Obama’s phony compromise on contraception!!
Obama pulled another fast one on his “compromise” on the free-birth-control rule as it affects religious employers opposed to contraception. Reading the proposed rule shows that instead of offering a true modus vivendi, the adm launched a stealth power grab. Not only does the “compromise” maintain the previous aggressive government intrusion into the religious sphere, but it uses the controversy as a pretext for increasing Obamacare’s control over private insurers.
Before last year health insurance was regulated at the state level and most of the states that required certain policies to cover birth control also offered conscience exemptions.
HHS issued a rule requiring all employers with 50 full time workers or more to provide them health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and morning after pills free, with a conscience exemption limited to churches or association of churches as well as the “exclusively religious activities”. The Obama adm delayed the effective date of the rule ass it applied to these objecting religious organization until 8/1/13 (this was held until after the election). The new rule has been unveiled. Simply extending to the schools and charities the same exemption churches enjoy would have been the obvious, most respectful and constitutionally appropriate resolutions of the controversy. But that isn’t the Obama way.
Instead there will now be tow classes of religious objectives under the rule. The first are the churches previously exempted. All other religious nonprofit opposed to contraception—the ones about which the big fuss was made will receive a mere “accommodation”. This accommodation is smoke and mirrors. It requires all female employees of the objecting groups to be covered for free contraception, like it or not. Here’s how the accommodation will work:
The employer must purchase a general group health plan.
The employer must certify to it carrier that it objects to contraception for religious reasons.
The insurance carrier then must automatically enroll participants and beneficiaries in a separate health insurance policy that covers recommended contraceptive services.
The carrier must provide this supplemental policy to employees free of charge.
Thus the religious employers purchase of health insurance required by law automatically triggers the free coverage of contraception. EVEN nuns will be insured for birth control!
With no opt-out other than to break the law by not buying health insurance and then face stiff fines.
The new rule also impinges on the liberty of the private sector by compelling insurers to provide a free product to specified organizations for the purpose of furthering the adm goal of “gender equality”. Thus insurers will be able to charge companies like Google and Sears for contraception and sterilization coverage. They will also be able to charge churches that are not doctrinally opposed to birth control and thus do not quality for either exemption or accommodation.
Insurers will not be allowed to charge Catholic Charities of Georgetown U while still having to provide contraceptive coverage—an act of blatant conscription.
Insurance companies providing free birth control coverage must, among other bureaucratic reporting requirements:
Provide monthly data on the number of individuals to whom the contraceptive coverage is being provided.
Attest that all recipients of the policy received a copy of the written notice of coverage that must be given to all employees.
Attest that the issuer provided contraceptive coverage according to the provisions of the rule.
Identify the QHP’s being offered through a federally-facilitated exchange with respect to the user fee reduction.
Submit an estimate of the cost of contraceptive coverage to HHS for approval/
Rather than do all that or sue the government for forcing them to supply a free product-many insurer many find it easier not to offer coverage to religious organization opposed to contraception, perhaps that is one of the points.
With the private sector forced to foot the bill for unwanted contraceptive coverage. This allows the media to claim, falsely, that the adm has backed off its moral imperialism against Catholic charitable organizations.
The issue here is not contraception but the demolition of limited government. If the Obama adm can force the private sector to provide a free product to help the government circumvent a constitutionally protected freedom, what can it not do? Why not also one day mandate free, universal coverage of abortion?
Source—weekly standard, Wesley smith