Last Modified: Friday, July 06, 2012 7:09 PM
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The truth of that old saying can found be in numerous examples throughout history.
A current and apt example of good intentions having unintended bad consequences is the American Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The title sounds great. Nobody is opposed to affordable healthcare for everyone.
The devil is in the details. This law is deeply flawed, unaffordable, unsustainable and already wreaking havoc throughout the economy.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Obamacare is the impact it is having on religious liberty. Religious leaders, institutions, and individual Americans across the nation are loudly protesting the provisions in the law that force them to do things in deep conflict with the moral tenants of their faith.
Among these objections are being forced to provide health insurance that pays for abortifacient drugs and various other forms of chemical and mechanical contraception.
While churches are being exempted, various religious institutions, such as schools and hospitals, have been forced into a conflict with the government. Many of these institutions may have to shut down rather than comply with a government order that to them represents mortal sin. This would create even more havoc in our educational and health care delivery systems. To many Americans, it would also undermine the moral authority of the government itself.
Groups are holding protests and prayer vigils all over the nation to express their opposition to these violations of religious liberty.
Here in Southwest Louisiana, the Rally for Religious Freedom was recently held in Sulphur and drew more than 100 people. It was sponsored by the Sulphur Ministerial Alliance and featured speeches by clergymen and politicians.
Obamacare gave tremendous power to the federal government to control the healthcare of every man, woman and child in this nation. Healthcare is a subject that becomes a moral and ethical minefield when such subjects as abortion, euthanasia and others are added to the mix. But the U.S. Constitution protects us from government interference with our religious liberty.
The First Amendment to the Constitution includes this protection for freedom of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ...”
The amendment says Congress cannot interfere with the “free exercise” of religion. That’s what Obamacare does by forcing religious institutions to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.
This intrusion into religious practice by the government is destructive of religious liberty, divisive and weakens America’s moral underpinnings.
The best tack: Find a better way to make affordable healthcare available to every American. Disrupting the economy, violating religious liberty and giving government more control over our everyday lives is not the way to do it.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
Posted By: Joe the Plumber On: 7/20/2012
Agreed, paying more taxes and methodically dismantling the freemarket healthcare system IS garbage. That's why people who are paying attention are against Obamacare. The government should do what the people want, not the other way around.
Posted By: Paul F. On: 7/18/2012
What a bunch of garbage!
Posted By: Joe the Plumber On: 7/18/2012
Title: Here is the threat
Besides the obvious changing of the relationship between the government and the individual,
here are some of the new taxes you're going to have to pay to pay for Obamacare:
(Taken from Wall St. Journal and Americans for Tax Reform)
•Flexible Spending Account contributions will be capped at $2,500. Currently, there is no tax-related limit on how much you can set aside pre-tax to pay for medical expenses. Next year, there will be. If you have been socking away, say, $10,000 in your FSA to pay medical bills, you'll have to cut that to $2,500
•The itemized-deduction hurdle for medical expenses is going up to $10,000. Right now, any medical expenses over $7,500 per year are deductible. Next year, that hurdle will be $10,000
•The penalty on non-medical withdrawals from Healthcare Savings Accounts is now 20% instead of 10%. That's twice the penalty that applies to annuities, IRAs, and other tax-free vehicles
•A tax of 10% on indoor tanning services. This has been in place for two years, since the summer of 2010
•A 40% tax on "Cadillac Health Care Plans" starting in 2018.Those whose employers pay for all or most of comprehensive healthcare plans (costing $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for families) will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount their employer pays. The 2018 start date is said to have been a gift to unions, which often have comprehensive plans
•A"Medicine Cabinet Tax" that eliminates the ability to pay for over-the-counter medicines from a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account. This started in January 2011
•A "penalty" tax for those who don't buy health insurance. This will phase in from 2014-2016. It will range from $695 per person to about $4,700 per person, depending on your income
•A tax on medical devices costing more than $100. Starting in 2013, medical device manufacturers will have to pay a 2.3% excise tax on medical equipment. This is expected to raise the cost of medical procedures
•A 3.8% surtax on "investment income" when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint-filers). What is "investment income?" Dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc. Taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to 18.8%--if Congress extends the Bush tax cuts. If Congress does not extend the Bush tax cuts, taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to a shocking 43.8%
•A 0.9% surtax on Medicare taxes for those making $200,000 or more ($250,000 joint). You already pay Medicare tax of 1.45%, and your employer pays another 1.45% for you (unless you're self-employed, in which case you pay the whole 2.9% yourself). Next year, your Medicare bill will be 2.35%
(Often, those making over $200,000 are small businesses that file taxes as individuals. The vast majority of their income is reinvested into their company in the form of payroll and operating costs. In other words, they are not as rich as you think.)
Posted By: Patrick Broussard On: 7/10/2012
Title: Where is the threat
Your editorial “Obamacare threatens our religious liberty,” July 8, 2012 states “This law is deeply flawed, unaffordable, unsustainable and already wreaking havoc throughout the economy.” I could not find a shred of evidence in your article to support these three opinions.
The next five paragraphs repeat some religious groups’ contentions that the law infringes their freedom, but provide few specifics. The other sections of your article cite our protection under the Fifth Amendment, and what the religious groups say will be the violations. But, you fail to define precisely which “deeply held tenant of my faith” that I will no longer be free to exercise. The Title X Family Planning Program, under which contraceptives were government funded, was signed into law in 1970 by Richard Nixon. Where have all these religious groups been for the past 42 years?
I addressed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) “war on Obamacare” in a letter to you, October 9, 2011, and you published it, thank you. That same letter went to and was published by the government, Document: HHS-OS-2011-0023-59229 , and I thank them. The USCCB, my Bishop, and my Pastor all received a copy, but I have heard nothing from them. I did read a local priest’s comment on my letter that you published, but it addressed the church’s stand on capital punishment, an example in my letter, not the real subject of it.
After reading the USCCB “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, A Statement on Religious Liberty,” I still could not see the denial of freedom aspect, but I remained silent. However, when priests were told to incorporate this “Fortnight for Freedom” theme in their sermons at Mass, I got very annoyed. My wife and I walked out of a Mass when we realized “freedom under attack” was the homily, and I wrote another letter expressing why we felt it inappropriate and insulting. I do not anticipate a response.
I have very strong feelings against the “apocalyptic rhetoric” over Obamacare. The law is not perfect, but for the USCCB to use such a significant right as “freedom” to oppose the law’s coverage of birth control is disingenuous at least. It has been amended for the USCCB, yet they still complain. Where is their plan to provide the poor with similar coverage?
The last comment in your article is a prime example of the politics of fear that uses broad sweeping unproven descriptors: “Healthcare is a subject that becomes a moral and ethical minefield when such subjects as abortion, euthanasia and others are added to the mix.” Euthanasia?
Posted By: Joseph On: 7/10/2012
Title: Obamney Care
This "editorial" tells me all I need to know about your paper...and the thought process on the "editorial" staff...sad...
Posted By: Doug On: 7/9/2012
Title: Editorial Bored
Excellent retort, Derrill Guidry. Excellent retort for the "board" of Jindalites, followers of the tyrant who is miring our Louisiana deeper and deeper in the mud.
Posted By: Dwight On: 7/9/2012
Title: No one is forcing anyone to take contraceptives
If your religion forbids you from taking contraceptives then don't take them. However don't deny them to others under the cry of religious freedom. If a woman works for a religious backed organization such as a hospital she has earned her health insurance as part of her pay, it is not some thing that is given to her by the hospital. To say that they are not going to pay her what she has earned is theft.
Most Catholics at one time or another use contraceptives. Poll after poll have shown that going back 50 years.
The federal and local governments have subsidized churches from the beginning with tax exemptions, zoning exemptions etc. Seems to me that the churches need to get off the public teet and pay their fair share of taxes.
Posted By: Merrill Guillory On: 7/9/2012
Title: Ministerial Alliance
100 people showed up!!... 20 for every board member writing this article, what a joke!
Posted By: Derrill Guidry On: 7/9/2012
Title: FREEDOM & LIBERTY???
...all the hootin' and hollerin' about some false notion of freedoms being taken away will mean nothing to those senior citizens in Lake Charles and throughout the state who cannot get health care because Jindal is declining federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid. I guess you will pray really hard and 'religion' will fix it...right? This would be comical if it wasn't so serious...
Posted By: Derrill Guidry On: 7/9/2012
Title: Uneducated...Uninformed...Intentionally Misleading
If you research the history of the individual parts of this law you will find that this "wool-over-the-eyes" rhetoric and talking points about referencing religion and so-called liberty intrusions are completely false...AND much of the ACA was originally derived from Republican/Conservative ideas and ideals. So what changed? The President is what changed. That's it. That is the only reason that editorials and arguments like the one above are presented. There is an inherent and forced fear that is skewing the common sense of people, the majority of whom will benefit from this law.
The government will NOT control the health care decisions of citizens. If you have health insurance already, absolutely NOTHING will change...except your premiums will likely decrease. If you must purchase insurance, you do so on the private insurance market, not some government run entity. And think about it --- without this law YOU, the TAXPAYER, is footing the bill for folks who require medical care but do not have insurance or cannot otherwise pay. Talk about a "welfare" complaint that I don't hear being raised now. I could go on and on, but it is not my personal responsibility to educate the readers of this newspaper, many of whom probably don't want to know the things I have written here.
Last, just as with this ludicrous and dangerous attack on the personal health decisions of females, this religious argument holds no water and was resolved for the most part, except for continued complaints by clergy who simply do not like this President. And if Conservatives want so badly for "the government" to be removed from personal health decisions, why are they forcing invasive policies on the very same female constituency? The GOP and Tea Party essentially want to DICTATE the health care decisions of women...doesn't make sense...does it?
I grew up in Lake Charles, traveled the world, got an excellent education, but I learned how to critically think for myself. What I see as the intent of this editorial is to sway the opinions of as many as possible false information using religious references as an influencing factor. And yes, there are many who will be influenced because your "opinion" sounds really good and educated. But in the end, you do have the right to your own personal opinions. Thank you...
Posted By: Donna On: 7/8/2012
Title: Stand up for America and for our Freedom
The editorial is right on track! Obamacare violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. Our government is based on democracy not socialism. Wake up America, our Great Country is under attack! Nothing is free and that includes Obamacare. It is the beginning of the end. Stand up for our religious freedom! Stand up for the freedom of our Country!!
Posted By: Joseph On: 7/7/2012
Title: Welfare state already...
According to the Gallup (yeah...the ones who do polls) 22% of Louisana people DON"T have health insurance. And you choose to make this a "religious" battle? Considering that our state is already receiving $ 1.78 in federal money for every dollar we pay in, we are basically having the "blue" states support our welfare Louisana......So taking federal money because we can't manage our own finances shouldn't be a problem. Amazing the way we all sneer at blue states while they fund us. Receiving even more fed money to cover so many with health insurance seem a good thing. How can you try and turn this "religious in the face of facts...
Posted By: Doug On: 7/7/2012
Title: Moral Tenants or Moral Tenets
Your editorial board woud do well to edit itself before trying to edit our GREAT President's WONDERFUL work. Also, " ...that old saying can found be...".. Work on those elementary faults before trying to hang with the BIG BOYS. I doubt if this will get posted.