mandate

Starting February 5th, all students at Colorado State University will be required to have health insurance–whether they want it or not.

The new policy was instituted after low-income students complained that they couldn’t afford the high cost of Obamacare under the new federal mandate.

A new state bill gives the university authority to mandate health coverage for all its students.

Other public universities in Colorado already have a health insurance requirement in place. Now students at CSU will also have to sign up for a university plan, or else prove that they have coverage elsewhere, according to the Collegian Central.

Democrat State Senator John Kefalas defended the new law: “Ultimately, when students have more choices and more people participate, that brings costs (of healthcare) down.”

However, the numbers don’t back up Sen. Kefalas’s assertion. In fact, health insurance premiums have increased for young people by an average of 260% since Obamacare became effective.

How’s that for “bringing the costs down”?

(Image: a2gemma/Flickr)

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Despite blistering wind and relentless snow, about 150 University of Notre Dame students agreed to “opt out” of the Affordable Care Act on Saturday at a tailgate party that rarely made it above freezing temperatures.

But college students appeared fired up nonetheless to agree to stay clear of Obamacare at the pregame bash, hosted by the nonpartisan advocacy group Generation Opportunity, which provided free pizza, festive music, its notoriously creepy Uncle Sam guy, and leaflets that outlined some of the negative effects of the new federal healthcare mandate.

“I think it was a lie when the federal government said you could keep your insurance,” Notre Dame sophomore Hailey Vrdolyak said in an interview with The College Fix after she made the pledge to opt out. “It really takes away the choice to decide whether or not to buy insurance, and personal liberty is an important aspect of being an American.”

Generation Opportunity’s visit to Notre Dame marked the fifth time this semester the group has hosted a college football tailgate party across the nation to educate students about health insurance options. More than 14,000 people have signed the group’s pledge to opt out of Obamacare since the beginning of its campaign, a figure that includes both those who have signed the pledge at campus events as well as those who have done so through OptOut.org, according to a spokesman for the group.

Despite the pending close of the football season, Generation Opportunity has plans to continue hosting events at other campuses during different occasions. The group’s goal is to put on about 20 events and continue to reach out to college-aged Americans, said spokesman David Pasch.

“We’re thrilled to see that despite the frigid temperatures, Notre Dame students are excited about opting out of Obamacare,” Pasch said.

Generation Opportunity brought its tailgate to Notre Dame because students saw news coverage of a similar event at University of Miami and reached out to the nonprofit.

Pasch emphasized the message is one of options.

“We are not anti-insurance, but we want students to know there are better, cheaper, and less creepy ways of obtaining insurance,” he said.

For example, Pasch said he tells students Obamacare uses a federal data hub to collect personal information which is then given to several government agencies with no provision for its security.

Take a recent story in the Minnesota Star Tribune, which reported that an Obamacare employee in Minnesota accidentally leaked 2,400 social security numbers.

Pasch also points out that opting out of Obamacare would be a much better financial deal for the vast majority of young people.

In Indiana, for example, the cheapest plan currently available outside the exchanges costs $84 per month while the Obamacare exchanges provide the cheapest “bronze” level plan at $204 per month, he said.

“Those in favor of Obamacare go to college campuses and equate Obamacare with healthcare,” Pasch said.  “Generation Opportunity wants to give college students a better and more complete picture of their healthcare options.”

Fix contributor Alexandra DeSanctis is a student at the University of Notre Dame.

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Haven’t you heard? The economy is in recovery!

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ve been told…

At 7.4%, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since Obama took office. Recently, Obama said in a speech that he is focused “like a laser” on jobs.

Here’s a reality check: The Labor Participation rate, which measures how many Americans are in the workforce, is the worst it’s been since Obama took office. In fact, it’s the lowest it’s been in 34 years!

The labor participation rate provides a better picture of the job market in America because, unlike the unemployment rate, it takes into account the millions of people who have simply given up and stopped looking for work.

That’s right. When someone stops looking for work, the official “unemployment rate” actually improves just as if that person had found a job. Even though that person is still very much unemployed, technically speaking.

So while the official “unemployment rate” is 7.4%, the Labor Participation Rate is now hovering at about 63%, which means that 37% aren’t working. Some of those are retired, but millions more simply gave themselves over to permanent unemployment during the recent recession. They dropped out of the labor pool altogether. Record numbers of Americans have gone on disability under Obama’s watch. And no conversation about jobs in America is complete without taking those facts into account.

Labor Participation numbers are likely to get much worse in the coming years, as the Obamacare health insurance mandate kicks in. Employers have already started cutting back hours, and reducing staff in order to skirt the insurance premiums they can’t afford.

As Sally Pipes pointed out recently at Forbes, Obamacare actually gives small businesses a strong incentive not to hire low-income workers. “A company faces a penalty of $3,000 for every worker who gets subsidized health insurance in Obamacare’s exchanges.”

Currently, the black unemployment rate is twice that of whites. The hiring cutbacks related to the insurance mandate will make that problem even worse.

But, don’t worry, because the president is focused “like a laser” on jobs.

Does that make you feel better?

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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Notre Dame senior Bob Burkett writes for the Irish Rover:

In response to the accommodations put forth by the Obama administration, groups including the New York Times, American Civil Liberties Union and NARAL Prochoice America have provided their support and praise. A Washington Post columnist even went so far as to write that the compromise “ought to be taken by the nation’s Catholic bishops as the victory it is.”

Some legal scholars are inclined to disagree. Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, remarked on the complexities of the rules.

“One can say with confidence the following: 1) religious hospitals are, as before, not exempt ‘religious employers’; 2) religious charities are very likely not exempt either, unless they are run out of a church or are very tightly integrated with a church. So, a parish or even a diocese’s Saint Vincent De Paul operations would probably be an exempt ‘religious employer,’ whereas Catholic Charities would not be; 3) the new proposal may (or may not) make it more likely that parish grade schools are exempt ‘religious employers.’”

With regard to Catholic higher education, Bradley argued that “it is certain that Catholic colleges and universities do not qualify as exempt ‘religious employers’…the proposal adds some additional layering to the earlier attempts to insulate the schools, but nothing of decisive moral significance is included.”

Other critics of the plan include religious liberty law firms such as the Becket Fund and the Alliance Defending Freedom and political analysts such as Yuval Levin.

Levin wrote that the plan, “like the versions that have preceded it, betrays a complete lack of understanding of both religious liberty and religious conscience…the government has forced a needless and completely avoidable confrontation and has knowingly put many religious believes in an impossible situation.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has yet to release a detailed statement, noting that it “welcome[d] the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely” and “look[ed] forward to issuing a more detailed statement later.”

The plan has been additionally susceptible to critique by for-profit organizations that also have conscientious objections to the HHS Mandate,  like Hobby Lobby and Autocam Corporation.

Matthew Schmitz of First Things wrote in defense of such organizations, “the Obama administration believes that conscientious objections to contraception should prevail in the non-profit sector, but not in for-profit corporations. Why? Do employees of non-profits need contraception less? Do conscience claims of their leaders matter more? Why are tax-exempt organizations granted more rights than those which pay taxes?”

Ronald J. Colombo, Professor of Law at Hofstra University, believes that the distinction between non-profit and for-profit organizations is a “convenient rule of thumb, but when it comes to constitutional matters such as freedom of religion it’s not appropriate. There are for-profit corporations that are much more religious than non-profits.”

Colombo argued that current state and federal laws have “impede[d] the ability of business enterprises to adopt, pursue, and maintain distinctively religious personae.” Without the ability for businesses to display or conform to a distinctly religious character, “religious expression and practice is restricted to the private quarters of one’s home,” a condition that entails that “religious freedom does not truly and fully exist.”

Schmitz also argued that the for-profit sector could at least receive the same application of the accommodation issued in the non-profit sector. He writes, “contraceptives will be ‘seamlessly’ provided to employees of non-profits in a way that does not impinge on the consciences of employers. Say, though, that the administration’s claims are made in good faith: Why not provide the same ‘seamless’ accommodations even to for-profit corporations?”

Despite the administration’s accommodations, it is evident that there are a number of religious, non-profit and for-profit objectors. Having rejected the proposal, it is up to the American bishops and other conscientious objectors to respond. The problem remains: How are the objectors to respond in a way that can bring about a greater protection of their religious liberty?

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia had this to say.

“One of the issues America’s bishops now face is how best to respond to an HHS mandate that remains unnecessary, coercive and gravely flawed. In the weeks ahead the bishops of our country, myself included, will need both prudence and courage – the kind of courage that gives prudence spine and results in right action, whatever the cost. Please pray that God guides our discussion.”

Read the full article here.

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The College Fix has previously reported on president Obama’s efforts to force Catholic and other religious universities to provide contraceptives under Obamacare, contrary to the teachings of Catholic doctrine.

Obama his attorney general Eric Holder have made it clear that they do not believe that constitution protects religious institutions from acting against their own religious teachings when it comes to upholding the provisions of Obama’s health care reform bill.

In a similar case, now winding through federal courts, the Obama administration is determined to force the nationwide arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, which is owned by a family of evangelical Christians, to pay for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

CNS News reports:

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.

Religious liberty and liberty of conscience can no longer be taken for granted in Obama’s America.

Read the fulls story at CNS News. (Via Fox Nation)

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I’d like to be among the first to congratulate you liberals for winning the war for America’s future. By voting to uphold the Obama’s Health Insurance mandate, Chief Justice Roberts has handed America over to an almost certain future dominated by Democrats, liberals, and progressives.

I have to admit, as a conservative American who values limited government and strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, I never thought I would see the day when one of our own — Chief Justice John Roberts — would join his liberal colleagues on the high court in removing one of the last barriers against government intrusion into the lives of citizens, thereby putting us on a near-irreversible path toward European-style social engineering, wealth redistribution, and limitless government control of the economy.

If the government can force U.S. citizens to buy something they don’t want or can’t afford to buy — in this case, health insurance — then what limits, if any, remain over it’s power to control their lives? Precious few, I’d say.

In his majority decision, Justice Roberts defended his decision by calling the health insurance mandate “a tax.” If liberals agree with the outcome of this Supreme Court decision, then they will have to agree with the legal reasoning behind it. Every health insurance premium dollar is now, under the reasoning of the high court, nothing more than a “tax.” In that case, liberals will have to agree that Obama and the Democrats are now responsible for the largest “tax” increase in the history of the nation. Will they be touting that fact this election season?

Now that the government has secured this unprecedented power over us — thanks to a 5-4 decision from Supreme Court — a new era has dawned for liberals, who will now have a new confidence to pursue countless other long-deferred projects of social engineering, telling American’s how they must live, what they can and can’t buy, all with the force of law behind them.

Want to force all Americans to buy a brand new hybrid car, whether they can afford it or not, or else hit them with a stiff fine? I see no reason why you shouldn’t have such power. This is a brand new age of unlimited government control.

Do you want to force all Americans to buy more expensive organic, pesticide-free produce, whether they can afford it or not? Or do you want to force all parents to put their children in preschool at age 2, whether they think its best for their children or not? Consider yourselves empowered. There is no stopping you now. With the new ability to penalize any American who resists purchasing whatever the government tells him or her to purchase, liberals can now get busy instituting the radical social transformations they have always dreamed about.

You’ve won. And there’s nothing my fellow conservatives and I can do to stop you.

Best of all, for you, with Obamacare, you have now laid the foundations for what is bound to evolve into the largest government entitlement program since Johnson’s Great Society. It’s only a matter of time before the public gets used to mandated health coverage, and begins to grow comfortable with their loss of liberty. Once the public has grown comfortable with the liberty-for-security tradeoff, it will be easy for Democrats to expand the health insurance mandate into a full-blown single-payer, universal health care entitlement program. That’s been the goal all along, hasn’t it?

And once voters grow accustomed to that entitlement, there’s no taking it away from them. We all know that.

We are on the path toward total government takeover of the U.S. health care system within a generation. And with that takeover, Democrats will win the loyalty of millions of voters who, when it comes to their healthcare, will view the government as their ultimate provider.

Never mind if it takes months to gain access to lifesaving surgery — like it does in the U.K. and in other nations that have adopted a socialistic approach. Never mind if the quality of care declines, or if budget shortfalls force the rationing of medical services and the withdrawal of care for the elderly.

Politically, this is a windfall for Democrats. In time, voters will grow accustomed to government control of their health care. They will grow used to the government telling them what health care options are or aren’t available for them. Above all, they will grow used to the feeling that the government is “providing” for them. And they will vote for Democrats, whom they will view as the political guardians of their entitlements.

Don’t get me wrong: Universal health care would be great if it weren’t for the fact that it severely degrades the quality of care, requires us to rob Americans of their economic liberties, and promises to bury our economy under a mountain of debt. Other than all of that, it’s a perfect system.

There is no question that you liberals have won a major political victory. You have every reason to look forward to a new era of power and ascendancy. Go ahead and celebrate. I won’t begrudge you the pleasure.

I only ask you this: Stop pretending that health care comes without cost. Next, take a look at our nation’s balance sheets, which, last I checked, were sitting at about $16 trillion in the hole. Then, finally, take a look at all the bankrupt nations of Europe, which are now facing catastrophic financial collapse, and get a good glimpse of America’s financial future.

Mark my words, Democrats, liberals, progressives, wherever you are: Years from now, when you have bankrupted this nation, when your socialist-utopian fantasies are over and the U.S. has been brought to its knees, Americans will come running back to the principles of economic freedom that made this country prosperous to begin with. They will come running back to the principles of liberty that made America the one place where oppressed and impoverished people around the world most long to be.

Those of us who value liberty above security, and who respect the limits on government power that America’s founders put in the Constitution — we will be there to pick up the pieces, and point the way back.

Celebrate, dear liberals, but not too much. You have won the battle. But the war will never end.

This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post.

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