Jonah Goldberg achieves two important things in his column today on the perils of Obamacare.

First, Jonah hits upon the term we’ve all been racking our brains for to describe the administration’s slippery accommodation for faith-based institutions that don’t want to pay for contraception and abortifacients: money laundering. The so-called accomodation is a slick accounting trick.

The second thing Jonah does is explain why liberals should fear Obamacare as much as the rest of us.

Jonah asks liberals to participate in a thought experiment:

Personally, I think [Rick Santorum’s] detractors are determined to turn him into a right-wing caricature (a cause he has aided more than once). He’s been prodded about gay marriage, contraception, radical feminists, and his religious faith in the hopes that he will say something embarrassingly juicy for the MSNBC crowd.

But let’s imagine the caricature is fair and he really is the boogeyman Rachel Maddow and Co. say he is. Worse, all his talk about “freedom” is just code for the right-wing version of progressive social engineering, i.e., he wants to turn women into breeders á la The Handmaid’s Tale.

Is that who you want in charge of your health care? If not him, what about some other conservative president down the road?

Writing for Politico, Keith Koffler (of the marvelous White House Dossier blog) is onto the totalitarian nature of government-run health care.

The birth control rule is not an anomaly in the health care law that somehow sprang out of the measure and ignited a firestorm. It flows naturally from the legislation itself. The law is unique in that it commands individuals to engage in a specific behavior – getting health insurance coverage — and punishes those who refuse.

That is a concern not only to Catholics, but to every voter who thought the law was just about guaranteeing health care for all. Suddenly, there is a level of government intrusion many may not have considered. And it raises questions for everyone about how much of an impact a second Obama term would have on people’s private behavior.

As for the alleged accommodation over conscience and paying for contraception, it definitely gave many people who want to support the president a fig leaf. The Catholic hierarchy in this country, however, remains in opposition. But this mandate is the very essence of government health care: individuals and leaders of institutions outside government don't get to make their own choices.   

David Rivkin, who represented the 26 states that have challenged Obamacare in the courts, and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argue today in the Wall Street Journal that the accommodation isn’t even constitutional.

It violates both the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by President Clinton, they say.

One of the interesting points that they make is that the mandate itself is just so unnecessary:

Health and Human Services itself touts community health centers, public clinics and hospitals as some of the available alternatives; doctors and pharmacies are others. Many of the entities, with Planned Parenthood being the most prominent, already furnish free contraceptives. The government could have the rest of these providers make contraceptive services available free and then compensate them directly. A mandate on employers who object for religious reasons is among the most restrictive means the government could have chosen to increase access.  

I urge my liberal friends to read Jonah’s column and imagine how they’d like it if some church-going Republican, not the enlightened Obama administration, were appointing the deciders.