Health Insurance Premiums Skyrocket

The Affordable Health Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare,”  was supposed to contain rising health care costs, in particular the cost of health insurance. At least so far, it is failing rather miserably in that effort.

Health insurance costs are skyrocketing at a time when health care costs themselves are increasing much more modestly.

It’s possible that the insurance companies are deliberately gouging because they know that the Affordable Health Care Act will take effect next year and it might curb their ability to raise premiums as much as they’d like. Or maybe the new law is failing in one of its stated goals.

All we know for sure is that these huge increases in the costs of health insurance are going to make it difficult or even impossible for some people to comply with the law’s requirement that every citizen buy health coverage. How exactly is a minimum wage worker supposed to do this? For that matter, how is anyone who works for a living supposed it afford it?

We’re talking about premium hikes that amount to hundreds of dollars a month. I have group insurance, but if I didn’t, I would be hard-pressed to come up with an extra few hundred dollars a month in my already tight budget. Wouldn’t you? How are people supposed to put a roof over their heads and food on their tables, provide for their daily needs, save for their retirement, pay for our hugely over-priced higher education and pay these premiums? Wages, in case you haven’t noticed, have actually been falling for a long time.

The Affordable Health Care Act contains some good things. But the major thing we’ve seen from it so far has been a direct government attack on religious liberty. These skyrocketing insurance rates are just the cherry on top all that goodness.

Hopefully, there is better news about the Affordable Health Care Act and what it does for people instead of to them in the future.

A Mail Online article describing the insurance rate hikes says in part:

Obamacare fails to stop health insurance rates

from skyrocketing by double digits…despite

claims it would make health care cheaper

By JAMES NYE The Mail Online

Health insurance companies across the country are attempting to increase their premiums for customers by over 25 percent – even though Obamacare was introduced to stem the rising cost of health care

At risk from the rising rates are small businesses and those who do not have their health care plan offered by their employer and are left to find their own insurance.

In California, Anthem Blue Cross wants to hike the cost of their premiums by 26 percent and in Florida and Ohio, some insurers want to raise their prices by at least 20 percent – leaving customers several hundred dollars a month worse off.

People participate in a protest on the second day of oral arguments for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2012. The law was approved by the court but insurance costs are still rising for somePeople participate in a protest on the second day of oral arguments for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2012. The law was approved by the court but insurance costs are still rising for some

The proposed increases in the health care costs compare with only four percent for families and individuals who have plans offered through their jobs.

Under the Affordable Care Act, which will not be fully enacted until 2014, regulators are now required to review any request to raise a rate by more than 10 percent and to publish their findings on healthcare.gov

The review process also lays bare the disparity nationally in health care costs, with 37 states, such as New York able to deny or reduce rates, while others such as California do not have that power.

For example, in 2013, the state legislature of New York used its powers to hold rate increases to under 10 percent, but in California, rate reviews are only for technical errors.

Health Insurance companies have argued that the rising cost of premiums reflect the rising cost of healthcareHealth Insurance companies have argued that the rising cost of premiums reflect the rising cost of healthcare

However, despite the double-digit increases, the overall market shows that health care costs appear to have slowed in recent years.

Nationwide, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that health care costs will increase by 7.5 percent next year.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2258283/Obamacare-fails-stop-health-insurance-rates-skyrocketing-double-digits–despite-claims-make-health-care-cheaper.html#ixzz2HLzsn91F
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Thousands Support Hobby Lobby!

Thousands of Christians turned out to support Hobby Lobby Saturday!

I have one thing I want to say about this: KEEP IT UP !!!

We must not stop in our support for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being attacked by our government. I plan to buy from Hobby Lobby on a regular basis. I will be there every time I need any thing that they sell. And I'll also be there when I get my paycheck each month, whether I need anything or not.

Remember: They'll know we are Christians by our love ... and by our support for our brothers and sisters who are being attacked for their faith.

Tens of Thousands Pledge Support for Hobby

Lobby

Americans who back the Christian-owned company’s refusal

to comply with the HHS mandate are urged to support the

company by shopping there online or at local Hobby Lobby

stores.

BY MICHELLE BAUMAN/CNA

Hobby Lobby, courtesy of the Becket Fund– Hobby Lobby, courtesy of the Becket Fund

WASHINGTON — More than 64,000 people throughout the U.S. signed up to support Hobby Lobby on Jan. 5 for risking millions of dollars in profit to follow its Christian principles.

Facebook page dedicated to supporting the arts-and-crafts retailer called on “all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS mandate’s unfair impositions” to support the company on Jan. 5 by shopping at either their local Hobby Lobby store or online.

The national retailer could face fines of $1.3 million per day for following its owners’ religious beliefs, which conflict with a federal mandate requiring employers to offer health-insurance plans covering contraception — including some drugs that can cause early abortions — and sterilization.

The Christian family that owns Hobby Lobby holds moral objections to facilitating any type of abortion, including those caused by “morning after” and “week after” pills.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/tens-of-thousands-pledge-support-for-hobby-lobby?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-01-7%2010:32:01#ixzz2HKig6Sex

Spend a little time and a little cash at Hobby Lobby this Saturday

Spend a little time and a little cash at Hobby Lobby this Saturday.

If you don’t live near a Hobby Lobby, you can still shop at their on-line site. Also, the family that owns Hobby Lobby also owns Mardels. Mardels is a Christian office supply/book-music-Bible/homeschooling supply store.

I shopped at Mardels for curricula and supplies back when I was homeschooling. I’ve also bought several Bibles, as well as Christian gifts, cards and Christmas ornaments there. It’s a great store. You can find it online, if there’s not a Mardel’s near you.

We need to stand with other Christians when they make a courageous stand for Christ. I’m going to buy something at either Mardel’s or Hobby Lobby this week, and every paycheck I get from now on until the government attack on them is over. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ and they are being attacked by our government for their faithfulness to Him.

Here is an interesting article from Christian News concerning the wellspring of support that is building for the Green family and their fine Christian businesses.

Christians ‘Stand With Hobby Lobby’ As Company

Faces Fine of 1.3 Million Daily for Defying Obamacare

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –  Christians across the country state that they will be standing with Hobby Lobby this weekend as the popular craft chain continues to defy the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare.

Joe Grabowski of StandWithHobbyLobby.comhas named Saturday, January 5th as the official appreciation day for the company, when supporters will shop at their local Hobby Lobby outlet to show their support.

“On Saturday, January 5th, all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS mandate’s unfair impositions upon religious individuals and corporate entities are called upon to show their support for Hobby Lobby by shopping either at their local retail Hobby Lobby store or online,” he writes. “[T]he justices of the Supreme Court will be watching on January 5th, be assured, and they’ll know the minds and hearts of the American people as to this matter — but only if we get the word out and stand up in large enough numbers to make an impact!”

As of press time, over 4,000 people stated that they would be participating in the event.

“I will be there spending my $$ to back this company,” writes supporter Eric Coval. “They are one of the few who are taking a stand against a federal government that seems hell bent to trample on our liberties, and when we cry foul they tell us to be good little subjects and that we are too extreme. Hobby Lobby, fight the righteous fight!”

“We love Hobby Lobby!” commented Beth Collins. “I won’t be able to make it in person, but I will shop online that day to show my support!”

Others stated that they have never shopped at their local Hobby Lobby outlet before, but will do so this Saturday in order to make their voice heard and support the cause. (Read more here.)

 

 

HHS Mandate: Hobby Lobby Will Not Comply Despite Higher Court Ruling

Standing Against Christian Persecution

Attorneys representing Hobby Lobby in its lawsuit against the HHS Mandate announced that the company will not comply with government demands that it pay for insurance for the morning after pill.

This announcement comes despite a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor that Hobby Lobby will not receive injunctive relief from the Mandate and must begin paying a $1.3 million dollar a day fine if it does not provide insurance coverage for the morning after pill to its employees. Hobby Lobby also announced that it will continue its long-standing practice of providing health insurance coverage for other contraceptives for its employees.

It is incredible to me that abortion advocates are so aggressive in their efforts to force people who do not agree with them to actually participate in abortions. This extends from attempts to force doctors and nurses to participate in performing abortions to the HHS Mandate which seeks to coerce religious organizations and businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, to pay for abortifacients.

The morning after pill can be dangerous to women’s health, especially if it is taken repeatedly. Despite this, it appears that there is a concerted effort to push this high-dose hormone as a contraceptive replacement to be used casually and often.

In addition to the obvious moral and religious objections to an abortifacient drug like this, I think there are other moral objections to it on the basis of women’s health.

Hobby Lobby’s statement says in full:

tatement Regarding Sotomayor Opinion

“Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time. It left open the possibility of review after their appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit. The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” — Kyle Duncan, General Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Mor information concerning the case can be found on The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty website.

Hobby Lobby Faces $1.3 million per day fines over HHS Mandate starting Jan 1

Standing Against Christian Persecution

Hobby Lobby will have to begin paying fines of $1.3 million per day next Tuesday, thanks to the HHS Mandate.

After federal appeals court ruled against their lawsuit regarding the mandate, Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court for injunctive relief. What that means is that they asked the Supreme Court to push back the date on which the fines would become effective.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied this petition. That means that Hobby Lobby will be subject to $1.3 million in fines every single day, beginning January 1.

All this comes from an agency rule which was signed by one man: President Obama.

It is not a statute that was passed by a legislative body. We the people were not at the table when the HHS Mandate was created. It was written by an appointed (and hand-picked) committee which was balanced heavily in favor of supporters and activists for Planned Parenthood and abortion.

This Mandate is in direct violation of the promise that President Obama gave to the American people and to pro-life Democrats who helped him pass the Affordable Health Care Act. To put it bluntly, the President lied to pro life Democratic members of Congress such as Congressman Bart Stupak in order to pass Obamacare. Former Congressman Stupak has signed a letter in opposition to the Mandate essentially saying this.

For myself, I plan to go shopping at Hobby Lobby.

These are two quotes from different articles which describe the logic of filing the petition to the Supreme Court and the decision by Justice Sotomayor.

Justice Sotomayor Rejects Hobby Lobby’s Request for Mandate Relief (1192)
The Christian-owned business now faces fines of up to $1.3 million per day after Jan. 1 if it refuses to provide abortion-inducing drugs in its company health insurance plan.

by REGISTER STAFF 12/27/2012 Comment

– Wikicommons
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has rejected a request that the federal government temporarily halt enforcement of the federal abortifacient mandate against the Christian-owned business Hobby Lobby, the Associated Press reported Dec. 27.
The Green family, owners of the Oklahoma-based retail chain Hobby Lobby, does not object to providing contraceptives through the company’s health insurance plan. But the company has filed a lawsuit against the Affordable Healthcare Act’s mandate that abortifacient drugs also be funded, on the grounds that involvement in abortions is a violation of the Greens’ religious beliefs.
In her Dec. 26 decision denying the request from Hobby Lobby and a related company, Mardel Inc., Justice Sotomayor ruled the Greens’ companies do not meet the legal standard for preventing enforcement of the mandate while their lawsuit is before the courts, the Associated Press reported.
Hobby Lobby sought relief from enforcement of the mandate because as of Jan. 1, the company will face potential fines of $1.3 million per day if it declines to provide coverage of the so-called “morning after” and “week after” abortifacient drugs in its health insurance plan.
Hobby Lobby appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal court denied its request for relief from enforcement of the abortifacient mandate Dec. 20. The 10th Circuit Court rejected the motion on the grounds that the religious burden to the Green family was “indirect and attenuated.”
Some religious nonprofits are not required to comply with the mandate until Aug. 1, 2013, while the Obama administration works out the details of changes it has promised to make to the mandate to address their religious objections. However, other religious employers were required to begin providing co-pay-free contraceptives and related services by August 2012, or whenever they subsequently updated their health plans.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby as well as a number of other organizations and groups that have filed lawsuits against the contraceptive mandate, said in a Dec. 20 press release that “the Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, the ‘morning-after’ and ‘week-after’ pills, which would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.”

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/justice-sotomayor-rejects-hobby-lobbys-request-for-mandate-relief#ixzz2GHDEodQD

A Hobby Lobby store. Photo courtesy of the Becket Fund.

Washington D.C., Dec 20, 2012 / 05:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby will appeal to the nation’s highest court after an appeals court ruled the federal contraception mandate does not impose a “substantial burden” on the owners’ religious freedom.

“The Green family is disappointed with this ruling,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling the case.

He explained that the Christian family that owns and operates Hobby Lobby must now “seek relief from the United States Supreme Court.”

“The Greens will continue to make their case on appeal that this unconstitutional mandate infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith,” Duncan said.

On Dec. 20, an appeals court denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction to block the federal contraception mandate from being enforced against them while their case moves forward in the court.

The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance covering sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause early abortions. As Christians, the Greens are morally opposed to funding any type of abortion, including those caused by “morning after” and “week after” pills. (Read more here.)

Fiscal Cliff: Obama wants more than just taxes on rich folks …

Are we heading for a future where the only non-profits will be those with government blessing and government funding?

A move by the Obama administration to limit tax deductions for charitable donations could lead this country in exactly that direction. The administration has made this part of the package it is bargaining for in the so-called “fiscal cliff” imbroglio.

A December 13 Washington Post article discusses the lobbying efforts concerning the move to cut charitable deductions to non-profits. It says in part:

The White House and the nation’s most prominent charities are embroiled in a tense behind-the-scenes debate over President Obama’s push to scale back the nearly century-old tax deduction on donations that the charities say is crucial for their financial health.

In a series of recent meetings and calls, top White House aides have pressed nonprofit groups to line up behind the president’s plan for reducing the federal deficit and averting the year-end “fiscal cliff,” according to people familiar with the talks.

In part, the White House is seeking to win the support of nonprofit groups for Obama’s central demand that income tax rates rise for upper-end taxpayers. There are early signs that several charities, whose boards often include the wealthy, are willing to endorse this change.

But the White House is also looking to limit the charitable deduction for high-income earners, and that has prompted frustration and resistance, with leaders of major nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way, the American Red Cross and Lutheran Services in America, closing ranks in opposing any change to the deduction.

“It’s all castor oil,” said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, an umbrella group representing many nonprofits. “And the members of the nonprofit sector I represent don’t want any part of it. It’s a medicine we’re not willing to drink.”
(Read more here.)

If the government cuts off deductions for charitable giving, where will that leave the many non-profits out there? Where, especially will it leave those non-profits who have the temerity to oppose the ruling powers in government?

I think it will leave them in a position where they either have to go to the government itself for additional funding, or curtail their activities. This, of course, would mean that those non-profits which please government leaders, particularly politicians, would become powerful and that their relationship with these politicians would tend toward a kind of political/social/financial incest.

Those non-profits with the temerity to oppose these powerful people would see their influence wither and weaken. NGOs have been the voice of conscience in far too many situations around the world for moves to constrict their funding to be a benign act.

That is where I think the administration’s ploy to reduce charitable tax-exemptions by the wealthy is heading. I’ve been hearing behind-the-scenes rumbling about plans to bring non-profits under the government heel for over a year now. This move makes me think that they are more than rumblings.

By linking the idea of reducing deductions for non-profit donations with the very popular idea of having the wealthy pay more of their fair share of the cost of government, the Obama administration has been able to slip this by the public with very little attention.

That’s great news for Planned Parenthood, since Planned Parenthood seems to have the President’s unwavering commitment. The Affordable Health Care Act is a plenteous bounty for Planned Parenthood. The administration has been willing to go to the wall in moves to attack organizations that Planned Parenthood regards as enemies. It’s even gone so far as to take on the First Amendment to attack the Catholic Church.

Based on all that, I’m not inclined to give the administration the benefit of the doubt about this move to limit deductions for charitable donations. I think, given recent history in these matters, that would be almost childishly foolish.

 

Mennonite Company Files Suit Against HHS Mandate

If you’re thinking about remodeling, you might consider buying your cabinets from Conestoga Wood Specialities Corporation.

This family-owned company has joined the brave group of Christian businesses who’ve filed suit against the HHS Mandate.

It’s important for many companies to file suit, simply because the more challenges to the HHS Mandate we have out there, the more likely we are to have one stick. For instance, one lawsuit after another has been tossed by judges around the country, but a judge in New York has finally allowed the New York Archdiocese lawsuit to proceed. Frank Weathers, who blogs at Why I Am Catholic, has written about this in more detail here.

Our judicial system is such that I think it’s necessary to file many times to have a good chance of success. That’s why the actions of campanies like Conestoga Wood Specialties are a critical factor in the fight against the HHS Mandate.

The owners of this company are Mennonites, but they recognize their kinship with all Christians in essential matters of faith. I would guess that they also recognize their kinship with all Americans in essential matters of freedom.

The First Amendment and religious freedom in America are at stake in the fight against the HHS Mandate. I am grateful to all Christians who are brave enough to join the struggle.

A CNA/EWTN article describing the Conestoga Wood Specialties lawsuit reads in part:

Washington D.C., Dec 11, 2012 / 05:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Three Mennonite Christians who own a wood manufacturing company in Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate for threatening their right to religious freedom.

“Being told that we must provide a health plan that includes a provision that violates the Christian beliefs of our family and the Christian values that our company was founded on is deeply troubling,” said Anthony Hahn, president and CEO of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation.

“Forcing Americans to surrender long-standing, deeply-held principles in order to own and run a business is not merely troubling but unnecessary and unconstitutional,” he added.

Hahn is challenging a federal regulation that requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Conestoga would be required to comply with the mandate when its insurance plan renews on Jan. 1, 2013.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the mandate by religious employers who argue that it forces them to violate their sincerely-held beliefs. The federal government has argued that businesses which are deemed “secular” do not have the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

On Dec. 4, attorneys with Independence Law Center filed a legal challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Conestoga’s founder Norman Hahn, and his sons Norman Lemar Hahn and Anthony Hahn, who manage the company.(Read more here.)

President Obama and Religious Freedom, the Lighter Side

St Peter’s List, has a series of political cartoons concerning President Obama, the Church and the HHS Mandate which they have generously offered to share. I’m printing some of them here. Enjoy

For the whole article or to visit St Peter’s List, go here.

 

 

 

Tyndale House Files Suit Against the HHS Mandate

Tyndale House, one of the largest Christian book publishers in the world, filed suit yesterday against the HHS Mandate.

Tyndale House specializes in religious books, particularly Bibles. Despite this, they fell outside the narrowly-drawn exemptions to the HHS Mandate requiring employers to pay for, among other things, abortifacients.

According to an October 2 LifeNews.com article, “The (HHS) mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterlization and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.”

This ” … demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith by complying, or resist and be punished,” Matt Bowman, Senior Legal Counsel for Tyndale said.

Tyndale House Publishers V Sebelius was filed in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Tuesday October 2, 2012.

The LifeNew.com article reads in part:

Tyndale House Publishers, which publishes Bibles and other Christian books and multimedia, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.

Tyndale House is one of the world’s largest privately held Christian publishers of books, Bibles, and digital media, but it is apparently not religious enough to meet the narrowly-drawn pot-out the Obama administration placed in the HHS mandate.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Tyndale House filed a lawsuit and said it is subject to the mandate because Obama administration rules say for-profit corporations are categorically non-religious, even though Tyndale House is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials. Tyndale is owned by the non-profit Tyndale House Foundation, a Christian group which provides grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world. (Read more here.)

Supreme Court Directs Response to Challenge on Abortion Funding in Obamacare

www.LC.org

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Supreme Court opened its new term and directed the federal government to respond to Liberty Counsel’s Petition for Rehearing within 30 days. Liberty Counsel filed the petition on behalf of Liberty University and two private individuals.

An appeals court in Richmond, VA, ruled that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred the court from addressing the merits in Liberty Univ., Inc. v. Geithner, which challenged the individual mandate (Section 1501) and the employer insurance mandate (Section 1513) of ObamaCare. In addition to the constitutional arguments that Congress lacked authority to pass the law, the suit also raised the Free Exercise of Religion claim because of the forced abortion funding.

The first day of oral argument was dedicated to the AIA, the issue that Liberty University’s case placed before the High Court. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the AIA does not apply to ObamaCare.  Therefore, Liberty Counsel asked the Court to grant the Petition (because Liberty University prevailed on the AIA claim), vacate the ruling of the Court of Appeals, and remand (send back) the case to the Court of Appeals to consider the Free Exercise claim and the employer mandate, neither of which were decided by the High Court. (Read more here.)


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