The Obama administration continues its caving to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and seeks input on ways in which to continue its spelunking in the future. From the National Catholic Reporter:
Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.
Also raised is the possibility that the definition given for religious employers in the original mandate could be changed.
HHS did not announce final rules, but put forward a 32 page proposal for comment [pdf] on religious organizations and their obligation (or lack thereof) to provide coverage for “certain preventive services.”
That “self insurance” loophole is a huge exemption. Look for any Roman Catholic institutions that aren’t self-insured already to set themselves up that way in short order.
Dog damn it (so to speak), First Amendment religious freedom does NOT mean freedom to impose your religion’s phobias on society at large through government regulations. Obama has no business compromising on this… none whatsoever. It’s just another aspect of his noncombatant status when it comes to fighting against the Republican War on Women.
“Compromising a little bit” on significant women’s issues is a bit like being “a little bit pregnant.” If Obama cannot be depended upon to face down the Catholic bishops over this (which is really, despite Rush’s rants, not about government money for contraception; it’s about insurance companies’ money for contraception), then what on Dog’s decreasingly green earth can one depend on him for?
Look. Most American Catholic women use contraceptives, the Pope be fucked (you do the job, not me). Those Catholic women who instead choose to have fifteen children are free to do so; their freedom of religion guarantees that they can drop babies until they’re bloodless wraiths, if they want to. That’s religious freedom. Catholic Bishops essentially writing administration regs on health care coverage… that’s not religious freedom; that’s an outright merger of church and state. Obama should fight that religious invasion tooth and nail. But noooo…