Solidarity Blog

section 1557 is an attack on people of faith

Conscience or Care? Biden’s HHS is excluding religious Americans from healthcare system

By Chris Faddis, president of Solidarity HealthShare

Section 1557 amendments are an attack on people of faith

Religious believers are under a vicious attack from partisan government forces determined to shut them out of the American healthcare system for good. Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently struck yet another blow to conscientious Americans when it amended rules pertaining to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to require people of faith to fund elective abortions and transgender surgeries through their health insurance.

Consequently, believers are left with no other option than to either withdraw from their insurance providers entirely or unwillingly participate in procedures antithetical to their sincerely held beliefs. But patients and insurance holders should never be forced to pay for healthcare products and services that violate their faith.

The newly finalized Section 1557 reinterprets the definition of “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.” The rule’s new definition and its requirements do not bode well for insurance holders in the United States, where more than 70 percent of people identify as Christian.

Likewise, nearly 75 percent of citizens, religious and nonreligious included, believe that physicians should be allowed to opt out of performing medical procedures that go against their beliefs. But that’s exactly what Section 1557 now requires from religious doctors and medical staff.

What does this mean for faithful providers and patients?

Faith-based hospitals and clinics must now adhere to an ethically problematic definition of sex under the new mandate. And doctors are required to perform “gender affirming” procedures, including on children, despite their consistent medical objections. The rule’s language will inflict real harm on real patients and require insurance holders to foot the bill for procedures with life-long consequences including elective mastectomies, hysterectomies, breast augmentation, abortions and more.

HHS’s move has been a long time coming. During the Obama era, HHS persecuted people of faith by implementing rules and regulations such as the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate, that audaciously and relentlessly tried to force Catholic nuns to pay for birth control in their health insurance plans without exception. The agency’s decision reeked of hypocrisy. HHS’s rules blatantly discriminated against religious orders and people of faith by compelling them to fund abortions while simultaneously prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability.

The Biden administration now shamelessly promises Americans that its HHS proposals will do nothing to stifle religious freedom while disingenuously claiming to actively defend First Amendment freedoms. But these promises continue to fall short each time the administration weaponizes its “nonpartisan” HHS against religious Americans and paves the way for other government agencies to do the same. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra continues to target and ignore religious freedom protections, even going so far as to abandon the case of a nurse who was illegally forced to participate in an abortion. Thankfully, America’s faithful have solutions at their disposal, free from problematic clauses and draconian constraints.

We need to support ethical alternatives

Christian health sharing ministries including the one I helped create, Solidarity HealthShare, provide an ethical alternative to traditional health insurance. Free from all federal monetary assistance, ministries like ours provide members with high quality care at a reasonable price without compromising their sincerely held beliefs. In the wake of HHS’s atrocious new rule, health sharing ministries stand ready to welcome millions of marginalized conscientious Americans into our fold.

It’s unacceptable that Section 1557 rules put Americans in a position of choosing between either conscience or care. But at least for now, health sharing ministries offer them a place of refuge where their beliefs and medical care can coexist.

Read about how section 1557 will affect people of faith in the original article on Fox News here.

Chris Faddis is president of Solidarity HealthShare, a healthcare sharing ministry guided by the moral teachings of the Catholic Church that negotiates directly with providers to ensure delivery of high-quality and affordable, life-affirming healthcare for the more than 46,000 Members it has served since 2016.