Businessman on HHS Mandate: Violate My Conscience or Shut Down

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 9, 2012   |   6:59PM   |   Washington, DC

John Kennedy, the president and CEO of Autocam and Autocam Medical, says he has two choices because of the HHS mandate:  violate his conscience or shut down.

Kennedy filed suit yesterday against Kathleen Sebelius and other federal officials challenging the employer mandate that is a central part of the health care legislation passed by the Obama administration. Kennedy is joined in the suit by family members who own a controlling interest in both corporations.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) threatens the Kennedys ability to continue Autocam’s current healthcare plans, because the law would require them to pay for drugs and procedures that violate the owners’ deeply held religious convictions about the dignity of the person, such as abortion-inducing drugs like Plan B (the “morning after pill”) and Ella (the “week after pill”).

“This law requires me to violate my beliefs by paying for controversial products that cause abortions, and it does nothing to improve access or eliminate cost for essential medications like insulin and heart medication,” said Kennedy. “Why is the Obama administration prioritizing life-ending drugs over lifesaving drugs?”

Kennedy added that the Obama administration’s healthcare law requires him and his family to abandon the religious beliefs that motivated them to offer high wages and quality benefits, including an exceptional healthcare plan.

“The Affordable Care Act requires that businesses offer healthcare that covers drugs and procedures that violate the sanctity of human life,” he said. “Essentially, we are forced to choose between violating our religious convictions, stripping our associates of benefits, or shutting down our business. The Affordable Care Act threatens the right to religious freedom, upon which our nation was founded.”

Because the Kennedys believe they have a religious obligation to treat their employees well, Autocam workers participate in a first-class benefits program. Autocam’s healthcare plan is designed so that employees pay no premium, and 91 percent of currently employees take advantage of the plan’s design. Autocam covers 100 percent of the cost of preventive care for employees and their families and contributes $1,500 toward the plan’s deductible. Autocam’s benefits plan also includes a wellness feature recently selected to the Honor Roll of the 2012 Michigan’s Healthiest Employers program.

The plaintiffs are represented in the suit pro bono by Patrick T. Gillen of the CatholicVote Legal Defense Fund, Thomas Brejcha and Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society (Chicago, IL), and Jason C. Miller, of Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.