The Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, is one of the lesser-known features of "healthcare reform" tucked away in the thousands of pages of the "Stimulus Bill" from 2009 and the healthcare law passed in March 2010.
Just exactly what is IPAB and how does it affect your life and health, and your access to medical care? And how does IPAB fit with our Constitutional Republic and our guarantees to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" under the US Constitution?
IPAB is a panel of unelected, government-appointed bureaucrats set up under the guise of "efficiency" and "clinical effectiveness" to "recommend" cuts to Medicare services in order to "bend the cost curve downward." That is government-speak for "spend less money on patient care." more >>
The American Center for Law & Justice has warned that people will not be "fooled" by the President Barack Obama-backed HHS mandate, which forces religious employers to offer insurance coverage that includes birth control to employees.
"The fight against the HHS abortion pill mandate is intensifying," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow says in a letter. His organization has filed two new "friend-of-the-court" briefs against the HHS mandate, arguing that the plaintiffs are being denied injunctive relief from compliance with the mandate.
Earlier this month, the White House administration came up with a "compromise" that sought to alleviate some of the religious lawsuits filed against the Obamacare provision, promising further exemptions for religious employers. more >>
As I enjoyed another basketball game between Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University this weekend, I was reminded how insignificant those sporting events really are in the greater scheme of my life. But being a die-hard Sooner fan, I have watched and attended countless battles in what is commonly referenced - and it was again by these television announcers - as the Bedlam series, adopted years ago from a sportswriters description of one of their games.
Dictionaries use terms such as confusion or madhouse to define bedlam, whose origin was a reference to the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, formerly an insane asylum in London. I suppose it is somewhat callous that those of us who don't suffer from what medical professionals would classify as mental illness will so casually adopt for our entertainment a reference that was a tragic reality for so many.
There was an article published this past week in Mother Jones about the pending execution of Andre Thomas, a young man who was a school classmate of my kids, but who now sits on death row in Texas. I was practicing law in Sherman, Texas at the time that Andre committed these gruesome murders of his family in that community. I, like most, remember the Andre Thomas case for one particular reason if no other: while in jail pending trial, Andre reached his fingers into his right eye socket and removed his own eye. Although the judge and jury would decide otherwise, I remember thinking at the time that removing ones own eye is perhaps the most compelling evidence of presumed insanity that I had ever heard of. more >>
Dr. Benjamin Carson, Gifted Hands author and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., brought an audience of dignitaries, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle, to their feet last Thursday after dishing a speech packed with parables, wit, biblical scriptures and punch at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Now, it's resounding with everyday Americans, too.
The doctor's 25-minute speech displayed a "logical" and "common-sense" approach to issues like freedom of speech, education, taxation, the national debt and spirituality, and has already captured more than a million hits on YouTube and elicited headlines and calls like the Wall Street Journal's "Ben Carson for President."
"Smart man! Put him in the White House," agreed Mary Ledet on Monday in her comments posted on the video of Carson's speech, which was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday. more >>
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the proposed accommodations for religious groups in the Affordable Care Act, declaring that it "falls short" of expectations and does not address the bishops' concerns.
"Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions – we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks," Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, said in a Thursday statement.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services sought to broaden the list of groups that can claim a religious status and thus apply for an exemption to the contraceptive mandate. The controversial provision forces employers to provide insurance coverage to their employees that includes access to birth control, which is against official Roman Catholic Church doctrine. more >>
New York City public schools handed out nearly 13,000 doses of the morning-after pill to high school students during the last school year and no one had to tell their parents about it.
The pills and other contraceptives were distributed to the students through the nurses' office under a new program called CATCH - Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health. The program was made public in a New York Post report last September and was billed as part of a citywide solution to stem teen pregnancy. The morning-after pill can block pregnancy to up to 72 hours after sex.
At the time of the announcement, city officials said they had started giving out Plan B, another name for the morning-after pill, and other birth control through the nurses' office at only 13 city high schools and some 567 girls were reportedly given the drug, according to the New York Post. Another report from The New York Times also noted that while the pills would be available to students without parental permission, parents could opt their children out of the health program (and the provision of any contraceptives) at the start of the school year. Minors don't need parental permission to get contraceptives in New York State. more >>