About That Obama Administration Contraception Mandate Compromise

Last week, the Obama administration announced that it had compromised on the ObamaCare requirement that religiously affiliated institutions would have to pay for health insurance that covers reproductive services. The Washington Post explained:

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.”

In earlier my blogpost about this "compromise" I asked:

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?

Post columnist Michael Gerson suggests today that the answer is no. He cites a succinct analysis from the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center's Yuval Levin:

“The religious institutions are required by the government to give their workers an insurer, and that insurer is required by the government to give those workers abortive and contraceptive coverage, but somehow these religious employers are supposed to imagine that they’re not giving their workers access to abortive and contraceptive coverage.”

Yep. That's exactly what the Obama administration is offering. Gerson points to further limitations on even this alleged compromise:

The administration has still made no attempt to deal with the hard cases. Is it right to impose the mandate on a for-profit religious publisher? On a non-religious pro-life organization or a Catholic television station? On a family-owned business with a highly religious owner?

Good questions. As I pointed out in my May 2012 column, "Separating Church and State Money," a real compromise would be to change the tax code so that employers could hand over the money they spend on buying mandated one-size-fits all health insurance policies to each employee. Then individual employees would be able purchase whatever health insurance they think fits their needs, including policies that pay for whatever reproductive services they want.

Disclosure: I am for allowing people to make all sorts of reproductive choices including aborting or not aborting, using or not using contraceptives, takng advantage of in vitro fertlization techniques or not, contracting with surrogates or not, and when the time comes, availing themselves of safe technologies to genetically enhance their children or not. Of course, they should pay for such choices themselves.

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  • WTF||

    Of course, they should pay for such choices themselves.

    Then you are DENYING THEM ACCESS!!11!!

  • ||

    Mind of a progressive "access" = "free".

  • yonemoto||

    It's because Ron forgot to allow for the possibility of people to "ask nicely". There's room for charitable contraception providing institutions.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The administration has still made no attempt to deal with the hard cases.

    There are no hard cases to deal with. Either you agree with the Obama Administration or you are wrong. He's being nice enough to let you retain your dignity while you still line up like everyone else. Remember, he gave you those First Amendment rights, and he can take them away if you don't shape up.

  • DJF||

    """"Their health insurer will then automatically enroll employees in a separate individual policy, which only covers contraceptives, at no cost.""'

    What about people who don't want contraceptive coverage at all?

  • nicole||

    What about people who don't want maternity coverage at all?

    What about people who don't want mental health coverage at all?

    What about people who don't want rehab coverage at all?

    Sorry dude.

  • DJF||

    So either I pay for coverage I don’t want, or they send in the drones.

  • nicole||

    Well, first they send in the IRS. Then the drones.

  • ||

    Doesn't the IRS have dronez of its ownz?

  • XTSee||

    No, first the IRS, then the Flukes, then the drones. From there it is, of course, drones all the way down.

  • ||

    If people were allowed to only pay for the coverage they want, then there would be no extra money available to make coverage cheaper for those who do.

    You know it's just not FAIR that some people are cursed with being pregnant/insane/drug-addicted. And they shouldn't have to pay extra for health insurance because of that.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    What about people who don't want ANY coverage at all?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    They are obviously either insane, or selfish, which is the same as insane, and therefore O knows they need the coverage, sooner or later.

  • sarcasmic||

    They may not want contraceptive coverage, but they need it. Some bureaucrat said so.

  • ||

    But that would be wrong, because it would imply you have a right to only pay for the health care services you actually use or something.

    Don't you know you have a moral obligation to subsidize other people's healthcare consumption?
    We're all thin this together!

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    ...a real compromise would be to change the tax code so that employers could hand over the money they spend on buying mandated one-size-fits all health insurance policies to each employee.

    After seeing on the W2 how much the wife's employer pays for the insurance, I'd be all over this.

  • ||

    Was watching CNN the other day (yes, I know). The topic... Obama's compromise on the birth control issue. Religious nut on the right, statist on the left.

    No mention of, the REAL question, why I would even consider paying for someone else's birth control in the first place. Couch it as though that part is a given and argue the minutia. That way you are guaranteed to get what you want.

    There was a discussion on a thread the other day about how we may go overboard in calling the average American stupid. I liked that premise, but upon reflection, I cannot accept it. The average American is dumber than a box of rocks. Sorry.

  • $park¥||

    Dumb or easily misled, either way the result is the same.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    we may go overboard in calling the average American stupid.

    Stupid AND unprincipled.

  • yonemoto||

    Given how long it's been since I've had sex, I am outraged that I am being forced to pay for other people to have sex more easily.

  • scepticPencil||

    "...but somehow these religious employers are supposed to imagine that they’re not giving their workers access to abortive and contraceptive coverage.”

    This should not be a problem, as the religious are very good at imagining things.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Look at me! I'm so much smarter than everyone!

  • Brett L||

    Bailey adds an SLD to his post. We're being heard and read!

  • XTSee||

    You probably shouldn't take that to mean what you think it means.

  • ||

    You know what would be awesome? If the employer could negotiate with the insurance company for a lower rate for all employees (but not pay for it directly) and then if the employee wanted to get insurance with them they could pay for it out of pocket.

  • ||

    As I mentioned before, the administration could simply mandate that insurers charge employers $X less, where $X is the amount of the break they recieve on the fees.

    But that would violate the sacred progressive princple that everyone should pay exactly the same price for health care no matter what they consume or how sick or healthy they are.

  • ||

    You know it's funny how progressives treat other people's sacred principles as bargaining chips. But they get to force their own down other people's throats willy nilly.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You wouldn't charge people for food based on how much they are eating, would you?

  • ||

    I KNOW! Really, some people just need more food than others. It's not really fair for them to have to pay more for it.

  • scepticPencil||

    If we must use taxpayer money for health coverage (and currently, we must) it seems much cheaper to pay for contraception than for 80 years of healthcare.

  • ||

    Yeah, fuck all that freedom bullshit. How about we, I don't know, not use taxpayer money for healthcare and avoid these little issues altogether?

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