EDITORIAL: The Sebelius savings plan

When fewer human beings are better

There’s something perverse about a government $15.5 trillion in the red espousing a strategy to “save money” by discouraging the birth of human beings. That’s what Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is advocating through the implementation of President Obama’s contraception mandate.

Earlier this month, Mrs. Sebelius told a House panel probing the president’s fiscal 2013 budget that the mandate won’t impose a financial burden on employers and insurance companies because the cost of contraceptives and sterilizations will be balanced by lower medical costs from fewer births: “The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” she told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” asked an incredulous Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican. “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children,” replied Mrs. Sebelius, retreating behind policy boilerplate. “Not having babies born is a critical benefit?” asked Mr. Murphy. “This is absolutely amazing to me.”

The secretary’s testimony reveals a diabolical view of the mission of Health and Human Services. For the agency, a human being now represents little more than a debit entry on a balance sheet. In other words, the fewer, the better. Accordingly, Uncle Sam recommends insurers achieve savings by preventing babies from being born and winding up in the expense column.

The Obama administration has a plan to save money at the end of life as well: Obamacare, the president’s venture into socialized medicine, has established an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is empowered to ration expenses paid by Medicare for the health care costs of elderly Americans. Inevitably, efficiencies will come from denial of treatment. For the very ill, that could spell death.

Obama health policy reveals its roots in secular humanism, a philosophy based on reason alone that rejects the existence of the spiritual. With this mindset, it’s easy to view human beings as commodities with a price tag. That perspective stands in stark contrast to religious tradition familiar to Americans, which contends that individuals are fashioned in the image of the divine. People are, the Founders believed, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” When human beings are commoditized, then birth is no longer a miracle of life but akin to a date of manufacture. Death resembles an expiration date, and both are viewed as events to be managed.

It’s no wonder that religious organizations are up in arms over the Obama contraception mandate. The Catholic Church in particular considers contraception alien to a fundamental understanding of the sanctity of life. Enforcement of the rule against church institutions would be a clear violation of their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

If Kathleen Sebelius sees her job as saving money by discouraging life, then she needs a new title: secretary of health and human prevention.

The Washington Times

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