The latest challenge to the health care reform law is a religious one. Some say it violates their religious freedom.
“Health care reform was always a contentious issue from day one,” said Clelland Green, RHU, CEO, and president of Benepath in Pennsylvania. “Since it was passed, it has faced court challenge after court challenge, and the latest lawsuit is based on the allegation that the Affordable Care Act violates religious freedom.”
The key element that has caused the uproar over the Affordable Care Act is the law that states every person must buy health insurance by 2014 or they will have to pay a penalty. This has been met with challenges across the nation, and so far one court of appeal has upheld the mandate, one has struck it down and one has dismissed a lawsuit twice based on jurisdictional issues. It other words, this is an issue looking for a court decision, but so far it is not making much headway nor is there any degree of consensus on it.
“The latest challenge was brought to court by a religious group on behalf of five citizens. They feel the law violates their beliefs and that Congress does not have the authority to force them to buy health insurance, when they believe that God will protect them,” Green outlined.
While this is an interesting challenge, Congress has steadfastly maintained it does have the authority to pass such a law and enforce the mandate because the cost of health care is getting out of control. And that is the argument the federal government lawyers will use to rebut this latest lawsuit.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs are Susan Seven-Sky, Peggy Lee Mead, Charles Lee, Kenneth Ruffo and Gina Rodriguez and the defendants are Eric Holder Jr., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of the Treasury and Timothy Geithner. In short, the case cite for those who want to read the interesting arguments by finding the case online is Susan Seven-Sky v. Eric Holder Jr. Case No. 11-5047.
“It is a thoughtful read and full of arguments that make a great deal of sense. As always, there are two sides to every lawsuit, and the court will need to decide which one prevails after entertaining all the material submitted. While reading this case, you might want to take a look at your thoughts and feelings on this issue about being mandated to buy health insurance if you do not have it by the year 2014,” suggested Green. It is an issue that is likely to continue to be a hot button for many Americans.
The nugget of the argument to be made in court by the religious group is that forcing people to get health insurance means they would have to get it indefinitely or pay annual penalties for holding a sincere belief that God protects them from injury or illness. In short, they are refusing to get the health insurance because it would violate their faith. “Of interest is the fact that the Affordable Care Act does have some religious exemptions, but in this instance, it appears that some of the plaintiffs may not qualify,” added Green.
On the government’s side, the argument is that Congress has determined that individuals who do not have health insurance quite often do not pay for the medical services they may require. This shifts the cost to the providers and taxpayers, which is the whole reason behind why the Affordable Care Act passed. “Of note is that uninsured Americans cost the system close to $43 billion in 2008,” Green pointed out.
Perhaps it is time to take a really hard look at this Act and figure out if it may not actually be the beginning of turning around a system that is badly in need of repair.
To learn more, visit http://www.benepath.com