President Obama seemed to have stepped in something earlier this week. The news hit the street that the Department of Health and Human Services (whose very existence is supposedly validated by the goal in the preamble of the Constitution to “promote the general welfare”) had decided that the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Affordable Health Care Act, aka ObamaCare, empowered them to rule that Catholic (and all other) hospitals and charities and other subsidiary businesses must (had to, were required to, had no choice but to) provide their employees with “health” insurance policies that would pay for contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and abortion procedures as well.
It didn’t matter to HHS that all three of those “health care benefits” were prohibited by Catholic Church doctrine, and that all three are Catholic mortal sins. It didn’t matter to the Secretary, ostensibly Catholic herself, that a Catholic could not in good conscience facilitate other Catholics (or even non-Catholics) in their attempt to obtain or use such “benefits.” And it certainly didn’t matter to the President that he had (although not in writing and not in words that he could be pinned down on) promised Bishop (soon to be Cardinal) Timothy Dolan in November that Dolan would get “most of what you want; the next time we speak you’re going to be very happy.”[paraphrased] And the promises to then Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan (promises that the resulting legislation would not authorize or pay for abortions; promises made to get the final deciding vote to enable the passage of the O/R/P AHCA) had been tossed aside long ago. All that didn’t matter. HHS had spoken (through its Oracle-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius), and its holy word was now its bond.
Somehow, it did matter to officials of the Catholic Church and practicing Catholic laymen. Their concerns were passed up to our national ombudsman, President Obama; he consulted his astrological charts (known as voting demographics) and soon the word was changed, this time directly from His Highness. No longer would those institutions have to provide insurance to cover destruction of the inconvenient results of human interactions. If they objected on religious grounds, he decreed that the insurance companies would have to foot the bill, gratis, without compensation, co-pay or deductible. My goodness, now no Catholic would be paying for or providing mortal sin material (msm) to others. (Unless, of course, he was an insurance company executive, but we all know they are barely human, right?) After his announcement, the Prez could be seen shaking his foot as he walked away. (Note: He has made a concerted effort to restrict his comments and rationalizations to “women’s health” and “contraceptives,” preferring to center the debate there rather than on the weightier matters of abortion and Constitutional over-reach.)
What is wrong with the story behind this narrative?
First, the law behind these shenanigans was passed by using dishonest means. Not necessarily illegal, perhaps within the rules of the Congress, but definitely dishonest and, by the time it was forced through the Reid/Pelosi meat grinder, against the wishes of about 60% of the American public. Things go downhill from there.
Second, the decree by HHS is pretty clearly a “law” “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion; such laws are prohibited by the very first amendment to the Constitution. But even if it weren’t, just exactly where does Congress get the authority to write a law that specifies in detail what benefits an employer must provide for his workers? And how can a law without valid authority be enforced? I know they’ve done it before, but does that make it Constitutional?
Third, the transfer of the cost of msm from hospitals to insurance companies is a distinction without a difference, as was stated Friday by Rick Santorum in answer to a question from a FoxNooz host. It’s clear that by providing the insurance policy in the first place the hospital will be providing the means to obtain the msm. Esoteric considerations of “who will really pay” are unnecessary.
Fourth, neither the President nor HHS has the authority to require a company to give up its assets without probable cause. The fourth amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their… effects, against… unreasonable… seizures, shall not be violated….” And it makes it clear that any seizure shall be preceded by a warrant swearing to probable cause and describing the thing to be seized, which further implies a warrant for at least each case. This, I admit, is a conclusion reached by someone who is Not a Constitutional Law Professor.
Fifth, the President’s modification of the HHS order would create a “taking” under the definitions of the fifth amendment, whether there is any religious aspect involved or not. This objection might be answered by the agreement of the federal government to pay for the benefit provided, but the President knows there is no money to pay for it and no chance that Congress would approve it. And even then, it’s questionable that one person can be required to give up his property to another person, even with a royal decree in hand.
Finally, he hasn’t gotten rid of the problem he stepped in. He’s just moved it around.
It all boils down to a President who wants to be King, and in fact a pre-Magna Carta King. To him, the Constitution is just a bunch of technical objections to what he wants to do, not the Supreme Law of the Land, and he feels comfortable with violating or skirting three of its most important clauses for this one particular favorite program. The Congress should be mere lackeys, carrying around their little rubber stamps that say either “yes” or “heck yes.” And the public is a gaggle of children who don’t know what’s good for them.
So, how does this help the Supreme Court? They are considering the fate of the “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance that’s contained in the O/R/P AHCA, and without which the act is even less affordable than it is with it. In fact, without the mandate the act is meaningless. Given that last item, the Court might come down on the side of the Administration.
But assuming that the Justices of the Court do read the papers, they might now also consider the new, publicly proposed transgressions against the intent and words of the Constitution, and that might help them decide that it’s time to make like Barney Fife and “nip it in the bud.”