Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What we're all missing in the Obama-contraception-Catholic Church debacle

For years, individual states have determined what insurance companies operating within their borders must provide. Some states, like Ohio, mandate certain mental health coverage. Other states have different criteria. The differences between the state mandates means that some states have lower health insurance costs than others.

This is one of the primary reasons why so many have pushed for the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines. Having the ability to purchase an insurance policy that doesn't charge me for mental health services or well-baby care (two things I don't need), even if it's from Kentucky, would mean I would be paying less for health insurance while paying only for what I need.

The states were supposed to work this way - where experimentation and ideas could be tried and, if successful, adapted to other states.

Enter President Barack Obama and his administration ruling that all employers, even religious ones (like hospitals and homes, but not actual churches) must provide - free of charge - contraception and aborticides to their employees, regardless of their religious teachings.

The Catholic Church, with a strict teaching that such things are contrary to God's will, rightly objected and the firestorm erupted. That the ruling and mandate was contrary to the First Amendment was clear to anyone not supportive of the President's desire to dictate to the American people. It was probably clear to supporters, too. They just chose to ignore it or twist it in some way to make the mandate acceptable.

In an attempt to 'compromise' on the issue, the Obama Administration decided that the religious organization didn't have to provide such coverage after all. The insurance companies would be required to provide it - still free of charge - instead.

Now, most people realize that if an insurance company has to provide a product to customer without charge to the user, they'll recoup their costs one way or the other. This means that religious organizations will still be paying for something they find abhorrent and contrary to their teachings.

The problem - the violation of the First Amendment, that "Congress shall make no law...' - still exists. But that's not the biggest - nor the most overlooked - problem.

In presenting his compromise, President Obama is now dictating coverage to the insurance companies. The federal government has not just violated the Constitution - they have usurped the authority of the states, which had exercised exclusive authority over the coverage provided within their borders.

This further erosion of the power of the states, overtaken by the power of the centralized government, is exactly what our founders warned against and set up a structure to avoid.

But, as far as I can tell, virtually no one is talking about this aspect. And I believe it is clearly the more dangerous one.

The Constitution limits what the federal government can do. In celebrating the 'seeming' reversal over the violation of the First Amendment, too many are embracing the violation of the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

And if the federal government can dictate this - along with speed limits and education and other requirements - what limit still exists?

Don't be fooled by this misdirection. The federal government is grossly out of control and if the states don't stand up for their rights, they may find they have no rights left.

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