CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following statement on the passage of House Resolution 29, which would instruct Congress to protect churches from being forced to purchase services, such as health insurance policies, that offend religious faith. The resolution passed 227 to 121.
House Speaker William O’Brien:
“House Resolution 29 is not about the merits of contraception. It is not about whether insurers choose to offer coverage for these services in their policies. It also is not about the Catholic Church’s policies on contraception, sterilization or any other of its teachings or beliefs. Rather, HR 29 stands up for our religious institutions that have long-held principles and teachings under assault by a president and his ideology that seeks not merely to reject, but to tear down our liberties.
“Whether these groups would be forced to buy this coverage directly, as ordered by the original ObamaCare regulation, or indirectly, as suggested by the Obama Administration’s replacement accounting gimmick, the idea that a religious group would be compelled to buy a service that it finds morally repugnant and an express renunciation of its beliefs is both contrary to our values and unconstitutional.”
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt
“House leadership introduced House Resolution 29 to defend New Hampshire’s long and proud history of religious tolerance, while pushing back against the deeply flawed law known as ObamaCare. The new mandate from the Obama administration requiring religious organizations to offer insurance coverage for practices that go against the teachings and tenets of their faith is an unnecessary, cynical and unconstitutional attack on religious institutions. To those who say HR29 detracts from this legislature’s focus on New Hampshire’s economy, let us remind them this issue highlights a critical issue facing our economy, the effect of mandates on the cost of health insurance.
“Health insurance costs in New Hampshire are increasing at dramatic rates. New Hampshire businesses are seeing 60% premium increases. A considerable portion of those increases can be chalked up to state health insurance mandates implemented during the prior four years’ Democrat legislatures and those need to be repealed. We don’t need new federal mandates to drive the costs even higher. Earlier this legislative session, we passed legislation that repealed seven insurance mandates and this has helped small businesses to escape some cost increases. The extra savings from premiums may even mean there is more money in the pockets of our small businesses to create more jobs. This is the right way to reform the health care industry. Imposing anti-religious regulations on churches, under the guise of ‘women’s rights,’ achieves no reduction of costs or availability of services and serves only to please leftist ideologues.”
Attachment (1): Rep. Bettencourt floor speech on HR 29