Forcing a company to give away a product for free

Charles Krauthammer points out yet another problem with President Obama’s contraceptive mandate compromise:

The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.

On what authority? Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries? . . . .

To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington’s takeover of the private system of medical care — a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining.

Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim. . . .

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.

via Charles Krauthammer: Overreach — Obamacare vs. the Constitution – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • mikeb

    The most troubling aspects of Obamacare aren’t the ‘free’ birth control, individual mandate, market controls, or ‘death panels’ … It’s that some think the state can do better than a bunch of fallen sinners forgetting that the same fallen sinners run it. Only there’s no mechanism for correction, no checks and balances. As the state grows stronger its impetus to reflect the values of its people grows weaker.

  • mikeb

    The most troubling aspects of Obamacare aren’t the ‘free’ birth control, individual mandate, market controls, or ‘death panels’ … It’s that some think the state can do better than a bunch of fallen sinners forgetting that the same fallen sinners run it. Only there’s no mechanism for correction, no checks and balances. As the state grows stronger its impetus to reflect the values of its people grows weaker.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I agree, which is why I’ve been saying all along, this isn’t a religious liberty issue. It’s a liberty issue. This government is illegal.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I agree, which is why I’ve been saying all along, this isn’t a religious liberty issue. It’s a liberty issue. This government is illegal.

  • Michael B.

    “Forcing a company to give away a product for free”

    What about making companies give health care in the first place? As you know, there are several laws that force companies to give health care or pay extra to the state.

  • Michael B.

    “Forcing a company to give away a product for free”

    What about making companies give health care in the first place? As you know, there are several laws that force companies to give health care or pay extra to the state.

  • JMJR

    Why didn’t Obama just tell the abortionists and the contraception companies to just give their “products” away for free??? Then he could tell the religious organizations and the health insurance providers that the products really are free…except then his cronies at those companies would have to absorb the costs…which of course they would have to pass onto paying customers so the cost of their “products and services” would go up!!!

    I feel like a certain unnamed congressman who stood up while Obama was speaking and truthfully yelled out, “LIAR!!!!”

  • JMJR

    Why didn’t Obama just tell the abortionists and the contraception companies to just give their “products” away for free??? Then he could tell the religious organizations and the health insurance providers that the products really are free…except then his cronies at those companies would have to absorb the costs…which of course they would have to pass onto paying customers so the cost of their “products and services” would go up!!!

    I feel like a certain unnamed congressman who stood up while Obama was speaking and truthfully yelled out, “LIAR!!!!”

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @3

    “What about making companies give health care in the first place?”

    Exactly. That’s the crux of the debate as I see it: “What about making [insert group here] do [insert action to perform here]?” The government should be in the business of doing only those things that individuals or private organization and business cannot: Like building roads, raising Armies, providing for police and fire protection, and ensuring that we all play by the same rules and honor contracts. The government should not care whether I provide my employees a generous health plan, pay them handsomely so they can buy their own, or pay them barely enough to live so long as I pay them what we mutually agreed to, that I provide safe working conditions, and that everything is above board (i.e. no bait and switch). I happen to believe that if I treat my employees well, provide them good salaries and good benefits that they will work harder, I will attract and retain better employees and my business will prosper.

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @3

    “What about making companies give health care in the first place?”

    Exactly. That’s the crux of the debate as I see it: “What about making [insert group here] do [insert action to perform here]?” The government should be in the business of doing only those things that individuals or private organization and business cannot: Like building roads, raising Armies, providing for police and fire protection, and ensuring that we all play by the same rules and honor contracts. The government should not care whether I provide my employees a generous health plan, pay them handsomely so they can buy their own, or pay them barely enough to live so long as I pay them what we mutually agreed to, that I provide safe working conditions, and that everything is above board (i.e. no bait and switch). I happen to believe that if I treat my employees well, provide them good salaries and good benefits that they will work harder, I will attract and retain better employees and my business will prosper.

  • formerly just steve

    JMJR, you speak the truth. Nothing is free. If abortifacient products are given away at no direct cost then either the cost of other services would increase–thus increasing the cost to the general population. Or the government would provide subsidies for these products–thus increasing the cost to the tax-paying population. Either way, the cost would be diverted to the increasingly small number of people who actually pay for their own health care coverage and their own taxes.

    Back in my school days we had a name for this. It was called progressive redistribution of wealth and it was a hallmark Socialism. Nowadays we can’t call it that.

  • formerly just steve

    JMJR, you speak the truth. Nothing is free. If abortifacient products are given away at no direct cost then either the cost of other services would increase–thus increasing the cost to the general population. Or the government would provide subsidies for these products–thus increasing the cost to the tax-paying population. Either way, the cost would be diverted to the increasingly small number of people who actually pay for their own health care coverage and their own taxes.

    Back in my school days we had a name for this. It was called progressive redistribution of wealth and it was a hallmark Socialism. Nowadays we can’t call it that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge.

    LOL,

    None of it is free.

    But we knew that.

    The insurers are going to rake in tons of premiums because the gov’t is going to force people to become customers.

    Right now the media will criticize insurers who don’t pay for services, but once the Health Care Act takes effect, we won’t hear a thing. Folks denied services?

    …crickets

    The media will become cheerleaders for euthanasia etc. Just wait.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge.

    LOL,

    None of it is free.

    But we knew that.

    The insurers are going to rake in tons of premiums because the gov’t is going to force people to become customers.

    Right now the media will criticize insurers who don’t pay for services, but once the Health Care Act takes effect, we won’t hear a thing. Folks denied services?

    …crickets

    The media will become cheerleaders for euthanasia etc. Just wait.

  • Michael B.

    “The government should not care whether I provide my employees a generous health plan…so long as I provide safe working conditions”

    Who owns the business, you or the government? Why shouldn’t you be allowed to say, “look, the work environment here just isn’t that safe…if you don’t like it, you can feel free to work somewhere else”? And what about all these laws that say you have to pay men and women the same wage for the same work, and you can’t discriminate based upon race and other factors? It’s your business, right? Shouldn’t you be able to hire and fire whoever you want, pay employees whatever you want, and for whatever reason you want?

  • Michael B.

    “The government should not care whether I provide my employees a generous health plan…so long as I provide safe working conditions”

    Who owns the business, you or the government? Why shouldn’t you be allowed to say, “look, the work environment here just isn’t that safe…if you don’t like it, you can feel free to work somewhere else”? And what about all these laws that say you have to pay men and women the same wage for the same work, and you can’t discriminate based upon race and other factors? It’s your business, right? Shouldn’t you be able to hire and fire whoever you want, pay employees whatever you want, and for whatever reason you want?

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #8 Yes. If such things matter to people the states have authority to address those issues. The central USA government isn’t permitted by the constitution to address any of those issues except with its own workforce.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #8 Yes. If such things matter to people the states have authority to address those issues. The central USA government isn’t permitted by the constitution to address any of those issues except with its own workforce.

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @ 8

    Let’s be reasonable, here. There is a place for government. We can’t have contractors building shoddy structures soaked in kerosene and just pray the foundation doesn’t give or no one lights up a Marlboro.

    But government’s role should be limited. And at the lowest possible level with the least negative impact.

    And as a brief aside in reply to your ‘paying whatever I want, because it’s my business’ comment: Well, yes, maybe we’d all be better off if we didn’t have a minimum wage. Think of how many teenagers don’t get summer jobs sweeping out stock rooms because it costs too much to hire them. I was lucky, I learned a fair amount about life and began developing a strong work ethic at my first job and I didn’t get minimum wage. No way I would have gotten the job otherwise. I wasn’t taken advantage of, and I believe that I’m more successful today because of that experience.

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @ 8

    Let’s be reasonable, here. There is a place for government. We can’t have contractors building shoddy structures soaked in kerosene and just pray the foundation doesn’t give or no one lights up a Marlboro.

    But government’s role should be limited. And at the lowest possible level with the least negative impact.

    And as a brief aside in reply to your ‘paying whatever I want, because it’s my business’ comment: Well, yes, maybe we’d all be better off if we didn’t have a minimum wage. Think of how many teenagers don’t get summer jobs sweeping out stock rooms because it costs too much to hire them. I was lucky, I learned a fair amount about life and began developing a strong work ethic at my first job and I didn’t get minimum wage. No way I would have gotten the job otherwise. I wasn’t taken advantage of, and I believe that I’m more successful today because of that experience.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Yeah, it is so much better for American teens to be unemployed and have employers hire illegals under the table!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Yeah, it is so much better for American teens to be unemployed and have employers hire illegals under the table!!

  • formerly just steve

    “Michael B. … Let’s be reasonable, here.”

    Ha! Good one.

  • formerly just steve

    “Michael B. … Let’s be reasonable, here.”

    Ha! Good one.


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