Rep. Black Holds Press Conference on HHS Mandate
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN) held a press conference following Supreme Court oral arguments in the landmark cases Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius. Other Members who participated were Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Vicki Hartzler (R-MO), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Kevin Brady (R-TX), James Lankford (R-OK) and Joe Pitts (R-PA). Congressman Black is the author of H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. A copy of her prepared remarks at the press conference are below, or to watch video of the press conference, click here.
Thank you all for joining us here today.
I’m Congressman Diane Black, and I want to start by commending the Green and the Hahn family, as well as the over 300 plaintiffs nationwide that have challenged this Administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate.
The HHS mandate is a threat to religious freedom and it jeopardizes America’s long-held tradition of respecting conscience.
Furthermore, the HHS mandate puts the jobs, livelihoods, and healthcare of millions of American at risk.
It forces those who stand up for their conscience to choose between paying crippling fines that could shut down their business or dropping healthcare coverage for all their employees.
If an employer provides healthcare coverage that fails to cover even one of the controversial drugs included in the mandate, they can be fined up to $36,500 per employee each year.
Yet if the employer provides no health coverage whatsoever their fine is only $2,000 per year.
Only Obamacare could create a system that carries 18 times the fine for providing insurance coverage to employees than for not providing any coverage at all.
Every American, including job creators, should be free to live and work according to their beliefs, but the HHS mandate demands that Americans comply and violate their principles or stand up for their civil rights and be punished.
Respecting freedom of conscience is a long-held American tradition and the government should not impose mandates or laws that force individuals and businesses to violate this freedom.
This mandate will threaten charities and hospitals that take care of the poor, sick, homeless and those who have no place else to turn for help.
In the fight to protect religious freedom, we must act on all fronts – whether through the courts or through acts of Congress.
While I am optimistic that the Supreme Court will act responsibly and overturn this unconstitutional mandate, I have also introduced H.R.940 – the Health Care Conscience Rights Act – legislation that would provide full exemption from the HHS mandate.
Increasing access to healthcare should not require employers and employees to choose between coverage and their conscience.
Thank you for joining us.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.