A Mass. Exodus on ObamaCare
Functionality may be in short supply with ObamaCare -- but irony sure isn't. Yesterday, in an announcement that seemed to sum up the last year of this debacle, Massachusetts scrapped the health care system that started it all. What once served as the model for the President's law is now a symbol of its dysfunction, as the Bay State becomes the third state to junk its site and start over.
The 2006 system, which served as the basis for ObamaCare, hit its biggest wall when officials tried to merge the program with HealthCare.gov. One hundred eighty one million federal dollars later, the technical mess was so great that the state had to shift 160,000 people to temporary Medicaid coverage -- an expensive back-up plan that costs upward of $10 million a month.
In Governor Deval Patrick's (D) office, staffers tried to find the words to explain the disaster. Sarah Iselin did her best with this contender for understatement of the year: "We need a reliable website to help people." Unfortunately for Massachusetts, "reliable" and "ObamaCare" haven't done too many joint appearances. For now, the biggest questions seem to be: who's paying for this latest collapse, and will the state be able to build a lifeline to another alternative in time for the next enrollment period? Like Oregon and Maryland, which just ditched their multi-million exchanges, Massachusetts had difficulty tapping into the administration's system and complying with the law's myriad demands. Other states -- Hawaii, Nevada, Vermont -- have either watched their exchanges implode or are dangerously close.
In every failure, there seems to be one common denominator: the federal government. And Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), for one, is sick and tired of it. "Americans are once again out millions of dollars with nothing to show for it," he fumed. "Federal taxpayers should not be on the hook for the additional costs to clean up this debacle, which are sure to be high as the state scrambles to join the federal exchange." Meanwhile, one thing federal taxpayers are on the hook for is abortion. During the debate, President Obama swore the government's plans wouldn't include taxpayer-funded abortion. Now, it's impossible to find one without it!
Just ask Barth and Abbie Bracy. As Christians, they don't want to pay for health insurance that covers abortion on demand -- but in Connecticut, they don't have much choice. Every single state exchange plan includes abortion coverage, a reality so unacceptable that the couple is filing suit. With the help of our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Bracys are taking a stand against the administration's oppressive system. Although several ObamaCare challenges are working their way through the courts, this couple's case is unique, the Washington Times points out, because it's the first filed by a "would-be policy buyer challenging the abortion fee mandate." "Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion," says Bracy attorney and ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox.
Unfortunately, the Bracys aren't the only victims of the White House's you-have-to-buy-it-to-see-what's-in-it mentality. One of the most outrageous parts of the ObamaCare exchange is that Americans don't know what their plans cover (including abortion) until they purchase them. The process is so convoluted that Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) had to introduce a bill (the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act) just to guarantee that Americans knew what kind of procedures they were paying for. "It was incredibly confusing, if not impossible, to find out," Smith has said.
Even Congress, with great resources at its disposal, couldn't get to the bottom of their insurance benefits. "That is what's happening in state after state," he explained. "People cannot find out if plans on the exchange include abortion." So much for the most transparent administration in history. Help shed some light on ObamaCare by encouraging your Congressman to co-sponsor Rep. Smith's bill, H.R. 3279.
Steny Hoyer: Mr. No It All
What are Democrats so afraid of on Benghazi? The truth, apparently. According to Hill sources, the President's party is rallying its members to vote "no" on appointing a select committee to get to the bottom of the horrible tragedy. "We will urge members to vote no on it," said House Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.). Blaming "politics," the Democratic leader thinks Congress has already spent too much time on the Libyan attack that took four American lives, including that of U.S. Ambassador John Stevens. House conservatives, on the other hand, believe they haven't even scratched the surface of the White House's involvement in covering up the real details of that night.
And thanks to new emails, which tie the President's team to misleading messaging, they finally have evidence they need to look deeper. With these revelations, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) thinks Congress finally has the ammunition it needs to demand more oversight. Pending a vote this week, Speaker Boehner has tapped Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to head up the select committee tasked with getting to the bottom of the administration's lawlessness.
For too long, the administration has hidden behind executive privilege and refused to cooperate with the House's investigations. Like the Wizard of Oz, this President seems to think he can do whatever he wants behind the curtain. But even the President is not above the law -- a fact these conservatives plan to remind him of as they try to find the answers the American people deserve.
Not Without My Daughter...
The battle over parents' rights has a new ground zero: the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. There, Lou and Linda Pelletier have been fighting for the custody of their own daughter, Justina for 13 long months. The 15-year-old, who had been diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, caught the flu in February of 2013 -- complicating her condition and kicking off a year-long legal nightmare.
When Justina was taken to Boston Children's Hospital, doctors disagreed with her initial diagnosis from Tufts Medical Center and insisted she suffered from a psychiatric condition -- not Mitochondrial Disease. As far as Boston was concerned, there were too many "red flags" in Justina's case that couldn't be explained and, instead of consulting Tufts, accused Lou and Linda of medical child abuse. A quick trip to Massachusetts for the Connecticut family turned into one of the greatest attacks on parental rights we've ever seen. After involving the Department of Children and Families and launching an investigation, Justine became a ward of the state of Massachusetts -- even though the family resided in Connecticut and was consulting expert medical care.
If the story sounds too outrageous to believe, trust us -- it isn't. FRC Action's Josh Duggar had the opportunity to sit down with Lou and talk about all the family has been through. We hope you'll take a minute to watch the video below and forward it to your friends. Not too long ago, I interviewed Lou on our daily radio show, "Washington Watch," and what he shared will absolutely astonish you.
Our friends at Liberty Counsel are doing everything they can to return Justina to the safe and loving arms of her family. You can help by urging Governor Patrick to step in and demand Pelletiers have custody of their child. Until then, we continue to stand with Liberty Counsel, Mike Huckabee, and everyone else trying to get the word out about this stunning case of abuse and neglect. As even the Huffington Post points out, "The battle is really no longer about Justina. It's about who is right: the parents, the hospital, or the state."
Happy 66th, Israel!
The Obama administration certainly put a damper on Israel's Independence Day, which it celebrates this week under the dark cloud of Secretary John Kerry's comments. Despite a weak apology, the damage done by Kerry's "apartheid state" comment still linger in the air of America's strongest Middle East friend. With an uncertain future and even more uncertain alliances, Israel deserves more respect and cooperation than this President is willing to give. The rebirth of the State of Israel is one of the miracles of our time. That a Jewish nation now exists in the historical homeland of the Jewish people is evidence of God's providential guidance. America's commitment to Israel's security is and must remain sacrosanct. I fear for the future of our country if that commitment is compromised.
** If you're wondering why we shouldn't honor Planned Parenthood's founder in a National Women's History Museum, check out Arina Grossu's new Washington Times op-ed, "Margaret Sanger, Racist Eugenicist Extraordinaire."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.