(Photo: Reuters: Joshua Roberts)
While the Affordable Care Act's health care exchange system went live on Tuesday morning with a number of glitches, the American Center for Law and Justice has reminded citizens that one of the main issues with the Obama administration's health care law is that it forces family business owners to choose between running their business and following the principles of their faith.
"The so-called 'HHS Mandate' – a set of regulations enacted under Obamacare – is a major problem for business owners who object to paying for things like the 'morning-after-pill,' sterilization and contraception," Francis J. Manion, senior counsel of the ACLJ, shared in a statement to The Christian Post on Friday.
"If they don't include such things in their health plans, they get fined $100 per day per employee. The Obama Administration refuses to recognize a religious exemption for what are often small family businesses that just want to continue to run their businesses in a way that doesn't contradict their faith."
There were several reported glitches with the online system on Tuesday morning with customers trying to sign up for new health care exchanges, which are part of the Affordable Care Act, much like President Barack Obama predicted.
"In the first week, first month, first three months, I would suspect that there will be glitches," Obama said in an NPR interview on Monday. "This is 50 states, a lot of people signing up for something. And there are going to be problems. And I guarantee you, there will be problems because we've got precedent."
Debate over funding for Obamacare, which Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree on, is also behind the government shutdown, the first in 17 years.
Some Roman Catholic families are making it a point of note, however, that the HHS mandate, despite revisions, is still forcing them to ignore their beliefs by providing insurance coverage to employees that offers things like contraception and sterilization.
"I write because the mandate is forcing me and my family to choose between the teachings of our faith and the operation of our business," wrote John Kennedy, CEO of international company Autocam, in a column for USA Today posted on Thursday.
Kennedy explained that the Health Care law leaves his family with choices that are all "unconscionable" according to their beliefs:
"(1) violate our faith by complying with the mandate and provide our employees with insurance that covers contraception and sterilization; (2) pay over $16,000,000 in fines per year, destroying our business and putting our employees out of work; or (3) cut our employees' health benefits so that we do not have to violate our beliefs. While the last choice would save our family and the company $5,000,000, we reject it because of the respect we have for our employees."
Following changes to the Obamacare mandate back in July that provided exemptions to churches and religious non-profits opposed to abortion and contraceptives, organizations such as The National Association of Evangelicals spoke out and said that the changes still do not provide a solution for religious for-profit companies.
"The final rule still leaves many religious employers unprotected," said Leith Anderson, NAE president. "The government should not compel any of its citizens to violate their consciences."
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has argued that the law "guarantees millions of women access to recommended preventive services at no cost," and praised the revisions, saying that they show the government's commitment to respecting religious and non-profit concerns while "helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work."
The ACLJ has actively protested the Obamacare mandate, representing seven different family businesses that have sued the Obama Administration.
"In court, the Administration argues that the families have no rights because, as corporations, they don't 'exercise religion,' while, at the same time, the owners themselves have no rights because technically they aren't required to do anything, only their corporations are. Heads, the government wins, tails, we the people lose," Manion continued.
"The only thing the government needs to do to correct this attack on religious liberty is to extend to all religious objectors the same exemption it currently recognizes for some religious objectors, that is, organizations that the Obama Administration gets to decide are 'religious enough.' It's clear that the Obama Administration is not going to do the right thing here unless ordered to do so by the courts."