Sunday, June 13, 2010

Obamacare - Some Religions are More Equal Than Others

So, how's that Executive Order to prevent federal funds from being applied to abortion under Obamacare coming along? From John Boehner's blog:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), in a meeting with President Obama and Congressional leaders at the White House today, asked President Obama to provide the American people with a progress report on the implementation of his Executive Order which purports to ban taxpayer-funding of abortions. Leader Boehner noted that in her recent “progress report” to Congress on the implementation of ObamaCare, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius did not make any mention of efforts by the administration to implement the president’s Executive Order (EO).
Oh the joy of having one's name turned into a verb, and not one with pleasant connotations at that, as in boy did we get Stupaked on that deal. The legislation, as written, allows for the use of public subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. Further, the only thing preventing that outcome is an executive order that has not been implemented. So you might think that if you had a religious belief that abortion is evil, you wouldn't have to participate in Obamacare, and of course you would be wrong. After all, how can we let people use mere religious belief to be a pretext for evading the greatest medical benefit since the Socratic oath? If we let certain religious groups opt out, there would be chaos.

So far, so evil. However, certain religious groups have been allowed to opt out:

From the Watertown DailyTimes:

The Amish, as well as some other religious sects, are covered by a "religious conscience" exemption, which allows people with religious objections to insurance to opt out of the mandate. It is in both the House and Senate versions of the bill, making its appearance in the final version routine unless there are last-minute objections.

Although the Amish consist of several branches, some more conservative than others, they generally rely upon a community ethic that disdains government assistance. Families rely upon one another, and communities pitch in to help neighbors pay health care expenses.

Turns out that Muslims, Christian Scientists and Scientologists (no relation) may also be up for exemptions.

Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute alerted me to this anomaly in a recent letter. PJI is challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. Unfortunately, I did not see the specific remedy he was requesting, so it is hard to judge chances for success. Personally, I would hope for a wide open opt out option.

Other suits are also pending over the individual mandate and the manner in which the federal government is directing the states medicaid spending and requiring state employees to join exchanges. I am not certain any of those challenges have much of a chance except the individual mandate. The individual mandate would be easy for Congress to overcome if it rephrased the requirement that a tax rebate is not available unless one enrolls in a qualified plan. However, since the legislation is not worded that way, and because the Democrats may not get a chance to amend the legislation, the individual mandate is in a precarious position.

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