Sen. Ted Cruz took President Barack Obama to task Tuesday night for failing to mention the millions of Americans who he says have lost their health coverage because of Obamacare.
The Texas Republican also told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly shortly after the State of the Union speech that the administration’s economic policies were “killing off” off jobs and small businesses.
“It’s interesting, because there’s very little ‘action’ there that was actually responsive to what the American people are feeling and what they’re experiencing,” the tea party favorite said.
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“If you listen to what he said tonight, he didn’t say a single word that acknowledged that the Obama economic policies have resulted in the lowest labor force participation since 1978. Millions of Americans have lost [their] jobs because of the Obama economic policies.”
“You know what was striking . . . tonight throughout an hour-plus speech?” he continued. “The president didn’t say a single word to the over five million Americans who’ve had their health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare. He left them in the cold.
‘If he thinks Americans want action, what they’d like is for the federal government to stop taking away their health insurance, taking away their jobs, forcing them into part-time work. And sadly, he provided no relief whatsoever on those grounds,” Cruz added.
Cruz, whose battle to defund Obamacare resulted in a government shutdown last October, also took the administration to task for spying on millions of Americans.
“We’ve had an awful lot of government focused on the lives of the American people,” he said. “Spying on our cell phones, on our emails — whether it’s the NSA or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or HHS or the IRS. And you’re right, a lot of Americans would like the government to butt out,” he said.
“But even more importantly, people would like the government to stop putting massive regulations, massive taxes, that are killing small businesses and are killing jobs. Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country.”
The problem isn’t merely coding errors or the Health and Human Service (HHS) Department’s standard incompetence, the editorial said.
“The failures that have all but disabled Obamacare are the result of deliberate political choices, which HHS and the White House are compounding with secrecy and stonewalling.”
Warnings abounded that the exchanges weren’t ready for prime time before their commencement, but the Journal said those were ignored.
“The launch has been worse even than critics predicted. The rare users who weren’t locked out experienced crashes, delays and error messages.”
“The department simply dumped a bad product on the public to meet a self-created deadline,” the editorial continued, noting that the while finally admitting to problems, HHS “still refuses to disclose how much taxpayers shelled out for this exchange lemon.”
The newspaper criticized HHH Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for also refusing to reveal “basic data about Obamacare enrollment, even as she brags about the millions of people who have supposedly visited Healthcare.gov.”
“Mrs. Sebelius claims she doesn’t know the answers and that the government will pull such information together in November. Given the farce so far, it makes sense that the CEO of Obamacare can’t or isn’t monitoring its day-to-day operations. But this claim is almost certainly false,” the Journal said.
The editorial concluded that “a useful act of contrition” would be for Sebelius and other HHS officials to resign, “or failing that, to beg Congress for a year delay to clean up their wreckage.”
• Families where mom is not yet 21;
• Families where someone is a tobacco user;
• Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities, and
• Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.
Last session, Cook added, South Carolina State Rep. Bill Chumley introduced a measure that would make the forced home visitations illegal in his state. The measure passed in the House but died in the Senate.
According to HHS, the visits fall under what is called the “Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program” allegedly designed to “help parents and children,” and could impact millions of Americans.
Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown said that despite what HHS says, the program is not “voluntary.”
“The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks,” he said. “A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to ‘intervention’ in ‘school readiness’ and ‘social-emotional developmental indicators.’ A farm family may be subject to ‘intervention’ in order to ‘prevent child injuries.’ The sky is the limit.”
Joshua Cook said that while the administration would claim the program only applies to those on Medicaid, the new law, by its own definition, has no such limitation.
“Intervention,” he added, quoting Brown, “may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.”
According to Cook, the program will require collection of a massive amount of private information including all sources of income and the amount gathered from each source.
One of the areas of emphasis mentioned by HHS is the “development of comprehensive early childhood systems that span the prenatal-through-age-eight continuum.” Last session, Cook added, South Carolina State Rep. Bill Chumley introduced a measure that would make the forced home visitations illegal in his state. The measure passed in the House but died in the Senate.
In 2011, he noted, HHS said $224 million would be allocated to support these home visiting programs.source – Examiner.
President Obama has had a poor record of job creation, but at least one small economic sector is doing well: community organizing. The Department of Health and Human Services is about to hire an army of “patient navigators” to inform Americans about the subsidized insurance promised by Obamacare and assist them in enrolling.
These organizers will be guided by the new Federal Data Hub, which will give them access to reams of personal information compiled by federal agencies ranging from the IRS to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. “The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” Paul Howard of the Manhattan Institute and Stephen T. Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor,wrote inUSA Today. No wonder that there are concerns about everything from identity theft to the ability of navigators to use the system to register Obamacare participants to vote.
HHS secretaryKathleen Sebelius wasn’t satisfied with the $54 million in public funds allocated for navigators this year, so she tried to raise money from health-industry executives for Enroll America, the liberal nonprofit group leading the PR push for Obamacare. She had to retreat under withering criticism that she was shaking down companies that were dependent on government, a clear conflict of interest.
Because 34 states have declined to set up their own insurance “exchanges,” the job of guiding exchange enrollees in those states has been left to Washington. The identity of the groups who will get the Sebelius grants isn’t yet known, but Politico reports they are likely to include Planned Parenthood, senior-citizen advocacy organizations, and churches.
So far everything we’ve learned indicates the navigators will be flying blind, or could well be “unsafe at any speed.” In June, the Government Accountability Office reported that HHS is considering allowing navigators to assist with outreach and enrollment tasks even before completing their formal training. The reason? Like so much of Obamacare, the navigators program is behind schedule and drowning in its own complexity.
This spring, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lawyers were also told by HHS that, despite the fact that navigators will have access to sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and tax returns, there will be no criminal background checks required for them. Indeed, they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas. Both U.S. Census Bureau and IRS employees must meet those minimum standards, if only because no one wants someone who has been convicted of identity theft getting near Americans’ personal records. But HHS is unconcerned. It points out that navigators will have to take a 20–30 hour online course about how the 1,200-page law works, which, given its demonstrated complexity, is like giving someone a first-aid course and then making him a med-school professor. “I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a congressional hearing last week.
In the age of Wikileaks and IRS abuses, somehow that isn’t very comforting
“The standards proposed by your department could result in a convicted felon receiving federal dollars and gaining access to confidential taxpayer information,” a group of nine Republican senators led by Utah’s Orrin Hatch wrote to Secretary Sebelius last month. “The same standards allow any individual who has registered with the exchange and completed two days of training to facilitate enrollment, as if the decision to purchase health insurance is similar to the decision of registering to vote.”
Indeed, voter registration is among the goals of the folks hawking Obamacare. The People’s World newspaper reports: “California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction — online, in-person and by phone — it has with consumers.” It seems as if some Obama supporters have found a new way to fill the void left by the bankruptcy of ACORN, the notorious left-wing voter-registration group that saw dozens of its employees in multiple states convicted of fraud.
At least the pay will be better. ACORN was infamous for stiffing its employees and even once sued the state of California to ask for an exemption from its minimum-wage law. But early reports are that the federal government will be offering navigators between $20 and $48 an hour. In many states, that’s far more than many private-sector workers with corresponding responsibilities earn.
If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is that the potential failure of the navigators program could further convince voters that Obamacare is simply unworkable. “The Obama administration wants something the federal government has never done: a computer system that connects HHS, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security and perhaps other departments,” John Goodman, a health-care expert with the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrotein the Wall Street Journal in May. “For perspective, consider that the Veterans Administration converted to electronic medical records in 1998 and the VA and the Defense Department tried without success to share records until February  when then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the plan would be abandoned.”
But the consensus is that, if Obamacare isn’t repealed, the government can, with enough effort and money, get the Data Hub up and running. That concerns many members of Congress.
“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.” source – National Review Online
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.
Faith is transparent, transcendent and transformational. Faith equips us to cross over obstacles, shout down walls, break through crowds and walk on the impossible, even in the midst of storms.
Faith encourages us to survive the fires of life, overcome the den of lions, silence the serpents and outwit the fox. Faith empowers us to see the invisible, embrace the impossible and hope for the incredible.
Faith exhorts us to care for the poor, speak for the marginalized and welcome the stranger, all while doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before God.
It is faith, as the author of Hebrews 11 contextualizes, that serves as the nexus of hope and conviction—the very force that enables us to praise beyond our problems, give beyond our needs and love beyond our own.
Yet we live in a time where the very freedom to express our respective faith narratives stands threatened. In essence, we’ve never been down this road before. From the HHS mandate that requires religious organizations to sacrifice conviction on the altar of political expediency to businesses such as Hobby Lobby, which are required to abandon conscience or suffer the consequences of continued litigation, freedom of religion in America can best be characterized in the year 2013 as nothing other than an “endangered species.”
For that matter, we must embrace one simple truth: As people of faith, we cannot be silent while our sacred liberty lies threatened. We cannot be silent while Billy and Franklin Graham suffer the wrath of Uncle Sam via the conduit of an IRS audit for the simple act of articulating biblical truth. We cannot be silent while our Catholic brothers and sisters pay the penalty of noncompliance with a health care mandate obligating the rendering of services that run counter to the very ethos centered around the sacredness of life in and out of the womb.
Silence is not an option. For with conviction and compassion, we understand that a posture of complacency today will result in a position of captivity tomorrow. Thus, as people of faith, for the sake of our children and our children’s children, we gather today to issue a clarion call reminding our fellow Americans that this nation emerged from the womb of religious liberty.
From the womb of religious freedom, our Founding Fathers relinquished the shackles of political tyranny by vociferously declaring that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights—amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
From the womb of religious freedom, Abraham Lincoln confronted the sin of slavery, framed the optics of emancipation and then offered a reconciliatory prescription by declaring, “With malice towards none and charity towards all.”
From the womb of religious freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought an end to segregation and laid out a vision where, as Americans, the day would come where we would be judged not by the color of our skin but rather by the content of our character.
For to silence faith is to silence the moral conscience of our nation. To obstruct religious liberty is to obstruct the forces that reconcile righteousness with justice, covenant with community, sanctification with service and faith with action. To oppress religious freedom is to deny the prophetic while granting amnesty to the pathetic.
Our Founding Fathers, whether deists or Christians, inscribed a faith narrative that cannot be denied. From the beginning, as we have seen, faith, spirituality and the actual practice of religion have affected public discourse, elections, politics and foreign affairs, not usually as the centerpiece of policy but almost always as one of the elements that shapes the norms and mores by which policy is written. One cannot extract from our ethos the spiritual thread woven into the American genome.
While France and other European nations treat religion as a historical artifact and have stripped even the vestiges of spirituality from public life, and while Iran and a score of other countries actively persecute religious minorities, our nation thrives through religious pluralism and tolerance.
Consequently, our greatest export may not be technology, popular culture or our brand of democracy, but rather a commitment to religious pluralism, diversity and tolerance—a commitment that stems directly from our Judeo-Christian value system, a system that encourages us to propose while prohibiting us from imposing our religious worldview.
For at the end of the day, religious freedom and freedom of conscience serve as the facilitative platform from which all other liberties flow. This is what truly makes us exceptional. We are not exceptional because of our military prowess, economic wherewithal or political fortitude. American exceptionalism stems from the revolutionary idea, one which Marc Nuttle defines as “God over man and man over government.”
In other words, our freedoms stem not from the legislative, executive or judicial branches. Our freedoms come from our Creator, from whom all blessings flow. Moreover, our nation’s greatest gift to the world lies embedded in a 200-year demonstration of two simple truths: The antidote to religious totalitarianism is religious pluralism, and religious freedom serves as the proverbial firewall against secular tyranny.
Our relationship with God demands constant vigilance. We have been worrying about our potential to fall away from the very beginning. George Washington said the following of his fellow citizens after acknowledging the “divine interposition” in American affairs: “I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”
If we deviate from the premise that in America God is over man and man is over government, we will not last long as a nation. The rejection of this catalytic framework will surely result in chaos, angst and the potential termination of our noble experiment.
Finally, I’m reminded of a program I watched on a nature channel. A lion returning from the wild seeking additional foods for his little ones stood ambushed. The narrator stated that the lion suffered what seemed to be mortal wounds. He had no strength, not even enough to raise his claws, lift his head or open his eyes.
At that precise time, the cameras captured the images of a band of predators aiming toward the lion’s position. They came with the intention not of finishing off the lion, whom they assumed powerless, but instead advanced with the purpose of attacking the descendants, the little ones, his most precious possessions.
Yet at the precise moment when the enemies of the lion approached the camp and threatened his offspring, the wounded lion—who did not have the ability to raise his head or claws—released the last resource available: his roar. Immediately and without exception, all the enemies threatening the lion’s offspring and most cherished possessions fled. The narrator stated the following: “Why did the enemies of the lion flee? Simple. His enemies know very well that as long as the lion roars, they cannot take away what belongs to him.”
It’s time to emerge as vertical lambs and horizontal lions. It’s time to pray, but it’s time to release a collective faith-filled roar. For as a Christian, as an evangelical, I understand that defending religious freedom stems not from the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but rather from the agenda of the Lamb.
Therefore, rise up and protect religious liberty. Rise up and speak truth to power. Rise up with civility and grace, and remind our great uncle of the the following: “Uncle Sam, you may be our earthly uncle, but you are not and never will you ever be our heavenly Father!”
Editor’s Note: This is a revised version of a speech Samuel Rodriguez delivered as a keynote address at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference last week. Click here to see the video.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
A leading voice among Hispanic believers in America, Samuel Rodriguezis an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, the co-pastor of a multiethnic, Spirit-filled church in Sacramento, Calif., and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. The Wall Street Journal has named him as one of the seven most influential Hispanic leaders in the U.S. today.
As a number of Republican governors continue to say “no” to Obamacare, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) on Wednesday acknowledged that the president’s signature healthcare law is racking up twice the costs to set up the all-important insurance exchanges.
HHS more than doubled its previous cost estimate of $2 billion for the amount it expects to spend to help states set up insurance exchanges, which is a central component of Obamacare.
The agency now expects to spend $4.4 billion by the end of the year, reports The Hill.
Despite the projection overruns, the department is “determined to make them work,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources Ellen Murray of the exchanges, when asked to comment on the possibility that Congress might deny the funding request, according to the publication.
As Newsmax reported in February, the federal government must play an even bigger role in Obamacare than anticipated because of the health exchanges it must operate for states declining to set up their own.
Exchanges were envisioned as places where private consumers, who aren’t necessarily covered by an employer healthcare program, can compare and purchase healthcare coverage.
Since a number of Republican governors have opted out of the new law, HHS will be responsible for running exchanges in those states that choose not to participate, according to The Hill, which notes that only 17 states and the District of Columbia have been approved to run exchanges.
HHS SecretaryKathleen Sebelius told reporters on Wednesday that the implementation funding is an “ongoing conversation with Congress” and “I’m hoping Congress will see that this is the law of the land.”
Following Tuesday’s decision denying its motion for preliminary injunction, Hobby Lobby appealed to the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking relief from the abortion-pill mandate, which forces the Christian-owned-and-operated Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., to provide the “morning-after pill” and “week-after pill” in its health insurance plan or face crippling fines up to $1.3 million per day.
“[I]n less than six weeks, [the Green family] must either violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs, or be exposed to severe penalties—including fines of up to $1.3 million per day, annual penalties of about $26 million and exposure to private suits.
“The district court accepted that the Green family engages in a religious exercise by refusing to cover abortion-causing drugs in their self-funded health plan. There was thus no question that the Green family engages in ‘religious exercise.’
“[T]he Supreme Court has long rejected any distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ burdens in evaluating whether regulations infringe religious exercise.
“The family … sign[s] a Statement of Faith and Trustee Commitment obligating them to ‘honor God with all that has been entrusted to them’ and to ‘use the Green family assets to create, support and leverage the efforts of Christian ministries.’
“Their beliefs are exercised through the businesses in numerous, concrete, and public ways:
They make chaplains available to employees;
They give millions from profits to fund ministries;
They buy hundreds of religious ads every Christmas and Easter;
They monitor merchandise and avoid allowing their property to support activities they believe to be immoral.”
“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to make a living without forfeiting their religious beliefs,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby. “The Green family needs relief before Jan. 1, and so we have asked the federal appeals court in Denver to issue an injunction against the mandate.”
Tuesday’s decision by a federal judge in Oklahoma City, Okla., did not question that the Green family has sincere religious beliefs forbidding them from providing abortion-causing drugs. The court ruled, however, that those beliefs were only “indirectly” burdened by the mandate’s requirement that [Hobby Lobby] provide free coverage for specific, abortion-inducing drugs in [the company’s] self-funded insurance plan.
Founded in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, the Green family has grown Hobby Lobby from one 300-square-foot retail space into more than 500 stores in 41 states.
“It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said David Green, founder and CEO. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest and was the first non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against theHHS mandate. The Green family has no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue covering preventive contraceptives for its employees.
However, 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.
The business’s lawsuit acts to preserve its right to carry out its mission free from government coercion. There are now 40 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).