This morning’s Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby will doubtless precipitate a flood of stories from the establishment “news” media claiming that an entrenched cadre of conservative justices have dealt a grievous blow to the reproductive freedom of women and somehow endowed corporations with religious rights. These reports should be ignored as so much hysterical nonsense. What the Court actually said was that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the government to provide closely held corporate objectors to Obamacare’s contraception mandate the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organizations.
The Right Prescription
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby on June 26, and the closer we get to that date the more frantic liberals become. Their fear of a decision in favor of the arts and crafts chain, whose owners have challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their religious liberty, has reached such a pitch that they are making claims that transcend the merely portentous. Their warnings concerning the consequences of a high court win for the Green family, the company’s owners, have now become downright apocalyptic.
Conservatives have long known that Obamacare’s employer mandate, if implemented, will create harmful distortions in the labor market and damage the economy. The mandate will force small employers to rebuff workers they would hire in its absence, and it will incentivize large employers to replace full-time employees with part-timers. When conservative policy experts and business groups first pointed this out, however, Obamacare supporters robotically recited the usual canards about close-fisted capitalists who value profit more than healthy employees. But a funny thing happened on the way to the midterms — the President delayed implementation of the mandate until after the election.
Okay, I admit that I made up the above headline. But, if Nancy Pelosi can blame the VA scandal on George Bush, why can’t I accuse him of shooting JFK? No evidence? Well, if such accusations must be supported by facts, Pelosi would do well to stop braying about Bush. If you compare his actual record on the VA to that of alleged President Obama, the latter will not thank you for it. As is the case with income inequality, fighting HIV/AIDS, and countless other issues, Bush has a better record on the VA than does his feckless successor.
My father was a veteran of World War II, and thus eligible to receive medical treatment at the VA hospital that operated a few miles from our house. He used it exactly once. His experience with what the Veterans Administration calls “health care” was so awful that he claimed to be more in fear of his life within the walls of that VA facility than he had ever been while on active duty in Europe. I confess that, at the time he made this assertion, I assumed he was indulging a penchant for hyperbole. I have long since learned otherwise.
A year ago I compared decorated veteran Matt Sissel to Horatius, a Roman soldier said to have single-handedly defended a bridgehead against an invasion force intent on imposing a tyrannical regime on the free republic. Sissel is the plaintiff in a constitutional challenge to Obamacare due to be heard this Thursday by the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals. And, as the Horatius analogy suggests, he may be the last man standing between us and the legions of Beltway politicians who wish to subject us to the soft despotism of the bureaucratic state.
You can always tell when the Democrats and their media supporters are losing an important political argument — they suddenly announce that the public wants to “move on” to more pressing issues. It is a strategy they first devised in an attempt to prevent President Clinton from being impeached. Indeed, one of their most important front groups, MoveOn.org, was created for the explicit purpose of promoting this meme. The tactic failed, of course. Yet, in their panic concerning the upcoming midterms, congressional Democrats have resorted to it once again in a desperate effort to extricate themselves from the fatal Obamacare debate.
Last Thursday, the president announced the Obamacare debate over for the second time this month. The pretext for his repetition of this talking point was yet another implausible claim concerning the number of people his health care law has helped gain coverage. He offered this new total, 8 million, as proof that further resistance to “reform” is futile: “The repeal debate is and should be over…The Affordable Care Act is working.” If you feel that President Obama is protesting a bit too much, you are not alone. Public opinion surveys consistently show that most Americans still oppose Obamacare.
The replacement of Kathleen Sebelius by Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the Secretary of Health and Human Services has been portrayed by the legacy “news” media as a new lease on life for Obamacare. The party line is that Sebelius was mortally wounded by GOP exploitation of a single uncharacteristic mistake — the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov — while Burwell is a brilliant Beltway veteran unsullied by controversy and possessing the very administrative skills needed to save Obama’s “signature domestic achievement.” As the Los Angeles Times put it, “Advisors to the president say he is putting his best organizational player into the position.”
Last Tuesday, our President swaggered into the Rose Garden to announce that 7.1 million people have signed up for health coverage through Obamacare’s exchanges and that all further argument about the future of his “signature domestic achievement” was pointless: “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” The problem with this claim is that no one with a basic grasp of arithmetic believes Obama’s enrollment figures, only about a quarter of the electorate supports his “reform” law, and it is still the target of multiple lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.