Obama "Compromises" on Contraception Requirement for Religious Institutions. Really?

The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration has compromised on the thorny issue of requiring under ObamaCare that religious institutions buy insurance that covers contraception for their employees. Really? The Post Wonkblog notes:

Under this proposal, objecting nonprofits will be allowed to offer employees a plan that does not cover contraceptives. Their health insurer will then automatically enroll employees in a separate individual policy, which only covers contraceptives, at no cost. This policy would stand apart from the employer’s larger benefit package.

The faith-based employer would not “have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.”

Say what? Is it really credible that health insurers won't simply boost the prices of their non-contraceptive policies to cover the "no-cost" contraception coverage? Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped?

Back last May, in my column, "Separating State and Church Money," I argued:

What about health insurance? The tax code could be reformed so that employers give their workers cash instead of medical benefits, allowing individuals to select the private health plan that works best for them, deciding for themselves whether they want coverage for contraception, abortion, sterilization, stem cell treatments, and so on. The poor could receive tax-financed vouchers to buy whatever private insurance they prefer. In fact, most public welfare services, including job training, nutrition support, and drug treatment, could be converted into voucher programs. 

Religious groups have always been welcome to make their cases in the public square, but if churches want to be left alone, they should stop begging for alms from the government. [Both sides] should heed Ronald Reagan’s admonition. “We establish no religion in this country,” Reagan declared in 1984. “We command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.”

Apparently, the president believes that the separation of church and states is an annoying incovenience to achieving Progressive aims.

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  • Sevo||

    "Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped?"

    Yes, and it's a pretty good bet they're right.

  • pmains||

    Indeed. The only people more economically illiterate than the people in the White House are those in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't jump the gun:

    “Today, the Administration issued proposed regulations regarding the HHS mandate. We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later.”

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-033.cfm

  • nicole||

    Their health insurer will then automatically enroll employees in a separate individual policy, which only covers contraceptives, at no cost. This policy would stand apart from the employer’s larger benefit package.

    This is...I just can't even. Now we're truly pretending contraceptives are free to everyone, or something. I mean, if they can do this for some people and not pass the cost on in some backdoor way, why can't they do it for everyone? Clearly contraception is magical or something, so what's the problem?

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I can only hope that they use one of the free condoms before they pass the cost up my backdoor. Always pay safe is what I hear on the street.

  • R C Dean||

    I doubt this will even make the court challenge go away. The "non-profits" (and why just non-profits? can't for-profits have religious objections?) will still be forced to give contraceptive coverage to their employees, even if they supposedly aren't paying for it. How does not paying for something suddenly make it not contrary to your religion?

  • Jeff||

    Because if you don't have to actually check the little box that says "contraceptives", then it's not against your religion! Right? Isn't that in the Bible somewhere? I'm pretty sure it is.

  • ||

    Not to mention (can't believe this has to be pointed out, should have been mentioned in the article) that the point of their refusal is their RELIGIOUS AND MORAL OBJECTION TO PROVIDING CONTRACEPTIVES FOR PEOPLE. Regardless of the amount of money paid, they're still being forced to help provide contraceptives in violation of their beliefs. To the people and organizations objecting, this is probably no compromise at all.

  • Jeff||

    Unless they're as stupid as Obama thinks they are.

    Which they may be.

  • NL_||

    The administration wants the most pro-contraception result it can get, while providing some sort of fig leaf for its opponents to claim they won concessions. They are letting the Catholics claim some sort of partial victory because this is a special rule, but the administration can still claim universal access to birth control.

  • pmains||

    As a Catholic, I would like to point out that the bishops deserve every bit of this. They have expressed absolutely no repentance nor understanding regarding their role in passing Obamacare by giving cover to the Stupak caucus. They refused to listen to the larger pro-life community or the legions of people pleading with them not to support a bill that would be used as a club against them. They were overly enamored of their own moral righteousness. They were helping the poor, after all. Now they are paying the consequences, and are bawling their eyes out to the very people who told them not to pull this crap in the first place.

    Well, good. You murdered your parents, and now you're orphans. That's. What. Happens.

    I know you guys aren't going to learn your lessons. If you had it to do all over again, you'd make the same mistakes for the same reason: moral vanity. Maybe others will learn from your pathetic examples.

  • ||

    If you had it to do all over again, you'd make the same mistakes for the same reason: moral vanity.

    Not sure how forcing people to give money to those who haven't earned it could EVER be considered moral?

  • pmains||

    It's not moral. A few years ago, I watched Cardinal Chaput as his pro-redistribution argument was summarily demolished by a 19-year-old. He just smiled vacantly. These people are incapable of learning.

  • NoVAHockey||

    yep. we (catholics) got in bed with government. can't don't be surprised that they fucked us.

  • sarcasmic||

    Apparently, the president believes that the separation of church and states is an annoying incovenience to achieving Progressive aims.

    Well, yeah. Progressivism is a religion that worships government and the violence it wields! How dare anyone believe in a higher power other than government? That's blasphemy!

  • John Galt||

    Say what? -What.

    Is it really credible that health insurers won't simply boost the prices of their non-contraceptive policies to cover the "no-cost" contraception coverage? -When has credibility been a concern to those supporting Obamacare?

    Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped? -The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it's believers can easily duped as frequently and often as His Royal Highness, King Obama pleases.

  • ||

    So Ron, what you're sayin' is, employers could take the money they're spending on a one size fits all plan for each employee and GIVE it to the employee who could then purchase a plan that is customized to their individual needs, forcing insurers to compete? AND if there is like money left over, that individual could keep the difference and like spend it on like a pair of shoes and stuff?

    It'll never work.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But then single guys with vasectomies won't want to pay for maternal ward coverage, meaning women will have to pay more! That plan would hit women and babies hardest!

  • ||

    I've always thought employer provided "perks" were bullshit. Healthcare, dental, paid sick days, vacation time, retirement...

    All complete bullshit. You wrap it all up in value and it's "YOUR PAY." They try to make it sound like your getting something extra for free. Complete bullshit. Does it really matter if your boss pays $400 a month for your health insurance or you do? Just makes people less responsible and raises the administration costs of businesses.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The paid time off does matter to an extent. Sure, they could just pay you an extra 4% a year and not give you 2 weeks of paid vacation, but in that case are you allowed to take it off at all?

  • ||

    It's all the same to the employer regardless. Time = money. Many places allow you to sell it back if you don't use it.

    I suppose you could get paid for a full year and buy your vacation time.

  • ||

    We're well on our way to peak retard.

  • ||

    We are at 110% of peak retard.

  • sarcasmic||

    You can never reach peak retard. You can close half the distance, then half the distance, then half the distance again, but you can never actually reach it.

  • ||

    I think of it as a retard carrying capacity, a retardation tipping point, if you will. Once reached, the only possible outcome is complete societal collapse.

  • sarcasmic||

    For some reason I always thought that something would hit the fan by the time I turned 40. Well, that's this year. I wonder what will happen.

  • ||

    Reread AS.

  • sarcasmic||

    Reread AS.

    No way. That took a year the first time. Not doing it again.

  • ||

    Noticeably faster the second time, when you know what's coming.

    If you skip the John Galt speech you can probably shave off a good six months.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you skip the John Galt speech you can probably shave off a good six months.

    What's the point of reading a book if you're going to skip parts of it? But you are right. I would thumb forward to the next stopping point, groan, and put the book back down. That part took forever.

  • andarm16||

    Has anyone that wasn't a member of an objectivist organization actually read the entire Galt Speech? It's like what? 70 pages? Honestly, skip AS and just read We the Living. It's virtually the same story, and shorter.

  • $park¥||

    Dammit sarc, if I find out our birthday is the same day ... I dunno, something drastic.

  • ||

    We'll never hit peak retard. It's like the horizon: you see it, but it never gets any closer no matter how hard you rush towards it.

  • AlexInCT||

    The level of retard I am currently seeing from all these people seems to be powerful enough to violate the funadamental laws of peak retardedness, so while it should not be allowed it magically has done so anyway.

  • Scarcity||

    You must still be relying on Newtonian retardics. It's time to learn about relativistic retardics; it changed everything.

  • KPres||

    They been practicing transcendental retard since the 60s.

  • ChrisO||

    The idea of peak retard assumes there is a limit on the potential amount of retard out there. No evidence supports that.

  • NL_||

    Once society becomes maximally stupid, nobody will be aware enough to realize it.

  • AlexInCT||

    "Say what? Is it really credible that health insurers won't simply boost the prices of their non-contraceptive policies to cover the "no-cost" contraception coverage? Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped?"

    This was a rhetorical question right?

    IT’S FREE!

    /sarc off

  • ||

    That's something I find extremely bizarre about ObamaCare. The whole thing that preventive care has to be FREE. They absolutely, positively, cannot stomach the concept of anyone paying a fucking $20 co-pay for "preventive" care.

    Why the fuck does it have to be FREE? Nobody fucking knows. You would think people might think to themselves "hmm, perhaps a small nominal fee might discourage overuse."

    But such ideas are totally beyond the abilities of progressives to comprehend. It's utterly inconceivable to them that charging zero for something might encourage people to over use it.

    So ,you know they have to make it FREE because, why the fuck not, everyone likes FREE shit, right?

  • tarran||

    It's a desire to make the world perfectly safe...

    I call it grade school sociology; in grade school, if you do the right things the teacher gives you a good grade; in commerce you do the right things you get a livable wage; in health care, you do the right things, you never get sick.

    I once overheard someone complaining that they had very carefully avoided carcinogens and yet had gotten breast cancer. She and her companion were speculating that evil corporations must have been adding carcinogens to boost their evil profits. The notion that sometimes people get cancer cause a cosmic ray happened to slam into a critical bit of DNA during a critical moment of cell division seemed not to occur to them.

    Preventative care is a religious rite to ward of the sickness demons.

  • nicole||

    Why the fuck does it have to be FREE? Nobody fucking knows. You would think people might think to themselves "hmm, perhaps a small nominal fee might discourage overuse."

    I mean, it's exactly the opposite. Was thinking about this the other day when I saw an ad on the side of a bus for "no-cost healthcare" touting "no copays for doctor visits!" I'm mentally facepalming over how obviously such a thing would encourage overconsumption, but the poor woman in the ad is just so happy that she doesn't have to worry because she knows she can go to the doctor anytime she has an ouchie, without worrying about not being able to order pizza that weekend or something. It's a really insidious idea, that we should prevent people from having to make tradeoffs, considering tradeoffs are not fucking going away.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Didn't you know we live in Star Trek, with antimatter for energy production and replicators for anything material?

  • ||

    Not only that, but to any rational person, it ought to be immediately obvious as a craven appeal to buy votes by offering the voters free shit.

    If Obama was even slightly interested in having a rational healthcare system, he would have nominal fees (generally called co-pays) for all visits. And set to to something low enough that a person with a real problem wouldn't mind paying it.

    But no. All he's interested in is putting up IT'S FUCKING FREE! ads on the side of busses. He doesn't give a fuck what the perverse effects of that are actually going to be. It's just an excuse to pander to voters and hand stuff out. If they cared about anything else they would put a modicum of rational thought into the design of the system.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Not-no-cost, just hiddent cost

    Good alt-text, but with typos? Is Lucy back?

  • ||

    The one rule that would actually get around the problem is to simply charge people less for not covering birth control.

    But we can't fucking allow that because of community rating.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Hazel, I've never seen anyone as unfair as you.

  • NL_||

    If contraception can be provided for free by insurers, why can't the employees just obtain it for free separate from their employers? Maybe 'free' was a little misleading.

  • Agreenweed||

    I am a nurse- and in nursing we actually have a form of this. I work full time with the prn designation and I make an extra 6 dollars an hour to refuse benefits. This is relatively commonplace in healthcare. Shame we don't have similar options in other fields.

  • Pinky||

    "Does the Obama administration really think that believers can be that easily duped?"

    No, the Obama administration thinks its own supporters will be duped into believing the administration has offered a fair, balanced, equitable and reasonable alternative to the plan's opponents. When the opponents object the administration will say the opponents are unreasonable, intransigent and unwilling to negotiate.

  • MarioLanza||

    Muslims are exempt from Obamacare...but Catholics? Nope.

    Freedom of religion is in the Constitution. "Free" birth control is NOT.

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