Shortsighted simple minds

WASH­ING­TON—A key ele­ment of the Af­ford­able Care Act hangs in the bal­ance as a fed­eral law­suit in Texas is chal­leng­ing the law’s require­ment that most in­sur­ers cover an ar­ray of pre­ven­tive health ser­vices that range from screen­ings for de­pres­sion to mam­mograms.

A dis­trict court judge ruled in Sep­tember that the way a fed­eral task force de­ter­mines which ser­vices are cov­ered is un­con­sti­tutional and said the health-in­sur­ance re­quire­ment for HIV-pre­ven­tion medications vi­o­lated a com­pa­ny’s re­ligious free­dom.

Both sides of the case are wait­ing to see if the court is­sues a na­tion­wide in­junction strik­ing down the re­quire­ments that most commercial in­sur­ers fully cover dozens of pre­ven­tive-care ser­vices and screen­ings, with the tim­ing of the judge’s next move still not clear and the case likely to end up at the Supreme Court.

The plain­tiffs ob­jected to cov­er­age of con­tra­cep­tion, screen­ings for sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases and drug use, and vac­ci­na­tion against hu­man pa­pil­lo-mavirus, the sex­u­ally transmit­ted disease known as HPV, ac­cord­ing to the law-suit. They also objected to cov­er­age of pre-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis, or PrEP, a med­i­cine that helps pre­vent HIV in­fec­tion.

Wall Street Journal 11-29-22

This is an expression of religious freedom? Gee, did they forget about Medicare?

6 comments

  1. Healthcare is a moral issue. Just like whether a business wants to be open or not, a business should be free from the government from telling it what to do. So a one business will reflect its owner and should not be force to bake caked or design websites. How is healthcare any different on how a business decides to compensate its employees? This is a first amendment issue. As the Twitter releases are proving, the 1st Amendment has been trashed. The 2nd Amendment is trashed. The 4th Amendment is ignored by judges and the FBI. The Jan 6th defendants 6th Amendment rights have been taken away (speedy trial) while woke DAs free criminals without bail.

    Everything needs to be looked at in the big picture of the US Constitution.

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  2. The legal decision focused on standing and the appointments clause of the US Constitution. The judge ruled that Congress’ decision to vest authority in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to determine what preventive services should be covered AND should be exempt from any point of purchase cost sharing violated the appointments clause of the Constitution. The court dismissed Plaintiffs’ statutory interpretation claim for failure to state a claim, and it dismissed Plaintiffs’ religious objections to the contraceptive mandate.

    However, the court ruled that:

    “PSTF members occupy a continuing position established by law and exercise significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States. See Lucia, 138 S. Ct. at 2051. They are therefore officers of the United States.”

    “Because PSTF members are officers of the United States, their appointments must comply with Article II (of the Constitution). Principal officers must be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, while inferior officers may be appointed by the President alone, the courts, or the heads of departments, if Congress permits. U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 2.”

    “PSTF members are principal officers”

    “Because PSTF members are principal officers, they must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. See U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 2. The PSTF members indisputably fail that constitutional requirement.”

    But …. with respect to religious freedom …

    I’m from the government, and I think I should be able to force you to bake a cake with a message that you decide violates your religious beliefs, or create a website with a message you disagree with, too!

    I personally don’t have a problem with these preventive services mandates, but, my opinion doesn’t matter when it comes to YOUR understanding of YOUR religious tenets.

    I know the beltway idiots, particularly today’s Democrats (versus the Democrats I grew up with), now like to say that no constitutional right is absolute (well, at least when they discuss the 2nd Amendment).

    However, seems pretty clear the founders intended an absolute right (or at least as absolute as it can be until it violates someone else’s absolute right). It says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” What do the words “no law: mean to you? Sounds pretty absolute to me!

    This isn’t snake charming, nor peyote – where religious practices clearly conflict with other fundamental rights.

    Here, folks are arguing that the government is attempting to force compliance with requirements that some have long believed (for decades, centuries) violate their religious beliefs.

    Tell me why the health plan for the Little Sisters of the Poor should have to comply with a contraception mandate because the USPSTF says so?

    See: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-431_5i36.pdf

    The Supremes decided, a few years ago that: “It is clear from the face of the statute (Health Reform) that the contraceptive mandate is capable of violating RFRA (The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993).”

    More to the point, as Justice Kennedy famously said in Obergefell, in his majority opinion where the Supremes ruled that same sex marriage (the right to marry) was a fundamental right and could not be barred by state or federal laws nor by state constitutional provisions, “… it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, …”

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  3. Unrestricted access to contraception should lower the demand for abortion. Preventive vaccinations and screening for conditions which may then be treated reduces human suffering and premature death. I respect those who personally choose to refrain from using these medical interventions because of their religious beliefs. However, their efforts to impose those same personal restrictive religious beliefs on other members of society who do not necessarily share them in the name of religious freedom seems to me a curious use of the term “freedom”.

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    1. So you are saying that Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby should be forced to be open on Sundays too? What about forcing stores to be open on Christmas?

      But your point is well taken. If your company or company owners beliefs are pro-life then they should encourage contraception to avoid abortions as a form of birth control. I also don’t believe that a church should be forced to provide these things either. But a corporation, who sole purpose is to make money for it’s shareholders is another story assuming that their business is not of a religious in nature. Unless the board of directors believe that being cheap will help retain quality workers and make the shareholders more money.

      I also don’t understand why proven preventive vaccinations would be fought against since it would only lower your company’s overall healthcare costs by preventing a more costly treatments.

      I do not support have one wide brush requiring somethings to go against your beliefs. We do have the Bill of Rights and people are always free to seek employment else where. They probably were not offered these things until passage of ACA so they probably knew this up front when they hired on.

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      1. Hardly a valid analogy. This is health care not running a business. There are thousands of state and federal mandates on health insurance and have been for years. In fact, because of that has caused insurance to no longer be insurance at all. They have also added to to cost of coverage while in some cases benefiting relatively few.

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