Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare: what impact on religious liberty?

The Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (known as “Obamacare”).  Many people are asking today, “what impact does this ruling have on the recent controversy over conscience protection and religious liberty?” and, “what impact does this ruling have on the HHS mandate?”  Many people are confused about the difference between these two “mandates.”

Important point: the Supreme Court did not uphold the HHS mandate.  The court upheld the requirement under Obamacare that every person buy health insurance.  This is the individual mandate–it is different from, and not closely related to, the HHS mandate.  The individual mandate was part of a law passed by Congress.  The HHS mandate is a law enacted by bureaucrats, with no legislative oversight and ignoring citizen input.

Individual mandate: requires that every person buy health insurance.  Upheld by Supremes.

HHS mandate: requires that every employer (>50 employees) provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as a part of employee health plans.  Was not addressed in this legal action.

What now for the fight for religious liberty, and the fight against the HHS mandate?  Our work becomes even more urgent, even more important.  The multitude of lawsuits by states, businesses, universities, hospitals, and dioceses will continue to work their way through the courts.  We must continue to work against this government intrusion on our religious liberties.

We must continue to make it clear to our elected officials at all levels:  the HHS mandate is an unjust law.  An unjust law cannot be obeyed; it must be repealed.  

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5 Responses to Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare: what impact on religious liberty?

  1. ZoiloG says:

    CJ Roberts showed very clearly the path conservatives should take in his decision on Obamacare. We should vote into office congressmen, senators, and president who will repeal Obamacare, remove the HHS mandate, and not to make policies that will violate our God-given rights as well as the rights of the unborn. As for the HHS mandate, I believe it will be rejected by CJ Roberts as the most fundamental right (freedom of religion) is at stake. Now that the CJ has proven his impartiality, he can make decisions in the more important issues such as the HHS mandate in favor of the conservative position without being accused of towing the Republican political line.

  2. dougindeap says:

    Arguments that the health care law infringes religious liberty are predicated on a big lie. Notwithstanding the bishops’ arm waving about religious liberty, the law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences.

    Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forces employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers consider immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government (which, by the way, would generally amount to far less than the cost of health plans). Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved. Solved–unless an employer really aims not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather to control his employees’ health plan choices so they conform to the employer’s religious beliefs rather than the law, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some have continued clamoring for such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

    The bishops are coming across more and more as just another special interest group with a big lobbying operation and a big budget—one, moreover, that is not above stretching the truth.

    • Gwen says:

      Doug, I would ask you to do better than cut-and-paste the same comments that you’ve made in the past. Find some new ways to make the same tired ad hominem attacks, at the very least. Start and end by calling the bishops liars–you can do better than that. Please try again.

      • dougindeap says:

        In a recent interview, Archbishop Chaput stated: “The central issue in the HHS-mandate debate isn’t contraception. Casting the struggle as a birth-control fight is just a shrewd form of dishonesty. The central issue in the HHS debate is religious liberty. The government doesn’t have the right to force religious believers and institutions to violate their religious convictions. But that’s exactly what the White House is doing.”

        As any objective review of the ACA reveals and as summarized in my comment, Chaput’s assertion that the government is “forc[ing] religious believers and institutions to violate their religious convictions” is plainly false. The fact is that the law affords employers choices that avoid acting contrary to their religious convictions. Whether one characterizes Chaput’s assertion a mistake or a lie depends, I suppose, on what one thinks he knows in his own mind; either way, his assertion is simply wrong.

  3. Pingback: Logos and Muse: Deconstructing the Absolute Statism of Doug Indeap

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