February 11, 2012

Breaking: Dashing Media Hopes, U.S. Bishops Say HHS Must ‘Rescind the Mandate’

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:32 am

The press was eager to jump on initial remarks by U.S. bishops that President Obama’s announcement yesterday of what the Wall Street Journal aptly described in an editorial this morning as the “Immaculate Contraception” — namely, the idea that insurance companies would somehow pay out of their own pockets for costs relating to “contraceptive services” to which the bishops objected to having Catholic institutions pay for directly was “a good first step.” I heard this description several times in brief radio news summaries yesterday. Later yesterday afternoon, the bishops’ position was reported as “reserving judgment.”

In an official statement carried at Vatican Radio’s web site (“The Voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the world”) this morning, the bishops have rejected Obama’s self-described “sensible approach.” Especially pertinent, in light of my post earlier this morning, is the fact that the mandate and its revision appear to apply to employers who self-insure — an option religious institutions have been forced to use to avoid attempts by several U.S. states to mandate what ObamaCare wants to impose on the entire nation (in full; bolds are mine):

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WSJ Almost Uniquely Raises Self-Insurance Issue in ‘Immaculate Contraception’ Editorial

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:41 am

Yesterday’s announcement by President Obama (headlined at the White House’s website as “Remarks by the President on Preventive Care”) of planned revisions to an ObamaCare-driven rule which, in the President’s words, “if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles.”

Showing just how out of touch the establishment press is with reality, an editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal cutely titled “Immaculate Contraception” points out something most, including the Associated Press, have missed — that in a large number of cases involving many thousands of employees, there is no “insurance company” there to directly pay for these services:

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Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (021112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: A Tribute to Jeffrey Zaslow

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

A tribute written by Amy Chozick at the New York Times (bolds is mine):

The best-selling author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow died in a car accident Friday morning. He was 53, and is survived by his wife, Sherry Margolis, and three daughters.

A co-author of the best-selling book “The Last Lecture,” based on a speech delivered by a professor with terminal cancer, Mr. Zaslow wrote about inspirational figures and life’s transitions. He was on his way home to Detroit from a book reading in northern Michigan when he lost control of his car on a snow-covered road and collided with a semi-trailer truck, according to the Antrim County Sheriff’s Department.

I worked with Jeff at The Wall Street Journal, and just as he had millions of readers who found inspiration and comfort in his books, articles and columns, there were legions of young journalists who hoped that one day they could be just a little bit like him.

We admired Jeff for his knack for stretching the restraints of financial journalism in the most delightful ways, even when he was writing about futures markets as a cub reporter in the 1980s. His subjects’ humanity, and his, of course, would shine through.

After writing a Page 1 article about the competition to replace Ann Landers, Jeff ended up winning the contest, beating out 12,000 applicants. He wrote the column, syndicated in The Chicago Sun-Times, from 1987 to 2001.

Many people will remember Jeff for his best-selling books, most notably “The Last Lecture,” which chronicled a speech delivered by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon professor with terminal cancer. (Sadly, Jeff’s death in a crash allowed no summing up of his life.) But I think of a 2002 A-hed (as The Journal calls its quirky Page 1 column) titled “If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here’s How to Set It Straight,” and another that explored a beauty pageant for women with developmental disabilities (“At Miss Cass Pageant, Disabled Contestants Bask in the Spotlight — Knock-Knock Jokes, Songs and a Tiara in Detroit”).

Robert Thomson, the managing editor of The Journal, wrote in an e-mail to staff: “There is no doubt that Jeff’s words will echo poignantly for generations to come and his body of work will be a living testimony to his professionalism, creativity and dedication.”

I heard a story about Jeff that describes his personality better than any adjective. When Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and her husband, Mark Kelly, were talking to authors about co-writing her memoir, Jeff was the only author who opened the conversation by asking Ms. Giffords, who was shot in the head by a gunman near Tucson last year, how she was feeling.

Read the whole thing.