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Making Reparations for Obamacare Print E-mail
By Paul Kengor   
Saturday, 12 April 2014

Last week the Obama administration staged an Obamacare rally in the Rose Garden of the White House. The president and his team celebrated a mysterious “7.1 million” sign-ups, or registrants, or enrollees, or something or other. The precise make up of these individuals and how exactly they found themselves among this number is an arcane unknown. Nonetheless, right on cue, the partisan crowd rounded up for the ceremony roared in applause when the president sounded the magic number: 7.1 million.

What should Catholics make of this? The Little Sisters of the Poor, no doubt, find no comfort or saving grace in the exalted “7.1 million.” They’re still being forced to support services they will not use, that violate their conscience, and that their Church deems intrinsically evil.

Likewise taking no solace is a good friend of mine who is a Catholic entrepreneur. I’d like to share his story, because it isn’t uncommon. Many reading this article know Catholic business owners mired in the same dilemma.

I will not share details of my friend’s business. Like many of us, he has come to fear the coercive arm of the federal government: the IRS. It is truly frightening that the same IRS that has pursued individuals opposed to President Obama’s political agenda is also the enforcement mechanism for Obamacare. So I’ll keep my friend anonymous.

My friend started his business from nothing – rock bottom. He worked extremely hard, devoting his time, his money, his resources, his heart and soul. He views the business as a chance to loyally and morally serve his customers and to provide for his family and employees. He’s not in it to get obscenely wealthy.

To make a long story short, the business now thrives. Throughout the process, the community and Church have benefitted greatly from my friend’s success. He is very devout and has never failed to be extraordinarily charitable. He doesn’t boast or speak of his good works, but they are obvious. If Pope Francis wants an example of the good of free markets, my friend is it. He has brought hundreds of jobs to people who otherwise wouldn’t have them. If my friend didn’t have this business, some of his current employees would be among the staggering 47 million Americans on food stamps right now under President Obama.

In response, my friend’s employees are grateful. They adore him. He treats them with respect, which boosts their self-worth. He epitomizes the Church’s teachings on labor. He could be a poster boy for John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical On Human Work.

Unfortunately, my friend remains mired in a moral dilemma that continues to cause him great distress. Because a majority of his fellow Catholics twice elected Barack Obama president, his company is at the mercy of the HHS mandates. He has happily provided his employees with healthcare benefits. Last year he spent $500,000 on healthcare. This year, his provider jacked up the cost by 35 percent to comply with new Obamacare regulations.

 

Consequently, I can only imagine that some of these employees will have to be laid off, sending them into the government’s vast unemployment rolls, possibly on to food stamps, and ultimately into the uncertain, mad maze of Obamacare. They will go from having a nice job in the private sector to, instead, joining the ever increasing ranks of wards of the state.

My friend doesn’t want to violate his conscience and the teachings of his Church by funding contraception and abortion drugs for his employees. The Obama administration is telling him he must. He has no good options. He can pay a massive fine that will severely hurt his business and force him to lay off employees or he can drop all their health coverage and dump them into the Obama-care exchange.

Neither is a good option. He has watched how people who want Obamacare can’t even sign up. He can’t take the risk of dispatching these people into the labyrinth of the federal healthcare bureaucracy. His employees have family members with cancer and heart disease. Some can’t read. They literally wouldn’t be able to navigate the incompetence of the Obamacare website.

In short, then, this loyal Catholic businessman is a victim of Obama administration incompetence and coercion. He says, “I’m being forced to violate my conscience under duress from the state.”

He sure is. And here’s the saddest thing: it was made possible by Catholics who voted as they did in 2008 and 2012. They are complicit.

To that end, I conclude with a genuinely sincere question for these Catholics: Are you doing anything to make amends for this? There are decent Catholic businessmen and women who are struggling right now because of the policy actions of the people you voted for. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention.

But now that such has occurred, are you doing anything to try to help? Have you written even one letter or email to the White House or called your member of Congress? Have you lifted a finger to help? Have you made any reparation for this?

There truly are Catholic brothers and sisters who are suffering for your choices.

 
Dr. Paul Kengor, a new contributor to The Catholic Thing, is professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative. His other books include Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press).

 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.


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Comments (18)Add Comment
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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, April 12, 2014
Dr. Kengor, tell your friend that two can play the same game as Obama and the Federal government.

If your friend owns the business, why can't he begin to evangelize there on the topic of contraception and abortion so that his employees might have all the information they require to make an informed choice? Why can't he place messages inside pay checks, place posters around the workplace that promote pro-life thinking? There are probably a million things he can do to better educate his workforce.

Why does everyone think that employers must roll over and play dead because the government is promoting evil? Why can't he use the workplace to inform his workers of the evil the government does promote? All it takes for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing.

It's nice that your friend donates the proceeds of his business to charitable causes but isn't he called to evangelize? And where better to evangelize than at the workplace he owns? If not there, where?

If the government was sending Jews to rooms to be gassed and then incinerated and using money from the proceeds of his business to carry this out, would your friend speak up about this in his workplace, explaining to his employees how this was evil? Or would he be intimidated into silently acquiescing?

That's how "Reparations for Obamacare" should be handled.
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written by Mack Hall, April 12, 2014
Catholics and Jews do tend to vote for their own destruction, and one simply cannot understand why. Republicans have degenerated into weak, harmless Merovingians whose vision seems to be passivity toward evil, perhaps even assisting it, for the sake of the next vote. Evil seems to target middle America with falsehoods in order to deflect focus: small businesses, police officers, teachers, families, married couples, and priests. And the people, bless them, buy into this.
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written by Howard Kainz, April 12, 2014
I may misunderstand the law, but couldn't a business of this sort, without penalties, just stop providing health insurance, and raise salaries and wages across the board so that their employees could use the extra money to purchase their own health insurance, if they wish?
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written by Carlos Caso-Rosendi, April 12, 2014
I second Deacon Peitler's comment. I offer myself, Catholic, unemployed since 2008, capable to teach even complex theological issues; to evangelize your friend's employers full time. For a modest investment the employer can finance Catholic education for his employers, adding perhaps a little scientific education on the consequences of the chemical poisons women ingest to avoid pregnancy, the consequences of abortion (cancer, depression) etc.

This is not a problem but a gigantic opportunity to give glory to God and save souls.
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written by schm0e, April 12, 2014
what is "obscene" about wealth? it it possible to be "immaculately wealthy"? I see -- this is about "filthy lucre"? OK, does the possession of filth make its possessor filthy, necessarily (thinking at the moment of the man who cleans the toilets where I work).

This is seems to be an area that is ripe (no pun) for some intellectual parsing.

I will try to read the rest of the piece after I've settled down a bit.
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written by Patrick, April 12, 2014
Only about 26% of that 7 million were previously uninsured. The rest had had their plans cancelled and were forced to re-enroll, often into more expensive plans. And also, the government is counting people who signed up, but haven't paid (also about 25% according to Fox News). If these people try to use their insurance they will find out they aren't actually covered until they make a payment.
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written by Wade Ford, April 12, 2014
These comments largely seem to be from those that voted for Obama and are now trying to drag a rhetorical tree branch behind them to blur their foot prints.
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written by ken tremendous, April 12, 2014
Sorry but this piece is wrongheaded. The contraceptive mandate is not the essence of the law and is probably going to get thrown out in court anyway.

In the great American health care debate there are essentially two sides. One side is those with insurance (public or private), those with few medical needs, the wealthy, the health insurance industry and doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies who are far more richly remunerated in the US than their counterparts anywhere else in the world--often for exactly the same health care procedures.

The other side is those sick, poor and/or with high medical needs, those with no insurance at all/or inadequate insurance, and employees of modest income often with families who are seeing their take home wages squeezed by high insurance costs necessary to sustain the whole overpriced bloated health care status quo.

As a Catholic I know which side I am rooting for Mr. Kengor. But, sir what are you doing to "make amends" for years of mindless supporting the first group of people who benefitted just fine by the pre-Obama status quo at the expense of the less fortunate. The party you support has offered precisely zilch to those people except rhetoric. At the end of the day they care far more about protecting doctors incomes and hospitals' and insurers' business models than ensuring health care access for those who are sick.
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written by Seanachie, April 12, 2014
Bravo, Paul...well done...reflective questions well asked. That Catholics embraced Obama twice in national elections (54% in 2008 and 50% in 2012)is shamefully astonishing. Obama's anti-Catholic views and policies (i.e., abortion support, opposition to IL BAIPA) were well known prior to the 2008 election and even more so (i.e., same sex marriage, late term abortion, Obamacare mandates)in 2012. Yet, Catholics supported him...go figure! Perhaps "Catholics" are not as Catholic as one may think. What is truly scary is that the apparent current front runner (Dem) for Obama's replacement in the 2016 election will likely be as worse. Catholics will continue to be the butt of anti-Catholic views, policies, and programs as long as they continue to elect representatives holding same.
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written by Chris in Maryland, April 12, 2014
If you get my drift, people who don't go to Mass on Sunday aren't Catholics - they were, perhaps, at onetime, Catholic.

We have no reason to expect such people to care about Catholic moral teaching.

Too bad 40% of Church-going Catholics did vote for Planned Parenthood's favorite POTUS.
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written by Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick, April 12, 2014
Cardinal Dolan needs to be asked if he has repented of his "cheerleading" for Obamacare. Will the USCCB issue a corporate statement of repentance for its 90+ years of support for socialized medicine?--Especially for its support for socialized medicine to be implemented by TWO pro-abortion regimes, the Clinton administration and the Obama administration. Oh! It was IMPOSSIBLE for the bishops to foresee that the most pro-abortion regimes in history would use socialized health care to persecute the Catholic Church!

These admittedly blind, stupid bishops could signal their repentance by resigning!
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written by Paul, April 12, 2014
Interesting you would say "He's not in it to get obscenely wealthy" as wealth is a bad thing. I wish he would get obscenely wealthy. He sounds like a good man who would create jobs and prosperity for his employees and investors.
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written by Sue, April 13, 2014
I think a most suitable penance would be organ donation - live - the way they do it in China, socialized medicine capital of the world.
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written by Carlos Caso-Rosendi, April 14, 2014
@schm0e: there is obscene wealth just like there is obscene sex. When wealth is not used to promote life then it is obscene. George Soros is obscenely wealthy, there are more examples of course. Remember the Lord's words: "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."
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written by Augustine Thomas, April 15, 2014
The Lord told us that the backstabbers, the heretics and apostates would be inside the Church as well. We should expect other Catholics to be some of our worst enemies.
Don't be as naïve as these fools who voted for Obama to try to be hip and cool for their "progressive" friends.
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written by Augustine Thomas, April 15, 2014
Howard Kainz,
Have you ever run a business? At this point, most of them are in a very precarious position, even if they're "thriving". Just raising the wages almost never works because the government makes it almost impossible to survive by doing that. The government wants you using their services and they put you out of business if you don't. The government collects so much taxes and gives rebates and such for health insurance. To simply pay the flat out cost is not possible for 99.999% of businesses.
As long as we let leftists run the government and leftists run the Church, we're going to be in for a hellish ride!
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written by Augustine Thomas, April 15, 2014
ken tremendous,

Why is healthcare getting so much worse, if the old guard was so evil?
The answer to a problem is not to make it worse.
And do none of these poor and sick folks have any responsibility for their lives?
This is sexual revolution America collapsing under its immorality. You can't go out and do drugs and drink and have sex your whole life and then demand those bad old rich folk to pay for the consequences and call them evil when they don't do it.
Are you evil because you won't go help me rob an old lady? But I neeeeed the money!!
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written by Sue, April 15, 2014
At least the Democrats straight up and admit they're evil. The Republican neocons slink and weasel around, call themselves prolife but going out letting babies bleed to death with their tortuously "cute" incrementalist tactics.

Case in point; the stupefyingly stupid Stupak amendment - which even on its face allowed rape-incest abortions - but also gave congressmen a get-out-of-jail free card to vote for Obamacare. Yes, Stupak was a democrat, but many of his supporters were Republican neocons who knew DAMN well that Obamacare was the host for a whole lot more evil than the abortions the amendment lined out.

The neocons need to make double duty reparations for their cloying fakery which effectively supported Obamacorpse.

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