Catholics Cant, and Wont, Comply with Obamacare
Devine, Donald, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The
In response to President Obamas announcement that religious organizations will not be exempt from Obamacares requirement that all health plans cover certain abortion-producing drugs, sterilization procedures and contraceptive devices by 2013, Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, in effect the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.
Americas Catholic leadership is learning that providing free government health care comes with strings. Too often a commendable concern for peoples welfare makes them and most of the rest of the population, for that matter blind to the costs.
The hammer has now fallen and the choices will be agonizing, and not only for Catholics.
The new Department of Health and Human Services regulations by a Catholic HHS secretary, no less will narrowly interpret a religious employer exception as applying only to organizations primarily serving people only of the same denomination such as at religious services.
Since Catholic charitable, hospital and educational organizations serve all religions, they will not qualify. These institutions must choose between refusing to help people of other faiths, denying health care coverage to their employees, or violating their consciences. The government says to be good Americans they must violate their consciences.
The Catholic hierarchy is mostly begging the president or the courts to expand the definition of exempt organizations to include them. That is not enough since the definition could be narrowed again with another big Democratic congressional majority, a re- elected President Obama or new justices.
How about exempting nonreligious organizations with similar moral concerns? The Obama rule is a general threat of state control of conscience that demands a more fundamental reaction.
Interestingly, the bishops had just returned from visiting Pope Benedict XVI when he warned them that U.S. Catholics must become concerned with the grave threats facing them from an aggressive radical secularism in many aspects of their daily lives. …