Saturday, February 21, 2015

Knowing Why

"It's not good enough to know what the President said, we have to know why."

On February 10, rising conservative star Dan Bongino brought our attention to his Facebook page and a commentary he wrote for Conservative Review, titled The Obama Administration's Church of Relativism, and he prefaced that commentary with the quote above.

It's an especially good piece to drop in the lap of someone who still thinks Obama's 'a good guy' with our country's best interests at heart. But, at the same time that some Obama fan out there has read it and is outraged that Dan Bongino has gone too far and crossed that line... well, I submit he hasn't gone quite far enough. It's the article that got my journalistic juices flowing today, so, here we are.

What the President said - we have to know why.

Bongino argues that Obama's far-left "bedrock" is Moral Relativism, and says:
"The far-left has always run from the idea that genuine evil exists because that would require them to acknowledge that good exists as well"
If he were only referring to the garden variety Left, I would agree. But, he has correctly identified Obama as of the Far Left, which is a different animal altogether.

The Far Left do run from the idea of genuine evil, but they do so in word only, not in deed, saying whatever they must to the masses to justify their actions, to argue their relativism in order to seduce the ignorant into compliance, just as Obama lied about his view on same-sex marriage to get elected, and spoke great relativist rhetoric right in Warren's face. And it's why he's lying again in saying he didn't really lie.

The reason the Far Left act like moral relativists is because they want you to believe that's all they are.

They may not name sin as religions do, but the Far Left most definitely believe in Genuine Evil, which they define as anyone or anything (other than themselves) holding power. Whether it's "the 1%," or the devoutly religious, or an entire race - whatever group du jour they have labeled as standing in the way of the utopian Genuine Good they are hell-bent on achieving - that group must go. Whomever is in charge of the Far Left at any given time, they are the Good to be worshiped at the altar of humanism.

Obama is not a faculty-lounge relativist, nor is he an in-over-his-head clueless puppet. He has given us every indication he is a True Believer, and he's done his darnedest to advance the cause of the Far Left.

I know it's difficult to accept, especially when you know you will be accused immediately of racism and right-wing attacks at the mere suggestion of it.

Do you struggle with that nagging cognitive dissonance, "I know something is very wrong, I just don't know what it is," kind of feeling? Evangelist Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham, does. While I was writing this piece, I came upon his Facebook page where he says he is "perplexed" and asks, "Why is the President seemingly continuing to protect Islam and refusing to open his eyes to the truth?" Is Graham just being gracious? Maybe he's asking a question he already knows the answer to, but he's trying to get you to come to the same conclusion on your own? Unfortunately, no. In this video clip, Graham says he has "no idea" why, and adds he is "baffled by this White House" and that, "this is something the White House does not understand - the religious aspect of this."

I'm so sorry to have to say this: it's Graham who does not understand. He's been wonderful and bold and outspoken about Obama, but he hasn't yet followed the process through to its logical conclusion. But do you know who does understand? Those who follow Graham's Facebook page. If you read through over 8,000 comments under that post above, you can sense the frustration of people who are (lovingly) screaming at Graham to wake up:
"Obama does understand!"
"He knows exactly what he's doing!"
"Because he is on their side!"
Thousands of comments repeat those refrains, and each of those comments has hundreds of Likes. Even on a simple thing like Facebook, when your liberal friends can see your comments, it takes courage to take that kind of a stand - to attach your name, or even just a Like, to the simple statement that Obama intends to do America, and Christians and Jews, harm.

Another is Fox's Todd Starnes. "There's a Caliphate coming and Obama doesn't seem to care," is his latest headline. Doesn't seem to care? I'm sorry, I love Todd's outspokenness on Obama, but he can't afford to miss this, not when he is so close. Obama does care - very, very much indeed. His seeming indifference is practiced, yet it hasn't fooled the people who have commented under Todd's post:
"Of COURSE he doesn't 'seem to care'. Dang, he has been WORKING Towards it"
says one commenter. Others lay example after example of Obama's nefarious deeds at Todd's Facebook feet, trying to get Todd to take that final cognitive step.

If you're one of those people who is constantly scratching their head and asking, "Why on earth did Obama just do that? It makes absolutely no sense for him to do that!" then I ask you to do some intellectually honest mental exercises. Watch Dinesh D'Souza's video 2016: Obama's America. If you've heard that D'Souza's film is "anti-Obama propaganda," then read Obama's own words from his autobiography. Then... think back on all Obama's moves that have seemed utterly nonsensical, or wait until his next move, and pretend that maybe, just maybe, he's a True Believer. Read a tiny bit about Communist philosophy, and think back on Obama's support for the Occupy movement and his perpetual demonization of the 1%. Consider the concept of WWMD (What Would Marxists Do?) in conjunction with Obama's response to every major issue since he took office. If you're willing to open your mind, I guarantee your cognitive dissonance will be resolved.

We know Obama is not actually a Christian (as the Bible defines one) based on his own testimony. He was raised Muslim, and "his pastor" and close family friend for 20 years could not even confirm Obama had converted from Islam to Christianity. It's clear his allegiance lies with Islam over Christianity, but Islam is not his foundation. Two of the greatest influences on Obama's worldview were a Communist and a fellow traveler. Utilizing Islam's war against Christianity (to reestablish the Caliphate) is a means to an end in The Cause.

What is that Cause? Statism. Properly administered, it has killed more people worldwide in the 20th Century than all other religious or secular ideologies put together, yet it's only too happy to invite the followers of other ideologies into the game, playing them off one another in The Fight, as long as it believes they will aid in killing one another in the process. Obama insists Islamic terrorists aren't practicing Islam. Obama still insists the Muslim Brotherhood has the right to rule Egypt, despite the wholesale genocide those Islamists committed against Christians during their brief reign. It is despicable that Obama uses the name of Christ to rally Christians to his agendas. What kind of Christian would argue the Muslim Brotherhood has a legitimate right to resume its slaughter? That kind of ideology runs far deeper than moral relativism.

Do you love your spouse? What would you think if they'd announced, five days before your wedding, that their goal was to fundamentally transform you? Would you think they loved you? Would you have married them?
"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
That was Obama's definitive statement, five days before the 2008 election.

He has two years left.

Obama's most dangerous years lie ahead. This President brazenly and repeatedly steals power not granted to him by the Constitution he has sworn to uphold. Islam, via ISIS and other subsets, is rampaging and recruiting, and our community organizer fans their flames by defending their "legitimate grievances." Obama has communicated to anyone paying attention that he will not seriously engage the military capabilities of our Christian nation against Those He Will Not Speak Of, and he's fulfilling his election promise of releasing every last Gitmo terrorist back into the fight. Can you honestly say you believe Obama's number one priority is protecting the United States of America?

You must understand that you are the genuine evil the Statists perceive in their crosshairs. They are determined to win. So where does that leave you - American, Christian, Jew, Ally of America - under this Commander-in-Chief?

Franklin Graham was correct in warning us, "The storm is coming."

And now we know why.

And... hope? Against that foe, what hope can we have?

No philosophy of man can ever hope to achieve peace, because every single man is inherently flawed. We are sinners, and our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful. Statists promise Utopia on earth, if only we would grant them free rein to control us in all things. The godless State wants us to worship It, and considers us expendable if we won't.
There is no greater threat to Statism than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The good news is, the Statists (or Islamists, etc.) are not actually in control, and never will be. They have been granted temporary permission to rule certain portions of this earth during certain periods in history, but only because they are instruments wielded in a far bigger battle.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12
No, they are not in control.

God is.

The only hope of victory we can have against any fearsome force is through the power and love of saving faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ. He loved us. He laid down His life for us. He rose again, victorious over sin and death.

Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father, and He fights for us.

Pray without ceasing.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 4 - Prescription, Dental, and Vision)

This is where I need your help.

I've found some truly cost-saving programs, but these are just a few - there must be more. Take a look below, and if you have used another program that has worked well for you, please contact me so I can share it for everyone else.

Prescription plans.

Researching this was really frustrating, until I learned about some great plans that pharmacies will not tell you about. When we were without insurance, I called around to all my local pharmacies about our medications, and asked them what their absolute lowest prices were (including any discount plans they knew of) and I got discouraged by how high the prescription prices still were.

Then our friends told us about these. I don't know how they can offer such amazing discounts, but I'm glad they do!

We have personally used this plan, and have saved hundreds of dollars on it. You enter the drug info, and your zip code, and it gives you a list of local pharmacies with the GoodRx discounted price for each, and the link to a coupon you can print out to give to the pharmacy. The prices were so low it seemed too good to be true. But, we tried it and were amazed. We handed the coupon to the pharmacy and they accepted it without any questions. Some employees even expressed shock at how good the deals were. With one of our monthly prescriptions, the lowest price anywhere would have been $200. With the GoodRx coupon we paid $17. You only have to show the coupon once, and the reduced price is applied every month.

They send you offsite to a Drug Pricing Calculator, and then it's generally the same as GoodRx, with a coupon you print out and hand to your pharmacy. It's a little complicated to use, but its prices are comparable to GoodRx - some were lower, and some were higher. For us, it was just simpler to average out our savings through using GoodRx overall, but you may find NeedyMeds provides better savings for your particular prescriptions.

You do not have to be a member to use their pharmacy! They have great deals. They quote prices on their website, but you'll get the most accurate information by calling the Costco nearest you. They'll even mail it to your home.

You can join under 2 different levels of Vision/Dental/Prescription plans. Look for details under my Vision or Dental sections below. The one thing I noted is they do offer emergency contraceptives, so when you join their prescription plan with your monthly fee, you might be violating your pro-life convictions.
See Part 3 of my series on Abortion.

"Discount" prescription cards.
I've seen a lot of these floating around (on the counter in doctor's waiting rooms, or even on church literature tables), little plastic cards by a lot of different companies which promise discounts once handed to your pharmacy. I've checked the prices on many of these cards and have not found much discount at all. When I've shown them to pharmacies, many won't even bother taking them from your hand - they just say, "We already have a discount we'll apply," which, as stated above, isn't much of a discount at all.

Dental plans.

When you click on your state, it takes you to three levels of plans you can join, which may combine Vision and Prescription with other benefits as well. You must use a participating provider.

Vision plans.

You must use a participating provider. Our optometrist said this company offers the best discounts. I did a quick check and found it would save our family hundreds of dollars a year (above being a self-pay patient), since there are three of us who wear glasses/contact lenses.

When you click on your state, it takes you to three levels of plans you can join, which may combine Vision and Prescription with other benefits as well. They have their own package deal with VSP. You must use a participating provider.

Optometrists in discount stores like Costco and Walmart can offer reduced prices as well. And, you can  mix-and-match prices between your optometrist and another provider. In one instance, we had used VSP for our eye exams, but went to Costco to buy less expensive frames for our glasses. Costco also has reduced prices on lenses for minors.

Ok, that's what I have so far. What other great savings can you share with me?

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 1 - Introduction)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 2 - Alternatives to ObamaCare)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 3 - Abortion)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 4 - Prescription, Dental, and Vision)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 3 - Abortion)

Do you doubt that ObamaCare funds abortions? Do you deny that it does?

First, in order to wrap your head around the likelihood that ObamaCare might fund abortions, you must consider the source:

* Obama supports unrestricted access to abortion for any reason, for the full nine months, up to the moment of delivery, and even supports infanticide. As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, three times. This act would have provided the same legal rights to the care of an infant who survives an abortion as it would to any other infant born alive. Obama's position was that once a mother decides to have an abortion, the baby should end up dead, even if it survives the abortion. He felt strongly enough about the act to speak against it, and was the only senate member to do so. In the years that followed, he lied about his voting record repeatedly, attempting to conceal his standing as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States from the pro-life majority of Americans. How did Obama respond when the truth of his voting record gained traction? He angrily accused pro-life organizations of lying.

* Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the nation.
* Planned Parenthood is the number one killer of black lives in the United States.
* In the history of Planned Parenthood, they have endorsed only two presidential candidates. Obama was one of them.
* Obama promised "reproductive care" (including abortion) would be "at the center, the heart" of ObamaCare.
* Obama is dedicated to taxpayer funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.
* Obama reversed a ban on taxpayer dollars funding overseas abortion providers.
* Obama voted against parental notification for minors, including crossing state lines to get an abortion.
* Obama told Planned Parenthood the "right to choose" is a constitutional right.
* Obama lends full support to Planned Parenthood, the organization with a history of considering pregnancy a sexually transmitted disease.
* Obama received a 100% rating on abortion by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).
* Obama supports partial birth abortion and opposed a ban on it.
* Obama called a baby that survives an abortion a "fetus outside of the mother's womb" to justify denying it medical attention and leaving it to die.
* Obama said if his daughters make a mistake by getting pregnant, he doesn't want them "punished with a baby." He was publicly and brazenly advocating the murder of his own grandchildren.
* Obama addressed Planned Parenthood as the first sitting president to address the abortion-rights group in person, and promised them he'd be, "right there with you, fighting every step of the way," and even said "God bless you" to them at the end of his speech.

Therefore, understanding how passionately Obama feels about a woman's "right" to kill her unborn child, even to the extreme of his own daughter murdering his own grandchild, does it make sense that he would then leave out protection for, and funding of, abortion in his signature legislation?

No it doesn't. And he didn't.

It was clear, very early on, that he would find a way.

How did Obama include abortion in ObamaCare?

One of the legal requirements of ObamaCare is that insurance companies make "contraceptives" available to their employees at no charge. This, by itself, is very telling. Americans are required to contribute copays for almost every other prescription under the sun, yet not a penny for contraceptives. So, what makes these contraceptives so special to Obama as to warrant such unique consideration?

Define the terms.

Pregnant, abortion, contraceptive... these words are tossed about as if everyone agrees on their meanings, but how they are applied can depend on which side of the issue the user is on:

Containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring within the body. Sounds simple enough, right? Developing within. A woman can be pregnant weeks before she knows it. The developing embryo must implant into the womb before she misses her first period, and the egg must be fertilized before it can begin developing as an embryo. So when does an egg begin developing? At the moment of conception. The fertilized egg contains 100% of the DNA of a unique human being. Moral relativists may weary themselves and everyone else by arguing about whether or not human life begins at conception but, scientifically, that fact is not under dispute.

The termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. Death of a developing embryo. Abortion can refer to a surgical procedure performed by a doctor in a clinic or hospital. But a woman can induce her own abortion in pill form, under a doctor's supervision. RU-486, also known as the abortion pill, causes uterine contractions designed to expel an implanted, developing embryo up to 49 days gestation. It is not listed as an approved contraceptive under ObamaCare.

The deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation. A method or device that interferes with ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.

Obama's choice for HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, assured Americans that ObamaCare would cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception.  RU-486 is not on that list, so abortion advocates argue that ObamaCare does not cover abortion-causing pills. However, among these FDA-approved forms is the category of "emergency contraceptives." These can be pills (such as Plan B, Next Choice, and ella;) or IUDs (such as copper Paragard, or hormonal Mirena or Skyla). Unlike contraceptives which are taken before intercourse, emergency contraceptive pills are taken, or IUDs can be inserted, after the fact. Planned Parenthood calls an IUD "the most effective EC there is." Proponents insist they do not end pregnancy, but instead prevent it before it starts. How do they work? According to the FDA itself, they work by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb. The hormones in the pills chemically alter the surface of the uterus, and IUDs thin the lining of the uterus, making it hostile to the reception of a fertilized egg. That is, the purpose of an EC is to prevent a fertilized egg from doing what God intended it to do. They are designed to guarantee the already developing embryo can never implant and will therefore die. Even so, "reproductive health experts" will assure you these methods do not cause an abortion, because they limit the definition of pregnancy as implantation already having occurred. But even that is no excuse in the case of ella. Ella does not work the same way as Plan B or Next Choice or an IUD. Ella does not prevent ovulation or implantation - it actually starves an already implanted embryo of the nutrition it needs. Ella is an abortion pill, even if the FDA will not identify it as such. Emergency contraceptives, as mandated under ObamaCare, are abortion-causing drugs.

The entire basis of the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Supreme Court case was ObamaCare's fight to protect its contraceptive mandate, forcing employers to provide no-cost access to "abortion-causing drugs" (in addition to contraceptives and sterilization), even if it violated the religious convictions of the employer.

ObamaCare lost

Do you think that's just splitting hairs over contraceptives?

Ok then, what about actual abortions...

Despite promising transparency, ObamaCare has delivered quite the opposite regarding abortion coverage.

The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, forbids federal funds from being used for abortions, and legally ObamaCare cannot require any plan to cover abortion, which is one reason RU-486 ("the abortion pill") is not part of the contraception mandate. However, there are many back doors Obama uses to circumvent the Hyde Amendment and force Americans to pay for abortion indirectly:

The federal government offers subsidies (tax credits) to make ObamaCare more affordable, and many residents in many states qualify for these subsidies. States are allowed to decide whether or not they will offer plans which cover abortion. If a state votes to allow abortion coverage, their residents may buy these plans. Therefore, a major conflict arises under ObamaCare, because state residents can receive federal subsidies for buying an insurance plan which covers abortion. That means if someone buys abortion coverage in California (a state that allows abortion coverage), the federal government can redistribute your tax dollars from Virginia (which does not allow abortion coverage) to reimburse them. In 2011 and 2014, the House passed bills in an effort to close the subsidies loophole, but Democrats opposed it, saying it wasn't needed.

Under ObamaCare, federal law requires state insurance plans that cover abortion to collect a separate surcharge which, in turn, would be used to pay abortion providers. So, if you buy a plan that covers abortion, you must pay at least $1 of your premium toward someone else's abortion. Using an accounting gimmick to call it a separate surcharge does not negate the face that the federal government is forcing over 1,000 plans to partly fund abortion. Do you think $1 is an insignificant amount of money to fuss over? If so, then you need to look at some math to see how many abortions these surcharges are advancing. And, as to what type of abortions are included (rape, incest, or purely by choice), we have no way of knowing. Nowhere does HHS mention any restrictions on the type of abortions these surcharges fund.

ObamaCare requires that state exchanges must offer at least one plan* which excludes abortion coverage, however, you have no way of knowing which plan that might be. In March 2012, ObamaCare issued a gag rule forbidding plans which cover abortion from disclosing that fact before you enroll. The HHS rule says the information can only be disclosed as part of the summary of benefits you receive after you enroll. So, signing up with an exchange means you play Russian roulette with your "choices," with the distinct likelihood you will end up paying for an abortion-covering policy whether you want to or not.
*Despite the requirement above to offer one plan that excludes abortion coverage, every single plan in the following exchanges covered abortion in 2014: New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. The federal government forced those residents to pay for abortion. For 2015 the list still includes New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii.

There is yet another rule trying to emerge from the ObamaCare bag of tricks. In the future, the only thing insurers would have to do is inform you that the abortion surcharge exists on your plan (in small print, after you enroll) but after that point there would be no more accounting gimmicks to keep the surcharge separate, or reminders that you're paying it. The mention of it will be so insignificant, you'll probably have no idea you're paying for abortions every single month, for years on end.

How convenient.

Fortunately, the pro-life community has been hard at work, bringing transparency where ObamaCare has brought total confusion. Here is a great interactive map which lets you know where your state exchanges stand with regard to abortion coverage.

As a stalwart champion of "women's rights" and "reproductive health care," you'd think Obama would be proud to make transparency in abortion coverage a very easy thing. But, openness and honesty is not Obama's priority. Abortion is.

Abortion is the sacrament of the Left.

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 2 - Alternatives to ObamaCare)

Are you...
- looking for alternatives to ObamaCare?
- looking for affordable health care?
- looking for health care that does not cover abortion?
- ready for some good news?

You have affordable alternatives! You don't have to buy ObamaCare! You don't have to pay the government imposed penalty/tax for not having "insurance."

Ok, here we go...

By law, you must sign up for health care before the open enrollment deadline of February 15, 2015 (in order to be covered for 2015), or face paying a penalty/tax imposed by the IRS for failing to have minimum essential coverage.

However, under the Affordable Care Act, there are actually several ways a person can be considered legally exempt from having to comply with the insurance mandate.  Here's a page which lists several exemptions recognized by ObamaCare, but my focus will be on one in particular:
being a "member of a recognized health care sharing ministry."
It's easy to miss. The government site doesn't extend the courtesy of defining the concept for you, or identifying the names of any of these ministries. But you can find all that below.

What are health care sharing ministries?

They are "a health care cost sharing arrangement among persons of similar and sincerely held beliefs." These are tax exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, and each one is a sort of "mutual aid society" which facilitates the voluntary payment of medical bills between members. The members must agree to sign a statement of shared beliefs, based on religious or ethical reasons, and agree to live a healthy lifestyle. The ministry must have been established before December 31, 1999, and must have received approval from the government as an ACA-exempt health care sharing ministry.

What are they not?

They are not insurance companies. They do not legally have to guarantee to pay all your bills. They don't have Dental and Vision and Prescription all rolled into one. But, they can actually be better than insurance.

Don't PANIC!

Before you automatically dismiss these options because you won't have "insurance," please continue reading. These ministries have been in existence for decades and have excellent track records of meeting members' needs. They have hundreds of thousands of members who have met over $1 billion in each others' medical needs. It's much more stable than it may sound on the surface, and chances are you already know several people who are members of these ministries - they just don't happen to go around talking about it.

I have personally spoken with several members from each of the biggest three ministries, and not one of them would go back to an insurance company. Every member refers to the ministries in glowing terms, and feels they are well taken care of as part of a family. There's a bit of a learning curve with this new system, but soon you'll figure it out, and then you'll be able to share the information with your friends. These ministries are truly remarkable, and more Christians need to know they exist. So, read on...

How many recognized* health care sharing ministries are there?

At least three. The ones with the highest memberships (in no particular order) are:

*Smaller groups may include Altrua Healthshare (which merged with Blessed Assurance Bulletin to try to qualify for ACA exemption), which has submitted their request and is waiting for confirmation. Likewise, Liberty Healthshare has submitted documentation for approval. I spoke with a Liberty representative who said they did receive confirmation from the government, yet that confirmation is not mentioned on their website. Please pursue these matters further if those ministries seem to be a better fit for your needs. Because the membership in health care sharing ministries has grown so massively in the past two years, many smaller ministries are working to gain recognition form the ACA, and are petitioning the government to change the arbitrary December 31, 1999 deadline so they can qualify.

Also, a note of distinction between the five ministries above... the first four are exempt on a religious basis, and require a statement of Christian faith. But Liberty Healthshare is exempt on an ethical basis, where members agree that they should be free to practice their faith (or practice none at all.) As a result, Liberty is open to Jews, Muslims, and same-sex couples, as "open and inviting to everyone as we can be."

Details about the Big Three...

Samaritan Ministries International (1994)
Samaritan Ministries matches Shares with Needs. Shares are similar to the concept of insurance premiums (a set amount members pay each month). Needs are the medical bills that members submit to the organization. It's a simple program, based on the number of family members. You can go to any doctor you choose, and tell them you are a self-pay patient with Samaritan Ministries, which automatically reduces the cost of your bill. The doctor bills you, and you submit the bills to Samaritan. Here are their Guidelines.

One major difference between Samaritan and other groups is that, instead of members sending their payments to the headquarters, for 11 months of the year they actually send checks to each other. Once you submit a bill to Samaritan, and they review it and confirm it as a publishable Need, then they instruct other members how to send their monthly Share to you. If your Need is in the thousands of dollars, then you would receive many checks from many members, often in greeting cards with handwritten notes saying they are praying for you. This process results in a very personal sense of the Body of Christ meeting the needs of each other. Prompt accountability is key, and if a member is delinquent in sending you their Share, then you can notify Samaritan and they are faithful to assign another member to mail a Share. Samaritan will remove delinquent members if the conflict is not resolved quickly.
Samaritan also has a separate division for Catholics, called CMF CURO.

Medi-Share (part of Christian Care Ministry) (1993)
With Medi-Share, you begin by choosing what size deductible you want for your family (what they call an Annual Household Portion) and choose a monthly payment from there. Medi-Share has their own list of participating in-network doctors which they want you to use. You get an ID card which you show to the participating doctor's office, the office submits the bills to Medi-Share, and Medi-Share pays the office.  Through an online portal, Medi-Share tells you about the specific needs of other members, and how your monthly payments met those needs. This builds a prayer community. Here are their Guidelines.

Christian Healthcare Ministries (1981)
CHM has a system based on Units (one per family member) rather than one fee per family as a whole. Each Unit can choose an annual deductible (called Personal Responsibility) under a Bronze, Silver, or Gold system. That way, it is tailored to different family members with varying health needs. One family member may need a high level of coverage, while another may only need the minimum (catastrophic) coverage. You may choose your own doctor, the doctor bills you as a self-pay patient, and you submit your bills to CHM. CHM then reviews the bills and sends you a reimbursement, which you then use to pay your doctor. Their Guidelines are available upon request.
Golden Rule/UnitedHealthcare
I need to mention this insurance company for a moment because, during my investigation, several people have volunteered this name as having "opted out" of ObamaCare. Now, if you have read Page 1 of this series, you know that insurance companies are bound under the law to comply with the ACA, and cannot simply "opt out." UnitedHealthcare is the name of their group insurance division, and Golden Rule is their individual insurance division. UnitedHealthcare has "opted out" of participating in some state exchanges, and Golden Rule has "opted out" of participating in all federal and state exchanges, because both divisions have found it less financially viable to compete in the exchanges. Many other insurance companies have done the same. In these cases, you must contact them outside of an exchange in order to buy a policy, which makes you ineligible for a federal subsidy. So, if you do find these policies, they are still insurance and therefore must be ACA compliant, and, as such, are still ObamaCare.

What makes health care sharing ministries affordable?

The self-pay principle.

When you're a member of a big insurance company, chances are you don't look at the bills. Your in-network doctor recommends tests or treatments, and you never think twice about whether or not you could have gotten the same treatment for less money, because it's all "out of sight, out of mind" and "covered by insurance." And that's one reason insurance premiums are so high. But what happens when you take a moment to compare prices, just like you do every day at the grocery store? You make informed, cost-saving decisions. These ministries enlist your help in making wise choices, asking you to make price comparisons between providers and treatments, which reduces administrative costs for themselves, and reduces costs for yourself and for all members. Self-pay patients automatically receive discounts since the provider does not have to bother with interacting with an insurance company to recover payment. You still get the treatment you need, but you save money in the process. And these ministries can even contact your doctors to help negotiate prices down on your behalf.

Healthy lifestyles.
The use of tobacco and alcohol is generally not allowed (some exceptions apply). People with preexisting conditions can join, but coverage is handled on a sliding scale, depending on the condition and how long it's been since you've had symptoms/treatment for it. Check each plan to learn their particular conditions of service.

If a new member signs up through you, you can receive a free month of membership. Check each plan for details.

What are some major pros and cons of health care sharing ministries?

This site has a good list. It is in reference to Samaritan Ministries specifically, but many of the points apply to other ministries.

Now, down to the nitty-gritty on coverage under these ministries.

I've put together a handy-dandy comparison chart which compares some plans, costs, and options:

Health Care Sharing Ministries Comparison Chart

(The information on this chart is not exhaustive by any means, and may not be completely up-to-date after the time of its creation - Dec 2014 - but it should give you a good overview. Please visit each ministry's website and follow up on particular details yourself.)

Isn't it great to know you have alternatives?

They may not work the way you are used to; they may require some effort on your part to understand; they may be outside your comfort zone; they may take a little faith (but not blind faith), but you have alternatives. Going with the flow and picking a plan from your state exchange means picking ObamaCare.

If you're on the fence, how about trying it for one year, until next year's open enrollment?

What difference can it make if we sign up for one of these alternatives?

1) We take a stand. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
2) We save money. It's amazing how inexpensive these plans will work out to be for most families.
3) We support solid Christian alternatives which have been in business for over 15 years. The more Christians that enroll, the more the costs are spread out. Instead of fees going up, sometimes they actually go down. No kidding.
4) We make a difference for future generations. The more people that sign up, the louder our message is. And 30 years from now, we can look back and know we made a difference. We have to start somewhere.

Be a pioneer. Make the effort. Do the research.

Which one is right for you?

One important note.

Some of you may decide, after faithfully examining all alternatives, that these health care sharing ministries still will not work for your family, and your only health care option really is ObamaCare. If that's your case, then no one can fault you for that, nor should they judge you for it. The fault lies with Obama and the impossible position he put you in by inextricably tying ObamaCare to abortion. It's a crime that many people will find themselves faced with the decision of no health coverage for their family vs. having to buy insurance that violates their convictions. God sees and understands, and we pray He will give you peace in your decision.

Here are some additional websites I found particularly helpful when researching these ministries (in no particular order):

(It calls ministries "insurance," but mentions "short-term" and "alternative" insurance policies)
Alternatives to Obamacare: (Samaritan Ministries vs. Medi-Share vs. Christian Healthcare Ministries)

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 1 - Introduction)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 2 - Alternatives to ObamaCare)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 3 - Abortion)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 4 - Prescription, Dental, and Vision)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Hate Politics

I hate politics.

Have you ever said that? When you hear men arguing over who said what, and what they really meant by it; or you see an article about how so-and-so is trying to control your money or your body or your religion, blah, blah, blah -- does it make you mad or sick inside? Do you tune it out and find something better to do? Something else, anything else? Do you lament a lack of civility and tolerance and wonder why can't everyone just get along?

I used to do that too.

Until I realized that's how America came to life.

A bunch of angry people running around yelling - yelling very loudly - that they
couldn't trust their leaders, and that government had too much power: dictating their worship, robbing their business, disrupting their family, trampling their freedom. They didn't start off yelling, those parents and grandparents, rich and poor, farmers and business owners, and clergymen. They tried for generations to work from within - to pray, to get involved, to believe the best - until they finally realized their government had decayed to the point that it was deliberately ignoring them and silencing God. Those angry people, slandered as revolutionists and extremists, became so fed up that they got on a bunch of boats and went somewhere else to live their lives. And they even fought a war over it where a lot of people died, but not for nothing.

For freedom.

Because politics IS government.

If you don't study how the government of your country works:  the Constitution, the Separation of Powers, what it means to be a Republic - then all those angry voices are just "politics" and you can throw your head back in disgust and walk away feeling better than it all.

But one day it will hit home. They will pass some law that makes you angry, that takes away your freedom, that hurts your family, that says how you can and cannot obey God. And you will think "the government" is the problem, and lament that it's thoroughly corrupt, and you'll feel helpless.

Or, you will begin to study what our founding fathers said, and which documents they wrote to ensure our freedoms, and how they left those freedoms resting in your hands. You will recognize how America has used that freedom to be a force for good, has lavished its wealth upon corrupt nations with the hope that some of it may feed and clothe and heal the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak, has used its military might to liberate desperate people in despotic lands, has advanced the gospel of Christ to the world so all might know the meaning of ultimate freedom.

You will learn who your Senators are, and which Congressmen voted for what, and realize all politicians aren't the same. You’ll see there really are distinct political positions (and a lot of wishy-washy ones in between) and that “taking sides” isn’t automatically negative and polarizing, but simply means standing on principle.

It will dawn on you that the people on the nightly news broadcasts you've been watching for decades, people on the radio stations you've listened to on your way to work, people you've trusted to tell you what was most important in this world, people whose opinions and worldviews you've adopted as your own without even realizing it... are lying to you. They craft their deception by what they choose to tell you, and by what they choose not to tell you.

You'll catch on that the ones they say you should hate are very often the ones you should embrace. You'll recognize their gods: the elites and inner circles that grant entry to all the trendiest parties, the deviants who pervert the message of anyone with morality in order to justify their own immorality, the radical leaders of the 60’s hell-bent to fundamentally transform this Christian-based republic into a godless socialist state.

Anchors and actors, those glamorous players with their velvet voices and reassuring smiles, lulling their audience with mediocre mush. Activists, warping the freedom of the press to their nefarious ends, purposefully using rights granted in the Constitution to unravel the Constitution. Authorities, trampling the crux of our laws with impunity, daily disintegrating our magnificent founding bedrock, chipping away at integrity and faith and conviction and religion to the point that such rudiments are wholly irrelevant.

They cry Freedom! as they advance the oppression of the State. They cry Fairness!, the definition of which is this: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." After all, it sounds so… right. But not when you learn who said it in the first place, and how what followed was not a misapplication of an otherwise perfect plan. It's a dog returning to its vomit; the tyranny and chains that everyone was fleeing in the first place, over 200 years ago.

Then you will wake up and ask yourself, "How foolish is that?"

You will seek voices that articulate patriotism and honor and virtue. You will find leaders worthy of your trust. You will grasp that the God of the universe has blessed you with a country so despised by the world, so repulsive, that people abandon everything and risk their very lives, even the lives of their children, every day, just to touch its soil. You will pray for its protection, and its protectors, and its people, because it is The Last Christian Refuge. You will embrace His gifts of voice and vote, where He lets you act upon whether your freedom or religion really matter to you. Because it can be taken away.

And there aren't any more boats to get on.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 1 - Introduction)

Are you stupid?

Well, you are, if you believe the lies upon which the foundation of ObamaCare is built.

Sorry, but that's what one of the most respected economists in the world bragged about - getting the voters to believe the foundation of lies, deliberately blocking transparency so the American people wouldn't know what was in the bill, relying on the people's lack of economic understanding, and making sure the Congressional Budget Office did not score it as a tax, so that the bill had a chance to pass Congress. The goal was to misrepresent ObamaCare as much as was necessary to get the stupid American public to believe the fraud and buy it.

But, you are here, which means you are not stupid.

You... are a smart consumer, researching information.
You... are a freedom-loving American, rejecting socialism and socialized medicine.
You... take responsibility for your family, refusing to depend on the government for their needs.
You... love God, and fear Him more than you do men.
~ and ~
You... have choices.

First, what is ObamaCare?

ObamaCare is a nickname.

Now, before you continue, you must understand this next point:
You will not see the word ObamaCare on any health care/insurance policy, because ObamaCare is not a nickname for one particular plan.

It is a nickname for a law. It is the nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA).

Why does this matter? Because the downside of a catchy nickname is that it can lull people into a false sense of security if they don't see that nickname on a piece of paper. So, you need to know what ObamaCare legally is, to know whether or not you may be signing up for it.

Here's a little background... the ACA is President Obama's signature legislation. It's his baby. It was passed by Congress on December 24, 2009, and Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010. This federal law requires every American citizen to buy a minimum amount of insurance for themselves and their family, or pay a costly penalty/tax for being uninsured.

ObamaCare was passed by Democrats, and Democrats alone in Congress. They held the majority in the House and Senate, and took full advantage of that control. Not one single Republican voted for it, but the Democrats rammed the legislation through anyway. The Republicans were neither partisan nor stupid in opposing it. They knew ObamaCare was wrong for America. The liberal mainstream media championed and promoted the bill, before and after its passage, and they protected it by what they chose not to report about it. Conservatives in the media exposed Obama from the beginning, and Obama reacted by singling out those voices and impugning them, trying to get Americans to ignore them. He intimidated Americans as being stubborn for listening to Fox News, saying the  network was not "clear" on his policies, and dismissing it being devoted to attacking his administration. He told Republicans not to listen to Rush Limbaugh, and blamed Rush as the cause of hyper-partisanship. Obama repeatedly identified Rush and Fox and Glenn Beck as voices whom Americans should ignore, yet the people responded by making the Fox News the most highly rated cable news network. Tens of thousands of conservative Americans marched on Capitol Hill to protest ObamaCare before its passage, and not only were they ignored by the representatives they had elected, but some of those representatives even demonized their constituents as terrorists and racists. Voters, in return, fired these Democrats from their jobs via historic Republican victories, and reclaimed the House in 2010, and the Senate in 2014.

Every day for the past four years we have learned more truths about the myriad ways the Obama Administration lied to us, how they promised transparency to get their foot in the door, then slammed the door in our faces once they had control. Conservatives have always known what was coming. We were never the stupid ones.

So, ObamaCare is a law. How do I know if my insurance is affected?

The law applies to every single health insurance company in America.

It dictates a set of rules that every health insurance policy must follow. Do not think you have successfully avoided ObamaCare if you have "private" insurance. I've had numerous people say to me, "I will not sign up for ObamaCare. I'm going to get my insurance through my employer." If you think that, you are still in the dark as to what ObamaCare is, and how this federal law binds you.

All insurance companies are private. They are private businesses and, now, they are all bound under the law by the ACA to include certain requirements. The alternative to private insurance is "public" health care, also known as Medicare (for the elderly) or Medicaid (for the poor) or TRICARE (for the military) or FEHB (for federal employees), where your coverage comes directly through the government via everyone else's tax dollars.

Whether it's private insurance such as Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, BCBS, Humana, UnitedHealthcare/Golden Rule, Kaiser Permanente... or whether you have public health care because you're a state or federal employee... all are bound under the law. Insurance companies cannot offer any "opt-out" choice. IT'S FEDERAL LAW. Some big insurance companies have chosen not to participate in the exchanges of particular states, or not to offer certain plans in some states, but that's because it isn't financially viable for them to do so, which is not the same as "opting out of ObamaCare" as a whole, which they cannot legally do. Wherever they choose to do business, they must comply. Whether you purchase group insurance through your employer, or buy it individually because you are self-employed, or buy through your state's "marketplace" exchange, or through the federal portal, you are forced to comply with the PPACA, which means you will be buying ObamaCare.

There are several current "exceptions" to having ObamaCare:

1) If you are in a grandfathered plan, which is an "old" group plan, created before March 23, 2010, and if your employer decides to continue offering that old plan. Old plans were granted grandfathered status. However, employers are rapidly dropping these policies due to increasing costs and pressure to comply with the upcoming employer mandate. So, chances are you will be "upgraded" to a plan that complies with the ACA in the very near future. You can ask your insurance company if your current plan is grandfathered.

2) If your employer has put off complying with the employer mandate. Obama delayed the mandate until 2015/2016 depending on the number of employees, so some employers have already chosen to comply, but others are waiting until the bitter end, after which they will be penalized $2,000 per employee who does not have insurance. However, employers are provided a $3,000 incentive for hiring illegal immigrants, who are not required to comply with ObamaCare.

3) If your state legislature has voted to accept Obama's offer of a two-year extension of nonconforming individual and small group policies. In other words, Obama said he will not enforce his own law requiring cancellation of nonconforming policies, if states vote to agree to go along with that. He did this to further delay the impact of ObamaCare before the November 2014 midterm elections. The voters were not stupid, and Democrats lost control of the Senate, despite Obama's best efforts.

4) If you claim that buying individual insurance under the Affordable Care Act would be a hardship and, therefore, unaffordable.

5) If you have joined a recognized health care sharing ministry which was in operation before December 31, 1999. These are legally exempt from ACA compliance, due to ethical or religious reasons. More on these later.

Obama promised over 36 times that if you liked your doctor/insurance/health care plan you could keep it, but anyone paying attention to the math knew that would be impossible. ObamaCare mandates that insurance companies must accept every applicant regardless of preexisting conditions. That caused insurance premiums and deductibles nationwide to skyrocket. It caused insurance companies to drop old policies and issue new ones. It caused employers to change insurance companies completely. It forced families out of the policies and away from the doctors they wanted to keep. And what did Obama have to say in the wake of mounting public outrage about his broken promises? He tried to deflect criticism by saying he's "sorry" people are "finding themselves in this situation" as if he was not directly responsible for their devastating losses. The fact is, Obama lied, and everyone knows it.

What will Obama's lies cost me?

To get an idea of the bigger picture involved, please stop and take a few minutes to watch this video by Dave Ramsey.

Who pays for ObamaCare?

Unhealthy people.
This is one of the key provisions of the law: preexisting conditions. Insurance companies are forced to accept everyone, regardless of how sick they are, or how long they've been sick, or what their bills add up to. They will drain the system of far more than they pay in, due to the costly nature of their illnesses. ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber said if the public had understood that "the healthy people pay in and the sick get money" then the bill would not have passed. The good side of ObamaCare was promoted with the idea that unhealthy people would no longer have to pay higher premiums than those who are healthy, and that the very sick would have coverage. But the bad reality is it has caused all premiums to rise for the unhealthy, and everyone else. So, the unhealthy are not paying more than the healthy - everyone is now paying more, equally.
By forcing private insurance to cover preexisting conditions, the ACA forces private insurance costs to rise. It's not "evil" for the insurance companies to raise their premiums to cover these expenses - it's called math and the cost of doing business. If you're looking for something to call evil, it's the federal law which forces all private insurance to cover these budget-busting conditions.

Healthy people.
They pay the most. How? Because they are forced to pay the same exorbitant premiums as the unhealthy. They are forced to subsidize the welfare state. They have lost the benefit of lower premiums for living a healthy lifestyle and requiring little from the system. And the healthiest, hardest-working, biggest contributors to society are not eligible for help from their fellow taxpayers. No. They are the ones who must pay.

All taxpayers.
On top of the outrageous premiums you must now pay, the government is using your tax dollars as a carrot/bribe to get others to buy into ObamaCare, and to hide the cost and conceal the real impact of it. The original plan was to entice all the states to set up (and foot the bill for) their own insurance websites/exchanges, rather than have their residents go through the federal portal ( directly. As a "reward" for states setting up their own exchanges, the government built in "incentives" making state residents eligible to receive federal subsidies. What does that mean? If you buy a plan through a marketplace/exchange set up by a state, the government rewards some people by "refunding" a large percentage of the plans. But, remember, there is no such thing as Free Money from the government. Every dollar "they give" you has to first come out of the pockets of the taxpayer in order to be redistributed to someone else. Every time someone claims a subsidy through a state exchange, they are being lured into a false sense of "affordability," courtesy of your pockets. Unfortunately for Obama, however, only 14 states set up their own exchanges, and so the residents of 36 states are not eligible for subsidies. That means, in most states, people are feeling the cost of ObamaCare, and they don't like how unaffordable it is. So, Obama tried to circumvent the very federal law he created, with the IRS rewriting the law after the fact, declaring that purchasers on both state-run and federally-run exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies, and he's being taken to court over it.

The unborn
They pay with their lives. If you are pro-life, you need to know that ObamaCare forces you to violate your convictions. For some of you, that will mean you're forced to fund contraceptives. For others, it means funding "day after" emergency contraceptives. And, for the entire population of many states, it even means funding abortions. [Part 3 of my series is on Abortion. Read it, and weep.]

Who else pays?

They are actually the bulk of ObamaCare enrollees. And, actually, they don't pay, because they are the poorest in our society. Expansion of Medicaid is expansion of the welfare state. They do not contribute to the system, yet they can be the biggest drain of its resources, due to old age and unhealthy lifestyle choices. And, to top it all off, they receive inferior health care as a result... but hey, at least they have coverage from the magnanimous federal government via our tax dollars. Unfortunately, coverage does not equal care.

What's the goal?

Americans still don't feel the full brunt of the cost of these plans because the employer mandate (delayed to 2017) has not kicked in. Once it does, millions more sick people with expensive preexisting conditions will flood the system, and the private insurance companies will have no choice but to raise members' premiums to cover the exorbitant medical bills. Still, most members will not have caught on, and will blame the insurance companies for "unreasonably" high costs. The government will say it has No Choice but to respond to the "high cost of healthcare" by establishing a different system, in the name of fairness, and the next step of moving the entire country into 100% government run healthcare will have begun. How will government meet these rising costs? By demanding higher taxes.

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

The entire ObamaCare structure is based on the government taking from the haves and giving to the have nots. It can only be sustained if the healthy are forced to pay for the unhealthy, and people who choose to live healthy lifestyles are forced to pay for the effects of those who choose to live unhealthy lifestyles. It is a massive redistribution of wealth scheme, and the number of paying enrollees is millions below the number needed to sustain the system, threatening insolvency.

It was designed as a lie. It was designed to force people out of the insurance they liked, and into insurance they didn't like. It was designed to raise costs for private insurers, so they'd have no choice but to raise their rates. It was designed to make doctors leave their practices. It was designed to become insolvent. It was designed to kill freedom. It was designed to make everyone so angry with "evil" insurance companies that people demand the federal government come in and "fix" the problem, once and for all.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to be Unaffordable.

Why? So it would become Free.

It was designed to lead to what Obama calls "a single-payer" system, or the "public plan." That's when every single private insurance company has been forced out of business, and healthcare is only available through public funding = a single source, your tax dollars = from the federal government. ObamaCare was designed to fail. It was designed to become full fledged socialized medicine. Is that right-wing hyperbole or paranoia? No.

Obama told us this himself.

And, once the federal government has engulfed all of health care, what will the quality of our care be then?
See Medicaid recipients, above.

That, my friends, is the bad news. It was stupid to believe that imposing any part of socialized medicine upon our free nation could ever be a good idea. We had the best health care system in the world, and all other nations who already have socialized medicine fled their systems and flocked to our shores when they needed the best. When our national health care system becomes just as bad as theirs, where will they go for quality care? Where will we go?

So... HELP!

If you've read this far, you are waiting for the good news, and I'm here to tell you that there is good news, very good news, and you can begin to learn about it in Part 2 of my series: Alternatives to ObamaCare.

ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 1 - Introduction)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 2 - Alternatives to ObamaCare)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 3 - Abortion)
ObamaCare: What's An American To Do? (Part 4 - Prescription, Dental, and Vision)

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