In the recent, and apparently endless, dustup over a rule promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (‘ACA’, or more accurately, ‘ObamaCare’), it is surprising how many near-sighted tree experts exist and how few far-sighted forest rangers there are.
Had such rulemaking mandated that religiously affiliated institutions be required to provide insurance to their employees to cover injuries specifically resulting from dancing or illnesses specifically caused by drinking, then Baptists would likely be upset. Had such rulemaking required that medical doctors be consulted every time a child fell ill, then Christian Scientists would probably be upset.
In these cases, it would not have mattered whether most Baptists danced and drank, or whether most Baptists favored dancing and drinking. Nor would it have mattered whether most Christian Scientists consulted medical doctors when their children fell ill or favored consulting doctors when their children fell ill. What matters is that the national government is perceived to be crossing the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment by requiring an allegiance to a medical practice opposed by a religion.
However, the point to be made can be supported without a First Amendment reference. Let’s contemplate policies under Obama’s health care reform that will subsidize podiatric treatment for injuries to women sustained only while wearing flats, thereby excluding injuries to women sustained while wearing heels. Given the passions already associated with government funding of abortions, perhaps we are lucky that such fashion lines haven't yet been crossed by HHS rulings.
The 50,000-foot view of the forest understands the following:
- The national government’s industrious rulemaking engine generates only one policy for the nation no matter where you live, no matter what you believe, no matter what you want, and no matter who you are.
- When national legislation, no matter how well intended, entwines local institutions in an intimate, pervasive, financial relationship with the national government, without which funding such institutions cannot survive, then these institutions become mere outlets of the foregoing voluminous, monolithic, policymaking machine.
Hence, it seems ill informed and myopic to cast the current situation as Catholics imposing their will on others, or as a renewed debate about access to contraception or abortion, or as a debate about the aspects of feminism, women's health, or wherever examining the tree bark of the consequences leads. The only real debate here is whether government is too big, generally, or too big under ObamaCare, particularly.
Trust me; health insurance companies saw this coming. They raised their rates in anticipation of this day. Sure enough, the incumbent socialist-in-chief, who believes that he knows what is best for all of us, is now demanding that non-governmental entities supply something for which they cannot charge.
Fortunately, for the shareholders, and unfortunately, for the premium payers, these health insurance companies beat the socialism of the ACA to the punch. However, you can bet that more mandates are coming from those in Washington DC who believe that they know best.
Be careful for what you ask of our government.