Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS‘This Case Is About More Than Contraception:’ Women’s Group Files Brief in Support of Nuns<p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum has filed an </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Amicus Curiae brief</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> in the Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor, have petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that they must comply with the Obamacare contraception mandate by authorizing a third party to provide contraception and abortifacient drugs to their employees.</p> <p> University of Missouri law professor Erin M. Hawley, the author of the brief, argues that the case is not about contraception, but &ldquo;the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution.&rdquo;</p> <p> Citing &ldquo;this court&rsquo;s decision in Hobby Lobby,&rdquo; Hawley, a former clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts, argues that &ldquo;businesswomen&mdash;whether they operate for-profit or non-profit ventures&mdash;do not check their religious liberty rights at the office door.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;In short, the deeply personal choices about when life begins and whether or not to use birth control are decisions for women and their families, not the government. IWF therefore urges this court to grant this petition and to decide whether the HHS &lsquo;accommodation&rsquo; discriminates among religious organizations in violation of the First Amendment,&rdquo; Hawley wrote.</p> <p> She also claims the Department of Health and Human Services discriminates against some religious employers because it makes exemptions to the contraceptive mandate for some and not others.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning, the director of health policy for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum,&nbsp;</span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">said in a statement</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> that &ldquo;As with the Hobby Lobby case, this case is about more than contraception.&rdquo;</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;It is about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution. It is about empowering women to choose the health care and salary options that best fit their needs. And it is about empowering charitable employers, many lead by women, to follow their deeply held religious convictions&mdash;regardless of the form of their charitable entity,&rdquo; Manning said.</span></span></strong></span></p> HeathWed, 2 Sep 2015 11:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Nuns Could Kill The Pill Mandate<p> If you thought the debate about Obamacare&#39;s birth control mandate was settled with the <em>Hobby Lobby</em> case, think again.</p> <p> This fall, nonprofit employers in seven different lawsuits are asking the Supreme Court to hear their cases. One of those cases is <em>Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell</em>. In this case, a group of Catholic nuns is simply asking not to be party to providing birth control. It should go without saying; contraception mandates and nuns should not mix.</p> <p> These lawsuits are the result of a series of events:</p> <p> The Department of Health and Human Services mandated in 2012, pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, that all health insurance plans include first-dollar coverage for all FDA-approved forms of birth control. If employers do not comply, they face a fine of up to $100 per worker per day (or $36,500 per worker per year).</p> <p> The mandate includes a religious exemption, but only for churches, houses of worship, and &quot;integrated auxiliaries.&quot; The government recognized that these organizations might have legitimate First Amendment objections to providing coverage for all forms (or in some cases any forms) of birth control to their employees. But this exemption does not apply to other religious nonprofits that choose to organize differently -- even though those entities may be exercising the same religious freedoms and providing the same nonprofit services as exempted entities.</p> <p> In addition to the exemption for churches, the mandate includes an &quot;accommodation&quot; for other employers who have objections to the mandate. These employers can fill out some paperwork, informing a third-party (the plan administrator) about their objection. Then the third-party will approach employees to offer payments for the cost of the coverage to which their employer objects.</p> <p> This &quot;accommodation,&quot; while creative, doesn&#39;t solve the moral problem before the Little Sisters or similarly situated groups. They don&#39;t want to be a party -- in any way -- to providing drugs and devices that they find morally objectionable.</p> <p> Instead, the exemption and accommodation to the birth control mandate illustrate how little the Obama Administration understands about religion. They know that a church is religious, but don&#39;t seem to get that a group of nuns is religious. The Little Sisters&#39; web site <a href="">states</a> their mission as the following: &quot;to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.&quot;</p> <p> Is this not religious enough to warrant a religious exemption?</p> <p> It shouldn&#39;t matter the legal form of the enterprise -- for-profit or nonprofit, church or not a church -- no one should be forced to violate his conscience in this way. And it shouldn&#39;t be the purview of the government to decide who is religious enough for an exemption and who is not.</p> <p> Recently, (nonreligious) March for Life <a href="">received</a> a stay in a similar lawsuit. March for Life is a pro-life group that organizes a march on Washington every year on the anniversary of <em>Roe v. Wade</em>. A federal district court in Washington, D.C., ordered the government not to enforce the mandate on the group. This district court recognized, sensibly, that a pro-life organization should not be forced to provide insurance coverage for practices that it sees as tantamount to abortion.</p> <p> But the Little Sisters have not been successful in their litigation. A federal appeals court in Denver recently ruled in favor of the government. The Little Sisters then appealed to the Supreme Court, where the Independent Women&#39;s Forum <a href="'s-Forum-Filed-Amicus-Brief-in-Support-of-Little-Sisters-of-the-Poor">filed</a> an <em>amicus curiae</em> brief in their support.</p> <p> When government attempts to enforce a one-size-fits-all mandate on an extremely personal facet of life, the logical end is a sad but laughable legal conflict: where nuns (who have taken a vow of chastity) have to ask the government not to force them to be party to providing birth control that would violate their conscience.</p> <p> The Supreme Court should take up their case and apply the same logic as in <em>Hobby Lobby</em>: No one should be forced to pay for health insurance coverage for treatments with which they have a deep moral objection.</p> <p> Even better, our leaders should reevaluate whether it is worthwhile to have a mandate that needs exemption after exemption and accommodation after accommodation. Rather, Americans should be free to make their own decisions about contraception and other aspects of health care.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is director of health policy at the <a href="">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>.</em></p> HeathTue, 1 Sep 2015 15:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF petitions on behalf of Little Sisters against HHS contraception mandate<p> The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) is a conservative non-profit in the United States that recently filed an <em>amicus curiae</em> brief in support of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged &mdash; a group that has petitioned the Supreme Court to take up its case against the Department of Health and Human Services.&nbsp;</p> <p> The IWF argues that the 2012 mandate under the Affordable Care Act that requires all employer-sponsored insurance to cover a comprehensive list of contraceptive drugs and procedures without imposing any cost-sharing on the consumers at the time of service is not just pitting women against religious communities that object to the use of contraception, it is a mandate that will have adverse consequences on public health, distort health care markets, particularly for contraception, and threatens First Amendment rights.</p> <p> In 2012, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic institute for women. The class action lawsuit sought protection for the Little Sisters and other Catholic ministries that provide health benefits consistent with their faith. Through various court decisions, including the Supreme Court&rsquo;s <em>Burwell v. Hobby Lobby,</em> which ruled that the government cannot force family-owned businesses to provide contraception through their employee insurance plans if it violates their religious beliefs, the Little Sisters seemed to be in the clear. But the 10th Circuit ruled against the Little Sisters this summer. The IWF&rsquo;s appeal &mdash; which quotes the Bible in its Table of Authorities &mdash; in support of the Little Sisters says:&nbsp;</p> <p> &ldquo;Under the rules promulgated by HRSA, the Little Sisters of the Poor would be exempt from the contraceptive mandate had they organized their ministry under the authority of the Catholic Bishop. And while they could have chosen to do so, the Sisters determined that the best way to provide for the elderly poor was to fund, operate, and control the ministry themselves. According to the Government, the Sisters&rsquo; conscience rights turn on the organizational form of their ministry. On the basis of their ministry form, the Government seeks to force the Sisters to violate the convictions of their faith, or alternatively, to fine them millions of dollars a year.&rdquo;</p> <p> What is the IWF&rsquo;s solution? A policy that gives insurance companies, employers, families and individuals the freedom to purchase insurance policies that reflect their preferences and their needs instead of a &ldquo;one-size-fits-all&rdquo; policy, as it says. Its Director of Health Policy, Hadley Heath Manning, stated:</p> <p> &ldquo;As with the <em>Hobby Lobby</em> case, this case is about more than contraception. It is about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution. It is about empowering women to choose the healthcare and salary options that best fit their needs. And it is about empowering charitable employers, many lead by women, to follow their deeply held religious convictions&mdash;regardless of the form of their charitable entity. Women do not check their religious liberty rights at the office door.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p> It remains to be seen if the IWF can be successful in persuading the courts that the HHS mandate works contrary to women&rsquo;s interests and will restrict women&rsquo;s flexibility to customize their compensation and benefits, as it says.</p> HeathFri, 28 Aug 2015 07:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHillary changes course • Mornings with Maria HeathThu, 27 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGreek life crackdown • Al Jazeera America HeathWed, 26 Aug 2015 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP revels in Biden buzz • Cavuto Coast to Coast HeathWed, 26 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRating GOP presidential contenders health care plans • Stacy Petty HeathTue, 25 Aug 2015 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPlease Mr. Trump, Stop the Name-Calling<p> GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump needs to learn the difference between political correctness and decency. It&rsquo;s fine not to be the former, but we should all strive to be the latter.</p> <p> His continuous disparaging of Fox News host Megyn Kelly is unacceptable, especially for someone who is vying to be our next chief of state. This week, Trump is out on social media re-tweeting comments about Megyn Kelly calling her a &ldquo;bimbo&rdquo; and criticizing her appearance.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s understandable why Donald Trump, his supporters, and other Americans might be frustrated with &ldquo;the PC police.&rdquo; Many Americans feel they can&rsquo;t be frank about their opinions, and that&rsquo;s not a good thing. We should encourage all people to be a part of the dialogue about the issues facing our country. And sometimes we just need to agree to disagree. We shouldn&rsquo;t tolerate efforts to silence anyone just because his ideas are unpopular. After all, what is popular isn&rsquo;t always what&rsquo;s right.</p> <p> But there&rsquo;s an important difference between &ldquo;political correctness&rdquo; and decency. Today&rsquo;s &ldquo;politically correct&rdquo; movement may have gone too far, but leaders should still practice basic manners when discussing the issues and other people.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s never acceptable for anyone, male or female, Republican or Democrat, to call names. It&rsquo;s even worse when the name-calling has sexist or racist implications. (&ldquo;Bimbo&rdquo; refers to an attractive but stupid woman, according to Merriam-Webster&rsquo;s.) It&rsquo;s even worse when the person doing the name-calling is running for the highest office in the land. What an embarrassment to our culture and nation.</p> <p> Name-calling gets a lot of attention, and that&rsquo;s part of why Mr. Trump does it. But unfortunately, the attention that the media will spend on his inflammatory comments should instead be given to the serious issues facing the country.</p> <p> When a candidate depends too strongly on name-calling, it suggests he doesn&rsquo;t have a firm grasp of the issues and would rather play politics than demonstrate leadership.&nbsp; If Mr. Trump seriously has a problem with Megyn Kelly, he should make a substantive argument as to why. Calling her a &ldquo;bimbo&rdquo; won&rsquo;t solve anything.</p> <p> We should expect more of our leaders. Shame on Mr. Trump.&nbsp; He may think he&rsquo;s bucking the PC police, but he&rsquo;s really only alienating large swaths of the public and further damaging the conservative brand (especially among women). It is one thing to say noble but unpopular things; it is another to simply be rude. &nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 25 Aug 2015 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMany Americans have "narrow networks" under Obamacare • One News Now HeathTue, 25 Aug 2015 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDo Democrats no longer have the economy on their side come 2016? • Risk & Reward HeathTue, 25 Aug 2015 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAnalyzing 2016 election • Bill Cunningham Pt 2 HeathMon, 24 Aug 2015 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAnalyzing 2016 election • Bill Cunningham Pt 1 HeathMon, 24 Aug 2015 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTime to Rate the Republican Presidential Hopefuls Health Care Plans<p> A few Republican presidential hopefuls have offered specific healthcare proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.</p> <p> Gov. Bobby Jindal and his think tank, America Next, released a <a href="">comprehensive plan</a> last year. This week <a href="">Sen. Marco Rubio</a> and <a href="">Gov. Scott Walker</a> have also each released a plan.</p> <p> These plans offer insight into how the Republican Party would lead on the issue of health care. Also, we should hope that these proposals will raise the bar for the field, prompting other Republicans to develop forward-looking answers to the Obamacare question and focusing the horserace on the issues, not personalities.</p> <p> Not surprisingly, these plans have a great deal in common, and they reflect other healthcare plans that conservative think tanks and legislators have put forward in the past.</p> <p> They all start by repealing Obamacare. They all devolve power to the state level (especially in the Medicaid program), deregulate private insurance markets, and address the unequal tax treatment of individual and employer health plans.</p> <p> But the plans have important differences too.</p> <p> Gov. Jindal&rsquo;s plan is markedly bolder, eliminating completely the current tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits and replacing it with a standard deduction for health insurance.</p> <p> Gov. Walker&rsquo;s plan puts a cap on this employer-based tax exclusion and uses these revenues to fund (in part) age-rated tax credits for people without an offer of employer-sponsored coverage. Similarly, Sen. Rubio&rsquo;s plan uses tax credits and limits on the employer exclusion to level the playing field between employer and individually purchased plans. All of these plans aim to create a more robust, competitive health insurance market.</p> <p> Gov. Jindal and Sen. Rubio endorse a premium-support model for Medicare in their plans. This major reform would allow (future) retirees to opt to use their healthcare dollars to purchase private insurance plans instead of having to participate in traditional Medicare. Gov. Walker plans to deal with Medicare reform separately in the future.</p> <p> That said, we should keep in mind that any plan that repeals Obamacare has implications for Medicare because Obamacare contains billions of dollars of reductions to the Medicare budget and the &ldquo;Independent Payment Advisory Board,&rdquo; an executive board tasked with controlling Medicare&rsquo;s budget.</p> <p> Any of these plans would be an improvement over Obamacare. They&rsquo;d expand individual choice, foster greater competition among healthcare plans, reduce the incentives to over-insure in employer-centric groups, and increase state autonomy and flexibility for solving health policy problems.</p> <p> The fact that candidates are releasing these detailed plans is a step in the right direction for the GOP. For too long, liberals have successfully deceived the public into believing that conservatives have no health reform ideas, or that conservatives only want to return to the status quo before Obamacare.</p> <p> If nothing else, these candidate-sponsored plans may encourage the mainstream media to discuss conservative healthcare ideas. It would be better, and more intellectually honest, for liberals to criticize these plans than to pretend they do not exist.</p> <p> Even from a truly conservative perspective, none of these plans is perfect. Ideally, we ought to be moving beyond the assumption that our primary health policy goal is increasing comprehensive insurance coverage (or &ldquo;universal coverage.&rdquo;) Rather, our focus should be on making health <em>care</em>&mdash;not insurance&mdash;more accessible and affordable. After all, a primary cause of the problems in our health care system is that we have become so reliant on a third-party payer system that discourages efficiency and innovation.</p> <p> But politics is the art of the possible. The current system (and the culture surrounding it) is heavily dependent on third-party payment, and most Americans with private insurance have come to expect that their employer will provide this benefit. People would reject any major disruptions, so the less ambitious conservative plans may ultimately be more politically feasible.</p> <p> These latest Republican plans show that candidates aren&rsquo;t allowing perfect policy to be the enemy of the good. Americans are frustrated with Obamacare, and need to be reassured that Republicans have workable plans to replace the current law with something better. Conservatives should applaud the efforts of candidates who boldly outline their healthcare solutions, and encourage more discussion of this important issue.</p> <p> <em>&ndash;</em></p> <p> <em>TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.</em></p> HeathFri, 21 Aug 2015 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP candidates standing out from the crowd • After the Bell HeathFri, 21 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGov. Walker praised for post-ObamaCare ideas<p> Political analysts are talking about presidential candidate Scott Walker&#39;s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, which he announced this week.</p> <p> end story teaser story body</p> <p> In addition to helping people with pre-existing conditions, Walker told an audience Tuesday that his plan would also allow states more say with federal Medicaid dollars, and people would be able to purchase health insurance across state lines.</p> <p> Walker&#39;s plan can be read <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> &ldquo;My favorite thing about what he proposed,&quot; says Phil Kerpen of <a href="">American Commitment</a>, &quot;was the very first thing he said, that he would end the rule that exempted congress from ObamaCare.&quot;</p> <p> According to Kerpen, nothing is going to force Democrats to the table to actually negotiate repealing and replacing Obamacare unless they have to live under the law that they themselves passed.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, says people who are following ObamaCare and its issues will recognize Walker&#39;s ideas mirror other ideas voiced by conservatives.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The ideas voiced by Walker, she says, would replace ObamaCare with more fair and more &quot;market friendly&quot; reforms.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;So it would definitely be a step in the right direction,&quot; Manning tells OneNewsNow.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Walker&#39;s plan also aims to help people with pre-existing conditions, something Manning says people have come to expect after ObamaCare became law.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;There are certainly some similarities,&quot; she explains, &quot;but rather than a one-size-fits-all federal policy with regard to pre-existing conditions, the Walker plan puts more power and more control at the state level.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who are also seeking the GOP presidential nomination, have put forward some details surrounding their healthcare plans.</p> <p> Manning says it was good for Walker, Rubio and Jindall to put forward ideas for healthcare policy, because some people believe Republicans are indifferent to the issue and lack ideas. By publicizing their plans, she says, the media talks about them and more Americans are aware of them.</p> HeathThu, 20 Aug 2015 07:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum