Priorities for a Man of God: Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended the lawsuits that 43 Catholic-affiliated organizations, including the University of Notre Dame, have filed against the Obama administration’s contraception regulation to expand coverage at no additional cost to employees. […] By calling the accommodations “strangling,” Dolan ignores how the administration has already addressed their concerns about religious liberty while also ensuring that women can still receive accessible, affordable contraception. Most Catholics disagree with Dolan’s and church leaders’ continuing opposition to the contraception rule, but Dolan would rather pick a fight than work toward finding a reasonable solution. – ThinkProgress
It seems that some people would rather not extend the statute of limitations for the crime of sexually abusing children. What kind of monster — no, wait… Cardinal Timothy Dolan has made defeating statute of limitations reform one of his top legislative priorities. — Charles P. Pierce
First up is a look at Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Roman Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, who caused quite a stir with a homily last weekend, when he compared President Obama to Hitler. And while that proved to be the part of Jenky’s hysterical tirade that generated the most attention, there’s a little more… […] Jenky not only likened the president to Hitler and Stalin — a line that was not appreciated by the Anti-Defamation League — he went on to compare those who support the administration’s policy on contraception access to Judas Iscariot. But don’t miss the bishop’s conclusion: “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings — could easily be shut down.” Now, the notion that contraception access might lead the government to shut down Catholic institutions is obviously ridiculous — someone might want to remind Mr. Jenky that there’s a commandment about bearing false witness — but in context, when the bishop concluded his harangue about his hatred for the president by giving the congregation voting instructions, that raises a separate legal question…
Henry Paul Monaghan, a professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School and prominent conservative legal scholar, urges the Supreme Court to uphold health care reform — “Moreover, the market for health care is distinctive (if not entirely unique) in several key respects. Virtually all of us will need and obtain health care at some point, but we often cannot predict when or in what ways we will need it. And for the vast majority of us, direct payment for the health care services we obtain would be prohibitively expensive. Yet not obtaining needed medical care can be the difference between life and death. These features help explain why, unlike many other markets, insurance is the overwhelmingly dominant means of payment in the health care market. They also explain why Congress has required that individuals be given emergency care without regard to their ability to pay. As a result, and again unlike other markets, uninsured individuals who are unable to pay directly for needed medical services necessarily shift the cost of those services to others — to health care providers, the government, individuals with insurance, and taxpayers. In that way, Congress is not creating a market which it then seeks to regulate. The insurance-based structure of the health care market is already firmly in place. That is why it was well within Congress’s discretion to design legislation to operate within, and to address problems posed by, this vast market.”
Money can’t buy health or happiness, but it can at least buy medical care and some measure of comfort for the pain and suffering. And at a certain level of wealth, naturally you’re going to get the best medical care that money can buy.
So I have difficulty understanding how Ann Romney — a breast cancer survivor and diagnosed with MS — could support her husband’s position to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood clinics and do away with Obamacare, especially with its provision that insurance companies can’t reject women with pre-existing conditions, like breast cancer or Multiple Sclerosis. There are American women with little or no means who utilized PP for early breast cancer screening. There are women (and men, and children) who can’t get insured or can’t afford the premiums because of pre-existing conditions. I wonder where is Ann’s empathy for other people, who aren’t married to a vastly wealthy man, but who suffer from health issues just as serious as her own.
And THAT’S another reason why Ann Romney as no idea (nor will she ever) aboutthe concerns of average working women. More importantly, that’s why her husband is completely clueless if Ann and her “ladies who lunch”creware going to be Mitt’s standard for American women and what he knows about them in general.
‘Obamacare’ and the Right’s Own Private Universe — It is a small miracle of mass communication that complete and total bullshit is so quickly and easily converted into incontrovertible fact out of which can be created a world of public events completely real, but completely divorced from what the rest of us recognize as reality.Take poor Sandra Fluke.It is now an article of faith on the Right that she asked all of us to pay for “her” birth control. “Real women pay for their own birth control,” the crowd on the steps chanted today, and there were more than a couple of signs warning her not to expect “our” money to pay for her obviously overindulgent sexytime. Of course, Fluke did nothing of the sort. … Also, today, folks told me that Obamacare “finances abortions.” (It doesn’t.) I heard that it will mandate “euthanasia.” (It won’t.) Even the death panels got a workout again. We have half the country living in its own universe of belief, with its own history, its own politics, and its own physical laws. It’s like running elections against the anti-gravity party. It is not healthy for any of us.
TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro sends over this image of the media circus gathered at the Supreme Court.
This morning begins three days of arguments in the most significant Supreme Court case in decades. The central question: Will the Affordable Care Act stand?
Solicitor General warns of ‘grave’ consequences if Supreme Court overturns health reform – Q:) What is at stake in this hearing? A:) If the Supreme Court struck this down, I think that it wouldn’t just be about health care. It would be the Supreme Court saying: ‘Look, we’ve got the power to really take decisions, move them off of the table of the American people, even in a democracy. And so it could imperil a number of reforms in the New Deal that are designed to help people against big corporations and against, indeed, big governments. The challengers are saying that this law is unconstitutional, which means even if 95 percent of Americans want this law, they can’t have it. And that’s a really profound thing for an unelected court to say. Q:) What are the possible outcomes? A:) The two main outcomes that one can predict — the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate as unconstitutional because it’s unprecedented or it upholds it and says it is part of Congress power over commerce and over taxation. The latter is far more likely because it is such a grave thing for unelected judges to take a decision of such a magnitude for American people. I expect the Supreme Court’s ruling at the end of its current term, June 30. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else was surprised in this case, and the court didn’t reach a standard 5-to-4 judgment with the five Republican justices — those nominated by Republican presidents on one side, and the four nominated by Democratic presidents on the other.
Tea Party to rally against health care law: “‘We want our freedom back,’ former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told hundreds of ralliers standing in the rain in Upper Senate Park, a few hundred yards from the steps of the Supreme Court. … The rally largely marks the big return to Washington for the Tea Party, a loose organization of grassroots groups that helped conservative Republicans take over the House in the 2010 wave election.” [Fox News]
Report Proves Health Reform Is Here To Stay: 49 States Have Already Taken Action Supporting Its Implementation - According to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund, “49 states and the District of Columbia have already taken action supporting the law’s implementation, such as passing legislation, issuing regulations or other guidance, or actively reviewing insurer filings.” Between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012, “23 states and the District of Columbia had taken new legislative or regulatory action on at least one of these reforms” — which include changes like expanding dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26, prohibiting lifetime limits on health benefits, and phasing out annual dollar limits on health benefits — and an additional 26 states had “taken other action to promote compliance with the reforms, such as issuing bulletins to insurers.”
Obama: Romney Is ‘Pretending He Came Up With Something Different’ Than The Individual Mandate - Duringan interviewwith American Public Media’s Marketplace, President Obama defended the individual health insurance mandate and reiterated that likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney enacted a very similar policy as governor of Massachusetts. “[W]e designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans,” Obama told host Kai Ryssdal, “including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different.” Obama also predicted that the Supreme Court — which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of reform on Monday — will uphold the law and that “it will be very hard for any governor to explain why it is that they’re not giving people…an opportunity to get cheaper health insurance, better deal, more protections because of some ideological argument that they’re having with the president.” “And when people see that in fact it works, it makes sense — as it’s, by the way, working in Massachusetts — then I think a whole bunch of folks will say ‘Why aren’t we trying it as well?’”
On Monday, mailings will go out to one million women in more than a dozen battleground states in three separate versions for mothers, young women and older women, campaign and party officials said. […] The campaign’s effort to rally women around the health care law had been long planned, to coincide with the second anniversary of Mr. Obama signing it on March 23, campaign officials said. But the effort has gained intensity, they added, because of recent controversies over contraception, abortion and education in Washington and in state capitals that have energized people in the campaign’s far-flung field offices who are essential to putting any national strategy into action.
Can such a system work? It’s already working! Massachusetts enacted a very similar reform six years ago — yes, while Mitt Romney was governor. Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who played a key role in developing both the local and the national reforms (and has published an illustrated guide to reform) has surveyed the results — and finds that Romneycare is working pretty much as advertised. The number of people without insurance has dropped sharply, the quality of care hasn’t suffered, and the program’s cost has been very close to initial projections. Oh, and the budgetary cost per newly insured resident of Massachusetts was actually lower than the projected cost per American insured by the Affordable Care Act. Given this evidence, what’s a virulent opponent of reform to do? The answer is, make stuff up. We all know how the act’s proposal that Medicare evaluate medical procedures for effectiveness became, in the fevered imagination of the right, an evil plan to create death panels. And rest assured, this lie will be back in force once the general election campaign is in full swing. For now, however, most of the disinformation involves claims about costs…
The Obama administration on Friday told states how to enroll millions more low-income Americans into Medicaid under the health-care overhaul, 10 days before the Supreme Court begins considering a challenge to the law. The regulations, published by the Department of Health and Human Services, detail the scheduled expansion of Medicaid to cover a larger batch of low earners in 2014, when much of the health-care law is set to take effect. ‘Medicaid will look and feel like a very different program by 2015,’ said Cindy Mann, a top official at the agency charged with overseeing the changes. The Medicaid expansion is part of the broader case brought by opponents of Democrats’ 2010 health-care law that the Supreme Court will begin hearing March 26. To reduce the number of uninsured Americans, the law calls for adding 17 million or more additional people to the Medicaid program in the next decade.