Thursday, March 24, 2016

ObamaCare’s Sixth Birthday – Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other
Yesterday, March 23, 2016, marked ObamaCare’s sixth birthday.   It passed without widespread celebration or condemnation.
The Supreme Court is taking up the case of the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate  and its right to impose it  on the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The administration argues ObamaCare policies must be seamless, standardized, and homogeneous, covering all of the people all of the time.    You cannot, in other words, make exceptions to mandates for any particular group or government policies will become unworkable.  Therefore, if religious organizations choose not to provide contraceptives  and related services, government must make insurers must provide these services,  for “free,” of course, even if the services are of modest cost to women.
Chief Justice John Roberts disagrees.   He says government has “hijacked “ the Little Sisters of the Poor’s health plans.   Liberal Justice Stephen  Breyer counters federal mandates must be applied to all.  It is “the price of being a member of society.” And so the individual versus collective dialogue  goes.  The administrations has exempted churches and other houses of worship form the contraceptive mandate,  why not include religious  affiliated colleges, charities, and other groups, like the Little Sisters of the Poor,  who are dedicated to taking care of poor priests and nuns.  Freedom of religion, after all, is one of the cornerstones of the Constitution and American Democracy.  Yes, but  there are the collective rights of all members of society to be considered.
It comes down to the question of whether ObamaCare’s mandates – individual,  employer, and religious – are worth sacrifice of individual and group rights,   or whether universal coverage is a right, part and parcel of a seamless society.
Mandates have consequences.  Some good , 12.7 million uninsured become insured, coverage of those with pre-existing coverage,  children,  those below poverty line,  and young adults under their parents’ plans.   Some bad – an average increase of 15% in premiums and an 8% spike in deductibles  in health exchange plans,  narrowing of choice of doctors,  huge losses for insurers, widespread physician shortages.
It’s not just six of one  and half-dozen of the other.  It’s  individual choice versus government control.    It’s managing the balance of  government power versus  collective and individual rights.  It’s deciding what a “free society” is all about.



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