December 2009


In November the three Republican state Senate candidates in District 17 completed questionnaires from the Allen County Right to Life seeking information about their individual positions on a number of critical pro-life issues. The questions asked were straightforward and two of the candidates did a solid job of providing clear answers. Reviewing the final essay question, however, one would probably have to conclude that Jim Banks, an experienced pro-family and pro-life advocate with national experience, provided the most thorough and persuasive explanation of his pro-life philosophy.*

Candidate Tom Wall, currently a Huntington County Commissioner, checked “unsure” in responding to two of the questions on his questionnaire. Each of the questions he marked this way were very simple questions dealing with two common pro-life issues faced by legislators around the country. Anyone familiar with the cursory elements of the pro-life position and philosophy would have been able to make a final judgment about his or her support of the position stated in the question.

The first area of uncertainty for Wall was the matter of conscience clause legislation that protects pharmacists from being legally liable for refusing to fill out prescriptions for abortion inducing products. This issue has come up in several states, including neighboring Illinois, and pharmacists have had to face a choice between violating their conscience and assuming serious liability for their refusal to comply with a consumer’s request. In Indiana legislation has been introduced in recent sessions of the General Assembly to protect pro-life Hoosier pharmacists from this morally and professionally difficult choice.

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As most Americans focus their thoughts on family, friends and the nearing Christmas holiday, the U.S. Senate is in the final stage of debating and passing President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. On Monday, December 21st at 1:00am in the morning, the Senate voted to close debate and prepare for a vote on the final passage of an expansive and expensive government takeover of our nation’s healthcare system. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has scheduled the final vote for tomorrow morning, Christmas Eve.

Throughout the writing and debating of this bill the normal legislative process was marred by heavy-handed, Chicago-style tactics. Senators have been bribed with legislative favors and berated into supporting a proposal that will align our nation’s healthcare system with the very worst of policies found in Western Europe and Canada. A few weeks ago Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) was given a special $300 million earmark for her state in exchange for her support of the bill. Recently, Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) secured millions of dollars in permanent subsidies for his state’s share of the new Medicaid entitlement mandates contained in the legislation. The fact that such dishonorable and despicable tactics had to be used illustrates the stakes involved and the utter lack of credible policy that this bill contains.

According to a Rasmussen poll, 56% of Americans oppose the current healthcare reform proposal, and there are good reasons to oppose it. Here is a list of some key facts about the bill:

-Over 10 years the real cost of the bill is $2.5 trillion.
-Individuals will be required to pay a special tax if they choose to not go over to the government-managed system.
-Unemployed workers will find it harder to get a job because of new regulations mandating that employers provide a minimum amount of health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
-Abortions will be subsidized by taxpayers.
-Medical supplies and equipment will be taxed to help foot the cost of the bill.
-Trillions of dollars in taxpayer money could be used to bailout the new government-sponsored insurance programs if they fail.
-Millions of Americans will lose their current health insurance despite promises from
President Obama that this will not happen.

At its root, this battle over healthcare is about far more than a series of reforms to the present system. This is a battle over freedom and over whether or not the American people are willing to concede their rights and responsibilities to a government that provides everything in exchange for the control of everything. Government takeover of healthcare would be a giant leap towards fiscal ruin and the eradication core freedoms.

The soft paternalism of government offers only certain mediocrity and not the vigorous excellence that comes through freedom. Other nations have gone down this path to socialism and the abject failures of their experiments stand as a stark counterpoint to the platitudes of hope uttered by Washington insiders. The time to act is now, and the deadline for action is mid-morning of Christmas Eve. The contact information for senators may be found on the official Senate website: www.senate.gov.