Friday, February 10, 2012

Double Your Dose: Obama Compromises With the Catholic Church

The Obama Administration's regulation ordering religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, to provide contraceptives and abortion services as part of their employees' health insurance programs started enough of a storm that he felt compelled to come out and announce a compromise. The new Grand Bargain? Well, let's see what you think

President Obama on Friday announced that religious organizations will no longer be required to offer free birth control to female employees next year, a shift in policy aimed at tempering intensifying political backlash over religious freedom. 
Under the new approach, insurance companies, rather than religious organizations, will be obligated to offer contraception for free to the institutions' employees 
"The result will be that religious organizations won't have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly," Obama, who was flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, said at the White House. "Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care. That includes contraceptive services no matter where they work."

Does this make any sense? The Catholic Church, among others, must still provide employee health insurance plans that cover birth control, but they don't have to "pay" for them. The insurance companies will! As if the objection is having to shell out $15-20! Newsflash genius: the Catholic Church doesn't want to offer any kind of birth control to their employees (or to anyone else). Also, is Obama so out of it that he doesn't realize that the "free" birth control that insurance companies are now being tasked to give away - is this even legal? - will not be free. They will simply increase premiums to cover the "free" stuff. 

This compromise is so dumb, and so one-sided, it literally amazes. I honestly hope Obama et al. came up  with this because they figured we were too dumb to know better. To think that the president and his team sincerely believe this is a workable way forward is too much. They can't be this ignorant about the insurance market and religious conscience. Can they?

Obama, by the way, couldn't announce his magnanimous compromise without his usual arrogant attack on the people who would interfere with his transformative vision for the US. 

Obama said he ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week to quickly come up with a new policy to satisfy the complaints of religious organizations because it was clear to him that some in Washington were turning the debate over religious freedom into "political football.

A political football?? Look in the mirror, jerk. No one was banning condoms and pills. Not one American alive today  has been without ready access to birth control. You're the one who (needlessly) put the football up in the air. Not only that, I don't think there are very many people "in Washington" who have as loud as the Catholic bishops in condemning this nonsense. This is way beyond "Washington," bud.

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