Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Greece America's future? • Cavuto Coast-to-Coast HeathMon, 29 Jun 2015 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould birth control be over the counter? • Stacy Petty Show HeathTue, 23 Jun 2015 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #13: Should birth control be available over the counter?<p> Hadley Heath Manning, IWF&#39;s Director of Health Policy, sits down with IWF Senior Fellow Jillian Melchior to discuss over the counter birth control. They answer many important questions that are on the minds of many women: Why isn&#39;t birth control currently available over the counter? Why are liberals trying to block Sen. Cory Gardner&#39;s legislation to provide over-the-counter birth control? What are the benefits of this legislation to women?</p> HeathFri, 19 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamaCare is working ... if you ignore the facts<p> President Obama continues to say the healthcare law is working, prompting one health policy expert to say the president must be &quot;living in a fantasy world&quot; if he truly believes that.</p> <p> Speaking this week in Germany, the president offered up these remarks about his signature healthcare law: &quot;The thing is working. I mean, part of what&#39;s bizarre about this whole thing is, we haven&#39;t had a lot of conversation about the horrors of ObamaCare because none of them come to pass.&quot;</p> <p> So ... is ObamaCare working?</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Well, it depends on who you ask, but I would say the Affordable Care Act ... has produced far more losers than winners,&quot; responds 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;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Most people have experienced the downsides of health reform,&quot; she continues, &quot;whether that&#39;s an increase in their premiums or limitations on how much the economy can grow or changes to the way their employer is providing health insurance or having their insurance policy canceled altogether or having to find a new doctor.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">And these are real hardships for a lot of Americans, says Manning.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;So I think his statement that this law hasn&#39;t had an adverse effect will just fall on deaf ears,&quot; she tells OneNewsNow, &quot;because he&#39;s living in a fantasy world if he hasn&#39;t paid attention to the well-documented downsides that so many Americans have experienced as a result of this law.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> While in Germany, Obama also weighed in on an impending Supreme Court ruling in a case known as <em>King v. Burwell</em>. At issue is whether the federal government can offer taxpayer subsidies to people purchasing health insurance in state and federal exchanges. According to the president, Congress never intended to exclude people who went through the federal exchange (</p> <p> Since returning this week from Germany, President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act in a speech to the Catholic Health Association.</p> HeathFri, 12 Jun 2015 07:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill gov overtime wage hike proposal force job cuts? • Your World HeathThu, 11 Jun 2015 16:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama: no negative effects from ACA • One News Now HeathThu, 11 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCommon Core: Federal Overreach into A State Issue • Stacy Petty HeathTue, 2 Jun 2015 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP Senators Have a Birth Control Proposal That is Sure to Astonish Some Democrats<p> Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have introduced a bill which they say would make it easier for women to access birth control.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Republican senators unveil bill for over-the-counter birth control: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; The Hill (@thehill) <a href="">May 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The bill would allow contraceptives to be sold over the&nbsp;counter, without a doctor&rsquo;s prescription.</p> <p> Such a move would increase access to contraception, Gardner says, by increasing access in rural areas and&nbsp;&ldquo;increasing competition and availability,&rdquo; <a href="">according to</a> The Hill.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning, President of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, agrees. She wrote in </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Forbes</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">:</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Over-the-counter birth control would offer new options to women. Consumers would be able to see on the shelf the different products that are available, compare prices, and ultimately select the option that provides them with the best value, just as they choose products in other markets.&rdquo;</span></em></span></strong></span></p> <p> Yet, two influential groups have slammed the proposal, saying it will do the opposite.</p> <p> Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, cited Obamacare&rsquo;s current rules requiring insurers to pay for birth control without a co-pay as a basis for his opposition:</p> <p> <em>&ldquo;Unfortunately, instead of improving access, this bill would actually make more women have to pay for their birth control, and for some women, the cost would be prohibitive.&rdquo;</em></p> <p> Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards told <a href="">Bustle</a>:</p> <p> <em>&ldquo;This bill is a sham and an insult to women.&nbsp;It would give women fewer birth control options and force women to pay twice for their birth control.&rdquo;</em></p> <p> And Jezebel <a href="">stated</a>&nbsp;that, while increased access is a good thing,&nbsp;&ldquo;it seems like Gardner and Ayotte&rsquo;s proposal is a sneaky way to effectively end Obamacare&rsquo;s mandatory contraception coverage.&rdquo;</p> <p> However, many aren&rsquo;t buying the critics&rsquo; arguments, calling it a &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; and politics as usual:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Are Liberals fighting a <a href="">#waronwomen</a> now? Since they think it&#39; s okay to hinder accessibility of contraceptives?<a href=""></a></p> &mdash; YAF PSU (@yafpsu) <a href="">May 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Manning argues the real reason that some oppose&nbsp;the bill is because they stand to lose money if women don&rsquo;t need to visit a physician before obtaining contraception, and pharmaceutical companies can keep the real cost of contraception hidden in layers of insurance benefit bureaucracy.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The full text of the bill has not been released.</p> HeathThu, 28 May 2015 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #10 Tips for College Graduates<p> IWF Senior Policy Analyst Hadley Heath Manning sits down with IWF Managing Director Carrie Lukas to discuss transition from college to the workplace. Carrie wrote an article for Forbes titled &quot;Seven Things College Women Should Know For Life After Graduation,&quot; where she offered advice to young women who are entering the work force.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 26 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCommon Core: Federal Overreach Into A State Issue<p> The words &ldquo;education,&rdquo; &ldquo;schools,&rdquo; and &ldquo;curriculum&rdquo; do not appear in the U.S. Constitution or any Amendments. &nbsp;This is not to say the Founders were not supportive of public education. Many of them, most notably Thomas Jefferson, wrote in support of the concept because they believed that, &ldquo;an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.&rdquo;</p> <p> Importantly, the Founders envisioned that the states would promulgate and implement policies related to public schools, which is why many state constitutions lay the groundwork for education policy. But today our education system is very different from the one the Founders imagined.&nbsp; Despite the limits of the Constitution, the federal government has a heavy hand in education policy. This overreach is harmful to state autonomy, and impedes the flexibility of students and educators.</p> <p> First, it is important to understand the Founders&rsquo; motive in keep education within the realm of the states. The American founding celebrated (and indeed much of American culture today still celebrates) individualism. We understand that each child&rsquo;s mind is unique and the process of learning may be different from child to child. Not only that, but each state&rsquo;s population is unique. Some states may see fit to include more agricultural classes; others may have little need for such a curriculum.</p> <p> The Founders understood that the fewer decisions the federal government makes, the more decisions are left to states, local government, teachers and students.</p> <p> But this principle has slowly eroded. The federal government&rsquo;s role in education expanded incrementally during the second half of the twentieth century. The federal government led the way in desegregating schools in the 1960&rsquo;s.&nbsp; In 1965, President Johnson created the federal Head Start (preschool) Program. In 1979, President Carter established the Department of Education.</p> <p> More recently, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed by President George W. Bush, tied federal Title I dollars to state education policy decisions, and non-participating states stood to lose millions of education dollars. This is the main mechanism for federal involvement in education policy.&nbsp; The Spending Clause has allowed the federal government to manipulate state policies through conditions upon federal money.</p> <p> The Spending Clause, found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, states, &ldquo;The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.&rdquo;</p> <p> Today perhaps the most influential (and most controversial) education policy matter is the Common Core Standards Initiative. It is a set of math and English standards for each grade level. Like many other education policy ideas, Common Core is a well-intentioned effort to raise expectations for students and provide a higher quality of education for them.</p> <p> Defenders of the Common Core will say that it is not a federal program; it is state-led. Indeed, states do have the freedom to opt out of the common core standards. So far, 45 states have opted in, and five states have opted out.</p> <p> The Common Core Standards Initiative is related to the federal Race to the Top program, introduced in 2009. Race to the Top is essentially a competition among the states for federal cash, $4.35 billion in total. In order to even participate in this competition, states must implement college and career-ready standards and assessments.</p> <p> Most states clearly understood this to mean acceptance of the Common Core Standards. Only Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota opted not to adopt the standards (and MN only opted out of the math standards). Even these opt-out states are required to develop other standards to participate in Race to the Top.</p> <p> There has been much heated debate about the standards and their educational content. Criticisms include: The Standards are not rigorous enough. The English standards do not include enough classic literature. The content is politicized, favoring labor unions and universal health care. The content is not age-appropriate.</p> <p> But a review of the curriculum is beyond the scope of this essay. It should suffice to say that all of this debate is evidence that the Founders were right: People from various states, cultures, and backgrounds should not have to agree on one-size-fits-all educational standards or assessments. Taking away this flexibility from states, even if only by bribing the states with federal cash, has taken us far from the vibrant and diverse educational system the Founders envisioned for American children.</p> <p> <a href=""><em>Hadley Heath Manning&nbsp;</em></a><em>is director of health policy at the&nbsp;<a href="">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</a></em></p> HeathFri, 22 May 2015 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmaller percentage of women started businesses in 2014/Etsy creator fights for property rights • Stacy Petty Show HeathTue, 19 May 2015 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHealth analysts react to ObamaCare-is-awesome study<p> Not surprisingly, conservative analysts are dissecting the study. &nbsp;</p> <p> The study, done by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, points to language in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on medical expenses or refund the difference to consumers.</p> <p> According to the study, this resulted in $5 billion in savings for consumers in 2011 and 2012, the only two years of data available.</p> <p> &quot;The $5 billion figure is way off. It&#39;s more like $300 million in actual reductions,&quot; says Ed Haislmaier, a senior fellow for the Center for Health Policy Studies at <a href="">The Heritage Foundation</a>.</p> <p> He tells OneNewsNow the $5 billion figure is &quot;a pure extrapolation of, <em>Well, if nothing else had changed, what would premiums have been?</em> There&#39;s no way of knowing that.&quot;</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">OneNewsNow also sought comment from 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;"> She says the refund tells her about the insurance market before ObamaCare became law.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;If indeed there was a lot of room for insurance companies to cut down on overhead, to cut down on administrative costs, then it wasn&#39;t a very competitive market before we had ObamaCare,&quot; Manning observes.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">On the other hand, she says, there&#39;s also the possibility that this particular provision, and the reduction in administrative expenses, is not the full story.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Manning further explains: &quot;Typically, when money gets moved around from one part of a business to another, there may be benefits on one side, like it appears that some larger insurers and some insurers participating in ObamaCare are reducing their administrative costs. But then that makes me ask the question, </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Where is that money coming from</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">?&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">That makes Manning question what the downside is to this, because it does not appear that insurance companies would have this much room to reduce their overhead, unless they were protected from market competition before ObamaCare.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Meanwhile, one of the study&#39;s authors <a href="">has told MarketWatch</a> that the new spending requirements forced few if any insurers out of business.</p> HeathMon, 18 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmall Businesswoman Stands Up for Her Intellectual Property Rights<p> Last week, Melissa Lay, a mom and small businesswoman in Oregon, raised concerns about a shirt for sale at Target. What was her problem with the shirt? Well, Lay is a designer and owns her own Etsy shop, and the design on the shirt was <em>hers.</em>&nbsp;Target didn&#39;t have her permission to copy it. The black tank top has a silhouette American flag and the word &quot;Merica&quot; on the front.&nbsp;</p> <p> Now <a href=";xid=socialflow_facebook_peoplemag">Target is responding as it should</a>, by taking the shirt off of its shelves and stopping all future sales of the shirt. The retail giant issued a statement saying it didn&#39;t mean to sell something that was stolen. It&#39;s certainly plausible that Target didn&#39;t know; it contracts with many different designers and third-party vendors and would normally have no reason to doubt that each vendor&#39;s work is original. Still, the design belongs to Lay, and Target cannot and should not sell the shirt without her permission.&nbsp;</p> <p> Lay sells her tank top for $25 on her Etsy shop. Target was selling the similar tank top for $12.99. It would be easy to see how Target and other national retailers could push small businesspeople out of the market simply because of the scale of business that they do.&nbsp;</p> <p> But importantly, they can&#39;t do that. Americans like Melissa Lay have a right to their own intellectual property, like their ideas, their designs, their artistic creations. Good for this mom and businesswoman for standing up for herself. Surely Lay could have filed a lawsuit over this matter, but she has told the media that her main concern is bringing attention to the intellectual property issue that is so important to her business and many others.&nbsp;</p> <p> Etsy has become a great outlet for small business owners, including many women, to market their products widely, outside of the local area where the business owner lives. I order products from Etsy often. We should celebrate that so many women have the opportunity to start and manage their own enterprises through this marketplace. But we should also keep in mind that the diversity of products and options available to us are in part due to our legal protections for intellectual property.</p> <p> Way to go, Melissa Lay, for standing up for your IP and for many other business people like you.&nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 18 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCongressional "pig book" uncovers $4.2 billion in gov pork • Bulls and Bears HeathSat, 16 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPut the Brakes on High Speed Rail? • Bulls and Bears HeathSat, 16 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum