By Richard Amerling, M.D.
In March 2010, the Democrat-controlled Congress forced the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now known as ObamaCare) over the strong objections of the majority of Americans, most of whom were either already receiving taxpayer-funded health insurance or were satisfied with their private coverage.
The nearly 3000-page leviathan provided a genotype but was notoriously short on details; we were left guessing at what the final phenotype would resemble. A tremendous amount of power was delegated to the nearly 160 new federal bureaucracies the law called into being, and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Specifically, we were left in the dark as to what would qualify as medically necessary care, and what services insurance companies would be required to cover. A benign despot could have said there would be no new federal mandates regarding coverage, or better yet, stripped out existing mandates, allowing individual consumers to choose what they want.
In August 2011, a new edict came down from the Commissar of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius: All insurance companies, including those run by religious institutions, would have to provide contraceptive services (including the “morning-after” pill, an abortifacient) without co-pay (that is, “free”). Amazingly, there was little public outcry over this unprecedented power grab. I suppose the Catholic Church felt it could negotiate a bigger exemption for its institutions and held its fire. I immediately sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal that was published August 11:
The federal government's announcement that it will require new health-insurance plans to offer contraceptive services without charging a co-payment ("Law Eases Availability of Birth Control," U.S. News, Aug 2) should be chilling to all freedom-loving Americans. It is a vivid reminder of the dictatorial powers given the Department of Health and Human Services by ObamaCare.
Can anyone believe that private insurance companies will remain private, or solvent, under this law? Can anyone believe that such mandates will save money?
It is also now clear that the administration will use this new lever to implement social policy. With the stroke of a pen, taxpayers will now be directly subsidizing Planned Parenthood and others providing “contraceptive services.”
Never mind that birth control is widely available and, the Institute of Medicine notwithstanding, is not really preventive health care. As Cardinal Daniel DiNardo noted in August, “Pregnancy is not a disease, and children are not a ‘health problem.’” In fact, the mandate will undoubtedly lead to price controls on providers of “contraceptive services” that will lead to shortages!
This fiat must be understood as an intentional move; a raw power play designed to crush opposition to state authority based on moral or religious grounds. Totalitarianism does not tolerate any competition, which should be obvious to even casual observers of Soviet Russia or communist China.
The mandate should also make clear that the series of questions posed by George Stephanopoulos at a recent Republican primary debate regarding “rights to contraception” came directly from the White House. The administration is playing the old Soviet game of “maskirovka”: creating a false issue over access to contraception to “mask” the assault on individual and religious liberty, while painting the Republican candidates as religious zealots.
If the contraception mandate passes, and ObamaCare passes the Supreme Court challenges, there will literally be no restraints on the power of the state over the individual. All will be directly funding Planned Parenthood, a major Obama supporter, and the largest abortion provider. Next will be the in-your-face mandate to fund abortions, and eventually, euthanasia.
Please do not say we didn’t warn you!
Richard Amerling, MD is a nephrologist practicing in New York City.
He is an Associate Professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and the Director of Outpatient Dialysis at the Beth Israel Medical Center. Dr. Amerling studied medicine at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, graduating cum laude in 1981. He completed a medical residency at the New York Hospital Queens and a nephrology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has written and lectured extensively on health care issues and is a Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Amerling is the author of the Physicians' Declaration of Independence.
Contact: [email protected], 646 637 8546