Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Reforms Become Law<p> This week the Senate passed and the President signed a piece of legislation nicknamed H.R. 2 or &ldquo;MACRA.&rdquo; That stands for Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. In the alphabet soup that is healthcare policy, &ldquo;CHIP&rdquo; stands for Children&rsquo;s Health Insurance Program.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s important to understand that Medicare today faces a dire financial outlook. Many of the reforms in the new law are aimed at controlling costs and preserving Medicare for future generations. But this law, although passed with bipartisan support, has drawn significant criticism. Here are some notes on the major changes included in the latest Medicare reform: MACRA&hellip;</p> <p> <strong>Permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)</strong> &ndash; Since 1997, there&rsquo;s been a formula in place that determines how much doctors will be paid for Medicare reimbursement. This formula, although law, has been avoided most years through a Congressional action nicknamed the &ldquo;doc fix.&rdquo; Doc fixes have allowed Medicare spending to continue to grow above the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, rendering the formula useless for containing Medicare&rsquo;s costs. Since the formula wasn&rsquo;t really serving its purpose, and since it also comes with some other downsides, repealing it is a victory for budget transparency and will put an end to the &ldquo;doc fix&rdquo; charade.</p> <p> <strong>Introduces means testing to Medicare</strong> &ndash; This new law will require the wealthiest seniors to pay more for their own health care. Over time, this provision will affect more and more people because of inflation. Asking Americans to share in their Medicare costs can be controversial. Many people feel that because they&rsquo;ve paid into Medicare during the course of their working years, they deserve to get those resources back through health care in old age. But Medicare serves all seniors, regardless of how much they&rsquo;ve paid in over the years, and on average Medicare is paying out $3 in benefits for every $1 that seniors paid in.</p> <p> <strong>Prohibits first-dollar coverage in Medigap plans</strong> &ndash; Some seniors use what&rsquo;s called a Medigap plan to help them cover expenses that Medicare doesn&rsquo;t. The new law prohibits those plans from offering first-dollar coverage. Again, this is intended to get Medicare patients to use more of their own dollars through more cost sharing. While it doesn&rsquo;t make sense from a conservative perspective to add to the regulation of health plans, this regulation limits how government funds can be used. So since it&rsquo;s a limitation on government, many conservatives approve of it. Again, this is the result of government&#39;s over-involvement in the healthcare sector.&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Expands CHIP</strong> &ndash; The law includes two years of funding for the Children&rsquo;s Health Insurance Program. This of course represents an expansion of government and a metastasizing of ObamaCare.</p> <p> <strong>Changes the way doctors are paid</strong> &ndash; Anyone with a pocket copy of the Constitution might fairly ask what business the federal government has paying any doctor anything. It shouldn&rsquo;t be the role of the government to employ doctors or provide for the health care of seniors or anyone else, but since 1965 and the creation of Medicare, Uncle Sam has been reimbursing docs through this single-payer program. This means the government must determine: How should doctors be reimbursed? So far, Medicare has worked on a &ldquo;fee-for-service&rdquo; basis, paying doctors in proportion to the volume of services they performed for Medicare patients. This means that when a doctor performs more tests, treatments, appointments, and so forth, he gets paid more. Obviously, this creates bad incentives, encouraging doctors to unnecessarily over-treat Medicare patients. Not only is this expensive, it can also be unhealthy. However, the new law puts into place an even worse idea: MIPS, or a &ldquo;merit-based incentive payment system.&rdquo; This &ldquo;fee-for-value&rdquo; payment system will attempt to pay doctors according to health outcomes (I think this is similar to paying teachers according to test scores). While of course we want doctors to work toward the best outcomes for their patients, we should also understand that doctors don&rsquo;t have full control over outcomes. Patients have a responsibility too, to take their drugs and show up to their appointments, etc. And paying doctors for better health outcomes could discourage them from seeing patients who are especially sick or don&rsquo;t face a good prognosis.</p> <p> <strong>In summary:</strong> some good, some bad, some ugly. Keeping in mind that part of the goal was to improve Medicare&rsquo;s long-term fiscal situation, the law may very well have achieved that. The permanent repeal of the SGR is a victory, too. Taken together, MACRA is a mixed bag&hellip; That&rsquo;s often the result of a bipartisan compromise.</p> HeathFri, 17 Apr 2015 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual Pay Day • Vicki McKenna HeathThu, 16 Apr 2015 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGroups Challenge President Obama on Equal Pay for Women<p> CHARLOTTE -- <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Speaking on behalf of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, Shelby-native Hadley Heath Manning says the concept of equal pay in the workplace is a misnomer.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;That is just a comparison of averages and the disparity can be explained by a lot of other factors besides workplace discrimination,&quot; she said.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> President Barack Obama fielded two questions on the subject during Wednesday&#39;s Town Hall meeting in Charlotte, the day after Equal Pay Day.</p> <p> For many, the day symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.</p> <p> According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for full-time workers, women earn 78 cents to a man&#39;s dollar.</p> <p> &quot;It doesn&#39;t take into account, for example, different choices men and women might make when it comes to what industry they might want to work in, what job level they&#39;re working in,&quot; said Manning.</p> <p> Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner believes the &lsquo;78-cents on the dollar&rsquo; statistic is also a bit misleading.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;I do think there&#39;s been more progress on that front than a lot of people realize and a lot of it is generational,&quot; said Vitner.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Manning says the choice to have children is the largest factor driving the gender wage gap, not employers or lawmakers.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;It&#39;s not necessarily something that&#39;s going to allow you to maximize your career or maximize your earnings, but it is something for many women that allows them to maximize their happiness,&quot; said Manning.</span></span></strong></span></p> HeathWed, 15 Apr 2015 15:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual Pay Day • TWC Channel 14 North Carolina HeathWed, 15 Apr 2015 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum7 people who know the gender “pay gap” is a misleading statistic that reflects choice, not discrimination<p> <a href="">Ashe Schow, who is always covering the myths of feminism gamely at the Washington Examiner:</a></p> <p> &ldquo;The higher concentrations of men in riskier occupations with greater occurrences of workplace injuries and fatalities suggest that more men than women are willing to expose themselves to work-related injury or death in exchange for higher wages,&rdquo; Perry wrote. &ldquo;In contrast, women more than men prefer lower risk, family-friendly occupations with greater workplace safety, and are frequently willing to accept lower wages for the reduced probability of work-related injury or death.&rdquo;</p> <p> Those who perpetuate the myth of the 23-cent wage gap myth do so even though they know the real reasons for the gap. President Obama continues to claim women earn less than men even though, using the same statistics to arrive at the 77 or 78-cent figure, his administration has its own wage gap. When that was pointed out, the administration responded by saying it was because there are more women in the administration but they hold lower-paying jobs, which skews the average. A side-by-side comparison of men and women working the same jobs found no such wage gap.</p> <p> The acknowledgment that the 77-cent figure is inaccurate hasn&rsquo;t stopped the White House from still bringing it up from time to time, although Obama himself has slowed down on its use recently.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><a href="'t-represent-the-problem-leftists-claim"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath of Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, in </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Hill</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">:</span></span></a></strong></span></p> <blockquote> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Americans all support the concept of &ldquo;equal pay for equal work,&rdquo; but the &ldquo;78 cents&rdquo; figure actually doesn&rsquo;t compare equal work. The statistic doesn&rsquo;t take into account the industries, jobs, education levels, or the number of hours, and years of experience of the workers. Men and women often make different choices about work, which is why they earn different amounts. That&rsquo;s not a problem government should be trying to solve.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But even if progressives misinterpret the wage gap as evidence of unequal pay for equal work, then they should at least recognize that the government long ago took action to make this type of discrimination illegal. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 both outlaw sex-based wage discrimination. Women have and often exercise the right to sue for damages from sexist employers.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Sadly, none of the laws in our federal code will stop sexist bosses from being sexist, just as laws against violence, theft, or vandalism won&rsquo;t completely eliminate those crimes. But creating more legislation in the name of outlawing what is already illegal is counterproductive.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">President Obama takes great pride in the first piece of legislation he signed, &ldquo;The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.&rdquo; This law lengthened the statute of limitations on wage discrimination lawsuits and broadened legal avenues to sue.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But contrary to its title, it did not overnight make all wages &ldquo;fair.&rdquo; The president has since been in the sticky situation of explaining that although he signed a &ldquo;fair pay&rdquo; law, he believes women are still unfairly paid. Is it an effective law or isn&rsquo;t it?</span></strong></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p> <a href="">Glenn Kessler, <em>Washington Post</em> fact-checker, who has awarded the stat Two Pinnochios two years in a row:</a></p> <blockquote> <p> Few experts dispute that there is a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women &mdash; such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children &mdash; make it difficult to make simple comparisons. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s so facile about repeatedly citing &ldquo;78 cents&rdquo; or &ldquo;77 cents.&rdquo;</p> <p> Democrats are relying on a simple calculation from the Census Bureau: a ratio of the difference between women&rsquo;s median earnings and men&rsquo;s median earnings. (The median is the middle value, with an equal number of full-time workers earning more and earning less.) That leaves a pay gap of 22 cents.</p> <p> But the Labor Department&rsquo;s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the gap is 18 cents when looking at weekly wages. The gap is even smaller when you look at hourly wages &mdash; 13 cents &mdash; but then not every wage earner is paid on an hourly basis, so that statistic excludes salaried workers.</p> <p> Annual wage figures do not take into account the fact that teachers &mdash; many of whom are women &mdash; have a primary job that fills nine months out of the year.</p> </blockquote> <p>, which admits discrimination is not the whole wage-gap story in an interesting examination of the higher relative wages of lesbians compared to heterosexual women. The reasons? <a href="">Choices, not just discrimination:</a></p> <blockquote> <p> While it has become fashionable to disparage Lean In-style exhortations for women to push harder for their own advancement, the data on lesbian earning power suggest that discrimination and sexism are not the only culprits in the continuing existence of a wage gap between men and women&mdash;if they were, lesbians would be expected to earn less than straight women do, because they face discrimination for both their femaleness and their gayness. Because lesbians are not a privileged group in our society, their relative workplace successes must be at least partially attributable to differences in their career choices and priorities. Heterosexuality, and the desire to attract a male partner, seems to act like a millstone around the necks of straight women, preventing them from achieving their full potential. For lesbians, we see some of that lost potential being tapped, even in the face of continuing discrimination in the work environment. Of course, it&rsquo;s still vital to fight sexism in all its forms&mdash;women cannot close the pay gap through their own individual efforts alone. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean those efforts are in vain. Straight women could learn a thing or two from lesbians.</p> </blockquote> <p> <a href="">Betsey Stevenson, a member of Obama&rsquo;s Council of Economic Advisers (on Equal Pay Day 2014):</a></p> <blockquote> <p> Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, acknowledged to reporters that the 77-cent figure did not reflect equal pay for equal work. &ldquo;Seventy-seven cents captures the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the annual earnings of full-time, full-year men,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There are a lot of things that go into that 77-cents figure, there are a lot of things that contribute and no one&rsquo;s trying to say that it&rsquo;s all about discrimination, but I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s a better figure.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p> <a href="">Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (on Equal Pay Day 2014):</a></p> <blockquote> <p> KARL: OK. But you&rsquo;re using the same metric to argue that there&rsquo;s pay discrimination in the workforce at large. Explain to me why the metric works in the economy at large, but it doesn&rsquo;t work here at the White House?</p> <p> CARNEY: Again, the fact that there is indisputable census data that women earn 77 cents on the dollar that men earn. A lot of things go into that discrepancy. Discrimination and lack of transparency and the inability of women to find out what they&rsquo;re paid vis-a-vis their male coworkers is part of the problem. That is something we, in the administration via the president&rsquo;s authorities, and Congress through legislation can address. That is what the president is saying today. That is why he took the action he took That is why he&rsquo;s calling on Congress to do what it can do to address those problems. I&rsquo;m not disputing that there are a lot of factors that go into that, but the discrepancy is real. And the again, I &mdash;</p> <p> KARL: But I still don&rsquo;t understand why you&rsquo;re saying that&rsquo;s evidence of discrimination outside the White House, but the same metric is not evidence of discrimination inside the White House. I mean, it&rsquo;s the same metric.</p> <p> CARNEY: Again, Jon, what I&rsquo;m saying &mdash;</p> <p> KARL: Well, you&rsquo;re not going very well &mdash; 88 percent?</p> <p> CARNEY: Well, first of all, again, if you want to compare metrics, we&rsquo;re doing better.</p> <p> KARL: So is that the goal, to do a little bit better than the outside?</p> <p> CARNEY: No, the goal is to do absolutely the best that we can do and that what we&rsquo;re striving to do here. And that&rsquo;s what the legislation the president calls on Congress to pass would ensure that others are doing across the country. And what astounds me about this debate is the suggestion &mdash; and you don&rsquo;t hear a lot of women making it &mdash; is that there isn&rsquo;t pay discrepancy.</p> </blockquote> <p> <a href="">The <em>New York Times</em>, on a rare occasion it grapples with what women actually say they want instead of what feminist say they should want (2013):</a></p> <blockquote> <p> FALL RIVER, Wis. &mdash; Sara Uttech has not spent much of her career so far worrying about &ldquo;leaning in.&rdquo; Instead, she has mostly been hanging on, trying to find ways to get her career to accommodate her family life, rather than the other way around.</p> <p> Ms. Uttech, like many working mothers, is a married college graduate, and her job running member communications for an agricultural association helps put her family near the middle of the nation&rsquo;s income curve. And like dozens of other middle-class working mothers interviewed about their work and family lives, she finds climbing a career ladder less of a concern than finding a position that offers paid sick leave, flexible scheduling or even the opportunity to work fewer hours. The ultimate luxury for some of them, in fact (though not for Ms. Uttech), would be the option to be a stay-at-home mother.</p> <p> &ldquo;I never miss a baseball game,&rdquo; said Ms. Uttech, uttering a statement that is a fantasy for millions of working mothers (and fathers) nationwide. (This attendance record is even more impressive when you realize that her children play in upward of six a week.)</p> </blockquote> HeathTue, 14 Apr 2015 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumExaggerated wage gap doesn't represent the problem leftists claim<p> April 14 is &ldquo;Equal Pay Day&rdquo; &ndash; the day feminist groups say women must work into 2015 in order for them to &ldquo;catch up&rdquo; to men&rsquo;s earnings in 2014.&nbsp; They point to a Department of Labor statistic that shows women earn 78 cents to a man&rsquo;s dollar.</p> <p> Americans all support the concept of &ldquo;equal pay for equal work,&rdquo; but the &ldquo;78 cents&rdquo; figure actually doesn&rsquo;t compare equal work. The statistic doesn&rsquo;t take into account the industries, jobs, education levels, or the number of hours, and years of experience of the workers. Men and women often make different choices about work, which is why they earn different amounts.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s not a problem government should be trying to solve.</p> <p> But even if progressives misinterpret the wage gap as evidence of unequal pay for equal work, then they should at least recognize that the government long ago took action to make this type of discrimination illegal. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 both outlaw sex-based wage discrimination. Women have and often exercise the right to sue for damages from sexist employers.</p> <p> Sadly, none of the laws in our federal code will stop sexist bosses from being sexist, just as laws against violence, theft, or vandalism won&rsquo;t completely eliminate those crimes. But creating more legislation in the name of outlawing what is already illegal is counterproductive.</p> <p> President Obama takes great pride in the first piece of legislation he signed, &ldquo;The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.&rdquo; This law lengthened the statute of limitations on wage discrimination lawsuits and broadened legal avenues to sue.</p> <p> But contrary to its title, it did not overnight make all wages &ldquo;fair.&rdquo; The president has since been in the sticky situation of explaining that although he signed a &ldquo;fair pay&rdquo; law, he believes women are still unfairly paid. Is it an effective law or isn&rsquo;t it?</p> <p> Democrats have also proposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, another misnamed piece of legislation that has more to do with enriching trial lawyers than &ldquo;fairness&rdquo; toward women. Rather than opting into class-action discrimination lawsuits, women employees would have to opt out.&nbsp; Rather than being innocent until proven guilty, this law would invert our justice system by shifting the burden of proof onto employers, who would have to show that each compensation decision was &ldquo;job related&rdquo; and &ldquo;consistent with business necessity.&rdquo;</p> <p> Sadly, the ultimate result of this law would be to discourage employers form hiring and employing women in the first place, to minimize legal exposure.</p> <p> Undoubtedly, in the coming years, some people will suggest that electing a female head of state will help to make America fairer and more empowering of women. This too is wrongheaded, especially if the candidate under consideration is Hillary Clinton, who seems to have little appreciation for the true sources of women&rsquo;s economic empowerment: free-market capitalism and individual freedom.</p> <p> The bottom line is this: We should focus on equal opportunities for men and women, not equal results. Wage discrimination is already illegal. The solution isn&rsquo;t in more &ldquo;fair pay&rdquo; laws, but in empowering women to make the choices that maximize their personal happiness, with no regard for a misused national statistic.</p> <p> <em>Manning is senior policy analyst with the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> HeathTue, 14 Apr 2015 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAdding Corruption to Obamacare Incompetence in Oregon • Bill Martinez HeathTue, 14 Apr 2015 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy The U.S. House Is Suing The Obama Administration<p> Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution describe the roles of the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of the federal government. It&rsquo;s clear that the Founders intended for Congress to make the laws, the administration to enforce the laws, and the courts to interpret the laws.&nbsp; Although this doctrine of Separation of Powers sounds simple, it&rsquo;s not. The administrative branch holds great power to promulgate regulations and make executive decisions (orders and actions) that wield the force of law, and today, many fear that this power is being abused.</p> <p> The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, is the ultimate recent example. The text of this comprehensive health reform law occupies between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of paper, depending on font size. The regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act would require 20,000 pages of paper. This is largely because the language of the law itself delegates many determinations to the Department of Health and Human Services. It seems Congress makes the law, but the Administration makes the <em>rules</em>.</p> <p> But with regard to ObamaCare, the Administration has gone far beyond offering regulatory guidance that adds clarity or specificity to the law. On many occasions, administrative agencies have made changes to the law, some of which may not stand up to constitutional scrutiny in light of the Separation of Powers.</p> <p> <a href="">According to the Galen Institute</a>, the executive branch has altered ObamaCare 30 times. A few of these actions have <a href="">elicited a legal response</a> from government watchdogs, taxpayers, and Congress. These lawsuits are examples of our system of checks and balances at work.</p> <p> In one of these cases, <em>U.S. House v. Burwell</em>, one of the three branches (the judiciary) ironically will have to decide whether the constitutional lines that separate the powers of the other two (Congress and the Executive) will remain relevant.</p> <p> Many of the administrative changes to ObamaCare have been implementation delays, including the enforcement of the employer mandate. In short, this mandate requires employers of 50 or more workers to provide health insurance or pay a penalty.&nbsp; ObamaCare says clearly, in the relevant Section 1513(d), &ldquo;the amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.&rdquo; But <em>twice</em> the Administration has acted unilaterally to change this enforcement date.</p> <p> The delay of the employer mandate is one claim in the suit, which also points to unconstitutional &ldquo;offset&rdquo; payments that the federal government has been making to insurance companies without Congressional appropriation. The House voted to file this lawsuit against executive overreach under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner. The defendants are the Department of Health and Humans Services and Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Department of the Treasury and Secretary Jack Lew.</p> <p> In this case, the legislative branch is alleging that it has been injured by the unconstitutional actions of the defendants, which usurp the House&rsquo;s constitutional authority to make legislation and to appropriate public funds.</p> <p> Although it is unprecedented for the U.S. House &ndash; as a body &ndash; to file suit against the executive branch, the plaintiff describes the actions of the Obama Administration as extremely troubling and deserving of a response. From the complaint:</p> <blockquote> <p> &ldquo;The Administration has made no secret of its willingness, notwithstanding Article I of the Constitution, to act without Congress when Congress declines to enact laws that the Administration desires. Not only is there no license for the Administration to &ldquo;go it alone&rdquo; in our system, but such unilateral action is directly barred by Article I. Despite such fundamental constitutional limitations, the Administration repeatedly has abused its power by using executive action as a substitute for legislation.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p> As the Supreme Court wrote recently in a different case, <a href=""><em>Burrage v. United States</em></a>, &ldquo;The role of this Court is to apply the statute as it is written &ndash; even if we think some other approach might &lsquo;accord with good policy.&rsquo;&rdquo; Replace a few key words and the same could be said of the role of the executive branch: Its role is to<em> enforce </em>the statute <em>as it is written</em>, regardless of what administration officials believe to be the best policy. To change a policy, they should seek a legislative change from Congress (and accept Congress&rsquo;s authority when it chooses<em> not</em> to enact such a change).</p> <p> Abraham Lincoln said, &ldquo;The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.&rdquo; Enforcing the law is the purview of the executive branch. But in the case of ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act, the administration is loathe to enforce the law strictly as it was written, because doing so might make the law even less popular than it has been during the last five years. That&rsquo;s the heart of the issue here.</p> <p> Even so, it is not the prerogative of the executive branch to pick and choose among the sections and clauses of the laws, and to selectively implement laws on its own timeline. This sets a bad precedent in favor of political expediency. But those who would put more and greater power in the executive branch should be warned: What one president does by executive order, the next president might undo the same way.</p> <p> This was not the way our system was meant to work: Separated powers and a system of checks and balances are meant to ensure that our government follows the rule of law, not the rule of man by fiat. This Separation of Powers may keep the three branches from superseding each other, but this design is ultimately in place for the protection of the people. A divided government is a limited one, and a limited government allows for maximum individual freedom and human flourishing.</p> <p> <a href=""><em>Hadley Heath Manning&nbsp;</em></a><em>is director of health policy at the <a href="">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</a></em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 13 Apr 2015 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumKS to limit items people can buy with welfare funds • Your World HeathFri, 10 Apr 2015 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWorking for Women Podcast 5 • "Equal Pay Day" + the Wage Gap <p> Feminist organizations and their liberal allies in Congress and at the White House celebrate &ldquo;Equal Pay Day,&rdquo; a made-up holiday predicated on the idea that women all suffer wage discrimination and are shortchanged compared to a man&#39;s earnings for the same work. &nbsp;IWF&#39;s managing director Carrie Lukas, co-author of Liberty is No War on Women, joins Hadley Heath Manning to discuss the fictitious holiday, the truth about the so-called wage gap, and women in the workplace.</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> HeathFri, 10 Apr 2015 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBuzzfeed Video Gets Wage Gap Wrong<p> Usually I&rsquo;m a fan of Buzzfeed videos, especially the one were a group of men <a href="">hilariously try on women&rsquo;s underwear</a>, you know, to &ldquo;take a walk in our thongs.&rdquo;</p> <p> But the latest Buzzfeed video on the wage gap in men and women&rsquo;s earnings is neither funny nor accurate. <a href="">You can watch it here</a>.</p> <p> The main character in the video, Allison, discovers that her male counterpart (someone who we are told works the same exact job as Allison) makes much more money than her. What Allison should do is sue the heck out of her company, because she is already protected from sex-based wage discrimination by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But instead Allison decides to carry on with her job, only doing 78 percent of the work. Because, you know, fairness.</p> <p> I can&rsquo;t really blame Buzzfeed for completely misunderstanding this issue. After all, they&rsquo;ve been lied to: Year after year on their so-called &ldquo;Equal Pay Day,&rdquo; the political left continues to perpetuate the myth that the &ldquo;78 cents on the dollar&rdquo; statistic (up one penny from last year, guys!!) is evidence that women are paid unfairly.</p> <p> The problem is that the &ldquo;78 cents&rdquo; wage gap statistic does not gauge how close (or how far) we are to <em>equal pay for equal work</em>, a concept that all Americans support.</p> <p> The statistic, as we have explained <a href="">over</a> <a href="">and</a> <a href="">over</a> <a href="">and</a> <a href="">over</a> again at IWF, does not take into account factors such as profession, industry, education, experience, or even the number of hours worked per week. If you want to learn what the wage gap really is, I&rsquo;d suggest watching a different video. This one, from IWF:</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> HeathThu, 9 Apr 2015 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRelief from ObamaCare penalties: The gift that keeps on giving<p> A health policy analyst says now that there&#39;s precedent for it, she wouldn&#39;t be surprised to see more special sign-up periods for ObamaCare &ndash; particularly with another election just around the corner.</p> <p> The federal government now requires virtually everyone in the U.S. to have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The Obama administration is currently offering <a href="">a special sign-up opportunity</a> for people facing tax penalties this year to avoid fines next year. The period runs through April 30.</p> <p> In February, <a href="">House Democrats began pushing</a> the Obama administration to announce a special sign-up period, claiming people aren&#39;t aware of tax penalties and deserve a second chance. In response, Republicans and ObamaCare critics have accused Democrats of trying to lessen the blow of the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning of 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;"> suggests Americans might see more special sign-up opportunities in the future. &quot;Now that there is precedent for it, I wouldn&#39;t be surprised to see it happen every year, that we have a special sign-up period around tax-filing season &ndash; especially going into an election year,&quot; she adds.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> The Obama administration and other Democrats on Capitol Hill point to the number of people enrolled in health insurance coverage as evidence of ObamaCare&#39;s success and popularity. Manning thinks they ought to be looking at a better metric.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Which is: How many more people have real access to healthcare that they didn&#39;t have before &ndash; and did ObamaCare get us there through a means that was least harmful to the rest of the country?&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">According to Manning, some people went from having a private plan to a subsidized plan, while others went from having no health coverage to having Medicaid.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;This comes at great cost to taxpayers and also our healthcare system,&quot; she explains, &quot;because of the effect that these regulations and mandates are having on individual families and on the cost that they face and the access that they face when it comes to their own healthcare.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> One big issue at the moment is getting people eligible for this special sign-up opportunity to enroll in health insurance. Of the estimated four million people who are eligible, the Obama administration <a href="">said last week</a> that the number of enrollees was in the tens of thousands.</p> HeathMon, 6 Apr 2015 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumState Dept. to fly Central American children into U.S. • Bulls and Bears HeathSat, 4 Apr 2015 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmallest job gain since December 2013 • Bulls and Bears HeathSat, 4 Apr 2015 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSanctions in focus amid proposed nuke deal with Iran • Bulls and Bears HeathSat, 4 Apr 2015 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum