On the first day of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) released the following statement:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make access to health care a reality for many of our country’s most vulnerable women, men, and children. As African American faith leaders, we applaud the expansion of health care accessibility and believe that every person is entitled to compassionate, affordable, and culturally competent health care.
6.8 million African Americans who were uninsured yesterday have new opportunities for coverage today. These opportunities will make a real impact in the lives of real women, children and men.
This week, our clergy began a series of “I Care” Sundays that will focus on comfort and confidence in enrollment through March 31, 2014. Our ministerial alliance across the country will continue its outreach – to be spearheaded primarily by women faith leaders – in rural and urban churches to support health care from the pulpit to the pews. Through participating in the ACA, we are advocating a healthy future with human dignity for all.
People For the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council represents an ecumenical alliance of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
Guest post from Reverend Dr. Geraldine Pemberton, Assistant Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia and member of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council.
As a 74 year old retired nurse, I can remember the original March on Washington well. I wasn’t able to be there in person that day, but many of my family members were. After marching with Dr. King and more than 200,000 other Americans, they were inspired to come home and fight for justice.
I myself am of the Jim Crow era. The injustices that Dr. King described that day as the “chains of discrimination” were injustices I faced first-hand. My father, who was born in North Carolina, would take my family down from Philadelphia for visits to his home state. He would try to prepare us as much as he could, but it was always overwhelming. I remember that once we passed the Mason-Dixon line, we couldn’t use most bathrooms. We would have to use outhouses behind gas stations instead.
Today I can see how far we’ve come, but also how much further we still have to go. I have spent much of my life fighting the injustices that drove the first March on Washington, especially health disparities facing women of color. Justice, I have learned, is a very big umbrella that must include equality for women. A just society has to be one that values women’s voices and fights back against health disparities that threaten black women’s lives.
Twenty years after that march, I went to another major event that inspired people from all over to drop what they were doing and travel across the country – the 1983 Spelman College conference on women’s health, which birthed what is now the Black Women’s Health Imperative. My friend and I saw a flyer for it but didn’t think we could afford to go. We maxed out our credit cards and drove down to Atlanta. Thousands of women showed up for the conference – young women, older women, women with children, women who had hitchhiked there. We just showed up - we had to be there.
That conference unfolded into a lifetime of work in pursuit of improving the health outcomes of African American women. As a former Director of Nursing and a current Health Committee Director for an alliance of Black clergy in Philadelphia, I know that women of color need improved access to care and greater provider sensitivity. Women need more information on the diseases that affect us most. And as a 74 year old Philadelphian, I’m still fighting for women’s health and justice. This year I am organizing health forums at churches throughout the city to give women more information about diseases, healthy living, and greater access to health services though the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act commonly known as “Obamacare.”
The first health forum is this weekend – fifty years after the March on Washington. In so many ways, we are still marching.
Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum on Friday warned that the Obama administration has estimated that the average family will pay a minimum of $20,000 for health insurance once the health care reform law goes fully into effect.
The only problem with Schlafly’s claim is that the government never issued such an estimate.
The IRS simply used the $20,000 figure as an example for calculating the “shared responsibility payment,” or penalty, for a nonexempt family that does not acquire health insurance.
As the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org notes:
The IRS used $20,000 in a hypothetical example to illustrate how it will calculate the tax penalty for a family that fails to obtain health coverage as required by law. Treasury says the figure “is not an estimate of premiums.”
[T]he regulations weren’t a “cost analysis” at all. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department confirmed to FactCheck.org in an email that the IRS wasn’t making any declarations or projections about what prices will be.
“[Twenty thousand dollars] is a round number used by IRS for a hypothetical example,” the official wrote. “It is not an estimate of premiums for a bronze plan for a family of five in 2016.”
Schlafly wasn’t the only conservative leader to fall for the false story, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel also wrote an article arguing that a government “cost analysis based on ObamaCare regulations show[s] that the cheapest healthcare plan in 2016 will cost average American families of four or five members $20,000 per year for the so-called ‘bronze plan.’”
The Obama Administration is now estimating that by 2016 the minimum annual cost of health insurance for an average American family under ObamaCare will be $20,000. And there is no guarantee that the health insurance will actually cover all the medical treatments that the family wants and needs. $20,000 is merely the minimum annual cost; many families could face even higher premiums. Millions of Americans will be faced with the choice of buying this expensive health insurance, or paying hefty penalties to the IRS. Those who choose not to buy health insurance will be slapped by the IRS with thousands of dollars in additional taxes. Is this what Americans really want? Certainly not. $20,000 is many times more expensive than what most Americans pay for health insurance today.
It's not only families who will be hit by these enormous price increases under ObamaCare. One study predicts that a 27-year-old non-smoking male in Texas will go from paying $54 a month in health insurance premiums to a whopping $153 per month as soon as ObamaCare goes into full effect. That will be on top of the massive student debt that so many young people are already struggling to pay off. The real result may be that many Americans will choose to drop their health insurance simply because they cannot afford it. But that is the opposite of what ObamaCare was supposed to achieve.
None of this is a surprise to those who have criticized ObamaCare for years. Not a single Republican voted for this costly injection of federal bureaucracy into the American health care system, which has been the finest the world has ever known. Many businesses are decreasing the number of hours that their employees can work in order to fall below the threshold requiring employers to buy this costly insurance for their employees.
Washington Times columnist and Edmund Burke Institute president Jeffrey Kuhner doesn’t seem too happy with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law, telling Janet Mefferd yesterday that the ruling “signals the end of our Constitutional republic as we know it” and “the end of traditional America as we know it.” “We are now living in an age of a creeping, soft, socialist tyranny,” Kuhner warned, even alleging that the government can potentially mandate that people stop “using toilet paper because it’s bad for the environment.” He argued that Chief Justice John Roberts “is a Judas” who “did it for his thirty pieces of silver” in the form of favorable reactions from the media:
Kuhner: Today it’s going to be health insurance, tomorrow it’ll be eating broccoli or buying an electric car or not using toilet paper because it’s bad for the environment. There is now no end; there is no limit on the power of the central government. That’s why it’s an ominous precedent, it’s a revolutionary precedent; I believe it signals the end of our Constitutional republic as we know it, we are now living in an age of a creeping, soft, socialist tyranny. This election I believe is the last chance for the American people to now stop Obamacare, stop the government takeover of healthcare, to stop this out of control imperial presidency, and to save our republic. After the next election, Obamacare will be fully implemented, the precedent of the Supreme Court will now be established and it will be the end of traditional America as we know it.
Mefferd: It’s interesting, when Obama has been issuing these executive orders, a lot of people have accused him rightly I believe of being confused of what his branch of government is supposed to do, do you believe that Roberts superseded his branch of government? He’s the judicial branch. Do you think he was doing something beyond the authority of the court to start saying alaw is this and not this regardless of what was argued?
Kuhner: Yes. In fact, I’m going to be very candid with you and I’m not going to mince words, I believe Chief Justice Roberts is a Judas. And I believe like Judas he did it for his thirty pieces of silver. And what were his thirty pieces of silver? It was one puff profile piece after another.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) appeared on WallBuilders Live today alongside hosts David Barton and Rick Green to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law. The congressman maintained that the law “removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core” and if it is implemented then America will no longer be “the America that you and I love” and that “our founders fought for.” Price went on to cite a sham, Tea Party study heralded throughout conservative media, to claim that “around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice.” He said that doctors following rules under the reform law will be violating their professional oath, representing the “subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen.”
Green: It’s allowing government to take over these very personal decisions.
Price: It removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core. Nothing is more personal, as a physician I can tell you when I would treat patients they understood that it was either an insurance company or the state or federal government that were dictating to them what might be available to them in terms of treatment or diagnosis, they’d bristle, as would I. This is just turning that into the system for every single American and that is a system where Washington decides what you can get, what kind of treatment you can get for yourself and for your family. That’s not America, that’s not the America that you and I love, that’s not the America our founders fought for, that’s not the America that recognizes that our liberty and our freedom comes from God almighty and not from the federal government.
Green: Amen. It looks like as the White House begins to spin this it looks like we’ll be where we were in 2009 where both sides are trying to say whether or not this is a good idea as we go into the 2012 elections. It looks like a lot of doctors are actually saying, ‘If this thing goes forward I’m out of here, I can’t even practice medicine under this system.’
Price: You all have been following this very closely and there’s a recent survey that puts it at somewhere around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice. The reason is, it’s important for people to appreciate the reason for this, it’s not that things just get too difficult it’s that as a profession we take an oath, physicians take an oath, to provide the highest quality care they are capable of for their patients. If the federal government is going to come in and say ‘we know that you believe Mrs. Smith deserves this and needs this for her treatment but we don’t believe that that’s what Mrs. Smith needs and we will tell you what to give Mrs. Smith,’ that’s no longer a profession, that’s a subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen, that physicians will not tolerate and I think that’s why you’re seeing that kind of response that you’re seeing from doctors across the land.
Musician and Mitt Romney backer Ted Nugent took to the Washington Times today to blast the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular, for upholding the “un-American, Constitution-violating” health care reform law. “Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt,” Nugent writes, “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”
Nugent, who was successfully courted by Mitt Romney in April, goes on to claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling “engineered the ultimate demise of this great experiment in self-government” and ushered in “the smothering era of socialism.”
Yogi Berra said that when you come to a fork in the road, take it. When supposed-conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. came to a judicial conservative-liberal fork in the road, he veered left.
With Chief Justice Roberts‘ vote to save Obamacare, I was reminded of what my dad told me more than 50 years ago: Never trust a man who wears a black robe. He might be naked under there.
The bottom line is that Chief Justice Roberts‘ traitor vote will ensure more monumental spending and wasted taxes and put almost 15 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) under one of the world’s most bureaucratic, ineffective, incompetent and grossly expensive systems ever devised by man: our out-of- control federal government.
Chief Justice Roberts squandered the opportunity to restore judicial, financial and legislative sanity to a government that by any sane person’s standards is insane and addicted to centralized federal control of our lives.
Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.
Obamacare will now join Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as another unaffordable, unsustainable, runaway, unaccountable social program.
Our entitlement programs have bankrupted America. We have dug a financial crater so deep that many doubt we can ever climb out. With his vote, Chief Justice Roberts didn’t give Fedzilla an even bigger shovel, he gave Fedzilla an earth mover with which to dig bigger financial holes.
Quite possibly, with his vote, Chief Justice Roberts just engineered the ultimate demise of this great experiment in self- government. If you think we are skating on financial thin ice now, just wait until 2014 when the full financial tsunami of Obamacare comes crashing down.
The president should have Chief Justice Roberts over for dinner, give him a ride on Air Force One and apologize for not voting for him during his confirmation hearings. It’s the least the community-organizer- in-chief can do for the turncoat chief justice who saved the president’s socialist health care program.
Limited government is dead. The smothering era of socialism is here.
People For the American Way staff, members and activists braved the heat today to showcase their support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, alongside hundreds of others Americans outside the United States Supreme Court. However, PFAW was not merely standing silently while awaiting the court’s decision. We were busy waving signs reading “Don’t Hijack My Healthcare” and “Fear Romney Court,” and chanting “Health Care for All!”
Finally the clock had struck 10 a.m. and the tea party began celebrating due to premature and incorrect reports. Upon finally learning the court’s actual 5-4 decision to uphold the Act, PFAW and so many of the other supporters outside the Supreme Court began celebrating, cheering, and embracing. The Tea Party had found a microphone to continue spreading their propaganda, but the sounds of progress drowned them out. Today was an important win. To partially quote Vice President Biden, this is “a big…deal.”
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, is constitutional. Below we are collecting reactions from right-wing and Religious Right groups and individuals as they are released:
Sarah Palin (via Twitter):
Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.
"Today's Supreme Court decision will do serious harm to American families. Not only is the individual mandate a profound attack on our liberties, but it is only one section among hundreds of provisions in the law that will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate their conscience rights, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families.
"The Obama administration has created, for the first time in American history, new federal regulations that toss aside the constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.
"It's now time to replace those leaders who disregarded the constitutional limitations of their authority and the deeply held religious beliefs of their constituents, voting for the government takeover of healthcare. We must repeal this abortion-funding health care law and restore the Constitution to its rightful place," concluded Perkins.
"The Supreme Court has today given the federal government unlimited authority to use its tax power to require Americans to engage in specific commercial activity. The obvious implication is chilling: Uncle Sam can make you buy anything, at any price, for any reason," said Klukowski. "That's why today, the American dream gave way to a real American nightmare. President Obama's vow about 'fundamentally transforming the United States of America ' was fulfilled. The Supreme Court essentially said it cannot articulate any limiting principle on the power of the federal government.
"By ruling that the law is constitutional, the Supreme Court gave the federal government the power to order private citizens to enter into contracts with private organizations and give those organizations their money. This ruling fundamentally transforms the federal government from one of limited and specified powers in the Constitution to an all-powerful central government with plenary power over every area and aspect of Americans' lives from cradle to grave."
"This opinion may allow the government to compel people to pay into the system, but it can't compel any of us to abandon our most deeply held convictions. This is a moral, spiritual and ethical crisis. People of conscience will need to make difficult decisions, including engaging in conscientious objection or even respectful civil disobedience, which may bring painful penalties with it. It's time to be prayerful, brave, and strong. From here on we will need help from God and from one another."
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens observed, "The high court unfortunately could not muster enough justices willing to uphold the Constitutional principles of limited government and separation of powers that have guided our nation since its founding. This ruling sounds an alarm across the country to people with faith-based and pro-life convictions, to poor patients who depend on physicians with these values and to all patients who value choosing their own health care.
"Who will stop U.S. Health and Human Services political appointees from forcing employers and individuals with faith-based convictions to subsidize abortion or life-ending contraceptives and imposing huge 'faith fines' on those of us who resist? What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments?
"While court battles will continue over other aspects of the Affordable Care Act not addressed in today's decision, we have learned that we cannot simply rest in the hope that our courts will uphold Constitutional principles. We call on Congress to turn back this law's assault on our freedoms and restore American values and Constitutional principles in health care. Repeal this overreaching law and enact bipartisan, targeted health care reforms.
“This is a stunning decision to uphold ObamaCare as a tax. Congress relied upon the Commerce Clause, not the Taxing and Spending Clause. The Court ignored the intent of Congress, which did not intend the mandate to be a tax but rather a penalty. Rulings like this on ObamaCare undermine the confidence of the people in the competency of the Supreme Court to follow the rule of law. Today’s decision damages the image of the Supreme Court and is bad for America.”
"We are outraged to see the Supreme Court ignoring the constitutional limits the Founders put in place to constrain the federal government's power over us. Shame on them!
With this decision they have given a blank check to the federal government, forever altering the constitutional concept of checks and balances that has been so crucial throughout our history.
We wholeheartedly believe we must strive to make health care more affordable for all Americans. But it is inconceivable to believe we must infringe on our constitutional rights in order to achieve that.
Women will be especially hurt by today's decision. As we have seen with the contraception mandate, the politicization of so-called women issues by the left leaves the majority of women extremely vulnerable to the exploitation of a few radical groups that exert much political influence in Congress and the White House.
Women want to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care, with the support of their families and their doctors. It's preposterous to suggest the government would do a better job at deciding what is best for us and our loved ones.
We are determined now more than ever to repeal this nightmare and to help Congress enact commonsense reforms that will help make health care more affordable, while empowering Americans to make the best choices they see fit for themselves and their families."
"We will not comply with this socialistic and oppressive law that forces us to not only purchase insurance we may not want, but more importantly, forces us to violate our consciences and fund abortion coverage," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. "We must demand that Congress change the law for the good of our nation. If Congress will not change it, we still will not comply."
“The Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the individual mandate is extremely disappointing,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “While the court correctly concluded that the mandate violated the Commerce Clause of the constitution, a majority concluded that the individual mandate is a constitutionally-acceptable taxing provision for the health care law.”
“The high court missed an important opportunity to reign in a runaway federal government that's determined to interject itself into every aspect of the lives of Americans. By permitting the individual mandate to stand, the high court opened the door to permitting the federal government to take more control over the lives of Americans.”
Sekulow added: “The decision to keep the health care law intact is problematic for our nation and the American people. The government-run, pro-abortion law may have survived constitutional scrutiny, but the focus now turns to November and the election. The American people understand that this law is not what our nation needs or deserves. Our efforts will intensify to support a legislative remedy that ultimately will result in the repeal of ObamaCare.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court has now told Americans what policy makers in Washington have known for over two years. Obamacare is a $1 trillion dollar tax hike on lower and middle class Americans.
“Americans need to understand what has just occurred. At a stroke, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the nationalization of 18% of the United States economy, raised taxes by $1 trillion dollars, and jeopardized the American experiment through the most reckless and invasive legislation our generation has experienced.
“Liberals in Washington seek to transform our American republic into something far different from what our Founders envisioned. I strongly encourage families, friends, and churchgoers to discuss the implications of this ruling, and discuss what they can do about it in November and beyond.
Today, the Supreme Court has upheld nothing more than a Ponzi scheme to expand the abortion business. If this legislation is not overturned by the next administration, Obamacare’s socialist-style diktats will be used, not to provide better or more affordable health care, but to expand Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire across the backs of American taxpayers and people of conscience – and at the expense of our religious freedoms.
In light of today’s ruling, Americans will greet Independence Day with prayer, sacrifice, and renewed energy to continue our opposition to this mandate. We must also recommit ourselves to restoring full constitutional protections of Life and Liberty to the most vulnerable in our society: unborn children.
"Today, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States -- the body the Framers of the Constitution created to protect the citizenry from tyranny -- has chosen to join infamous courts of the past, such as the Taney Court that made the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision finding that slaves had no rights and the Fuller Court that ruled to institutionalize Jim Crow discrimination in Plessy v. Ferguson in stripping Americans of their freedom.
"Those infamous decisions were eventually reversed, as this one should be.
"The Supreme Court's decision is a stark reminder that one presidential appointment to the Supreme Court is all that stood between our freedom and the tyranny that will grow ever greater now that the individual mandate has been upheld.
"Before ObamaCare passed, the President of the United States told the whole country on TV that the individual mandate is not a tax. After ObamaCare passed, Barack Obama sent his lawyers into courts all over America to argue that it is constitutional because it is a tax.
"The Supreme Court of the United States just endorsed this fundamental dishonesty of our politics. The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court," Ferrara continued. "The Rule of Law is now dead. The American people have only one more chance now to save their country."
Nothing in our history will have been as devastating to destroying liberty in America like Obamacare if it is allowed to stand. Chief Justice Roberts incomprehensible reasoning for siding with the liberal justices affirmed the worst and most evil part of this bill, calling the individual mandate “a tax” when even Obama Administration lawyers had resolutely denied this. No one, liberal or conservative saw the kind of rationale for this ruling coming because it was not rational. Now it has potentially released the most evil hounds from hell against the American people. Now the gate is open to call anything the government wants to impose on us “a tax” and get away with it.
It is understandable that some are now making the assertion that Chief Justice Roberts’ medication used to control his epilepsy has taken a toll on his mental abilities and reasoning. Nothing else has come forward as an adequate explanation for why he would be the one to free Obamacare like he did to become the biggest grab of totalitarian power over America in history.
This decision has demeaned the Supreme Court itself and called into question the competence of the leader of it. Liberals now think they have an easy dupe to manipulate in the Chief Justice, and conservatives have had their trust in him shaken to the core. This is a terrible tragedy for our system of Justice, and with terrible timing.
Janet Porter on her Faith 2 Action radio bulletin today urged listeners to leave the AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, over their “advocacy for same-sex marriage” and “support for homosexual adoption.” She claimed that seniors should leave the organization not only over the group’s endorsement of “special rights for immoral behavior” but also because of their support for the health care reform law, which she says will lead to “more euthanasia and health care rationing for the elderly.”
Special rights for immoral behavior. Advocacy for same-sex marriage. Support for homosexual adoption. These are some of the things that the AARP does with the money from dues that they receive from the millions over the age of 50 that they’re supposed to represent. While many think of it as an organization that’s all about insurance, travel discounts, and group outings with friends, this is the very sad truth about the AARP. And, in spite of the fact that ObamaCare will probably lead to much more euthanasia and health care rationing for the elderly, AARP has been one of the leading supporters. If they don’t represent you, you can quit at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-687-2277.