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Eaton: Health care fate rests with Supreme Court

Eaton

Eaton

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Updated: April 30, 2012 9:45AM



Last Friday, religious freedom lovers stood before more than 100 different federal courthouse buildings throughout the United States, declaring their opposition to the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services health care insurance mandate. An estimated 2,500 people hovered together at Chicago’s Daley Plaza during lunch hour under pouring rain, hoisting yellow “LIFE” balloons and blue and white “Stand up for religious freedom” alongside “Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate” signs.

Chicago-based Prolife Action League initiated the national rally because it was outraged by the Obama Administration’s sweeping decision to reject religious teachings and demand all employers provide health care insurance that pays for abortions, contraceptives and sterilizations.

“Not only will Catholic institutions be forced to provide services that directly contradict the teachings of their faith, but — more alarmingly —the federal government is claiming the right to decide for religious institutions what constitutes their ministry,” the Prolife Action League wrote.

The Cincinnati Religious Freedom Rally drew 500, New York City 900 and Detroit 1,000. In Fort Lauderdale, 300 Floridians stood outside the Broward County Federal Building. Among the ralliers was former Saturday Night Live comedienne Victoria Jackson.Another woman carried a homemade sign especially poignant for the southern Florida region saying, “Without religious freedom, we are Cuba.”

Many of those attending the Fort Lauderdale rally were snowbirds, disturbed by the national trend to reject church teachings they had heard all their lives. The local St. Gregory’s pastor challenged his listeners to “be prepared to die for their beliefs.”

A similar mantra was articulated back here at Chicago’s rally, where U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-8th) challenged Daley Plaza listeners to “be prepared to go to jail for their beliefs.”

This week, that same controversial HHS mandate is being challenged before the United States Supreme Court. Twenty-six states have signed onto a federal lawsuit opposing the Fed’s dictum that every American buy health insurance. If accepted by the Supreme Court, for the first time, Americans would be penalized for refusing to buy a product.

That mandate purchase is the heart of opposition to Obamacare. Tuesday, Justice Samuel Alito asked the Obama Administration’s Inspector General this question:

“All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, ‘You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else,’ ” Justice Alito asked.

“Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing? And if that’s true, why isn’t it equally artificial to say that somebody who is doing absolutely nothing about health care is financing health care services?”

“It’s completely different,” General Verilli said. “The burial example is not — the difference is here we are regulating the method by which you are paying for something else — health care — and the insurance requirement.”

Justice Alito continued. “The economists have supported — the Respondents estimate that a young, healthy individual targeted by the mandate on average consumes about $854 in health services each year.

“So the mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies for other purposes that the act wishes to serve, but isn’t — if those figures are right, isn’t it the case that what this mandate is really doing is not requiring the people who are subject to it to pay for the services that they are going to consume? It is requiring them to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.”

And that concept is just fine with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“If you’re going to have insurance, that’s how insurance works,” she said.

America’s health care amounts to a staggering 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product as compared to Britain’s less than 8 percent. Britain’s health care system has its flaws, but even right wing conservative Margaret Thatcher chose not to de-govern her county’s health care system. It was wildly popular with the British.

British scholar Robert Klein suggested conservatives left the British health system alone because it was “the best-buy model of health care in the Western world” and that it had a “unique capacity for controlling the rate of increase in spending.”

Two weeks ago, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told supporters in Arlington Heights that Margaret Thatcher was unable to pull the Brits out of the government-controlled health care system because they became comfortable and addicted to the system.

“When you are willing to do anything to keep a health care system provided by the government that will chose the fate of loved ones or yourself, you’ve chosen to reject liberty,” he said.

Illinois’ Medicaid system is broken with more than $6 billion in unpaid reimbursements to health care providers. The government system demands that people set aside their religious convictions and fund fellow Americans’ health care demands.

The future of America’s system is now in the hands of nine Supreme Court justices set with the responsibility of determining the Constitutionality of the health care plan’s mandate.

We shall know by June their final decision on Obamacare, and will know whether that 230-year-old U.S. Constitution will have been successful in protecting us from ourselves yet once again.

Fran Eaton is a Southland resident who co-founded and edits the conservative political blog, illinoisreview.com



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