Posts Tagged ‘HHS Mandate’

Insight from the New York Post

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Today the New York Post published an editorial on Judge Brian Cogan’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I would like to share it with you.

Here is an excerpt:

For a while it looked as though the president had got the best of the cardinal.

Two years ago, Timothy Cardinal Dolan left an Oval Office meeting believing he had President Obama’s word that his health-care regulations would respect the conscience rights of religious organizations. A few weeks later, the president phoned to say the Department of Health and Human Services was going ahead with a mandate requiring even church groups to underwrite insurance that paid for birth control, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

Now a court has just handed the cardinal a big victory — and the president a huge defeat. In a landmark ruling, Judge Brian Cogan of the Eastern District of New York not only found that the president’s mandate violates religious freedom, he issued the first permanent injunction against it.

You can read the whole editorial here.

Insight from the New York Daily News

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

I recently came across two insightful opinion pieces in the New York Daily News this week, that I would like to share with you.

On Sunday, Dr. George Mussalli, a former chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Vincent’s Hospital- Manhattan, wrote an excellent op-ed on how Catholic healthcare actually does more to truly support  women.

Here is an excerpt:

The ACLU suit is clearly not about medical care. It is an unfortunate attempt to target Catholic health-care facilities writ large — which, if successful, would endanger one-sixth of all hospital beds in America, including the only hospital in Muskegon, where Means might need future care.

Catholic hospitals are open to all: the uninsured, the unborn, the undocumented, those of all cultures, creeds or no creed at all. If forced to make a terrible choice between participating in abortions and closing, I fear that still more Catholic hospitals will choose to close. With Americans struggling to find dignified access to health care, that’s the last thing we need.

Click here to read the whole column.

This morning, the New York Daily News published an editorial on Judge Brian Cogan’s excellent ruling on religious freedom. You may have seen the Archdiocese of New York’s statement yesterday about Judge Cogan’s decision.

Here is an excerpt from the editorial:

Three federal appeals courts have reached conclusions similar to Cogan’s, in challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandates filed by profit-making companies whose owners conduct their businesses according to religious principles. Two additional appeals panels have dismissed such claims on the ground that corporations cannot hold religious views. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the issue.

The one-size-must-fit-all structure of Obamacare explains why the President wound up breaking his pledge that Americans could keep their health coverage if they like it. He ordered up new provisions for everyone, so the policies people liked went over the side.

Here, forced uniformity has pitted the President against a basic tenet of life in these United States. Not where he should be.

To read the whole editorial, click here.

Fortnight For Freedom

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Standing in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is one of our most beloved landmarks, both as New Yorkers and as Americans.  So many of our ancestors fondly recalled seeing Lady Liberty, their first vision of a new homeland.  Many of them told the story of seeing her for the first time, and not a few of them had to pause in retelling it because of a lump in their throat or a tear in their eye.

Even those of us who were born in America cherish the Statue of Liberty, and, even more importantly, what it stands for.  Who indeed can fail to be moved by the line from Emma Lazarus’ famous poem:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

That atmosphere of liberty is so much a part of the American experience and heritage.  Of course, most of us did not have to travel far and suffer hardship to glimpse the torch of the Statue, and to embrace her promise of freedom.  Most newcomers today do not come by ship, and so never set eyes upon her.  We New Yorkers, frequently in a rush to our next destination, don’t even look out into the Harbor very often.

So it would be easy for us to take the Statue of Liberty for granted, as just another landmark for tourists to visit.  And it would be all too easy to forget how precious — and fragile — is that breath of freedom that our forerunners yearned for so ardently.  This desire for freedom was written into the human heart by God, and exalted in God’s word in the Bible.  It is expressed so powerfully in the founding documents of our nation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  It is the ideal to which all our national institutions aspire, and which they are bound to protect and respect.  It is for freedom that so many of our brothers and sisters have been willing to sacrifice their lives to defend.

I don’t wish to push this analogy too far, but in recent years it has become a bit more difficult to “breathe free” as deeply as we would like.  The atmosphere is not quite so clear and mild any more.  Our liberty — like clean air — isn’t something we can take for granted.

This is the reason that the Bishops of the United States have called upon all Catholics, and all people of good will, to spend the days from June 21 through July 4 as a Fortnight for Freedom.  These fourteen days are designed to raise awareness and to encourage action on a number of the current challenges to religious liberty.  These include:

  • The HHS mandate, which presumes to intrude upon the very definition of faith and ministry, and could cause believers to violate their consciences.
  • Impending Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage, which will present a host of difficulties to institutions and people who stand on their faith-based understanding of authentic marriage as between one man and one woman
  • Proposed legislation at the national and state levels that would expand abortion rights, legalize assisted suicide, restrict immigrants from full participation in society, and limit the ability of Church agencies to provide humanitarian services.
  • Government intrusion into the rights and duties of parents regarding their children.
  • Overt persecution of believers in many countries of the world.

My brother bishops and I are encouraging people to offer prayers to God, the source of our freedom, that we may fully enjoy the liberty that was sought by those who came to our shores.  We are also urging practical action to defend our freedom.

Our two weeks begin tomorrow, June 21, and include moving feasts, such as June 22, the feast of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, both martyrs in England as they prophetically defended the rights of the Church against intrusion by the crown; June 24, the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, the one who defended God’s law to a tyrant and lost his head because of his courage; and, of course, Independence Day.

We must never forget the power of the American promise, which was passed on to us by our ancestors, and which we hold in trust for generations to come.

And, like Lady Liberty, may we always be proud to lift high the torch of freedom and hope to those who yearn for it today.

Statement on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding the HHS Mandate

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Yesterday, I issued a statement in my role as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the HHS mandate. Unfortunately, there were some news reports today that claimed the bishops “rejected” the White House proposal, ignoring the fact that we bishops said, “we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all.”

Here is the press release by the USCCB along with my full statement.

 Click here to read the press release and statement.

HHS Mandate Decision

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Did you hear about the decision last week by U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan in the lawsuit brought by the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, (the agency coordinating our Catholic healthcare in the archdiocese) and three plaintiffs from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, against the administration for the unconstitutional HHS mandate?

You probably did not, as there seems to have been virtually no mention of the decision – in favor of the archdiocese, by the way – in any local newspaper or on television.  As far as I can tell, and I’ve looked rather carefully, there hasn’t even been a story in the New York Times, which couldn’t wait to publish an editorial this past October, admonishing the bishops, when a federal judge in Missouri found for the administration and dismissed a similar case brought by a private, for-profit, mining company.   (The Times also didn’t have much to say last week, when the appeals court temporarily blocked the bad Missouri decision the Times had gushed over.)

(UPDATE: The Staten Island Advance DID publish a story last week.  My apologies to Maura Grunlund for not remembering!)

Judge Cogan’s decision last week turned back a motion by the administration to have our lawsuit dismissed.  You’ll remember, perhaps, that back in May, the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, and Catholic Health Systems of Long Island filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn, one of more than two dozen similar lawsuits filed around the country that day.  These lawsuits argue that the mandate from Health and Human Services would unconstitutionally presume to define the nature of the Church’s ministry, and force religious employers to violate their conscience or face onerous fines for not providing services in our health insurance that are contrary to our consciences and faith.

The judge’s decision doesn’t settle the case, but allows the case to proceed so that it might be heard in court.  (Two of our original co-plaintiffs, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, have been dismissed from the suit, as the judge found that their insurance plans would not presently be affected by the HHS mandate.  The Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, and CHSLI remain as plaintiffs.)   That’s significant, because the administration has been successful in getting some of the other cases dismissed, but in his decision Judge Cogan found that there was very real possibility that we plaintiffs would “face future injuries stemming from their forced choice between incurring fines or acting in violation of their religious beliefs.”

And what of the administration’s contention that the suit should be dismissed because they were going to change the HHS mandate to address the concerns of religious employers? As Judge Cogan wrote, “…the First Amendment does not require citizens to accept assurances from the government that, if the government later determines it has made a misstep, it will take ameliorative action. There is no, ‘Trust us, changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”

Bravo, Judge Cogan!

Of course, there is still a long way to go before these cases are final, and it would be our hope that the administration will be true to their word and amend the HHS mandate so that it does provide a real religious exemption and freedom of conscience protection.

Until then, we will continue to seek justice in the courts.  Thanks to last week’s decision in Federal Court in Brooklyn, it looks like we will have that chance.  We’ll keep you posted.

HHS mandate’s coercive nature is fact

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

The following article originally appeared a couple of weeks ago while I was in Rome. Though it’s a little old I thought you might like to see what my brother bishop, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, has written.

During the Oct. 11 debate, Vice President Joseph Biden looked into the camera and emphatically said: “With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution — Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital — none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

…Why would Vice President Biden look the American people in the eye and say something that is clearly not true? It is difficult to believe that the vice president does not understand the HHS mandates and what they require from religious institutions. If this were so, it certainly reflects poorly on his competency.

Of course, the only other explanation is that he purposely misled the American people. Congressman Ryan asked the vice president a very pertinent question. If the rights of institutions are not being threatened, then why are Catholic dioceses, hospitals and colleges suing the federal government in 14 different jurisdictions on this very matter? Unfortunately, the vice president did not answer the question and the moderator of the debate failed to press him on this matter.

Read the rest here.