Monday, November 30, 2009

Justice Department to Monitor Election in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor polling place activities for compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 during the Dec. 1, 2009, municipal run-off election in Union Point, Ga.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race. It also allows voters who have difficulty reading or who have a disability to receive assistance from persons of their choice, with the exception of their employers or union officials. Attorneys from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931. More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Senate Mandatory Health-Insurance Bill Infringes on Choice and Privacy

/PRNewswire/ -- The Senate's newly released health-reform bill ("Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act") infringes on Americans' health-insurance choices and medical privacy, says Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) -- a patients' rights group in Washington, D.C.

The bill would (among many other provisions):

-- Require nearly every legal resident to buy government-sanctioned
health insurance;
-- Increase Medicare payroll taxes on individuals earning over $200,000
per year and couples earning over $250,000 per year (raising $54
billion in taxes over 10 years);
-- Slap a new tax on "Cadillac" health plans (high-cost plans offered by
employers to their employees) -- raising $149 billion in taxes over 10
years (2010-2019); and
-- Finish laying the building blocks for a computerized "Nationwide
Health Information Network" (NHIN) without patients' consent.

Section 937 of the bill, titled "Dissemination and Building Capacity for Research," includes the following provision:

''(f) BUILDING DATA FOR RESEARCH.--The Secretary [of Health and Human Services] shall provide for the coordination of relevant Federal health programs to build data capacity for comparative clinical effectiveness research, including the development and use of clinical registries and health outcomes research data networks, in order to develop and maintain a comprehensive, interoperable data network to collect, link, and analyze data on outcomes and effectiveness from multiple sources, including electronic health records." [Emphasis added.] (See pages 1683-684 of the bill.)

Dissemination of the collected data will be governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy rule, which actually permits patients' personal health information to be shared among more than 600,000 organizations without patients' consent. "Combining a mandatory national electronic medical-records data network with the so-called HIPAA privacy rule means patients will lose control over the flow of their personal health information," says Robin Kaigh, an attorney and medical-privacy advocate. "The only way to ensure that patients control their personal health data is to make sure patient consent is obtained before data can be shared."

IHF points out that Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, recently stressed in U.S. News & World Report:

"...[T]he doctor-patient relationship was never meant to be other than confidential and privileged and solely for the benefit of the patient. Patients expect it, or they would not be forthcoming. And doctors take the Hippocratic oath, pledging to hold sacred their patients' secrets. This pledge of confidentiality, however, is now challenged by a world where computers rule and health information falls into many hands. One might well ask whether medical privacy is just too outmoded a concept for today's information-hungry world. We had better decide...."

Do you really wish to have your personal health information become part of a Nationwide Health Information Network without your consent?

IHF is encouraging citizens to call their Senators as soon as possible and tell them to "vote no on a motion to proceed" on Senator Reid's mandatory health-insurance bill, because it infringes on patients' choice and privacy.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Reid Bill Funds Abortion: Excludes Bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment

/PRNewswire/ -- Last night, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Senate Democrats introduced a new Senate version of health care reform that includes government funding for elective abortion. The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" authorizes the Secretary to include elective abortion in the public option and subsidize health plans in the government run exchange that cover elective abortion.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Senator Reid's new health bill does not include the Stupak-Pitts amendment that was designed to prevent federal funding for abortion-on-demand. Instead, he chose to include a version of Rep. Lois Capp's abortion funding language which has already been rejected by the House in favor of the Stupak-Pitts language.

"The Reid bill authorizes the Secretary of HHS to fund abortion in the public option, now called the 'community health insurance option.' The bill provides tax credits for private plans that cover abortion-on-demand, mandates plans across the country to cover abortion-on-demand and strips important conscience protections for providers who refuse to perform elective abortion.

"The Stupak-Pitts amendment adopted with 240 votes in the House would prevent federal funding for abortion or subsidies for plans that cover abortion. It also makes clear that individuals or groups are not prevented from providing coverage that includes abortion as long as federal funds are not used.

"Clearly the straightforward language of the Stupak-Pitts amendment is not what Senator Reid and his pro-abortion colleagues want. Rather they want government funding of abortion-on-demand.

"Pro-life senators, including Senators Ben Nelson and Bob Casey, must denounce the Reid abortion funding provisions and make every effort to include the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the Senate bill in order to prevent the establishment of a government funded abortion program for the first time in over three decades."

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Democratic Senators Discuss Reforms for Small Business Health Care

/PRNewswire/ -- Five Democratic Senators today gave back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor discussing the need to focus on small businesses when considering health care reform. Without the right reforms, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion over the next ten years in health care costs for their workers, according to a report by the Small Business Majority. The Senators made the following comments:

"Without the worry of high health costs, small businesses will be able to get back to what they do best: creating jobs, encouraging entrepreneurship, growing our economy and keeping our nation competitive in the global arena," U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said. "Today, it is more important than ever for us in Congress to work together to bring about these needed health care reforms and help small businesses."

"If we do nothing, small businesses are going to see this escalator of costs go up for health insurance. Small businesses should be able to negotiate with insurance companies to drive down the costs of their health plans," Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington said. "That's why we need to give small business the same kind of negotiating power that large companies have to negotiate for benefits."

"Small businesses are essential to our economy, and we must control health care costs and relieve the financial burden facing so many small businesses in New Hampshire and across the nation," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. "I urge my colleagues to work together to pass comprehensive health reform legislation because employers should not have to choose between keeping their doors open and offering health care to their employees."

"If we do not pass health insurance reform, small business owners will continue to see the cost of providing healthcare coverage to their employees eat away at their bottom line. In my home state of Colorado, premium costs for small businesses are projected to more than double over the next decade," Sen. Udall of Colorado said. "These unsustainable cost increases not only harm current businesses, but they also prevent the growth of new ones. Enacting meaningful health reform is necessary for ensuring productive small businesses, new American jobs, and a strong economy."

"Today, small businesses are the only group who still pay retail for their health care coverage," said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. "With fewer employees, they lack the bargaining power of large firms and pay as much as 18 percent more for the same health insurance as larger companies. But if we do health care reform right, it will give small businesses and their employees more affordable options."

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Planned Parenthood and ACLU Obstruct People's Rights with Lawsuit against Personhood Nevada

/Standard Newswire/ -- Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the sponsors of a Nevada ballot initiative defining the term "person."

The simple, one-sentence amendment states, "In the great state of Nevada, the term 'person' applies to every human being."

Blogger Emmily Bristol, the woman participating in the lawsuit, seems to admit on her blog that the measure is easy to understand. She claims, "It is designed to leave voters scratching their heads and saying, 'Well, duh, a person is a person.' "

"Exactly," answered Keith Mason of Personhood USA. "It's simple, easy to understand, and if even the folks behind the lawsuit can see that it's that simple, the voters shouldn't have any trouble. Every human being is a person. Period."

"Children in the womb today have fewer rights than dogs or cats," continued Mason. "Planned
Parenthood, the ACLU, and Emmily Bristol are seeking to keep it that way."

Nevada's personhood amendment was filed on October 21, 2009. An amendment much like this one was introduced in Colorado and was found to be a single-subject issue. In 2007, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU teamed up to try to defeat the Colorado Personhood Amendment, but failed even up to the Colorado Supreme Court.

"This is clearly a single subject issue, easy to understand, and simply recognizes the rights of every human being," stated Keith Mason, of Personhood USA. "Planned Parenthood's lawsuit is not only stifling the people's right to a ballot initiative, but it appears desperate. Once personhood is properly recognized, Planned Parenthood stands to lose over a billion dollars in annual profit."

"This is now the third time that the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have ganged up to silence the voice of the people, and their right to ballot initiatives," concluded Mason. "In Colorado, they failed. They are trying to silence us, and to keep the vote away from the people. The citizens have a right to ballot initiatives, and human beings have a right to live."

Personhood USA is a grassroots Christian organization founded to establish personhood efforts
across America to create protection for every child by love and by law. Personhood USA is committed to assisting and supporting Personhood Legislation and Constitutional Amendments and building local pro-life organizations through raising awareness of the personhood of the pre-born.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine Releases Statement in Honor of Veterans Day

/PRNewswire/ -- Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement in recognition of Veterans Day:

"Today, we honor those Americans who have served throughout our nation's history - from the wars on our own shores to the beachheads of Europe, from the rice fields of Southeast Asia to the deserts of the Middle East, and from across the world's oceans and seas to those who serve stateside - and take the time to thank them for their unflinching courage and service.

"In the wake of the tragedy at Fort Hood, and as we work to wind down our operations in Iraq and determine the way forward in Afghanistan, renewing our promise to America's veterans is just as important as ever - not just today, but every day.

"Providing for our veterans is critical, not only because we have a moral obligation to recognize those who have sacrificed on our behalf, but because our servicemen and women are a tremendous resource who can help lead the way as we continue our pursuit of a more peaceful and prosperous world.

"President Obama and our Democratic Congress have demonstrated a strong commitment to our country's veterans, taking several steps in just the last 10 months to expand economic opportunity, strengthen veterans' health care services, and improve benefits for our troops and military families. Through the post 9/11 G.I. Bill - the most generous education benefit since the original G.I. Bill of 1944 - more than 250,000 veterans will attend college in just the next two years. President Obama and Congress have worked to strengthen the VA health care system by transforming it into a 21st century organization that prioritizes community-based services, promotes prevention and takes on the injuries unique to modern warfare, including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. And President Obama requested, and Congressional Democrats approved, a 16 percent increase in the 2010 budget for the Department of Veterans affairs, the largest one-year increase in 30 years.

"Veterans and their families are the only ones who can fully understand the toll of their sacrifice. But we can, through our every day actions, do our best to see that they receive the very best service, care and respect from their country. Today we thank our brave men and women for heeding the call to duty, and we honor their selfless service."

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bauer Says Voters' Feeling 'Buyers Remorse'

/PRNewswire/ -- Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer said Tuesday night as election results revealed major shifts in the electorate since 2008 that voters are experiencing "buyers' remorse" and clearly want more "conservative change they can believe in."

Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, made the following statement after Virginia voters chose Republicans for the top three seats with double digits margins:

"Barack Obama in 2008 carried Virginia, carried New Jersey and won the 23rd House District in New York. His party now has massively lost Virginia and is fighting for its life in strongly Democratic New Jersey and in New York. Clearly voters are feeling buyers' remorse and are returning to their right of center political viewpoint.

"This should be a wake-up call to the Congress. Democratic members are getting ready to force another big government budget-busting bill misnamed health care 'reform' on the American people. This comes on the heels of failed bailouts that didn't protect jobs and proposed food and energy taxes that will bust family budgets. With 2010 around the corner, Democrats may find themselves unemployed like their fellow Americans if they continue their support for such gluttonous, big-government proposals."

Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, was one of the first conservatives to endorse Doug Hoffman in his bid to take the New York house seat. Bauer's Campaign for Working Families committed tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and independent expenditures in Virginia and New York to promote conservative candidates and mobilize conservative voters. The Campaign is one of the largest pro-family, pro-life political action committees in America.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Democratic Senators, Congresswoman, Small Business Owners Discuss Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Small Businesses

/PRNewswire/ -- Democratic Senators Tom Harkin and Mary Landrieu and Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson joined Mike Draper, a small business owner from Des Moines, Iowa; Gwendolyn Barnes, a small business owner from Shreveport, Louisiana; Dr. Ken Brantley, a small business owner from Richmond, Virginia; and other small business owners from across the country at a press conference this morning to discuss how health insurance reform will benefit small businesses. Recent studies indicate that small businesses are likely to see their premiums rise 15% in the coming year, double the rate of last year's increase. Small businesses employ roughly 40% of the private labor force in America, making it crucial that we work to ensure affordability of health coverage for this central part of the American workforce.

"The status quo in health insurance spending for America's small businesses is intolerable and it is unsustainable," said Harkin. "Today, we have a simple message for small business owners across America: help is on the way and it comes in the form of a health reform plan that puts a stop to the discriminatory insurance industry practice of jacking up premiums for small businesses by up to 200 percent when an employee gets sick or because the business hires a woman. Our bill will end the practice of denying coverage based on preexisting conditions or increasing premiums based on health status, gender, or industry. As I have said many times, the biggest winners in a reformed health system will be small business owners and their employees."

Landrieu said: "Small businesses are suffering from skyrocketing health insurance premiums that are eating into their bottom lines and threatening their survival. As we continue to make progress toward comprehensive health care reform, Democrats are working to address the health care needs of small businesses. And while we may not yet completely agree on everything, one thing we can all agree on is that doing nothing is simply not an option."

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and right now health care costs are simply too much to bear," said Halvorson. "If we truly want our small businesses to help lead us out of our current economic troubles, we must act to reform health care. Small business owners and their employees are depending on it. We must act now."

Draper said: "We try to be flexible, but it's an expensive way to do it. Right now, health insurance is a volatile commodity such as oil -- the price swings, the price increases, and it takes up a larger portion of a company's budget. If the government were to provide a more stable option and take the market out of things, it would help settle business's books, it would help them better predict the future. As a business owner, I wouldn't have to worry about finding policies, knowing what is covered, what isn't covered and how much the company will end up paying."

"We started off with everybody on a group plan, but as the premiums continued to climb and climb, my employees had to start dropping out, so we switched to individual plans," said Barnes. "But one of my employees was denied for a pre-existing condition. And we've had trouble with the insurance company -- when my daughter needed a surgery, they mysteriously took her off the surgery schedule. That's not right. It's time to fix health care -- for small businesses like mine and for the communities we serve."

Brantley said: "The lack of affordable health insurance hurts millions of small-business owners like me. I would love to hire several highly skilled staff to work with me. This would balance the workload, expand our care, and create more jobs. It is virtually impossible, however, to find qualified applicants who will accept a job offer without health insurance benefits. The high cost of health care hurts my ability to create new jobs here in Virginia and retain skilled employees. Without competition and meaningful health care legislation, we will continue to see rising health insurance premiums each year that harm businesses and squeeze families."

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Gary Bauer Expects "Change Conservatives Can Believe In"

/PRNewswire/ -- Former Presidential Candidate Gary Bauer on the eve of mid-term elections Monday said that the electorate seems poised to make "change Conservatives can believe in." Bauer is available for election analysis and commentary as one who played key roles in the races receiving significant attention.

Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, was one of the first conservatives to endorse Doug Hoffman in his bid to take the New York house seat. Bauer's Campaign for Working Families committed tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and independent expenditures in Virginia and New York to promote conservative candidates and mobilize conservative voters. The Campaign is one of the largest pro-family, pro-life political action committees in America.

Bauer said, "Whatever happens tomorrow, Virginia seems to be headed back to the Republican column, and Democratic state New Jersey has an incumbent Democratic governor who clearly will not get 50 percent of the vote even with Barack Obama's help. And in New York's 23rd House Race, a grassroots rebellion threatens to put a Conservative Party candidate into the Congress. It's definitely going to be must see TV tomorrow, and as one who has been very active in the races, I do believe that change is coming."

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