“The weather may be chilly, but it’s nothing compared to people’s reactions to Obamacare,” says the Family Resource Council’s Tony Perkins. “This month, the only thing falling faster than the temperature is the number of the new law’s supporters. Making matters worse, the policy’s biggest defectors seem to be the ones most crucial to it: the medical community.”
Also extremely unhappy are Catholic hospitals, Christian-owned businesses and faith-based colleges, all which have been informed they will provide health care to employees that they find morally reprehensible – such as abortion on demand and free contraceptives.
Author Jacqueline von Zwehl says she is concerned about the hardship Obamacare is having upon all devout Christians and most especially Christian marriages. “The Affordable Care Act mandate forces health insurance coverage that pays for contraception, sterilization, birth control, and ‘abortion-causing’ drugs like the morning after pill, which violates the covenant of Christian marriage,” says von Zwehl. “These mandates place a substantial burden on Christians to dutifully practice their faith This is a clear violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”
She cites the American Religious Identification Survey in which over 76 percent of all Americans identified themselves as Christian. More than 25 percent said they were Catholics and 36 percent stated they attend church services every week or more.
“Based on these facts,” writes von Zwehl, “more than one third of our nation’s population are actively practicing Christians who must now choose between violating their faith and violating the law. This is not an issue concerning a small minority but rather a significant majority of Americans.
“The Affordable Care Act is looking more like the Anti-Christian Act,” von Zwehl states. “Our religious beliefs and our right to practice as protected by the Constitution are coming under direct attack.”
Christian business owners have taken this issue to the high court as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius, a case challenging the Obama administration over whether a company must pay for birth control drugs that conflict with an owner’s religious beliefs. Additional cases, which challenge the Affordable Care Act, include Indiana v. IRS and Pruitt v. Sebelius, which take issue with the “Employer Mandate”.
“The President’s health care law made it to the Supreme Court once before,” writes Perkins, “but Americans are hoping for a different outcome this time around. While Congress sorts out the legislative chaos, it looks like the high court will be taking its second crack at Obamacare to find out ‘if you like your freedom, can you keep it?’
“This time around,” writes Perkins, “the justices will hear two of the most important religious liberty cases in American history as they relate to the President’s abortion-contraception mandate. At issue is whether faith-loving Americans will have to pay for drugs or procedures they morally oppose as a price of doing business.
“Of the more than 84 lawsuits filed against the mandate, the Supreme Court will hear the arguments of a pair of family-owned businesses: Hobby Lobby (with its 13,000 employees) and Conestoga Wood Specialties (with 950 employees). Together, they represent two of the hundreds of companies that have been ordered by the government to compromise their pro-life beliefs or face crippling (and potentially business-ending) fines.
“Apparently, the Obama administration thinks it found some fine print in the U.S. Constitution that somehow disqualifies business owners from the First Amendment,” says Perkins.
“Imagine if we were to sit down with the Pilgrims at that first Thanksgiving table. It might surprise them to learn that their future government doesn���t think they’re entitled to religious freedom in their daily toil,” writes Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Today, in the view of our government, anyway, freedom means keeping your faith — as long as you keep it to yourself.”
Just how panicked is the administration over the lawsuits’ chances? “In a desperate move,” writes Perkins, “the White House’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett tried to smear Hobby Lobby as an enemy of women’s health — when in fact, no employee would have to go without the care they want. All Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Woods, and countless other business owners are asking is that the government keep employers out of it — just as they had for dozens of years before Obamacare.
“When Jarrett and other liberals rant about companies limiting access to contraception, they’re deliberately misleading the public. Hobby Lobby and other owners can’t take away women’s health care that they never provided!”
Von Zwehl notes that the religious restoration act of 1993 “is aimed at preventing laws which substantially violates a person’s free exercise of religion unless the federal government has a compelling reason to do so. The question Christians across the country need to ask themselves is: Does the federal government have a ‘compelling’ interest in ensuring females have access to contraception and abortion inducing drugs?”
Perkins and Bowman recently commissioned a poll on the abortion-contraception mandate. They found that 59 percent of the country sides with Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood and the other companies suing the White House.
Others are seeking relief from the law through the courts, too. Missouri Legislator Paul Wieland and his wife Teresa filed a lawsuit contesting Obamacare’s infringement on their First Amendment rights. The couple is asking the courts to exempt their family from the mandate.
There are tens of millions of Americans across the country who do not have the resources to file individual lawsuits for exemptions. However, they all vote – thus prompting speculation the Obamacare may have cost Democrats their majority in the Senate.
But can Republicans hold onto power in the face of rapidly changing voter demographics?
“There is no better place to look for guidance than America’s first conservatives,” says David Lefer, author of the groundbreaking book The Founding Conservatives. “During the American Revolution the upper class founding conservatives were thrown out of office, as the lower classes got the right to vote for the first time. By the end of the war, the founding conservatives slowly fought their way back to power, finding a new political strategy that appealed to all the people, not just the rich.”
“They advocated for a rising standard of living through free-market capitalism—not radical redistribution of property advocated by the revolutionary left.,” writes Lefer. “They argued that by keeping the nation strong both militarily and economically they would create economic growth for all. Their strategy kept conservatives in power for twenty of the most formative years in American history, allowing conservatives to shape the basic political structures of America, from rewriting state constitutions to drafting the Constitution of the United States.”
And millions of voters who received letters from their providers saying their policies have been canceled because they don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act are likely to have long memories. Often the letters suggest a “similar” ACA-compliant plan that is a lot more expensive.
“For most of the recipients these letters are an unwelcome holiday surprise,” says financial counselor Eric Tyson, New York Times bestselling author of Personal Finance For Dummies®, 7th Edition. “They feel blindsided. In many cases they worry about whether they can afford hundreds of dollars more a month in premiums or pay a steeper deductible than before.”
ACA supporters point out that the ACA-compliant “replacement” plans are pricier because they offer more benefits—but many people chose their (now canceled) plans precisely because they didn’t want or need, say, maternity coverage or prescription drug coverage – or because they had religious objections to coverage for abortion, sterilization or contraception. When you pay for your own health insurance you tend to make educated purchasing decisions aimed at conserving costs and getting value for your money, notes Tyson.
“Many of these people are self-employed and have unpredictable cash flows, or perhaps they found the individual marketplace offered a better value than a spouse’s group plan,” he adds. “They deliberately bought high-deductible plans to keep premiums low. Let’s say you’re a middle-aged woman with a home-based business. Since you’re past childbearing age you chose a catastrophic plan without maternity coverage—and now you’re finding out that’s no longer an option. It’s upsetting.”
“The media likes to paint the GOP as a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals,” notes Perkins, “but Republicans aren’t the ones dragging women by the hair and treating them as single-dimension voters.”
“Obviously, this is a flawed mandate within a flawed law,” says Perkins. “And ironically, it may be doing more to kill health care coverage in the workplace than anything – especially as more employers drop their health care plans rather than submit to the President’s radical agenda.”
But it’s not just the Christians. The medical community is increasingly alarmed, too.
“Thousands of doctors are walking away from the exchange in a large-scale mutiny over the government’s reimbursement rates,” writes Perkins. “In California, where 70 percent of the 104,000 physicians are refusing to participate in Obamacare, practices stand to lose millions of dollars under the state’s bargain basement insurance rates.”
The Washington Examiner‘s Richard Pollack broke it down this way. “In other states, doctors receive between $500 to $700 to perform a tonsillectomy. In California under the state exchange, they get $160.”
“If you’re wondering what’s worse than a dysfunctional website, try a health care exchange without doctors!” writes Perkins. “Or hospitals. With the government trying to drive down coverage costs, insurance companies have no choice but to exclude some of the more expensive facilities from their plans – including some of the top-ranked hospitals and cancer centers. In Ohio, for example, only one policy on the exchange gives patients access to the Cleveland Clinic. Other facilities are opting out for the same reasons doctors are – lower reimbursement rates. The new revelations put the White House back on familiar ground: the defensive.”
“The President never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to,” said former White House aide Ezekiel Emanuel and one of the architects of Obamacare. In the latest twist on the President’s infamous promise, Emanuel insisted, “If you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that.”
“Health plans are cheapening their drug formularies – just like they cheapened their networks of doctors,” explained policy expert Scott Gottlieb. “That’s how they’re paying for the benefits that President Obama promised – like leveling of premiums between older (and typically costlier) beneficiaries, and younger consumers.” For now, if a drug doesn’t appear on these new “formulary lists,” patients could be paying for it entirely out of pocket.
On the bright side, notes Perkins, there’s still free birth control, right? Wrong. “Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) blew that myth to bits in an interview about the left’s insulting outreach to women.
“When they’re talking about free preventive care for women, I’m having a hard time understanding where the ‘free’ part is,” Ellmers told reporters. “What Democrats fail to mention is now the cost of insurance is… many times quadrupling, in cost, and deductibles are going up by thousands of dollars.” After all, men aren’t the only ones losing their health insurance and watching their premiums skyrocket. “[Democrats'] mindset is that the only issues women care about have to do with their bodies… [as if] the only thing women care about are free contraception and whether or not they have a right to abortion. As Republicans, we know women in this country are concerned with the path that we’re on right now and so many other issues, health being one of them.”
“In surveys across the spectrum, this continues to be one of the most unpopular aspects of Obamacare,” says Perkins. “FRC’s nationwide poll shows that a whopping 59 percent of voters – including 61 percent of independents – object to HHS’s coercion. Rasmussen’s results were just as unflattering – 51 percent opposition on the birth control coverage alone.
“Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to decide the debate,” says Perkins, “faithful Americans hope the justices will grant what the White House won’t: freedom.”