religious organizations since it tried to solve the dispute in August with an”augmented rule.”
The judge explained the university wanted a preliminary injunction until the case is resolved.
“Defendants do not dispute that Ave Maria is a nonprofit Catholic university purposed with ‘educat[ing] students in the principles and truths of the Catholic faith.’ … One such element of the Catholic faith that Ave Maria holds and professes concerns the sanctity of life. Ave Maria ‘believes that each human being bears the image and likeness of God, and therefore any abortion – including through post-conception contraception – ends a human life and is a grave sin. Ave Maria also believes that sterilization and the use of contraception are morally wrong.’”
As it provides health coverage for workers, the problem arose with the adoption in 2010 of Obamacare, which demands “minimum essential coverage,” which it defines as including contraceptives.
The judge noted the 2013 “rule” allowing insurance companies to directly provide the benefits is not a satisfactory solution to objectors such as Ave Maria.
The Becket Fund has reported some 90 percent of all courts making related decisions have protected religious ministries from the heavy hand of a government.
“After dozens of court rulings, the government still doesn’t seem to get that it can’t force faith institutions to violate their beliefs,” Baxter said. “Fortunately, the courts continue to see through the government’s attempts to disguise the mandate’s religious coercion.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been active beside Becket in the dozens of cases against Obamacare, said there’s a close watch on the dispute.
Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said: “Faith-based educational institutions should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. The court was right to uphold the religious freedom of institutions that value the sanctity of life. If the government can force Ave Maria School of Law to violate its faith in order to exist, then the government can do the same or worse to others.”
The Supreme Court has stepped in several times to suspend enforcement of the mandate provisions against a number of organizations.
WND reported on the summer’s 5-4 decision that a “closely held” for-profit business can opt out of Obamacare’s universal contraception requirement based on religious objections.
The case brought by Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based arts and crafts chain with about 13,000 employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinet maker, challenged the Affordable Health Care Act requirement that employees provide free contraception coverage, including abortion-inducing drugs.
Hobby Lobby’s argument was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which protects the individual beliefs of citizens.
The majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Department of Health and Human Services argument that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies. Alito said that “would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations.”
The opinion said the RFRA’s text “shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice.”
Alito said “the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees.”
“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of humans who own and control them.”
The question presented in the case was whether any law, such as a nationwide health-care management system imposed by the government, can be so important that Washington can order people to violate their religious faith, in contradiction to the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The religious objections to the contraception mandate raised by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga Wood, have been raised in nearly 90 other cases.
Obamacare’s demands align with Obama’s longstanding support for abortion under any circumstances. He even argued, while a state senator in Illinois, against requiring doctors to provide live-saving help to babies who survive abortions.
A number of other cases challenge Obamacare on additional allegations of unconstitutionality.
In one, attorneys for Matt Sissel – a small-business owner who wants to pay medical expenses on his own and has financial, philosophical and constitutional objections to being ordered to purchase a health plan he does not need or want – charge the Obamacare bill was unconstitutionally launched in the U.S. Senate and is therefore invalid.
They noted that the Constitution requires all tax bills in Congress to begin in the House of Representatives. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., they said, manipulated the legislation by taking the bill number for an innocuous veterans housing program that had been approved by the House, pasting it on the front of thousands of Obamacare pages and voting on it.
That means, they argued, that the entire law was adopted unconstitutionally and should be canceled, including its $800 billion in taxes.
The argument essentially makes the Constitution a silver bullet to kill Obamacare.
The case, brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation, is based on the Constitution’s Origination Clause.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker received a surprise after her order to subpoena the sermons of pastors.
Bibles have been sent to her office from all over the country, according to Houston’s KHOU.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told Houston’s KPRC “that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 Bibles” had been delivered.
As The Daily Signal previously reported, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee used his show on Fox News to call for Americans to send Parker Bibles.
“I would like to ask every pastor in America, send her your sermons,” said Huckabee. “Everybody watching the show ought to send her a Bible.”
Huckabee was joined in his call to send Parker Bibles by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Glenn Beck.
Parker admitted that she had received Bibles, telling KHOU that Huckabee was “doing what he can to pump ratings for Fox News.”
Parker told KPRC that she thought the protest was “a very productive way for folks who disagreed with our legal strategy to express that disagreement” and that she is “happy to share the Bibles with those who may want them.”
The city previously issued an ordinance that the sermons of pastors on “the topics of equal rights, civil rights, homosexuality, or gender identity,” be subpoenaed.
According to KPRC, “Parker has since instructed the city’s legal team to narrow the scope of the subpoenas and had earlier said she did not know about the sermon subpoenas before they were issued.”
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable, but a newly released study of insurance policies before and after Obamacare shows that average premiums have skyrocketed, for some groups by as much as 78 percent.
Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday.
The study, which was shared Tuesday with The Washington Times, examined average health insurance premiums before the implementation of Obamacare in 2013 and then afterward in 2014. The research focused on people of three ages – 23, 30 and 63 – using data for nonsmoking men and women with no spouses or children.
The premium increases for 30-year-olds were almost as high as for 23-year-olds – 73.4 percent for men and 35.1 percent for women – said the study, titled “Without Subsidies Women & Men, Old & Young Average Higher Monthly Premiums with Obamacare.”
“It’s very eye-opening in terms of the transformation occurring within the individual health insurance market,” said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, a nonpartisan, independently managed subsidiary of Health Insurance Innovations in Sunnyvale, California.
“I was surprised in general to see the differences in terms of the average premiums in the pre-reform and post-reform markets,” Mr. Coleman said. “It was a higher amount than I had anticipated.”
The eye-popping increases among younger insurance buyers could be a problem for Obamacare’s long-term solvency given that young people are needed to offset the higher costs associated with older policyholders.
“Obviously they’re very important, and as much as they’re healthier, they tend to use health care less, so you want to try and have as many of those people enrolled as possible. And the cost for them went up very [steeply],” Mr. Coleman said.
The price increases for 63-year-olds were less dramatic: a 37.5 percent increase on average for women and 22.7 percent for men.
The study doesn’t include the federal premium subsidies offered to those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, but Mr. Coleman points out that not everyone in that bracket qualifies because their premiums must exceed a certain percentage of their income.
“So you still have this issue of health insurance rising for that very young group and, depending on where they are with respect to income and premium, they may not qualify for a subsidy,” Mr. Coleman said. “That’s what we like to refer to as a subsidy gap.”
The report also notes that somebody pays for the subsidy, even if it’s not the policyholder.
“Another important consideration in the discussion of subsidized premiums is that the subsidized portion of the premium still must be paid by the government through the money it collects from the nation,” says the study. “In other words, the subsidized costs of health insurance do not disappear but instead change payers.”
A spokeswoman with the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment because she had not yet seen the report.
The reasons for the premium increases start with the ACA’s prohibition on rejecting applicants with pre-existing conditions, which means that insurance companies must account for the additional costs of covering chronically ill or disabled people.
Another cost driver is the heightened benefit mandate. The ACA requires insurance policies to include 10 “essential health benefits,” including pediatric dental and vision care, maternity care and newborn care, even for policyholders with no children or whose children are adults.
“If you’re expanding the services you’re covering, and you’re increasing the number of less healthy people in your risk pools, that’s going to increase costs,” Mr. Coleman said. “Attendant to that would be an increase in premiums to be able to appropriately cover those costs.”
He also noted that the study doesn’t weigh policies based on enrollment, meaning that it includes the costs of insurance plans that may have few enrollees.
The report examines premium costs from the two largest metropolitan areas of each state, using data from public insurance records obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Bill Maher has made many Leftists laugh with glee many times. He might be most lauded by the Left for his attacks on Christianity, which the Left loathes. So, it might not surprise anyone that Cal Berkeley invited Maher to be a commencement speaker. But, then, something happened, Bill Maher launched more attacks on religion, but this time he spoke out harshly against Islam. And now, he finds himself going through the very same intolerance that many Conservatives speakers have when they are suggested as commencement speakers
On his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher” and elsewhere, Bill Maher has spent more than a decade thrashing Christianity. But now that he’s speaking some politically incorrect truths about the religion of Islam, some students at Berkeley have had enough. Students are petitioning the school to drop Maher as a 2014 commencement speaker. According to a just-aired MSNBC report, the petition has 10,000 signatures.
Other than proving once again that the Left is fascistic when it comes to someone who strays off the left-wing plantation over even one issue, this movement proves the bigotry of those signing the petition and the rest of the political left that is just now angry over Maher’s criticism of religion.
If you reveled in Maher’s sweeping attacks against Christians but are horrified at his uncovering of some of the ugly truths about Islam, the only bigot is you.
This effort to disinvite Maher is also another in a long line of commencement speakersfacing the intolerant fascism being bred in university classrooms — the one place where free speech and debate should be the most welcome.
This is perhaps the very best example of how the Left is intolerant, and illiberal. These signatures are not seeking to dis-invite Maher because of his well-known anti-religious views. They would be all too happy to have him, as long as he only bashed Christianity. But Maher went off script and bashed Islam. So, he must go now according to Leftist speech doctrine. This shows all too well that the Left is completely intolerant of free speech. It also shows how devoid of open-mindedness the Left is. What the Left is doing here is showing, again, their totalitarian nature. They refuse to even listen to differing views, rather seeking to silence views they disapprove of. Leftists never say to those they disagree with “Let us debate this” No, they instead scream SHUT UP! seeking to have only their views heard.