The blog for Massachusetts Citizens for Life: the pro-life movement in the Bay State since 1973.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Questions about health care repeal
I want to share with you the reasons MCFL decided to initiate efforts to repeal Romneycare the answers to questions that have come up. The actual wording of the petition is at the end. I hope you are interested and will be able to take the time to read through it. Anne
WHY HAS MCFL DECIDED TO LAUNCH THIS INITIATIVE PETITION DRIVE?
Our biggest budget item in 2009 and 2010 was fighting O-care before and after passage. We still want to fight it. At first glance, it seems re-electing Sen. Brown is the only thing we can do. With the same philosophy of keeping the pot boiling that caused us to run so many ads, we realized there is something else we can do to keep the pot boiling - something that will also benefit us once O-care is repealed. The purpose of the petition is to: 1) draw attention to the fact that MA, the prototype for O-care, is not happy with R-care. 2) make health care an issue in both state and federal 2012 elections, when the petition will be on the ballot. 3) get the repeal R-care process started. Once O-care is repealed, Massachusetts will still have our current care.
PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THE WHOLE LAW REPEALED. WHY HAVE YOU GONE WITH REPEALING JUST THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE?
Currently health care is much more imbedded in state law than federal. We can not just repeal the whole law the way the US House did, so we are repealing the individual mandate, which we feel will be the start of bringing down the whole law.
WHAT IS THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE?
Right now everyone in the state is required to buy health insurance or to pay a penalty.
WHAT IS THE REPEAL PROCESS?
The Attorney General has until the middle of September to approve the language of the Petition. We have until the middle of November to gather 68,000 signatures. In the spring of 2012, the legislature could pass it. If not, we gather 11,000 more signatures to put it on the ballot in November. If it wins, it automatically becomes law on Jan. 1, 2013. The legislature can not hinder with that because no appropriations are involved.
THIS PROCESS SOUNDS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE DID IN 1986
Yes, when MCFL put the abortion funding question on the ballot in 1986, it was a Constitutional Amendment. That meant the legislature had to approve it in two different sessions, which it did.
TO WHAT DO WE OBJECT?
The New York Times started reporting in 2009 that Massachusetts would have to ration health care. Almost everyone has had a problem because of this. A friend who is unemployed was forced by the state to buy expensive insurance instead of the more affordable one she wanted, young people are being offered part-time work instead of full-time because employers cannot afford their health insurance, 22,000 seniors lost their coverage, we have the highest premiums in the country, the longest waits for doctors, etc. This all leads to rationing and denial of care.
WE ARE A PRO-LIFE GROUP, WHY ARE WE TALKING ALL THIS FINANCIAL STUFF?
Prior to 2009, when the problems with these universal government health plans became obvious, our only financial interest had been abortion funding. When a program runs out of money, or imposes price controls, as Gov Patrick did, rationing occurs. O-care is intentionally designed to cut funding and impose rationing. In Massachusetts rationing is the unintended consequence of funding with general revenue. Burke Balch explained this when he spoke at the MCFL Convention in 2009 - "Why Americans Can Afford Unrationed Health Care". Finances, or the lack thereof, have become a pro-life concern.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY SAYING THAT MASSACHUSETTS' PROBLEMS ARE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES?
When this legislation was proposed and passed in 2005-2006, people thought they would pay a little more in taxes and that would be used to buy insurance for people who couldn't afford to buy their own. Governor Romney, who proposed the plan designed by the Heritage Foundation, and the legislature all had the best of intentions. It has not worked out as planned. We still want quality health care for all so it is time to learn from our mistakes and move on.
THE PRESS WANTS TO KNOW WHY MCFL IS CONCERNED ABOUT RATIONING.
The press would like to pigeon-hole us solely as "anti-abortion". In fact, our Mission Statement charges us with defending life at all stages of development "through comprehensive educational, legislative, political, and charitable activities". This includes, as well as unborn babies, people with disabilities, people who are terminally ill, people who are elderly - all those on the fringes of life. They are the victims of rationing and denial of care.
WHY ARE YOU NOT STRESSING ABORTION FUNDING?
Prior to O-care, the federal government was pretty much out of the abortion funding business. No so in Massachusetts.
Congressman Henry Hyde announced in the summer of 1976, in Faneuil Hall that he was going to file his bill. Shortly, State Reps Charlie Doyle and Ray Flynn filed their bill in Massachusetts to prohibit state funds for abortion. Hearings were held in the summer of 1977, and Gov. Ed King signed the bill into law in June of 1979.
It was immediately challenged and, in 1981, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned it with a most peculiar ruling. The ruling completely ignored the arguments, which had been presented to the Court, in finding a constitutional right to have one's abortion paid for with state money. They used the term "medically necessary". Post Roe v Wade, that, of course, means "all".
Massachusetts has paid for Medicaid abortions since 1973 - covering 100% of the cost since passage of the Hyde Amendment.
For insured people, there were a very few private insurance programs which did not pay for abortion, but under O-care, those "designer" programs have been put out of business. That means the premiums you pay to your private insurer pay for abortions. Right now, the state of Massachusetts is, essentially, paying the premiums to insurance companies which pay for abortions - like the rest of us, unfortunately.
WHAT DOES THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE HAVE TO DO WITH RATIONING?
We are not saying the individual mandate, in and of itself, causes rationing. We are saying that the whole law causes rationing and repealing the individual mandate is the best way to start to repeal the whole law.
WHAT DOES THE PETITION ACTUALLY SAY?
An Initiative Petition to Repeal the Individual Mandate in the Act Providing Access To Affordable, Quality Health Care
Pursuant to the provisions of Article forty-eight of the Amendments of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the undersigned qualified voters of the Commonwealth, being ten in number at least, petition for an initiative law to repeal the individual mandate, which requires residents of Massachusetts to obtain health care coverage or be subjected to a penalty or sanction for failure to do so.
Section 1. Notwithstanding any provisions of any general or specific law to the contrary, M.G.L. 111M, "Individual Health Coverage," will be stricken in its entirety, so that no individual shall be required to purchase health insurance or be subjected to any penalty or sanction for declining to do so.
Section 2. Notwithstanding any general or specific law to the contrary, Chapter 58, 830 CRM 111M.2.1 will be stricken in its entirety.
Section 3. The effective date of this act is January 1, 2013.