Last fall, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at a NARAL Pro Choice America fundraiser:
“We’ve come a long way in women’s health over the last few decades, but we are in a war,” Sebelius said, referencing Republicans’ attempts to cut Medicaid, repeal the federal health reform law (PL 111-148) and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Republican lawmakers “don’t just want to go after the last 18 months, they want to roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive health care in America,” she said.
This is interesting. People who think it’s hyperbolic to speak of the Obama administration’s war on religion ought to note that it wasn’t a right-wing talk radio host who characterized this as “war,” but the Secretary of HHS. Bill McGurn comments:
[E]ven Catholics who supported President Obama on his signature health bill recognize the contraceptive mandate as a bridge too far. These include the Catholic Health Association’s Sr. Carol Keehan, whose well-publicized embrace of the Affordable Care Act gave the president critical cover when he needed it. Others simply question whether forcing Catholic hospitals to drop health insurance for their employees rather than submit to Madam Sebelius’s bull is really the image the president wants during a tough re-election year.
Then there are the Catholic bishops. Just two years ago, many seemed to regard ObamaCare as a compassionate piece of legislation if only a few provisions (e.g., conscience rights and abortion funding) could be tweaked. Now they are learning the real problem is the whole thing is built on force—from the individual mandate and doctors’ fees to the panels deciding what treatment grandma is entitled to. The awakening has led to a new bishops’ committee on religious liberty, and tough, unprecedented criticism.
This “process” has been playing out while Mrs. Sebelius’s office has issued hundreds of waivers for employer health plans that fail to comply with the ACA’s and HHS’s exalted standards, such as “mini-med” plans used by McDonald’s. Without those waivers, the ranks of the uninsured would swell. Hiding the ACA’s inanity is sufficient reason to suspend the legal requirements; First Amendment objections apparently aren’t.