Acton Institute Powerblog

Is the HHS Mandate A Game of Chicken?

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In his homily on Lent Cardinal George warned that if the HHS Mandate is not changed Catholic schools, hospitals, and other social services will have to be shut down. Take a look at this post at by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, What if the Catholic Bishops aren’t Bluffing? to see what closing down schools and hospitals would mean.

Morrissey writes in his article for the Fiscal Times

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Whom do these hospitals serve? Catholic hospitals handle more than their share of Medicare (16.6 percent) and Medicaid (13.65) discharges, meaning that more than one in six seniors and disabled patients get attention from these hospitals, and more than one in every eight low-income patients as well. Almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients usually have few other options for care.

The poor and working class families that get assistance from Catholic benefactors would end up having to pay more for their care than they do under the current system. Rural patients would have to travel farther for medical care, and services like social work and breast-cancer screenings would fall to the less-efficient government-run institutions. That would not only impact the poor and working class patients, but would create much longer wait times for everyone else in the system. Finally, over a half-million people employed by Catholic hospitals now would lose their jobs almost overnight, which would have a big impact on the economy as well as on health care.

Michael Matheson Miller


  • Perhaps this is the statist plan, to throw everything into crisis so that the government can rush in.  Then they can contol cars, housing, education, healthcare, agriculture and trivialize faith tothe status of a quaint hobby.

  • Perhaps the statists’ goal is to throw everything into crisis so that the government must come to the rescue.  They would portray faithful Catholics as unconscionable hypocrites who turned the poor, the elderly and the infirm out onto the streets over some misguided and antiquated doctrine.  Religious faith would be relegated to the status of arcane hobby like playing D&D or Civil War reenactment.
    On the other hand the state would be in almost total control of healthcare, housing finance, educational funding, the auto industry not to mention the currency.
    Rahm Emmanuel admitted it outright that a good crisis should never be wasted.  Who am I to argue?