U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Our Nancy chooses sides...and causes scandal

From the ever witty Marc Barnes at Bad Catholic:

At last Wednesday’s White House press briefing, a CNS reporter asked Nancy Pelosi — a self-claimed devout Catholic – if she would stand with the Church and oppose the HHS contraceptive mandate as an assault on religious freedom. In summary:

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Now, this is from me:

As a native San Franciscan, I can imagine St. Francis with the same expressions as His Eminence Excellency Cardinal-designate Archbishop Dolan–the difference would be that in order to relieve that Pelosi-inducing stress, Archbishop Dolan would probably have to go jogging, offer a rosary, and make a Holy Hour, whereas the moment St. Francis’ blood pressure began to rise, a fluffy bunny would hop into his arms and a cute fawn would emerge from the forest to caress his leg while birds chirped soothing melodies.  Ahhhhh…I suppose we all have to take a breather from the distress, confusion, and frustration caused by our Nancy.

Although Archbishop Dolan may not have expressed his thoughts in precisely those exact words, here are the words did he choose in informing the Catholic faithful about the recent edict from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Finally, I have fond memories of our Holy Father’s visit to the United States in 2008.  However, I recall a rather odd, awkward, and confusing moment when Pope Benedict arrived at the White House and greeted President Bush, the First Lady…and the Speaker of the House. 

Here is our Nancy kissing the Fisherman’s Ring which usually is a sign of deep respect for the Holy Father (his person and his Petrine Office) as well as a pledge of obedience.  For any Catholic, this is the meaning attached to this traditional greeting of the Supreme Pontiff…for the former Speaker, I’m not quite sure what it means (hence my confusion…and the SCANDAL!).

Alright, Catholics and all people of good will, let’s do this!

Go here.  Get informedTake action.

And PRAY!

God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to Your loving care.  You are the rock on which this nation was founded.  You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people.  Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders.  Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.  Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will.  Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death”.  We ask this through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Over 9.5 Million People Have Enrolled for 2015 Obamacare Insurance

Over 9.5 Million People Have Enrolled for 2015 Obamacare Insurance

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People sign up for health insurance at an enrollment event in Cudahy, California March 27, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON

More than 9.5 million people have signed up for 2015 individual health insurance on the new exchanges created under the national healthcare reform law, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, a number that surpasses its enrollment target for the year.

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New protections for transgender patients are coming
Friday is the deadline for the Obama Administration to finalize new rules.


by Dan Gorenstein

For years, transgender adults have faced discrimination in healthcare so hostile it’s almost laughable. Almost.

“A trans-woman broke her arm playing softball,” said Mara Keisling, executive director the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The insurance company refused to pay for it because if she hadn’t been transgender she wouldn’t have been playing softball. There’s just a million stories like that.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing specific provisions of a rule under the Affordable Care Act that broadens civil rights protection. This is the first federal law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in healthcare, which means hospitals, nursing homes, health insurers and doctors are barred from discriminating against transgender Americans — as well as others based on sex.

This new rule puts the entire industry on notice. It’s now illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, just like it’s been illegal to deny care to people based on age, religion or race. Friday is the deadline for the Obama Administration to finalize new rules.

HHS’s Jocelyn Samuels said that means insurers can no longer categorically deny services. For example, take gender transition care.

“If an insurer said, ‘we will not cover any services related to gender transition, we will treat that as a denial of access to coverage’ — that is prohibited by the ACA,” she said.

Once the final rule is in place, University of Michigan Law Professor Sam Bagenstos, a former assistant attorney general for civil rights under the Obama Administration, said he can imagine scenarios where an insurer covers some services, but gender transition remains expensive.

“It gets gray pretty quickly,” he said. “I think the real question is how much is HHS going to feel willing to say in the abstract about these questions.”

While this likely opens the doors to more lawsuits, Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality noted this gives people legal standing for the first time.

“When they go to the doctor and the doctor say 'I don’t feel comfortable,’ they know they have the ability to say, 'I am a human being and you have to treat me. I have a legal right to get medical care,'” Keisling said.

Keisling estimates there are some 1 million transgender Americans, some of whom have stopped seeking medical care due to bad experiences in the past.