Obamacare dictating FREE anything is weird — and election observations

The recent brouhaha around birth control and Catholic institutions appears to be dying down, although the “solution” that Obama has come up with strikes me as entirely insane. I mean, he is now telling insurance companies, by presidential fiat, to provide a product FREE of charge to certain types of institutions? There must be some outcry about this. Not because it is or is not birth control, but because — since when can the President of the United States determine what an insurance provider charges for anything? Anything at all?

I sense that this Obamacare, while not being out-and-out “socialized” medicine, certainly is similar to that looming behemoth. The insurance companies now appear to be mere utilities to the government. The government sets so much of the cost and risk and charges under Obamacare — that they are no longer independent, free market, competing entities. Here, from Charles Krauthammer, he says it better than me:

From – The Obamacare Trifecta
Where is the opposition’s argument against government health-care control?
By Charles Krauthammer

“Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already-inflated Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies, and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.”

Obamacare Trifecta

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And, yes, religious institutions should be allowed to not have anything to do with providing birth control or “morning after” pills to their employees. Not even “free” (and nothing is ever truly free, somewhere the price will be raised to cover the cost) birth control! Why? The first amendment keeps the government from dictating to religious institutions what they should do in matters of personal morality or belief. Unless of course, a church or temple wants to sacrifice babies to Odin, and then, we might have an issue. There are certainly restrictions on religious institutions doing criminal activities. In any event, this whole mess strikes me as being not about women’s health, but as a power grab by the government. It must be unconstitutional and I would hope that it is challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

I support women’s perogative (not a “right” since the government strictly speaking does not give “rights” in the US, but a perogative) — to obtain birth control and even, an abortion within the first trimester — but certainly, religious institutions that provide care, often for poor women and children, or homeless men, like the Catholic church through its Catholic hospitals – deserve to have their right of conscience respected. It is in the First Amendment, it is that simple and straightforward.

The media, which is often driven by progressive or at least, Democratic party bias, keeps focusing on this controversy as a sign that the right “hates women”. Of course, Santorum, plays into this meme with his personal beliefs about birth control being unacceptable. Although I actually don’t believe that all people who think birth control is wrong, also hate women. That’s like saying that people who support abortion, hate children. What is interesting about Santorum however, is that he does support the government ponying up for birth control when it is not being done by a religious institution. He did support the Federal government providing birth control through Title X. Yes, he actually supported giving Federal money to Family planning clinics for poor people here:

Title X Family Planning
” History of Title X
The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)], was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only Federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.

That’s from the HHS page on Title X.
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So there is more to Santorum than meets the eye. Santorum is more of a populist, and less of a fiscal conservative than he appears. He is a stalwart social conservative yes, but as Ann Coulter observed, “Santorum is not a conservative, he’s a Catholic.” Here from her column “IOWA SHOWS REPUBLICANS DETERMINED TO BEAT OBAMA”
January 4, 2012:

“Santorum is not as conservative as his social-issues credentials suggest. He is more of a Catholic than a conservative, which means he’s good on 60 percent of the issues, but bad on others, such as big government social programs. He’d be Ted Kennedy if he didn’t believe in God.

Santorum may not be a big spender as far as professional politicians go, but he is still a professional politician. In 2005, one of his former aides described him as “a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate.”

The Catholic missionary was fantastic on issues like partial-birth abortion, but more like a Catholic bishop in his support for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement program (now costing taxpayers more than $60 billion a year), and a highway bill with a Christmas tree of earmarks, including the famous “bridge to nowhere.”

Santorum cites his father’s admonition to put any extra money in the poor box at church to explain his wanting to use the federal government to help the poor. ”

Read the whole thing here: Coulter on Santorum and Iowa Caucus
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I am not in the bag for Santorum. He is waaaay too mouthy about his social conservatism for me. I prefer those beliefs to be more understated. I certainly agree that it is preferable that people marry before they have children (how can this be controversial?) but I also am in favor of people living their lives as they see fit. In this country, we do have a measure of personal freedom and choice and I like that. In Santorum, I sense an authoritarian streak just beneath the surface. And, he exhibits a tangible disdain for gay and lesbian people. That distaste alone, which feels palpable, makes me uncomfortable. However, I will say that once I heard him through an entire speech, sat and listened all the way through — I also sensed a nearly earnest sincerity. A boyish Eagle Scout streak that felt a bit guileless in a politician, and — I realized that in spite of our very serious disagreements, Santorum is actually a good man. I believe he is strongly mistaken in some of his beliefs, but he is a good man nonetheless. In other words, when he is not exhorting homosexuals or homosexuality as inferior and sinful, Santorum is actually kind of likable. But, no. I am still in the corner for Gingrich and I will accept Romney. In fact, Romney is starting to look better all the time. He is not an extremist, he is a fiscal conservative, he is competent, he gets it on Iran (though they all appear to) and his moderation is appealing to more voters than Santorum’s bona fide social conservatism which feels, in this day and age, shrill and extreme.

I am watching everything in the election very closely now. Time will tell! My favorite, Newt, may yet pull something out of his hat. He can get things done (budget balancing, welfare reform), he’s fearless, he’s smart and — he’s sharp and angry enough to take on Obama’s smooth-talking sleight of hand, his large and hollow rhetorical flotsam. He means business. So, I do hope…

But I digress… what I really meant to write about was this strange new directive of Obamacare, telling an insurance company to provide something for FREE. Dictating a price to a private entity. So, is an insurance company then still an independent private company — or an arm of the state?

Seems like those “crazy” Tea Partiers screaming about “socialized medicine being Obamacare” were not so far off after all. I think they were downright prescient.

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Corporate America does trans healthcare insurance

So apparently, while some fight for the government to cover trans surgeries and healthcare, quietly, large corporations have been expanding their health insurance to cover that area. I can remember that one of the first was Goldman Sachs of all companies, a few years ago. Well, the trend continues with large corporations like Walt Disney and Coca Cola wanting to appear to be behind the human rights eight ball, as well as to compete for trans employees. While the left paints us primarily as victims, the truth is that often we are valued for our talent and expertise! I think this is fantastic. Here, from The Daily Caller:

With little fanfare, more and more large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Campbell Soup and Walt Disney, have expanded their insurance coverage to meet the needs of transgender workers. The trend follows a concerted push by transgender rights advocates to get employers and insurers to see sex reassignment the way the American Medical Association does — as a medically indicated rather than an optional procedure.

“We understand people simply get appendicitis, and it is something our community deals with through insurance,” said Andre Wilson, who counsels companies on transgender issues as a senior consultant with San Francisco-based Jamison Green & Associates. “That’s what we need to understand about transsexualism. Not everybody will be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, and in fact, few people will be. But the people who are diagnosed with it really need treatment.”

Among the corporations providing transgender-inclusive health benefits are some leading Wall Street and Main Street brands.

American Express, Kraft Foods, AT&T, Yahoo!, Eastman Kodak, Sears, Morgan Stanley, Price Waterhouse, General Motors and State Farm are among 85 large businesses and law firms that cover the cost of at least one surgery, according to a 2010 survey by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group.

From here:
Read more: More US companies covering transgender surgery

Drink a little, live longer!

We all know, or well, some of us know, that people who absolutely and always abstain from alcohol tend to dourness and to be — no-fun. That’s one way to put it. Like those who never dance, or worse – those who are against dancing for religious reasons, people who abstain can be a drag to be around, particularly if they are preachy about it. Or, if they talk constantly about their “recovery” and give you a suspicious look when you produce a beer from the fridge. On the other hand, some people just can’t drink, it makes them ill, or they have too much alcoholism in the family and wish to avoid this fate, or — they are alcoholic. And, yes, they would need their recovery. Some people just never got used to the taste of booze or they just decided one day they didn’t like it. That’s fine too, no rule that says you must drink. Being half American Indian, I can tell you now that there are many people who just should never drink, and when they do any way, it gets them in trouble since the alcohol appears to affect them dramatically, and they have a hard time being moderate. And, I mean, many natives, if not all, but many — many. However, the other side of my family, my father’s side, have always managed to be quite moderate around alcohol, and my dad even reports a family custom of having children drink petite glasses of wine, at dinner because “a little wine is not bad for children.” I have never seen my father drunk, and he does put away beer, but he has never displayed some of the wilder moments of my mother when imbibing, (although she does not drink habitually but alcohol does have more of an effect on her when she does, she keeps it to a dull roar, a little bit of laughing and singing these days although in the past, there has been some table dancing) — I think it is a chemical difference. As for me, I am somewhat in-between, apparently, although I have long ago given up any hard liquor except for very, very rare occasions – and in very controlled circumstances. That way, I tend to avoid the table dancing… I am a beer and wine man only.

Here, a study that shows that people who abstain tend not only to be more dour, but apparently, they croak sooner than either heavy drinkers or certainly more often than moderate ones. This is puzzling, but here it is:

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

It’s too early for a beer, but this is encouraging! If only it didn’t increase my waistline. Time for the gym, then the beer!