Published by Fox News
By Jonathan Imbody
March 25, 2014
Why do so many Americans feel that we went to bed in the USA and woke up in China?
It seems that overnight, our government started tracking our phone calls, denying IRS approvals of organizations for political reasons, deciding which doctors we can visit and dictating decisions down to the level of what kind of light bulbs we can buy. Heavy-handed government edicts are making employers cut jobs, trim employees' hours and drop health insurance.
Secrecy and stonewalling still shroud the stories behind several of these government abuses of power, but the source of the loss of freedom related to our own healthcare is hardly mysterious.
In a time of economic crisis, Obamacare has confronted employers with new business-threatening health insurance costs and heavy Obamacare fines. Many employers predictably have had to cut jobs and drop healthcare insurance in order to survive.
By transferring massive power to the administration's federal bureaucracy, Obamacare snatched away decision-making power not only from employers, but also from patients and physicians. Obamacare empowered ideologically driven Obama administration officials to make myriad healthcare decisions for us and our employers, literally down to the level of specific pills.
The audacity of this pill-level government decision-making was exposed in the mandate under Obamacare that prescribes the provision of 20 specific contraceptives. While many Americans, including those with religious convictions, approve of and use certain contraceptives, the government-mandated, no-exceptions list includes four especially controversial items (Plan B, ella and two intrauterine devices--IUDs) that the FDA notes can end the life of a developing human being.
Despite a hot national controversy over the life-ending pills on the mandate list, the administration has wielded its new power under Obamacare with a zeal and rigidity frighteningly similar to that with which totalitarian countries like China enforce its one-child-only, forced abortion policy. In fact, the Obama administration's enforcement of its new pill policy has been so harsh and unyielding that one of Mr. Obama's own appointees to the Supreme Court--Justice Sonia Sotomayor--intervened with an injunction to stop the administration from forcing a group of elderly nuns engaged in hospice ministry, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to participate in the contraceptives mandate.
Why would the government intervene to force the provision of free contraceptives for every woman from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills? Everyone who has easily bought and used contraceptives at the neighborhood drug store can readily see that the administration has no compelling interest to do so beyond raw politics and ideology.
President Obama unwittingly confirmed the lack of a compelling need for government intervention when he asserted in a White House address, "Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives--99 percent." Why would the federal government intervene to mandate the provision of what even the President admits is a ubiquitous product? The existing ready access to contraceptives, combined with literally millions of exemptions handed out by the administration to virtually everyone but religious objectors, effectively rules out any government claim to a compelling reason for the mandate.
The Supreme Court today examined justification for trampling Americans' conscience freedoms. The Court heard two cases of family-owned businesses whose only crime appears to be not sharing the administration's ideology. Two families that own and operate companies--the Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hobby Lobby--maintain a science- and faith-based objection to providing just the four of the mandated contraceptives that can end a human life.
As a result, these two family-owned businesses face government fines totaling millions of dollars as the cost of exercising what they thought were every American's unalienable First Amendment freedoms. They could also, of course, simply drop their employees' healthcare insurance altogether. But that option likewise incurs draconian Obamacare fines, and the families want to continue providing excellent health coverage to employees as they were able to before Obamacare.
These families now fight in court for the freedoms that other Americans have fought for on the battlefield. Ordinary shopkeepers, farmers and other patriots won our freedoms when they put their lives on the line to challenge and break the power of a tyrannical king.
As the words of George Washington warn us, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
The writer is vice president for government relations of the Christian Medical Association and director of Freedom2Care.