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Inside Washington

What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.

“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.

Sebelius Passes To Burwell

InsideWashingtonWill the new HHS Secretary score a touchdown?

By Dr. Tom Askew

As most Washington pundits predicted, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has resigned from the President’s cabinet, although many expected the announcement to come on the heels of the 2012 election. The new Secretary designate—subject to Senate approval—is former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Sylvia Mathews Burwell. She is touted by President Obama as one who has “demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships, and deliver excellent results at the highest levels,” in both the public and private sectors.

To those who believe successful national leadership means winning elections, this is a strategic response to the dip in popularity of the current administration on the heels of multiple problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) launch. Days after her resignation, former Secretary Sebelius spoke frankly in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” calling the Affordable Care Act rollout “terribly flawed” and asserting that the Obama administration’s original predictions about its timetable were “flat-out wrong.”

While it is clear that the HealthCare.gov web site had glitches in its initial form, many reports have been documented about individuals for whom this plan has proved cost prohibitive, as well as deceptively marketed. Promises about keeping one’s own physician, the provision of market alternatives, and ease of implementation have regularly failed those seeking to enroll. Nevertheless, supporters of the ACA are claiming a victory, based on the number of enrollees exceeding the Obama administration’s target of seven million people. More

In the wake of the nomination of Burwell, some politicians are predicting more doom ahead. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah says, for example, that the problem wasn’t Sebelius, but the ACA itself. “The president’s signature domestic policy achievement is an unmitigated disaster,” Hatch stated. “This deeply flawed law has hurt millions of hard-working American families, job creators, and seniors in the form of rising premiums, higher taxes, and fewer choices.”

Another legislator who is skeptical about Burwell’s ability to rescue the ACA is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. “Ms. Burwell has a comparatively thin resume for the demands now placed on this position – she has never run anything on the scale of HHS,” Sessions commented, adding that “During her short stint as budget director, she did more to obscure the nation’s poor financial state than to illuminate it.”

Looking to November

It is clear that the “jury is still out” regarding the future of nationalized health care. The difficulties of launching such an all-encompassing and sensitive intrusion into the personal welfare of private citizens are easily imagined. All one needs to do is look at the failures history has recorded for centralized, top-down government control, going all the way back to the Tower of Babel. Defending the Administration’s policy, Sebelius stated, “I think what we said from the outset was, you know, this was fixing a very broken market – where individuals really were on their own. If you were healthy and wealthy, you could get coverage. If you weren’t you were pretty much on your own.”

Many would claim it is no better now.

As stated earlier, Sebelius’s resignation was expected as Democrats look toward the next round of elections. According to Anugrah Kumar of The Christian Post, “Republicans are likely to remain at the helm of the House of Representatives.” He warns that “it’s crucial for Obama to prevent the GOP from winning control of the Senate as well. The President believes a new face of Obamacare will help.”

Turning to prayer

The nomination of Secretary Burwell gives you another name to pray for. On a policy level, you need to pray for clarity among Congressmen and policy makers on all levels as they navigate the maze of compromise, good intentions, and survival instincts in setting a course for this nation. And you need to pray for the November mid-term elections.

As you do so, keep these Biblical injunctions in mind:

Dr. Tom Askew has been an educator in both public and private schools for over 40 years, in both the U.S. and overseas. He is currently doing educational consulting and instruction for Christian schools in Arizona.

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