Skip to comments.The New Catholic Debate Over the HHS Mandate
Posted on 09/28/2012 6:17:54 AM PDT by marshmallow
My distinguished colleagues and friends Michael Pakaluk and Steven Long have recently opened a new chapter in the intra-Catholic debate over the Obama Administrations HHS mandate and the moral implications of the responses to it by employers, especially Catholic employers. I think that it is an important chapter since it raises issues that have not yet been appropriately dealt with.
But before commenting on their interventions, I would like to consider a little history
The debates first chapter or at least an significant chapter began in February. Robert T. Miller, now professor of law at the University of Iowa, summed up the state of the debate at the time, noting its key participants, in a piece at The Public Discourse:
There is now a lively argument among ethicists as to whether a religious or otherwise conscientiously objecting employer may, without moral wrongdoing on its own part, abide by the revised form of the Obama Administrations mandate that employer-provided health care plans must include coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraception. Thus, responding to doubts raised by Robert Hockett at Mirror of Justice, Sherif Girgis and Robert George have argued here on Public Discourse that, even in its revised form, the mandate involves objecting employers in wrongdoing. David Gibson, in an infelicitously condescending piece in USA Today, argues for the opposite view, to which Janet Smith delivers a blazing refutation at CatholicVote. More recently on Public Discourse, Christopher Tollefsen develops the position of Girgis and George but argues that complying may be morally permissible for some employers but not for others, depending on their particular circumstances.
Miller noted that [e]veryone involved in this debate agrees that the problem should be analyzed using the traditional doctrine of cooperation with evil, which deals with situations in which one person cooperates......
(Excerpt) Read more at philosophy.avemaria.edu ...
I know Dr. Long from my college days at Christendom. He is a seriosu intellect and a good man. Dr. Janet Smith is not in the same class. Dr. Long is not afraid to apply a principle and let it go where it goes. He is a Thomist.
Regarding the issue at hand, those employers who self-insure would surely be formally cooperating with the evil aspectys of the plan.
These folks are part of the crowd who are really Protestant but like pretending to still be Catholic.They want to keep some of the traditions and, of course the property, but they want to write their own religion as they go along based on how their glands move them. This is no different than the argument that it's moral to murder your own children with contraceptives because the benefit of not being horny is the real goal and the infanticide is only incidental.
These folks can leave and join any number of churches that insist they are the true church where they'll be far more comfortable with the Protestant teaching that cooperating with the State child sacrifice machine is no big deal. If such folks don't start leaving soon, the Church is going to finally get around to sweeping out all these husks of Catholics who refuse to accept Church teaching and are in reality not Catholic at all.
But I'm told she and Mary Geach (her daughter) and others of the Anscombe school take a very hard line on intention: the only way you can say you "did not intend" something is when you cna honestly say "I didn't know I was doing that." In other words, complete inadvertence. They make --- I am told --- short shrift of "Double Effect".
I have thought from the start that to offer one's employeee an evil as a "benefit" must involve formal cooperation. Under duress from the HHS, yes, but formal.
Can anybody clarify this for me?
Very tentatively: paying taxes, properly so called, must be different from other forms of cooperation because, as you say, Our Lord did it. Taxes go into a general government treasury. Once the funds are there, you have done your duty (rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's). Then it is Caesar who does evil if, in a completely separate act, Caesar decides to purchase incense for Jupier, augment the crucifixion program, or invade Gaul. But that would be Caesar's sin, not yours.
On the other hand, if Caesar were demanding funds that did NOT go into the general government treasury, but which specificlaly went into the "Incense-for-Jupiter" or "Crosses-for-Jews" fund, then you would be morally obliged to disobey, because its use would be already explicitly specified.
By analogy, you could pay Income Taxes, which go into the U.S. Treasury general fund. But it would be morally wrong to pay funds into a payment scheme designed as an "employee benefit" (insurance plan) when YOU KNOW the "benefit" consists of injecting toxins into employees or providing for their reproductive maiming.
This is all a load of baloney, entirely divorced from reality.
“By analogy, you could pay Income Taxes, which go into the U.S. Treasury general fund. But it would be morally wrong to pay funds into a payment scheme designed as an “employee benefit” (insurance plan) when YOU KNOW the “benefit” consists of injecting toxins into employees or providing for their reproductive maiming.”
If I were sending my premium dollars to an “abortion fund” or a “contraceptive fund,” you might have half a point.
But as an employer, I don't, and thus, you don't.
I send my premium dollars off to an insurance company that is regulated by my state. The state-mandated benefits are what they are. I don't get any choice. Most of that money goes for folks to get actual, real, live medical treatment, not contraceptives and the like. A small portion is paid out for these immoral products and services. Much like the money I send to the US treasury, or the treasury of my state. I don't get to pick and choose, as an individual, what policies the US or my state government will execute. I don't get to pick and choose, as an individual employer, what my state will mandate in my health insurance policies.
If I want my folks to be treated for cancer without bankrupting them, I gotta buy the state-mandated policies (or they have to buy the individual policies in our state that mandate THE SAME BENEFITS). If I want to be able to have my kid treated for his brain tumor, I gotta buy a policy with the state mandates.
There IS NO SPECIAL FUND for my premium dollars that says, “Abortion Fund” or “Contraceptive Fund.” That's just stupid.
In fact, in my state, PAYING MY TAXES is more morally implicated in evil, as in my state, abortions for women on Medicaid are fully paid by state monies, whereas there is no abortion “benefit” mandate in my company's group health insurance policy.
But you've already exonerated those of us (including yourself, conveniently) who pay our taxes.
For employers, purchasing health insurance for workers is almost at the level of compulsion of a tax. And under Obamacare, it becomes, literally, a tax, according to the "Catholic" idiot Chief Jackass of the tyrannical court.
If this is a tax, how can it be Constitutional, since the bill originated in the Senate? AND since SG Verrilli, representing the govt., explicitly stated --- both before, during, and after the USSC arguments --- that it's not a tax??
I'll quit now. The whole thing is Crazy. Corrupt. Criminal. The Roberts decision ---which some "conservatives" described as subtly brilliant --- is pure tyranny.
You're not paying attention.
It's a tax because the government may use the force of arms to punish you if you don't pay it.
Whether you think it's constitutional, or whether I think it's constitutional, that doesn't matter at all. Not even a hill of beans. What matters is that it was passed by Congress (whether rightly or wrongly), it was signed into law by the usurper Kenyan anti-Christ, and its alleged constitutionality was upheld by the Black-Robed Tyrants.
If the orders are given by the government to take adverse action against an employer who fails to follow the law, those orders will be followed by the requisite government minions, and those in the private sector that work with the government. My bank will permit the government to seize money from my accounts, the state will happily put liens on property that I own, and eventually, when the laws are tightened up a bit, I will be subject to arrest.
But even without the formal compulsion of a “tax,” the bottom line is that the way our system is currently set up, there are many, many folks who would be unable to get or afford health insurance if it wasn't “provided” to them through their employer.
As a CATHOLIC employer, I have ALWAYS believed that I had a COMPELLING MORAL OBLIGATION to provide health insurance to my workers, if I could afford it. It's part of that whole “living wage” thing that Pope Leo mentioned.
Ironically, Obamacare may force me to drop health insurance for my employees, as our high-deductible policies will probably be ruled illegal, and I won't be able to afford lower deductible replacement policies. It'll be way, way, way cheaper to pay the fine (like, about 20% of the cost of actual health insurance policies).
I guess then I'll be off the hook for the whole moral question! (Bitter) LOL!
Since this option actually saves the employer money (basically bribing you to dump your employees' coverage and force them onto the national socialist healthcare entrance ramp --- some social justice, eh?) could you increase their compensation in other ways?
I understand the bitter LOL. I think if I were an employer, I'd either have crossed the DSM (psych) line, or the line of criminal indictment.
“That's exactly what the National Catholic Bioethics Center ended up saying: drop the insurance. Not as a good choice, but as the least-worst of all the terrible choices.”
I will only drop our health insurance if costs force me to.
The benefit in which I'm interested is providing the means by which to pay for good health care for my employees. If the government forcibly requires that some small part of my premium dollars go toward contraceptives, etc., I WILL NOT deny my employees access to good and affordable health care because of it.
I AM NOT buying insurance to “inject toxins, blah, blah, blah, blah blah...” I am buying it so that my folks can get affordable health care.
To the degree that the coverage covers immoral products and services, that isn't on me. It's on the evil-minded and evil-doing people who shove it down my throat. It's also on any employees who immorally use what I provide for them.
I also compensate them with money with which they can buy food, clothing, shelter and other good things, but with which they may legally buy pornography, cigarettes and other tobacco products, palm readings, occultic books, memberships in nudist colonies, and any number of other products and services that may be intrinsically immoral. Those ARE their legal choices. By paying them, one might say that I'm at least materially cooperating with those who acquire such goods and services.
But if I don't compensate my workers, they will find it difficult to pay for food to eat and to pay for shelter.
My workers may misuse the health insurance I provide, but if I don't provide it, they will find it difficult to obtain necessary health care.
I will drop the insurance ONLY if it becomes unaffordable. Because, well, I'm not a magician.
I'm not interested in paying them more cash wages as compensation for dramatically lowering their standard of living by subjecting them to government (substandard) health care.
The better solution would have been to shift the private health insurance system we currently have away from its employment-centered focus to an individual- and family-centered focus. But under the current system, a policy that costs an employer $10,000 per year would easily cost the employer and employee $16,000 per year or more, to take care of the taxes the employee would have to pay on the income before being permitted to buy the insurance.
THAT would have been a start on health care reform!
But the Kenyan anti-Christ didn't ask my opinion, and it certainly didn't take my opinion in to account when it wrote and signed into law its abomination, Obamacare.
I'm sure you noticed that Hercules Industries, the HVAC firm that is challenging the HHS in court, has been providing a superior health insurance plan to their emplopyees for years. In fact they were supposed to be getting a "Good Citizen Award" from Denver. When they won the (first round of) their lawsuit aainst the HHS, Denver canceled the award!
I guess standing up for your liberty doesn't count as good citizenship...