Reader Letter: The health care power grab
Obama's HHS mandated that all employers must provide insurance coverage, including free access to birth control or abortion. Religious groups immediately objected. Their concern wasn't about women's reproductive health services, or their access to birth control. A woman disregarding her religion's principles about contraception isn't the argument. She may privately see her OB-GYN or choose among thousands of clinics throughout the country where inexpensive or free contraception can be obtained without involving her religion. The issue is about the government forcing employers and insurers to pay for contraception, even though their religious doctrine may forbid their use.
Obama subsequently offered a "compromise," where the new diktat is that employers must provide coverage or its insurer must provide free coverage, insinuating that the religious entity was then not the direct provider and was free from accountability.
This fully defies the First Amendment. It is a matter of freedom of religion; the government cannot order a religion to violate its own beliefs. Compelling their insurer to provide this service is no different than having to directly provide it.
Paradoxically, the Supreme Court recently voted unanimously to overrule the Obama mandate that a religious school could not fire a teacher, whose job includes religious instruction, if the teacher did not adhere to religious tenets (Hosanna-Tabor). Obama's mandate is an obvious infringement of the First Amendment (this is likely the only time the Supreme Court will ever rule 9-0).
More recently, in another First Amendment suit, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the FDA mandate to require tobacco companies to place graphic images of smoking related diseases on cigarette packs was a violation of free speech rights. The FDA held that companies' free speech rights were less important than the "public interest." At least one federal judge understands the Constitution.
The Obama administration, in so-called 'interest of protecting the public,' says its mandates are superior to the Bill of Rights. Obama has no interest in protecting the public - his interest is in persistently and incrementally seizing more power. Obama has no qualms subverting the Constitution.