Health-Care Reform This Week

I think is the week begin again became real to a lot of people.

I think the conversation I had with Tom Messner from Heritage is one worth reading, if you haven’t. Because this is quite a mess we have on our hands, but there is a way out, and to move forward, too, not simply turn back clocks (the sleep implications alone make that undesirable). If you are one who sends items around to share with family and friends to begin conversations or help inform, this might be one you include:

LOPEZ: Is there any fix for the HHS mandate short of rescinding it?

MESSNER: The Obama administration could have included robust protections for religious freedom in the mandate. Instead, it finalized the mandate with what the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty calls “the stingiest definition” of a religious organization ever to appear in federal law.

There has been a lot of talk about the so-called “accommodation” proposed by the administration in February and now subject to public commenting in an advanced notice of proposed rule-making. But as James Capretta has explained in a recent analysis for NRO, this approach is no solution at all.

The truth is that freedom of conscience goes hand in hand with greater freedom in general. This particular mandate is just the first in what could become a long list of problems for religious and moral conscience under the Obamacare regulatory regime.

People and groups with sufficient energy and financial resources can try to find ways to exempt their way through the mess on a regulation by regulation basis. But for those who support a robust vision of religious freedom in America, it is time to start thinking more strategically.

The best way to fix the HHS mandate is to rescind it along with the rest of Obamacare. That way the country can start with a clean state and implement authentic health-care reforms that respect freedom and fulfill the moral responsibility many Americans feel for the poor, sick, and needy.

LOPEZ: How is the HHS mandate related to the individual mandate and this week’s Supreme Court case?

MESSNER: The common theme is freedom. As most people probably know, this week the Supreme Court considers arguments about whether the federal government is constitutionally permitted to force American citizens to enter the market for health insurance. The HHS Mandate is about what drugs and services health-care plans must include. These various mandates are really just different sides of the big box that Obamacare builds around freedom. When freedom in general gets trapped inside the Obamacare box, freedom of religious and moral conscience is likely to get trapped too.


Categories:Health Care Uncategorized

  • Mike

    Funny that you are talking with the Heritage Foundation and they are now against the individual mandate. They came up with the idea!

    “If a young man wrecks his Porsche,” the Foundation’s policy director, Stuart Butler, wrote in 1989, “we may commiserate, but society feels no obligation to repair his car. But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance,” even though “that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab.”

    The Republican’s embraced that Heritage Foundation concept too:

    “The White House and the law’s supporters are armed with similar ammunition from Republicans, starting with President George H.W. Bush. During the debate over so-called Hillarycare in 1993-94, Bob Dole of Kansas, then the Senate Republican leader, and other party colleagues backed an individual mandate. Subsequently, so did another Senate Republican majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, a physician, as well as Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the ex-speaker of the House.

    As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney enacted a mandate in his state. “Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate,” Mr. Romney declared six years ago. “But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided. Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.””

    Taken from this New York Times article:

  • SCJ

    What alternative do you propose? If you want universal healthcare, the government has to be involved somehow. The individual mandate may be the most clunky and hamfisted way to go about achieving that goal (though it’s arguably the most “conservative” method, as it preservers the private insurance industry). And if we’re going to have comprehensive coverage, procedures and products that Catholics, and members of other religions, object to will almost certainly have to be covered.

    There’s no perfect solution, but I do agree that the ACA could have struck a much better balance between universal coverage and religious freedom.

  • Ben Anderson

    What I keep thinking this week is that the US Catholic Church would be on the liberals side of this Supreme Court debate if it weren’t for certain clauses (like the contraception+ mandate). It seems that nearly all of the bishops endorsed universal gov’t health care – even claiming that a good Catholic is morally obliged to support it. So, let’s assume that the Obama had completely cooperated with the bishops and Obamacare went through without a fight from the bishops. Would they now be endorsing Obama’s attorneys as they argue for this unconstitutional bill before the SC? Would they tell us layfolk that we should disregard our own constitution? I haven’t read any good analysis on this – if you have a link please share.



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