Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum has an article in today’s FrontPage magazine well worth reading.
Here it is:
VA Scandal: This Is What Death Panels Look Like
By Matthew Vadum
The Veterans Administration hospital scandal that has claimed the lives of at least 40 U.S. military veterans continues to expand, adding to the image of a president who neither knows nor cares what happens to those who shed their blood on the battlefield for their fellow Americans.
With a little under six months before the crucial midterm elections, it is a helpful reminder to voters of the horrors that are not glitches, but essential features, of government-provided health care. The problems at the VA are omens, sneak previews of what the delivery of all health care in America will look like under Obamacare, and so it is fortuitous that the scandal should surface now.
President Obama is predictably, perfunctorily, outraged about these bad things that have been happening in the government he controls. He is shocked and promises to get to the bottom of the issue and do better in the future. It is tedious stuff.
The happenings at the VA are also more evidence, Obama critics say, that the president despises the military. Obama has been moving to reduce soldier pay and benefits and hollow out the military to mid-century staff levels. He has also been going on a human resources rampage, firing flag officers at a rate that alarms military observers. And like any good leftist, Obama believes that the only good American soldier is one who is functioning as a social worker, not a war-fighter.
Meanwhile, Obama VA officials have been working overtime covering up the various waiting list atrocities that have been popping up cross the country.
A whistleblower who exposed the waiting list scandal in Fort Collins, Colorado, says she was suspended after she refused to falsify records.
Lisa Lee, who was employed at that clinic, said she was placed on two weeks of unpaid leave for not following a directive that involved “cooking the books” on scheduling medical appointments to create the false impression that appointments were made closer to the time veterans requested.
“Why are they throwing me under the bus when I’m trying to say what the problem is?”
At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix, Ariz., Veterans Affairs Health Care system, CNN reported April 30. Many of the dead had been put on a secret waiting list.
That list was reportedly part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Administration officials who were attempting to conceal the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a physician.
Over at PhilanthropyDaily.com, I have a piece on what may be the funniest of all the grim unintended consequences of Obamacare. It involves the endlessly controversial federal program known as “AmericaCorps,” which pays “volunteers” who work for nonprofits.
The program’s pseudo-volunteers now face penalties under Obamacare, because the health plans the Obama Administration provides for AmeriCorps members don’t meet the Administration’s requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
On the up side, this embarrassment has been educational for AmeriCorps youth, because it has helped them better understand the nature of government. Take AmeriCorps member Abby Grosslein, who is pictured in a New York Times article on this problem posing under her BarackObama.com FORWARD! poster:
“It would be nice if the government waived the penalty because we are a federally funded program,” said Ms. Grosslein, 24, who is completing her third year of service with AmeriCorps. “It’s as if the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.”
(Abby Grosslein, photographed by Cheryl Gerber for the New York Times)
I just received this panicky mass email from MoveOn:
Dear MoveOn member,
There’s no sugar-coating it: Obamacare is in serious political trouble. And progressives need to step up and start fighting to save it right now.
Obviously, the law itself is still really good. But it’s clear to everyone that rollout has been badly botched—and now Republicans smell blood in the water. They think this is their chance to undo the whole thing. Worse yet, some Democrats in Congress are starting to waver too.1
To fight back, we need to push hard on Republicans trying to undermine the law—as well as Democrats thinking about caving. We also need to hold media outlets accountable for spreading false reports about the parts of the law that are working just fine.
But we don’t have much time. The House is voting tomorrow on a bill that would gut the whole law, and according to news reports some Democrats might vote for it as well.2 We’re aiming to raise $175,000 to make sure we have enough resources to turn the tide. Can you chip in $3?
Yes, I can contribute $3 to help save Obamacare.
There’s no excuse for the problems with the website. We all know that. But the website will be fixed.
And we can’t let a bad website undercut the most important expansion of the social safety net since the 1960s.
Remember when former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – in a moment of surprising candor – said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it”?
Well, we’re just 14 days into 2013, and already we’re beginning to find out just how harmful it’s going to be to our economy. The first victims? Hourly-wage employees at fast-food restaurants.
Within the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress approved a “Free Rider” provision that is forcing businesses such as fast-food restaurants to cut hours on “part-time” workers.
Here’s the crux of the problem: The so-called “Free Rider” provision requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees that do not provide health coverage to pay a $2,000 penalty for every uninsured worker above the threshold of 30 employees.
What’s more, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, businesses that do provide health coverage for their workers will need to ensure that the plan covers 60% of medical bills, on average, and costs employees less than 9.5% of their household income. If the businesses fail to meet these standards, they will be fined $3,000 for each employee above the 30-person mark.
As a result of this provision, employers in the food service industry are scrambling to cut the number of “full-time employees” to get under the critical 30-worker threshold.
An e-mail sent by an operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Florida to employees and obtained by CRC summarizes the problem this way: “The implementation of this act is causing me to differentiate between part-time and full-time employees. Because I’m considered a ‘large employer,’, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions.”
The operator wrote that hours would be cut for “part-time” employees in order to prevent them from being classified as full-time employees, which the law defines as employees working 30 hours or more.
Last week Fox News reported that nearly 100 Wendy’s ‘non-management’ employees in Nebraska would have their hours reduced because of Obamacare. This Wendy’s franchise in Nebraska, like the Chick-fil-A in Florida, is among many food service companies that are reducing the hours of hourly-wage workers to sidestep these new regulations.
Congressional Democrats and President Obama have outwardly expressed their pride in this law. They claim it will bring savings for families, equality for the uninsured, and stability to the health care sector.
What is clear right now, though, is that at least some of the people this bill was designed to help are actually being hurt. Many food service employees now have to look for second jobs because their hours are being cut – or worse, they have been let go and now have to look for another job altogether.
Many of these employees could barely afford insurance, if at all, before these cuts and layoffs. Starting in 2014, these same individuals will be required to purchase insurance—private or through the exchange—or face hefty fines.
The Free Rider provision in the ACA is another example of legislation that is both ineffective and harmful to individuals and to businesses.
FoxNews.com quotes me in an article about comic actor Jack Black and America Ferrera appearing in a commercial that mocks those who don’t like ObamaCare.
Here’s a link to the article.
Frequent Capital Research Center contributor Elias Crim has an excellent op-ed in the Washington Times touching upon the absurdity of the Catholic Health Association’s support for ObamaCare.
This Sunday, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People will address this year’s senior class at Gonzaga College High School in Washington. For Sister Carol Keehan, here’s a suggestion for an inspiring topic: “How to make it big.”
As president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the largest group of not-for-profit health care facilities in the country, Sister Carol, as she’s called, delivered an 11th-hour endorsement of President Obama’s health care reform bill. Herseal of approval appeared to give the legislation a Catholic blessing. It even earned Sister Carol one of the 21 pens the president used to sign the bill into law.
However, the CHA’s endorsement contradicted the position of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a group whose commitment to health care reform is decades old. The bishops exercise oversight on Catholic moral teaching that transcends the legislative policy provisions over which politicians squabble.
So whom to believe? Which group represents authentic Catholic opinion? “Listen to the nuns,” urges columnist E.J. Dionne, a Catholic, like Sister Carol, who wins praise in the secular world by his redefinition of the word “Catholic.” His endorsement of Sister Carol is critical to politicians like North Dakota Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who cites the encouragement of “Catholic nuns” to defend his vote for Obamacare. […]
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who may be unaware that he is currently enjoying his final term in the U.S. Senate, claims to have the 60 votes he needs to muscle ObamaCare through his chamber. God help us if he does.
The current iteration of ObamaCare is classic Mussolini-style Fascism (i.e. corporatism). It forces Americans at gunpoint to purchase health insurance, a requirement never before imposed on the American people. The big insurance companies and the federal government have combined to subject the public to this tyrannical mandate that Americans overwhelmingly oppose. This is the economic essence of Fascism.
Shame on them on all.
Nonetheless, William Kristol of the Weekly Standard offers some words of encouragement to the patriotic Americans who still believe in limited government.
Keep fighting on health care. Fight for the next few days in the Senate. Fight the conference report in January in the Senate and the House. Start trying to repeal the worst parts of the bill the moment it passes, if it does.
After all, never before has so unpopular a piece of major legislation been jammed through on a party-line vote. This week, Rasmussen showed 57% of voters nationwide saying that it would be better to pass no health care reform bill this year instead of passing the plan currently being considered by Congress, with only 34% favoring passing that bill. 54% of Americans now believe they will be worse off if reform passes, while just 25% believe they’ll be better off. Making the 2010 elections a referendum on health care should work–if Republicans don’t let up in the debate over the next year.
Indeed ObamaCare may be the Democrats’ undoing. They are betting it all on their healthcare plan, which won’t kick in for years to come. A public backlash before then could halt the program in its tracks and kill it, leading to a Bastille Day-like slaughter at the polls for the Democratic powers that be.
Of course, it would be better to abort this monstrosity while in the womb, but the beauty of politics is that the fight is never really over. There will be more battles to come.
As Kristol writes, “Fight on with respect to health care. Fight on other fronts. And recruit new fighters. In a word: Fight. ”
Desperate to save ObamaCare, Organizing for America, the Saul Alinsky community organizing branch of the Democratic National Committee, is hosting an online forum with President Obama today at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.
You can watch online at http://my.barackobama.com/watch.
Here is the schedule according to the above linked website:
Program Begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time
The President will update supporters on the fight to pass real health insurance reform. He’ll lay out our strategy and message going forward and answer questions from supporters like you.
2:30 Program Begins
• Addisu Demissie, Political Director, Organizing for America
• Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman, Democratic National Committee
• Jeremy Bird, Deputy Director, Organizing for America
• Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
• Beth Kimbriel, OFA Volunteer from Chester, Virginia
• Mitch Stewart, Director, Organizing for America
2:45 President Barack Obama
After repeatedly denying that it was sending out unwanted email spam about President Obama’s plans for the healthcare industry, the White House did an abrupt about-face, according to a news report.
White House new media director Macon Phillips wrote a blog post indicating “that independent groups — he didn’t name them — had signed-up their members to receive regular updates about Obama’s projects, priorities and speeches,” the report said. The blog post also said:
Email updates from the White House have played a central role in our effort to push back on misinformation and get the facts out about health insurance reform. These updates will continue to be an important source of information about the President, his priorities and opportunities for public participation.It has come to our attention that some people may have been subscribed to our email lists without their knowledge –- likely as a result of efforts by outside groups of all political stripes -– and we regret any inconvenience caused by receiving an unexpected message. We’re certainly not interested in anyone receiving emails from the White House who don’t want them. That’s one reason why we have never — and will never — add names from a commercial or political list to the White House list.