The Corner

The HHS Mandate & Obamacare Itself

Grace-Marie Turner discusses the big picture: 


Is the mandate instructive about Obamacare itself?

Yes — all of this is rooted in Obamacare. It is clear evidence that when the government takes over control of our health-care system it also takes control over our most private health-care decisions. The government has decided that all women should have free birth control and pay nothing if they want drugs that cause abortion or decide to have their tubes tied. The Catholic Church and many other religious organizations simply cannot comply with the administration’s mandate. So this truly is a “stand down.” The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is unquestionably being violated by the Obama administration’s mandate, and it will either be resolved in court or at the ballot box — or both.

Are we losing some sense of the dignity of the human person in all of this?

Obamacare is quickly moving us toward a socialist model of health-care payment and delivery where government, not doctors and patients, make decisions about our lives. The 2,800 pages of legislation and 10,000 pages of rules that already have been issued display a massive violation of the concept of subsidiarity. To preserve our dignity as free individuals conceived in the image of God, we are called to love and care for one another and to make decisions that express our faith and dignity. That is impossible when decisions as basic as life and death are being made for us by the state based upon what it considers is best for the collective good. The dignity of the individual is crushed in such a system.

The common good is achieved by a society in which individuals are responsible beings in a moral society that embraces the truth about our humanity. This responsibility extends to ourselves, our families and our communities and our expression of our love for each other through charity.

Obamacare’s expansion of the welfare state leads people to believe that someone else, and not they themselves, are responsible for their livelihood, their families, and their health. But this is contrary to the teachings of the Church. To quote Pope John Paul II: “Not only the world, however, but also man himself has been entrusted to his own care and responsibility. God left man ‘in the power of his own counsel’ (Sirach 15:14), that he might seek his Creator and freely attain perfection. Attaining such perfection means personally building up that perfection in himself.”

There is no place for this teaching in Obamacare.

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