In the summer of 2009, when the outrage over the Democrats’ emerging health care reform bills was at its height, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was excoriated by the left for saying:
“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”
The roiling debate over the HHS decision to mandate universal coverage for contraceptive services takes us back to Palin’s remarks.
Obamacare requires health plans to offer certain benefits, like contraception services, annual physicals, vaccinations, and breastfeeding “support and supplies,” with no co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible. The benefits themselves are not the problem — wellness and prevention services are absolutely critical to reining in health care costs and contraception services should be available for those who want them, which they are. (I keep hearing how 98% of Catholics use birth control. Doesn’t this prove that access to contraception isn’t a problem?)
What’s dangerous about these mandates is that they give government the power to decide whether you’ll purchase insurance, who and what will be covered by that insurance, and if businesses are offering good enough insurance.
President Gerald Ford once said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” For now, the government is giving — or requiring businesses to give — more health services to Americans through subsidies, mandates, and other means. But Obamacare, which grants the HHS secretary 1,968 new or expanded powers, also gives the government the power to take.