120301 – Politico is reporting that the Senate has defeated the Blunt bill SS.1467 by a vote of 51 to 48. Yay!
In can what can only be seen as a slap in the face to women’s rights, attached to Barbara Boxer’s (Of all women!) huge transportation bill entitled “MAP-21 or, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”, is the Blunt Bomb. Senator Roy Blunt’s bill entitled “S.1467 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011” is being debated today in the Senate. It is one of many likely to be attempted over the next few years to undermine the line items achieved for women in the Affordable Healthcare Act. (Obamacare.) Remember, since women do not have the benefit of equal rights under the eye of the law, each line item can be targeted.
The Bomb is a stupid amendment to the Act, (See bottom of the page.) even for the perennially uterus obsessed. Though it calls out the “distinct” elements of the Act for women it does not specifically address them. In fact, the thing is so vague it appears under this proposed bill insurance companies could have a crisis of conscience over just about anything and decide their employees be able to say no to covering, I don’t know, maybe child abuse injuries. Some of the “solons” who are on the lists below ought to know better.
If you see one of yours on the lists below, call them up and yell at them:
Below find a list of the Senate co-sponsors:
Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] – 2/9/2012 Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 2/9/2012 Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] – 2/9/2012 Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 2/9/2012 Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 2/9/2012 Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 2/9/2012 Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] – 2/9/2012 Sen Roberts, Pat [KS] – 2/9/2012 Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 2/9/2012 Sen Kyl, Jon [AZ] – 2/9/2012 Sen Coats, Daniel [IN] – 2/9/2012 Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 2/9/2012 Sen Toomey, Pat [PA] – 2/9/2012 Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] – 2/9/2012 Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 2/9/2012 Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 2/9/2012 Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 2/9/2012 Sen Hoeven, John [ND] – 2/9/2012 Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 2/9/2012 Sen Shelby, Richard C. [AL] – 2/13/2012 Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 2/15/2012 Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 2/16/2012 Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 2/17/2012
The Senate bill is short and similar to the House Bill “H.R 1179” of the same name, introduced by Representative Jeff Fortenberry. The House currently has a total of 242 Republicans. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether any of the with 214 cosponsors on the list below are not in the red zone:
Rep Adams, Sandy [FL-24] – 1/31/2012 Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] – 2/1/2012 Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] – 9/20/2011 Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 2/14/2012 Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] – 10/24/2011 Rep Amash, Justin [MI-3] – 2/16/2012 Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7] – 2/1/2012 Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] – 11/3/2011 Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] – 2/7/2012 Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 12/6/2011 Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] – 11/1/2011 Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] – 2/7/2012 Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 1/23/2012 Rep Berg, Rick [ND] – 1/31/2012 Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] – 2/9/2012 Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 8/1/2011 Rep Black, Diane [TN-6] – 2/7/2012 Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 8/5/2011 Rep Bonner, Jo [AL-1] – 1/31/2012 Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] – 10/4/2011 Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 3/17/2011 Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 2/6/2012 Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] – 2/6/2012 Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 2/8/2012 Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 11/3/2011 Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] – 2/2/2012 Rep Bucshon, Larry [IN-8] – 2/14/2012 Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 4/14/2011 Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 8/9/2011 Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] – 9/12/2011 Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] – 2/9/2012 Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 5/24/2011 Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2] – 2/16/2012 Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 2/14/2012 Rep Cassidy, Bill [LA-6] – 10/4/2011 Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 8/5/2011 Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] – 2/28/2012 Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 2/14/2012 Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6] – 11/3/2011 Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 2/6/2012 Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 3/17/2011 Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] – 8/1/2011 Rep Cravaack, Chip [MN-8] – 11/1/2011 Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 10/4/2011 Rep Crenshaw, Ander [FL-4] – 1/31/2012 Rep Critz, Mark S. [PA-12] – 1/25/2012 Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] – 2/15/2012 Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 2/9/2012 Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] – 8/23/2011 Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-21] – 2/9/2012 Rep Duffy, Sean P. [WI-7] – 10/4/2011 Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 2/14/2012 Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 2/14/2012 Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 2/9/2012 Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] – 2/14/2012 Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 11/15/2011 Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [TN-8] – 2/6/2012 Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] – 8/5/2011 Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] – 2/13/2012 Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3] – 2/17/2012 Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 9/12/2011 Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 2/8/2012 Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 4/7/2011 Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] – 1/23/2012 Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 6/14/2011 Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 2/28/2012 Rep Gardner, Cory [CO-4] – 2/15/2012 Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] – 2/17/2012 Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18] – 2/8/2012 Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] – 2/6/2012 Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] – 2/8/2012 Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 8/16/2011 Rep Gosar, Paul A. [AZ-1] – 2/3/2012 Rep Gowdy, Trey [SC-4] – 10/24/2011 Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] – 9/7/2011 Rep Graves, Tom [GA-9] – 2/16/2012 Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 11/18/2011 Rep Griffith, H. Morgan [VA-9] – 5/4/2011 Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13] – 2/16/2012 Rep Guinta, Frank C. [NH-1] – 2/8/2012 Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 1/31/2012 Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 9/7/2011 Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 8/5/2011 Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 7/27/2011 Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4] – 7/27/2011 Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] – 10/4/2011 Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] – 2/28/2012 Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] – 2/9/2012 Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 4/14/2011 Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2] – 9/7/2011 Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 8/16/2011 Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] – 2/3/2012 Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] – 2/2/2012 Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] – 9/20/2011 Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 2/1/2012 Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] – 2/8/2012 Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 8/1/2011 Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] – 2/2/2012 Rep Kelly, Mike [PA-3] – 10/25/2011 Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 10/13/2011 Rep King, Steve [IA-5] – 4/1/2011 Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] – 4/1/2011 Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 10/12/2011 Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 9/22/2011 Rep Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1] – 2/8/2012 Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 3/17/2011 Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7] – 2/8/2012 Rep Landry, Jeffrey M. [LA-3] – 10/4/2011 Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 4/14/2011 Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 10/13/2011 Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] – 2/16/2012 Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 9/12/2011 Rep Lewis, Jerry [CA-41] – 8/1/2011 Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] – 3/17/2011 Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] – 2/28/2012 Rep Long, Billy [MO-7] – 9/12/2011 Rep Lucas, Frank D. [OK-3] – 2/17/2012 Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 9/12/2011 Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 10/12/2011 Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] – 2/1/2012 Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] – 9/20/2011 Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 9/12/2011 Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 2/2/2012 Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] – 2/17/2012 Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 6/23/2011 Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 7/22/2011 Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 5/4/2011 Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] – 2/6/2012 Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 10/13/2011 Rep McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [CA-25] – 11/1/2011 Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 2/15/2012 Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] – 3/17/2011 Rep Meehan, Patrick [PA-7] – 2/6/2012 Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – 2/6/2012 Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] – 2/6/2012 Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 10/6/2011 Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 4/1/2011 Rep Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5] – 2/7/2012 Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] – 8/23/2011 Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] – 8/23/2011 Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] – 4/7/2011 Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD] – 2/7/2012 Rep Nugent, Richard [FL-5] – 2/8/2012 Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 9/13/2011 Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/23/2012 Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 8/9/2011 Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] – 5/24/2011 Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] – 4/1/2011 Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] – 9/12/2011 Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – 2/14/2012 Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] – 2/17/2012 Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] – 8/5/2011 Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 2/13/2012 Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] – 9/12/2011 Rep Posey, Bill [FL-15] – 2/6/2012 Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] – 2/7/2012 Rep Quayle, Benjamin [AZ-3] – 2/17/2012 Rep Reed, Tom [NY-29] – 2/7/2012 Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 2/7/2012 Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] – 2/8/2012 Rep Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8] – 1/31/2012 Rep Rigell, E. Scott [VA-2] – 11/3/2011 Rep Rivera, David [FL-25] – 2/8/2012 Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 2/8/2012 Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 2/8/2012 Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] – 2/16/2012 Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] – 2/6/2012 Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] – 9/12/2011 Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 2/17/2012 Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 2/8/2012 Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 4/1/2011 Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] – 2/16/2012 Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] – 9/12/2011 Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 9/12/2011 Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] – 2/6/2012 Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3] – 2/28/2012 Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] – 2/14/2012 Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 3/17/2011 Rep Schilling, Robert T. [IL-17] – 8/9/2011 Rep Schmidt, Jean [OH-2] – 7/28/2011 Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 9/12/2011 Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-5] – 2/3/2012 Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 2/16/2012 Rep Scott, Tim [SC-1] – 9/20/2011 Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] – 7/22/2011 Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 2/13/2012 Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] – 2/17/2012 Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 2/8/2012 Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] – 7/28/2011 Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] – 6/14/2011 Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] – 2/1/2012 Rep Southerland, Steve [FL-2] – 2/8/2012 Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] – 2/16/2012 Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 2/9/2012 Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [IN-3] – 2/1/2012 Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 2/15/2012 Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 7/22/2011 Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 2/6/2012 Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 10/6/2011 Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 3/17/2011 Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] – 1/23/2012 Rep Turner, Robert L. [NY-9] – 2/6/2012 Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] – 2/14/2012 Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 3/17/2011 Rep Walsh, Joe [IL-8] – 9/23/2011 Rep West, Allen B. [FL-22] – 2/16/2012 Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 2/7/2012 Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] – 2/6/2012 Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 2/9/2012 Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 2/15/2012 Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] – 2/2/2012 Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 2/13/2012 Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 2/7/2012 Rep Young, Todd C. [IN-9] – 2/7/2012
Here is the bill:
S.1467 — Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 (Introduced in Senate – IS)
S 1467 IS
To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
August 2, 2011
Mr. BLUNT (for himself, Mr. RUBIO, and Ms. AYOTTE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.
1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011′.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) As Thomas Jefferson declared to New London Methodists in 1809, `[n]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority’.
(2) Jefferson’s statement expresses a conviction on respect for conscience that is deeply embedded in the history and traditions of our Nation and codified in numerous State and Federal laws, including laws on health care.
(3) Until enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148, in this section referred to as `PPACA’), the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers, purchasers of insurance, plan sponsors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, such as individual or institutional health care providers.
(4) PPACA creates a new nationwide requirement for health plans to cover `essential health benefits’ and `preventive services’ (including a distinct set of `preventive services for women’), delegating to the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to provide a list of detailed services under each category, and imposes other new requirements with respect to the provision of health care services.
(5) While PPACA provides an exemption for some religious groups that object to participation in Government health programs generally, it does not allow purchasers, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders with religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing or obtaining coverage of such items or services, or allow health care providers with such objections to decline to provide them.
(6) By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates in PPACA jeopardize the ability of individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.
(b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are–
(1) to ensure that health care stakeholders retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized or discriminated against under PPACA; and
(2) to ensure that no requirement in PPACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such conscientious objection from health plans or other programs under PPACA.
SEC. 3. RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.
(a) In General- Section 1302(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148; 42 U.S.C. 18022(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(6) RESPECTING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES-
`(A) FOR HEALTH PLANS- A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) (or preventive health services described in section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act), to fail to be a qualified health plan, or to fail to fulfill any other requirement under this title on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because–
`(i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or
`(ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.
`(B) FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS- Nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services under this title (or any amendment made by this title) or to fulfill any other requirement under this title because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider pursuant to this paragraph.
`(C) NONDISCRIMINATION IN EXERCISING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE- No Exchange or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall discriminate against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of such plan’s, sponsor’s, provider’s, or person’s unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services pursuant to this paragraph.
`(D) CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be construed to permit a health plan or provider to discriminate in a manner inconsistent with subparagraphs (B) and (D) of paragraph (4).
`(E) PRIVATE RIGHTS OF ACTION- The various protections of conscience in this paragraph constitute the protection of individual rights and create a private cause of action for those persons or entities protected. Any person or entity may assert a violation of this paragraph as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.
`(i) FEDERAL JURISDICTION- The Federal courts shall have jurisdiction to prevent and redress actual or threatened violations of this paragraph by granting all forms of legal or equitable relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, damages, costs, and attorney fees.
`(ii) INITIATING PARTY- An action under this paragraph may be instituted by the Attorney General of the United States, or by any person or entity having standing to complain of a threatened or actual violation of this paragraph, including, but not limited to, any actual or prospective plan sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering a plan, any actual or prospective purchaser or beneficiary of a plan, and any individual or institutional health care provider.
`(iii) INTERIM RELIEF- Pending final determination of any action under this paragraph, the court may at any time enter such restraining order or prohibitions, or take such other actions, as it deems necessary.
`(G) ADMINISTRATION- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this paragraph and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.
`(H) ACTUARIAL EQUIVALENCE- Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the Secretary from issuing regulations or other guidance to ensure that health plans excluding specific items or services under this paragraph shall have an aggregate actuarial value at least equivalent to that of plans at the same level of coverage that do not exclude such items or services.’.
(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be effective as if included in the enactment of Public Law 111-148.