Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Size Fits All

By Jeffrey Tyburski (Religious Freedom) - 
With the Affordable Care Act, government expands further into healthcare. Its one size fits all policy disregards individual conscience.If government provides your health insurance, then it gets to decide what exactly it should cover. It also decides how to pay for it. Essentially, government is forcing people to buy health insurance and dictating what the details are.

Within ObamaCare, there is an ‘employer mandate’. What this ‘employer mandate’ means is that employers must provide health insurance for their employees or face a fine collected by the IRS. The Affordable Care Act specifies goods and services to be included in the employer mandate insurance.

One of these specified goods is abortifacients. Abortifacients prevent the planting of a recently conceived embryo into the embryonic wall. For one who believes life begins at conception, this is murder.

Many employers find the employer mandate offensive to their religious-moral beliefs.Amongst these employers is the Green family, owners of ‘Hobby Lobby’, a Denver based chain of arts and crafts stores. The Green family is devoutly Christian. Hobby Lobby has not complied with ObamaCare mandate and is taking its case to the Supreme Court. By fighting the law, Hobby Lobby risks facing up to $1.3 million in fines per day.

This law is egregious. It forces employers, such as the Green family, to purchase something which is against their religious-moral beliefs. It does not even give them the option to provide employee insurance without contraceptive drugs. Nor does it consider that employees could use their wages to buy contraceptive drugs.

But that wouldn’t fit the paternalist vision of ObamaCare. God forbid if people took responsibility for themselves, or if employers and employees worked out their own agreements.It is necessary that the government make people pay for some things which they may object too. For example: An army and a police force are necessary functions of government. One cannot be made exempt from a portion of the income tax simply because they object to police protection.

The real question then becomes “What is government necessary for?”.

If one considers universal access to abortifacients to be a necessity, and government coercion the only way to provide it, then the Green family should be forced to provide this service to their employees. But if one thinks government should micromanage us all the way down to details such as abortifacients, then what does one think the government should not manage?The more the government manages our lives, the more likely it is to trample individual conscience. When government plans things on a massive scale, it is unable to account for individual preferences. It is nearly impossible to know what diverse and numerous individuals desire. If the 100 smartest people in the world gathered together in Washington D.C., they could not know what you specifically desire. Simply put: no one knows what you want better than you do. Obama does not know what you want better than you do, nor does any member of congress, nor any bureaucrat planner.

And for that matter, neither does your boss. Why should one be paid with health insurance? It’s a different question, but it illuminates why health care is such a politicized issue. Is it because health care is a necessity? So are food and shelter. Should one be paid in the form of meals or mortgages? This unusual position of healthcare is the result of government intervention. Health insurance, as a form of pay, receives special tax incentives. Like the Affordable Care Act, this older policy has unintended consequences, such as higher health care costs nationwide.The debate on health care is often framed in skewed terms. One could say “The Greens do not want to pay their employees in the form of coverage for abortifacients.” However, I often see the same idea presented as “The Greens threaten the reproductive rights of their female employees”. There is a perverse logic. Someone else not paying for your healthcare is equated with ‘taking’ your healthcare. Obviously the Greens are not trying to take anything from their employees. No one forces their employees to work for them; this is not serfdom.

ObamaCare has created a one-size-fits-all plan. This is bound to run over individual conscience. It has created an insane debate which portrays the religious sentiments of business owners as exclusive to the reproductive rights of employees. That is absurd. This conflict exists because ObamaCare has presented the Greens with a binary choice: yield on their faith or destroy their livelihood. Without ObamaCare, the Greens could continue to work and live as they see fit, while their employees could still use their wages to purchase healthcare as they desire.

One may counter that business owners such as the Greens are required by The Affordable Care Act to provide health insurance for their employees at no cost to those employees. Such expectations are fantasy. The cost for the health insurance must come from somewhere; it cannot be created from thin air simply because the government mandates it. It must come from lower wages for workers or higher prices for consumer goods.

I guess in this country two people are incapable of working out an employer-employee contract. We need the government, which obviously knows best, to dictate workplace arrangements for us. 

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