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Biden arrives today as Catholic hospital controversy erupts: Pennsylvania Congressmen involved.
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In other words, Sister Carol is not just some kindly nun who reminds you of the nun whacking your knuckles in grade school for this or that offense. No, in the world of Washington Sister Carol is a powerhouse lobbyist — make that a liberal social justice lobbyist — with a clear set of political skills and a very, very high-powered set of very elite friends. She is quite decidedly not just the neighborhood nun. Sister Carol is the Washington voice of the Catholic Health Association, once called the Catholic Hospital Association, which means her clout with Catholic hospitals around America — like the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and its siblings in Nanticoke and Tunkhannock, all run by CEO Cook — is considerable. Not to mention her clout with the parent company located in Cincinnati — and not to mention with Congressman Bart Stupak.
Selected as one of Time magazine’s “2010 Time 100” most influential people, Sister Carol’s social justice passions were written up glowingly for Time by one of the other Obama 21 pen-receivers at the health care signing: Victoria Reggie Kennedy. AKA, Mrs. Ted Kennedy. Sister Carol, as demonstrated by her status as the receiver of a presidential signing pen, is clearly the President’s favorite nun.
Thus her abilities to whack Mercy CEO Kevin Cook’s knuckles for speaking out of turn on what in fact he “absolutely” and “absolutely” saw a mere two days earlier as the impact of ObamaCare on his hospitals were considerable. And when the Cook statement #2 didn’t pass muster, he apparently was whacked again. After reining in a sitting Congressman Stupak and getting him to, in the yes of many pro-lifers, abandon his anti-abortion stance and pass ObamaCare, what’s a mere hospital executive like Kevin Cook to Sister Carol? It is safe to say that there are doctors in Scranton, furious at what they are seeing as happening to the local health care system, who believe Sister Carol — or someone else connected to the Obama White House if not the someone inside the White House itself — was behind the knuckle rapping of Kevin Cook.
With the White House already on record for having senior staff making angry phone calls to CEO’s over corporate writedowns, having the Secretary of HHS send threatening Soprano-style letters to insurers not to blame ObamaCare for premium increases — the question in Scranton is why wouldn’t the same White House enlist the President’s favorite nun to intimidate Mr. Cook and the company he represents?
Protecting ObamaCare turns out to be but one reason — albeit that alone is a big one with national consequences for this White House.
THE OTHER REVOLVES around the struggling campaigns of Representatives Kanjorski and Carney. And the larger political picture in Pennsylvania. U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. is a Scranton resident. Indeed, one Scranton source pointed out that the Casey home is within walking distance of Mercy Hospital in Scranton. Casey and his father before him have succeeded in part by creating the image of the old-fashioned FDR-JFK working class Democrat whose values are revered in Scranton. This is the city that is the hometown of Vice President Biden. For Scrantonians and their fellow Pennsylvanians in neighboring communities to suddenly see a Catholic hospital that has been a mainstay for 93 years suddenly slip away has caused considerable upset.
And notably, in a town that is heavily Catholic, the realization that three hospitals that did not perform abortions could be sold to owners who would allow the procedure is infuriating.
Both Kanjorski and Carney have been under fire for their ObamaCare votes from GOP opponents Lou Barletta and Tom Marino respectively. The startling news of the Mercy sale was barely 24 hours old when State Republican Chairman Robert P. Gleason picked up on it, issuing statements tying the ObamaCare votes of the pair to the prospective loss of Mercy.
And at that, Sister Carol, presumably not having the comings and goings of Pennsylvania politics on her mind, suddenly launched herself into the Scranton hospital debacle, presumably finally forcing a tougher stance from Mercy’s CEO Cook in statement #3.
The explosion, all recent with its implications of White House pressure and lost Catholic hospitals, is about to bring in media ads from CatholicVote.org. Says Communications Director Joshua Mercer: “Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney are Catholic and they both voted for ObamaCare.” Citing the sale of the three Mercy hospitals, Mercer says that the pro-ObamaCare votes of the two “has had a real impact on the community.” Mercer added a sentiment voiced as well by the Scranton doctor: “There are a lot of Kevin Cooks across the country…the CEO’s of small Catholic hospitals are all facing the same realities of more [ObamaCare] mandates and regulations.”
Interestingly, a Scranton medical source notes the lack of coverage of the growing Mercy hospital sales controversy in the local Scranton Times. “It’s a Democratic paper,” the source said, mentioning that he listens to talk radio to get a better picture of the news. “I listen to Rush, to Sean, Fox News and local talk radio. But with a Democratic paper you have to listen to national talk radio to get another perspective.”
Today, Vice President Biden arrives in Scranton to campaign for Congressman Carney.
A Capitol Hill aide to a Republican U.S. Senator says of the Scranton controversy the Obama White House is terrified the Mercy Hospital sales story will “get legs” as a national story — further intensifying the anti-Obama vote pollsters are recording in potentially record numbers. And leading to the defeat of not only Kanjorski and Carney but another Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman who voted for ObamaCare: U.S. Senate nominee Joe Sestak. Sestak is trailing his own opponent, conservative anti-ObamaCare GOP nominee Pat Toomey.
With less than a month to go until election day, one thing is certain.
The story of the President’s nun and charges of possible intimidation of a hospital executive over ObamaCare will ensure the Scranton hospital sale isn’t going away anytime soon.
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In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
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