Obamacare’s Collateral Damage: Not just Catholics

, Kate Powley, Leave a comment

So far there are at least 72 private plaintiffs and seven states have filed lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and they are not all Catholics or religiously affiliated.

Some of the groups include non-partisan medical professional groups such as Texas Spine & Joint Hospital, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and the New Jersey Physicians:

  • “In the bill itself there are huge, costly requirements for (medical professionals) … it makes it difficult for private practice,” Jane Orient MD of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons said.  AAPS is non-partisan and has no religious affiliation yet filed suit three days after the PPACA bill was passed.
  • Plaintiffs Matt Sissel and Nick Coons pay for their health insurance out of pocket and the new law would force them to pay more than their current plans.
  • In the dismissed case of Mead vs. Holder, Kenneth Ruffo and Gina Rodriguez filed lawsuits against the impending plan, according to the Associated Press, because the two plaintiffs are holistic in their approach to medicine and their approach is not covered in the health care plan.

“Ultimately I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what will be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress,” President Obama said.

The president, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, released a statement allowing religious institutions a longer period to adjust to the mandate, without seeming to realize that the problem was with the fiat itself.

“To say the government will afford religious liberty only to the most insular of religious institutions but not to those that serve, or employ, people of other faiths is a troubling view of faith and what role it should play in America,” Nathan Diament, executive director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, said in a letter to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Catholic colleges and universities are responding to the regulations that accompany Obamacare. Some, such as Notre Dame, are filing lawsuits. Others, such as Franciscan University of Stuebenville, Ohio, and Ave Maria College, are dropping coverage.

“On January 20, 2012 Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, declared that, ‘Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year … to comply with the new law [requiring that such coverage be provided] … This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule,’” the president of Thomas Aquinas College wrote in an open letter to the White House which appeared in the National Catholic Register. “It is manifestly an affront to the American conception of religious liberty and to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to demand that citizens ‘adapt’ to a violation of conscience.”

“As if in recognition of this fact, you issued what you called an ‘accommodation’ on February 10th. Unfortunately, this new final decision did nothing to change your demand that Catholics and other religious groups violate their consciences. Your new requirement aims to offer a range of free contraceptive services, including sterilization and abortifacients, to all women no matter where they work. As president, you have decided to require that insurance companies pay for these services and insist that this change frees the employer from any moral culpability.”

“It is obvious, however, that the employee only qualifies for these services because the employer has signed her up and paid her premiums. If the employer stops such payments the health insurance company will discontinue these services. It is false to claim that these services will be totally unconnected with the employer when the employer pays for the policy that provides access to these services.”

Kate Powley is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org