A new lawsuit against the federal government has been filed regarding the HHS mandate. The Williams family (father Joseph III, sons Joseph IV and Mark) own Electrolock, an electrical and thermal insulation company based in Ohio. The Williams family, as Catholics, believe the government’s mandate to provide abortions, artificial birth control and abortifacients to their employees as part of health care violates their religious liberty.
According to The Thomas More Law Center, the family decided to give employees money so that they could shop for their own health care at the government’s health care exchange, Healthcare.gov. However, things did not go as planned:
[I]n an effort to avoid compromising their religious beliefs by complying with the HHS Mandate, the Williams Family initially paid each of their 43 employees several thousand dollars so the employees could purchase their own health insurance through the government Exchanges.
When employees began to have problems with the Exchange website, the Williams Family had to respond to the complaints and the serious concerns of their employees who were facing loss of health care, frustration with the flawed government website, and the decision to look for other employment that did provide healthcare. The Williams Family wishes to continue providing the quality healthcare that it has provided to its employees for the last several years in accordance with their Christian Stewardship and Catholic Beliefs. At this point, with the HHS Mandate being the law of the land, the only way this can be done is by seeking relief from the courts.
Then, the family attempted to organize a health care plan for their employees on their own.
In a final attempt to provide for their employees in good conscience, the Williams Family has organized a self-insured employee health plan which they are seeking to implement. However, since the plan excludes abortion, sterilization, contraception, abortifacients and related education, the Williams Family requires an injunction from the court in order to implement the plan without penalties, which would exceed $1.5 million dollars per year.
This past Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before a Congressional committee regarding the problems with the Healthcare.gov website. When asked how many people had signed up, she replied, “We have no reliable data about enrollment, which is why we haven’t given it to date.” Meanwhile, CBS News reports that registration numbers are very low:
The website launched on a Tuesday. Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say “six enrollments have occurred so far.”
By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to “approximately 100.” By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect “248 enrollments” nationwide.
President and Chief Counsel of The Thomas More Law Society stated,
Despite all of the political and media focus on the problems created by Obamacare and its dysfunctional healthcare website, we must not lose sight of the fact that the HHS Mandate violates our first and most sacred freedoms—freedom of religion and conscience. And in this regard, all Americans, not just Catholics or Protestants, must be concerned. Americans cannot remain indifferent to the fact that one of our most fundamental rights under our Constitution is under attack. This is why TMLC has thus far filed ten Federal lawsuits on behalf of both Catholics and Protestants challenging the HHS Mandate.”