WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If you watched the news today, you might believe it was the only part of the government that was functioning. While the media presented images of the federal government closing monuments that do not close, they stated that the new law allowing citizens to sign up for ObamaCare was open for business.
President Obama held a press conference on the eve of the partial government shutdown to tell the Republican-controlled House, “The Affordable Care Act is moving forward.”
“That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down,” Obama taunted yesterday afternoon.
By 8 a.m. Eastern time, the website HealthCare.gov and associated toll-free phone numbers went live to enroll citizens in local health care exchanges.
The new health care law could finance as much as 10 percent of all abortions nationwide each year. The Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the total number of taxpayer-funded abortions could increase by 18,397 in one year. But the number could range from 71,000 to 111,500.
There are indications this was part of the law's design. Roll Call newspaper reported than an anonymous source within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told it “the multistate plans will help [the Obama administration] ‘ensure that in each exchange, there is at least one plan available that covers abortions beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment and at least one plan that does not cover abortions beyond those permitted by the Hyde Amendment.”
Aside from direct funding for abortion, Planned Parenthood will benefit from providing contraceptives and vouchers for health care performed by others.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa, Montana, and New Hampshire also received $655,000 in taxpayer funds to hire and train “navigators.” These Planned Parenthood employees would have access to a vast federal database of sensitive information, including the Social Security number, tax form, bank account, and medical records of every single U.S. citizen.
Navigators are supposed to use this information to help citizens sign up for the best insurance plan based on their circumstances. However, it opens the door to identity theft, fraud, and invasion of privacy.
The navigators' training manual, Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual, instructs navigators, "Do not leave documents that contain PII [Personally Identifiable Information] or tax return information on printers and fax machines" and to “double-check that the recipient’s fax number is correct, and that someone is able to pick up the faxed information immediately.”
Many of the players involved also raise eyebrows. The British company that received a $1.25 billion federal contract from HHS to process applications in the 36 federally operated state exchanges, Serco, is under investigation by the UK's Serious Fraud Office for allegedly charging the government for services it had not rendered.
Nonetheless, Iowa had no navigators as of Friday – an indication the law is, in the words of Congressional critics, “not ready for primetime.”
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The law's stated purpose is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. But despite the federal expansion, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 33 million Americans will still be uninsured 10 years from now, when the price of the law will reach $1.8 trillion, or double the $900 billion originally promised. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only 13 percent of uninsured Americans even knew enrollment began today.
A Gallup poll found one-quarter of uninsured people plan on paying the fine for violating the individual mandate instead.
Two-thirds of respondents say they will buy insurance, but only 48 percent say they will use the ACA's state exchanges to do so. More than one-third (36 percent) say they certainly will not.
Under the law's terms, anyone 27 years of age or older must sign up for health insurance by March 31, 2014, or pay a fine of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is higher. Penalties increase in the coming years. Penalties rise to $695 or 2.5 percent of income by 2016.
The Obama administration is appealing to its core constituencies to enroll, swelling the rolls of the newly insured.
Meanwhile, lesbian activist Maria De La O wrote in The Washington Post today, “ObamaCare is good for the LGBT community, whether like me, you currently enjoy employer-sponsored health care via a partner’s job, or whether like one in three of us, you currently don’t have health insurance at all.”
This morning's rollout proved less than triumphant, as Americans found the HealthCare.gov's servers swamped. Once they got in, the website proved bug-ridden and unhelpful. President Obama predicted “glitches and bumps,” joining HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in likening the unveiling to Apple computer's occasionally fixing bugs in its software.
But “every glitch is a human being" who could become frustrated, said a former Bush-41 administration Medicare director.
Already, the law is less popular by the day, the opposite of what Congressional Democrats predicted when they passed the law in 2009. A growing number of companies are cutting back workers' hours to avoid ObamaCare costs.
And as premiums rise, a larger percentage of low-income Americans may be priced out of the market altogether.
House members, many of them elected during the historic blowout 2010 midterm elections, attempted to defund ObamaCare or postpone its implementation for one year during the government shutdown battle – something President Obama's spokesman Jay Carney likened to extortion
“The president seems to say that any effort to continue the health care debate is an effort to undo his reelection,” said former Virginia Governor John Gilmore, who is now president of the Free Congress Foundation. “Remember, the House of Representatives got elected, too.”
“Why is the House disqualified from participation?” he asked. “Does the president's view challenge our Constitutional system?”