Confusion at Forbes

In today's Morning Briefing, there is a link to an article at Forbes by Jim Powell of the CATO Institute.

Apart from its meandering walk through the history of the Catholic Church's stance towards slavery and subsequent dealings with fascism, the articles only major defect is that it is premised on a misunderstanding. Mr. Powell talks about the Catholic Church's opposition to the HHS mandates regarding contraception but wonders why the Church did not denounce the mandate when the law was being debated. Powell has his mandates confused. This has happened with some frequency lately after the Supreme Court's oral arguments last week.

To be clear, what was before the Court, and what the Catholic Church did not object to in the Affordable Care Act, was the individual mandate, the requirement that everyone purchase health care if they do not already get it from their employer. What the Church has objected to is a different mandate, not contained in the law itself, resulting from an implementing rule that requires coverage of certain preventive care for women. If Secretary Sebelius saw the light tomorrow, and rescinded the coverage of contraception among the preventive services required, that would have no impact whatsoever on what the Court will decide regarding the individual mandate.

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This is all very confusing and it is easy to make a mistake in passing when writing about the Affordable Care Act. But surely the editors at Forbes should know enough to make sure such elementary mistakes are not made, at least not as the foundational point of the article.


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