As the country settles back to its usual frenetic atmosphere of political bickering with Donald Trump as its new president, it is time to consider what former President Barack Obama’s legacy really means to this nation. In my opinion this means for the country to assess the damage he has done to the nation as a whole. This is vital because so many of the divisions of race, culture, religion and family, which he did not cause but acerbated, will linger in a state of decay that will transform us into people far different and much worse than the ones that made this country truly great and exceptional.
His partisan politics corrupted or completed the corruption of virtually every level of government from the Justice Department, the IRS and the Veterans Administration and so on down the line. No area was too small or insignificant to miss his corrosive meddling. As Chief Justice John Marshall once wrote in a landmark decision: the power to tax involves the power to destroy. Obama broadened it to read: the power to govern involves the destruction of anyone who gets in our way. In his position as a former president, Obama’s unparalleled decision to keep his divisive hands in the policies of the state is beyond audacity. It smacks of tyranny and revolution.
But the worst part of his legacy was his Health Care Bill, the Golden Child of his long presidency. It was rushed through Congress without most of the legislators having the time to read it. Written within its 2400 pages was a formula on how to make virtually every American a virtual slave to the Federal Government. It was a plan that was designed as well. It was poorly crafted and had at its heart two factors. The first was to national Health care by chasing all the private insurers out of the business. Within the lines the passive euthanasia of millions of elderly lay dormant, just waiting until society could support the elimination of its elderly, just as they do in some of the enlightened countries of Northern Europe.
The second and most odious policy was his plan to normalize abortion in virtually ever aspect of American culture. As did Roe v Wade, Obamacare embedded abortion rights. It was the necessary linchpin to the entire bill. Even people way beyond their reproductive days were forced to subsidized the abortions of every woman who wanted one.
In the 1972 movie, The New Centurions, based on the novel by Joseph Wambaugh, Stacy Keach played a rookie policeman, who quickly came to realize that being a Los Angeles policeman was comparable to the Roman centurions who were the last line of defense against the barbarian hordes threatening their empire. Arguably the Catholic Hospital system is rapidly becoming the Last Centurion, as it struggles to maintain its moral principles in the face of Obamacare and an encroaching secular culture of death.
This burgeoning crisis brings to mind Russian writer Igor Shafarevich’s provocative essay, Socialism in Our Past and Future, where he underscores Marxism’s determination to destroy its tripartite targets, namely, the Church, the family and private property. In Jonathan Israel’s recent book, Revolutionary Ideas, for anyone who finished its 732 pages, it became apparent that virtually all the goals of the French Revolution have wormed their way into the American culture. Obama has just been many of their dreams finally starting to bear fruit. The Catholic Hospital System is closely linked to all three targets. This battered system finds itself in the gun sights of an aggressive Marxist presidency that plans to drive its Christian influence into oblivion.
Catholic medical care dates back to the time of Christ when Jesus healed the sick and cured the blind. To continue this ministry, Jesus charged His Apostles to follow in His spiritual and physical ministry. The Church instituted the sacrament of Extreme Unction, not only for the spiritual benefit of the sick but also for the restoration of their bodily health. Like the other works of Christian charity, the care of the sick became a central feature in Christian faith.
The first Christian hospitals began in Asia Minor in the 6th century before spreading to Western Europe. The first of these appeared at Siena, Italy towards the end of the 9th century. The Crusades gave rise to several fraternal orders of chivalry, which combined with military service the care of the sick.
The first hospital in the United States was erected on Manhattan Island around 1663 for the care of sick soldiers who had been previously billeted with private families. By the end of the 18th century hospitals permeated the American landscape. The first hospital established by private beneficence was the Charity Hospital at New Orleans, operated by three Sisters of Charity. In New York City, St. Vincent’s Hospital was opened in 1849. It just closed its doors last year.
By 2002, of the country’s nearly 5,000 hospitals, which employ more than 600,000 people, the Catholic Health Care systems had expanded to over 625 hospitals, 1,796 continuing care ministries, including nursing facilities, home and hospice care. With combined revenue of $30 billion, Catholic Health Care had grown into an enormous entity in a $1.54 trillion dollar a year industry. In 2008, the cost of running these hospitals had risen to $84.6 billion. With its growing dependency on a stream of federal dollars, the system’s moral and religious underpinnings became endangered.
Obamacare, passed in 2010, with its hidden plan for universal access, sounded a loud alarm for religious-based hospitals, especially the Catholic system, which now fear that federal control of the healthcare system will eventually erode their Christian principles. They know that once the federal government takes over the system Obamacare will require their hospitals to perform abortions and other proscribed surgeries and treatments under the rubric of women’s reproductive health care. Thousands of religious facilities either ignored their moral teachings or shut their doors. It did not take long before this fear became an unpleasant reality.
The oxymoronic AbortionCare is the 800-pound elephant hiding beneath the subtext of the health care debate. Church leaders have recognized that two of their salient principles on human life are gradually being squeezed between the walls of a federal vice. On the one hand the Church believes in the absolute sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
The Church also considers health care a universal right. For decades Catholic bishops have advocated a universal health care system that included legitimate health care reform, respect for human life and dignity at reasonable cost. Seven years ago this proved that the lure of social justice had blinded them to the evils inherent in Obamacare. It has made it clear that many Catholic health care providers have lost a sense of what their religious identity once meant. What happened to many of the Catholic hospitals and the Little Sisters of the Poor only demonstrate the price the Church was forced to pay for trusting Big Brother.
The 2004 Freedom of Choice Act set the stage for the coming battle over Obamacare. The language in FOCA was so extreme it undermined state conscience laws, which protected hospitals and medical professionals from having to perform procedures that violated their conscience. Obama exposed his intentions with his 2007 promise to Planned Parenthood that the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Since the Catholic hospitals are so indebted to the government’s largesse, they knew that if FOCA became law they would have to comply or lose their government funding, which would have constituted a de facto cessation of operations. Fortunately FOCA died in committee in 2008 thanks to Catholic and Republican opposition.
President Obama realized that he could accomplish FOCA’s goals through his universal health care bill. His rhetorical skills and his political legerdemain attracted the support of millions of Catholics. The misguided support of the American Catholic hierarchy, which only blanched at its abortion provisions, gave it the bounce it needed to eventually pass. It wasn’t until the 11th hour when Obamacare’s abortion language became fully apparent that they had to choose the unborn over the poor.
Since then, starting in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Phoenix, Arizona many Catholic hospitals have shut their doors and many others have sold their hospitals to purely secular management groups, who are not bound by religious principle. The case of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix perfectly illustrates the Catholic bifurcation over government-funded health care and Catholic life principles.
The Catholic Church and its teachings has become the overall target. At every opportunity it sees, the ACLU’s legal forces jump right in and charges members of church hierarchies and Catholic hospitals of violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act which requires hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to treat patients in emergencies and active labor. The ACLU has also cited the Church’s refusal to provide timely reproductive health care to pregnant women at Catholic hospitals. They complained that religiously affiliated hospitals are not exempt from federal laws that protect a patient’s right to receive emergency care, and cannot invoke their religious status to jeopardize the health and lives of pregnant women. Sadly to say a number of Catholic religious, not only joined the Obama team but gave voice to its importance. The fissure slowly became apparent as many Catholic hospitals sold out to secular or lay Catholic interests, weakening Catholic health care.
Many Catholic hospitals that still adhere to Catholic teaching find themselves under immense pressure to follow laws requiring emergency rooms to provide rape victims with information about the drug.
Hopefully, President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress will put its own selfish interests aside, heed the voters, and replace Obamacare with a much more humane system of health care. They also must erase the notion that Abortion Care has anything to do with a woman’s health. Otherwise Health Care, especially Catholic Health Care, will just be another victim in the movement to complete the goals of the French Revolution. This has always been at the heart of Obama’s eight years in office.