Congress recognizes more each day that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known widely as the Obamacare statute, interferes unconstitutionally with the liberty of Americans. From the Obamacare individual mandate to buy health insurance that awaits the action of the Supreme Court, to the Obamacare mandate that many religious hospitals, charities, and schools abandon the tenets of their faiths and include in their group health insurance for employees coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, Obamacare assaults the Constitution and American freedom.
Fortunately, Members of Congress and the American people are waking up to the need to repeal the Obamacare statute and move instead to market-based, patient-centered health care. Action in Congress this week to defend religious liberty continues to highlight the need to repeal the Obamacare statute.
The Obama Administration continues to trample on religious liberty by applying the Obamacare statute to mandate that many religious institutions’ group health insurance for employees cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization. The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Treasury, and Labor published on February 15, 2012 final regulations that compel many religious hospitals, charities, and schools to abandon the tenets of their faiths and comply with that mandate beginning April 16, 2012, or pay fines for maintaining their religious faiths. The final regulations did not include any changes to respect religious liberty that President Obama had led people to expect.
Although Secretary of HHS Sebelius has said that, for one year, she will simply not perform her duty to enforce the final regulations, her decision not to enforce the regulations temporarily as a matter of grace does not eliminate the mandate’s interference with religious liberty. Indeed, her pronouncements reflect a failure to understand that religious liberty in America is an unalienable right with which our Creator has endowed us and a right that our Constitution’s First Amendment protects. Our religious liberty does not arise from the discretion of the Federal Government to do Americans a “favor” and tolerate their religions. Because President Obama and his agents continue to attack the constitutionally-guaranteed right of these religious institutions to free exercise of religion, Members of Congress are stepping forward to protect the Constitution.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has fought for religious liberty against the Obamacare assault. He plans to offer this week Senate Amendment No. 1520 to S. 1813, the highway authorization bill, to protect the right to religious liberty against the Obamacare mandate. The Blunt Amendment notes that, until the enactment of the Obamacare statute in 2010, “the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience . . . .” The Blunt Amendment would override the Obamacare mandate that religious institutions provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization when it is contrary to their faiths, allowing them to keep their faiths and provide health care coverage for their employees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has announced his intention to keep the Senate from voting on the Blunt Amendment by making a motion to “table” — that is, to refuse to consider — the Blunt Amendment. Senator Reid said he considered the Blunt Amendment that protects religious liberty to be a “distracting proposal.” Senator Reid may treat legislation to protect religious liberty as a “distraction,” but hundreds of millions of Americans hold their right to free exercise of religion to be a precious freedom.
President Obama and Senator Reid can man the ramparts of Castle Obamacare against the people for only so long. The American people want their liberty and they shall have it. The Obamacare statute must go.