OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

February 14, 2014

Tell the House NO on SB 906 – National Popular Vote

Filed under: Constitution, Lobbying, Network — Tags: , , , , — oksafeinc @ 10:09 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Unbelievably, on Wednesday Oklahoma’s Senate passed a bill that moves this state toward voting for president by popular vote.

By most calculations, this means that those states with the highest concentration of urban dwellers would decide who is elected president, (like CA, IL, and NY).  Under this proposal, it looks like OK’s electors would have had to cast their vote for Barack Obama in the last election.

For this we needed Republicans?

Sen. Rob Johnson (rumored to be angling for another job), authored SB 906, which states, “Pursuant to terms and conditions of this act, the State of Oklahoma seeks to join with other states and establish the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”

SB 906 passed the Senate on 2/12/14 by a vote of 28-18 and is now in the House.

Part of a nation-wide effort this model legislation has passed in 9 states – all progressive “blue” states, like CA, WA, and IL, as of July 2013.

From Wikipedia:

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among various states and the District of Columbia to replace their current rules regarding the apportionment of presidential electors with rules guaranteeing the election of the candidate with the most popular votes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Coming in the form of an interstate compact, the agreement goes into effect once law in states that together have an absolute majority of votes (at least 270) in the Electoral College. In the next presidential election, those states would award all their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, who would become President by winning a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Until the compact’s conditions are met, all states will award electoral votes in their current manner.

As of July 2013, the compact had been joined by nine states and the District of Columbia (see map). Their 136 combined electoral votes amount to 25% of the Electoral College, and 50% of the 270 votes needed for the compact to go into effect.

Cartogram_NPVIC_Current_Status.svg

More here, including debates on the issue and a map of states, and at the National Popular Vote website.

SB 906 will be assigned to a House Committee (unknown as of this date). Please contact your House members and ask them to vote NO on SB 906.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman: (405) 557-7339  Email:  jwhickman@okhouse.gov

Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson: (405) 557-7317   Email: mikejackson@okhouse.gov

Floor Leader Pam Peterson:  (405) 557-7341   Email: pampeterson@okhouse.gov

List of House members here.

February 4, 2014

Can Handguns Be Banned in OK? Examining HJR 1026

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This explanation by OK2A was so well done we decided to post it in it’s entirety.

Worth remembering as the debate on “2nd Amendment rights” continues in 2014, is that the “right” to self-defense is an inherent right – you’re born with it.  The right to protect one’s life predates any constitution.

From our friends at OK2A, 2-4-2014:

OK2A Image

Can Handguns Be Banned in Oklahoma? By Tim Gillespie

Okay; before you accuse me of being crazy or of trying to over-sensationalize the subject, hear me out because the answer to this question, according to the state courts, is yes.  Before I get into what the courts said, let’s start with the Oklahoma Constitution.

One concern is the problematic wording of Article 2, Section 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution (our state version of the Second Amendment).  It says, “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons” (emphasis added).  The first part of the sentence is solidly worded.  The problem is everything after the semicolon.  The Oklahoma Constitution gives the legislature the power to regulate the carrying of weapons without limitation.

In 2012, OK2A worked with several legislators on the Open Carry bill.  We added several other measures into that bill, including one that made it legal to carry an unconcealed weapon on your own property for the purpose of self-defense and without a permit.  It was illegal for you to carry an unconcealed handgun on you own property until November, 2012!  Why?  Because the Oklahoma Constitution says the Legislature has the unlimited power to regulate the carrying of weapons.

Another problem comes courtesy of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 1908 decision in ex parte Thomas.  Mr. Thomas was arrested in Payne county for carrying a concealed handgun.  His conviction was appealed to the State Supreme Court.  In this case, the Court said that the state constitution does NOT guarantee the right of defense to an individual, totally ignoring the first half of Article 2, Section 26.  They claimed that the right only applied to the militia.  They went on to say that because handguns aren’t effective militia weapons they are not protected arms.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals took this a step or two farther in their 1929 decision in the case Pierce v State.  Mr. Pierce was arrested after a search warrant was executed on his house.  He was suspected of bootlegging but no still was found.  Having been ordered out of his house while the search was conducted, Mr. Pierce was standing in his yard with a Colt revolver in his belt.  He was arrested for carrying an unconcealed handgun on his own property.  During his appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court stated that the Legislatures ability to regulate the carrying of weapons extends beyond public areas and onto private property.  (Remember, the state constitution does not limit the Legislatures reach in regulating the carrying of weapons.)  Furthermore, the Court asserted that the government “has power to not only prohibit the carrying of concealed or unconcealed [pistols or revolvers], but also has the power to even prohibit the ownership or possession of such arms.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court cited Thomas and Pierce as recently as 1998, meaning that it is established case-law.  This is another problem in and of itself.  Judges seem to care more about what other judges say than what the Constitution or law says.  So, to get the courts to reverse course on this issue will be nearly impossible unless they have something entirely new to look at.  Enter HJR1026.

Oklahoma capitol and flag

The product of more than two years of research, HJR1026 addresses these issues and the many ridiculous gun laws on the books in Oklahoma.  HJR1026 would replace the current Article 2, Section 26 with the following:

  1. The fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and bear (that is, to carry) arms, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, non-lethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as ammunition and the components of arms and ammunition, for security, self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil power when thereunto lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose shall not be infringed.  Any regulations of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
  2. This section shall not prevent the Legislature from prohibiting the possession of arms by those convicted of any violent or otherwise dangerous felony, those adjudicated as mentally incompetent, or those who have been committed in any mental institution.
  3. No law shall impose licensure, registration, or special taxation on the acquisition, ownership, or possession of arms, ammunition, or the components of arms or ammunition.

This new language would give Oklahoma the strongest constitutional protection of any state in the Union.  Not only does it recognize the individual’s right to self-preservation and the right of the state to raise a state guard, it protects recreational use of firearms.  The wording of the proposed amendment also addresses the bad case-law previously discussed.  Furthermore, the requirement that judges use “strict scrutiny” in their review of Oklahoma’s firearms laws will restrict the government’s ability to regulate the possession and carrying of firearms to a higher degree.

There are three levels of scrutiny used by the courts: rational basis scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and strict scrutiny.  Currently, Second Amendment law is reviewed using intermediate scrutiny, which only requires the state to show they have some compelling interest.  Strict scrutiny, however, requires not only a compelling interest but also requires the state to use the least disruptive means possible when regulating the right.  In other words, case-law that would allow the state to ban handguns will not withstand strict scrutiny.

Now, back to the title of this article.  We are not over-sensationalizing the situation.  Yes; I know this is Oklahoma and the likelihood that our state legislature and governor would actually collude to ban handguns is far-fetched – at least it is today.  I’m sure that if you could travel back 20 years in time to meet with a group of Coloradans to tell them they would have to mount a recall effort to deal with a state legislature bent on passing draconian gun control laws, they wouldn’t believe you.  The political winds can change quickly.  We want to fix it before it has a chance to become a problem.

Beyond that, just including the requirement for strict scrutiny in our state’s constitution will strengthen our position when dealing with obstinate state legislators as we continue to deal with some of our state’s more impractical gun laws and will make it easier to deal with these in the courts when the legislature refuses to act.

HJR1026 is a critical piece of legislation.  Please call your state representative and state senator and ask them not only to support it, but to sign on as a co-author.  The House switchboard number is (405) 521-2711 and the Senate switchboard number is (405) 524-0126.  You can also download our issue brief on the measure here.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

January 23, 2014

Common Sense Right to Bear Arms Bill from Senator Nathan Dahm – Senate Bill 1473

Nathan Dahm thumbnail no captionState Senator Nathan Dahm (SD-33) has filed some common sense legislation regarding the right to self-defense.

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2014


Dahm says gun legislation will strengthen 2nd Amendment rights

OKLAHOMA CITY –State Sen. Nathan Dahm has filed legislation to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms without a license. Dahm, R-Tulsa, explained Senate Bill 1473 is an effort to reaffirm Oklahomans’ Second Amendment rights.

“The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and yet when we require our citizens to jump through hoops, pay fees and undergo a process that presumes they’re guilty of something until proven otherwise, their rights are being infringed upon,” Dahm said. “Senate Bill 1473 simply says Oklahomans can carry firearms in all the places currently allowed by law, but they will no longer be required to obtain a license to do so.”

Under SB 1473, a person age 18 or older would be able to open carry loaded or unloaded shotguns, rifles and pistols without a license for hunting, target shooting or other such events. It would also be allowed for events related to military or law enforcement functions; for practice or performance for entertainment purposes; or for lawful self-defense purposes.

Places where guns are currently prohibited, such as schools and government facilities, would continue to be off-limits for firearms.

“Oklahomans will still be able to get a license so they could carry in other states that allow reciprocity,” Dahm said. “They just won’t have to have a license in Oklahoma to carry.”

If approved, Dahm’s legislation, also known as the “Piers Morgan Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms Without Infringement Act” would become effective on November 1, 2014.

OKSAFE Square LogoOK SAFE, INC

November 16, 2013

Coming to Oklahoma? National Popular Vote and Convention of States?

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Things are already percolating for Oklahoma’s upcoming 2014 legislative session.  And it  looks like the ol’ Constitution is being targeted for reform…again.

Just a heads up on a couple of items being proposed for the upcoming 2014 legislative session.

I. Popular Vote

NPVtitlebanner_940It is reported that Rep. Don Armes and Sen. Rob Johnson are considering legislation that would modify the electoral college system and adopt a national popular vote for electing the President.
This information is from a legislator approached by the lobbyist promoting the idea.

Here’s the group (we believe) pushing the adoption of a National Popular Vote:

According to their website they have 10 jurisdictions already on board.

Over 50% of the Way to Activating the National Popular Vote Bill – August 8, 2012
The National Popular Vote bill has now been signed into law in 10 jurisdictions possessing 136 electoral votes — 50.4% of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring the National Popular Vote interstate compact into effect.

  • District of Columbia – 3 electoral votes
  • Hawaii – 4 electoral votes
  • Illinois – 20 electoral votes
  • Maryland – 10 electoral votes
  • Massachusetts – 11 electoral votes
  • New Jersey – 14 electoral votes
  • Washington – 12 electoral votes
  • Vermont – 3 electoral votes
  • California – 55 electoral votes
  • Rhode Island – 4 electoral votes

This call to do away with/modify the electoral college and go with a popular vote comes up from time to time.  This time the effort seems pretty well organized.  They even have some current and former elected officials on board.

Below are various explanations of the Electoral College process.  [This is not necessarily an endorsement of these organizations – they just happen to have pretty good explanations of the electoral system.]

From JBS: http://www.jbs.org/news/national-popular-vote-would-end-states-role-in-elections-for-president

II. Convention of States

Convention of States logo
There is also a general call being floated around for a Convention of States, promoted by Citizens for Self Governance. Such a call would require 34 states to pass legislation calling for such a Convention. From their website: “Rather than calling a convention for a specific amendment, Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) has launched the Convention of the States Project to urge state legislatures to properly use Article V to call a convention for a particular subject—reducing the power of Washington, D.C.”

It is good to be prepared – you might be good to study up on both issues ahead of session.

The first day of the OK Legislative session is Monday, February 3rd, 2014.  Deadlines for filing bills is in December 2013.

October 30, 2013

Opposition to Smart Meters Leads to Tulsa Hearing – Thursday 10/31/13

OK-SAFE, Inc. –Oklahoma Smart Meters and the Constitution

Tulsa County – A hearing on concerns associated with the forced use of smart meters in Oklahoma will be conducted in Tulsa County Court House on Thursday, October 31, 2013.

Smart MeterIn additional to the Constitutional question on the infringement of rights, Owasso resident Joe Exposito has serious concerns about the HEALTH/SAFETY/PRIVACY issues associated with the controversial meters.  

During the spring/summer of 2013 this Tulsa County resident obtained a permit from Tulsa County to replace his new Smart Meter with a standard analog electric meter.  Returning to the traditional style electric meter was necessary to counteract the numerous negative health effects Esposito began experiencing after the new Smart had been installed on his home.

Even though properly permitted to do so, PSO responded to the change in meters by turning off power to the home for 66 days, during the hottest days of the summer.

The resident’s attorneys negotiated with PSO, working out a compromise that restored power to the home for a few months (by by-passing the meter and averaging the utility bill).  However, a more permanent solution could not be reached.  

PSO is again threatening to turn off power to Esposito’s home, due to his continued refusal to accept a Smart Meter on his home.

The resident’s Constitutional concerns will be heard at 1:30 pm in the District Court of Tulsa County on Thursday October 31, 2013 by Judge Rebecca Nightingale.  The Tulsa County Court House is located at 500 S. Denver, in Tulsa, OK.

 

November 21, 2012

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

OK-SAFE, Inc. – November 22, 2012 is Thanksgiving Day in this country.

The bible defines thanksgiving as gratitude. Accordingly, we have much to be grateful for – God’s blessing are numerous, as evidenced in nature, in our lives and surroundings.

May we daily recognize the blessings bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our most important blessing is the saving grace of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have redemption, and a life and liberty that no government can take from us, try as they might.

 

1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Issued by President George Washington

PROCLAMATION by the President of the United States of America:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war -for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
GO. WASHINGTON.
[Source: The Papers of George Washington]

This country used to be governed by men of character and faith, as George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation indicates.  May his sentiments continue to be an example for us today.

September 16, 2012

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law, by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D.

OK-SAFE, Inc. –  It is good to actually read a book once in a while; Robert Stacey’s overview of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries is one that can be recommended as a worthwhile read.

Sir William Blackstone

Who was Blackstone? From Britannica, “Blackstone was an 18th century English jurist, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vol. (1765–69), is the best-known description of the doctrines of English law. The work became the basis of university legal education in England and North America. He was knighted in 1770.” [Source: Britannica]

For those interested, the entire text of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England can be found on a site call LONANG – short for the Laws Of Nature And Nature’s God.

The Book

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law – by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D.

This slim volume provides an overview of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries, the common law tradition and the principles of natural law.

The book’s chapters include The Lawyer of Cheapside, The English Common Law Tradition, The Legal Theory of Blackstone’s Commentaries, and Blackstone in America.  As far as U.S. law was concerned, “Until the twentieth century, to know the law was to know Blackstone.” (p.53)

Chapter 1’s Introduction includes commentary on the culture war.

Author Stacey writes, “In particular, three tensions – each resistant to easy revolution – are evident in the contemporary culture war.” (P.24-26)

These three tensions are:

  1. Between the individual and the community – where “the interests or desires of the individual are sometimes at odds with those of the community…”  Until recently, this country tipped the scale in favor of the individual, particularly concerning property, while acknowledging “the community’s authority over moral concerns and issues pertaining to the common good.” (p.24)
  2. Between liberty and security“Men are tempted to trade natural rights and liberties in exchange for protection from real or imagined danger.”  Stacey goes on to say, “Preservation and security often mean vesting power and authority in the hands of someone – a strongman, a centralized government, etc. – who can do something about the danger.  The downside is that the specially empowered authority can often become a danger itself.” (p.25). This is where we are with the drones over U.S. soil, clearly an inappropriate use of the military’s war-fighting surveillance technologies.
  3. Between science and religion – Stacey writes, “God created the natural world and established the natural law, both physical and moral, by which it is governed.  For progressives the material world is essentially all there is.” (p.26)

We have seen evidence of all of the above – i.e. the elimination of the rights of the individual in favor of communitarianism, including the taking of personal property; the elimination of personal privacy and liberty, including the freedom to travel about without being poked, prodded, or surveilled, in favor of “security”; the diminution and denial of God, and the destruction of life and family, in favor of science and technology (the rise of the technocrats).

Another way to characterize these tensions?  The battle between good and evil.

This writer is looking forward to the rest of the book.

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law, by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D. is available here.

July 3, 2012

Letter To Governors – Don’t Build An Exchange!

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This was forwarded by a friend in Idaho.  A few key legislators have signed a letter urging the state Governor’s to reject Obamacare State Exchanges.  Twelve Senators and 61 Legislators have signed the letter already – don’t you think OK Governor Mary Fallin should sign this letter, too?

See below for details and a link to the letter.

DeMint, Bachmann, Jordan Urge Governors to Reject Obamacare State Exchanges.

Twelve Senators, 61 Representatives join them in sending a letter to all 50 governors
(Washington, D.C.) Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) and Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04) sent a letter to all 50 governors urging them to oppose the implementation of the state health care exchanges mandated under President Obama’s health care law.  Twelve Senators and 61 Representatives joined them in writing in opposition to these exchanges, which could cost businesses up to $3,000 per employee.
“Now that we know the courts will not save us from this harmful and unsustainable law, we urge all governors to join our fight full repeal by stopping its implementation,” said DeMint. “Americans have loudly rejected this law because it raises costs, lowers quality of care, and hikes taxes. The President’s health care law will not reform anything, but will hurt state budgets, destroy jobs, and reduce patient choices. States should reject these complex and costly exchanges. We cannot build a free market health care system on this flawed structure of centralized government control, we must repeal all of it and start over with commonsense solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American.”
“While Republicans in Congress will continue to push for a full repeal of Obamacare, the states can take immediate action to reject these exchanges that will increase health care costs and add more layers of bureaucratic red tape. I encourage all 50 governors to do what’s best for the American people. They should refuse to implement an exchange and instead work towards common sense solutions that lower costs and return important health care decisions to patients and their doctors,” said Bachmann.

“The harmful impact on jobs is just one of many reasons we remain committed to fully repealing this law. If governors want to raise the cost of hiring people in their states, they should create an Obamacare exchange. If they want more jobs in their state, they should not. It’s that simple,” said Jordan.
The text of the letter is included below, and a list of signers is available here.
Dear Governors:
The Supreme Court has ruled significant parts of the Medicaid expansion of the President’s health care law unconstitutional as well as ruling that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause and will therefore be implemented as a punitive tax on the middle class. This presents us with a critical choice: Do we allow this reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with commonsense solutions? The American people have made it clear that they want us to throw this law out in its entirety. 
As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation. 
Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the President’s discredited health care law. 
These expensive, complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. Resisting the implementation of exchanges is good for hiring and investment. The law’s employer mandate assesses penalties – up to $3,000 per employee – only to businesses who don’t satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive “premium assistance” through the exchanges.  The clear language of the statute only permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize

such a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place.  
State-run exchanges are subject to all of the same coverage mandates and rules as the federally-run exchange. Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange regulations will only result in wasted state resources and higher premiums for your constituents.
Implementation of this law is not inevitable and without the unconstitutional individual mandate it is improbable.  Join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American. Let’s work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests.
Sincerely,
(Signers include Jim DeMint, Michelle Bachmann, Tom Coburn (yes, Coburn), and more.)
Say NO to any insurance exchange in Oklahoma, whether state-based or otherwise.

Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act

OK-SAFE, Inc. – On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the “individual mandate” contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA), aka “ObamaCare”.

At least, some of the Supreme Court Justices struck down the individual mandate, others did not.

The Court’s Opinion is divided into Parts I through IV, each with a decision, with the opinions rendered via different pairing of Justices.  Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.  The dissenting opinion is where the controversial exchanges are cited.

Justice Roberts wrote that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution cannot be used to compel an individual to purchase something, whether that something is a product or a service.  This includes health insurance.

Roberts went on to render an opinion that the “penalty” described in the Affordable Care Act is in reality a “tax”.  The Court did affirm that Congress does have taxing authority under the Constitution – and taxing us is apparently what Congress aims to do.

The opinion reads, in part, “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.  Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”[1]

The U.S. Congress is now in the uncomfortable position of being caught in a very big lie about the true effect of “ObamaCare”, which was never really about caring for health.   What the Affordable Care Act has done is set out the parameters for a complex series of interconnected information technology systems; insurance exchanges (voluntary, by the way) that fundamentally redesign the insurance industry; and (apparently) set up an onerous taxing mechanism.

The Court also seems to have struck down the penalty to States that choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion program “by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.”  The Government argued that this expansion was a modification of the existing program, but Justices Roberts, Breyer and Kagan disagreed, stating that the “expansion accomplishes a shift in kind, not merely degree. The original program was designed to cover medical services for particular categories of vulnerable individuals.  Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid is transformed into a program to meet the health care needs of the entire non elderly population with income below 133 percent of the poverty level. ”[2]  (Bold and italics added throughout.)

Roberts further declared, “A State could hardly anticipate that Congress’s reservation of the right to “alter” or “amend” the Medicaid program included the power to transform it so dramatically. The Medicaid expansion thus violates the Constitution by threatening States will the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.[3]

Health Insurance Exchanges and Their Federal Subsidies

The Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito dissenting opinion contains roughly 22 mentions of the insurance exchanges.[4] The dissent links the exchanges to the federal subsidies (again, voluntary) and reads, in part, “The ACA requires each State to establish a health ­insurance “exchange.” Each exchange is a one-stop mar­ketplace for individuals and small businesses to compare community-rated health insurance and purchase the policy of their choice. The exchanges cannot operate in the manner Congress intended if the Individual Mandate, Medicaid Expansion, and insurance regulations cannot remain in force. The Act’s design is to allocate billions of federal dollars to subsidize individuals’ purchases on the exchanges.”[5]

Regarding the insurance exchanges, these are intended to plug into the health information exchange “network of networks” currently being established in the states, including Oklahoma.[6]

The dissent continues, “Individuals with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level receive tax credits to offset the cost of insurance to the individual purchaser. By 2019, 20 million of the 24 million people who will obtain insurance through an exchange are expected to receive an average federal subsidy of $6,460 per person. See CBO, Analysis of the Major Health Care Legislation Enacted in March 2010, pp. 18–19 (Mar. 30, 2011). With­out the community-rating insurance regulation, however, the average federal subsidy could be much higher; for community rating greatly lowers the enormous premiums unhealthy individuals would otherwise pay. Federal subsidies would make up much of the difference.”

“The result would be an unintended boon to insurance companies, an unintended harm to the federal fisc, and a corresponding breakdown of the “shared responsibility” between the industry and the federal budget that Congress intended. Thus, the federal subsidies must be invalidated.”

Further, “Without the federal subsidies, individuals would lose the main incentive to purchase insurance inside the exchanges, and some insurers may be unwilling to offer insurance inside of exchanges. With fewer buyers and even fewer sellers, the exchanges would not operate as Congress intended and may not operate at all.”

The insurance exchanges continue to be a problem, but despite the warnings and the evidence of their failure (Utah), proponents continue to advocate for their establishment.  Perhaps this is due to the expectation that an insurance exchange would result in “an unintended boon to insurance companies”?

OK-SAFE maintains its’ position against the establishment of an insurance exchange in Oklahoma, state-based or otherwise.

Endnotes:[1]National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, page 44. Page 50 of the pdf.

[2] Ibid, page 5

[3] Ibid, page 5

[4] Ibid. pp. 52-63 of the Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., dissenting. Pp. 178 – 189 of the pdf

[5] Ibid, page 59 of the dissent.  Page 185 of the pdf.

[6] The information exchange works via information technology (i.e. computers) systems that connect the patient, the provider and the payer, where the payer means the insurer. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, which passed in 2009, was the real health care reform law, funding the creation of an electronic health record on everyone, and the necessary information exchanges for data sharing.  Oklahoma took $8.8 million to set up Oklahoma’s exchanges.  Created in 2010, the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust, or OHIET, is busy setting this up in this state The insurance exchange detailed in PPACA fits into this “network of networks”, linking the patient, the provider, and the payer into one interconnected system.  There is only one exchange system and it i the federal system.  There is no such thing as a state-based exchange that is functionally different than the one designated in ObamaCare.  See the Model is the Message diagram at http://www.exposinghealthcareform.com

January 8, 2012

Kansas State Sovereignty Rally – State Capitol, January 13-14, 2012

If you live in or near Kansas, be sure to mark your calendars to attend the upcoming Kansas State Sovereignty Rally and “Making of America” seminar, to be held on Friday and Saturday, January 13-14, 2012 in Topeka, KS.

This event is sponsored by November Patriots.

Friday – The Kansas State Sovereignty Rally will be held from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm on Friday, January 13th, at the Kansas state capitol in the old Supreme Court chambers. Address for the Capitol is 10th and Jackson, Topeka, KS, 66612.

Saturday – The “Making of America” Seminar will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, January 14th, at the Kansan Grill, 705 South Kansas Ave., Topeka, KS, 66603.  Presentation will be by Dr. Earl Taylor, President of NCCS.

This is the fourth annual rally sponsored by November Patriots, set to coincide with the beginning of the Kansas Legislative Session.

Friday’s Rally Speakers and Topics:

  • Dr. Earl Taylor, president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) – The U.S. Constitution: The States’ Safeguard Against a Rogue Federal Government
  • Jeff Lewis, National Director of the Patriot CoalitionOriginal Jurisdiction, State Sovereignty & the U.S. Constitution
  • Amanda Teegarden, Executive Director, OK-SAFE, Inc.Health Care Reform – IT, Privacy and Security Issues and Concerns
  • Dr. George Watson, former President, American Association of Physicians& SurgeonsThe Physicians’ Charity Project: Budget Relief Without ObamaCare
  • Ken Dunwoody,  NOlathe’s BlogAgenda 21 & ICLEI
  • Rep. Pete DeGraff, Kansas House Appropriations Committee –Kansas Budget Gimmickry: A New Look at State Accountability & Transparency
  • Dave Trabert of the the Kansas Policy InstituteThe Truth About Kansas’ Financial Conditions & Implications of ObamaCare for Kansas
  • Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of AmericaThe Feds Out of Control, Sheriff’s Pushing Back, Operation Fast & Furious, and other 2nd Amendment Issues.

Saturday’s “Making of America” Seminar

This day-long event runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Kansas Grill, 705 S. Kansas Ave., in Topeka, KS.  “Making of America” will be presented by NCCS President, Dr. Earl Taylor. Donations of $10.00 to NCCS (National Center for Constitutional Studies) for the seminar workbook are requested.

Contact:

For information about both events, contact Richard D. Fry at 816-853-8718 or by email at richard@novemberpatriots.info

See Rally flyer below for all these details and more.

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