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Stopping Obamacare’s Assault on Religious Liberty and People’s Pocketbooks

September 16, 2015

We have many problems with Obamacare—that’s why we want to repeal and replace it lock, stock, and barrel. So tomorrow, the Ways and Means Committee will mark up two bills that will take on two egregious parts of the law.

First is the law’s paltry exemption for religious liberty. Right now, you can qualify for a religious exemption from the individual mandate only if you believe in renouncing all forms of insurance, both private and public—including Social Security. Just a few religious faiths—the Amish, the Old Order Mennonites—fall under this category. And what that means is, even if the acceptance of medical health services would be inconsistent with your religious beliefs, the law still requires you to buy insurance.

So on Thursday, the committee will mark up the EACH Act, sponsored by Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). This bill would expand the religious-liberty exemption. Under the bill’s new definition, you will qualify for an exemption if you decline to use health care as a matter of faith. It’s wrong to force people to buy insurance against their will. But it’s especially wrong to force them to do so against their faith. And this bill will help set things right.

Second is the law’s mindless restriction on the use of health-savings accounts. Thanks to Obamacare, you can use HSAs or other flexible spending accounts to buy prescription drugs only. You can’t use it to buy over-the-counter drugs. But sometimes what you can get over the counter works just as well as what you can get with a prescription—and often it’s a lot cheaper.

The Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), would cut down this red tape. The bill would allow people to buy over-the-counter drugs without a prescription with their HSAs and other accounts, keeping down costs and giving people more control over their health care.

These are just two examples of all the problems Obamacare is causing, and Ways and Means is doing all we can to fix them. And in a larger sense, these bills are just two steps on the road to a total repeal and replace of this costly mistake.