By Albert Maslar — Obamacare is laden with anomalies that are arbitrarily mishandled by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is the designated implementer of what is to be and how, in Obama’s “Affordable” HealthCare law that is primed to devastate the underpinnings of the economy and related jobs potential besides further dividing the country on social issues.
Controversy is boiling over Obama’s mandate requiring religious-based employers to purchase insurance plans that pay for contraception services that are contrary to their religious beliefs; contraception, sterilization and abortifacients, substances that induce abortion; so-called Plan B abortion drugs.
Critics of the contraception mandate argue that it forces religious-based organizations to purchase health insurance plans that violate their conscience. No problem; Obama solves the problem by passing the cost to insurance companies, mandating them to offer contraception coverage at no cost.
Even if that were true — there will in fact be a cost, but let’s leave that aside for a moment — this ignores the unconstitutionality of forcing insurance companies to offer a product for free, at no cost.
In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer points out that the supposed “solution — forcing insurance companies to provide contraception for free — is an unprecedented “assault on free enterprise,” because it would allow the government, without any statutory authority, to force private companies to hand out goods and services for free.
Obama then proudly proclaims from his favorite teleprompter that religious organizations will not have to “directly” pay for contraception related services. Not having to pay “directly” by definition means they will still have to pay, though vaguely, “indirectly”.
President Obama attempted to mollify a religious uprising against the HHS requirement that religious institutions offer and pay for various contraception services, reversing himself by supposedly passing the payment requirement to health insurance companies, a solution that poured gasoline on the political fire, compounding the furor created by the lack of conscience protection mandated under Obamacare.
Opt out rules are being created and employed so that the favored can be exempted, but with so many waivers and exemptions already granted, it stands to reason that those not being exempted are unfairly subject to laws that the favored are arbitrarily exempted from.
To be fair, if anyone is allowed to opt out, in a free America, everyone should be able to opt out; eventually meaning the entire law should be opted out, the law modified, rescinded, or voided, and a total new approach that applies universally should be called for. Freedom of religion is at stake. Obama is walking in quicksand by his decision to confront religion head-on, a decision that could cost him politically.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as is his modus operandi, prevented Senators from open debate or any opportunity to offer amendments to provide religious exemption to the Obama /Sebelius contraception mandate. What happened to representation of all the people that is arbitrarily controlled by one Senator out of 100?
Reid blocked the amendment process through a procedure known as “filling the tree,” by which the Majority Leader fills all possible openings for amendments on a piece of legislation, thus preventing other Senators from offering further amendments.
Reid criticized proposed amendments because the details regarding the mandate are not yet clear; similar to Obama’s argument in a court case against the HHS mandate, declaring that the case should be thrown out of court because there were possible future changes to the mandates that might solve the problem.
The Becket Fund is not waiting for any changes. It has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic university. Its Deputy General Counsel, Luke Goodrich, said he thinks the Obama Administration’s argument will not stand up in court. Harvard Law School should be proud of its constitutional professor.
Albert Maslar a contributing writer to the Liberty Features Syndicate.