Kirsten Powers can usually be counted on for reasoned counterpoints to Fox insanity. But last week, in a discussion about (what else) persecuted Christians, Powers distorted a court decision regarding a case, brought by nuns, against the ACA. You'd expect misinformation from other Fox hosts. So when Powers does it, it's disappointing.
On last week's Outnumbered, the discussion began with Kimberly Guilfoyle sadly reporting that "religion is on the decline" and "Christianity is under attack." As proof of these dire pronouncements, she cited a recent Fox poll. She noted that 56% say that Christianity is "under attack" (those pogroms against Christians are so awful - oh, wait, that's not happening!) She didn't mention that the highest percentage of paranoid Christians seem to be evangelicals (81%) - in other words, Fox watchers!
She then tossed to Willie Robertson, son of the homophobic, Christian zealot and Fox fave Phil Roberston. Robertson, who defended his dad's hateful views, extolled the awesomeness of his family's Christianity. Guilfoyle praised his show for "embodying great values" and doing lots of praying. Robertson said that while he believed that Christianity is under attack, his show is a "bright light" for believers. After Sandra Smith talked about how "prayer is a big part" of her family, Robertson continued to drone on about the importance of religion.
Powers brought the discussion back to the oh so popular Fox meme of "the attack on Christianity" which, she said is emanating from a small but "influential" group of people. She said that "when people think of Christianity under attack, they think of Supreme Court decisions trying to force nuns to pay for contraception, things that were sort of unthinkable before."
Kennedy criticized Bill Maher for caricaturing faith. Robertson's response, that Christians don't attack those who criticize them, was rich in irony given that Fox News, the "news" network for persecuted Christians, is constantly attacking civil liberties groups that bring up violations of the separation of church and state.
If Kirsten Powers were referring to the court case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor's fight against the Obama administration's birth control mandate, an ongoing Fox outrage, she is either lying or misinformed. A federal appeals court (not the Supreme Court) recently decided that the nuns were required to comply with the ACA's birth control mandate. But, for the nuns, this compliance only requires them to sign a form which exempts the order from having to provide contraception coverage for their workers - a form that the court did not feel was a "substantial burden." And while the law states that insurers for those exempted must provide the coverage, the Christian Brothers provide the insurance and, as a church plan, they are exempt.
So nuns aren't being "forced to pay for contraception." This is a lie being advanced by Fox News. It's sad to see Ms. Powers falling for it.
I’m not sure how You come to the conclusion single-payer “probably isn’t a good idea sure to cheese off any lib.” Care to explain?
In re xenophobia/racism, I said it was too close to them for /My/ comfort. I never said they were anywhere close to what /You/ would consider xenophobia/racism. Your insistence I meet Your standard of My perspective is foolhardy at best and arrogant at worst.
How is a Person supposed to “substantiate” Their perception other than to express it? I am willing to do so if You tell Me how.
Priscilla could have said the Son defended statements A, B, C, and D, providing links to videos of such defenses and leaving explicit reference to the Dad out of the article. However, since Dad and Grandma are not Fox Employees, as far as I can tell, and the website is called “NewsHounds” and the article is about Fox, the explicit reference seems gratuitous.
While I see no reason Medicare cannot be tailored to meet the needs of new Participants beyond the traditional Elderly, You still seem to misunderstand the situation of the Little Sisters. The Little Sisters have Employees. Those Employees are covered by the Little Sisters’ health plan. HHS requires the Little Sisters take an action in relation to that plan which violates Their religion. If the Little Sisters adhere to Their beliefs, They face fines of almost $40,000 per Employee per year. The fines are the substantial burden meant to “force” compliance. I’m really not sure why You insist on fighting against and argument which has not been made.
My hunch is the Supreme Court will take the case because the appellate court substituted its interpretation of Catholic doctrine in place of the Little Sisters’ interpretation and the Supreme Court has long held courts may not do so, making the basis of the appellate court’s conclusion flawed.
There is no hypocrisy involved. In the war tax case, as noted by the court in Hobby Lobby, “United States v. Lee, 455 U. S. 252, which upheld the payment of Social Security taxes despite an employer’s religious objection, is not analogous. It turned primarily on the special problems associated with a national system of taxation; and if Lee were a RFRA case, the fundamental point would still be that there is no less restrictive alternative to the categorical requirement to pay taxes. Here, there is an alternative to the contraceptive mandate.” In the case of the Little Sisters, there may be a less restrictive means of advancing any compelling interest the government asserts, such as having Employees file the required forms if They want the coverage and the government paying the Employees directly or having all pharmacies sends a bill to HHS for contraception distributed to Individuals with a health insurance plan.
Whether the Little Sisters are okay with taxes being used for various purposes is irrelevant due to the line drawing principle established in Thomas. Even if it did matter, on that particular point, the Little Sisters would have no basis for a claim due to the Lee principle noted above.
Due to Your failure to use punctuation clearly, I cannot comprehend what You are saying when You write “Hypocrisy I see Thomas v blah, blah, blah avoided like the plague (predated RFRA but still under Sherbert test?)” other than an apparent hatred for the Thomas ruling. Please clarify.
The point of Your next five sentences is not clear apart from giving You another opportunity to use the word “hypocrisy”. Put another way, the sentences do not seem meaningful. While I acknowledge the sentence before these five might help to make sense of them, I am at a loss to comprehend them under any scenario I have so far imagined.
Whether You or Anyone Else sees a moral argument is irrelevant for legal purposes. If You have proof of insincerity, however, that proof would matter. Do You have such proof?
Your argument “Tax money is no different than premium payments in this context: It’s fungible,” is irrelevant because the Little Sisters health plan is self-insured; there are no premiums paid; the Little Sisters pay the medical bills directly.
While You may reject the Little Sisters belief about indirect payments, a belief neither I nor the SCOTUS has said either of Us hold, what You believe is irrelevant for legal purposes.
I don’t want to “kill” the Affordable Care Act.i happen to like much of it, if not most, and have benefited from it, even though I do think single-payer would be better. I see no conflict in supporting a law while pointing out regulations made pursuant to that law need alteration. I also think if single-payer were adopted, by the time a Republican President and Republican supermajority came about, the Voters will have had sufficient time to see how that system is better to make sure any such scenario You describe to be improbable.
1. You kept thumping your chest on facts. Then on Pricilla’s statements being “too close for comfort” re “racism” and “xenophobia” which are EXTREMLY STRONG, NOT REMOTELY SUBLTE, IMPOSSIBLE TO NUANCE terms you keep dodging. Feelings impossible for you to substantiate even a little bit smack of a feeble attempt to discredit the messenger to weaken perception of the message. Fail.
2. You provide me a context in which Pricilla could quote the son’s views since apparently they have only or principally been made in the context of defending dad but obviously are views the son holds. If you can prove Pricilla could have easily quoted him without mentioning dad, fine, I’ll readily grant you the point though mentioning dad still doesn’t personally bother me (actually, I enjoyed it). If dad’s a creep too, publicize it! Quote grandma too! ;^)
3. I explained why I see your Medicare expansion idea as being wrong-headed so lets deep dive into those facts and many new ones you crave:
a. I plainly stated it’s a program for senior citizens with COMPLETELY different health care needs than the general population. To cite an example (again) in the context of Little Sisters of the Poor’s case, Medicare does not cover contraception. Medicare isn’t going to cover maternity benefits. Medicare isn’t going to cover pediatric-specific services. Medicaid expansion provides better coverage to a broad population and doesn’t require the massive re-write Medicare would (that will never pass Republican muster) to cover the targeted under-served, low income population.
c. I might have failed to mention last time Medicare is premium-based (begging modifications for aforementioned low income folks) but unlike traditional insurance premiums are paid not only when you’re on Medicare but workers like myself are taxed our entire career. I believe these taxes get you Part A hospital coverage for free for many or most or all (not a Medicare expert). This doesn’t fit a smooth transition as an Obamacare replacement.
d. Also, atypical of Obamacare and most private health insurance (like my employer subsidizes), Medicare pretty much requires seniors to add supplemental plans to plug holes. Part B, I believe, is premium for additional basic medical coverage. Part C is a premium option using a 3rd party (requiring insurers to develop plans for non-seniors) to fill many Part A and B holes which is more confusion and premium expense. Then there’s Part D for drugs which is a confusing mess (I know, I handled this for my elderly mother) in a thick book of extra cost drug plans which typically are non-comprehensive (unlike the drug coverage included in my employer’s plan) and are designed to be tailored to each senior’s individual needs. If a doctor changes prescriptions… well, too bad for you, they might not be covered! This all, IMHO, is too complicated and priced/billed in a way incompatible for being an easy Obamacare replacement.
e. As I said in my previous comment, I think what you and Bernie Sanders and most libs actually want is a well thought out single-payer system that meets the needs of the entire range of citizens’ needs which seniors can be rolled into (more on this later).
4. You might be totally correct on where the Little Sisters of the Poor case is going. I personally doubt SCOTUS will even bother with it but what do I know? What I’ve read on it, it’s a loser – mostly on religious sites obviously sympathetic to it. But my reading is casual and this obviously is a topic very close to your heart and you’ve put a lot of time into it.
I readily admit that the Little Sisters of the Poor and apparently SCOTUS see a difference between general fund taxes and Obamacare mandated premium payments because any Federal law merits challenge under RFRA, including presumably tax law, yet SCOTUS won’t touch income taxes (refused RFRA case in 2000 re taxes fund war). That’s the absolute hypocrisy here – as I mentioned earlier. The Little Sisters of the Poor have no apparent worries their employees’ federal income tax money going to things they find morally objectionable like Planned Parenthood which provides contraceptive services (paid for by Medicaid, BTW). Hypocrisy I see Thomas v blah, blah, blah avoided like the plague (predated RFRA but still under Sherbert test?).
Coercive Obamacare mandates – passing SCOTUS muster – don’t matter since there’s nothing more coercive than the IRS which can send people to jail. Nor do I see them as the burden in any case. The burden is the interference the law has on upon practicing religion (more on that later).
Maybe that’s your argument here. Said hypocrisy – and that’s completely what it is – might protect a single-payer system designed to come directly out of the treasury (though note via a Medicare expansion there’d be a SEPARATE tax which right-wingers could use to sue as if it’s an insurance premium) because SCOTUS apparently sees the impracticality of addressing the can of worms of a moral objection tax expenditures entails versus paying for an insurance plan which is encapsulated. However, there’s no moral argument I can see separating the two.
So the oh-so-moral, oh-so-sincere Little Sisters of the Poor object to an accommodation that a 3rd party will (after they write a letter/fill out a form) pay for contraception on their behalf but obviously not forced to use. Yet they aren’t suing because their and their employees’ income tax money is going to, say, Medicaid which provides contraception services. Tax money is no different than premium payments in this context: It’s fungible.
Also, I’ll interject here I wholly reject SCOTUS and your apparent belief that paying for something indirectly for a service in any way interferes with my practice of religion. Certainly, I see the moral objection but in no way am I being persecuted for my beliefs; in no way am I interfered with in my worship practices; in no way am I coerced in participating using contraceptives in violation of my beliefs; and given the Hobby Lobby case I’m not even being forced to directly write a check to the pharmacy to pay for contraceptives.
Again, money is fungible and using 6 degrees of separation we can always link money to objectionable immorality. ;^)
If your argument here is similar to most right-wingers and you hope to make the Little Sisters of the Poor useful idiots to kill Obamacare, just advocate what you really want: single-payer (or the nothingness of Social Darwinism in the case of right-wingers).
However, the problem with single-payer – a liberal wet dream – is being telegraphed here: It’s a political football and thus a nightmare. Depending on who’s in power in D.C. the future of healthcare will be a constant tug of war between the left and right. If we get a Republican president and Republican super-majority in Congress, it gets gutted until the Dems get their chance. And, as we’re finding with Obamacare, it’s impossible to fix problems because the political loser will dig in their heals and hope the other side’s version fails miserably. Each rotation of political power could mean middle-class folks like myself suffer greatly, screwed by the ideologues.
In re racism and xenophobia, I said the comments were too close for comfort for /Me/. Whether or not they are too close for /You/, no offense, is irrelevant.
If the Speaker is defending ignorant statements, /that/ should be the focus, not the Speaker’s Relatives. Pricilla could easily have made the defense of ignorance the focus but chose not to do so. She instead drew Reader’s attention to the statements of the Dad, a non-Employee, as far as I can tell.
I see no reason why Medicare expansion is “dopey” and, yes, I am willing to use it as a stepping stone to a “single payer” system and, yes, I readily admit that fact. There is no reason We cannot start with allowing People to buy into Medicare, charging a premium which enables it to remain self-funded and transitioning to an income based premium system over time.
I don’t see what relevance the Little Sisters of the Poor tending to the Elderly has anything to do with this topic; They are not arguing over coverage for Their Patients.
Meanwhile, the Little Sisters have /not/ gotten “their exemption” and have filed an appeal with the SCOTUS within the last few weeks.
What Objectors are arguing is the fact Their faith prohibits Their participation in the way HHS is requiring, adhering to that faith will result in massive fines, and the government can advance each compelling interest it has so far asserted in these cases using a less restrictive method.
Despite Your apparent disdain for the Thomas case, the SCOTUS continues to adhere to the principle of when an Adherent draws a line on what is Their religious belief or exercise, “it is not for us to say that the line he drew was an unreasonable one”. If an Objector says, “This is against My beliefs,” the inquiry of /what/ that belief is ends unless insincerity can be demonstrated. The total /legal/ analysis does not end; only the identification of the belief.
The Little Sisters are arguing against (and I’m paraphrasing) being required to take any action which would facilitate the use of certain products thru a Their self-insured plan. We are not talking about pooling both risks and funds in the general treasury but about either directly paying for the items or taking an action which will foreseeably facilitate such payment. That is the line They have drawn and, from a legal perspective, it is not the business of the courts to analyze it beyond sincerity of belief.
If You find the Hobby Lobby arguments without merit, I suggest rereading the opinion and Hobby Lobby’s briefs.
Your conscientious objection argument fails to provide a parallel because the policy in Hobby Lobby is a self-fined plan. There is no pooling of risk with other Customers. Hobby Lobby pays the medical bills directly.
Getting back to matters of faith, once the Adherent draws a line, the legal analysis becomes one of whether or not the burden for adherence is substantial. With potential fines in the millions, it’s hard to argue the pressure is not substantial, effectively “forcing” Objectors to comply or face financial ruin.
The analysis then turns to whether the government is using the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling government interest. This point has been, so far, separate from this discussion but I am up for taking about it if You are.
To sum up, neither the Little Sisters nor Hobby Lobby claim “their beliefs trump Federal law”. Instead, They argue the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the legal analysis I just went through, if sloppily.
A single payer system, however, meets the requirements of RFRA because there is no less restrictive method of ensuring health care for All than for the government to pay directly for it.
In sum: The Little Sisters say what Their beliefs are, the courts determine whether there is a substantial burden placed upon those beliefs, the government tries to show it is advancing a compelling interest using the least restrictive means. That is the legal analysis involved in this case.
It’s very late where I am now and I am tired and reserve the right to revise and extend My remarks if I find doing so helpful.
I don’t think you can point me to anything explicit or implied in what Pricilla said that’s remotely “racist” or “xenophobic.” I see no connection, no hint. Ball’s in your court; reference an offensive quote or walk away. When you explicitly defend statements your dad made any ‘sins of the father’ argument simply collapses because now you’re saying these beliefs are your own. Pricilla had to reference dad to make this point.
Medicare expansion, IMHO, is a dopey concept. In fairness, Bernie Sanders just said the same thing so I see where libs pick the stuff up but what you’re really saying is you want single payer which is quite different though conceptually/structurally may be the same. Maybe Medicare morphs into such a system but as it stands now it’s targeting the elderly.
Certainly, Little Sisters of the Poor would like Medicare as a fix since naturally senior citizens have no need for contraception so the program lacks it. Pediatric coverage? Prenatal/maternity? Oh well…😉
That’s one reason Obamacare piggybacks on Medicaid for certain populations.
So we can both have facts yet I suspect we’ll still go around in circles. 😒
The meat, the Little Sisters of the Poor case, is mostly opinion and SCOTUS has the only one that matters. Certainly I am no legal scholar but I don’t see this case (has SCOTUS even agreed to hear it?) as a re-argument of Hobby Lobby. Like it or hate it, they got their exemption and apparently are satisfied since I haven’t heard they’ve sued again. Little Sisters of the Poor (and 4 colleges) are arguing even filling out a form or sending a letter for an exemption is them being too involved with nasty, immoral contraception. They still view themselves as distributors even if once removed.
Thomas v blah, blah, blah wanted to get laid off when he was forced to build munitions. Thomas in his case did not object that I’m aware, as a taxpayer coerced into paying said taxes by our government, to paying for these munitions. Thomas wanted on the dole over religious objections.
Again, unlike Thomas who not only was forced to put his hands on immoral munitions but was forced to make them, nobody is forcing Little Sisters of the Poor or any employee to touch a contraceptive. They’re arguing something totally different: financing distribution.
Children are required to go to school which teaches sex education many morally reject. Certainly, schools should let parents opt their kids out but their taxes still pay the sex ed teacher’s salary. Where’s Fox News’ moral outrage? Doesn’t exist because it’s all about killing Socialist Obamacare.
I get people hate Obamacare over the mandate’s coercion even though we all should realize it’s required to pool risks. Argue against it all you want it passed legal challenge.
Maybe my bias here is I find Hobby Lobby’s case to be without merit. Certainly, one can object to abortions, contraception, etc. as part of a religious belief. But just like a conscious objector’s taxes go to war, insurance may cover stuff people sincerely object to. Including it in a policy doesn’t prohibit anyone’s ability to practice religion. Almost anything can be justified by the Bible. For example, I could argue I should have multiple wives and concubines covered since the Patriarchs had them. Darn mean government keeps persecuting those poor polygamists. 😉
To wrap up, Little Sister of the Poor are arguing (as did Hobby Lobby) their beliefs trump Federal law. The only caveat here is Obamacare is a program with a mandate. We can find many, many instances of Federal law trumping Biblical practice such as polygamy and animal sacrifice. They directly impact the free practice of religion. Now we’re expanding this to paying for services indirectly (thanks to Hobby Lobby)? Single payer will never pass legal muster then! The implications here are enormous which I can see Libertarians loving but not Progressives. Though I’m not particularly worried because I expect SCOTUS will only accept this case to review narrow legal views regarding the burden of Obama’s fix or, more than likely, let the lower court stand since there’s nothing much new here.
“To presumably conservative Mr. Bin” — Nope. I’m as liberal as They come and am quite proud of it. I would have preferred the health reform bill be a Medicare-for-All plan instead of what We have now. I simply believe is fact checking.
Regardless of whether “Pricilla clearly connected the views of father and son”, the views of the Father are irrelevant since the Father is not the Son nor vice versa.
I said the reference came too close to xenophobia and racism. I did not say the two ideas were the same. Please read what I actually wrote.
In re “Thomas v Indiana”, the SCOTUS did “bite”. Cf., Hobby Lobby, pages 5 of the syllabus and three references on page 37 of the opinion.
We are not “quibbling over which 3rd party writes the check on behalf of Little Sisters of the Poor” because the regulations require objecting organizations to actively and explicitly authorize a particular change to their insurance contract in violation of their faith. If We are “quibbling” over anything, it is whether, when exercising One’s faith, fines of almost $40,000 per Employee per year for exercising that faith.
Nobody is arguing the government “is forcing nuns to use contraception”. Nor do The Little Sisters at any point say, “They want to deny coverage to employees who obviously would use it because they have no moral objection.” They are saying, if Employees are going to have no-copay contraception, They want to be as removed from that process as reasonably possible and, as long as Someone can come up with a more “removed” method which is also workable, such as HHS paying Employees directly, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives Them that right.
“I’ll even go for a total Obamacare exemption for those opposed to medical care but before you opt in you agree to be banned from all U.S. medical facilities.” — While I might agree with You on this point if We were discussing what the law /should/ be, the issue is what the law currently /is/.
1. Pricilla clearly connected the views of father and son.
2. Learn the meaning of “xenophobia” and “racism.” Dictionaries do exist.
3. Thomas v Indiana [blah, blah, blah]… Good luck with your grossly overly broad interpretation of that case. Let’s see if SCOTUS bites on that one.
4. The accommodation seems reasonable because your solution of direct government payment still is going to be sourced to the ACA pot of money. We’re quibbling over which 3rd party writes the check on behalf of Little Sisters of the Poor.
5. Per Steve’s point, this gets to one reason why your Thomas case doesn’t apply. Thomas was directly affected being forced to build munitions. Nobody is forcing nuns to use contraception. They want to deny coverage to employees who obviously would use it because they have no moral objection.
All that said, I personally don’t care if there’s a religious set of policies to shut up the fringe filling their diapers over contraception and being used by Republicans as useful idiots to kill Obamacare. I’ll even go for a total Obamacare exemption for those opposed to medical care but before you opt in you agree to be banned from all U.S. medical facilities. 😱
Why would nuns need contraception?
I know it’s for people that work for them, but the way Fox says it, it just sounds ridiculous.
The article also repeats the courts’ mistakes and misconstrues the “substantial burden” issue. The substantial burden is not the filling out of a particular form, which the Nuns’ fair says They must not do, but is the almost $40,000 in annual fines which would levied for not filling it out and not providing the coverage. The Supreme Court held in Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division where a religious Practitioner “draws a line” on faith and related permissible/impermissible actions is left entire up to the Practitioner.
The only points which matter beyond that one is whether or not (1) the pressure to cross that line is substantial, which it is because of the fines, and (2) the government is using the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling interest. Since the government could simply reimburse Employees directly, leaving the Employer out of the process, clearly the current accommodation does not meet this requirement.
Instead, the government is seeking to force violation of the Nuns’ faith under the threat of massive fines, making Ms. Powers’ statement correct and not a “misrepresentation” and definitely not a “lie”.
Kirsten, like most Fox News pundits, uses GOP TV to build her cachet and career. Certainly, Fox News uses faux liberal bobble heads like Kirsten to substantiate GOP TV’s hatred of everything liberal.
Sure, sometimes Kirsten lives up to her liberal billing. She telegraphs those moments by looking horribly uncomfortable as she tries to strike a balance between making some point she actually believes in and not cheesing off her right-wing sugar daddy too badly and ending up like Eric Burns.
More often than not any more she wears a trademark arrogant smirk as she strokes Roger Ailes’ Litt’l Willie. ;^)