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Federal Court Rules for the Catholic Benefits Association, Against HHS Mandate of Obamacare

By Deacon Keith A Fournier
6/7/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This Catholic Benefits Association is an outstanding example of the leadership of the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic business and professional community.

In March, the Catholic Benefits Association filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 200 Catholic employers. It initially sought an injunction against forced compliance with the HHS Mandate of the Affordable Care Act while the serious issues raised in the complaint are litigated. Injunctive relief is what is called an extraordinary remedy in the law. An Injunction is an order of Court which precludes an opposing party from acting while a case is being litigated. In this instance it would compel the federal government to cease assessing any penalties and fines against the Catholic Benefits Association. In effect, it grants a temporary exemption from the draconian enforcement of the HHS Mandate while the underlying case is fully argued.The HHS Mandate requires Catholic and other Christian enterprises to provide contraception,abortion inducing drugs and sterilization - or be penalized out of existence. For such an extraordinary legal remedy like an injunction to be granted by a Federal Court requires a strong showing of irreparable damage and a likelihood of success on the merits in the underlying cause of action.

The Most Reverend Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City serves as the Vice president of the Catholic Benefits Association

The Most Reverend Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City serves as the Vice president of the Catholic Benefits Association

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Catholic Online) - In March, the Catholic Benefits Association filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 200 Catholic employers. It initially sought an injunction against forced compliance with the HHS Mandate of the Affordable Care Act while the serious issues raised in the complaint are litigated.

Injunctive relief is what is called an extraordinary remedy in the law. An Injunction is an order of Court which precludes an opposing party from acting while a case is being litigated. In this instance it would compel the federal government to cease assessing any penalties and fines against the Catholic Benefits Association.

In effect, it grants a temporary exemption from the draconian enforcement of the HHS Mandate while the underlying case is fully argued.The HHS Mandate requires Catholic and other Christian enterprises to provide contraception,abortion inducing drugs and sterilization - or be penalized out of existence.

For such an extraordinary legal remedy like an injunction to be granted by a Federal Court requires a strong showing of irreparable damage and a likelihood of success on the merits in the underlying cause of action.

In effect, the Judge would have to believe that the claims of the Catholic Benefits Association -  that the HHS Mandate violates the protections of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act -  and that they will prevail in the underlying action.

That is exactly what U.S. District Federal Judge David L. Russell of Oklahoma City ruled on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

This Catholic Benefits Association is an outstanding example of the leadership of the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic business and professional community. Our readers should visit their Life Affirming Care website. On that site you can read more about this excellent effort.
 
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori is the President of the Catholic Benefits Association. It was formed to assist Catholic employers of both for profit and nor for profit enterprises and employers who seek to integrate the moral teaching of the Church in their undertakings.

It is an example of what we should be doing on every front as we face the growing hostility of a federal administration which has turned against the long cherished recognition of Religious Freedom as a fundamental human right in the United States of America. Catholic Christians cannot and will not separate their faith and their daily life.

Here is an excerpt from the Catholic Benefits Association websit:

About Us
Led by archbishops from throughout the United States, The Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) has formed The Catholic Insurance Company (CIC) and staffed it with a team of organizations and professionals with deep experience in the administration, delivery and operation of self-funded health care plans, in addition to legal counsel experienced in the defense of religious liberty. The CBA owns the CIC, a captive insurer domiciled in and regulated by the State of Oklahoma.

What is The Catholic Benefits Association (CBA)?
Led by archbishops from throughout the United States, the CBA is an Oklahoma limited cooperative association comprised of Catholic employers - both nonprofit and for-profit - committed to providing life-affirming health coverage consistent with Catholic values. The CBA owns The Catholic Insurance Company (CIC), an Oklahoma captive insurer.

What is life-affirming health care?
Life-affirming health care is comprehensive, quality health care that honors the dignity of the human person and is consistent with Catholic values. The Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) offers Catholic employers the ability to provide life-affirming health coverage to their employees

One of the most inaccurately reported notions concerning the Affordable Care Act - and its onerous HHS Mandate - is that Catholic and other Christian efforts have been exempted from the enforcement of the mandate. THEY HAVE NOT!

There is an exemption (albeit a deficient one) for a Catholic Diocese, or church group which is officially tied into the Diocese.
 
However, that exemption does not apply to the countless ministries to the poor and needy and Catholic employers which are not tied into a Diocese. Many of these important efforts are separately incorporated as non-profit organizations.

Others are structured as for profit companies. How an effort is legally structured under state and federal law should not, in any way, make a difference, if it is run by a Catholic or other Christian who understands the truth about the dignity of every human life.

The Christian faith - and the values which it imparts - must inform every aspect of our life as Christians - and not just our Sunday worship.

Certainly the recognition of religious freedom as a fundamental human right is not dependent on whether an effort or an enterprise is structured as tax exempt or directly tied into a Catholic Diocese. Remember, the IRS did not even exist at the time of the American founding.

In effect, the Obama administration is seeking to compel faithful Catholics and other Christians - those who know that the truth about the dignity of all human life and the obligation to protect all human life is binding upon them beyond their worship behind the Church walls - to bend the knee to a new Caesar or be fined out of existence.

This is tyranny. It violates the fundamental human right to religious freedom. It is not consistent with the patrimony of the American experiment and the robust recognition of religious freedom the Nation was founded upon.

The Most Reverend Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City serves as the Vice president of the Catholic Benefits Association. ON Wednesday, after the ruling, he told the Press:
 
"I'm heartened by today's ruling. Judge Russell was right to recognize that the Catholic employers of the Catholic Benefits Association have a right to allow their faith to inform not just their private beliefs, but also their public actions."

"The administration has been discriminatory to grant relief to some Catholic employers and not others based on whether they operate within the diocesan structure or at separately incorporated charitable organizations and for-profit businesses.

"Whether bishops or businessmen, Catholics cannot in good conscience provide employees with insurance that covers drugs and procedures that undermine the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life."

"Today is a very good day for proponents of religious liberty in general and for the Catholic Benefits Association in particular."

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