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Your Opinion: Federal health care in the schools

Dear Editor:

The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate which has been considered by some an attack on religious liberty may turn out to be the gift that keeps on giving. Above and beyond the religious issue, it begins to expose the basic construct of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (AAHCA/Public Law 111-148 i.e. Obama-care): government knows best, man the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

A news item earlier this week reported a 4 year old at school whose lunch was inspected and confiscated by some “government agent.” Apparently her lunch did not meet some nutritional standard. It was confiscated and she was given three chicken nuggets. All the relevant facts of the event are still not available, but there is no reason for surprise.

The law which gives HHS secretary latitude to mandate insurance benefits in religious institutions also gives other government branches authority to interfere even more with our schools. The point is: these two events are related.

Public Law 111-148 plans to install in every school, “health-care” government facilities called School Based Health Clinics (SBHC).

Subsection B-3: the SBHC will provide on-site access during the academic day ...

Subsection B-4: the SBHC will be integrated into the school environment and will coordinate health services ...

SBHC’s “core services” will be:

Physical: Comprehensive health assessments, diagnosis, and treatment of minor, acute, and chronic medical conditions ...

Mental Health: Psychiatric care, community support programs, inpatient care, and outpatient programs ...

Optional Services: Additional services ... social and age-appropriate health education services, including nutritional counseling. [School Based Health Clinics, Division C, Title V Subtitle B-Sec 399Z-1 Public Law 111-148]

Note the very last proposition: “including nutritional counseling.” In response to the public outcry about the little 4 year old, we will probably be informed that this was simply a voluntary educational/nutritional pilot program, and that an overzealous adult at the school made a mistake.

A tenable explanation; but with these two events (attack on religion and a 4 year old at school) we have been given an accurate and rare glimpse into the essence of Public Law 111-148. This law is being implemented and gaining momentum, and every institution in our country, public or private, religious or secular, will be subjected to the whims of an 800-lb. gorilla called the federal government. Except of course, members of the executive branch, Congress and their staff.

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