The Court’s ruling was a relief to the Democrats, for PPACA, which Congress passed in May 2010, is generally considered the most significant piece of legislation of President Obama’s first term. That same ruling was dismaying to the Republicans, who have been strongly opposed to “Obamacare” from the beginning.
There were many religious groups who rejoiced at the news of June 28. An ecumenical organization called Faithful Reform in Health Care applauded the Supreme Court decision. That group includes Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists as well as numerous Christian denominational groups, including Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, and Presbyterians, among others.
In 2010 that organization adopted the following vision statement and sent it to the U.S. Congress: “As people of faith, we envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity. That vision embraces a system of health care that is inclusive... accessible... affordable... and accountable.”
But for the most part, Catholics and white Evangelical Protestants lamented the Supreme Court decision and continue to oppose “Obamacare.” Since I am not a Catholic, and neither are most of the readers of this column, I am focusing here only on the Evangelical opposition.
The strong opposition of conservative Protestants is due one or more of the following reasons: fear that PPACA does (or will) fund abortions (or contraception), fear of more intrusive government control over individuals (so loss of freedom), and fear that it would increase taxes and/or the national debt.
I can’t help but think, though, that many Evangelicals are opposed to PPACA mainly because they are Republicans and opposed to President Obama. Above all else, want to make him a one-term President. It is hard to see how opposition to extending health care coverage to the millions in the country who do not have it can be based solely on Christian considerations.
Those Christian groups supporting the PPACA list the following reasons (among others) for their support:
**Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be excluded from coverage on their parents’ health insurance.
**Young adults [up to age 26] now have coverage on their parents’ policies.
**Women can no longer be charged higher premiums because of their gender and can now receive mammograms and pap smears with no out of pocket expenses.
Further, beginning in 2014, low-income working families living on up to 133% of the federal poverty level will have access to health care through the expansions of Medicaid.I can’t help but think that the expansion of health insurance to nearly every U.S. citizen has to be a good thing. True, in the future some of us might, possibly, not have quite as good coverage as now. But think of the tens of millions who have no health coverage now but who will be covered when PPACA goes into effect fully. How can that possibly be a bad thing?