“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Americans are jarred by the realization that the Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act failed to protect and preserve their sacred liberties.
Chief Justice John Robert’s ruling expanded the power of the federal government by declaring President Obama’s mandate is a tax, and thus, all Americans will bow to a system of socialized medicine that doesn’t allow for individual choice or conscience protection.
Immediately following the Supreme Court decision the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services feverishly began adding 13,000 pages of new regulations and created 180 plus boards, commissions and bureaus. All of these new regulations are in addition to the 2700 pages of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.
The Department of Health and Human Services will set rules and regulations for health care services based on cost containment. Final approval will come through the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) commonly referred to as “death panels”. The rationing of care will begin with the most vulnerable in our society the elderly and infirm. Government now has the power to decide who lives and who dies by severely limiting how much and what kind of health care they receive. The tyranny of government control through the IPAB is extremely difficult to reverse and even restricts the power of a future president to void its standing. Wesley Smith writes: “IPAB: the part of Obamacare that can’t be repealed”. Even if the ACA is repealed the IPAB retains all of its authority. In fact Congress cannot consider any bill or amendment that would repeal or change that authority without a three-fifths vote in the Senate and that cannot be attempted before 2017. The IPAB is autocratic and exempted from administrative and judicial review.
Burke J. Balch, Director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics at National Right to Life, in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, explained that the IPAB aims to “reduce the treatment that doctors are allowed to give their patients”. Mr. Balch outlined the many Medicare restrictions that will fall on the elderly. Every American’s health care in all age groups will be judged by whether it is too expensive. The government will limit what doctors and hospitals are allowed to give in terms of treatment and the kind of care that Medicare and insurance plans can offer.
Cost effective medical care invites the devaluation of human life as this tragic report from the U.K. “Hospitals letting people die to save money” demonstrates. Unrestricted public policy that fails to include ethical strictures will ultimately lead to abuse. Ethical violations are many under our newly minted health care system and we are bound under Subtitle G-Miscellaneous Provisions of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: “Prohibition against discrimination of assisted suicide”.
Never before in the history of our country have we faced such a serious threat to our religious freedoms. One of President Obama’s mandates requires taxpayer funding for abortions, paid through a $1 surcharge in premiums to the government approved insurance plans, and will go in effect in 2014. Who will stand up for the millions of people who will be forced to violate their conscience and comply with this unjust law?
President Obama’s policies reflect his antagonism toward Christian morality and he adopted an adversarial position with religious institutions. The President most certainly was not unaware of the religious teachings of the Catholic Church when he authorized the HHS mandate that requires all employers, including religious institutions, to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs. The bishops have been unified in their protest against this unprecedented attack on religious liberty. The President’s contempt for the Church was evident in his recent remarks when he said that it was unfair to women that the Church wouldn’t provide coverage for all of the aforementioned services.
There will be no acquiescence in the battle for religious freedom. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that it is moving forward with litigation and is representing more than 50 plaintiffs including lawsuits that were filed by 43 Catholic institutions in May. The Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod just announced in July, that it will join the Roman Catholic officials in opposing the HHS mandate.
Nebraska Attorney General John Bruning filed a federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate in the U. S. District Court of Nebraska and he was joined other Republican attorneys general from the states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. Nebraska groups- Catholic Social Services, Pius X Catholic High School, Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, a nun and female missionary were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. However, according to updated news reports, U. S. District Judge Warren Urborn of Lincoln Nebraska immediately dismissed their case saying the states did not have standing in court. Judge Urborn agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice which stated that the plaintiffs did not prove they faced an immediate threat since the government delayed enforcement of the HHS mandate until August 2013. The Department of Justice also said states lack legal grounds to sue because they don’t enjoy First Amendment protections.
Capitulation to Statism versus the will of the people is at issue following the unprecedented expansion of federal power unleashed by the Supreme Court ruling, and thus far 15 governors have announced their refusal to implement the Affordable Care Act.
America is being led down a precarious path and we are poised on a precipice where our most cherished, God given rights of life and liberty hang in the balance. The preservation of our freedoms and the legacy we leave for future generations will depend on the commitment and strength of the American people. It may be a long battle but our immediate hope lies in the upcoming election which may well be the most important election of our lifetime.
Spero columnist Vickie K. Doherty writes frequently on law, as well as social and moral issues.