Wanting Something for Nothing
Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate forces religious-affiliated institutions – such as schools, hospitals and charities – to provide health insurance that covers certain abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and free contraceptives. This tramples on the First Amendment, which states that (emphasis added) “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That mandate most certainly prohibits the free exercise of religion. But it goes beyond that, trampling on our economic liberty.
With Obamacare, the government decided that it knows better than you. Obamacare codifies the liberal belief that the federal government knows better than you on how best to address your health needs. It decides that you must have coverage, and it decides what that coverage must include.
The left has been trying to frame the debate over economic and religious freedom as a debate over women’s health. This is disingenuous. What the left is arguing is that health care insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and free contraceptives is somehow a right; a right that apparently supersedes our inalienable rights which are enshrined in our Constitution.
Last week, House Democrats held a recess hearing to elevate a witness who was not allowed to testify at the official hearing on religious freedom because she was not connected to any religious organization. Indeed, the student’s arguments were not about religion at all.
(Quick aside, her student health plan from Georgetown University would not be affected by the Obamacare anti-conscience or the Blunt Amendment.)
Instead, the student spoke on the need to expand the entitlement society:
“Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.”
Her argument is purely economic – who pays for what. The truth, as all of us know, is that someone will be covering the cost. If it is not the individual, it will be the employers, or the insurance companies, or the taxpayers. In short, nothing is free.
In an attempt to prove some things can be free, the left likes to cite a study conducted about Hawaii’s contraception mandate that says the state mandate “did not appear” to increase insurance premiums. That is eerily similar to the claim that Obamacare will lower insurance costs. (Another quick aside, that same study found an increase in pregnancies after the mandate was enacted.)
If we are talking about economic justifications, we have to ask, where does it end? Food is too expensive, should the government buy that for everyone? Gas is expensive, should the government provide that as well? The federal government has seized power from individuals and is now in the practice of dictating to people what they need. Will the federal government start mandating we all drive expensive, inefficient Chevy Volts?
At its core, this is an argument about liberty – and nothing else. Religious institutions, under the First Amendment, cannot be forced by Congress (Obamacare was passed by Congress) to violate their religious beliefs – they have rights of conscience. Private companies are being mandated to provide products for free. Individuals are being mandated to buy mandated services.
Here is the other thing: if this anti-conscience mandate were repealed, life goes back to how it was the day before the mandate was enacted. It would simply keep over 200 years of religious freedom in tact…and that is a very good thing.